So what next?

We’re pretty much back into the normal swing of things around here and it feels strange and sad. Working. Parenting. Existing.

It’s a weird feeling to be here right now. In the time leading up to last months embryo transfer, everyday life felt different. There were nerves and excitement. We were making plans. It felt like we had an end game, we were heading in some kind of direction.¬†And now we’re not.

A few days ago, we briefly spoke about when the right time might be to start another cycle but no decisions were actually made. It feels odd to not have a plan, not in a ‘I feel free’ kind of way but in a ‘I feel lost’ kind of way. Candice seems fine with not having any plans which makes sense as she already has so much on her plate. I can feel distance between us but with the way our life is structured at the moment (my work schedule, parenting Oscar, busy weekends) I’m not sure what we can do. So we’re just shuffling along, one foot in front of the other.

Oscar has been cute as always. His vocabulary continues to explode and his tiny sentences are getting longer and more frequent. He understands so much and it’s making our day to day lives easier. If I say we’re going to the park or for a walk, he says “I need my toots, Mummy” and will run and find his gumboots. He’s also become really familiar with emotions and recognises them in himself and in others.

One thing that we do find a struggle is convincing him that it is time for bed. He has no problem staying asleep once he drifts off and will deeply sleep right through until morning but that initial stage of getting him to stay in bed is long and painful. Candice has had enough and I think she has reached breaking point this week because she has to deal with it on her own due to me being at work. I’m talking 2+ hours of laying with him in the room, coaxing him to sleep. It hasn’t always been this way, for a while there is was taking closer to 30 mins. I’m not sure what but something has changed. Perhaps his daytime naps need to be shorter as at the moment he averages about a 2 hour midday stretch which is quite a long time. Now that he is able to understand us when we speak to him we are going to start leaving the bedroom lamp on and leaving the room for short periods of time. It will need to be a strict bedtime routine and will likely be – dinner, bath time, book, explaining that it is bed time, saying goodnight. Once he’s in bed, we’ll kiss him goodnight and tell him that we are going out now and will back in 5 minutes to check on him and that he needs to close his eyes and go to sleep. We 100% expect tantrums but at his age we know that he understands us and we’ll let him ease into this next phase. He’s so good at fake crying that if you hear it from another room, you would swear it was sincere. But the jokes on you, buddy. Just because you pull that whiny face and make the crying sound, you can’t force actual tears no matter how hard I see you try. Don’t worry, as soon as you do manage to squeeze out one tiny teardrop, I’ll be there to wipe it away in a heartbeat. We’re not thinking of this as a cry it out situation but more of a communication/negotiation situation. There will be no actual tears (I hope) and no lights out. There will be soft lamp light to begin with and eventually a dimmer nightlight. If it all fails, then we go back to laying with him until he falls asleep and try this again in 6 months when he is able to communicate even better. I have faith in him though, I think he’s a clever little kid.

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I really wasn’t sure if i was going to share any of this. It’s all so personal and fresh but I think in some ways it might be therapeutic to write it all down and get it all out of my head.

As I mentioned recently, we have been ready to start trying for another baby. We decided to jump right in and do a February cycle. In retrospect, it was a terrible idea. I think we both knew deep down that it wasn’t the right month but for some reason we let the wheels keep turning and went ahead with it.

The first curveball was that my cycles have been so irregular for the past few months and so cycle day 1 came almost a week before we expected it to. It really took me by surprise and I didn’t quite feel ready but I went ahead but made the call to my doctor so she could start tracking ovulation via blood tests. Four blood tests later, we had our embryo transfer date booked and the nerves and excitement were setting in.

Throughout this, we had some awful news. Candice’s Mum was told that the doctors would be stopping chemo for the terminal cancer she has been living with as it was no longer working. The timeframe that they’ve given her Mum is devastatingly short at 6-8 weeks. We decided that Candice would go down to part-time at work, working 2 days a week so she would be able to spend those days off with her Mum. We should have called off the cycle at that point but again, that ball kept rolling.

Another set back we faced was that the childcare rebate for Oscar had reached its cap for this financial year, meaning that we are now paying full daycare fees which isn’t cheap. In fact, it’s the same as our weekly mortgage repayments and with Candice now working part-time, things are extremely tight. Still, we didn’t call it off. We reached into our pockets and handed over the $3000 for the cycle and transfer fees.

The next hurdle was realising when the due date would be if this embryo transfer worked. It would have been very early November and because I foolishly changed health insurance fund at the end of last year, all my waiting periods had reset. Meaning that if that baby came before the 31st August, my insurance wouldn’t cover me and we would be slapped with $8000 in hospital fees. So I was feeling quite tense about that. But again, we didn’t call of the cycle. The fees were paid, the date was set and our excitement was too much.

Finally the morning of the transfer came. We were relieved to find out that we still had 2 remaining embryos as the one they chose to transfer survived the thawing process. The actual transfer was horrendous. My doctor had a really difficult time getting through into the entry of the cervix as for some reason it was really tight. It felt like an eternity and they had to send the embryologist back into the other room with our embryo to keep it warm because it was taking so long. After a painful 5 minutes of her trying, she got through and they brought the embryo back and transferred it. I had been on night shift all night so I was able to go home and sleep for the rest of the day which was great but when I woke up, my throat was sore, I had a temperature and flu-like symptoms. I took paracetamol for the next few days to keep any fever down but I felt like absolute rubbish and was scared that getting sick was going to mess up any chance of the embryo sticking. When I took a home pregnancy test 10 days later and saw that there was a positive line, we were shocked. We actually didn’t believe it but a few days later the official blood test confirmed that yep, I was indeed pregnant.

The joy was short-lived though and it wasn’t long before we found out that the embryo stopped growing, my HCG levels started declining and I had lost the baby. The next few days were awful, just waiting for the cramps to start. For it all to be officially over. Yesterday morning it started and late last night it reached its peak. I had constant cramping and lower back pain that was so intense it had me in tears. Not because it was unbearable but because I was scared and didn’t know how long it was going to last. Candice wasn’t home as she was staying at her Mum’s place for the night and as I lay there doubled over in pain on the couch I thought about how fucked up this entire cycle was. It was as if the universe was trying to tell us it wasn’t the right time but we didn’t listen.

We’re going to take some time. We aren’t sure when we’ll try again but I think emotionally, we’re so spent at the moment. There’s just too much going on. I find myself asking if we would be okay with an only child if it came down to it. If our remaining 2 embryos don’t stick. If we are faced with having to start an entire IVF round again. It’s not something I really want to do but at the same time I can’t quiet the voice in my heart that wants a sibling for Oscar. It’s out of our hands anyway, clearly the universe is in charge.