2015: The Year That Was

Last year was a tough year. Losing our first pregnancy, followed by the pregnancy later in the year - it really shattered us. 

But this year? This year was even tougher. There was more loss, more disappointment, more frustration. If 2014 was hard, 2015 topped it. This year would have been the toughest one I've faced in my entire 31 years. It's humbling, really. But.. we got through it. I got through it. And that's about the most positive thing I have to say about how it has all progressed.

I'm following the same format as years gone by to keep it simple - (2006200720082009, 2010, 201120122013 & 2014)

1. What did you do in 2015 that you’d never done before? 
Lost another pregnancy. Parented a toddler. Had our first overseas family holiday. Swapped IVF clinics. Lost my faith. Sent my little one to daycare.

2. Did you keep your new year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year? I said I was going to be more positive.. and I think I failed. Being knocked down over and over again makes it pretty hard to do. I'll make another one or two, but I won't promise I'll hit them!

3. Did anyone close to you give birth? Yes. 

4. Did anyone close to you die? Yes. We lost my Nanna suddenly in June.

5. What countries did you visit? We visited Fiji in February for our first family holiday.

6. What would you like to have in 2016 that you lacked in 2015? The same thing I hoped for this time last year - a healthy pregnancy with no complications. A sibling for G.

7. What dates from 2015 will remain etched upon your memory, and why? February, when we hopped on a plane and flew to Fiji. March 4, when we would have welcomed our little man into the world. A sad day. March 19, when my sweet little nephew was born. March 30, when we celebrated Georgia's 2nd birthday. October 20, when we found out out we were pregnant again. November 2, when we found out we had lost that baby too.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
 Admitting defeat and asking for help. There comes a time when things get too hard, when the struggles are becoming a daily thing, and when my usual coping strategies failed. This year, I realised my limitations & took steps to look after myself - to support myself through a really, really hard time. Keeping it together and being the best parent I can be to my daughter is one of the things I'm the most proud of.

9. What was your biggest failure? Jealousy. Infertility and loss brings out the worst in you, and turns something joyful for (seemingly) everybody else around you, into something that makes you crumble.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury? Not this year.

11. What was the best thing you bought? We bought a new car in October. After waiting for ages, hoping our family would expand so we could justify the expense, we decided to just do it. Best decision we've made!

12. Whose behaviour merited celebration? Jase. My husband is basically the most amazing person I know. He's the only one who has seen me at my worst and who supports me unconditionally. I love him more than he'll ever know.

13. Whose behaviour made you appalled and depressed? My own.

14. Where did most of your money go? Fertility treatment.

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?
Swapping clinics! I really hoped that after so much disappointment, we'd get lucky this year with our new clinic behind us. It didn't pan out that way, but oh well. I also got to meet my sweet little nephew man. :)

16. What song will always remind you of 2015? 
Don't Be So Hard On Yourself - Jess Glynne

I came here with a broken heart that no one else could see
I drew a smile on my face to paper over me
The wounds heal and tears dry and cracks they don't show
So don't be so hard on yourself, no 
17. Compared to this time last year, are you:
(a) Happier or Sadder? Sadder. 
(b) Thinner or Fatter? Fatter.
(c) Richer or Poorer? About the same.

18. What do you wish you’d done more of? Travelling - but finances didn't go in our favour.
19. What do you wish you’d done less of? Hibernating - but that's been my coping mechanism of choice this year.

20. How did you spend Christmas in 2015? With our little family. It was a bittersweet one this year.

21. Did you fall in love in 2015? I stayed in love. :) 

22. How many one-night stands? I'm too old for these questions now, I fear.

23. What was your favourite TV program? Game of Thrones, again. X-Files. Melrose Place. I went back to the old school shows this year.

24. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year? Nope.

25. What was the best book you read? Furiously Happy: A Funny Book about Horrible Things by Jenny Lawson. Do yourself a favour: read it.

26. What was your greatest musical discovery? Re-discovery? Lifehouse! We saw them again this year and they were brilliant, as always.

27. What did you want and get? To celebrate every moment I have with my daughter.

28. What did you want and not get? A baby. I have three sad memories, but no new baby.

29. What was your favourite film of this year? Mockingjay.

30. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you? I turned 31. Nothing exciting this year. In fact, a lot of folks forgot it even existed this year.

31. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying? Having a pregnancy stick around. Being able to watch G growing up with a sibling. Not feeling like the only person who's missing out on things.

32. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2015? Summer dresses.

33. What kept you sane? My family. And my fur-babies.

34. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most? Meh.

