Beneath The Apple Blossom – Kate Frost #BookReview

Another week of the holidays done, another book read.

A while back (possibly even a year back), I read an interview with an author called Kate Frost. Her then newly released book, Beneath The Apple Blossom, looked to be something that would be of interest to me.

The Blurb:

Four women, linked by blood ties, friendship, betrayal, loss and hope, struggle with the choices they’ve made and the hand that life’s dealt them.

All Pippa’s ever wanted is marriage and kids, but at thirty-four and about to embark on IVF, her dream of having a family is far from certain. Her younger sister Georgie has the opposite problem, juggling her career, her lover, a young daughter and a husband who wants baby number two.

Pippa’s best friend Sienna has a successful career in the film world, and despite her boyfriend pressurising her to settle down, a baby is the last thing she wants. Happily married Connie shares the trauma of fertility treatment with Pippa, but underestimates the impact being unable to conceive will have on her and her marriage.

As their lives collide in a way they could never have predicted, will any of them get to see their hopes realised?

As I read it I was amazed at how emotional it made me feel. I remembered the time when we were struggling. The anacronyms like 2ww and BFN and BFP flooded back, as I remembered the wonderful forum I had joined when we were struggling with conceiving, and after, for the support of others in the same situation.

It’s true though, not every woman wants to be a mother. And not everyone can make a good one either.

But the pain that accidental pregnancies can cause to others, I’ve experienced that too, while we were in the midst of our own journey. Hearing about someone talking about a baby that wasn’t expected or wanted, was like a knife being plunged into my womb, and twisted. Yes

Yes.

It felt that extreme.

Yet when there were others who were expecting, and it was a much longed for baby, I was overjoyed for the parents-to-be.

Deep down I knew that one day, our turn would come. And it did, twice, with two angel babies in between.

Beneath the Apple Blossom: The Hopeful Years Book 1 by [Frost, Kate]

My rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

My reviews on Amazon and Goodreads:

What a great book!
Having been through fertility struggles of my own, it was amazing how I related to a lot of the issues faced by 2 of the main characters in this book.
It’s very true, that as much as some women crave to be mothers, there are those that really don’t feel it’s for them, and this book explored both sides of the same coin.
The realistic writing brought back some painful memories for me, but also that sense of camaraderie that I too felt in a very special online forum that I had also joined while trying to conceive.

Buy it on Amazon here.

WRITESPIRATION #127 52 WEEKS IN 52 WORDS WEEK 32 – A Streaky Sky

Sacha’s prompt this week for her #Writespiration challenge:

A streaky sky

Your challenge is to write your story using the weekly theme/prompt and write it in just 52 words…. EXACTLY, no more, no less.

writespiration-2017

 

Dappled with the colours of the sunset, the sky looked beautiful tonight, Reena thought. She got ready for dinner. Tonight, finally, she would tell him the good news.

Returning from the bathroom, the streaky sky took on another meaning. Reminiscent of the streaks of blood gracing her panties. No longer good news.

RonovanWrites #Weekly #Haiku #Poetry Prompt #Challenge #82 Star&Child

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Monday evening means it’s  Ron’s haiku challenge! Read more here.

Great words this week – Child & Star. I started with a little humour, but the words touched me in a personal way, paving the path for the second haiku…

 

TLC

Honey Boo Boo!

Reality

Reality stars

Nothing more than hyped up and

Celebrated brats

Ritu 2016

And one a little more emotionally deep… means something to me…

baby-someone-i-loved-was-never-born

For my 2 stars, twinkling in the sky…

Forever Stars

Farewell my cherubs

Gone too soon but with me still

Two more stars twinkle

Ritu 2016

But I Smile Anyway...

When will someone call me Mummy?

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Christmas time is almost upon us, and everyone out there has some sort of Christmas wish, be it a specific material item, or goodwill to all…

But there are a lot of people who have one wish that is not always so easy to wrap and place under a Christmas tree…

I was in that position 12 years ago.  I didn’t care for anything else, all me, and Hubby Dearest wanted was to become parents.

It always looked like such an easy thing.  In my limited experience within the family at that time, apart from a very few, couples got married and within a year or 2 we were told the lovely news that they were expecting.  Great! So, now we were married, we’d had a year or so of being a love-struck newly wed couple.  My father had several sets of twins on his side of the family, so there was always the thought, maybe we might too! Several people who read palms, astrologists, spiritualists (yes, my Precious Pops and I love the mystical and supernatural!) had said I have children in my future, so what was the big deal? it would happen, just as we had planned.

Well, more fool me.  I’m an educated woman, and I think I was so blinkered by the thought that I had to become a mum, I overlooked the fact that since I had been very young, I had an extremely irregular cycle, so this was never going to be easy.

