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Stratamark review

Still here. Still pregnant.

I’ve never reviewed anything on my blog before but as you all know the issue of stretch marks is a very sore point for me and I wanted to give some honest feedback on a “break through” product I tried.

I want to start by saying I was in no way sponsored or compensated to review Stratamark cream. And I’d like to add it’s a good thing I wasn’t paid because this is not a glowing endorsement of the product.

If you want all the official info on Stratamark you can find it here.

But let me just give you a quick rundown…

Stratamark is a “revolutionary” lotion which has been designed to prevent and treat stretch marks.

Unlike cosmetic and moisturizing products widely available in the shops like Bio Oil, coconut oil and cocoa butter, Stratamark is actually a registered medical device. It claims to be the only clinically proven solution to stretch marks.

According to Stratpharma, the company that developed Stratamark, the cream is easily applied, is clinically proven to prevent stretch marks from forming, reduces discolouration and redness associated with existing stretch marks, prevents itching, is totally safe for pregnancy and is highly efficient.

A clinical study conducted in Europe showed highly statistically significant results where only 18.2% of test subjects developed stretch marks instead of the consensus 65-70% of pregnant women.

The cream should be applied once per day or whenever the skin is washed so that Stratamark is in constant contact with the skin, and one 50g bottle is expected to last 2 months in late pregnancy.

This all sounds so amazing right?!

What’s not amazing is the price. A 50g bottle will set you back $100 (plus shipping). I paid $125 for mine once shipping was added, and I must warn you it did take several weeks to arrive as it came from Switzerland.

$125 is a large sum of money for someone like me who is a single-mama-to-be. But $125 is a small price to pay for 2 months worth of cream that will protect me from stretch marks.

Basically I was desperate and the cream sounded miraculous so I ordered it.

They say the cream should be used for 60-90 days to see full results. Well I used the cream for about 40 days before I cried and gave up.

Why?

Well the proof is in the photos…

image

The top photo was my belly when I started using Stratamark, and the bottom photo was taken just four weeks later.

This is just a comparison of the stretch marks on my lower belly and doesn’t show you that I had similar negative results on my hips, butt, thighs and my infamous chicken vagina.

As you can see THE CREAM DID NOTHING. After the last photo was taken the stretch marks continued to get much worse and I was so devastated I just gave up on Stratamark altogether.

Proven efficacy my ass. There’s dozens of new stretch marks in the bottom photo and no signs at all of them fading or flattening.

Since I’ve stopped using Stratamark I haven’t noticed any increase at all in the appearance of stretch marks – they are still appearing at the same rate and the same shade of red. Total waste of $125 of my hard earned cash.

I want to stress that I followed the application instructions extremely strictly and that cream was always in contact with my skin.

To be fair to Stratpharma, here’s some reasons why I think results may not have worked for me like they did in the European trial:

1. I live in a hot climate and only in the last week or two have things started to cool down. This meant that at night time I was sleeping in nothing more than a crop top and underwear whilst I sweated up a storm. The Stratamark cream may have rubbed off onto my bedding or I may have sweated it off.

2. I didn’t start using Stratamark until I was 29 weeks pregnant. It is recommended to begin using the cream in the second trimester to see the most effective preventitive results.

3. I didn’t use the cream for the full recommended 60-90 days. Mainly because it clearly wasn’t working, I’d almost run out and I couldn’t justify spending $125 on a second bottle.

Also…further to my first point, as I was showering up to 3 times a day in the summer heat I was having to re-apply the cream multiple times a day. This meant that I was going through my bottle 3 times as fast making it 3 times less cost effective than advertised. Seems like Stratamark is best suited to colder climates where people bathe less.

But my personal experience with Stratamark is negative, it left me extremely disappointed and I found it a waste of money. I wouldn’t recommend Stratamark to anyone based on my results.

I know that stretch marks are genetic but I found the clinical studies and the fact it was a registered medical device extremely alluring and thus trusted the company with my money more than I should have.

So there you have it.

Have you used Stratamark? Do you have an opinion or did you have a better experience than me?

Let me know!

Sadie xx

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Holding my breath

Something has changed.

It’s like a switch has been flipped in my brain and suddenly I’m no longer coping with being pregnant.

It started five days ago.

I woke up in the morning super congested with really bad allergies. My allergies have been really good lately so this attack came out of nowhere.

In the third trimester of pregnancy there is no safe or recommended antihistamine so I had no choice but to suck it up and solider on without medication.

By the time I had my morning tea break at work I’d already gone through more than half a box of tissues from constant sneezing.

My belly was aching really badly and every time I sneezed I was getting braxton hicks contractions. I was in a whole world of discomfort.

At lunch time my breech baby kept pushing her hands up under my gallbladder and I was in a lot of pain. I decided at that point I’d had enough suffering and went home from work.

For the rest of the afternoon I lay in bed sneezing and snoozing intermittently.

At dinner time my mother brought me in a hot cup of (decaf) tea and a piece of vegetable pie.

I drank the tea first as the baby had been quiet for many hours and hot tea is usually the fastest way to get a response out of her. Nothing.

Then I ate my pie, expecting that would kick her awake. Or at least kick her into kicking me. Nothing.

Getting a bit worried, I went to the kitchen and poured myself a large glass of lemonade filled with ice cubes.

Apart from the occasional cup of decaf tea I don’t drink anything other than milk or water so on the rare times when I do have fizzy drink the baby gets an intense sugar rush and bounces off my uterus walls for hours. Still nothing.

I went back to bed, lay on my left side and opened up the pregnancy app on my phone. It has a kick counter that I’ve only used once or twice because my super active baby doesnt need constant monitoring.

After almost an hour I’d still registered no movement despite the hot tea, dinner, cold lemonade, resting and even insistent prodding on my belly.

At 8.30pm I was suitably panicked enough to phone the maternity ward at the hospital.

“Paradise Private Hospital maternity ward, this is Kathy.” said the midwife who answered.

“Um hi…my name is Sadie, I’m a patient of Dr Eminem.” I started nervously. “I don’t mean to bother you but…”

Suddenly there was intense scuffling on the other end of the phone line.

“OH MY GOD!” shouted Kathy, right into my ear. “SHE IS HAVING THE BABY! IT’S COMING NOW! IT’S COMING!”

Then the phone went oddly silent.

Half a minute later, I was just about to hang up when another voice came on the line.

“Hi this is Jennifer how can I help you?”

“Um…” I said. “I don’t think it’s worth it. I can tell you guys are super busy…”

“Oh yes sorry about that.” said Jennifer. “Kathy had to rush off to help a patient give birth.”

As if that wasn’t glaringly obvious. I thought.

“Look I was just calling because I can’t feel my baby move. I haven’t felt her since lunch time. But don’t worry if you’re too busy.” I explained.

“How far along are you? Have you tried lying on your left side and drinking something cold?” Jennifer asked.

“I’m almost 35 weeks and yes I have.” I replied.

“Okay you’re going to need to come in immediately. Can you do that?” Jennifer asked.

It wasn’t the answer I was expecting but I agreed and told her I’d be up at the hospital within 20 minutes.

I went and explained to my mother that I had to go up to the hospital so she quickly changed out of her pajamas and came along with me.