35. What political issue stirred you the most? We got rid of Tony Abbott, so that's something.

36. Who did you miss? I (still) miss my Nanna. I miss old friends. I miss far away places. I miss feeling like I fit in somewhere, rather than feeling like I don't belong.

37. Who was the best new person you met? My miscarriage support peeps. They get it.

38. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2015. You're stronger than you think.

39. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year. “There will come a time, you'll see, with no more tears. And love will not break your heart, but dismiss your fears. Get over your hill & see what you find there... with grace in your heart & flowers in your hair."

40. What are your resolutions for 2016? We will get pregnant in 2016. WE WILL.

Happy New Year, friends. Props to you all for sticking around through what has arguably been one of the toughest years of my life, and for accepting the hard days along with me. Being able to blog, to share my fears and my disappointments, to help people realise that they're not alone and to be heard; that's a big gift, and it's one that I'll continue to utilise as long as I can. 

Thank you for helping me feel less alone.

December By Numbers

31
days worth of anti-anxiety medication stored in my bathroom to get through the hard times this season.

27
months since we've been trying to add another baby to our family.

24
different tiny presents that have been lovingly wrapped and stuffed in a Santa sack.

19
great grandchildren that my Pop has all up, keeping him busy on his first Christmas without my Nan.

12
batteries powering up our pretty indoor signs this year.

10
days since our real tree went up, and it's still looking as lush and green now as it was then.. the perfect tree.

6
secret Santa gifters in my family... and nearly all of them know who's gifting who. Secret? Ha!


pills of Letrozole finished, to try and at least have a natural-ish cycle on this month off.

4
ornaments on our tree to remember our wee ones, even though only one of them is here with us.


hours that hubby spent assembling Miss G's Christmas gift.. and it's delightful.

2
parents who are sad, happy, tired and everything in between this holiday season.

&


incredibly excited toddler, who is loving everything about the holiday season! :)

Different Ways People Learn: Sponsored Post

Having a small human running around really opens up your eyes to the ways that they learn. Our little miss isn't at the reading or writing stage yet, but she expresses her skills in a variety of different ways already - she loves movement, she loves art, and she especially loves touchy-feely activities! I can't wait until she's older, so that I can introduce her to the beauty of books! :)

*******

People acquire different skills through different means, with experts noting there are seven styles of learning that have a differing success rates depending on the person. Most people tend to favour or react best to certain styles of learning, with visual, print and aural learners the most commonly recognised and catered for in education. But all seven ways of learning can be utilised to effectively impart information when it comes to teaching and training.

Print

These note taking, avid readers quickly grasp information in the printed form. Often described as bookworms, they are keen to get their information transcribed into words via note-taking or writing. As traditional learners, they are happy to study in a solitary environment while taking notes from a blackboard, reading study materials or succinctly compiling information in a written form.

Visual

Using diagrams, pictures or maps, visual learners memorise through images, often seeing something in their “mind's eye”. They learn by seeing and watching demonstrations, with visual arts and media their preferred delivery. Listening to purely spoken information for extensive periods tends to make the visual learner restless and characteristics also include a vivid imagination.

To cater to learners of the visual variety, ensure your printed teaching or training materials not only contain text but also include graphs or diagrams. Companies like The Print Group can assist in designing, laying out and printing materials to suit. You can find out more about their services here.

Aural

The lecture is the ideal learning situation for an aural learner, where they can quickly grasp information in a verbal form. Great at following verbal instructions and excellent listeners, they can also learn by listening to tapes and reproduce sounds and syllables with ease.

Haptic

Haptic learners are the hands-on puzzle solvers of the learning world and piece information together easily. They tend to be good at art, have a penchant for doodling and involve a sense of touch in their approach to study. They learn best by exploring the world around them.

Interactive

A good group discussion is the key to the interactive learner, who likes to use others as a sounding board for their ideas. They often enjoy question and answer sessions and group workshops and they are willing to voice their opinion and listen to others.

Kinaesthetic

It's all about the movement for kinaesthetic learners, who prefer to be on the go rather than stationary. These learners respond well to music and like to try things out and manipulate objects. They gesture when speaking and tend to be quite active.

Olfactory

Using the sense of smell and taste, olfactory learners often have strong memories associated with smell. Frequently able to identify scents, they find smell adds to their ability to learn.

Most people learn through a variety of tools, the key is to finding which ones work for you or the people you are instructing. When you tailor your teaching materials to suit the bulk of learners by including text, diagrams, and then verbal workshops with question and answer sessions, you can relay information effectively to a group.

This sponsored post is in collaboration with The Print Group - all images are my own. If you are interested in a product review or sponsored post content appearing on Breathe Gently, please email me.

