Tag Archive | infertility

My baby is beautiful

Harriet had an awful day today.

Cranky all day. Crying needlessly. Just really testy. 

Didn’t want to play. Didn’t want tumny time. Screamed to be fed, screamed on the boob. Didn’t want to be held. Didn’t want to be put down. I mean friggen hell kid you’re either held or you’re not held…please pick one!

The situation was made worse by the fact I currently have a migraine and her constant shrieking was driving me up the wall.

Don’t get me wrong I absolutely adore her and everything about being a mama. But I just needed someone with me today to help out a little when the throbbing in my head became too much. 

So this afternoon when my mother said she was going to do the grocery shopping, I said I’d come too because quite honestly I couldn’t be alone with the crying for a few hours. Not with my head pounding like it was.

So my mother went into the supermarket and I sat outside to wait. Harriet was sitting on my lap wrapped up in a blanket to ward off the last remnants of the winter chill. 

Harriet was finally in a good mood. Alert, cooing, looking around at everything. 

She loves to be in the thick of things. She’s not a laid back or easy-going baby, she enjoys (read: demands) constant stimulation. 

After a few minutes an older lady approached. She was maybe late 50s, with her grown up daughter beside her.

“Oh what a beautiful baby!” she gushed loudly. “Such a gorgeous, beautiful baby!”

And then she rushed over and started patting the big black dog that was tied to the metal leg of the bench I was sitting on. She had been talking about the dog the entire time.

Suddenly she noticed me.

“Oh how awkward,” she said. “You probably thought I meant your baby was beautiful. You probably thought I was talking about your baby.”

Not knowing what else to do I simply smiled at her. I assumed now that she’d put us both in this weird situation she would at least acknowledge Harriet.

I knew all this lady needed to do was make eye contact with Harriet and she would melt into smiles and giggles. She was certainly in the mood for it.

But what happened was entirely the opposite.

“Well that’s just very sad for you and also sad for your baby. I feel bad for you.” the lady simply said before her daughter sniggered and they both walked away laughing.

At first the incident meant nothing to me and I brushed it off. But it’s been 12 hours and now it’s really starting to eat away at me.

The truth is I don’t feel bad for myself, I feel bad for my baby. 

She deserved a little bit of attention from that old lady. Even a quarter of the attention the dog was given. She deserved it because she’s beautiful too.

She deserved it because after a shit of a day she was finally in a good mood and she would have loved the interaction.

She deserved it because all babies are beautiful and even though she couldn’t understand, I know one day she will. And I don’t ever want her to feel like she isn’t worthy of affection.

She deserved it because she gets loved all over by her mama and her nanna but her father barely looks in her direction and my baby deserves all the attention she can get.

She is my miracle. She’s stronger than that old lady will ever know. Strong enough to manage an impossible conception. Strong enough to survive 9 months in a uterus filled with fibroids. Strong enough to cope during her first days, all alone without her mummy’s touch because she was stuck in an incubator on oxygen. 

My miracle baby was shunned today outside a supermarket. I can’t believe I even have to write those words.

And yes it all means nothing. That old lady probably doesn’t like babies and I’m still full of hormones that make me a blubbering mess. I’m aware that I’m making a mountain out of a molehill. 

But I’ll be damned if anybody ever makes my kid feel like she isn’t beautiful when I’m around to prevent it.

My baby is a beautiful, special little miracle. End of story. 

Actually that’s not the end of the story…

When that lady leaned down to pat the big black dog today it snapped at her. Well ain’t that karma!

My Harriet – I am so proud of you and your fierce, sassy little attitude. Don’t ever let anybody make you feel unworthy of attention or affection. You’re my little superstar. Shine brightly always.

Sadie xx

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I’m still here (and photos!)

Wowzers. Sorry for being away so long.

Motherhood (particularly as a single mum) has knocked me around very badly. I truly never expected it to be this hard. 

I’ve been battling so many issues that I never thought I’d have to deal with and the anxiety is incredible. I won’t even bother mentioning Harriet’s traumatic birth because I’ll save that for a different post but I’m sure you’ll want some highlights from the past two months…

For starters I’ve got massive breastfeeding problems – I’ve had mastitis six times already. Three times required antibiotics and one was so bad I needed hospitalization. 

The constant antibiotics gave me nipple thrush which is treatment resistent and has now gotten into my milk ducts. It has started travelling to other parts of my body and I now have it in my throat and mouth too.