By the time I arrived, the midwife Jennifer that I’d spoken to on the phone had already set up a room for me. They quarantined me inside in case my allergies were actually the flu, as they couldn’t risk the babies on the ward getting ill.

She hooked me up to a CTG machine, explaining the dual screen monitor.

“The red screen on the right is your heartbeat.” she said. “We need to track your heartbeat to ensure we don’t confuse it with the baby’s. The green screen on the left will show info about the baby.”

I could see on both the left and right screens my own heartbeat was registering at 97bpm.

The midwife then placed the toco (the toggle that reads the heart) on my tummy to monitor the baby. She moved it all around, trying to locate her. Nothing. No baby.

I watched as the mirrored heart rate on the dual screens slowly started creeping up.

99bpm…104bpm…107bpm…111bpm…

“Where is she?” I asked. “Why can’t you find her heart beat?”

The midwife, concern creeping across her face, then started roughly pushing on my stomach. She was digging her fingers into my uterus so badly I wanted to scream out in pain but I kept my mouth firmly shut.

After what seemed like an eternity she cried out “Oh there’s her backbone!” and pushed the toco down on top of the hard lump she’d just located. The heart beat on the green screen jumped suddenly from 115bpm to 167bpm.

“Got her!” Jennifer said triumphantly and we both let out huge breaths of relief.

For a moment we watched as the baby’s heart danced between 150 and 170. The variation was good and meant the baby was healthy.

For the first time in hours I felt calm and started to relax. Jennifer seemed happy too and went across the room to fill in some details on my medical chart.

Suddenly the machine made a funny noise and just as we both looked over at it, the baby’s heart rate dropped to 90.

Mine was still 105bpm so the machine definitely wasn’t reading my heart beat accidentally.

Just as Jennifer started walking back across the room the baby’s heart flatlined for about 2 to 3 seconds before spiking to 205bpm.

“Oh my god what does that mean?” I asked in confusion.

“Um…Sadie…I know your baby is breech but did you want a vaginal birth or c-section?” she asked in reply.

“Err…vaginal?” I spluttered.

“I’m just going to step outside and phone your obstetrician.” She muttered before disappearing quickly out into the hallway.

Suddenly I started to panic. I wasn’t quite 35 weeks yet. Too early to have a baby. Even worse I hadn’t shaved my legs or washed my hair!

Then I realised something even more worrying. I hadn’t brought my super organised hospital bag with me. I was yet to pack a bag for the hospital…

The midwife came back a few minutes later and said that Dr Eminem suspected the baby was under a little stress due to my constant sneezing causing contractions. He wanted me monitored for a few more hours to see if she calmed down before considering any other options.

The midwife gave me a buzzer and told me to press it every time I felt the baby move, to determine whether spikes in her heart rate were related to movement. The machine itself was also registering movement so we could compare and contrast.

Her heart didn’t drop to 90 again, but it did spike above 200 on several occasions.

What was really interesting is that 75% of the time the machine would register movement when I didn’t. Like you could actually hear her move on the machine because Jennifer had the volume turned up.

You’d hear this sloosh of fluid like someone moving quickly in water and her heart would spike and the machine would register a movement. But I felt nothing.

Jennifer was very surprised that a baby of that size and gestation could get herself into a position where she was regularly moving but I wasn’t feeling any of it. But she said that was clearly the case.

“Nothing like this kind of news to make you super paranoid for the next 5 weeks!” she said. “Now you’ll never know if she’s stopped moving or you just can’t feel it.”

In the end it took a few hours but the baby’s heart rate completely stabilized so the doctor phoned in again and okayed me to go home.

But it was too late.

The damage was done.

I am now terrified my baby is going to die inside me and I won’t know it.

The paranoid anxiety of my first trimester, where every little sign and symptom meant the possibility of miscarriage…it was back. And it was worse.

I am living my life on a knife edge. I don’t know how to stop this. I don’t know how to unflip the switch.

I’ve come this far and I’ve spent all my money on her nursery and medical care. I’ve carried her for almost 9 months. And she might die. And there’s nothing I can do about it.

I’m already not sleeping well at night because of my constant need to pee. Now I’m waking myself up at least four times a night in some kind of panic because I need to check if the baby is alive.

I know it’s still too early but I just want her out now. I don’t care about a vaginal delivery anymore. Just cut her out of me. Let her come out of me alive.

I live my life in a cycle now. The baby kicks or I get a solid movement and my anxiety drops to zero. The seconds turn to minutes as I wait. I wait. I wait. My anxiety rises. I wait. My anxiety rises again. I’m panicking, eating sugary food, prodding her. She moves or kicks me. My anxiety drops to zero and the cycle repeats itself.

You see the thing is, since that hospital visit her movement patterns have genuinely changed.

I don’t get constant movement anymore. She can easily go still for 2 or 3 hours at a time. Is it just that I’m not feeling her anymore?

People keep saying babies movements decrease when labour is close. People keep dismissing my fears.

The other thing is I’m doing this on my own. I know my mum is an amazing support to me but James is very uninterested in my fears and just tells me I’m crazy.

“God wouldn’t let your baby die now.” he says dismissively. “Everything you went through with IVF and miscarriages…there’s no way God will take this one from you. God will look after this baby for you. That’s how God works.”

I forget sometimes that James is from a religious family. Mostly because he has the tendency to act like a complete douchecanoe. I’m not from a religious family so I have no freakin’ idea about how God works.

I do have an idea about science. I do know that statistically 1 in every 135 babies are stillborn in this country.

You can spin that and say well Sadie that’s less than 1%! The odds are in your favour!

I would then remind you that when I got my nuchal scan results my baby’s risk of carrying a chromosomal abnormality was 1 in 20,000 and I got really upset because I’d heard it was possible to get huge numbers like 1 in 300,000 and I felt like my results weren’t good enough.

If I was displeased by 1 in 20,000 how do you think I feel about 1 in 135?

My other fear is postnatal depression and anxiety. Having my anxiety spike now at almost 36 weeks pregnant does not bode well for my mental health right after the baby is born.

Or maybe 9 months of stress and trauma and dealing with baby daddy dramas are catching up with me. Coupled with the intense hormone dump I was warned to expect in my final weeks of pregnancy.

Maybe this is to be expected? Maybe it’s okay?

I don’t know.

But I’m scared. I’m really scared.

I just want my baby to be safe and healthy and in my arms.

I just want to let out this breath I feel like I’ve been holding for the past 5 days.

Please let the next few weeks pass by quickly. Please let the baby be okay. Please please please let this time be my time and this baby be my take-home baby.

Please please please.

Sadie xx

Protected: My maternity photoshoot

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Help a sister out…

WordPress is clearly too advanced for my intellect because I cannot figure out this password protection mumbo jumbo.

I did a password protected test post yesterday and whilst I could lock it down easily enough I couldn’t see where readers request the password? Nor did it seem to show up in the WordPress feed?

No point password protecting a post if nobody can request to access it…

Help?

Update: this is turning into a friggen nightmare! I’m just trying to share my maternity photos grrrr….

If you want the password to the blog post comment your email at the end of this post! If you don’t feel comfortable posting your email address on the internet let me know and I’ll delete it as soon as I see the message and send you the password.

