Friday, 23 September 2016

The Boxes Under the Wardrobe

Long before I started my blog, I always knew I wanted to write a post on this subject, but I also knew it would be the one I found the hardest to write and most embarrassing to admit. Some people may not think this is a big deal, some may find it bizarre, but to me it is something I've been weirdly ashamed of for a long time now and I'm not even sure why. So here goes nothing - under the wardrobes in my bedroom, I have boxes and boxes full of beautiful baby clothes, baby clothes I've bought for the child I don't have.

When I first started trying to conceive, coming up for 2 years ago now, I was so excited that we were going to start our family, that I almost felt like I was pregnant already. We had come to this huge decision and it was a massive milestone in our relationship, so when I was online one time and found myself looking at the most adorable little baby bits, I didn't think anything of ordering a few things, after all, I'd have a baby to put in them soon wouldn't I?

As the months passed, the box was getting more and more full with precious clothes and blankets for our baby that couldn't be too far away, and the longer time went on, the more I bought. Eventually one box turned into two, and two turned into three, and then fast forward to today and there are six boxes filled with beautifully folded and organised baby clothes, lined up neatly under our wardrobes.

It's difficult to explain why I continued to buy those baby clothes, the more time went on, the clearer it was that we weren't going to have our baby any time soon and those boxes were just going to sit there, collecting dust. It started to feel like a dirty little secret, I felt shame and humiliation for buying those clothes for a baby I didn't have, it screamed desperation to me, but when I was feeling down, for a few moments, that was the only thing that made me feel like one day it might happen. It gave me hope.

Since my first miscarriage back in May I haven't bought any baby clothes, I haven't allowed myself to pull the boxes out from under the wardrobe and meticulously take everything out and fold it back into neat little piles like I used to, and I haven't allowed myself to look at any of those websites that were saved to my favourites for so many months. I don't know what changed, but when I had that miscarriage, and the ones that have followed since, a switch flicked and I can't stand looking at it anymore. It doesn't give me hope, it just makes me feel sad, it's a reminder of what I so desperately want but can't seem to have. Just like those babies were cruelly taken away from us, the faith I had that we would one day have a baby to call our own, was taken away too.

I don't know if I will ever buy baby things again now, not until I have had a baby delivered safely into this world. I will be too scared, especially of the bigger things that I can't hide away under the wardrobe in tidy little boxes and pretend don't exist. We won't decorate a nursery, we won't buy a pram, we won't do the big pregnancy announcement I've always dreamed of doing, and that breaks my heart. All the things I was so excited for when I thought about being pregnant, we will never get to enjoy, not until the day our baby is finally here and a whole new cycle of fear begins.

I have a friend I met on a TTC forum, (she reads this blog so hello lovely lady!), and I will never forget the day she told me she has boxes and boxes of clothes too. It took some of that shame I had been feeling away, and made me realise that maybe this is something a lot of people who are struggling to conceive do, to help them feel that hope, when the end goal seems so far away. So the point of this blog post, and why I have wanted to write it for such a long time, is just to say that if anyone is reading this and feeling ashamed of the boxes hidden under their wardrobe - then I've been there too, I'm sure lots of women have, you are not weird or strange for desperately clinging on to something that might give you that hope, and you are not alone in feeling this way.

Becca x

Monday, 19 September 2016

Dear Diary #1

Happy Monday everyone! Can you senses the sarcasm there?? My last two posts have been pretty heavy going so I've been really keen to think of  a way I can incorporate some more lighthearted, lifestyle posts on here without speaking about things that are completely irrelevant. So here we have it, I have decided to do weekly 'Dear Diary' posts where I fill you in on the events of the previous week; whether this is days out with friends, my general thoughts and feelings, or our latest hospital appointments. Take it away week 1...

This week got off to a pretty average start, the usual 9-5 working week, but on Thursday I had a bit of a surprise when my first proper period in 6 months decided to show its face. Due to the irregularity of my periods (I will go in to more detail about this at a later date) and the back to back losses I have experienced, I haven't actually had a proper period since March so it was quite a shock for it to be back, and I won't lie, it was pretty gutting. Even though I'd been adamant I wanted to get the recurrent miscarriage tests out of the way before we really tried to get pregnant again, you always cling on to the hope that this will be your month, that this time things will be different. But this hasn't been our month, and realistically that's probably for the best. I can't bear the thought of going through all of this again, only for it to turn out there's something we could be doing to prevent us losing another baby. So I have taken the day off work this Monday coming and I am having all manner of tests at the hospital so we can hopefully get to the bottom of what is going on - expect more on this very soon!