Planning for Christmas

I can't believe it will be Christmas in 11 days time.

It's been a really awful year, but we have been hanging out for the holidays - Miss G is that little bit older now and has been thoroughly excited about the entire season, which brings us so much joy. She's been so excited about putting up the tree, getting ready for Santa, visiting family over the holidays. I can't wait for Christmas morning.
There's still sadness here though. This year, we would have been having our first Christmas as a family of four, with a pudgy little infant joining his big sister under the tree. Rinse and repeat with other pregnancies we lost.. and the fact that we'd hoped to have a Christmas announcement for this most recent loss.. and yep, there's sadness here. 
But we're moving forward. Taking a bit of a social media break. Trying to get our faith in in this whole process back somehow. And trying to spend all of our energy focusing on us, instead of everybody else - something that's not as easy as it sounds to do.
Speaking of us ... it's gift talk time.
For Him:
This year, hubby requested a techy present, so he has already picked out a nifty little sound bar system to go under our television. I was a little cranky at the time (as I'd already decided to get him one) but he found a bargain this past week, so grabbed it himself. He'll still have a few other little gifts under the tree, though. :) 
For Her:
There's no way that I can get the Christmas miracle that I've been dreaming about for so long, so I put my energy towards adopting a new fur member of our family... but hubby's not on board with that, so that won't work. Perfume, well, I have a truckload of it.. and the only one that I really want this year is one I'm *hoping* that my family Secret Santa will bring me. A gift card for my Kindle? A cleaner for a month? I have no idea.
For now, my gift is yet to be determined. There's nothing I really need. I'm pretty lucky in that respect. 
For the Toddler:
Miss G is going to wake up on Christmas morning and find a great new play kitchen under the Christmas tree. She's had a tiny one and loved it, so we are upgrading to a larger neutral one. We're also getting her a bunch more food items and cooking appliances, because she loves imaginative play.

Her grandparents bought her a beautiful new quilt and cover set for her big girl bedroom, which we ended up breaking out early when we upgraded her room. Her other grandparents have bought her a cute little bike with training wheels and tassels (!) which is pretty exciting. I think she'll love them all!
What are your go-to gifts this season? 

The Power of Flowers: Sponsored Post

I have a confession to make:

I really, really love receiving flowers.

There, I said it.

So why is that such a big deal? Well, for years I was a staunch 'no flowers!' girl - they didn't last long, the cats would eat them, they need to be thrown out eventually.

Well, call me crazy, but I've changed my stance over the years. The first bouquet that changed my mind was the one my late Nanna sent me when she found out we were pregnant with our daughter - this particular beautiful big bunch of pink flowers (it's a girl!) was just so special. Since then, I've received beautiful blooms from my Mum, my Husband, and some friends - and each one is more exciting than the last.

There's something to be said for coming home to find a surprise on your doorstep, or to open your front door and receive a gift that you had no idea was coming - to celebrate the good news, and to commiserate with you on the sad news. It's pretty special.

As for my next bunch of flowers? Well, maybe he'll get me something from here for Valentines - or maybe I'll be surprised a little earlier. Whatever happens, there are some brilliant florists out there, whether they're your local vendor down the road, or one of the amazing companies which can deliver them right to your door.

This sponsored post is in collaboration with Flowers for Everyone. If you are interested in a product review or sponsored post content appearing on Breathe Gently, please email me.

The Lonely Island

Infertility is like being on an island, alone.

You desperately want some company on the island, for someone else to be there alongside you... but then, you wouldn't wish being on this island on your worst enemy.

A few special folks have visited you on the island and stayed a little while... but they've since moved on, while you're still stranded.

You're happy for them when other people leave the island... but you're actually a whole lot sadder than you let on.

Sometimes those visitors can forget just how lonely the island can be... but you can't forget.

People can see you on the island, they can wave to you and offer their words of support... but at the end of the day, they go back to their lives while you stay on the island, alone.

You pretend that you're doing just fine on your island, that you're okay with being there alone... but you're not.

The island has some wonderful things on it, things that you are grateful for... but it doesn't have the one thing that you want more than anything else.

You want so badly to get off the island and move on, like seemingly everybody else can do... but you're stuck.

The island makes you bitterly sad... but there's no foreseeable end in sight, so you grin and bear it.

Not Pregnant

My levels are FINALLY less than 5.

I'm officially no longer pregnant.

I never thought I'd say this, but I'm so bloody glad to hear those words.

This miscarriage was just a total disappointment. From the late appearing pregnancy test lines, to the positive betas, to the almost-but-not-quite doubling, to the hope... and then to the devastation of another early loss.