The link to the protected post is here

Life, and other stuff that happened

Hello all! I’m still alive and kicking. Thank you all for your messages of support. They have truly boosted my morale.

Let’s just jump straight into this, shall we? Just a warning – this is going to be another long one!
 
You know I’m not even really sure where I left off with the last blog post. I think around the time I was 16 weeks pregnant and James finally realised he’d been treating me really badly?
 
So I guess that brings us to the month of December. The lead up to Christmas – which is usually my favourite time of year. But I can’t really remember much about December 2015, to be honest.
 
I do know for the most part James was better behaved. He was a little more understanding of my situation and stopped telling me constantly that I was fat and disgusting. I also remember him helping me more around the house and being more understanding when I was upset.
 
But then maybe my memory is playing tricks on me. Because I do recall at one point having a huge blow-up fight with him and kicking him out of my house. Like, he was literally sitting outside on the street because whatever he had done was so bad that I wouldn’t let him back inside the house.
 
In the end, the only reason I let him come back inside and continue to live with me was for his son’s sake. Isaac was coming to Paradise for 10 days the following week – the first time James had asked for custody of his son since early September.
 
I didn’t want to confuse a 5 year old if James was in the middle of packing his things and moving to a new house while he was visiting. Plus don’t forget the fact that Isaac spent most of his custody time with me, and I knew he would be traumatised if he was suddenly told he wasn’t allowed to see me anymore.
 
And then of course, the following week James phoned his ex-wife and told her that Isaac wasn’t going to come and stay with us after all. So letting him back in the house was basically for no reason at all.
 
Why? I hear you ask.  Why would a father who hadn’t seen his child for three months waive his right to custody?
 
Well you see, once James found out I was pregnant he was so devastated and angry and depressed and his life was so “ruined” and blah blah blah that he quit his job. Yes, he was so angry I was pregnant that he could no longer work. I really am a life ruiner.
 
After a while, living off a government unemployment pension started cramping his style so he started to search for work again. And he told his ex-wife that he wasn’t able to have custody of Isaac in December because he was going to devote his time to trying to find a good job. A 5 year old would get in the way of that.
 
By this stage I was no longer so stupid that I believed that rubbish, but I went along with it for the sake of peace in the house.

The week before Christmas we did drive back to the city to see Isaac though and tell him I was pregnant. His mum dropped him off at a cafe and when he saw me he broke out into this dramatic open-armed run, like you see in romantic movies. It made me go all gooey in my tummy to see him so excited.

When we told him about the baby he rolled his eyes and said “you guys, I already knew about that!” which is just a total lie hahaha.

But he was very excited and decided his sister’s name will be Batman Girl. Not Batgirl, Batman Girl. When his mum came to pick him up, he got upset and asked if he could come and stay at “Sadie’s house” for a few weeks.

I did feel a bit bad for James that his son was clearly more attached to me than to him. But when you’re an absent dad that’s bound to happen…

This was also the week that we publicly announced the pregnancy. We even put it on Facebook. We went to visit the local Santa and posed for a photo with Santa pointing at my belly to announce the surprise (yes James agreed to this kooky plan!) then posted it online.

I was careful to do it tastefully as I didn’t want to upset anyone who may be quietly infertile on my friends list. I explained in the post the silent struggle I’d been through with IVF and miscarriages over many years, and that this baby was my miracle.

One girl on my friends list even messaged me to say she was going through infertility and I’d brightened her day knowing miracles could happen so I felt good about that.

I was unsurprised yet bitterly disappointed that a lot of my close friends became very upset at my pregnancy. Despite everything I’d been through, they couldn’t understand why I’d kept my pregnancy from them for 20 weeks. A few of them even refused to congratulate me!

Others were just angry that I’d been so stupid to fall pregnant to a man they hated. It was just the kind of stress I didn’t need, as none of them had any clue of the private hell I’d been living in for months. I didn’t feel supported by them at all.
 
On Christmas Day, I travelled to the city again to spend the holiday with my family. James promised he would come to Christmas lunch, so my family set a place for him and catered for him (even though they very much dislike him). But lunch time rolled around and James…did not.
 
At about 3pm we had a huge fight over the phone, because he hadn’t bothered to turn up for lunch. He started crying and said he was going to kill himself because he was so depressed. So I had to leave my parents’ house unexpectedly and spend the night with him instead.
 
It was around this time that my parents became so concerned about me and my baby that they decided to put their house on the market. They had considered the idea a few months previously but now realised that their house, about 2 hours away from Paradise, was too far away for them to properly support me.

I really had no option to move back to the city because under the Australian system I needed to remain in my current job to access maternity leave benefits. Without paid parental leave, I wasn’t going to keep my head above water because of the unplanned nature of my pregnancy.
 
Amazingly, once my parents’ house was on the market it received multiple offers and sold in less than 72 hours. My younger brother was absolutely devastated as my parents had owned the same house for 30 years and we’d literally grown up there. He saw it was the destruction of a legacy. I tried not to feel guilty about that.
 
The great news was due to the fact they’d purchased their home back in 1986, they were able to sell it for 35 times what they paid for it. Yes I said 35 times. So making the move to Paradise, where the housing is much more affordable, they were actually able to buy a huge and amazing house on a lake with the most fantastic views.
 
The best part? It was only ten minutes from my workplace and had a granny flat on the back. I know granny flat is a super Aussie/British thing. I don’t really know how to describe it or what a more common word for it would be. An annexe attached to the back of the house with self contained accommodation?
 
Basically at the back of my parent’s house there is a hallway with a lockable door. On the other side are two bedrooms, a bathroom, a small second kitchen and a small living area. It has it’s own private entrance at the back of the property. So it’s self contained away from the main house, or easily utilized as part of the whole dwelling if the hallway door is left open.
 
So of course the logical step for my parents to protect and help me, was for me to move back in with them. It would mean I could rent my house out for a little while, stretch my finances and extend my maternity leave from 5 months to 12 months.

Being able to afford to stay at home with my baby girl for an entire year as a single parent was absolutely worth the sacrifice of being a 29 year old moving in with my parents. Wait… temporarily moving in with my parents.
 
It also meant my parents were prepared to act as a physical and emotional barrier between myself and James. They were removing me from that situation and there was nothing James or anyone else could do to stop them.
 
James did try to fight it for a while. When I explained to him that by living with my parents I could stretch my maternity leave to 12 whole months, he started saying I could still rent my house out and instead live in a house he rented for us. We could still live together as a family.
 
Then he actually saw the house my parents had purchased. And he quickly realised there was absolutely no way he could afford to rent anything remotely as comfortable. In fact, the only thing he’d be able to afford to rent on his unemployment pension would be a beach shack. He realised both myself and the baby were much better off living in a new, modern house where I’d have central heating for the baby and lots of space in a safe neighbourhood.
 
Unfortunately, the move-in date for my parents new house wasn’t until early February so I still had a little while to wait until I could rent my house out. In the meantime I persisted with my life in a weird limbo – half in and half out of a relationship with my baby’s father.
 
Over New Years, James took me camping with six of his mates. As you can imagine, I was super apprehensive about the fact that I was five months pregnant and would be camping in the bush in the middle of the Australian summer.
 
