A few days ago, an announcement of the most exciting kind popped up on my personal Facebook feed, it was the announcement of the arrival of a beautiful, healthy, baby boy. I had no idea that my friend was even expecting a baby! To be fair, this is not uncommon in the military life, especially if the couple chooses not to make a social media announcement. After a few days, this beautiful story was also shared by my friend, along with a few photos documenting her journey to finally welcoming her second beautiful bundle of blue. She graciously allowed me to share it here, as I feel it's just such an amazing story to share, and it's a little something different for me. Infertility of some kind affects roughly 1 in 6 couples in Australia. So there's every chance that you know someone, or will know of someone experiencing the pain of infertility. Below is Kylie's story, it's a long one, but I assure you, it has the most wonderful of endings!
Guest Blog by Kylie Kurtz...
(Post originally appeared on Kylie's Facebook page, and has been taken with permission)
We decided to keep our journey to ourselves, and those that we needed throughout this time. Everything is public and on social media now days, and we needed this time for us to enjoy every moment. When you go through emotional journeys a lot of relationships change, and sometimes you just need to step back and soak in every moment together as a family and those that remain true to you.
Read or don't read our journey it's up to you...maybe make a coffee though it's a long read. This is a story of hope and miracles to help others going through something similar.
I realise and know I don't have to tell our story but I have always helped people and this is why I have decided to share. It hasn't been an easy decision to do so, and I know people purely won't care (trust me I learnt this the hard way throughout every thing) but maybe it can help just one person and that's enough for me. It's taken us years to be blessed with this little bundle. I hope our story can give hope to those going through any infertility issues, no matter what they may be.
After almost 5 years, and 7 known miscarriages, I became very ill when we moved to Victoria. After testing, I was diagnosed with early menopause and offered IVF immediately as my egg count was extremely low. I also have an unknown autoimmune disease believed to be caused from an EBV virus that worsened on holiday in Thailand. This is also believed to have possibly contributed to our miscarriages. We went through just two rounds of ovulation induction with daily hormone injections, blood tests and regular ultrasounds and absolutely no success.
Anyone who has gone through or going through this will understand when I say they could not even stimulate the lonely 4 follicles I had to the correct MM for egg collection, or to induce ovulation with a booster injection. Not only did I have a low egg count but I was also unlucky enough to have 3 follicles on one side and 1 on the other! We were heading down the road of egg donation, which I am 100% for, just not for us. We have Alec together, and I accepted this was fate for us, and we could no longer have a child together. If we did not have Alec I would have headed down this road with out any question.
At one appointment, I was told there is nothing that can be done, and that I will no longer be able to have 'a baby'. Alec understood and cried in the doctors office, asking why he couldn't have a brother or sister. It broke my heart, and I found myself consoling my 5 year old whilst trying to comprehend what I had just been told.
In February 2015, about 2 months after we were told to stop the IVF. I had terrible pains in my right side, which I ignored and had pain relief from nurses at work. I continued on for a week at work and doing exercise. I had root canal surgery on my tooth on the Saturday. I stood up after the operation the pain was so bad I could barely stand! Trying to hide this at the dentist, I called Aaron to pick me up by the time he got there I was crouched in pain by the side of the road (and I have a high pain threshold) we went home and I called the hospital to question what it could be. They asked me to come in, and I assumed appendicitis as all the symptoms screamed that. Hours of tests and monitoring nothing came up! I was to be discharged when a senior nurse said no to the doctor, until I had done a pregnancy test!! I knew it wouldn't be possible we just finished IVF with no success they knew this at the hospital!!
It came back positive!!!
I was a silent mess, it's not possible!!! I was then told they believe it is ectopic due to the pain and I had been bleeding for 21 days thinking it was part of the menopause. I never questioned it!! The symptoms of menopause for me are very similar to pregnancy it's almost cruel!! My HGC levels were on the high side for an ectopic pregnancy so they thought it could be a normal pregnancy with a burst cyst. I hoped this was the case they kept me in all night on pain relief, until I could have an ultrasound in the morning. It was the weekend and they had more priority ultrasounds needing to be done.
Sunday morning came I was taken down for the ultrasound I could not bare to look at the screen the man who had been doing all my IVF ultrasounds was on call. I could see in his face something wasn't right. I asked if I should call my husband in he sad no it's not a good idea and I would be spoken to once back in the ward. By the time I was wheeled back upstairs a surgical team was waiting to take me in for urgent surgery!! It was ectopic. The tube had ruptured, and I had internal clots and bleeding!!! I lost the right tube but they saved the ovary and attached it to the left tube also to give us some hope of falling again. I was told by my surgeon if I had of waited another 24 hours to come in the outcome may have been very different for me I had no idea my life was in jeopardy!!