It means my let-downs feel like someone is pouring acid on my chest and every time Harriet feeds I cry from pain. They keep treating me but it’s not improving.

Hmm what else? Oh yes. James had a total break-down when Harriet was a couple of weeks old and his treatment of me became so terrible even he finally realised he had a massive problem. So I finally got him to a doctor’s clinic and on antidepressants. 

Again, this is a whole other post for another time but let’s just say he has made adjusting to parenthood ten times harder than it should be. I felt like I was raising two children.

I’ve also been struggling massively with anxiety. I’m paranoid Harriet is going to die in her sleep, paranoid she hates me, paranoid I’m going to die and leave her to be raised by James and paranoid she isn’t hitting her milestones or something is wrong with her.

For the first few weeks I didn’t bond with her at all. I would cry and scream and tell my mother something was wrong with me. I needed so badly to protect her and keep her alive but at the same time felt no affection for her. 

The doctor suspects it was due to the fact we were separated straight away when she was born and I didn’t really see her for the first few days so we had no initial skin to skin etc. It was terrifying and the moment the love finally hit me was just utter relief. 

Oh and it’s worth mentioning once again that my ex got remarried just to add to all the fun.

Honestly I have so many half written posts to eventually finish and publish. And the longer I leave it the harder it will be to catch up and say everything I want to say. Except right now I’m not strong enough and I don’t have the energy.

But I swear it’s not all bad! Harriet is 9 weeks old now and time is flying so I thought I’d at least post some photos to see you all through until I can actually post something substantial. And maybe some of the photos will speak for themselves.

All I can say is that she is honestly my whole world. She is my reason for existing. And she is absolutely thriving. She is in the 85th percentile for height and weight and a very smiley contented baby. 

I love her, I love her, I love her.

Week one

Week Two

Week Three

Week Four

Week Five

Week Six

Week Seven

Week Eight

Week Nine

That’s all for now.

I will try hard to update properly soon.

Sadie xx

And then there was her…

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Harriet Quinn S.

Born 12 May at 8.18am.

8 pounds 2 ounces of squishy goodness with a full head of black hair.

We’ve been through a few days of chaos with the little one sick in the neonatal special care unit whilst I was unwell myself after accidentally being administered a drug I was allergic to.

We are still in hospital and I’ll update fully in the near future.

But for now she’s here.

She’s mine.

I couldn’t ask for anything more.

I have a short legged baby…

I had my 30 week appointment today (even though I’ve just ticked over to 31 weeks).

As usual, I am measuring 2 weeks ahead.

Fundal height is 33 weeks. Baby’s head is measuring 33 weeks. Baby’s torso is 33 weeks. But baby’s legs are 30 weeks.
Baby’s legs were at 29 weeks at my last appointment 2 weeks ago. So legs have had 1 week of growth in a fortnight.

The doctor measured 3 times just to be sure and got 30 weeks for the femurs each time.

He said not to be worried. But…I mean…it’s me…so I am worried.

I know short femurs is a soft marker for down syndrome. But my Harmony test came back at less than 1 in 10,000 risk and my nuchal scan was less than 1 in 15,000 risk.

So what’s the deal here? Should I be worried about dwarfism?

My doctor says maybe she is just short. He said he will measure her again at 36 weeks and not to think about it until then.

I’m 5’4 but my dad and brother are both over 6 foot. James is 6’3, both his parents are tall and his sister is even 6 foot. What are the chances of me having a short kid?!

I am freaking out here you guys and imagining a tiny legged kid with a huge head.

What DEFCON level should I be at here?? Because I’m not going to lie I’m probably sitting at DEFCON 3 right now but will happily slide into DEFCON 2 if you tell me to.

My no-complaints pregnancy

All the years I was going through the fresh hell that is IVF, I swore over and over that if I ever managed to fall pregnant and stay pregnant I’d never once complain. Not a single complaint.

So everything in this blog post is what I would say if I were able to complain. But I can’t complain so I won’t.

I’m merely just listing out the following complaints as an example of how not to behave when you’re experiencing a miracle pregnancy…..
Continue reading

Oops my doctor thinks I’m a wackadoodle…

I don’t know if I’ve ever mentioned it before, but in “real life” (because…my words on the internet aren’t real life?) I’m a researcher.

I work at a university, I have a masters degree and I began my doctorate but deferred my studies when my ex-husband left me in 2014. Eventually I hope to go back, finish my PhD, and become Doctor Sadie. Yes Doctor Sadie – because in the world of pseudo-anonymous online blogging, there are no surnames…

The fact I was born with the ability to conduct rigorous academic research in my sleep has been both a curse and a blessing over the past few years.