But it was only for three nights, and there would be other girls in the group. Plus James promised not to drink alcohol so that if something went wrong with the pregnancy he would quickly drive me to the closest hospital (which was about two hours away!).
 
Nevertheless, on New Years Eve itself – surprise surprise – James got super drunk.
 
When I asked him why he was drinking so much, and suggested he slow down so that he wasn’t completely out of his mind intoxicated, he told me in front of everyone that he wanted to be drunk enough so that he could forget I was pregnant and have a good night for once.
 
So that was that. He went off with the others down onto the beach and got drunk. I went and sat in the tent on my own in the dark.
 
There was no phone reception where we were, so I couldn’t even call my mother or a friend. At midnight I walked down to the beach on my own and sat on the cold sand. I bawled my eyes out, and tried to remind myself that I wasn’t really alone because my daughter was with me.
 
Then I looked up at the night sky and thought a lot about my ex-husband. He was somewhere else under that same sky, celebrating the new year with his new girlfriend.

I wondered if he had any idea exactly how pathetic my life had become and how much I wished my baby was his. It was like the further I went in my pregnancy, the more I regressed and missed my ex. Very frustrating.
 
The next day James apologised for getting drunk, but kept insisting over and over that he hadn’t even realised it was a big deal. He said he didn’t come and find me at midnight to wish me a happy new year because he assumed I was asleep.
 
After that, he was on his best behaviour again for a while.
 
The day we returned from camping I had my morphology/anomaly scan. He insisted on coming with me – even though I had extreme reservations because he’d acted like such a dick at my nuchal scan a few months earlier.
 
This time he sat next to me in the chair, with this obviously false grin plastered on his face, and pretended to be super interested. He didn’t say anything or have any real kind of emotional response when he saw our daughter on the ultrasound screen, but at least he didn’t embarrass me.
 
For me the scan was one of the most amazing experiences of my life. At this point in the pregnancy my baby actually looked like a real baby. She was super active – kicking and punching and rolling around. Her little brain was perfect, the valves in her heart were all perfect, her kidneys and bladder and stomach and all of her tiny little toes and fingers were perfect. I was just in love. She was my tiny perfect little miracle.
 
I was so proud of her and also so very proud of my body. This body that I continue to have no faith in. It was doing exactly what it was supposed to do. It was sustaining my daughter’s life and allowing her to grow into a beautiful, healthy little girl.

The following week James started a new job as a roofer. He decided after two days that he hated it and then three days later he quit. I can’t even describe my level of disappointment. What kind of an adult has that attitude to work when they have a child plus a new baby on the way? I’d never met a man with such an attitude.

I broke down crying and said he hadn’t given me a cent towards any of the baby’s expenses or my medical bills. He told me if I didn’t want to pay medical bills I should have had an abortion.

Not long after, he came to me crying and said he didn’t have enough money to pay the $500 registration fee for his car. I know I know that I should have told him to go and jump off a bridge, but I panicked that my parents were still two hours away and if something went wrong with the baby he wouldn’t be able to drive up to the hospital. So I paid his registration for him.

Then he confessed that he hadn’t been paying his phone bills for months as his unemployed status had left him broke, and the phone company was going to turn his service off. So of course I had no choice but to pay his phone bills for him too so I could stay in contact with him.

By the time I was 23 weeks pregnant he owed me over $1000. It was money I really didn’t have because of my own medical bills, and the fact I’d put heaps of my daughter’s stuff on layby at the local babies’r’us store.

When I told James’ brother-in-law that he owed me so much money, he cracked it and told me to cut James off financially because he needed to grow up and put his “big boy pants” on. At this point I half expected his family to intervene, but no. His parents remained silent and offered me no assistance. They did lend James some money, however, so he would stop asking me for it.

The day I ticked over to 24 weeks pregnant was like a massive milestone for me. I honestly never thought I’d be in a position where a baby I was carrying was given the stamp of viability.

The entire pregnancy still felt like a practical joke – like I was waiting for the other shoe to drop. But now, according to medical science, I was carrying a baby that could survive outside the womb. Suddenly I began to hope that this little girl would actually be my take-home baby.

I took the following week off work because Isaac actually came to Paradise to stay with us for 10 days.

As much as I tried to involve James, he showed very little interest in his son. I’d ask if he wanted to put Isaac in the bath but the answer was no. Did he want to help with dinner? No. Did he want to read a bedtime story? No.

Isaac and I went to the park, went swimming at the beach, played with my dog, built his lego that I’d given him for Christmas. We had so much fun together.

Every night when I put him to bed he would ask to see the baby (I’d have to lift my shirt up a little) and then tell me how much he loved me. I felt so lucky to be part of his life.

James continued to tell me how horrible his life was and it was obvious he was in the middle of some kind of mental breakdown. One afternoon he ended up taking some of the oxycodone that was left over from my last d&c when I miscarried in June 2014. Then he lay on the living room floor for hours like a zombie. I took Isaac to play at the local park so he wouldn’t have to see his dad like that.

The next day all three of us were sitting on the couch watching tv. Isaac was curled up in my lap, half asleep and stroking my hair.

“Hey Isaac, would you like to come and live with just me? Not Mummy or Sadie?” James suddenly asked his son.

Isaac sat up, shouted “No! Stay away from me!” then leaned over and punched his dad on the arm before cozying up on my lap again.

That night when Isaac went to bed James lost it at me. Blamed me for “poisoning” his son’s mind and making him love me more than he loved him. Said again that he was so depressed he wanted to die.

I tried to explain that Isaac gravitates towards me because I set clear boundaries for him and provide him with love and affection just like his mother does. I pointed out how often I tried to involve James on a daily basis, but he wasn’t interested in looking after his son. He told me 5 year olds don’t need looking after and I was treating Isaac like a baby.

I packed my bags and told him I was going to stay with my parents for a few days in the city so he could fully enjoy the parenting experience without me around to “steal” his son’s affection.

After just one night James started texting me and begging me to come home. He tried to guilt me by saying Isaac was asking for me. I was firm and said no.

When I did arrive home a few days later, Isaac ran out onto the driveway, opened my car door and climbed on top of me in the driver’s seat of the car.

“Why did you go away?” He asked. “I missed you. Please can I have a bath?”

When I asked him why he wanted a bath (because honestly 5 year old boys don’t often ask to be bathed) he told me that his daddy wouldn’t let him have one while I was gone. Honestly I was so mad at James.

Then I found out that rather than put Isaac to bed every night at 7.30pm, he’d let him stay up watching tv until after midnight when he fell asleep.

When Isaac finally went home to his mum’s house I lay awake for days stressing. Was that the life my daughter would have if James was granted joint custody? Midnight bedtimes, junk food and sporadic hygiene? I honestly felt so stuck and confused. And I was so sick of crying all the time.

But at the same time, I knew a change was coming.

And by “change” I mean my parents.

My parents were coming to Paradise and everything was about to become different.

As always – to be continued…

(p.s I’m hoping the next update will be the last and finally bring me up to speed with the present time! Here’s hoping…)

The infertile and the unwanted pregnancy

I honestly don’t really know how to write this post.

