Valuing Moments...

As they say, timing is everything. I have always been a drifter in life, never really had a plan, I never knew what I really wanted to be when I grew up. I kinda just floated in and out of careers and let life lead the way. I was working two jobs, one during the day , quick sleep in my car in the carpark, then off for night shift till 3.30am. I was tired. I had always been in a relationship ever since high school, never alone, always together. Suddenly single, I had to get away, I needed time to concentrate on me.... One day I woke up and thought I cant do this anymore, so began the idea of planning a one way trip to Europe. But you see, life doesn't always work out they way you plan.

Ryan and I meet 6 months later, he swept me off my feet and knocked me for six. Its funny how people always say when you meet "the one" you'll know it. Well I did. After only a month, he told me he was coming to Europe with me, and so a one way ticket turned into a two way ticket, and we haven't looked back since. He is my soul mate, best friend and most of all the person that I know would be there for me in good times and bad.

On our three year anniversary he proposed and made me the happiest girl in the world. We wasted no time in planning our wedding and our future. In the back of my mind I had always known that I wanted to be a mum. I mean, I guess most of us ladies do, but for me I KNEW. I had pictured myself on a farm, baking, being the good housewife, growing our own veggies and running around after our little family (stereotypical I know, but I sometimes feel like I was born in the wrong decade).  9 Months later we became husband and wife, we had always talked about starting a family soon after our wedding and so contraception was out the window 6 months before our big day.

We honeymooned in FIJI and it was amazing! Seriously one of the best holidays I have been on! We drank, ate, swam, and drank some more. We came home and settled into new married life. 11 Months later I began to get a big concerned as to why we still hadn't fallen pregnant yet. We went to three different GP's and all of them said that we hadn't been trying for long enough, we are young and it will happen. Another month later we wanted another opinion. We went to another GP and he sent us for an ultrasound, semen analysis and referral to a fertility specialist.

Over the next two years we were sent for every test under the sun, blood tests, semen analysis, hysterosalpingogram (Tubal Flushing), internal ultrasounds, external ultrasounds, 4 months of follicular tracking, I was sent to dietitians, chiropractors, osteopaths and naturopaths, you name it, we tried it. Nothing was working.

We were diagnosed with unexplained infertility. Everything was working as it should be and that diagnosis shock me to my core. I spiralled into severe anxiety and depression, so bad that I couldn't face day to day life. I would have anxiety attacks if I knew I would be seeing anyone and especially anyone with small children. Afterwards I would come home and cry myself to sleep with Ryan holding me, stroking my hair telling me everything would be alright. I so desperately wanted that to be me. I just couldn't grasp the fact that everything was normal and my body was not doing what it was intended to do. After every disappointing month when Aunt Flow roared her ugly head it just made everything worse. I felt like a failure. I failed myself and most of all I had failed my husband. I was so ashamed and because of that I didn't want to tell anyone(not even our parents) what we were going through. I didn't want peoples sympathetic looks and advice, but most of all I didn't want to talk about it more than I had to.

In those two and a half years we lost our way. We lost the spark, romance and fun. We were now on a strict routine according to when I was ovulating and the nurse would ring and say yep todays baby dance day. So routine, boring and predictable. Afterwards bum under pillow to elevate hips, legs in the air(attractive Ha!) , anything to get those little guys closer to were they needed to be. Nothing! I was at a point where I was having a breakdown almost daily. I was tired. Stressed. Exhausted. The waiting was killing me... Waiting for next month for another opportunity, waiting for results from the daily tests I was having, waiting for our next specialist appointment to see what we can do to move forward. This whole process was taking its toll not only on me but on our relationship.

Finally we had an appointment with the specialist and he said that the next step would be to try IVF. We were told to go look at clinics and he gave us a run down on the procedure. So we went home and talked about our options and what we wanted to do to move forward. We wanted to give it a go.... we had to! During our discussions, I had a massive meltdown! I hate needles(so bad that Ryan had to come with me for a basic blood test because I would faint), hospitals and the thought of going through this scared the absolute hell out of me. It was during this meltdown that Ryan came to me and said that he thought that we needed to go and see someone about our issues because he didn't know what to say or do to make me feel better. I think this is the point I realised that it wasn't just affecting me, it was affecting him more than I realised to. So the next day I made an appointment to see a fertility psychologist and it was the best thing we ever did. The first time we seen her, I walked in, sat down, said Hi, then balled my eyes out for the entire hour session. During this session, we realised that we were so focused on having a baby that we lost, US. We decided to go to Thailand for a holiday - to relax, get away from the stress of every day life and reconnected with each other, get back what we had lost.

When we returned I felt refreshed and we had found our place again. We were due to start treatment a few months after we returned and we had to have a few more preliminary tests before our IVF treatment can proceed. Ryan had to send a sample off for a trial wash (to see how many viable sperm there are) and I had to complete a few more blood tests. We had to wait 10 days for the results and everything come back good and we are able to start our first round of IVF my next cycle.

Finally the day arrived and we were given my medication and instructions for Ryan on how to administer the needles. The first day was horrible, I had a total panic attack, naked, on our bathroom floor, hysterically crying thinking how am I suppose to do this - I cant do this! (little did I know that I would be in the exact same position 12 months later in labour - Its funny how the universe works). So over the next few weeks I had received 15 Injections, 5 blood tests and 2 internal ultrasounds. To anyone that has been through this harrowing process will know that the injections are like a wasps sting that swell and itch for hours after, hours spent waiting for those blood tests because every man and his dog are waiting at 7am for their tests as well and the ultrasounds, I felt like more people had looked at my lady parts than my husband!! From the medication I had developed Ovarian Hyperstimulation Syndrome(OHSS) causing my ovaries to swell to several times there normal size, I had abdominal pain and nausea. The specialist wanted to retrieve my eggs earlier so that the whole cycle wasn't cancelled.