It’s meant I was always fully capable of arming myself with cold hard facts during fertility treatment, IVF, surgeries, miscarriages, and all the other fun stuff us infertiles get to deal with on the daily. I always bypassed the anecdotal evidence available in copious amounts on Google, and went straight for the good stuff in peer reviewed academic journals.

And every time my hairdresser would say something like “Oh well my sister’s best friend’s cousin’s accountant was doing IVF and she started drinking Pepsi Max and fell pregnant straight away.” instead of rushing out and buying Pepsi Max by the carton I would think hmmm I wonder if there have been any clinical trials conducted on the effects of aspartame in infertile women under the age of 30.

But on the flip side, it’s also meant a lot of sleepless nights for me. Too much knowledge can be dangerous. Too much knowledge leads to anxiety, depression and sometimes mild hysteria. Knowing risk factors, knowing the research, the statistics, the likely outcomes…is not always a benefit.

But now I’m pretty sure my current obstetrician, Doctor Eminem, thinks I’m a wackadoodle. Why? Well I’m glad you asked because I’m going to tell you.

I attended my 28 week appointment yesterday. I’m actually 29 weeks but due to scheduling issues, we had the appointment a little later than usual.

First up I was given the news that I don’t have gestational diabetes. This absolutely shocked me, to be honest. I’m carrying a huge-ass bump out the front of my person. Like I mean people are already stopping me in the street and asking if I’m overdue. And don’t get me started on the old “is it twins?” jaunt. Why do people think it’s okay to ask that question? I don’t go up to random strangers and ask them why they’re so damn fat.

Plus don’t forget that PCOS puts me into a high risk category for GD (hello years of metformin!), I have a family history, I’ve stacked on way too much weight (already up 12kg – or 26 pounds – by 27 weeks, though this can likely be chalked up to emotional eating due to stress) and I fainted at work the other week.

So I was fully expecting the news that I would be replacing my Snickers bars with celery sticks. But all rejoice! The Snickers gets to stay!

Next up we did some measurements. My fundal height is now 31 weeks. This is no surprise to me as like I said, I’m carrying big. My tilted uterus makes me look even bigger than 31 weeks so I was just glad he didn’t say I was measuring 36 weeks or something!

Next up, I got my ultrasound. In Australia, in the private health system, you get an ultrasound every 4 weeks. At my last ultrasound (which you’ll know was at 24 weeks if you can count backwards in denominations of four ;)) my fatso baby was measuring at 25+4.

This time, her tummy is measuring 30+6, her legs 30+5 and her head 31 weeks. So that’s pretty much perfectly consistent with my fundal height of 31 weeks. Is it because we don’t know when I conceived and I’m actually 31 weeks along? Or is she just a monster baby?

She weighs approximately 1500 grams (3.3 pounds) which is 400 grams more than she should weigh at 29 weeks but spot-on for 31 weeks. Hmmm….

After the scan was done, Doctor Eminem tried to convince me to schedule an elective c-section to protect my pelvic floor from my monster baby. I am absolutely against this for a number of reasons.

I told him that firstly I want to be able to experience vaginal birth as this is likely the only time I’ll get to do this. Secondly, I want to be able to get up and move around straight after I give birth. Thirdly, the short-term recovery is better for vaginal births.

Lastly (and most importantly) I want the dump of hormones and chemicals after a natural birth that lowers a mother’s risk of postnatal depression. Given I’ve had multiple miscarriages and I’m still going through prenatal depression, I’m already in a very high risk category for PND. I don’t want to increase my risk any further by having an elective c-section.

Doctor Eminem worked out pretty quickly I wasn’t going to budge on that one, so then he started talking to me about elective induction instead. He actually gave me some copies of some studies conducted recently that show women who have elective inductions between 38 and 40 weeks gestation have a 19% lower risk of emergency c-section and their infant mortality rate was less than half that of women whose babies are born after their estimated due date.

The studies he provided me with are quite compelling but I’m not entirely convinced because I know that on the flipside the epidural rate is 20% higher in inductions (and of course an epidural will also prevent that dump of happy hormones after birth) plus I also don’t like the idea of being stuck to an IV drip and not being able to walk around during contractions.

