Rainbow Baby Pregnancy
This is a picture of my 25 week bump with my Rainbow Baby.
He took a long time to conceive. After we got the all clear to try again, because of my age (42) I was referred straight for fertility assistance. They recommended IUI as the best course of action, as the odds for us (with just 'old eggs' as our fertility issue) was pretty much the same as IVF. Also because of my age, and the fact we have other children we didnt qualify for assistance ... no choice but to go privately - IUI is ALOT cheaper than IVF - costing around $2000 - $3000 per go instead of $10000ish. The price difference per cycle is dependant on how many drugs you end up needing to take.
The first cycle was greatly exciting. I was 100% sure I was pregnant. Had all the signs and symptoms. Turns out it was the drugs giving me all the signs and symptoms and I didn't even get to day 28 and my pregnancy blood test before my period arrived and all our hopes came crashing down. But that was ok, we had decided to have 4 rounds - they like to do it in groups of 4 rounds apparently. The cycles were emotionally draining. And physically as my veins seem to disappear after a blood test, and I had to have blood tests for 10 odd days in a row. Sometimes it took an hour to find a vein. Sometimes they ended up doing a finger prick and squeezing out a small amount of blood to test. Sometimes they had to take it out of my hand. One time they ended up putting a lure in to get the blood. Sometimes I had to wait for 1 1/2 to even get my blood taken. My work was great, my boss knew what we were doing, and one workmate. Others probably wondered why I was so often late.
Of course, then I had to learn to inject myself in the belly. The first time I did this I sat with the needle crying for half an hour wondering how on earth I could stick this needle through my skin. Eventually the threat of my husband offering to do it made me prefer to do it myself and I did! I was very proud of myself! The first time was of course the hardest and I became a pro at it over the following year. The worst one was the trigger injection which stung quite a bit. Its still quite surprising to me that I could do that, and that sticking a needle an inch into yourself doesn't actually really hurt!
Then there was the scans of course to see how many follicles I had produced, and to see when they were ready. And of course the insemination itself.
And of course the long and dragged out two week wait. Scared to get hopes up, after the first one. Worried if you didn't you were somehow jinxing it. What if god/the universe thought you didn't really want it, just because you were trying to protect yourself against disappointment? But after the crash of the first cycle, it was too scarey to hope too much. It just hurt too much when it didn't happen.
The 2nd, 3rd and 4th cycle came and went. Disappointment after disappointment. We got married in amoungst all of this, and just before Kobys first birthday. Something good in amoungst the bad. Something to look forward to. Something to keep us going.
We decided we weren't ready to stop at 4. The specialist said we could medically do up to 12 cycles before it became unhealthy for me. We kind made a decision we would do what we were 'allowed to do' - then we would have done all we could and it wasn't our decision to stop.
I'd started my business by now and was busy with work, business and ttc. Christmas was busy and the next year continued with me run off my feet. Excited my business was doing so well, but exhausted by everything.
Cycle 5 and 6 came and went. It was costing a lot of money by now and I'm sure we were both questioning our decision and what was best for us, and for our family. I started accupunture at this stage and found some motivation and renewed hope.
I decided to resign from my job and concentrate of my business and TTC - hoping I'd be more relaxed, less tired, and that would help. Cycle 7 also a fail. We took a month off, as it didn't fit in with my last few weeks of work, I just couldn't take the time off needed.
I was having weekly accupunture and 6 weeks after starting accupunture, 2 weeks after finishing my job I realised I was 3 days late. It couldn't be!!! I decided to get a pregnancy test so I could stop thinking about it. I drove to the supermarket, not my usual one. As I walked up I asked Koby for a sign ... I was nervous and then disappointed as there was nothing. I went into the supermarket and couldn't find where the tests were, so came out with nothing ... I remember thinking I was stupid for thinking I could even be pregnant as we hadn't had IUI and the odds of me conceiving naturally (again - Koby was natural) again in my 40's was less than 1%. As I came out of the supermarket, on a beautiful clear day, there was this massive rainbow in the sky - and a voice in my head saying "Mum it takes a while to make a rainbow you know". I drove to my usual supermarket, and 15 minutes later was standing in the kitchen with a positive pregnancy test and a massive smile on my face!!! Unbelievable!
I've had weekly accupunture throughout my pregnancy. The first 14 odd weeks - morning sickness - which I was grateful for as it meant I still FELT pregnant. The first trimester was very LONG - odds at my age for early miscarriage are around 50%. I still couldn't really keep hope too close. Surely if less than 1% happened, then there was a massive chance 50% might ... I didn't know in which direction and it was just too scarey to contemplate. Koby was watching over us, and the first trimester passed. 12 week scan. All was well.
More scans as time went by. Everything looking positive. As it had with Koby. That was the scarey thing, not knowing why my body had failed him. Not knowing why he couldn't stay. We saw our specialist around 16 weeks and started fortnightly scans. Approaching when we lost Koby was terrifying. We had a scare around the same time and spent several hours in the middle of the night in hospital. More scans. Weekly scans starting just before the gestation we lost Koby. Scans are terrifying when you're imagining the worst. When you know the worst that can happen. When you've lived the worst that can happen.
