Like everything in life you don’t make a huge leap and then arrive at your destination. I can definitely say if that was the process then we would all, generally, choose pretty amazing and wonderful things to leap to. My journey was a collection of small steps and when you reflect on them you probably think – anyone could have gone south and if only I had of stopped myself earlier…
Teddy was an IVF baby. IVF is a very emotional journey and we definitely took that ride. In 2011, we were 6 weeks pregnant and experiencing a large amount of bleeding and cramping, I was told to ‘go home and wait it out’. ‘Wait out what?’ was my response. I knew a miscarriage was a high possibility but I didn’t want to go there, however that night we were at the hospital and that pregnancy journey was over.
We were heartbroken but also fairly philosophical about it. We couldn’t change the outcome, whilst we wished we could and we knew that things had to change next time to ensure we had the right people in our corner.
We changed baby doctors which meant we also changed fertility clinics. This had a hugely positive outcome on our mental health and, I believe, the overall outcome.
Our next round of IVF was a false start, I had started the medication but had to stop due to the doctor being away when the egg pick up was scheduled. This was a backward step but the fertility clinic was great, everything was transparent and they managed us rather than the other way around.
Our Teddy IVF round was amazingly easy. Of course the meds weren’t fun and I’d learnt that putting needles into your body wasn’t that hard or weird. This time I had to use anal pessaries…lets not talk about them but again it wasn’t as bad it sounded. What wasn’t fun was the bleeding during pregnancy, lots of bleeding and this time I would go to hospital as soon as it occurred. Of course, I feared the worst but there was Teddy doing really well on the ultrasound. We learnt during that time to become our own advocates in the hospital system – a very important skill.
Teddy was born via caesarean on 27 November 2013. He was gorgeous. Having a caesar is a weird experience. I’ve walked into ‘hospital’ rooms awake before but never had someone stick a needle in my back or been awake for the whole thing. Chris wasn’t allowed in the room until the epidural was done and I was lying down. It did feel weird to lose the sensation in my legs but I was confident it would come back.
I’ve heard the feeling of the doctor bringing your baby out of your abdomen is like rummaging through your handbag. I would say that’s accurate. At one point I felt like he was about to pull Teddy out so I told Chris to look – bad move apparently, I was losing a lot of blood. It wasn’t long after that the Dr told Chris to look and we have this amazing picture of Teddy coming out of my body.
I had pain issues after birth and nearly passed out but the staff were amazing and looked after me super well. The next couple of days were different, sleep deprivation started and standing up straight was a challenge I wasn’t prepared for. We went home on the fourth day, I think it’s the slowest drive home ever. It felt weird to be home, our lives had changed forever yet the house still (in the main) looked the same.
Teddy fed every 2 hours for an hour. Just to make sure we’re clear here – Teddy would wake for a feed, feed for an hour and then sleep for an hour – repeat. Did you know my nickname is ‘Snooze’? I was in struggle town!!
I had milk production issues and got mastitis about 5 weeks in. It was Christmas time, my normal doctors were closed so I found another doctor that put my on antibiotics. The mastitis settled but didn’t clear up. I went back to my doctor who said I was doing all the right things but suggested we drain the site via ultrasound. I went to have that done and I was told by that doctor that I was killing my baby, because I was still breastfeeding. I was in a very average space at this point so whilst I assured him I wasn’t, I should have told him to stick it where the sun don’t shine and walk out. I think they took out 60mls that day.
Things settled again with the mastitis but never really healed. I was able to manage it but came undone when Chris and I went out for our anniversary dinner. Teddy was being baby sat and he had a bottle just before we got there – he then slept all night! Yes that was amazing but I ended up in hospital 3 days later where they extracted over 120mls. It took a full 24 hours for the extraction to occur and when asking one male doctor how much longer would I have to wait and him saying ‘I’m not sure’, I wanted to reply with ‘how about you have a massive abscess on the side of your penis and we’ll see how quickly you would have that sucker drained’ – instead I glared at him and he left.
Can we think about how much 120ml is…you have a cup of water, that’s 250mls, so halve it and we’re about right – all that fluid within and on the edge of my boob…ouch!!
After this episode, I was referred to a surgeon and that appointment was in a few weeks. However more antics had to occur right – it was a Friday afternoon, Teddy was feeding on the mastitis boob and then I felt some fluid on my skin. Initially I thought it was milk…well it was, just not from where its supposed to come from. The abscess had ruptured and was oozing. I put a towel over the area so as not to disrupt Teddy, he moved from one breast to the other…and then Teddy pooed. It was time to call for reinforcements and in that moment I chose to laugh cause tears weren’t going to help.
I went back to the doctors that afternoon and they cleaned the abscess. I now had an open wound that I had to manage and ongoing leakage from the site. I ended up having surgery to clean the site but have you ever been drugged by the anaesthetist and they say to you ‘Osama will be with you shortly’. I’m sure it’s a fun joke for the anaesthetist but it could be a good line in a horror film!
There is a saying that I like – ‘life is happening for you not to you’. I can now see that what happened was to make me grow, make me become my own advocate and to teach me to listen to my voice. Would I change things – sure, am I a better person for the experience – absolutely, will there be times in my life again where my world is crumbling under my feet – guaranteed, but what I know is that regardless of all that’s happened, I have a beautiful life.