#confidence

Time moves on

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Its been nearly 2 months since I last wrote. So much has happened and so much is still the same.

So where are we at?

We took a holiday to Ibiza. It was so good to have quality uninterrupted time together. We watched sunsets, ate good food and relaxed. I honestly thought it would be a good idea, but clubbing in Pacha made me feel like shit and I had a panic attack. Its hard to feel good about things you shouldn’t be able to do. Once I was there, the only place I wanted to be was home with my babies.

That happens a lot. You feel bad for feeling good. You want to hold onto the pain and not forget them.

I’ve thrown myself into work. A lot of good things are happening there. We’ve opened a second studio in Cambridge and I get to work alongside some seriously creative people. The team won 5 awards and were finalists in a few more. I’ve been asked to speak at a Telegraph event and an idea for a mastermind I’ve had for a while has become a reality.

Most days that’s all I have the mental capacity for. Get up, walk the dog, get to work, do a good job, come home. I still cry most days. There are things that happen daily that kick you right in face. Clients I have to pre-warn about what’s happened, as last time I saw them I was 14 weeks pregnant and massive. In a client meeting a few weeks ago I was asked if I had children. It took my breath away, and I still don’t know how to answer properly.

Ironically, we have a client who is based at Addenbrooke’s, where we lost Ava. Just last week we had a pitch there. I got through it then cried in the car as usual. No-one had even remembered that it might be hard for me there. Time moves on for some.

Lee has been so busy this summer with his business. He’s been to Italy and Dubai for destination weddings, I’m so proud of him. Its been hard being alone but my parents have been up a lot.

I have still not seen my friends. I don’t know how to put myself back in that world and I don’t know if they understand that. There are two new babies on the way, due near ours. I can’t be part of those conversations and honestly, they do not want to hear about the things I need to talk about. If they text, I don’t always reply. I find it hard to ask them what they’ve been doing, I care, I love them, but I can’t hear about it.

I don’t know where this leaves us, I hope they understand.

Tamba’s bereavement service has been a life saver for me. I was matched with a befriender, an amazing woman who has been through exactly what we have. She is kind and she lets me talk and cry. I can tell her all the things we are feeling and she understands completely. I wish I could change things for her. I wish we didn’t have to help each other, but I am so glad to have her.

It’s getting close to our due date, and Christmas is looming. Last year should have been our first child’s Christmas, this year the twins first. It was always my favourite time of the year, but I can’t do it this year. No cards, no tree. We are running away and I am glad about that. Our beautiful old Lab Buster went to sleep last week after 13 years, I so wished he’d make one last holiday with us. I miss him. I’ll be working as much as I can in the run up to it, keeping busy is the only thing that seems to stop me thinking.

We have been shown such kindness throughout the last few months. My friend Lisa knitted tiny blankets for cherished gowns baby loss packs in honour of the girls, and Naomi gifted us beautiful paintings for them and our first lost baby.

I’ve started to think about what I can do to raise awareness, how I can help others like us. I hope I can, but its still too soon. 

A&E

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I wasn’t going to write about this because for the past 2 weeks I’ve been trying to block it out of my mind. Lee’s encouraged me too in the chance that it may help someone else.

2nd May I fell asleep on the sofa about 9pm – this is pretty standard behaviour at the moment, I can barely keep my eyes open. Lee woke me at about 10pm and I headed up to get ready for bed.

The next few hours became a horrendous trip down memory lane. I was bleeding and heavily. I passed something terrible, I can’t and don’t want to describe. We sobbed together and I screamed over and over again.

Lee rushed me to A&E. Yet again he was the calm to my terror. My heart bursts with love for him for the care he takes of me, yet I feel so sad for the things he’s had to see.

The next few hours where filled with tears and numbness. We sat in a cubicle in A&E waiting to see someone, anyone that could reassure us. Of course they couldn’t without a scan and the wrong assumptions were made.

We were sent away around 3am to wait for a call from the emergency clinic in the morning. You see this isn’t classed as an emergency – it’s not threatening to the mothers life. I will never forget being told that for the second time in my life and feeling pure rage fill me.

We did not sleep. We decided to go straight to our IVF clinic the next day but had an agonising wait till 2pm for a scan appointment.

To our absolute shock, we saw a perfect scan and heartbeat. The relief was completely overwhelming.

What I’d passed was a clot. A particularly large clot, possible caused when I was taken off the Clexane blood thinners or could have been caused at implantation. Nothing to worry about, but everything to be terrified of.

While this is a horrid thing to write about and read, the important thing to focus on is getting seen quickly and staying as calm as you can until you are scanned. There’s always a chance that it’s not what you think it is, and I am so glad that was the case for us.

Day 22 – last full day at the office

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Once the embryos are transferred, I’m going to take a week off work. I’m knackered and my head needs a rest. As we don’t yet know if that will be Thursday or Saturday, today is my last day at the office for a while.

Yesterday was a brighter day. We had a dog visitor to the studio, lovely little Rosie. She sat on my lap for a bit while I worked. Dogs make me super happy, and this is just another reason why we need to get a Doris! My search for Doris has not been fruitful so far, I can’t find a litter of Dachshund’s that have girls. I can’t get Fat Head to the office anymore, he can’t do stairs and he’s too heavy to carry up three flights of them.

