IVF Healing

There will always be the tiniest twinge in my heart when someone tells me they are pregnant. Always.

I think though, that would be the case regardless of whether I had tried to conceive or not. Regardless of my own infertility.

I am at the point now where I am very grateful that people close to me choose to share their news with me. I think I’m at the point where I am almost normal. As normal as I could be lol.

I think the twinge would exist anyway because we always question, in some moments, whether a different path would have been better. Well, actually, I don’t question that anymore. I can see the paths I have followed to lead me here. I am grateful for them. I think I am beginning to fulfil my human potential.

I think the twinge is the emotional memory of loss. Whilst I am grateful I never carried to term, I do think of the child I miscarried. A few times each year really. I think how life could have been different for me. And, without being callous, I do believe my life is in a more suitable place for who I am.

Not being a birth mother enabled and empowered me to rebirth my life, albeit not by conscious choice. I like my transition. I like that I’ve travelled. I like that I’m learning and growing. I like that I meet wonderful people. I like that I’m steering this ship.

There is life after failing to become a mother to my own child. There is good life. It has taken a long long time to appreciate this, but I have definitely arrived here now.

I am grateful for life.

Motherhood

I had a friend come over with her two young children today. We started several conversations. I don’t think we finished a single one. She is a great Mum. She doesn’t stop.

I spent yesterday afternoon with another friend of mine. Her two children had friends over. They are all a few years older than today’s children. She is a great Mum. She, also, doesn’t stop.

My nephews and a niece were here last Saturday. My niece is old enough now to look after herself. My nephews still need time and constant effort. My nieces used to be the same. Both of my sisters are great mums. They don’t stop.

Last week I spent time in Wagga with some friends I have had for over ten years now, since their two were 10 and 8. They are very easy to look after these days, but it hasn’t always been the case and they still require time. They are great parents. They still rarely stop.

Parenting, and mothering in particular, must be the most thankless and the most exhausting job of all time. Kids take you to your limits, and then push you that little bit further, just to see if you can endure it.

They need constant entertainment, they always need to be learning and having behaviour corrected or praised, they are always hungry, and they truly believe the Earth exists solely for their pleasure. Lol. Okay, some of this might be exaggerated. Sometimes.

They are relentless hard work. Just on their own, with their contexts just perfect, without trauma and without anything else impacting.

Realistically, most mother’s lives are not just perfect. Most mums work in and out of the home (and truthfully, inside is more than enough for anyone) and in contemporary society, most mums come from trauma or hardship (seventies and eighties were not kind decades).

Battling and resolving your own demons, whilst trying to provide the very best for your offspring, catering to everyone’s needs and demands, including society’s, and finding time to still be who you are and have some balance, makes existence really hard.

My mum, born during World War Two, forced out of home to live with other people so that she could be educated, leaving her home country of Finland 🇫🇮 to travel, finding ‘love’ in Australia, and marrying to settle here, did not have it easy. The marriage did not work and she was left with three daughters to raise on minimum income. Hurt and feeling betrayed, lost and lonely, she did the best she could with what she knew at the time.

I am grateful for that and for her.

For a while, I blamed my parents (illogically) for my inability to conceive. My non-biological daughter came into my life as a teen so I missed the chaos and self-doubt of raising a young child. I see that fear and self-doubt a lot in the eyes and words of parents, especially mothers. They worry that they aren’t enough, that they are messing up their kids, that they aren’t doing enough, that they are in some way failing their children.

Unless you are not present, and by present I mean in full mindful presence not just physically around, you are doing a good job.

Are you perfect? No.

But, your imperfections will be teaching your children tolerance and resilience, and you are modelling that they do not have to be perfect to be more than enough. They are valuable, important and perfect just as they are.

And, this my friends, is the best gift you can give your children.

Tonight, as I write this, I know why I am a mother to many rather than my own. I don’t have the personality or the patience or the selflessness required to be a present birth parent. This is not to say I couldn’t do it. If I had to, I would have. I’m grateful I didn’t have to.