Friday came around and I was on a half day from work so the weekend started early which was a very welcome treat! We had an exciting afternoon planned going to Friends Fest at Harewood House in Leeds with two of our favourite people, Lauren from the fabulous blog Mother Trooper and her lovely husband Mike. They are massive Friends fans so Andrew had the genius idea of getting them tickets for their wedding present. The festival was much smaller than we were expecting, but we had such a fun afternoon drinking cocktails, visiting the famous sets, and having a good old catch up. It's amazing how being around friends can lift your spirits so much, I've been making a real effort to make plans lately, I feel like it really helps me to switch off a bit and just carry on with life.

Oh hey squinty eye!

Saturday was another great day spent with beautiful friends - I went for lunch at Almost Famous in Leeds City Centre (The Brittany Murphy burger, OH MY GOD) which swiftly escalated in to a few too many cocktails (Yes, more cocktails!), followed by a very relaxing and undeserved afternoon nap! And then my good pal Sarah had us over for dinner at her new house where lots of wine, good food and laughter, topped off one of the nicest and most carefree days I've had in a really long while.

Haribo Smash @ Almost Famous
I finished the weekend off with a lazy Sunday at my mums, spent makeup free in my PJs, watching trashy TV and sorting through a box of my old papers, cards and diaries. Needless to say there were A LOT of cringe-worthy things in there that I would definitely rather forget, but I also found some really cute bits from when me and Andrew first got together back in school. They were a lovely little reminder of how far we have come and how much we have been through together, and made me feel all warm and fuzzy, the perfect way to finish off a perfect weekend!

Our first anniversary - July 28th 2007

So that was my first 'Dear Diary' post, I hope you enjoyed something a little less doom and gloom. Keeping busy and surrounding myself with the most amazing, genuine people is really making it much easier to cope with everything that life has thrown at us, I feel like I'm seeing the light at the end of a very long tunnel and I am excited to keep making special memories with my favourite people. 

Becca x 

Wednesday, 14 September 2016

Special Occasions

This is a weird thing to try and explain, and I'm not sure whether it's something that's 'Normal' to feel in a situation similar to ours, but for me, special occasions hit me straight in the gut like nothing else.

Birthdays, Christmas, Anniversaries, Mothers Day, Fathers Day, Weddings, Easter, Halloween - you name it, it hurts. Every occasion since we began on our TTC journey I have said to myself 'Next time we'll have our baby' and that next time hasn't come around yet.

Mothers Day and Fathers Day are obviously the worst, a reminder of what you want to be more than anything in the world, but that you are not. Fathers Day this year fell just weeks after our first miscarriage, when I found out I was pregnant I was so excited that I would finally be able to buy Andrew a card 'from bump' and write in it about how excited they were to meet him and about what an amazing dad he was going to be. I remember after it happened I considered buying him a card anyway, but I didn't. I didn't want to upset him but also, because I miscarried so early on, I had this horrible, heavy feeling in my chest, as though for some reason I hadn't earned the right to do that. I don't know why I felt like that, I find it really hard when I think back to that time now, that was our baby, the baby we had created together after so long thinking we couldn't and nothing will ever change that.

Another reason I find these occasions so difficult, and one I feel many women TTC can probably relate to, is having no choice but to be around other mums and their babies. I find these situations and the emotions that come with them so incredibly hard to manage, especially being around a group of mums. I see them giving each other knowing glances, hear them exchanging tips, they might have a moan about how tired they are or how naughty their little ones have been, and I can't join in. No one is intentionally trying to leave me out, but I feel left out, and I find myself feeling really resentful towards them for it - that's when the guilt sets in. Why shouldn't they exchange those glances? Why shouldn't they swap tips? Why shouldn't they be able to complain when they haven't has a decent nights sleep for weeks on end? In the end, it comes down to jealousy, which is something I found quite difficult to acknowledge for a good long while. There are so many negative characteristics that go along with jealousy and I have to admit, it really does bring out the worst in me. I become introverted, bitter and insecure and quite often take it out on the people closest to me, my husband and my mum, and then I feel even more alone. It's a vicious circle.