A lovely friend from the village brought me flowers round last night, completely unexpected. It made me feel very grateful for the friends I made in the village last year. Working full time and 45mins from where I live, means you’re often ships that pass in the night with neighbours.

When Longstanton Bootcamp opened a couple of years ago I was over the moon. I could regularly make 2 of the 4 sessions a week and, it meant meeting new people who live right on your doorstep. Some literally! I met neighbours in the crescent I never knew before and are now good friends. We’ve all achieved so much more than we thought we could, we’ve competed in muddy team assault courses and there’s been a few boozy nights in the local pub too. I haven’t been able to go for a while (heavy exercise and IVF don’t mix) and I miss it. If by any small chance any of you reading this live close by, get yourselves along. Danny is a fantastic trainer, he’ll get you to be the very best you can be. You can book in online here.

Day 19 – Overdue

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Today marks 11 days of clinic visits on the trot. I should ask them if this is a record, then I’d feel like I’d actually achieved something this week.

There’s been better news. Although I’m now 5 days late for a usual ovulation, the follicle is growing. From Monday to Wednesday it didn’t grow, which is why they were considering cancelling the cycle.

One tiny millimeter saved the cycle for us on Thursday morning.

At every stage of this process, you never really get all the information you need. There always comes a day where you’re thrown into total melt down by the omission of some small piece of information, which for you is huge, for the clinic, not so much. For an already slightly fragile mind, it causes unnecessary worry and stress, ironically something you’re supposed to avoid.

Today’s clinic visit (a 2.5 hour round trip) lasted 5 minutes. A quick scan, the news that the follicle was 2 mm bigger than yesterday and the booking of another appointment for tomorrow.

We’ve been questioning whether we made the right decision choosing the London based clinic over a more local one. It’s the tiredness talking for sure, we had no idea that I’d need daily scans for this stage (we were told every other day) and no-one could predict my body would react the way it has.

So why didn’t we choose Bourne Hall Clinic local to us in Cambridge? It all came down to the stats. We were refused NHS funding so we’re self funding our IVF treatment. Our decision was based on where we hoped we could get the result we wanted, with the limited funds we have. CRGH had the best success rates for my age bracket.

My work diary has again been thrown into chaos.  I’d gone through my handover doc with my business partner on Friday as I assumed I’d be off from Tuesday this week, now it looks like Thursday, although I won’t really know till tomorrow after the scan. My diary was carefully arranged, now I’ll need to move meetings that I assumed I’d be back at work for. I hope everyone understands.

 

 

Day 16 – The D word

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Last night we received a call from the clinic to say they’ll scan and take bloods again today, and then decide whether to cancel the cycle or not.

I don’t fully understand why, ovulation is only 2 days late but I don’t know what the bloods are showing. I have a lot of questions to ask.

I struggled with depression last year, and I can feel it bubbling under the surface now. I’m worried it will overflow and drown me again. I’m already beginning to avoid seeing or talking to friends.

Day 9 – the adventure begins again

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Clinic this morning, the first of 4 days of clinic visits in a row. Actually that could be 6 or 7 days but next week is still in the “who knows what the hell will happen” pile.

Each morning I have to be scanned and monitored until ovulation, then they’ll defrost the embryos and grow them on for 2 more days before transferring them back in for me to cook.


Yesterday I went to see my counsellor. She’s been a huge help over the last few months, giving me a time and place to talk, sometimes cry, but mainly just say all the things that are on my mind with no judgement or agenda.

We talked a lot about being on the sidelines, not being part of the “club”, and how that makes me feel.

There’s often an assumption that as I’m a woman of a certain age I must have children, and when the inevitable question does come, it stings a bit. I see other women bond instantly over a conversation about children, knowing I can’t join in. I have no understanding of what they talk about, no way to help them or offer advice.

Many of my own relationships have changed, I think some of them forever. I can accept now that some people can’t or don’t want to understand how we feel, and I’m comfortable enough in myself now to let those friendships just drift away.

If you’re based in Cambridge and you are struggling with your mental health, please take a look at the CPFT Psychological Wellbeing Service. They’ve been a huge help to me.

 

Confidence

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2016 drained me of my confidence.

I went from someone who’s not afraid to stand up and speak to a room full of people, to someone who struggled to leave the studio for a networking meeting. As the main salesperson or face” of the agency, this was always going to cause problems.

I’m lucky to have a great business partner and team, so despite these setbacks, the business still did well last year. But it didn’t flourish and it didn’t grow.

I accept that I took the time I needed to heal and that was the right thing to do but, by 2017 I was ready to start making an impact again.

A good friend had been asked to join a Mastermind group and suggested I become part of it to.

A Mastermind is a small group of highly motivated people (around 6), all who are looking to support, encourage and help each other improve. The group offers each other suggestions and support for both business and personal issues, anything you are willing to share, everything is in confidence.

Andy Lopata explains this in great detail here.

Last Thursday I took part in the first Mastermind session of the year.

I came away from the meeting with great suggestions of how to improve a business issue I’ve had, and a clear plan of action for the book I’m going to write. I met 2 new contacts who are both incredibly inspiring and, I was able to share my expertise and offer them advice in return.

More importantly, I came away believing in myself again, and that feels really good.