Holidays

There’s nothing better. This picture basically sums up how they’ve been so far:

 
Of course I’ve been a little busier than this, but this part is the most important. 

Jane xx

What’s been happening in my world

Hello lovelies, and my humble apologies at the delay in writing. It has been almost three months since I last blogged, and there’s been quite a lot on in that time. In my last post, I spoke about seeing the doctor regarding IVF, and I will give you an update on that in the next post (no posts for 3 months, then 2 in one day? That’s me!). I wanted to give you the very happy news that my husband is technically now cancer free.

After 6 weeks of chemo and radiotherapy (the worst of which was the week after they both finished, go figure), Mr Nester and I had a gorgeous 9-10 weeks of no treatment, before he was booked into surgery at the start of last week. They cut out a significant section of his lower bowel, including the entirety of the tumor, and connected what remained back up. The labs have come back showing no sign of cancer anywhere else in his body, and also that there is now no longer any involvement of the lymph nodes. It seems the chemo and radio did the trick, and this is the best possible news we could have hoped for.

So he is resting and recovering, and I am playing nurse. The timing for his surgery was an interesting one, as we had originally planned to start IVF this month. The start date happened to fall on the exact day Mr Nester was going in for surgery, and as such we thought it might be too stressful, so we would push it back another month. Boy am I glad we did! Last week has been the biggest week of my life, firstly worried stupid for 10 hours while Mr Nester was either in the patient-only waiting room, under the knife or in recovery, and then spending 12 hours a day for the whole week staying by his side so he wouldn’t feel alone, lonely, or bored. Thankfully I brought my trusty laptop with trusty TV shows and movies, which kept us sane.

It has been a crazy few months since we found out Mr Nester had bowel cancer, but I can now say with huge happiness and relief that the treatment has worked, and he is now free of the cancer that was threatening his life. There is still a way to go yet, with a second bout of chemo as a precaution, and getting back to his regular self after surgery, but all that seems like a walk in the park after what we’ve dealt with.

And so, we look forward, and towards what we were originally hoping for – starting a family. Who’d have thought that the “Nestability” portion of this blog’s title would be so apt? IVF journey up next,

Jane xx

Other, parallel worlds

I just caught this post through the WordPress Reader, and it hit home for me in a way that not a lot has, when I comes to dealing with cancer as a partner, rather than the afflicted. It rings very true for my situation at the moment, and rather than try to replicate it, I thought it better that you should hear it from the source. Please read. It’s quite lovely.

Jane xx

How I Changed My Name – Stickler.

We are familiar with it by now, on a first name basis, in fact: “The cancer” “Cam has cancer” “the cancer thing.”  Cam texts me after an appointment and refers to “my cancer”, like it was some sort of pet. A black slimy pet with too many fingers, that doesn’t do anything but sit in […]

http://sticklerblog.wordpress.com/2014/10/28/how-i-changed-my-name/

Secret keeping

IMG_1909.JPG
I haven’t been completely honest with you. Oh, the posts have been all true, I’m not hiding anything there. I have however lied through omission. This week’s loss was a little more of a hit than I had let on, as there was a little more hope, more need clinging to that pregnancy than I had perhaps shared.

You see, my husband is currently going through something we never thought we would have to deal with in our thirties. My darling, beautiful, soul mate of a husband is battling cancer. He was diagnosed about a month ago, with stage 3 bowel cancer, meaning the tumour has spread to surrounding lymph nodes, but thankfully nowhere else. Our little pregnancy was created in the last week before he started treatment: chemotherapy and radiation combined. Since the cancer is right in that baby making region, there is a risk that fertility might suffer as a result of the treatment, and there’s also a chance it might not return. At all. So that happy (and then desperately unhappy) event was possibly our last chance of conceiving naturally.

I’m sounding all doom and gloom here, and I don’t mean to. The outlook for my husband is good, very good, and the doctors are discussing a cure, not just a treatment. Thankfully we also managed to visit the freezer section of the fertility aisle – that is we froze some potential offspring before things got real. I am very much expecting my husband’s…ahem…”production” to return to normal after treatment, but we’re realistic that it could take some time, like a year or so.