Egg collection day had arrived and we were suited up and wheeled into the theatre. Ryan was able to be with me through the whole procedure. We retrieved 10 eggs. Overnight 5 Blastocysts had fertilised. Day 3 -  3 Blastocysts had made it to the 8 cell stage. By day 5 - only 1 had made it to hatching. Since the egg collection I have been taking progesterone twice daily to help support the pregnancy. We were then told that the transfer will not go ahead as the OHSS is too bad to proceed and so our one and only hope is put into the freezer.

I have to wait two months before we can go ahead with a frozen egg transfer so that my body can recover from the OHSS. The morning of the procedure I was a nervous wreck. Luckily the blastocyst serviced the thawing process and we were having a transfer that day. I was taken into theatre for the procedure and within 10 minutes the blastocyst was inserted into my uterus. I was finally where I had always dreamed of being!

Unfortunately, our little frostie wasn't to be and I sadly miscarried. Words can not truly explain how devastated we were! There isn't a day that goes by that I don't think of him.

We were back to the specialist within the next two months. He suggested another round of IVF. So after careful consideration we decided to go ahead. Within the next month I had received 20 injections, 5 Blood tests and 3 internal ultrasounds. This time round I felt better, more relaxed, I knew what to expect.  Egg collection day came around and we retrieved 9 eggs. 5 blastocysts made it to day 5 so I was booked in to have a fresh transfer and 4 blastocysts were put into the freezer. The dreaded 2WW (2 week wait) began. This time I cheated and tested before the blood test. I was to scared to look, but once I did it was positive.

This is our little petri as a 5 day blastocyst! Pretty ha! Every time I look at this picture it makes me realise just how precious life really is.

I was so nervous the following weeks as I already knew the implications if things were to go wrong. We made it to our 7 week viability scan, and there on the screen was our little alien, heart beating away. It was the sweetest sound I had ever heard. The sonographer said that everything was looking good with the baby but did I have any pain because my ovaries were so swollen. I said no, not really, I mean I was bloated and tender from the IVF but nothing I was concerned about.

Two days later, I was rushed to hospital via ambulance as I knew something wasn't right. I couldn't sleep, I was dry reaching, I was huddled over in pain and I could feel something filling my insides. I refused pain medication in the ambulance as I was concerned about the well being of the baby. Once in the ED, 4 Nurses and 2 Doctors tried to insert the catheter to take bloods, finally they got it. I was given a little bit of pain relief and told to wait. After 4 hours I sent Ryan home and told him to come back In the morning when I would be sent for an ultrasound. 12 hours later I was begging them to take me, the pain was unbearable, I couldn't move, I was crying, worried with fear that something had happened to my baby. The ultrasound shown that I had severe OHSS, that 2 cysts on my ovaries had burst and there was another 1 that had the potential of rupturing also. Luckily the fluid went into my abdomen and not into my uterus which meant that the baby was ok for now. After that diagnosis we thought now would be an appropriate time to tell our family. We called our parents and sisters and told them the news. I was in hospital for 4 days and it was absolutely terrible. We had to make a choice as to weather to have a procedure to remove the cysts but this came with a high risk of miscarriage or wait and see if the cysts will disappear on there own and which also meant dealing with the pain. We took the later. Luckily the cysts went on there own, and I managed my way through the pain knowing that my baby was ok.

We made it through the rest of the pregnancy without any more problems and we welcomed our beautiful baby boy Archie to the world in Oct 2014. That moment when Ryan put him on my chest for the first time took my breath away, I will never ever forget it. I cried, held him and thanked him for getting through everything he'd been through to be with us today. In that moment my life was complete and I knew it would never be the same again. He has bought so much joy into our lives and I will never take life for granted again.

"Sometimes you will never know the value of a moment, before it becomes a memory. Dr Seuss".

Moments pass by so quickly and at the time we may not know why this is happening to us, but be sure it is happening for a reason. Archie was our reason, everything we had done to get here and everything we will do from now on will be because of him. We spent all our life savings, redrew on our home loan, put the car up for sale, sold everything imaginable in order to pay for our IVF treatment and we would do it all again in a heartbeat just to see his smiley dimply face. Due to my depression and anxiety I withdrew myself from many special occasions during those years that I will never be able to get back, That is my biggest regret. But that's what happens with these illness', it consumes you and you lose focus on what's important. I've almost had one whole year with my little man, and within that time I have reflected on our journey quite often, I am thankful to be surrounded by such amazing friends and family. I am thankful to have been able to carry our first child even for such a short amount of time. I am thankful that Archie chose us to be his parents. I am thankful that we had each other. Most of all, in his 11.5 months on this earth, he has taught me to love, laugh, take life by the reigns and take risks. Life is way to short for regrets, do what you love, believe in yourself and know that everything will work out in the end! I have never in my life felt like I am exactly were I need to be.

Anyone that has been on this journey will know how lonely, heart wrenching, financially draining and emotional it can be. Never give up hope. Get back up and keep trying. Know that you are not alone. I am here, we are here wishing you all the luck in the world that one day, hopefully you too, will hold your baby and in that moment everything you have done to get there will all be worth it.

Much Love and Baby Dust to you all

Katie Xxx