Since then, it's been wait after wait; waiting for hcg levels to drop, waiting to see what was going on, waiting for ultrasounds to check for retained products, waiting for a bleed. From the hope that we might be able to squeeze in one last FET cycle for 2015, to the disappointment of simply running out of time.

With all that said, it's done. It's over. We start again in January.

It's like déjà vu all over again. If I think back to this time last year, all we hoped for was a fresh start. We wanted to leave the pain and sadness of the previous year behind us and move on, and hope that the new year would bring us a baby.

In 2014 I was pregnant. Then I wasn't pregnant. Then I was pregnant again. Then I wasn't. In 2015 I watched two due dates come and go, with no pregnancy in sight. There was failure after failure, and our luck stayed the same. Then I was pregnant. And now I'm not.

So now, we're leaving the sadness of TWO years behind us... and maybe, just maybe, 2016 will bring us some good news.

elektra Cloud9 Nap Mat: a review

So... doom and gloom aside, it's time for some positive news around these parts!

We transitioned Georgia into a big girl bed a few weeks ago now. I wasn't ready, but she seemed to be - she suddenly had lots of anxiety about being cooped up in the cot, and was always wanting to come into our bed; something that we've never really done before, and didn't plan on doing either.
It was a rocky start, but we got there in then end ... but that's a post for another day. I promise I'll show you her beautiful new room, and also share some things that work for us.
For now though, it ties in beautifully with an awesome new product that I was so excited to trial and test, and to now show my fellow mamas out there in blog-land. The kind folks at Elektra Bub and Tots got in touch with us this week - you might remember their name from last year, when I reviewed the Thermo Pram Organiser!) This time, they are proudly sharing their newest product on the market - the Cloud9 Nap Mat.
How cute are these! We chose the bears for miss G - but I was VERY tempted to get the dinosaurs!

So... what are they exactly? From the website:

The Elektra Cloud9 Daycare / Travel Nap Mat is an 3-in-1 sleeping unit that is perfect for kids in daycare or for sleepovers. It is quilted with a comfy mat, luxurious removable pillow and a soft blanket all in one handy pack that easily rolls into one simple, easy to carry cylinder with plastic buckles and a carry handle so one can quickly roll, clip and carry. The nap mat is designed to make a busy parent's life easier.
When ours arrived, I was impressed at how light it was, yet how thick the material felt. After un-clipping the buckles, it simply rolled out into a bed, complete with a pillow!
As you can see, it didn't take my toddler long to jump on and get comfortable! She loved snuggling up to it and quite quickly tucked herself in underneath the blanket. I love that it's all together; less chance of accidentally leaving things behind.

Key Features include:
  • Outer material is made from 120gsm polyester for easy cleaning and durability 
  • Inner blanket is made from 100% cotton for comfort against children’s skin 
  • Tested against toddlers and washing machines 
  • Soft quilted blanket and mat 
  • Removable, high quality pillow 
  • Convenient carrying handle with buckles
  • Perfect for sleepovers, day care and road trips 
  • Machine washable 
  • Stain resistant 
  • Easy to roll, clip and carry
I can't wait to send this along with her for her day nap, next time she visits her grandparents. She was so keen to jump in, I think it will be a great hit. Would be a great option for daycare, too- I know a lot of centres require you to bring your own, though ours is included. Seriously.. you'd almost think this little miss was actually sleeping, wouldn't you? (All pretend!)
You can purchase the Cloud9 Nap Mat at the Elektra Bub website for a great price - but as an extra special bonus, I have one mat of your choice (boys or girls) to giveaway here on the blog! All you have to do is enter your details via the competition widget below, and answer a simple question in the blog comments: Where would you take YOUR Cloud9 Nap Mat? 

Cloud9 Nap Mat Competition
(Please note: this competition is for Australian residents only.)

Breathe Gently was provided with a complimentary stroller organiser from Elektra Bub - all reviews are my own. If you are interested in a product review appearing on Breathe Gently, please email me.

Please Let This End

My beta levels were 9 on November 10th.
My beta levels were 22 on November 17th.
My beta levels were 25 on November 24th.
My beta levels are currently 17 on December 1st.

Still here. Still no answers. Still nobody making action plans for a d&c or using drugs, because the levels are too low to warrant them... so I have DEMANDED we start Provera and induce another bleed.

There's no time for a December cycle now. In fact, we'll be lucky to get in for a January cycle, since I'd need a baseline cycle after the clinic opens after the break - so in reality, we won't be looking at a transfer until February.


Waiting... my arch nemesis. 

I swear, I need to retrain and just do this shit myself.





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