Technology has come on in leaps and bounds since I was born, and I know that the chances are excellent that we’ll get to create our own little being. Until the moment that’s confirmed though, there’ll still be that niggling “what if” seed of doubt.

For the next little while, life is about Mr Nester getting better, and our life returning to the future filled utopia we had before this fork in the road. We will get through this, we will be stronger, better, and other Kanye West lyrics. For now though, the conception wagon is taking a vacation.

I’ll still be here with the ins and outs of my extraordinary ordinary life (not a bad thing!), But the baby chat might be a little way off.

Thanks for listening, lovely considerate followers.

Jane xx

After the storm

Storms in Melbourne last night

Storms in Melbourne last night

It was a ridiculously apt day yesterday, for all that happened. I woke up, got dressed, got ready for work, all was normal. Heading to the train station, there had been storms that night, and a lot of rain. I had taken a pregnancy test again the night before, and it seemed a lot lighter than previous tests. I was somewhat inconsolable straight after, then shook myself a little and focused on the fact that I had no bleeding, no cramping, it might just be the test. For me, the rain and threatening storms cleared, just like it did yesterday morning.

Getting on the train, the weather looked like the worst was over: the horribly dark clouds were receding, I was sure I could see the sun straining to emerge. I reached my stop not too much later, and the weather was what could only be described as torrential. Booming thunder, flashes of lightning, and absolutely bucketing rain. All without an umbrella. As I was walking through the downpour, being soaked to the skin, I knew I was wet, would get wetter, and this was pretty awful. But I also knew I would dry off, I would get home, have a hot shower, and feel a lot better.

I started bleeding yesterday morning at about 9am. Proper, heavy, red bleeding. I was working, so I just pushed it to the back of my mind and kept going. The bleeding got worse throughout the day, and the cramping set in. I knew that this was the end, I’d known from the morning (and really, from the test the night before). I managed to survive the day and make my way home. My beautiful husband had bought me flowers, amongst other comfort gifts. I sobbed. For a little while. Had a bath, wrapped myself in warm clothes, curled up on the couch.

Last night at about 2am I was woken by the worse cramps I’ve ever experienced. Like menstrual cramps times 10. I was doubled over, unable to sleep, paranoid something was wrong. For about half an hour, I was tossing and turning, curled in the foetal position (how ironic).Took more panadol, had a shower, managed to drift back off to sleep.

I woke up about an hour ago, and the (physical) pain was gone. Still more bleeding, still heavy, but without the constant reminder my body was rejecting what had been, what no longer was.

I know that right now, I’m in the rain. Wet, cold and miserable. But I will get through this, the weather will pass, and some point soon I’ll be warm and happy again.

Miscarriage is something that seems to be rarely discussed – so much so that it’s difficult to know what to expect, to know how to get through it. Thankfully for me, it was (is) very early on. It still has had a huge impact on me, but I’m grateful my experience didn’t include something recognisable in the evacuation. I know we will have other chances, and I know that miscarriage at this stage is very common. It will hurt for some time, but I think it’s important to share the experience, that hopefully someone reads this and realises that it’s not just them, they didn’t do anything wrong, and things will get better.

The sun will come out. It might not be tomorrow, but I will see it soon.

Jane xx

Sick as a dog

20140601-141409-51249147.jpg
We’ve had quite a sick puppy this weekend, due to a bit of a gunky ear turning into a full blown infection. We’d noticed it earlier in the week, and hoped it would go away – mainly as we’re a week or so away from our pet insurance being available. However, poor old Dog went off his food on Friday, and barely moved from the couch on Saturday. We’ve booked him in to get checked out on Monday, but the last couple of days have given me an insight into the turmoil of a sick child. In no particular order:

The fear: seeing Dog withdrawn and not eating made me obsessively focused on his well being. Watching to make sure he was breathing, lying motionless next to him so as not to wake him, tempting him with his favourite treats in order to encourage some sort of eating. Thankfully we realised that his sore ear was making it painful for him to eat dry food, so a quick trip to the shop for doggy meatballs resulted in a feeding frenzy, and a much happier dog.

The guilt: hoping late last week that he would get better (or not get worse) until the cover kicked in was swimming through my head yesterday, when he was quite obviously worse. The fact that I’d tried to dismiss his symptoms for a few hundred dollars (he needs sedating to be treated) made me ashamed of myself. Me, who has always kept to the mantra that money is only money, ignoring our new family member’s illness in the hope it would magically disappear.