My mind was so confused how could I possibly be pregnant even medical intervention couldn't get me through the first stages of IVF and then to fall naturally and have this happen why?
I felt all emotions;
Guilty: I was so upset because we had Alec and people try for years with no success ever. How can I be so selfish wanting another child when we have a healthy beautiful little boy already?
Selfish: I see people young and old with cancer every day in my job, how can I be upset about creating life when there is so much innocent life lost in the world so horribly?
Lucky and hopeful: I just fell pregnant surely it can happen again?
Lost: Why would fate do this? Why would we fall under these circumstances only to lose a healthy pregnancy because it was in the wrong spot?
Scared: As a woman why can't I do this again? why can't I give my husband another child or our son a sibling? This broke my heart the most!! What if one day my husband wants another baby with someone else?
The emotions were overwhelming at times, but I don't like to show them to people. I found myself unable to show them to family and close friends, and I cried to myself when I was alone.I was just so confused, I tried to make myself move on and accept that now there is no way this dream will happen for us. We will focus fully on giving alec the best life possible.
We started to sell all of our baby items. All the clothes, accessories and toys only keeping the special ones, all the furniture... although Aaron asked to keep the cot. He swore it will happen one day again, which killed me knowing in my heart I couldn't give him more children. Weeks passed, and the pain became less and less, my menopausal symptoms were strong as ever, then I started to get really sick again. I thought I was getting gastro from work as it had been in the hospital, and I was exposed to it, but it went away the same day. I let it go on for a week not wanting to see another doctor, and believing I was coming to the end of menopause now. Just on a whim, and something Aaron had personally said to me, I decided to do a pregnancy test. I bought the best one I could find, because I couldn't bare another negative thinking maybe it's a cheap test...Another odd thing that happened, Alec was lying on my stomach one night and said "mummy there is a baby in your tummy". I had to explain yet again, it couldn’t happen. He was certain and nothing I said made him think otherwise. He also did it again on another night. I was doing housework and forgot I even did the test. I looked at the test and it said 3weeks + I was shocked! Scared! Happy! Overwhelmed! I thought ok 3 weeks this is ok then read the pamphlet 3weeks + meant 5 or more weeks! My heart sunk!
Given what had happened in February my surgeon asked me to see a doctor immediately if I even thought I could be pregnant, as I was high risk of another ectopic in my only tube. I made an appointment, and was asked to come in right away. Then was told to go to the hospital for an urgent scan. All the while trying to contact Aaron again with no success due to his training I had no urgent numbers to call either!! I was petrified. I couldn't bare to look at the screen again I had the same man again doing my IVF, then seeing my ectopic pregnancy also. I asked him to turn the screen off. I asked if he could tell me to look if it was ok. I heard him say "it's ok you can look, please look it's ok!" I was shocked there was a little person growing in the right place! I swear, if he didn't have to "remain professional" he would have been crying with me! His eyes were welled up! I felt bad for him also he went through this whole journey with us with so much negativity and loss. I know how this is personally in my work I have cried with patients before sometimes you just have to.
Finally Aaron contacted me back and I told him how my day had panned out he was in shock! But the best shock possible! We were pregnant and it was ok the baby was ok!
Our joy was soon short lived, as two days later I had a massive bleed and was clotting I couldn't do this again not again! How did I fall naturally two times one after the other, and am now loosing this baby too why, why, why! I waited to see what would happen as it was a long weekend, and the hospital can't stop a miscarriage... which I was well aware of after loosing so many. We had another ultrasound, which Aaron could be there for this time, and again I had the same amazing man there... he was devastated for us. Yet again, I asked to please keep the screen off, we were all silent it was horrible the worst moment for all three people in the room. I heard him say "look Kylie look it's ok!". The baby was fine!! Healthy strong heart! It was a large clot beside my uterus that had bled out! It would absorb during the pregnancy but could bleed again! My heart was all over the place how can I do this with so much emotion attached I was so scared for what's to come!
Week after week went by, and all was well. I became sick, which I was grateful for, knowing the baby must be getting stronger. We had our 12 week scan the day before Aaron's graduation and took alec in to tell him, and let him see his little growing sibling for the first time. I was nervous again and had the same man so he understood how we were feeling. We kept alec turned away, to hear the words yet again "it's ok to look it's ok to show him". Alec looked at the screen and asked if it was real? He was very excited to learn he was getting a baby! He said "I told you" he some how knew this would happen it was like he sensed it before I even knew!! He was right those two nights he was on my belly he knew!