I’m also looking at studies that show when a mother’s brain signals that it’s time to start labour (yes we spell labour with a “u” in Australia – deal with it) the baby’s lungs are coated with an extra large dose of a protein called surfactant that helps the baby to transition to breathing air after they are born.

Surfactant coats the baby’s lungs from around 32 weeks gestation onwards, however right before birth they receive a large and crucial dose. That dose is never provided to the baby during an induction because the process is artificial so the mother’s brain misses the signal, and this is why induced babies are more likely to suffer respiratory problems as newborns.

So with regards to the induced labour I have some more research to do and some decisions to make.

But then I was all like “Hey Doc, while we’re talking about medical studies I’d like to raise a few questions with you.”

He was all like “Oh okay Sadie sure.”

And then…I hit him with the wackadoodle!

“As you know,” I began. “I’m Rh negative and due now for my first shot of anti-d” (that’s a Rogam shot for you Americans)

“Yes.” said the doctor. “You’ll receive your first anti-d injection today.”

“Well, keeping in mind that I clearly understand why this shot is administered and I’ve happily had the shot after all of my previous miscarriages, I’d like to discuss the persistent assertion that women who have the anti-d injection are at an increased risk of having a child with autism.”

*silence*

“As a researcher I’m very aware that correlation and causation are two different things.” I continued. “I’m also very aware that a lot of the evidence that supports this claim is purely anecdotal. But a study was conducted which demonstrated a 62% increase of autism in the children of women who had the anti-d injection. Of course this could be a genetic factor linked to the Rh negative blood itself and the fact these women received the shots was just coincidence. Can you please debunk this theory for me so I can have a clear conscience when you administer my anti-d injection?”

*more silence*

And then I’m just looking at the doctor like oh crap please don’t think I’m crazy because honestly I’m happy to have the shot! I just really wanted some good medical studies to put my mind at ease.

I’m not a person who believes in woo-woo pseudo science. I’m not a person who believes that autism is caused by basically anything and everything including vaccinations, patting your head whilst rubbing your tummy or listening to Justin Bieber music (which, I’d like to add, is a well known use of torture in prison camps around the world).

But there’s a very strong genetic history of autism in James’ family. It’s across several generations but seems to be getting worse. In fact, James has a brother and a sister. Between the three siblings, they have had four children.

His sister’s son is far enough along the spectrum that he has to attend special school and both of his brother’s sons are also autistic. One nephew is severely autistic and non-verbal.

The only child in the new generation of his family not to have autism so far is James’ own son Isaac. So of course autism is something I’m very aware of, even with the understanding that the condition is genetic and cannot for the most part be avoided.

And if I do have an autistic child that’s totally fine and I will love her no differently and raise her to be a beautiful young woman. Just so we’re clear. I just don’t ever want to feel guilt for causing her autism through a decision I made. Get what I’m saying?

“You know what Sadie?” Doctor Eminem finally said. “Don’t have the shot.”

“But…but…I want to have the shot!” I spluttered. “I don’t want to risk my baby being Rh positive, my body creating antibodies and hurting the baby!”

“If you started bleeding would you agree to have the shot immediately?” he asked.

“Yes of course!” I answered.

“Well then the risk to your current baby is quite frankly nil.” he said. “Once upon a time, the anti-d injection wasn’t manufactured in large quantities so Rh negative mothers only received the shot once their baby was born. They didn’t get the shots at 28 and 36 weeks. And in all my years as an obstetrician, I’ve never once seen a woman develop antibodies. So we’ll wait until the baby is born like they did a few years ago, and give you the shot then. That way not only are your hypothetical future babies protected but if your current baby ends up having autism you’ll know it’s not because you got that injection.”

I had to admit, Doctor Eminem’s logic was sound. I wasn’t aware that up until recently women only received the shot once their babies were born. That made me feel a lot better.

Plus…let’s be honest…the chance of Miss Infertile Australia spontaneously falling pregnant twice in her lifetime is slim to nil. So future babies are unlikely to be a factor to stress about…

“Right.” I said. “Let’s move on to the whooping cough vaccination.”

*silence*

*crickets chirping*

*tumbleweed rolls past the doctor’s desk*

“Vaccinations don’t cause autism.” Doctor Eminem blurted out, a wild look in his eyes.

“I absolutely agree.” I said ardently. “I’m a very strong proponent of vaccinations and my child will be fully vaccinated. I am fully vaccinated. I had a whooping cough booster only two years ago! Every single person who will be coming into contact with the baby in her first few weeks of life including James, my parents, his parents and my grandparents have been given a booster since I fell pregnant.”