The neediness: both of Dog and of me. He hasn’t wanted to be more than a few centimetres away from me for the last two days, and I’ve been hovering over him like the worst helicopter parent. Mr Nester & I nearly came to blows last night (slight exaggeration…) over me wanting to let Dog sleep on the bed – a no-go so far. The brave Mr Nester stayed strong, and I relented after a waterfall of whining. He was of course right, but I couldn’t bear to see the pleading eyes of Dog in his vulnerable state.

We’re checking Dog in tomorrow, and I’m sure he’ll be completely fine after some ear drops & TLC, however this weekend has shown me that I’m not as unmoving as I thought, when it comes to babies (fur or no!).

Jane xx

 

**UPDATE**

Dog is, thankfully, completely fine. He had a thoroughly blocked ear, which was treated with a lot of ear drops (not Dog’s favourite thing, apparently!). He’s all better now, and back to happy chomping up my shoes.

Friends with bumps

20140531-162049-58849910.jpg
I had a Skype catch up last week with two very old friends, both of whom are now pregnant, one who is ready to pop! It was lovely to see them both, and fascinating to see them at such different stages of a huge part of their lives. Both are expecting their first child, one is at 38 weeks, the other at 16. The difference in their progression was of course obvious, however it was their completely alternate attitudes that I noticed the most. Ms 38 weeks is enormously organised (as you’d want to be with 2 weeks to go!), and has been so for the entire pregnancy. She has a fantastic attitude of order, with a dose of reality. She eats extremely well, exercises carefully, and has had a great pregnancy despite developing gestational diabetes, which she has handled with aplomb. Ms 16, on the other hand, seems the opposite. She has had a rough ride of morning sickness, and seems quite blasé about what’s happening to her. While she had planned the pregnancy, her circumstances are chaotic – a new relationship, a pending move to be with the father in an as-yet-unbuilt house, and an aversion to wanting to buy anything for the baby, as she’ll “do all that later”.

Now, I know I’m sounding very judge-y here, and I really don’t mean to. I’m just fascinated by the different approaches people have to having kids. I must admit, my own perspective is skewed by my desire for children, and as I’ve mentioned before, I’ve already completely overanalysed the entire future pregnancy before it’s even happened. Perhaps I have something to learn from 16, perhaps her easygoing approach in pregnancy will translate to easygoing parenting.

Back to me though (c’mon, blogs are inherently narcissistic, and chances are I’m only talking to myself…). It was a lot harder than I imagined to talk to two people who are going through what I want so badly. These are two friends with whom I always feel comfortable, who I know I can be myself around. And yet I found myself plastering a smile on as they joked about me being next, and asked why I wasn’t pregnant yet. Thankfully I wasn’t in the process of trying, or trying to deal with another month gone by without conception, or I don’t think any fake smile in the world could have masked my emotions. I finished the phone call quite melancholy, which is ridiculous. Namely because we’re not trying yet, I’m not dealing with failed attempts at conception, and I’m genuinely happy for my friends! No matter my logic, it was a hard catch up. I can only hope that in 6 months’ time I’ll be the one glowing with pride.

Jane xx

Update: Nothing doing…

20140525-163616-59776414.jpg
I thought it was time to give an update to say, well, nothing’s happening. Fortunately for us this isn’t a “we’re trying and it’s just not working” post, as that would be far harder to write. For now, this is simply a limbo post. This month was intended to be the “start trying” moment, the exciting beginnings of the next chapter. Instead, it’s more of a “same old” moment.

As I’ve mentioned previously, we’ve decided to wait a few more months, purely for financial reasons. As much as I despise the current Prime Minister, I’d be a fool not to make use of his ridiculously generous maternity leave scheme. Financially for us it means roughly another $10,000, which equates to more time off for me, meaning I might be able to take 12 months off instead of 6. Logically, this all makes perfect sense. Emotionally however is another matter. Ever since Mr Nester and I started the baby chat, the possibility of being a parent and having a child has been swirling through my mind. In the first few months of discussion, I had pretty much everything sorted, down to nappy colours.