The next few days later we began our long journey to Darwin. It was the longest drive of my life in every way!! I was so sick but so happy to be sick!! We announced to our family and close friends from 12 weeks to when we visited them on our road trip to the N.T. The baby was growing well, I had all my scans in Darwin to look at our beautiful baby growing healthy, we're so blessed this has happened.
I now believe in miracles. I never did after 1 live pregnancy (Alec), 7 known miscarriages and 1 ectopic pregnancy. This was our miracle pregnancy and it was going to be alright. I never thought we would be lucky like this, it never happens especially to me! This is to give hope to those going through infertility. If you have a child already, or not, it's ok to feel whatever you need to. This is one of the hardest things to go through in life, don't give up hope, miracles happen every day! Our new baby proves that, an absolute medically unexplained miracle!
Life is truly complete for us. This journey has truly tested us over the years, we have come out the other end stronger than ever, and I can finally live our lives and bring on each day as it comes as a family of four.
'You might want to take a step back Doctor... You don't want your shoes to get wet'...
Says my midwife to my OB as he reaches even further up into my hoo-ha. There he was, shirt neatly folded up to his elbow, tie tucked firmly over his shoulder, suit jacket placed ever so carefully over the chair near the door... Me dressed in my birthday suit, spread legged, watching a grown man reach inside my special place...That my friends, is one of the funnier positions (literally) I've found myself in these last few years, and it's one that I certainly never thought I would find myself in... before I had kids anyways.
This morning as I was witnessing the third major toddler meltdown for the day (and it was only 9am). I'm talking the works here... tears, kicking, screaming, snot, drool... and that's just from me (!!). It was always going to happen, it's daddy's first day back at work after having a few weeks off over Christmas, and what better way to test mummy's patience levels than to pull on every heart string and render anyone within a 2 km radius deaf. As meltdown number three drew to a close, and we hugged it out, she turns to me like nothing has happened and says, 'Mummy, baby poos are stuck', and in that very moment, for some unknown reason, I thought to myself 'Dear god how my life has changed!'. If I had a dollar for the amount of times I've said 'What do you mean, stuck?' or, 'How did you get that stuck in there?', or thought 'Oh shit, where are you going to stick that?' I'd be a rich lady! Before you enter the realm of raising kids, you think you know what to expect, but there's nothing that can really truly prepare you for what's to come, both good and bad!
So just for some Monday shits and giggles (cause I know I need it!), here are a few more of the funnier positions I've found myself in over these last few years...
I have been lucky enough to have not just one, but TWO experiences with the oversized crochet hook that they stick squarely up your you-know-what, when breaking your waters. During my second labour (as mentioned above), when my OB broke my waters, they discovered I'd been carrying around about 2L of extra fluid... We're talking a wall of water cascading off the bed, creating a tiny lake on the floor of the delivery suite. Something akin to an inland Tsunami. When my midwife gently reminded my OB that he didn't want to get his nice shiny shoes covered in my amniotic fluid, I remember thinking 'What the actual f$%k is going on here?'... I thought I knew what to expect this time.
The first time I'd had my waters artificially broken, apart from wondering where exactly they planned on sticking that go-go gadget knitting needle, my first thought was,
'Oh god, it's warm!'...
Well of course it is you numpty, what did you think? You were carrying around a few litres of ice cold sparkling lemonade in there? I think I made it worse for myself when I said it out loud, in front of a few doctors and a handful of student midwives. Such a great feeling! You know, making a twat out of yourself while you have half a dozen strangers looking up your, well... you know...
I don't think I really need to add any explanation as to why this next phrase now rates as probably the one that leaves my mouth most often (as opposed to whispering 'Are you f$%king serious!?' to myself, in my head about 17,000 times a day). It's not really a huge surprise, but I think the frequency it is said is the surprise,
'Ugh, I need to pee'...
You've had a baby? You need to pee.
This next one has to be the funniest of all. It comes directly from the book of 'Crazy things toddler say'... but first here's a back story...
