Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Survivor's Guilt

Here's the thing...

...I've been so concerned not to upset those of you still waiting for your babies that i've been guilty of (a) not posting and (b) posting rosy tinted posts that give no idea of how things really are for me this side of IVF.

I love my little boy, i really do and i know i'm immensely lucky, but this is the hardest thing i've ever done. I've not slept a full night in about 15 months - 9 months down to tension and inability to get comfortable (well, much of that time) and the last 6 because my son resolutely refuses to sleep through. Sleep deprivation was ok at first. It went with the territory and i was (and am) determined to love every minute of my new role. Mostly, I do, but this far down the line and it's wearing me down just a little.

In the past month i've had one root canal (4 dentist visits in total and £1600), a trip to the emergency dentist to have an abscess on another tooth pierced and drained (£260 and a lot of pain - so much so I came out of that appt and sobbed like a baby) and now, a throat/ear infection that has been going on now for well over a week. Enough already.

Breastfeeding was/is a privilege, but when my little boy decided (at 3 months) he preferred a bottle I completely lost it.It had taken a lot to get started - it's flipping painful but we'd got there. When he actually retched (yes!) when faced with my nipple - they're not bad!! - there were hormonal tears for weeks. After much perseverance (and ignoring a breast feeding counsellor who told me to give up) i managed to woo him back and he now feeds without a fight. It's time to start weaning him to a bottle but as i don't think i'll get to do this again i'm loathe to give it up. Having said that, hours pumping milk so Mr G can bottle feed him at 11pm when i catch up on some badly needed zzzzz's really takes it out of me.

Every waking hour is spent anticipating B's next need. Every trip out of the house has to be planned. Do i need the buggy? Do i need the car seat? What meals will we spend out? What's the weather going to do? I have to carry up the kit in stages from our lower ground floor flat and make sure B is fine whilst i'm doing it. It's all part of the job and it's getting easier but even leaving the house was at one time a huge achievement. [Just read that para and think perhaps i deserve a sharp, slap for that one - apologies - but i'm leaving it in for completeness]

Even as I type this i feel guilty - how dare I even think about complaining when i've got what i was wishing for and so many haven't. I'm sorry. I'd rather get real then portray this sunny, perfect existence. I don't want anyone believing i'm sitting smugly here in happy-ever-after land.

I adore my little boy but he's a handful. He's incredibly mobile for 6 months and cant' sit still for a moment. It's great he's so interested but it does wear a 40 year old Mum down.

I hope i've not been totally offensive but i felt i just had to get this off my chest.

I'm also conscious that I can't wait too much longer before making some decision about whether or not we try for another little one. As it'd have to be another IVF or adoption, both of which will cost us some, can we even afford to think about it? This recession has hit us hard and i'm not sure we can afford to have a second baby. Is it fair on B for him to be an only child?

I'm not ungratefully moaning about only having one baby. I wouldn't dream of it - i'm still counting my blessings that I have one more than i imagined i would. I'm just a little sad that it remains a problem. I'm also a lot mad at people who say that because we've now had one we're going to be one of those couples who have a second, surprise pregnancy. We're not. They just don't get it and that p's me off.

Again, i'm sorry. I don't want to upset anyone. I hope I haven't. I'm still rooting for those of my girls in the trenches and i know I don't really have the right to compain when i'm over here.


Lou said...

Parenting is tough! And, it's okay to admit it. Yes, getting pregnant and having a little one can be tough too, but as a parent, you have a lot to juggle and many, many sleepless nights! Once you wean to the bottle, it will help with your exhaustion. Also, make sure you're eating well, and taking vitamins! One thing that has always helped me is to make lists...and keep everything you need to leave the house near the front door! If it's in sight, you'll grab it on the way out. Remember, no one is perfect at parenting. And, if the baby cries a little longer than normal or you forget something while you're out, this too shall pass! Good luck with everything! Hugs!

Alex and Jill said...

For some reason, we think when we finally achieve pregnancy and have that baby, we have no right to complain about anything. Truth is, we still have struggles, it's just a whole new set of struggles.

I'm happy for you, girl. I hope baby boy lets you get some much needed rest soon. :)


Fertilized said...

I am so sorry. I am here reading and supporting no matter what. I get it.

Soapchick said...

Lose the guilt girlfriend! I feel nothing but happiness for you! Guilt is a useless emotion, so send it packing.

Now motherhood is one hard job, so don't feel bad that it's not all roses and sunshine all the time. Life is hard, plain and simple. Infertility is hard, raising children is hard. Just because you went through infertility doesn't mean that you can't express your feelings and frustrations of what you are going through now. We all go through our life journeys with challenges at every stage.

Now just to give you an update on me because I don't think you requested access to my private blog - I'm in the middle of a DE IVF cycle - we finally gave up on my crusty, old eggs. I went private on my blog because we are using a known donor that we found ourselves. I started my shots last Friday and my donor starts this Friday. Retrieval will be late May and Embryo Transfer will be early June. I'm praying this works!

Sweet Georgia said...

I'm not offended by anything you've written. If anything you give me hope. It's ok to not be happy all of the time, it's ok to think things are hard. It doesn't mean you don't appreciate your little boy.

andi said...

Lovely to hear from you! And try not to feel guilty - having a baby is supposed to be very normal.

And if we don't want to read - we won't open your blog. So keep blogging.

Good to hear your honest take on things - and let's hope you are nearing the end of the 'no sleep' drama.

How is the man coping?

If you were to cycle again - when would you do it?

Love Andi

Betty M said...

I certainly know exactly where you are coming from. I didn't get invvolved in the online IF community until after I had been sucessful at IVF the first time. The guilt about moaning about the difficulties in having another and the trials and tribulations of a child was huge. In the end though I got over it. Having a kid is hard - whether it was an oops pregnancy or one after lots of trying and/or losses - we need to acknowledge that in our quest to be better parents whethether that is right now or in the future when however we manage it we become parents. Its the same with having another one. My experience of failed cycles and miscarriage all came after my first successful cycles. I don't think in retospect I should have felt guilty about continuing to try. Being sensitive, as you are, about those who have yet to achieve goals, yes absolutely but guilty, no.

My Reality said...

Honestly, I much prefer the honest posts to the fluffy ones. The pictures are nice and all, but I would rather hear the real stuff. It isn't supposed to be easy and don't beat yourself up for your feelings.

Hopeful Mother said...

I think you definitely need to lose the guilt - it's OK to complain! Everyone has something difficult that they are dealing with.

Great to hear from you... take care of yourself!

tryingin2007 said...

I get that all the time as well! now that we have one child we will most definitely be "surprised" with another. piss off!

and it's ok to have complaints about being a new mom. IF has nothing to do with the sleep deprivation.

he's a cutiepie! :)

Almamay said...

Dearest Portia,
I just saw that you are posting again and was so excited. I love your writing. I agree that I'd rather have honest posts rather than fluffy ones.

I also think that parenting after IVF brings it's own problems and feelings. I believe that we just don't parent the same as the "oops" parents and I'd like to hear about the process from women like yourself. I admire your tenacity and intellegence.

Please, please keep us in the loop. I've so missed you xoxox

Bea said...

For me, I found it got better after 7-8 months, when he started to get less "colicky". I hope that's you about now, as I type this. Good luck with those tough decisions.