I don’t want to overdramatise it. I don’t want to make it sound worse than it was. But at the same time, I don’t want to downplay it either. Because I’ve been downplaying the events of my life to anyone and everyone who will listen for the past few months and to be quite frank I’m tired of it.

Not to mention, a lot of the details I’ve completely suppressed in my brain because I went through so much emotional trauma in such a short space of time I had no other choice but to let myself forget.

So I think I’ll just write this blog post stream of consciousness style. I’m not going to go into too many specifics here. If you can figure it out…great. If you can’t…well…ask me questions? I’ve deliberately not been responding to comments because I needed to get all of this stuff out first. But I feel ready now. So let’s do this.

Be warned: this is going to be very very long.

What was supposed to be the most joyous experience of my life – pregnancy after a long battle with infertility – was actually the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do. It led me to the darkest place in my life.

Who would have thought that finding out I was pregnant with a healthy baby would be emotionally harder than IVF, miscarriages and my husband leaving me all combined. Ha!

It wasn’t something that happened overnight, but a slow descent into madness and despair.

Once James figured out that I wasn’t rooting for a miscarriage the same as he was, he began attacking me. Never physically, just verbally.

It wasn’t always. It was just sometimes. Enough that it started to eat at my psyche, but not enough that I could outright blame him for my  emotional problems.

One of the first things he did, back when I was eight weeks pregnant, was inform me that I’d never see a cent of his money and he wouldn’t be paying me a dime of child support or any other type of maintenance.

At the time I just said okay. Because I was silly and naïve, and honestly thought that meant he was basically giving me the baby. He would terminate his parental rights and pay no child support, and I would have full custody of the baby. The baby I’d always wanted. So that was fine. I could manage on my own. No problems.

But then…he didn’t go away. He just stayed living at my house.

Instead, the campaign of psychological torment began.

He accused me of tricking him. He said I’d made up my medical diagnosis of infertility. That I knew all this time that I could get pregnant. That I’d worn him down over days, weeks and months (not true!) until he finally agreed to stop using condoms. And now I’d trapped him with this baby.

I showed him medical records that refuted his suggestions, showed him evidence of my miscarriages. I even showed him a letter from one of my treating doctors to another, stating that I would never be able to conceive naturally. Yet nothing could convince him I hadn’t trapped him.

He told me point blank that I had ruined his life. I had destroyed all his happiness. I was the cause of his complete demise. I had taken everything from him. He would never be a happy man for the rest of my life because of this baby. Because of me. The worst thing that ever happened to him was meeting me.

He said that he knew I’d never agree to an abortion because I was an “insane baby-crazy bitch” but that it was his preferred method of dealing with this situation.

Then he started creating body anxieties for me. We’d walk past a skinny girl at the grocery store and he’d lean down and whisper in my ear “once you have this baby you’ll never look like her ever again” or we’d walk past a clothing store and he’s say “your body is about to be destroyed and you’ll never be able to wear nice clothes ever again”.

He started calling me Migaloo (for those of you who don’t know, Migaloo is a very famous albino humpback whale that travels the coast of Australia every year). He started calling me Chub-Farm. He started calling me Fatty when I was eating my dinner every night.

One day I had horrible back pain so I asked him to help me stand up from the sofa and he said “Sorry I can’t help you because I don’t have a crane to lift you.”

He mocked me constantly because I’d gone “overboard” trying to keep the baby safe. I stopped drinking caffeine, refused to dye my hair and looked up every food for safety before I ate it. He said I was insane and no other pregnant ladies behaved as ridiculously as me.

At the same time as I was dealing with all of this, I was also dealing with the stress that comes from being pregnant after infertility.

For those of you who haven’t yet gone through it, the anxiety is intense. Every cramp meant I was miscarrying. Every day I didn’t cramp I was miscarrying. Every day I had morning sickness I was miscarrying. Every day I had no morning sickness I was miscarrying. Every day my boobs hurt I was miscarrying. Every day my boobs didn’t hurt I was miscarrying. I was just a wreck.

I would ring my mother absolutely hysterical at 2am, telling her I wasn’t coping. I just loved the baby and wanted it to be okay.

My obstetrician, Dr Eminem, diagnosed me with severe antenatal anxiety and sent me to see a therapist.

He also recommended I get the harmony test at 10 weeks gestation, so that I could put my mind at ease about some of the potential chromosomal abnormalities.

When I explained to James that I was having the harmony test, and that it would tell me the gender of the baby, he changed again.

He told me that all his life all he’d ever wanted was a daughter. He said when he found out his ex-wife was having a boy he’d been bitterly disappointed. That he’d never wanted to have a son.

So if the baby was a boy he would be completely devastated and not want much to do with it, but if it was a girl he would be requesting 50/50 custody.

Suddenly I felt like my life was over. I was trapped beyond anyone’s ability to rescue me. Custody? HALF custody?

This was a man who had refused to pay a cent of my medical costs to date. Even though progesterone and blood thinners and other medications were costing me around $500 out of pocket per week and I was struggling to pay my bills and mortgage. In fact I’d maxed out my credit card and was borrowing money to stay afloat. To keep this baby alive.

This was a man who didn’t care if his four year old watched television until midnight, served him junk food whenever he requested it, didn’t believe in educational activities like reading books to children and didn’t care if his kid bathed or cleaned his teeth when in his care.

This was a man who, when his son wet the bed, wrapped him up in a towel and made sleep on the wet patch all night. Because he couldn’t be bothered showering him or cleaning up the mess.

On more than one occasion he’d lost his temper when his son was misbehaving and shouted “I really hate you! Stop being a dickhead!”

Of course all of those negligent behaviours ended when I became involved in Isaac’s care. James improved as a father and his son actually began to enjoy coming to stay with him.

But this was the quintessential “weekend dad” who had no real concept of looking after a child full-time.

And suddenly this man was going to ask for 50/50 custody of my little baby IF IT WAS A GIRL? Just because he felt like he might fancy having a daughter? My little baby that I’d battled IVF for? The baby I’d hoped and prayed for? No. No no no.

It’s not that I wanted to keep the baby from him. Because I didn’t. I just didn’t want him having so much control over the baby’s life and routine. Every second weekend was okay, every second week was not. For the good of the child.

The harmony test cost me $500. James refused to contribute because as he told me, “if you hadn’t wanted to pay the medical costs you could have just had an abortion”.

In the nights leading up to getting the test results back, I could hardly sleep or eat. I was so focused on whether or not my baby was healthy. That was honestly all I cared about.

At my 11 week obstetrician’s appointment, Dr Eminem handed me a piece of paper with the results:

Risk of Trisomy 13: less than 1 in 10,000.

Risk of Trisomy 18: less than 1 in 10,000.

Risk of Trisomy 21: less than 1 in 10,000.

I was so relieved I started sobbing. Tears of relief and joy.

“Did you get everything written down there on the piece of paper?” he asked me with a twinkle in his eye.

“Yes.” I blubbered. “Everything is healthy.”

Dr Eminem laughed and pointed to the bottom of the piece of paper. A detail I’d clearly forgotten to check for.

Sex of the fetus: female.

It hit me like a ton of bricks.