In all of my naivety, I thought the worst thing that I would be left with was a few stretch marks, 'Bid deal!' I thought. Not long after Eliana was born, I noticed that as my gigantic belly started to slowly deflate, the skin on my belly started to look a little bit like the wrinkliness of a shrivelled up balloon. Or, if you are Kirsty and her best friend, you think it looks a little bit like a Scrotum. That's right... we thought my left over baby belly looked like a ball sack. We thought it was incredibly funny at the time, which may or may not be due to the fact that within a month of each other, we had both landed ourselves in a world of new mum sleeplessness, or that we are just a pair of giggly teenagers (and not grown up 30 year olds) that think balls are funny... but lets be honest here, they totally are! Then one day as I was wrestling with my beautiful little 2 year old on the floor, she caught a glimpse of my belly and said,
'Eeew, daddy's doodles'
Confirmation... Ouch baby girl... just ouch.
I'm sure we've all had a few one liners or thoughts that have stopped us in our tracks, I could go on with the usual ones like,
'Get your finger out of your nose'
'Thanks, but I don't really want your booger on my shirt'
'Please don't use your sisters head as a tissue'
'WOOOOOHOOOOO! A wee on the toilet!' *Along with the obligatory happy dance*
So tell me, what are some of the positions you've found yourself in? Or things you find yourself saying, thinking or hearing that you NEVER thought you would?
Well, here we are again... Time, as always, has flown by at a rapid pace and the pages of our calendars have continued to turn, and suddenly we find ourselves staring at the last few days of the year again. In a few short hours, we will all be closing the covers of our 2015 year book, and opening up a brand spanking new one, with fresh, blank pages, ready for us to fill them up with our ongoing story. We will each remember the year that's passed in our own unique way, with our very own set of images, memories, sights, feelings, smells and sounds... Each adding to the rich patchwork quilt that is our lives.
My 2015 will be remembered as a deep and complicated year, much of it filled with my own personal darkness. Not to say that I will remember it in a negative way, rather, it will be remembered as a year where I have managed to pick myself up, and dust myself off in an almost continuous cycle. It will be remembered as a time in my life where (as corny as it sounds) I have learned more about myself and those around me, than all of the other years of my life combined. I have learned the value of honesty, not only in my personal relationships with others, but more so with myself. I have learned the value of the close personal relationships that I have with others. I have learned that relationships are what you make of them, that family does not always consist of your 'blood', and I know now more than ever that quality, is far more important that quantity. I have learned that I am far more capable than I ever imagined I was, that I have so much more love to give than I thought possible, and that I am loved too.
Yet, the most important lesson I have learned is that I need to find my happiness here, and now.
I have spent so much of my year just waiting, treading water, trying to keep my head above it, constantly trying catching my breath. I've found myself over and over again, hoping and praying for the next milestone to come around, because it will get easier, happier, less complicated. Well, let me tell you... It's bullshit, it won't. I have every single resource that I will ever need to be happy, right here, and right now.
Just a few weeks prior to the start of 2015, we welcomed our second baby girl... and welcoming a new little person into the family is a big deal, and motherhood has a tendency to be all consuming. Before we know it, we're putting ourselves aside and giving our all to those tiny, precious souls in our care. Daily life becomes about getting from start to finish with everyone alive and well, and mummy time comes later (if at all). For us personally, the management of life with two little people, without the added benefit of external help (our support system is extremely limited, and our hands on help is nil) means the ability for time out is virtually non-existent. After only a few short months as a family of four, we were off on another cross country move... to put things into perspective, Abbie has officially been a resident of 3 separate states in this country, all before the age of 2. We seem to move a lot. This kind of unsettled lifestyle can be extremely isolating, but it's the life we chose... it pays the bills and brings home the bacon, so we go with it. The added pressures associated with this have been extremely taxing on just about every aspect of our lives, especially our health and our relationships. Now though, as we are finally able to take a small breath and look back at the year that has passed, we can see how much we've managed to accomplish amidst it all.
It's usually around this time, after some deep and fuzzy (probably because of the wine) introspection, that people come up with their list of "New Year's Resolutions". Many of us want to be healthier, fitter, thinner, we want to finish off all of those unfinished jobs that we had started throughout the year, the possibilities are endless. For me, it's simple. The only thing I want for my 2016 is to stop looking beyond what I have, to stop looking forward to, or waiting for a time where I feel like I can finally breathe and be happy... because my every happiness is right here in my arms. It is whatever I make of it.
So happy new year all, sending you love and hugs from everyone here at Casa de Somniac... May each and every one of you find your every happiness too...
Behind the blog...
‘The Mummysomniac’ is a lifestyle, motherhood and most recently, pregnancy blog, founded in 2015 by Kirsty McKenzie. She’s a mum of three, blogging about the highs and lows of motherhood, with a straight forward and honest approach, as well as a little bit of humour. Kirsty is passionate about sharing the realities of #MumLife, not the cookie cutter, high gloss version