Saturday, March 24, 2012

5 Bad Things That Turned Out Good

So . . . yes, as predicted, every day posting was a bit much to achieve.

Looking back over the past couple of days, though, the good things began to take on a theme: stories with a bad beginning and a happy . . . not ending, that's not right . . . a happy new beginning.

1. A very minor one to start with - after a long, hard week at work, I summoned up my courage, told my boss I was not going to the "optional" professional development course on Friday afternoon and caught up with some routine stuff instead. Not an easy thing to do just now, but I'm glad I did it, because it meant I came home with a lot less work than I might have done and had time to spend with my boys.

2. My wee boy is on the mend, having been very poorly all week. Major vomiting, not keeping anything down - even fluids. We got to the same point that we did just before Christmas when he had the - syringing fluids into him in 5-10ml doses every 10 minutes. He has lost weight, visibly, making him look fragile and somehow older. CM and I took turns to have days of work and take care of him. We took him to the GP twice and the consensus seems to be that it's an ear infection that has vomiting as a side-effect - antibiotics were prescribed. The sickness was so frequent and we got to the point where we rolled up the living-room rug, put towels on the sofas and wore our scuzziest old clothes. We cancelled our trip to the Don.or Conce.ption Netwo.rk meeting today and spent the day hanging out at home together, getting fluid into him and giving him little bits of very plain food. Thankfully, tonight, we put a much happier, healthier baby to bed. I feel so much better now that I feel he's on the mend. After our journey, we're probably a bit jumpier about the wee one being under the weather and we take nothing for granted.

3. Related to number 1, my mother LOVES my wee boy. She called first thing this morning to say that she had been searching ear infections and sickness on Google last night because she was so worried about her grandchild and that she reckons the doctors were right and that he'd be fine. After all that reading, she was able to sleep. I think she literally spent hours researching the topic. The previous night, she had heard him crying pitifully in the early hours and texted me then and there to check he was ok and ask if we needed help (they live downstairs now, remember?). CM and I took a long time to come to our decision to use donor eggs and it was very much our decision. Our families did not make a decision - they were presented with it. I did have some faint concerns about whether they would embrace a donor baby - CM's because they are religious and have some pretty strong feelings about some issues and mine because they are not genetically related to our son. They knew about our plans and had always been verbally supportive - we would almost certainly have been given pause about our decision if we felt we were bringing a baby into an unwelcoming family. This morning's conversation brought home to me just how very much he is loved and wanted by his whole family - genetics are irrelevant when it comes to love here, it appears.

4. Rebecca, over at Which Way to Baby? welcomed her beautiful baby girl to the world a week ago today and, yesterday, there were photos! I have a lot in common with Rebecca - a list of health issues that may or may not contribute to our infertility/losses, the same number of pregnancies, a love of dogs and now, finally, motherhood. She had such a long, hard road to this point and was incredibly kind and generous with her comments while I was pregnant, which I really appreciated. I am beyond happy that she is a mummy now.

5. A very dear friend is coming home. I say "home" but it's not her home - that's about 800 miles east-north-east of here. By a happy coincidence, she was living in the tenement next door to our's when we had our babies. She is an academic, funded by her home university to gain expertise abroad to bring back eventually. She had been working in South America, about to move to the Antipodes when she became pregnant. As a result of immigration laws, she had to delay her move to her new workplace and needed someplace to have her baby and continue her work. Her home university has some contacts here and got her a place in a lab. We were in the same NHS antenatal classes, but didn't get to know each other then. We bumped into each other, each of us heavily pregnant coming out of our front doors just before Christmas. We commented on the coincidence and went on our ways. After we had our sons - her wee boy was born 10 days before mine - we kept bumping into each other and ended up going for coffee. It turns out that, despite differences in our languages, ages, professions and paths to pregnancy, we were having remarkably similar experiences of the difficulties of first-time motherhood - hard! We bonded in that quick, powerful way that you do when you meet someone in intense times - my best friend and I bonded in a similar way right at the start of university in Freshers' Week. For nine months (is that significant?) we saw each other about 3-4 times a week, our babies played together and our partners got on too. And then they had to leave to take up that post on the other side of the world! We stayed in touch by email, sk.ype and text, missing each other and talking about our lives happening as far away from each other as it's possible to get. Then she told me that things weren't as they should be at her new lab and she felt she had to leave - the USA was a possibility (and I started checking out air-fares!). This week, it became definite that her new lab would be back here and that she and her partner and son would be moving in to a flat round the corner from our new one. I am delighted and looking forward to having sunny evenings chatting and drinking wine on our terrace while our little boys play together again and our big boys put the world to rights :-).

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Struggling For 5 Good Things!