“Okay so what’s the problem?” he asked.

“Well I just want some evidence of the safety of administering the booster whilst pregnant.” I explained. “The Boostrix vaccine insert recommends the shot not be given to pregnant women. I understand this is because vaccine manufacturers routinely exclude pregnant women from their clinical trials and I’m not questioning this. But from what I can see, the only clinical trials that have been conducted for pregnancy have been trials of rabbits and mice. There was one very small study conducted on humans in Europe, but the study population was tiny and I wouldn’t think it overly reliable. I am wary of allowing myself to be injected with a vaccine whilst pregnant, before rigorous clinical trials are conducted on humans. Your thoughts?”

“My thoughts?” asked Doctor Eminem. “Well…um…my thoughts are that you shouldn’t get the booster during pregnancy.”

“But Doc!” I gasped. “Australia is in the middle of its worst ever whooping cough epidemic! And by administering the booster shot to pregnant women between weeks 28 and 32 of their pregnancy, they pass partial immunity to their baby! I need the shot!”

(As you can see…it was like I was playing devils advocate with myself and my doctor was merely along for the wackadoodle ride.)

“Yes it’s true that the booster does provide partial immunity for the baby.” the doctor agreed. “But you personally are already protected by your recent vaccination and everyone in your family is protected. If you plan to isolate the baby prior to her first round of shots when she’s six weeks old then don’t even worry about it. That’s a good level of protection. Then you won’t have to worry about the validity of the research into administration of the vaccine during pregnancy.”

So basically…I went into the appointment hoping my doctor would debunk my concerns regarding the anti-d injection and the whooping cough vaccination, and instead I technically won both the arguments and the end result was no shots for me. And the truth is that was not the outcome I wanted! I really want the shots! I just wanted him to prove me wrong! Argh!!

I’m still pretty certain I’m going to go ahead and get the whooping cough booster shot. I don’t like the idea of her being exposed, even if I keep her at home. I guess I have a few weeks to decide.

And now I’m going to ask for some of that anecdotal evidence I try so hard to avoid!!

Did you get the anti-d (rogam) injection whilst pregnant? Did you ever worry about it affecting your baby?

Did you get a whooping cough booster whilst pregnant? Did you feel safer knowing your baby had partial immunity?

Oh oh! And can anyone share a story with me about elective labour induction? Or just induction in general? What was recovery like? Were you able to move around? Did you need an epidural? Did your baby have breathing problems?

Hit me with your lovely anecdotes!!

Lots of love,

Sadie xx

p.s I think this post definitively proves I’m basically incapable of writing anything less than 2000 words even when I’m not moaning about my stressful life. #sorrynotsorry

The last of the update posts

Can you believe I’m back already? Hopefully this post will bring us up to the present time. As per usual – this will be a long one. Hopefully our last long post!
 
At the start of February, the sale of the house my parents had owned in the city for 30 years was finalised and they had to vacate. Unfortunately, their new house was not ready for settlement for another two weeks.

So of course they hauled all their boxes and furniture to Paradise, stored them in my garage and moved in with me temporarily. It was the least I could do, considering I was soon to be moving in with them for more than a year!
 
James had been promising to move out for weeks, but unsurprisingly by the time my parents arrived he was still living in my front bedroom.  You see, he’d started yet another new job and then quit after less than a fortnight. So he had no money to move out and rent his own place.
 
This was something that was giving me high anxiety, because my father, who struggles to hold back his sour feelings at the best of times, was about at the point where he was ready to hit James with a baseball bat.

Like, I get it. It must be hard to watch some deadbeat guy walk all over your only daughter and treat her very badly. I’d wanna hurt the guy too!
 
But along with my mother, we sat him down and explained to him that even though James had been treating me terribly for a sustained period of time, we had to tread very lightly. If he were to lash out at James at any point, no matter what he’d done to cause my father to react that way, then it would actually be bad for me in the long run.

Because I wanted to request full custody of my daughter for at least the first two years after her birth, and if at any point my dad screamed at James or physically manhandled him out of my house then James could argue that he didn’t want his child living with someone who was violent and it could end up affecting me in the Family Court. I didn’t need to give James any ammunition against me.
 
On the day they arrived, my mother announced that she was moving into my bedroom. My parents have a large dog that sleeps outside each night, and she said that as the dog had never lived in a house other than the one they’d just sold, she was concerned their dog would cry all night alone in the backyard.