I love my life as much as my friends with children love theirs. It is okay to be different and to follow a different path. It is important to own our limitations, and to be good with them. Mothering is an exceptionally important job, more important than it is given acknowledgement for. So, I acknowledge my friends that are parents. I acknowledge my sisters. I acknowledge my own Mum.

You are all more than enough. You are doing a phenomenal job, even when you are in the shower, or in your bed, or in the car, sobbing that you fear you aren’t, or that it’s all too hard, or you just want five minutes alone. I am grateful to you. It is hard, but you are succeeding, even when it feels like you aren’t.

I hope your children show their appreciation this Christmas. You deserve that.

My three kids are kids I can handle … shameless plug for my alternative children.

Waking Up: More IVF Resolution

It’s 7:30am. I’ve been awake for two hours.

I meditate every night before I go to sleep. And, what I mean by that, is that I am asleep within minutes of putting the meditation on; I usually don’t get beyond the first few breaths and comfortable position lol. So, I also meditate when I wake. This morning I didn’t because I was lathered in kisses from an excited puppy before my eyes were even open. However, I still practiced gratitude and set my intentions for today.

It’s a glorious way to start the day: in calm and at peace, lavished by love.

I have set today’s work, put the washing on, stripped the bed, organised my healing work, done the dishes, watered the plants, and dissolved the emotional charges on my failed IVF procedures (started yesterday).

The benefits of doing IVF:

~ I was enabled to support others in their journey

~ I have no regrets about not trying

~ I felt the excitement of selecting donors, loved the many needles, loved the routine, loved the process, loved learning, loved the promise

~ greater empathy for the struggles of pregnancy and miscarriage

~ I experienced another version of myself

The drawbacks of doing IVF:

~ I didn’t give birth

~ I miscarried

~ I was a different person for a few years

~ I struggled in alone-ness

The benefits of not holding the pregnancy and giving birth:

~ I just worry about me and my fur kids

~ I travel

~ I complete learning courses

~ I meet new and incredible people all of the time

~ I am free

~ I am soul happy and fulfilled

~ I started my businesses

~ I reignited my passion for teaching through tutoring

~ I still impact a whole heap of people’s lives positively

~ I am healing all of my baggage and have the time to do it

~ I can be selfish

The drawbacks of not holding the pregnancy and giving birth:

~ I have not been a birth mum this incarnation; however, I am a mother (albeit a bad one a lot of the time) to Amanda and a mother spirit to countless others

I am grateful for the experience, and I am equally grateful I didn’t become a birth mother.

I am feeling a deep sense of blessing, love and gratitude again. This is such a powerful method for bringing balance.

I need to dissolve the charge on the miscarriage. That will be my next venture. Some of it will be similar, but I need to look at the balance of support in that one too. The universe always provides.

Now, I’ve blogged too, and it’s only 7:52am.

Winning.

Have a great day!

🙏🏻🦋

Letting Go: Failed IVF, the Investigation, Fear and Control

Hi. My name is Tina and I am a recovering control freak.

As a child, I felt so out of control so much of the time, that as an adult I have tried to control everything.

I figured that if I had control, life would be good and I would become blissfully happy. I have spent my entire adult life controlling or trying to control everything. I have never really just let go.

Until now.

Thank you, Uluru, for your sacred healing energy that infused a trust for the divine into my soul. I am still, still. There is a calm and a peace in my depths that tranquilises any fear or anxiety that may arise.

I am very zen.

And as a result, obstacles are dissolving.

I only know this because I know the other side, too intimately.

For the best part of five years I tried to control falling pregnant and having a baby. When I did fall pregnant, my fear of not having control expunged the foetus from my body.

This was an opportunity to learn a strong lesson, that I failed to learn. The lesson was that I needed to trust the higher powers, whatever and whoever they are. I needed to trust the flow of life and the contract I made with myself prior to my birth into this incarnation. I needed to trust, full stop.

I then didn’t trust my family and friends to be there for and with me, and I tried to control that too. And so, I was alone.

