Inner peace

So it’s been an age since I updated. Life has gotten in the way yet again.

Our continuing journey of healing is everlasting and one that has its many ups and downs. Sometimes it’s easy to get overwhelmed and I admit that over the past few months I have struggled a lot. The thought that there was something we were missing kept gnawing at me. I was convinced that there must be something fundamentally wrong with me. Clawing for the whys and having the unknowns became too much. I was angry, hating everyone who was pregnant. Butter that they had what I should. Fury whenever anyone was annoyed with their children. Something had to change.

We decided after having exhausted what our wonderful NHS was allowed to do for us, to go private. We contacted an incredible fertility expert Dr Dooley at the Poundbury Fertility Clinic. He’s a very well respected expert in his field, one of the best in fact. After a few weeks wait we travelled to our first appointment. He read though everything, we came equipped with test results, cycle charts and 2 years extensive knowledge of all things ttc. He quickly got the ball rolling.

Yes we seemed fine, both in very good health. I felt flooded with relief, so often at every nhs appointment my weight would be paraded as the reason. Yes, I am overweight but I workout 5x a week and eat healthily, this is reflected on paper…low blood pressure, no diabetes, no thyroid issues and good resting heart rate. Mark, despite having Crohn’s disease is also in perfect health. Boxes ticked moving on.

I explained that we had been trying to not put pressure on it, almost given up trying. He said you must never do that. Again relief. How many stories has well meaning people told me about people getting pregnant after giving up?! Countless. He said it’s simple, sperm needs to meet the egg. If they aren’t in the right place at the right time that won’t happen. No tricks, no de stress, no magic pills (just folic acid), no standing on your head, just science.

First things first. Check my egg reserves, my progesterone levels and my tubes for blockages. 1 month later and here we are, I have fine egg reserves for my age, no blockages and I do ovulate but very early. The whys, the it’s me, the there’s something wrong with me thoughts have gone. Things are happening and we will get there. I know that now. It just may take a bit longer than we hoped.

My peace of mind has been further improved by some small changes I have made:

  • Removing the Facebook app from my phone so I’m no longer bombarded with baby news and other stressors
  • Yoga and Pilates for some good toning and self care sessions
  • Meditation for anxiety and stress, again taking time for me
  • Swimming and boxing for extra cardio
  • Continuing with reducing sugar and processed foods
  • Eating good quality meat and dairy and not cheap products – leaner cuts mostly
  • Getting a good balance of healthy fats and carbohydrates
  • Loving my figure and nourishing my body correctly, not being so damn hard on myself

Try some of these yourself or make your own goals. Remember it doesn’t have to be all or nothing. Goals can be fluid and changed. Don’t set rules, set life goals and milestones. Above all be mindful and be kind. Life is far too short for conflict and restrictions.

Allana x

Spring

It’s no secret to those who know me well, that I adore spring. So unsurprisingly I have been full of enthusiasm lately. My mindset has shifted recently, things are changing. The grief cycle is ever turning in a small way, but I would say that I’m no longer trapped in it. I wear it like a ring on my finger, it’s no longer a noose around my neck.

It’s ok to have a shit day. Can we just say that together, loud and proud. I have stopped trying to push emotions down until they explode. That isn’t a healthy way to be. Emotions are there to be felt, to be recognised and let go. I found myself getting angry and snappy and knew it had to stop. I had to breakdown, let it out, walk it out and refresh. You can’t walk around carrying that weight and piling more angst on top. You will crumble.

Part of this change has been adding meditation back into my daily routine. Each time i feel the icy talons of anxiety clawing at my chest I take 3 minutes and refresh. Get some clarity and start anew. It’s been like a deep breath of fresh spring air.

If you want to start meditating I can fully recommend the calm app. There are many others that are free, but this is the best one i have used. You can do a trial initially before you buy it to see if it works for you. Another app I have used is Headspace which is worth a try.

I am loving working out and filling my body with good and healthy things. Sure I still have the odd treat, but it’s ok. You have to live your life and find balance. It’s easy when you have a reason that motivates you more than anything else. My why is this:

  • To be healthy
  • To carry a baby to term
  • To conceive again
  • To be there for my family
  • To love myself
  • To respect myself
  • To fit into my size 10 jeans – got to have one silly one too

Without a decent why, you will never reach your goals. You can follow whatever fad diet, lifestyle choice or exercise plan you want, but if you don’t have motivation, you are very likely to give up.

Through healthy change, I have started to see real progress in my fitness and eating plans. I am enjoying what I’m doing and I genuinely look forward to working out. When you feel great you want that to continue.