She explained that as my bedroom is at the very back of the house, if she was sleeping in my bedroom the dog could still see her and may remain calm and not disturb the neighbours. But if you ask me this was just an excuse to be with me all night and stop James coming into my room in the evenings, saying abusive things and upsetting me.

My mother also took over a lot of the cleaning and cooking duties. It was a huge relief as James refused to do any kind of housework at all so having to continually clean up after both of us was getting exhausting.

Unfortunately, James readily started taking advantage of my mother. He was eating all the food she cooked, without ever offering to recompense her for the money she was spending on groceries. She was also doing his washing and cleaning for him. My mother was silently seething about it, but put it up with it to keep the peace.
 
One night, I was lying in bed, when James started texting me from the front bedroom. You know I can’t even remember what he was texting me now but I know it was bad. Probably stuff along the usual lines – I’d ruined his life, he wished I’d had a miscarriage, he hated me for keeping the baby, I should buy him a boat as compensation for the hell I was putting him through etc etc.
 
I started crying and showed my mother my phone. She got so angry and told me instead of sitting in my room blubbering I should go down to his room and confront him in person.
 
At this point I will admit I stepped a bit outside my own personality. I snapped and stormed down there, barged into the front bedroom and told James he was a “fucking loser” with no education, no job and no hope in life and that I didn’t want my daughter exposed to his nonsense.

He screamed back that I was a “full retard” (naturally I asked him how many full retards have masters degrees and have started their doctorates but he didn’t have an answer for that) and he didn’t want our daughter exposed to me.

Then he burst out into the hallway. My parents were both sitting in the living area listening to him as he screamed at me and told me how much he hated me and that he was leaving the house immediately to get away from me because I was a bully and a retard.

I was bawling my eyes out and so stressed I had pain shooting down the sides of my uterus. He stormed out of the house and slammed the front door.
 
My father then started screaming that James was never allowed near me ever again and they would no longer allow him to subject me to such verbal abuse. I was so hysterical I actually vomiting.
 
Literally 25 minutes later, James texted me:

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He begged to be allowed to come home because he was sitting by the side of the road crying. I told him that he could come back inside as long as he went straight to his bedroom without saying a word to anyone and stayed away from me. He also had to agree to see a doctor and seek help for his mental health issues. He readily agreed.
 
Then my mother had to go out to the living room and calm my father down enough for him not to physically intervene when James arrived back at the house. Thankfully he agreed to be civil about everything.
 
The next morning, in typical James style, I received a retraction of his apology and an assertion that everything the night before had been my fault because I’d called him a loser:

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(The black squiggle is where I’ve had to block out James’ actual name)
 
Of course it triggered another fight between us and I ended up sobbing in the bathroom at work.
 
The following day, a heat wave hit the east coast of Australia. It was 38 degrees (100 F) outside, a dry oppressive heat, and much hotter inside.

James, who was usually out of bed before 5am each morning, still hadn’t made an appearance by 8am. When I went into his room the windows were shut and it was like a sauna in there. He was lying on his bed under a blanket. I asked him what was wrong and he could barely open his mouth to speak to me. He just whispered that his life wasn’t worth living and rolled over away from me.
 
By midday I was bringing him bottles of water and food, because I was so concerned he was going to require hospitalisation from severe dehydration. It was well over 40 degrees in his room and he wouldn’t allow me to open a window.

He refused to eat or drink. If anyone has ever seen the television show Shameless, it was like watching Monica or Ian Gallagher when they have their bipolar depressive episodes. I was seriously concerned for his mental health.
 
By 3pm I told him if he didn’t get up out of bed in 15 minutes I was going to call his father and make him drive all the way from the city to physically drag him out of bed. That seemed to do the trick and he finally made an appearance in the living room.
 
I think by this point James could see the stress I was under and the fear in my eyes. He knew he’d gone too far and that I didn’t know how to help the situation anymore.

So he called his old boss in the city, from way back when he’d been a truck driver (when I first met him) and asked if there was any work going. His old boss said not only could James have his old job back – he could start on Monday.
 
So just like that James was gone.
 
I mean, he wasn’t totally gone. He would still message me every day. Sometimes to ask how I was doing, but mostly just to bitch about how much he hated it in the city and his old job and how he wouldn’t be back there if I hadn’t ruined his life.
 
But the physical separation was such a huge relief. It was like a weight had been lifted off my shoulders. I felt free from the burden of him, even temporarily.
 