The baby was a girl.

The baby was a girl.

Oh fuck my life the baby was a girl.

And do you know what? That is not the reaction I should have had, upon finding out my HEALTHY BABY was a girl. I should have been overjoyed in that moment. But instead I was terrified.

I got myself all worked up and then stormed home and hysterically informed James that I’d be hiring the best lawyer money could buy and keeping this child away from him. He screamed back that I’d be doing no such thing, grabbed his car keys and drove to my best friend’s house.

Oh yes…that’s an element of this story I forgot to mention before now. The “best friend” scenario.

You see, since moving to Paradise I’d become very close friends with the lady who sat next to me at work. She was older than me (41 years old) and divorced with two children aged seven and nine. She was my biggest support in Paradise and I spent a lot of time with her and her family. Let’s call her…Lucy.

As James had taken up work as a handyman some months before, and Lucy needed some renovations to her house, I’d put them in touch with each other. I thought I was doing the right thing by them both. They’d hit it off, and so when I socialised with Lucy, he started coming along too. It was nice to have a little group of friends in Paradise.

But that night he stormed off to her house and didn’t come back for hours.

Then it started to happen regularly. He would say abusive things to me like call me fat or tell me how much I’d ruined his life and he wished he’d never met me. I’d eventually snap and burst into tears then scream something back at him. Usually something along the lines of “you’re an uneducated fuckwit” or “you’re a loser and your own son hates you”.

Petty of me I know. But I was seriously at my wits end.

He’d get in the car and drive to Lucy’s house.

I demanded to know what was going on, but Lucy insisted she wasn’t going to get in the middle of an argument and that she was looking out for my best interests.

The only reason I knew the pair weren’t sleeping together is James and his pride. Lucy is um…a very large woman. And he’s one of those cocky good-looking guys who “wouldn’t touch a fat chick”.

Other than that, I had no idea what he was telling her. I heard him trash talking me to other people. He’d tell them I was ruining his life, that I’d trapped him, that I was abusive and demanding money from him. It’s amazing how you can really spin any story so as to appear as the victim.

What really struck me as odd was the reason Lucy was allowing this to continue. She knew better than anyone the things he was saying and doing to me, yet she continued to associate with him.

When I was 12 weeks pregnant I went to get my nuchal scan done.

I’d wanted to take my mother with me but for some bizarre unknown reason James insisted that as the baby’s father he had a right to come. Of course I agreed and welcomed him to come along to a scan. He’d never shown any interest in the baby before and I was hoping he was turning a new leaf.

But instead he sat up the back of the room playing games on his phone.

“Aren’t you interested in seeing your baby?” the sonographer asked, scowling at him.

“Pfft. Seen one ultrasound, seen them all.” he replied, not even looking up from his phone.

“Well your phone interferes with our equipment so you’ll have to turn it off.” she said angrily.

I could feel her judging him. Judging me, too. Because I was having a baby with him. He was my guest at the scan.

I was mortified. Very embarrassed.

Suddenly I felt like everyone was judging me. Like I had a giant neon sign above my head that said THIS GIRL IS AN IDIOT.

One day, when I was 14 weeks and 3 days pregnant, I was talking to one of the girls in the office about the kindergarten where she sends her little one each day while she is at work.

I’d only told everyone at work I was pregnant a few days earlier (out of necessity because I was starting to show and my morning sickness was still quite bad) so I asked her how much it cost per day. When she told me the centre was very exclusive, and the cost to send her son there, I simply laughed and said “oh well I can’t afford that kindergarten full-time on my single wage!”

“You won’t have to.” piped up Lucy out of nowhere. “You’ll only have your daughter 50% of the time. So the other half of the fortnight James can decide what to do with her care.”

I turned to her, frowning. “James isn’t getting half custody of my child.”

Then she stood up from her desk and moved to stand over me (I remained seated). I was in complete shock as she started screaming at me until she was red in the face.

I honestly can’t remember now exactly what was said, but it was definitely along the lines of “James is getting half custody of your child and there’s nothing you can do about it.” and “Only horrible mothers try to keep children from their fathers. Stop being selfish and do what’s best for your child.” and “I’ve told James all about the court system and I’ll make sure he knows how to win in court.” and “It’s disgraceful the way you are behaving.”

I was…..stunned. I was honestly trying to do what was best for my child. Why would she think handing my child over to someone who didn’t believe in proper diet, routine, bed times or education was going to be better for my child than my own disciplined, affectionate and consistent care?

I do remember mumbling “How do you expect the baby to eat when she isn’t with me? Shall I send James my breast milk every day via the express postal system?” but I don’t remember having much else to say.

Two other women in the office witnessed the incident. Both tried to step in. Both told Lucy she was out of line and to stop yelling at me.

That night when I got home from work I was beside myself. Months of torment had built up inside me.

I told James what had happened. I told him that his weird and fucked up relationship with Lucy had cost me my best friend. That the obvious lies he’d told her about our situation meant she hated me. That he’d taken away my only support in Paradise for his own selfish gain. Now I had NOBODY to support me. He’d stolen that from me.

He told me I was wrong and he’d never asked Lucy to say those things. He said she was a big girl and he wasn’t responsible for her actions. So none of it was his fault at all. And the fact he spent all his spare time with her had nothing to do with the incident at all.

Hysterical, I locked myself in my bedroom and started googling options for abortion.

I just couldn’t do it anymore.

Seven weeks of constant, consistent emotional abuse. I couldn’t deal with it for the rest of my life. And now work wasn’t a safe space either.

I loved my baby. I wanted my baby.

But I couldn’t bring her into the world. Not into the middle of this mess.

I had to end it for her now before she was forced to suffer the way that I was forced to suffer.

But it turns out that basically no medical clinics in Australia perform elective abortions after fourteen weeks. After that time, abortions were generally only if the mother’s life was in danger or the baby was in some way abnormal. I was three days too late.

So that was it…no abortion.

No other options.

I was shit out of luck.

My life was a mess.

I sat on my bathroom floor sobbing and crying for my husband.

This should have been his baby. This should have been our shared joy.

Why was this happening to me? I was a good person. Why was my baby forced to go through this with me?

Then, I stopped crying. Because I realised what I had to do.

I turned on the shower. I shaved my legs. I washed my hair. I put on makeup and made myself presentable.

Because you see, whilst I couldn’t have an abortion, nothing would stop me from killing myself and taking my baby with me. And I wanted to look decent for that.

So I drove out to these really high cliffs along the coast, where the rough surf slams mercilessly against the jagged rocks below. I decided very calmly that I was going to jump off.

I stood there for a while, trying to decide whether I should send some kind of goodbye message to my mother or my ex-husband.

Whilst I was debating that, some fishermen turned up and were fishing just down from the cliff face. I could see them watching me suspiciously.

Shit. I thought. Now I can’t kill myself. I can’t force these poor guys to watch me die. That’s just wrong.

So I slowly and calmly stepped away from the cliff face, got in my car and drove home.

I called in sick at work the next day and drove to the city to see my brother. He was very worried about me. In fact my family were so worried about my mental health that my parents actually put their house on the market and decided to move to Paradise to be closer to me. This was the support I needed. The support I craved. But for the time being it was still too far away.