The journey began, all good fun, doing the deed, in earnest, and wishing and hoping that sometime soon I’d get a sign.  I couldn’t rely on the fact that I was ‘late’ as I had no regularity there anyway.  So, I’d wish for that sickness to arrive, or maybe I’d faint somewhere dramatically, like they do in the Bollywood movies and Indian TV serials, woken up with a doctor beside me, telling us with a smile, that no, you’re not ill, you’re about to become a mother! And I must have single handedly kept the pregnancy test companies afloat as I was peeing on sticks constantly!

The older ladies in the community and family would constantly ask when we were going to have a baby. I honestly would day ” Rabh de hathach ya” which means its in Gods hands. Reassuring them we were not in any way preventing anything.

No such luck.  Then, around a year after trying, I was at the hen weekend of my niece, a woman who has been like a sister to me. She worked as a medical rep, and she knew we were trying to start a family. She asked if I’d been to see the doctor yet.  Yes, I had, but the Doc said it was too soon to start worrying, most couples take on average, a year to conceive.  My niece then mentioned something I had never heard of before.  PCOS.  Polycystic Ovaries.  What on earth are they?  Well, apparently it’s quite a common condition, and nearly 1 in 10 Asian women suffer from it in some from, from mild to very severe.  Basically, without getting too technical,  the relevant hormones don’t secrete properly, and it means your eggs don’t mature enough to pop out of your ovary, and start that journey in order to even have a chance to be fertilised.  Said immature eggs then sit inside your ovaries, fluid filled flaccid little sacks that were harmless, but just did NOTHING.

And I appeared to have some of the common signs.  Irregular periods, weight gain, skin breaking out…Aside from the irregular cycle, I had never suffered from a weight problem, or skin complaints, but the last few years, even though I hadn’t changed my lifestyle, I was gaining weight and suffering more spots on my skin than before.  I used to think it was the contraceptive pill I had taken initially, but I hadn’t been using it for a year now and still had there complaints.

So with the promise that I would visit the Doc again, I was on my way again.  And after explaining all the conversation to Hubby Dearest, I arranged to visit the Doc.  She was sceptical, but sent me off for blood tests and a scan.  The blood tests came back borderline, so that wasn’t too bad.  “See, ” said Doc “nothing to worry about.”  The lady performing the ultra sound had a very different opinion.  As soon as she took a first look, she was able to confirm that I had very overpopulated ovaries, and this was not a good sign.  Back to the Docs and I left armed with medication, and the hope that within 3 months or so, things would be more positive, and if not, she would try some other avenue.

So now I was taking Metformin, a Diabetic medication that was meant to help regulate those naughty hormones that were not working correctly.  Slightly scary possible side effects, including upset tummies, and the  chance I might start to get increased facial hair! Gulp!  But, on the flip side, I would lose weight! The pill popping started and a few dodgy tummies, but no beard appeared thank goodness! And yes a few lbs dropped off so great! Slowly I started to get a regular cycle, but after 3 months, no positive on that pregnancy test.

Back to the Docs again and she stuck me on Clomid, a fertility drug, as a last resort. Bear in mind I’d not had any tests done to see how my system was faring. It was a tiny tablet, taken for three days, if I remember correctly, but the worst experience of my life! It basically puts your ovaries into overdrive!

Two months on the trot, I suffered week long migraines. I’d never had one before and was so scared the first time, ringing in to work in tears, not knowing what was happening to me. I was lucky to have such a great boss, and colleagues, who were supporting me every step, being tactful, and caring, and my boss was so worried he offered to take me to the Doc.

After the second month of hell, I decided I couldn’t go on like this. We had medical insurance and decided to go private. Best decision ever. I’d already had a formal warning at work over the week long absences two months on the trot. Not from my boss though, from head office, where they generally have no heart. My boss knew why I’d been off and he said to come in no matter what, if the migraines struck again, and then he’d formally send me home so no one could say I was skiving.

Was this ever going to happen for us? My best friend told me a story about someone she knew who suffered the same complaint. Hers was so severe she’d been told children were a total no no. She got married, her husband accepting the fact they wouldn’t be parents, and they lived a relaxed life, content, to find out some how she had fallen pregnant! And this happened three times more to her, so there was hope…

Our private consultant was wonderful! She was shocked that the GP was prescribing such strong drugs willy nilly, and started me on a great long list of regular blood tests, alongside my lovely Metformin (which I was fast coming to love, lost a stone by now!)

And you are probably wondering, what about Hubby Dearest? What if it was him that was the issue? No, he didn’t get let off that lightly. He had to do the ‘little container test’ too. Once for our GP and again for the consultant. He was fine, but we were recommended to go on holiday, get away from the usual stresses of life, relax. Work and home life were sometimes tough so we booked a break away in Jamaica… What a wonderful holiday! We really needed it! And on coming back, our consultant retested everything and things were on track!

Still, this was May now and nothing… Come August that dreaded pill Clomid was mentioned again. I was fearful, but was reassured, all the relevant tests had been done, my body was ready for it this time, so, slightly nervous, we started. First month passed… No migraines, but no positive tests either.