At the same time my parents’ new house settled and we moved both their stuff plus a lot of mine across to the new place. There was still a lot of packing left to do at my house, but I had a few weeks before I needed to have it empty for renters to move in.
 
The adjustment to living with my parents was actually harder than I thought it would be. On the one hand, it was lovely that my mother was doing my washing for me. But on the other hand, I hated that she was going into my room uninvited to empty my dirty clothes hamper. I felt like I’d gained my sanity back and was protected inside a little cocoon in my parents’ “in-laws suite” (thanks Bruised Banana!) but at the same time I’d lost my privacy and independence.
 
When I was 25 weeks pregnant, I got a new car. I know what you’re thinking – how could I possibly get a new car when I’m totally broke and can’t even afford my bills. Well let me tell you the answer surprises me as much as it surprises anyone.
 
My parents had approached me weeks prior and told me that they felt it was very unsafe that I was driving around in a beat-up old car. It was actually my first ever car – a small white two door car that I’d bought when I was still a university student.

When I was married to Doug, he’d driven a fancy corporate car (because he had a fancy corporate job) so I drove around in his brand new car. My little white car was relegated to the garage where it was neglected for many years. But after the separation, it was serviced and repaired and became my number one (and only) car again.
 
I explained to my parents that I would like very much to upgrade my car, particularly as it only had two doors so I was going to have a lot of trouble getting the baby in and out of the back seat. But I had no money so it would have to wait.

And then they bought me a brand new car.
 
Like honestly they called me up one day and said “come on down to the car dealership to test drive this car and pick which colour you want” and that was pretty much it.

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I want to stress that my parents aren’t rich. Far from it – I can remember growing up they often struggled to put food on the table or pay bills. But they had some surplus money left over from the sale of their house in the city and they saw this as a way to genuinely help me.

It wasn’t a gift it was a loan. I was given the car on the condition that over time I slowly pay them back for it, and if that wasn’t ever possible then my brother would get a little more in their estate after they died. It was as simple as that.
 
I can’t tell you what it feels like to drive around in that car. I can’t tell you what it feels like to know that my parents care so much about my wellbeing, and the wellbeing of my child, that they would permanently loan me that much money so that I could be safe in a car with seven airbags, ABS brakes and every other safety feature under the sun.

And the fact that I never once asked them for it makes it even more special. I have people who look after me and care for me without me even having to tell them I need help.
 
I sold my little old car for $1700 (haha!) and immediately gave that money to my parents as a way to begin paying them back for the car. They said that was quite enough and not to worry about paying them back anything else for the next few years while the baby is little.

Even my brother was super supportive and glad that I had a new safe car. My whole family was amazingly supportive. It made me cry to know I was going to be okay and my family was genuinely going to take care of me.
 
James vocally told anyone who would listen that I didn’t actually own my new car – that my parents did. That it wasn’t really my car at all. But my parents told me to ignore him and not let it bring me down.
 
When I was 26 weeks pregnant, I was sitting in a meeting at work one morning when I suddenly felt overcome with morning sickness. I’d suffered really badly until about 17 weeks, vomiting multiple times all day and night. At 22 weeks it had recurred for about a week. So feeling nauseated at 26 weeks wasn’t entirely a surprise.
 
I stood up to quietly excuse myself from the meeting, when I unexpectedly became dizzy, saw yellow spots in my eyes and heard a high pitched ringing in my ears.

Next thing I know, I was lying on a sofa across the other side of the meeting room with my shoes off and my feet elevated. Luckily my boss, who was sitting next to me in the meeting, had seen me go very pale in the face and acted with lightning speed to catch me as I fainted so I never hit the floor.
 
Though I said I was feeling much better, the workplace health and safety protocol in my office dictated I still go up to the hospital to be checked over. So my boss phoned my mother (once again…so lucky that my parents moved to Paradise) and she came to pick me up.

To be honest I wasn’t stressed about the situation. I felt really calm that my baby was okay and I was okay, and everything was going to be okay.
 
By the time I got to the hospital my blood pressure was completely normal but my usually extremely over-active baby (every time I’ve had a scan they’ve had trouble taking measurements because she doesn’t stay still long enough!) was very quiet. So they hooked me up to the EKG machine for a few hours to monitor her heart rate and my contractions.

The midwives were originally concerned because they could see on the machine I was having contractions, but the doctor was satisfied that they were Braxton Hicks and nothing to be too concerned about so I was sent home.
 