The next morning I went to see my therapist and told her what had happened. I spent the entire hour long session sobbing hysterically. I’ve never cried in front of a therapist before. She insisted I needed to report the incident between Lucy and myself to my boss at work in case it escalated further.

So when I got to work I went into the boss’s office and blubbered again while I told her what had happened. I asked her not to take the matter any further. I begged her. But she insisted that Lucy needed to be spoken to.

Well Lucy was furious. She told everyone at work I had dobbed to the boss and that I wasn’t a trusted member of the team. She told everyone she was going to freeze me out of her life to protect her from my meanness. And do you know what? They all sided with her.

“You don’t tell the boss that kind of stuff” they’d say. “We’re a team and we stick together. You don’t go behind the team’s back.”

So that was that.

My home life was a wreck.

My work life was a wreck.

And do you know through this whole process that little baby just kept on growing? Just kept on hitting every milestone. Getting bigger and stronger.

It was such a weird feeling because I honestly loved her so much. I was in awe of her.

But at the same time I did see my pregnancy as ruining my life, the same way that James saw that I’d ruined his life. This pregnancy was somehow the worst thing that had ever happened to me.But I needed to keep her safe more than anything else. I needed to protect her because I was her mummy. It was very hard to reconcile those feelings.

When I was 15 weeks pregnant, I ran into an old friend. Actually he was someone that I used to work with, back when I was in my early 20s. He’d also worked with my ex-husband Doug. I’m fairly certain he was the only person on my Facebook friends list who was also still Facebook friends with Doug. And he remained on my Facebook purely because he was “inconsequential” as I never socialised with him.

But he was holidaying at the beach in Paradise and I ran into him at the store. He immediately began gushing over how happy he was to see I was finally pregnant. Of course I just smiled and thanked him. I wasn’t going to unload my mammoth miseries onto this poor guy.

“It’s so nice to see you and Doug are both doing so well after your divorce.” he said. “Here you are having the baby you always wanted, and Doug seems to be very happy and settled with his new partner.”

After that, I cried for days.

I really don’t know what else to say.

Finding out that Doug was happy felt like losing him all over again. I was literally, genuinely, honestly, going through the darkest period of my life and he was happy with some other girl.

There was nothing I could do about it. I felt like I didn’t deserve to be happy. Like the universe was punishing me. Like I was destined to be miserable forever. 

When I was 16 weeks pregnant, James woke up one day and realised he’d done the wrong thing.

He opened his eyes and saw what was really happening. Saw how horribly depressed I was. Realised that I’d had a breakdown. That I wasn’t coping.

He cried and said he was sorry. Said he should never have treated me so poorly. Promised to stay away from Lucy. Told me that he loved me and wanted to be with me as a family.

And you know, by that point, the idea of being near James pretty much physically repulsed me.

But I said I would give it a shot.

And this is where I lose you right? You stop caring about my plight. Because nobody could be that stupid?

But you have to understand how messed up I was. All I could think about was protecting my child. Custody of my child.

It was my job to protect my daughter no matter what. A mother puts her child before herself every time.

And if I stayed with James, he could never take her away from me.

She would be in my care 100% of the time. And I could make sure she was happy and thriving and smart and emotionally stable.

If I told him to get out, I’d never have that magic 100%. Maybe I could fight in court and get 90% or 80%. Maybe worst case scenario I’d have only 50%.

I knew I wasn’t happy with James. But I knew my baby would be happier with me. I knew my baby needed me 100%.

So I said okay. I said I would try.

I know more than anything I’m going to be judged by all of you for this. I know you’ll all think I’m stupid and ask me why I didn’t leave. Why I didn’t make him leave.

I’m absolutely not suggesting I was a victim of domestic violence (I want to be clear that James never touched a hair on my head nor will he ever) but I liken the emotional response as similar.

I felt trapped. Weak. Powerless. I felt like I literally couldn’t do anything about it. My rational brain was screaming that I could, but my fear and doubt were telling me to stay rooted to the spot. I know nobody can understand that unless they’ve been through it themselves.

Plus, I’d just lost my husband in 2014. I felt like this was my only chance now. Nobody would want me once I was a single mother with a deadbeat baby daddy.

If my loving, amazing, supportive husband had turned his back on me and then James was telling me I was worthless…well maybe they were both right. Maybe nobody else was ever going to love me. Maybe this was just it. I didn’t get any more chances. I was either with James and sometimes unhappy, or alone and always miserable.

And I do want to say that James wasn’t bad all of the time. It wasn’t a 24/7 thing.

Some days he was better, some days he was worse.

Some days he would make me a cup of tea and rub my feet for me. Other days he would scream at me that I was a crazy worthless bitch that had ruined his life. I never knew which side of James I was going to see on any given day.

At this point in my story we are up to November 2015.

There’s obviously still a lot more to go.

But just writing all of this stuff has been emotionally draining.

I feel very nervous even writing all this because I fear being ridiculed, abused and judged by strangers on the internet. I’m not even going to tag this post because I don’t want many people reading it.

Maybe I’ll delete it soon because I’m ashamed at how much shit I put up with. Reading it back to myself now I sound like such a fool.

I know I just said it but I’ll say it again: you don’t know how you will react until you are in the same situation.

I considered myself a strong person. I still consider myself a strong person to keep myself alive and functional through these dark times.

I only had one sick day the entire first trimester, even though I was having a mental breakdown. Doesn’t that count for anything?

Through all of this I just kept on keeping on.

I am a stupid person for getting myself into this situation.

I honestly thought I couldn’t conceive. I honestly didn’t want this.

But I have it now.

It’s my reality whether I like it or not.

There’s no going back from this.

Only forward, into the abyss.

And nothing is more important to me than my baby. I love my baby very fiercely and everything I do in my life now is about making her life better.

I’ll update again when I find the mental strength.

Sorry for this long and rambling post.

And sorry if you think less of me.

Sadie xx.

Go home and wait to miscarry

It was the morning after the night before.

I had driven back to Paradise after my positive pregnancy test, completely in shock and also sort of numb. I honestly didn’t know what to think or how to feel.

Focusing on the road stretched out in front of me, I mentally calculated timeframes.

The month of May was when we transitioned away from condoms. We’d only had unprotected sex once in May, but it was the week before I’d started my period.

We’d had unprotected sex twice at the start of June and several times right before I got my period. Never in the middle of the month.

In July, James had taken on a month long construction labourer contract back in the city so we hadn’t seen much of each other and only had sex sparingly. Maybe a few times right before I got my period.

In August, we started in a good place emotionally and had sex basically every night for the first two weeks. Then the arguing escalated and we’d had sex maybe once more before calling quits on our relationship.

August.

Had I conceived in August?

Had I conceived the very first month I’d had unprotected sex around the time a woman normally ovulated?

I mean…as far as every doctor had told me I didn’t even ovulate. And if I did miraculously ovulate, my tubes were too blocked for the egg to get through. And if the egg did get through a tube my endometriosis and high prolactin levels would kill off the embryo.

No pregnancy. No way. No how.

And yet…the little FRER stick tucked into my handbag said differently.