Fear is a great controller. Broken, from failing to control everything, fear seeped into the wounds and kept me bound. I couldn’t move forward, or even see behind me. There was just the moment, and not in a zen way.

Failing at pregnancy, I turned to fostering. Again, trying to control, I wasn’t enough; my reason for fostering wasn’t enough. I was confused and broken, belittled and worthless. Again.

All the while, I was being bullied at work, reliving aspects of my childhood I thought I had resolved years before. I was used by people whom I trusted. I was belittled and betrayed. I tried to fight back without conflict, with understanding and compassion I told myself, but really, my fighting was fear manifested. I tried to control from a very weak and inauthentic place, and that resulted in poor choices.

The fear resulted in a ten month long investigation. Ten months of fear and anxiety, and a strong, visceral reminder that I control nothing. Subconsciously this fed the I am worthless narrative I had been telling myself my whole life. My desire and need for control was really just me trying to feel like I was worth something and trying to prove that to everyone else.

“I’m pregnant, look everyone. I belong. I am normal. I am one of you.”

“I’m a head teacher, look everyone. I belong. I’m normal. I am one of you.”

“I’m a foster parent, look everyone. I belong. I’m normal. I’m one of you.”

Years ago, at a crossroads professionally, I went to a medium. She acknowledged my crossroads. She told me my two alternatives. Promotion at work, or book signings as a healer and teacher.

Fear, manifested as control, kept me bound, until the investigation and then India. Prior to the investigation, the universe had started to untie my bounds. I had paid my deposit for India. I had completed many natural healing courses. I had registered a business name and received an ABN.

Last year, paradoxically, I had my worst professional year and my best. I was amazing in the classroom; I was exemplary. I was an amazing mentor slash healer. I loved teaching and being with the kids. But, my life and my soul fell apart.

I was forced to relinquish control. I needed to find trust that I was being redirected. I was coming home.

But, in the midst of anxiety and fear, I couldn’t see this. Almost a year after the investigation concluded, I can see it. Clearly. And today, I can feel it. Freedom. Bliss. Purpose. Fulfillment.

I am a healer. I am a teacher. I am a writer. More than that, I am me. A recovering control freak, a survivor of childhood dysfunction, and a braver scaredy cat.

🙏🏻🦋

?

I had my surgery today. I was okay with it all when I posted yesterday. Mostly okay. My wonderful gynaecologist confirmed the surgery after 9 last night. I had a moment. I had to be at Liverpool Private by 11 this morning. Earlier than originally anticipated. That required changes in plans. 

I cried. I felt so sorry for myself. So sorry for myself that I didn’t avail myself of any offers of help that had been offered by many different people. So sorry for myself I just wanted to feel like a victim and blame the world. It was emotionally just too hard and I didn’t understand and why so I reverted to my two year old self. 

I’m an idiot. 

By quarter to ten I had pulled my head in, spoken sense to myself, all too late. My tantrum disempowered myself, ironically when I wanted control. Common trend of behaviour for me when I feel powerless (but are we really ever powerless? No.) and behaviour that I do not respect in myself. 

It is so easy to play victim and become petulant and hate the world. It is harder for me to accept that it is okay to rely on other people sometimes. And this is a trust issue, stemming way back to my very early childhood. 

I’m 46 now. I’m no longer a child. And I dictate my life’s trajectory. Last night I forgot this. I’m shaking my head at my behaviour with a wry grin. Don’t panic. I am being kind to myself and cutting myself some slack. And I know that my surgery is laden with grief about my failed attempts to become a birth mum. 

Because I barely slept. And when I did, I processed. So I woke up feeling nervous but better about it. Contemplated texting my ff to ask if she could drive me but decided I was okay with the bus and train. I had to trust that I was okay even though I thought it might be nice to talk to someone. 

The universe will always conspire to provide what we need. 

First train was cancelled and an old friend happened to be catching the same train so we talked and talked and talked. Thank you, Anne. 

The walk was easy. I was calm. At peace. 

I was admitted. My blood pressure was good. My sugars were okay. I’d been through this before for my egg retrievals. And then I got it. 