On the way home, I texted James to let him know what had happened. His exact response was “Wow I’m glad you’re okay. But aren’t you going to ask me how my day is going?” It was so…typical.
 
When I was 27 weeks pregnant I headed back to the city to do a breastfeeding workshop with the Australian Breastfeeding Association.
 
For me, breastfeeding is something that I take very seriously and it’s my number one goal to exclusively breastfeed my baby until she’s six months old. I really wanted to learn everything I could about breastfeeding so that I knew how to get the baby to latch correctly and where to go to for help, so that I could achieve my goal.
 
I was shocked and embarrassed when I realised that there were ten other mummies in the workshop, and literally every single one of them had brought their husbands with them to the class. I felt like such an idiot sitting there without a supportive, loving partner.

They even had a whole section of the workshop dedicated to how partners could support the breastfeeding mother. When we went around the room to introduce ourselves, I actually lied and said my partner was at work. I didn’t want them all to pity me or look at me differently if they knew I was doing this all on my own.
 
In the half time break, I texted James and told him I was the only woman there on her own. His response was “Well as far as they know I’m out working my butt off to bring in money for the baby before she is born.” My reply was a simple: “But James…you’re not.”
 
That evening, seen as I was staying in the city, James invited me to see Deadpool with him at the cinema. He’d promised to take me to see the movie before he left Paradise to make up for the fact he’d been very mean to me on Valentine’s Day (…a story not even worth mentioning). I agreed to go with him, thinking it would be best to stay as amicable with him as possible.
 
But when we got to the cinema he made me pay for both our tickets as he claimed he had “no money” despite the fact he was now working full-time, earning more on a weekly basis than I was and also living rent-free with a friend in the city! The tickets were $45 and it was simply money I didn’t have as my house was still vacant. I couldn’t even find the money to pay for my next credit card bill let alone indulge in trips to the cinema.
 
Being super pregnant and emotional I just started bawling my eyes out in the foyer of the cinema. It was so embarrassing! I told him it wasn’t fair that he expected me to pay $45 for our tickets when he was the one to invite me and he was yet to pay a cent to help me with any of the baby’s costs.
 
He sat next to me silently for about 15 minutes while I cried, playing a game on his phone. Then he leaned over and told me I should calm down and he had no sympathy for me because even though he admitted I’d been having a very hard time and he knew I was struggling with money, as soon as the baby was born the government would force him to pay child support for “a kid he probably won’t get to see very often.”

And then I’d be “laughing all the way to the bank” for the next 18 years while his life was “ruined”.

So he said I should actually be the one feeling sorry for him, and not the other way around. Then he tossed two $20 notes into my lap and told me to stop crying.

The next day, in usual James fashion, he back-flipped on his original stance and told me he was very sorry. He said he wished he’d been able to come to terms with the pregnancy earlier so he could have properly supported me.

Somehow it meant less to me and also hurt less. He lives two hours away now. I don’t feel his words like I used to – they don’t seem to burn into my soul. I let them slide off me like water off a ducks back.

Is he really sorry? No. He’s not. Because he tells me he’s sorry all the time and then goes and says hurtful things again.

Do I trust him? No. Do I want him around my daughter more than necessary? No. But…am I as stressed and anxious about the future? No.

Right now I am 28 weeks pregnant, fast heading towards 29 weeks. I am feeling like I’m in a safe space in terms of the viability of this baby. She is extremely active and I feel her moving constantly day and night. I know if she’s born now she will be born alive and have an 85+ percent chance at survival.

Being with my parents, as I said, is both a blessing and a curse. But everything is more relaxed now when it comes to James. He has already mentioned that he feels like they’re acting as a barrier and he can no longer see me whenever he wants to see me. He doesn’t understand that this is deliberate and they are intentionally blocking his access to me.

And my parents have already said if at any stage I feel ready to pull the trigger, they will contribute some money and help me with legal fees to fight for custody of my baby.

I’m honestly hoping it doesn’t come to that and James will be able to allow me to raise her in the best possible environment without too much fighting or disruption. I still have a long way to go, but I am hopeful for the future now.

I’m glad she is with me. I’m glad she is my baby.

I still have a long way to go before she is in my arms, but I will continue to do what I think is best in order to provide for her, support her and give her the best possible life.

And now we are basically up to date! Congratulations to you all on reaching the end of my epic story. Well, not the end, but you know what I mean. No more “to be continued” at the end of posts.

I look forward to keeping you updated on everything going on in my life and waiting for this little girl to arrive.

Love to you all.

Sadie xx