The first thing I did when I arrived back in Paradise was call to make an appointment with a local doctor. Thankfully, he said he could fit me in right when the clinic opened at 8.30am.

The clinic was next to a supermarket, so while I was waiting for 8.30am to roll around I went and bought a Clearblue Digital with a conception indicator. I figured it would give me a more accurate indication of what was actually going on, particularly as I’d used late evening urine with the original test.

Almost as soon as my urine hit the stick, the digital screen lit up with Pregnant: 3+.

Suddenly I began to question even my own timelines. Could I have conceived back in June or July and just continued to have menstrual bleeding? I’d definitely heard of it happening before.

Then I started making a mental list of all the non-pregnancy friendly things I’d done in the past month….

  • I had ridden my bicycle to work every day.
  • I’d guzzled green tea to try and lose some weight before summer arrived.
  • I’d had some alcoholic beverages the week before. Me! Someone who hadn’t drunk alcohol in years even while unsuccessfully trying to conceive! And ironically I had consumed alcohol whilst pregnant.
  • Ohhh I had taken Isaac to the theme park and ridden the rollercoaster all day. That couldn’t be good…

Finally the clinic opened and the doctor ushered me into his consultation room. I explained that I was unexpectedly pregnant, and gave a brief history of my infertility.

“Wait…” he started incredulously. “You asked a different doctor for the contraceptive pill and he’d told you not to bother? That is…super negligent. Really bad. I can’t believe it!”

It was the first time it had occurred to me how stupid that previous doctor had actually been. No one is ever one hundred percent guaranteed not to fall pregnant naturally unless they’re missing their womb, both tubes or ovaries. Sure my chances of not falling pregnant were 99.99% but that still wasn’t a guarantee.

The doctor ordered beta hcg blood work just to confirm I was actually pregnant. He put a rush on the test and told me he’d phone me in the afternoon.

Whilst having my blood drawn, I explained my situation to the phlebotomist. She was a young girl, maybe 23 or 24, with long blonde hair. She rocked back on her heels in shock.

“Get fucked!” she gasped. “No way! Get fucked! That’s amazing!”

Well…um…yep…that was definitely a concise way to sum up my situation.

I went home in a daze and sat in the kitchen waiting for my phone to ring. I felt like I had been transported back to the old days of waiting for the fertility clinic to call with embryo fertilization reports or hcg results.

“Why do you look so miserable?” asked James, coming into the kitchen to make himself lunch. “And why do you have medical tape on your arm like you’ve had a blood test?”

In that moment I instantly decided now was not the time to tell James what was happening. He had made it very clear right from the beginning that his son was enough for him and he didn’t want any more children. Not to mention the fact we’d broken up and he was currently looking for a new home to rent.

“I have the flu…” I muttered.

Thankfully he didn’t question me further, and chose to go back to watching television.

Finally the phone rang. It was the call I had been waiting for.

“Hi Sadie,” said the doctor. “Your hcg result was very positive. Your level is 5500. I’m going to suggest you’re at least 6 weeks along. But given your previous history, I need you to get an ultrasound as soon as possible so we can rule out an ectopic ok?”

I agreed. Of course I agreed. I was both scared and excited.

But I was also so confused. Was this actually going to happen? Was I actually going to have a baby? With a man I didn’t love? Where was my husband? Why couldn’t this have happened a year ago?

I remembered back to the hundreds – or maybe even thousands – of times that I’d prayed and wished and begged to have a baby. Maybe this was my own fault. Maybe I hadn’t been specific enough.

Do you remember that Brendan Fraser movie Bedazzled where the devil (played by Liz Hurley) grants him three wishes in exchange for his soul? And he wishes to be rich and powerful, with his girl crush Frances O’Connor as his wife? The devil grants his wish and makes Frances O’Connor his wife, except it turns out she hates him and is cheating on him? Because whilst making the wish he didn’t ask for her to love him only to be married to him.

Do you get what I’m trying to say here? Maybe instead of just wishing for a baby I needed to wish for a baby with my husband. This whole thing was happening in such a messed up way because I hadn’t been careful enough in my wishing.

Two agonising days later, it was finally time to get my scan done at the clinic.

Once again, I explained my history to the sonographer and told her that I’d probably had hundreds of pelvic ultrasounds so I would know what I was looking at. She seemed quite stunned by that.

After I got undressed and sat up on the table, she placed the ultrasound wand on my pelvis, pressing down onto my overfull bladder.

My eyes were keenly glued to the screen across the room. Looking…waiting…

She moved the wand left and right, digging further into my bladder.

Blank. The screen was blank.

“There’s no gestational sac.” I said matter-of-factly.

I’d been pregnant several times before and knew this drill too well. Pregnancies didn’t go well for me. This was the expected outcome. I was in comfortable territory. I knew the deal. I could cope with this. Right. Okay. I was going to be 29 years old with 5 pregnancy losses under my belt. Fine.

“We’d better get you to empty your bladder and do an internal scan.” the sonographer said. “With levels at 5500 two days ago and the uterus empty, we need to check your tubes immediately.”

As soon as the internal scan began, a small sac popped up on the screen smack bang in the middle of my uterus.

“You see that?” the sonographer asked.

“Yeah I see it.” I nodded. “I don’t see a yolk sac or a fetal pole though.”

“No.” she agreed. “The sac is very small and it looks like it’s empty.”

She called a doctor into the room, who confirmed her diagnosis.

“I’m really sorry.” he said. “My best guess is that this is a blighted ovum. With your levels as high as they are, we really should see something bigger than this. My advice is to go home and wait to miscarry.”

“Okay.” I said calmly. “And what if I don’t start bleeding?”

“If you haven’t started bleeding within a week, I’ll need to schedule you an emergency appointment to see one of the best obstetricians at the private hospital.” said the doctor. “He deals with complicated cases like yours. You will probably need a d&c.”

That night, I was sitting in the living room watching tv with James when his phone rang.

It was his sister, Sharon. She and I were friends, and it was in fact at her Halloween party where I’d met James in 2014.

“Hey James put me onto speaker phone!” I heard her shout down the phone.

As soon as he complied with her request and placed the phone on the coffee table between us, she started shrieking excitedly.

“Guess what James! Guess what Sadie!” she screamed. “We’re having a baby! We’re pregnant! I’m going to be a mummy!”

My heart dropped into my stomach. It was the jolt of emotion that I badly needed to knock me out of my numb stupor.

Sharon’s child would have been my child’s cousin. They would have been the same age. Grown up together. Been best friends. Sharon and I would have gone through our pregnancies together.

As soon as she hung up, the flood gates opened. I just cried and cried and cried.

James, assuming I was upset because I am infertile, came and sat beside me and quietly hugged me. He kept telling me over and over that it was all right to be sad about the fact Sharon was pregnant and I couldn’t have kids. He kept telling me it wasn’t my fault.

I just couldn’t tell him the truth.

That I was mourning for another lost dream. Another hope dashed. Another failure. Another chance at happiness.

All I had to do now was make it through the next week.

At the end of a week I would have a more clear understanding of my future.

By that time, I’d either have miscarried already or I would be on my way to see the obstetrician who could give me some real answers.

Little did I know, it would be the longest week of my life…

To be continued! Hoorayyyyyy……