It has been a long day.

My wee one is still not well and is very clingy and totally out of his routine, sleeping badly (and only if he's in bed with me or on my lap) and is vomiting. So I have spent most of the day trying to get fluid into the wee soul and to do washing with a small person clinging to my leg in between changing clothes on him and me and cleaning various bits of furniture.

Hence the difficulty in finding 5 good things today - but here goes:
1. I got an ok night of sleep - no 2 hour periods of wide-awake baby.
2. It was a beautiful day here - blue skies and warm sun (which is unusual for March!).
3. Two visits from my dad - he came to deliver messages from my mum but stayed to play.
4. A nice cup of coffee and a donut at my local cafe.
5. At above cafe, wee boy was much admired by several other customers - lots of smiles.

Hope that we have enough of a recovery to make the Donor Conception meeting on Saturday! We also have a 2nd birthday party of double donor twins to attend on Sunday :-).

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Five Good Things

A few years back, I had what, in retrospect, I think was a mini-breakdown.

I'd had the sixth miscarriage in September, discovered a lump on my ankle in October that turned out to be a tumour (thankfully benign), started to have some serious stomach issues in January, my dad was diagnosed with high grade Non-Hodg.kins very suddenly in March and a week later I started being investigated for possible bowel cancer. Between all that and a rather unfortunate series of miscommunications with and within the medics involved in my case, I became extremely worried and it turned into full-blown anxiety/depression.

All I wanted to do was sleep but as soon as I woke in the morning, the anxiety kicked in and I just couldn't. Nor could I drag myself out of the bed. I know now that activity is the key to busting anxiety. Basically, your body is in "flight or fight" and pumping adrenalin and the worst thing you can do is remain still. My dad - who was going through chemo and was 71 years old so, really, I should have been looking after him - would take me for walks with the dog in the afternoon and by the evening I would feel quite human but by the following morning, I was a gibbering wreck again.

My GP recommended Cogn.itive Beh.avio.ural so I gave it a go. It wasn't my thing - as I said to the therapist, if I had a irrational fear of lampposts, this might be the very way to kick it but, when you're being checked out for cancer, fear of cancer is actually pretty rational. Plus, he was a bit patronising. He assumed that my fear was of death and pointed out that we all have to die (Really? No way?!). I said that I wasn't afraid of death at all - I assumed that there would either be something better afterwards or nothing at all - I was afraid of the pain and suffering that precedes death. Again, not irrational, to my mind. So we parted company.

The one thing that I liked about CBT and that really did help was the practice of finding 5 good things about your day. When I was feeling really down and negative, it took some serious effort to find 5 good things and they were usually pretty small, like watching a TV show I liked. But it made me see that there were good things in my life. As time went by, every day one of the things on my list would be my walks with dad. Not knowing how his treatment was going to turn out, I began to treasure that time - they fixed him, thanks be, and I still treasure that time and any time we have together now.

Recently, things have been tough - not tough like they were back then, but not great. My husband's job is at risk, my own job has been very stressful, my wee boy has been poorly a lot, my sister and her family and my much-loved sister-in-law and her family have both announced that they are leaving the country, probably permanently, taking the nearest thing that my wee one will probably ever have to siblings with them, an old (but too young) friend died of cancer at New Year and another (even older but still too young) friend has just started chemo. My husband has been very low about it all as well and we're not doing a great job of cheering each other up. I also have an.xiety/depr.ession (or more likely, my tendencies in that direction have been tipped by tiredness, stress and hormones).

Following all the recent upheaval over PAIL etc, I am going to be totally honest - being a parent is wonderful in many ways and I am very lucky to have my son but it does not fix everything else in life and it's a bloody hard job which brings with it a whole new set of problems. Intellectually, I knew this before I had my son but the combined desire and inability to become a parent can make the negatives of parenting seem trivial. Admitting that it's not all joy and happiness can seem like a betrayal of those still in the trenches or like ingratitude for the amazing gift we've been given. Equally, I'm feeling like I need a reminder that there were times that I would have given anything to be where I am now and that life is basically good. I told my husband about the 5 good things exercise and recommended it to him, then thought I should take my own advice.

So, I'm going to use my blog to list 5 good things from the day - though it almost certainly won't be every day but just as often as I can as I don't want to turn it into another stress-inducing thing.

Today's 5 good things:
1. Lots of cuddles from my poorly wee boy.
2. Mum brought up casserole and apple crumble so we don't need to cook tonight.
3. I found out about the details of a local Donor Conception Network meeting happening this weekend.
4. An email from my best friend.
5. "" starts on UK TV tonight!

I'm thinking that the DCNetwork meeting might bring up some blog-worthy stuff . . .

My "always" good things.