Positive mindset, positive life. That doesn’t mean you ignore the bad – quite the opposite – it means you tackle it face on, see it for what it is on its own. Don’t stack up every bad thing that’s ever happened to you as proof of why you should suffer, that helps no one and isn’t realistic. Surround yourself with people who care and check in, this goes both ways. I am so lucky that I have wonderful people around me. We check in with each other, give support or space, as well as a firm talking to if one of us needs it.

You need people who are your safe place. Those who you can be hysterical with, say all the dark and twisty things to, and know that they know you are ranting. They will let you get it out and then give you a hug and not judge. Sometimes you need to get the words out of your head so they can’t fester. No I don’t believe ‘I’m never going to have another baby’, but in that moment I needed to say it out loud. My friends let me say that and more, they didn’t pity me, (no crying emojis, my pet hate) just kind and sane words after I’m done. Find your safe places, hold them close and be theirs in return.

Plant some seeds, get your hands dirty. It’s important to reconnect with the earth and take a few quiet minutes to reflect. Can you be kinder? Is a friend struggling? Could you reach out? Are you being fair? We can all benefit from a little mindfulness. Try slowing down, put down the phone and just breathe.

– Allana x

Grief

I see this a lot. Loss parents in so much pain that they lash out. I’m guilty of feeling it myself. When someone posts about losing a grandparent I admit to feeling like that’s just the natural order. That may be but it’s still a loss and it’s still painful. A child losing its life will always be so so traumatic and wrong but it doesn’t make it a more valid loss. By stacking up reasons and proof that your pain deserves more validity you ignore that pain.

I remember when I was early into this, I was so angry all the time. I would see people with babies and hate them. Every other loss would grate me as it took away from Jack, or so I felt. Sympathetic and often pitting looks infuriated me. But again anger is a distraction technique. To move forward and get to where I am now I had to see what was really going on, break through those walls, heal my heart.

It’s not easy. It’s taking intense CBT (cognitive behavioural therapy) and a lots of safe place visualisation techniques and grounding. Trauma manifests in many ways, one is anger, another is distracting from the issue. It’s hard, it’s painful to have to deal with loss, but take it from me, it does get easier if you do. Getting help is the key, you don’t have to struggle alone.

I’m never going to forget Jack, how could I? But his memory now makes me proud and happy, it is always sad too but that’s ok, that’s normal. I no longer think of him and then am instantly angry and wanting to lash out. I still get angry but I make sure I use my cbt tools to get through that and deal. Anger is ok, hurt is ok, it is wrong that i don’t have my baby, it is unfair, but I don’t want to live my life thinking of Jack that way. I don’t have to hurt or hate others for that to be real.

So next time you see a friend or family member sad that they have lost a grandparent, aunt, dog etc. Be kind, be loving and remember it’s their emotion and it doesn’t take away from your pain.

– Allana x

Wedding!

So we did it! We got married!

It was a perfect day for us. We had so many amazing people help to ensure it was everything we hoped for and more. Especially our parents, my brother and his fiancé, the bridesmaids and best men and Karen and John. We couldn’t have done it without you guys in particular. There are many others who helped us too though!!

The main thing that we wanted was for Jack to be present for us. We didn’t necessarily want it to be obvious to everyone but just so we knew. We had butterflies all over the place, his name is on our wedding rings, a collection box for our NICU fund and flowers for him. We raised £320 to add to his fund ❤️

It was a beautiful day for us and everyone made it so special. We had been really focusing on the day and it was therapy for us to plan for it and keep busy. It wasn’t just a wedding but a renewal of us, a sign that we made it.

Annoyingly we had a very small amount of drama right at the end and a few people who let us down last minute (and didn’t let us know). Frustratingly these people haven’t apologised and didn’t contact us at all. However, it’s a simple way to handle these things, these people are no longer part of our lives. Nothing can ruin our day and spoil what we have. We are so strong and so very thankful for the vast majority who made it incredible.

Our next route is to keep moving forward and healing. It’s still hard and it’s always going to be at times, but we have each other and so many incredible friends and family around us. We will be ok.

– Allana X

Giving Back

It’s been a little while since i promoted this but we are still wanting to raise money to give back to Southampton Hospital and NICU. We will be splitting the money between 2 charities, these are:

Southampton Children’s Hospital Charity – https://schcharity.org.uk/

Holding Little Hands – https://www.facebook.com/HoldingLittleHands/

Both of these charities directly help to save the lives of children and baby’s everyday. They give money to all aspects of child and baby care. This means that the incredible people on the front line can continue to provide the outstanding care that they do. Not only that but it means they can keep giving the kind and respectful end of life care that baby’s  like our Jack received. They are not only medical professionals but they are counsellors and some of the kindest people i have ever met.

Even the smallest amount will add up to something wonderful. Please share and donate if you haven’t already.

https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/jack-tigwell

– Allana x