The tantrum was the memory of all that came before. Three times I’ve been in hospital for procedures. Three times I woke to find a number written on my hand (eggs retrieved). Three times it came to naught ultimately. 

Once, it resulted in a miscarriage with lots of blood. That ultimately resulted in my last bout of long term bleeding. That time of my life hurt me a great deal. I still think of the child that would have been. 

Don’t get me wrong. I’m in a good place with my childlessness. But I’m also conscious my life is different now because of that. 

I was lying in my bed outside of the theatre for over an hour. The anaesthetist had been caught up somewhere. I was completely at peace. I gave myself a reiki and focused on breathing and being present. I could hear the tinny sound the hands of the clock made and so I counted the seconds in lots of five. 

And I watched them tick over. 

Occasionally my mind moved to other thoughts, contemplating not terrorizing myself, about life. What if I died on the table. Had I lived a happy life. Would I be at peace. Resoundingly, yes. I have no will. I know my pets would be looked after. Would there be custody fights. I haven’t left a copy of all my passwords anywhere. No one knows who has keys. It was interesting. 

And then I’d come back and count again. 

Nurses came and went. I had to repeat answers to the same mundane questions. Changing nurses. Changing shifts. My lovely doctor laughed with me; I hadn’t eaten since last night and it was now well after one. Concern over my sugars but not re-tested because the new nurse didn’t listen to the previous nurse. Death could be a reality. New anaesthetist. Surgery done. 

Recovery. 

I love coming out from anaesthetic. Very sore vagina. Lots of blood. Discomfort. 

Panadeine forte. 

Winning. 

An old Asian man in recovery next to me. Beautiful soul and smile. Shift change. Relatives rung. Food provided. Time to get dressed. 

I walked past his chair. He said, “You can walk.”

I smiled, threw my hands in the air, and said, “It’s a miracle.” 

We laughed. 

He walked past me, arms in the air. He said, “I can walk.”

I laughed, “Another miracle!”

He namaste’d me. 

Gold. 

My fertility is done. I have a Mirena IUD. Five years. I’m waiting for the no period. I’ll bleed heavily for a few days, maybe a week. My results will be back within two weeks. Hopefully all will be good. Hopefully the mass wasn’t cancer. 

At any rate, I think I’m still a little high. 

I’m going to bed. 

Such is Life 

An interesting day, today. I had to have an ultrasound for my upcoming surgery to ensure all is okay with my gall bladder and then needed to go to the gynaecologist for a service. Appointments away from home and close enough together yet far enough apart to not bother coming home. 

As I am prone to do, I also arrived to both appointments early which interestingly resulted in me being seen earlier than my appointments; a rarity to be sure. First went smoothly. Picked up the images a little while ago. Second one threw me a curve ball. 

I had internal and external ultrasounds done a few weeks ago due to ongoing bleeding. My doctor wanted to rule out the cancers and horrible stuff. I took the images with me. My gynaecologist looked at them. 

No service required.

Hospital it is. As soon as possible before I travel to the United States in a couple of weeks. 

Trying a curette first. Inserting Mirena. If unsuccessful, lasering everything. If unsuccessful, hysterectomy. 

Day surgery. Fifteen minute procedure. An hour recovery. Home. 

She’s trying to book it for tomorrow afternoon. 

We both giggled at the irony of this IVF repeat failure reproductive system at forty six still being so fertile that even the gynaecologist said I was years and years away from menopause: life’s cruel ironies. After IVF I’m at higher risk of developing some type of cancer in my reproductive organs, especially endometrial cancer. 

Who knew. I think I vaguely recall reading that in my own research earlier on during that process. Meh. 

I always say, IVF is the gift that keeps giving. I just don’t wish it on anyone. 

As a result of those two appointments and having to wait around, I went to The Square to hang. Well, after my first appointment which I had to fast for, I really went there for breakfast, and just in the knock of time, my sugars were going out and I started to get the shakes. But, I also ran into a few ex students and friends, made through teaching. 