We made it past when we lost Koby. We made it to 24 weeks and viability. Those were very slow days. Very slow minutes. Daily progesterone, baby aspirin, vitamins, iron, chinese herbs. Weekly accupunture. There are accupunture points to prevent loss. I think this was my 'I'm actively doing something to keep this baby safe thing'. I freaked if for some reason I couldn't get to accupunture on the same day each week.
At 25 weeks we had professional belly photos taken. I was too scared to wait too far into the pregnancy in case we didn't get too much further. We included Koby. We had family photos. As well as my belly photos. I was in love with my belly. We did the kids handprints on my belly - in rainbow colours, and belly painting to paint a rainbow on my belly.
Weekly scans continued until I reached 28 weeks. We had reached good outcome viability. An amazing feeling. Then back to fortnightly. The first fortnight felt an eternity not seeing that he was ok. Movements were regular though so that was comforting. On days when I was busy I would freak if I hadn't noticed or remembered any movements and would have to go and lie down and poke my belly or have a cold drink to try and make him move. If that didn't work we had a doppler so I could listen to him ... though I used to leave that as a last resort, as there was also a terrifying moment each time that there would be nothing to hear and sometimes I couldn't deal with the thought enough to use it.
I belong to a few 'baby loss' facebook groups and forums. I know of babies being lost at EVERY gestation. Every week I was at I had a story in my head of someone who had lost their baby at that gestation. Knowing there is NO safe time is terrifying. Knowing so much that can go wrong is terrifying. Sometimes ignorance is bliss. My first pregnancy, with my sunshine baby - no clue. No idea babies could die. Or did die 'in this day and age'. Thought that once I reached 12 weeks, I was safe. What a wonderful place to be. If only I could have known that feeling again. But innocence was gone and pregnancy is now one huge terrifying minefield. People tell you to relax, that it will be ok. They don't know that. Noone knows that. Pregnancy after loss is terrifying. It is one day at a time, try not to think too much, preserve each moment in your memory, have hope but not too much hope, protect yourself, but love your baby as much as you can while you can, type of terrifying. Its not being able to plan, not being able to set up a room, buy things, because you are scared of jinxing things, scared of changing something you do, scared of not changing something you do - just in case. Its conflicting and confusing and just plain scarey. Its also exciting, wonderful, amazing but hard to embrace fully cos somewhere deep inside, you still cant believe you are going to get to keep your baby.
At 32 weeks we got a 3D scan. We combined this with our dating scan so were in there for AGES. But the scan was amazing, was so incredible seeing baby move about in there, in 3D. He waved and waggled his fingers, did a huge laugh - or cry or something, and just seeing him was truly incredible.
Physically, this has been a pretty great pregnancy. I've felt pretty great. My bump has grown nice and big and I love it! Yeah I don't sleep properly, and I get up 4 times a night for the loo - but hey - that's cos I'm pregnant! That's cos I'm in the 3rd trimester! I made it this far! I don't care if I'm tired - cos it means I'm still pregnant! As my bump got bigger, when the opportunity came up I got some more photos! Celebrating my bump. This is 35 weeks.
Time is moving on. The weeks are passing. 36 weeks. We are booked to be induced at 38 weeks. We have a scan on the Friday to confirm growth is all good and discover baby is transverse (sideways). We speak to specialist and decide to try and manually turn baby when we go in to be induced. They want to admit me into hospital at 37 weeks as if I go into labour or my waters break at home it will be dangerous for me and baby as they are worried about the high risk of cord prolapse, which is how we lost Koby in the end. They also say its unlikely he will turn back at this stage, so hospital is the best place to be. I agree. We agree. Its a scarey weekend worrying that something will happen and we'll have to make an emergency trip to the hospital. The weekend passes, accupunture again on the Monday, and Moxa to help him turn. Tuesday we show up at hospital, bags in car, for obs and scan. Much to everyones surprise he has turned and was head down in the right place. I am so sold on accupunture. I get to go home.
I was so relieved. I would have had to be in the same ward where I was admitted with Koby. The thought of being there again was terrifying. Waiting. Different circumstances, but just being in there again, I didn't want to think about and didn't know how I would handle it. Being home was and is great.
It is now Friday again. 3 more sleeps until I am to be induced with my Rainbow Baby. I wish I could say I was ready, I was excited and I couldn't wait. Truth is I can wait. I also cant wait. Truth is also - I am terrified. I am not sure I will believe he will be here, until he is here. Until I hear him cry and I hold him in my arms. I am scared of the birth. Yes because of the pain, but mainly because of the thoughts I am scared of that will run through my head. Of how he is, of something going wrong, of not getting to take my baby home. I can't bear to think about it and can't comprehend how it could happen. But I know it can.
I have tried to celebrate every milestone of this pregnancy. I will never be pregnant again. This is it. 3 more days, then I will be in hospital being induced. I so can't wait to hold this baby in my arms. But I also know it will be very bittersweet. But I know Koby will be watching over us and he knows how much we love him and wanted him to stay. I know Koby will be proud.
He is about to be a big brother!
Posted: Friday 10 January 2014