Christmas has always been my favourite time of year, anyone who knows me knows that, but this year I am dreading it. I should be 8 months pregnant with a beautiful baby by then, waddling around with my hand on my back in that way pregnant women do, and joking that I could go into labour at any minute. Or I should be 6 months pregnant with our precious twins, feeling so incredibly lucky that we waited so long for one, and then we were blessed with two coming along at once. Or I should be 6 months pregnant with one baby, because one of them didn't make it but the other one kept fighting to be in this world with us. But I won't be pregnant at Christmas, and that will be really, really hard.

I don't really know what my aim was with the blog post, I don't have any tips for making these occasions any easier because I haven't figured that out for myself yet. I guess I'm just thinking out loud, because I'm not sure it will ever get easier. Not until the day we have that missing piece of the puzzle to complete our little family, when I can exchange those knowing glances with other mums and Christmas can be my favourite time of the year once again.

Becca x

Monday, 12 September 2016

The Beginning

Hello everyone, and thanks for joining me on my little corner of the internet. I should probably start at the beginning and give you some background...My husband Andrew and I have been together for 10 years, married for 2, and met back in school many, many moons ago. We are currently in the process of buying a cottage which we hope to do up to Pinterest standards (a girl can dream), and we have a little diva dog called Daisy who you will hear mentioned far too frequently I'm sure. You can see her there below (Look at that pose, I told you she's a diva), big thanks to my fave blogging babe and dear cousin Abbi over at Lilypad & Bow for the dreamy photograph!

This blog is long overdue and one I have been wanting to put together for such a long time now, but the fear of people finding out our situation has prevented me from doing so. I don't know why I was so scared, our situation is sadly all too common and one I picture more people than I would like to imagine can relate to. I hope that by sharing my journey it can help someone out there in a similar position to realise they are not alone. I've found just knowing there is one person out there who understands what I am feeling is incredibly comforting and reassuring. 

It has been over 18 months now since Andrew and I decided we wanted to try for a baby, and those months have been by the far the longest and most difficult of our 26 years. When we first started trying to conceive, we had that hope, like most people do, that it would happen pretty quickly but as the months passed by we could tell that just wasn't going to be the case for us, and that our dream of becoming a proper little family might take a bit more patience and fight than it does for others.

Fast forward to May this year and I couldn't believe it when I finally saw those 2 lines appear on the test. I will never forget literally screaming downstairs to Andrew in the living room with tears streaming down my face, shaking like an absolute leaf, and feeling so incredibly elated that it was finally our turn and that I could finally tell him he was going to be a dad, he was going to be the best dad. I had rehearsed telling him so many times, I still have the book I'd planned to wrap up for him hidden under the mattress of our bed, but in that moment I was so overjoyed I forgot it even existed, and after everything that's happened I think that is a small blessing. Those feelings of complete relief and euphoria were short lived and not long after that the bleeding started, my miscarriage was confirmed at the Early Pregnancy Unit and the empty feeling returned once more.

It had never even crossed my mind that after so long trying, the world would be cruel enough to take our baby away from us so quickly. I would like to say that's where it ended, but sadly we have lost 2 more babies since then in a suspected twin pregnancy, one very early on and one at 9 weeks, the closest we've ever come. The book still remains under the mattress, I'm not sure it will ever make it's way out, I can't picture a time I will ever feel confident enough to wrap it up and hand it to Andrew, to tell him for sure, 'You are going to be a dad'.

So this brings us to the present day, stuck in this horrible limbo, dealing with not only the infertility that left us unable to conceive for such a long time, but also the concern that maybe I cannot carry babies at all. I will go in to the medical side of things in more detail in future posts, we are very lucky to be under the care of Seacroft Fertility Hospital in Leeds whom we have found to be incredibly thorough and supportive and we are having all manner of tests to try and find out why exactly we are in this position.

I hope more than anything that one day myself and Andrew will get to hold our rainbow baby, that I will get to see him be the loving, doting father I know he will be, and that one day I'll be able to write all those proud mummy blog posts I've always dreamed of writing. Until then I would like to document our journey, without reserve or pretense, in the hope that someone, somewhere will read this and know that they are not alone.

Before I call it a day for my very first blog post, I would just like to leave you with a link to 'Mind Your Own Womb' by Nadira Anghail, quite literally the best thing I have ever read in my whole entire life.

Becca x

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