Man, if teaching isn’t the most powerful profession in reaching people I don’t know what is. And if ever I’m having a day questioning my own value and impact, I really need to just hang out at The Square. We raise compassionate and caring kids at my old school. They go on to become such beautiful people, trying hard to make life work and to give to others and become the best versions of themselves.

Us teachers are truly blessed. And if you’re a teacher who doesn’t work hard, doesn’t reach out to your kids, you won’t understand, but deserve to, so work harder. 

🙏🏻

Breakthrough

So I was just sitting here, watching Dr Phil, my head pounding, and I thought, “I struggle with my Birthday because I don’t believe I’m worth celebrating.” 

I know how ridiculous that is, but it’s truly what came into my head. I know I am worth it but it’s like I don’t believe other people will think I am. Lower my expectation, minimize disappointment. How f’ed in the head is that?! 

And I stand by what I said the other day, this stems from the IVF journey; the journey that just keeps giving lol. And that stems from being single.

For the majority of my life, probably until I hit my late thirties and forties, I hadn’t believed I was worth what I now think is very obvious worth. IVF compounded this because even though I was surrounded by people, it is a very alone journey, not lonely but alone. There are aspects of it that only the woman could understand, even in the most loving relationship. 

The drugs, the injections, the emotional rollercoaster, the listening and feeling and questioning every single physical aspect, well, you do that alone. The continual failure takes its toll. And then miscarrying, and misvarrying entirely alone and isolated, well, that compounded it all too. 

And so I learned I would do my life myself. I would pull back from everything (except work) to protect myself. I think when I wanted people to just know what to do, and to just be who I needed and wanted them to be, and they weren’t, I internalized that by reverting to my childhood narrative. The one where I’m not pretty enough, funny enough, smart enough, worth enough. 

Then there was the workplace bullying, healing from the miscarriage and another failed IVF, and then the investigation, more ‘voices’ telling me I wasn’t good enough; to the extent that my support network was shut down by the institution through their installation of fear by threatening that I would lose my job. 

Oh wow. No wonder my head is abnormal 😉 trying not to swear lol. 

And that’s why when my friend said we needed to do something for my birthday, and suggested something, and organized it, respecting my request to keep my birthday quiet, I was happy to say yes: best of both worlds, celebration without pressure. 

I’m looking forward to my birthday. A year wiser in a transformative year. A year where I am rebuilding my entire life, from the ground up. 

What a blessing courage is. 

What a blessing freedom is. 

What a blessing this life is. 

Happy Birthday, Tina. You are becoming, you are, the woman you always wanted to be. I’m proud of you kiddo! 

Hmmm …

Just watching the tail end of Sunday Night (which I never watch) and cried through Sally Obermeder’s story as her surrogate gave birth to Sally’s daughter. Following on from watching Drew Barrymore and Toni Colette in I Miss You Already. 

Two mothers with breast cancer. The birth of a baby. Lots of tears. 

And so this post is just about getting out the emotion. I know and I accept that I will never be a birth mother. I even understand why (serious lack of patience at this advanced maternal age) and I believe that in some small ways, I am much better off having never carried to term. 

But every now and then, I get a twinge of emotion. A sadness and still a longing for a life I will never experience (not in this lifetime anyway). And the reminder of the baby I lost; the potential never realised of a child who would be three later this year. 

I am okay with it. I know it is for the best. But I am human. And being human means I will occasionally feel it. Tonight is one of those times. 

Maybe today was just too peaceful 😉. 

A Thoughtful Week

Generally, when I go quiet here it is for one of two reasons: flat out or processing something big. 

This week I have been processing. I have also had a cold, then gastro, and then a migraine (which is still here but permitting some function finally). 

Since finishing IVF a couple of years ago, and after my miscarriage, I have had ongoing issues with my menstrual cycle. Prior to fertility treatments, my cycle was regular as clockwork (with only a couple of exceptions in like thirty years).  Since finishing IVF I have experienced two runs of menhorragia (abnormal bleeding) with my last run of bleeding lasting from September last year through to February this year, virtually every day. 

As a result, I went to see a new doctor and he referred me for full blood work. The results came back to me on Monday. 