Fast forward a few months to where I am now, and the initial excitement has worn off, replaced with what seems like an eternal wait: first, to even start trying, and then the unknown lapse until we fall pregnant. I’ve never been good with uncertainty, with waiting patiently (Mr Nester will be nodding vigorously here), and the time until something actually happens seems to be forever away. In the meantime, I’m still taking pregnancy vitamins, which seems pretty pointless at the moment. I don’t want to stop them though, as currently it feels like the only tie to our plans. Everything else seems frozen in time.

So in the meantime, it’s business as usual. My focus is on our upcoming trip to the UK in September, and the knowledge that not long after that, it will be “time”. Here’s hoping all goes well after that.

Jane xx

Mountains & Motherhood

20140410-175815.jpg

The sweet, sweet view from the top

Now that I am fully recovered from my mountain trek (a month ago!), I thought I might share a little of the journey with you. While we had our share of ups and downs (pun intended), there was one particular section of trip that warrants a mention. Mainly because it nearly broke me, in a fuck-this-I’m-sitting-down-and-not-moving-ever kind of way.

Let me set the scene for you: perfectly sunny, mild day, fresh air. Oh, and the biggest friggin’ mountain you’ve ever seen. Plus an 18kg pack. Plus 3 hours of climbing. The reason I’m telling you all of this is because as I was climbing (and climbing, and climbing), I couldn’t help but relate the hike to labour. Now I know I have zero experience of actually going through labour, and I’m sure it is about 100 times harder than my hike, but it did share some key elements. Of course, thankfully it wasn’t a 24 or 30 hour hike like some labours can be. Instead, my step by step battle was more easily related to the later stages of labour. So here we go:

1. Firstly, the neverending-ness of it. We climbed for about 5 hours that day, and while some of it was quite manageable, some of it actually enjoyable, the majority was a complete Slog. With a capital friggin’ S.

2. The excess weight. 18kg is one big ass baby. Carrying that weight on your back while climbing up a hill did not help my posture, my breathing or my mood one iota. The plus side of my extra weight is that once I reached the top, one swing and voila! Back to my old shape. Something tells me my post-baby body might not bounce back quite so speedily.

3. The overwhelming need to focus mentally. That sounds a bit odd, right? I’m climbing a hill, what on earth do I need to think about? It was my own state of mind that gave me the most grief on the ascent. That little voice in your head that says, “Uh, what the fuck do you think you’re doing? You can’t do this! Turn right back around this minute, loser!”. As I’ve said before, I think my mental preparation will be what really counts in the labour ward, being able to focus and not panic will be what gets me through. I was pretty damn proud of myself for proving that little voice wrong.

4. The point of giving up. I was so close, SO close to the top at one point, and I nearly gave up. Nearly said no, sat down, and gave up. All I could see was hill. More, more and more hill. I was never going to get there, I wasn’t making any progress, I was failing. I was actually only 10 minutes from the top, but having pushed myself for so long, I couldn’t see it. Watching my plethora of reality shows, I’ve seen this moment so many times with women in labour. They’ve endured hours of pain, are pushing with all their might, and almost every one of them hits a point when they’re yelling “I can’t! I can’t do it. It’s not working” – usually about one or two pushes away from giving birth. It’s that moment, that mountain, that last push that is the hardest of the whole ordeal.

5. The summit. The top, the grin-inducing, endorphin-rushing relief/joy/impossible dream that is the end result. All the pain, the exhaustion and feelings of defeat vanish instantly when you hit the peak and see that magnificent view, and I can only imagine the intensity of that moment when your child is born. No wonder people go back for more.

For me, the mountain was evidence that I am tougher than I think, and that if I can focus and put one foot in front of the other, I can achieve what I had thought was impossible. It might not be Everest, but for me it was enough.

To all of those reading this who are mothers, who have been there, I applaud your strength.

Jane xx

Away in a Manger

20140317-193233.jpg

Just a quick note as I’m off on my epic camp tomorrow, carrying a pack that’s roughly 5 times the weight of a newborn baby. So if I have quins, on my back (getting weirder by the second), and decide to climb a mountain, this will be great practice. Parenthood may be its own kind of Everest, but until that day comes, this is mine. See you Saturday!

Jane xx