Back to life as they say, back to reality. But this time I want to make a new reality. Nearly two weeks on the East Coast in the US with our family and friends has offered the most amazing healing time. My brother and Sister-In-Law’s wedding was brilliant and Vermont offered us some much-needed sunshine and laughter! The rest of our road trip (Boston & New york) which I will blog about separately (maybe!) also provided some lovely memories as a family that I really will cherish forever.
But what this trip really offered us, was a huge escape from reality. Something that I believe was needed to help us recover from everything we have been through over the last year. After our third consecutive miscarriage last month the one thing that kept my head above water was our upcoming trip away. The focus of planning and packing gave my wandering mind the rest it deserved and for that I am extremely grateful. Knowing that we also had two weeks together as a family was so comforting. My husband hasn’t taken any time off after any of our miscarriages and I often wonder how the grieving process affects him too. Of course as a couple we have cried over our losses but Mr M has always just had to ‘get on’ with life and go back to work. Spending time together everyday was the medicine needed to heal both our hearts. Watching my husband wake up every day with Austin was truely wonderful, he adores his daddy so much and I adore their relationship.
The other aspect that this trip offered was the opportunity to just live. When you are going through fertility treatment, your life is so regimented. Appointments alone take up so much time and organisation. There is also a huge amount of control you relinquish, so other areas of your life are controlled fiercely to make up for this. With me, during every cycle I eliminate caffeine, alcohol, gluten and take so many supplements I probably rattle. Some would argue that is just living a healthy lifestyle but when you are actively trying to have a baby via IVF the guilt you feel eating just one chocolate bar is ridiculous. You do everything you can to make sure you give yourself the best chance of conceiving even though the rational side of my brain (if that still exists) tells you that one slice of non gluten-free toast will not ruin your chances to have a baby???
So I promised myself during this trip there would be no control, no pressure, no strict guidelines to live by. I drank coke, ate gluten, enjoyed big American breakfasts and didn’t take one vitamin, boy did it feel good! I ate five Macdonald’s over the 12 days (not all at once) and ate so many carbs my boyfriend fit jeans became skinny ones! You will never understand how freeing it is to not worry about diet, to enjoy food again and not live by a timeline. That is what this trip was really about. Freedom. I was reminded that life needs to be fun, it needs to be spontaneous some times and you need to do/eat the things that make you happy. We all know it’s about balance but when you have lost all control its extremely hard to live that way. Holidays should always offer that escapism and the opportunity to relax and step away from day-to-day life and I think I had honestly forgotten how to do that.
Our miscarriage last month was brutal. Another reminder for me that once again I failed, once again all our hopes and dreams were shattered but for a third time. I keep asking myself, how many more times will I be pregnant before I get to bring another baby home? How many more times will I see two lines before the bleeding starts or we see another silent scan. Unfortunately, for us and everyone else going through similar no-one has the answers. No one has the magic cure to our devastation or their own. All we can do is continue to LIVE. By that I mean really live. I no longer want to live month by month or test by test. I want the freedom to have fun again and enjoy the moments that make life worth living for. As we think about embarking on our 4th IVF my mindset has shifted and I’ve realised that I need to believe in myself, my body and try to relax on the controlling behaviour. That crunchie bar (my fav) every now and then isn’t going to stop our embryo from implanting, nor will it contribute toward another miscarriage.
It is definitely a lesson learnt, so a big thank you to our US road trip (and family/friends) for opening my eyes to what I already knew deep down. That life, even with its sad times is a wonderful thing if you just learn to surrender to it! Whatever the future holds for us, more babies or more fertility treatment, I am going to eat that bloody ice-cream!