My iron, expectedly, is low. My sugars are high. My blood pressure continues to be high. 

I’ve been diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes. A bit of a shock on Monday and it has taken some processing. I’m on meds for both now, hence gastro. 

It is reversible and I will reverse it. 

I hadn’t mentioned it here, but last year I attended an information session regarding weight loss surgery. I actioned my health insurance and had my initial consultation with Dr Zarrouk last week. I also booked in the surgery for later this year. 

With lifestyle changes and the surgery, my diabetes is entirely reversible. 

I’m okay with it; it is the kick in the pants that I needed. 

However, the diagnosis also forced me to track my journey to this point. And, as a result, I’ve had to focus on some negative things that cause shame (stupidly). 

There is family history of diabetes and hypertension, so I should always have been more proactive regarding prevention. 

I’ve had to revisit why I wasn’t. I don’t feel sorry for myself but I felt the need to acknowledge how I got here. I asked myself why I emotionally eat, when did it start, why did it start, why did it continue, when don’t I emotionally eat, why, etcetera etcetera. 

Childhood trauma, shame, silence, inability to form healthy relationships, poor life choices, work related stress, being empathic, alcohol, experimentation with drugs, self harm and suicidal tendencies, anxiety, depression, low self-esteem, putting others’ needs first, failed IVF, failed fostering, and the list could go on. I don’t emotionally eat when I travel; travel equals happiness and comfort in my own skin. I like me when I travel. 

And as an emotional eater, last year was a horrendous year for me. Diet and exercise just didn’t factor into my choices; anxiety reigned supreme and getting through each day became an achievement. 

I’m an intelligent person. I could have prevented this. But I didn’t. And as a result, I’ve had to work through feelings of shame and fear all over again. Ridiculous, really. 

And I do trust that things happen when they are meant to. So I haven’t cried over this and I’m alright with the diagnosis. For real. 

I’ve modified my diet. I’ve read heaps. I’ve thought heaps. I’m taking my medication. I’m making appointments. 

I know I will beat this. 

My mum was diagnosed similarly at my age and she reversed it with diet and psychological strength. I’m her daughter; I will achieve the same. 

I am regarding this as a continuation of the wake up call I had already given to myself. And, as affirmation that the surgery decision was the right one to make. 

This year for transformation really is becoming a year of transformation. 

I’m blessed, really. 

What a difference a day makes … or six 

I leave Western Australia tonight for home. Molly, Max and Sammy wait for me there, as does a different path. A path that will require ritual, nurturing and above all else, patience. 

I trust that I am exactly where I am supposed to be at this moment in time. 

When I arrived last Thursday, Mel and I created a mini workshop to complete with her cousin. The workshop involved affirming, I Am, and a manifestation of this through clay. It set the tone for the days that followed. I was open and excited to experience the opportunities that lay in wait. 

A huge thank you and bounteous gratitude to my buddy, Mel. She provided opportunities to try new things, meet many new people, see different places, and welcomed me into her life. I have met many people who are living their creative paths wholly. This has inspired and empowered me. Our friendship has grown because we have navigated hurdles with grace and honesty. I adore her, her beautiful family and her wonderful friends, many of whom welcomed me willingly into their worlds. 

What a trip! 

What a beautiful state; Australia’s best kept secrets reside here in WA. Such beauty and virtually untouched landscape. Whole foods abound – choice is vital for a healthy lifestyle – and regular commune with the divine is inevitable, consciously or not. 

I will return home, somewhat healed, refreshed, open and trusting. 

Forgiveness is a process. Trust is a process. But the return from both when given is monumental. A freedom of spirit and an enthusiasm for life that is unrivalled in the journey of personal growth, and fulfilling life goals and dreams. 

My life, since commencing my fertility treatments in the hope of conceiving and carrying and nurturing a child all of those years ago, has been frenetic and painful, but has landed me here. And here is pretty awesome. Renewed hope, renewed faith, renewed dreams and goals. 

What a privileged path and blessed journey. 

Namaste.