I was getting anxious too as there was a limit to how many times you could use this medication. If we had no joy, the next step would be IVF.

But, thanks to God, and a great consultant, we were successful the second month! Finally this longed for baby was in my tummy, on its way! A life was growing inside me. The family and our friends were over the moon!

My colleagues at work were ecstatic! It was like a company baby! They would cater to my every whim those months I was there, with my large bump.

The obvious anxieties a newly pregnant woman encounters were intensified as it had happened after so long, but things ran smoothly, apart from the discovery of a 4cm cyst in one ovary during a routine 30 week scan.

Three weeks before my due date, sat at work, I felt a wetness. Funny, I didn’t remember sneezing! Oh well… I got home that evening and felt it again. I knew for definite I hadn’t sneezed, and to cut a long story short, baby had decided it was time! I called work to say I wouldn’t be in for, oh about a year!

After an eventful labour, baby was finally here! We were so overwhelmed, we didn’t even ask, boy or girl? It was just our baby, perfectly formed and 3 weeks early! Lil Man had landed! The most precious bundle one could ask for. And born on his grandma’s birthday too! (How was I EVER going to top that birthday present!?)

The issues didn’t stop there though. We knew it had taken so long, so we would try for baby number 2 as soon as we could. Along the way I suffered pains in my side, and it transpired that the 4cm cyst that had been found while I was pregnant, was growing, and now 8cm. Cue a visit to my lovely consultant. No problem, a quick laparoscopy to drain the cyst and we’d be on our way again. I was geared up for my 2 weeks off. Surgery happened and when I came round from the anesthetic I was in some serious pain.

It transpired that the cyst had grown to 12cm, was blood filled, and it burst during surgery, causing a danger of sceptacaemia ( I think that’s how you spell it!) So now I was the proud owner of a c-section style scar, despite giving birth naturally, and, more worryingly, I was short an ovary and fallopian tube. What would happen to our quest for number 2 now?

We were resigned to the fact that Lil Man was going to be our only child, and happy with our lot. 3 months passed (how hard was it to not be able to pick my precious baby up during recovery, I cannot describe!) and somehow, I was pregnant again! Huh?! How’d that happen? (Yes, biologically I know HOW it happened, but I was still recovering… we weren’t expecting this yet!)

Though it wasn’t to be. Two months into the pregnancy, while celebrating our wedding anniversary and Hubby Dearest’s work Christmas do, I started to bleed, resulting in a miscarriage. I was devastated. We both were. It was tough, and I’d hug my Lil Man tighter every night. My Precious Pops helped me accept our loss, with his calming words, explaining things happen for a reason, my body wasn’t ready for a pregnancy after such a big operation. This made sense. So, never forgotten, but accepted, we carried on with life.

Three months later, I got another positive on a test. I was terrified. With good reason. 6 weeks later, another loss. This was where I experienced something I didn’t think I would, from another woman. Apparently, I was making a fuss over nothing. 6 weeks was not really a pregnancy. Well, I understand that missed miscarriages are common, where you didn’t know you were pregnant, and experience a late period, but when you’ve done that test, and seen those two lines, you ARE pregnant, like it or not. And when you really want this baby, comments like that cut like a knife.

Devastated, again. Would it happen?
I got my pep talk from Pops again, and we started trying with renewed gusto. I had the support of an amazing group of women on an online mums forum, and we shared stories and tips. I’d take my temperature and log it, use a saliva microscope ( no I’d never heard of them before either!) check all manner of things, and hoped for the best, alongside the good old Metformin.

One lady mentioned using SMEP. Erm, what’s that? Well, great fun for the bloke, I can tell you! Its short for Sperm Meets Egg Programme! Basically you are given a 10 day window to just ‘go for it’! The hope is that something should happen, the egg never gets a chance to escape.

I had been subjecting Hubby Dearest to regulated access previously, just on the ‘right’ days, so I didn’t tell him, but launched myself into this programme… He thought all his Christmases had come at once! And I’m happy to say, somehow, it worked! Positive number 3, and it stuck!

Lil Princess arrived with great pomp and circumstance, 5 days early, on grand dads birthday!

So we got our little boy and girl. Our family completed with the addition of Sonu Singh the Kitten earlier this year. It was hard. A tough journey, but fulfilling. And never in this time did I hide my difficulties. It’s common place in the Indian community to hide these issues, trying to make out a ‘perfect’ situation at all times. But I tried to, in my own way, raise awareness, by talking about my difficulties. After Lil Man was born, two girls in my family also found out they had the same condition, and, after the correct treatment, they both have two beautiful children each.

This was our journey to become parents, my struggle with PCOS. I hope you don’t mind that I shared, and hope that somehow, it may help someone else in similar circumstances. Don’t lose hope. If its meant to be, it will happen.💗

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