Excerpt for Finding the Rainbow by , available in its entirety at Smashwords

 

 

 

 

Rachel McGrath grew up in Redcliffe, a seaside town in Queensland, Australia, where she studied Business, before moving to the United Kingdom in her early thirties. She currently lives just north of London, where she met and married her husband. She has a professional career in human resources. Rachel has always had a passion for writing both fiction and non-fiction, creating many short stories from her early teens as well as smaller pieces of work that have never been published. Finding the Rainbow is Rachel’s first novel, a story capturing a difficult time in her life; she is passionate about sharing this with a wider audience. 

Finding the Rainbow was awarded the People’s Book Prize winner in 2016, and was also a Bronze medal winner in the Reader’s Favorite awards. Rachel has a strong following all over the world via her personal blog www.findingthrainbow.net

The sequel to this captivating memoir, Embracing the Storm, is due to be released in early 2017.

 

 

Finding the Rainbow

Rachel McGrath

 

© Copyright 2017

2nd Edition

 

The right of Rachel McGrath to be identified as author of

this work has been asserted by her in accordance with the

Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988.

 

All Rights Reserved

No reproduction, copy or transmission of this publication

may be made without written permission.

No paragraph of this publication may be reproduced,

copied or transmitted save with the written permission of the publisher,

or in accordance with the provisions

of the Copyright Act 1956 (as amended).

 

Any person who commits any unauthorised act in relation to

this publication may be liable to criminal

prosecution and civil claims for damages.

 

Although the author and publisher have made every effort to ensure that the information in this book was correct at press time, the author and publisher do not assume and hereby disclaim any liability to any party for any loss, damage, or disruption caused by errors or omissions, whether such errors or omissions result from negligence, accident, or any other cause.

 

First edition Published in 2015 by Vanguard Press

Second edition 2017 by McGrath House

This book is dedicated to my husband: my partner, soul mate and best friend. We have been on this journey together, working through some of the toughest moments a couple can experience. He is my rock, always there to hold my hand and keep me positive.

 

 

 

 

 

 

A brief word before we start

 

 

To all the mums and dads, and the hopeful mums and dads to be, this is not a reference book, and nor is it meant to be. It’s not a guide on how to fall pregnant and stay pregnant, and it certainly won’t take you through each and every exciting month of pregnancy with tips and techniques on your health, wellbeing and growing baby.

This story is purely an account of my own experience when trying to conceive. Something I put pen to paper, to help reconcile what I went through, to manage my feelings and internal thoughts through a period that has been a crazy, rollercoaster ride of emotions. Trying for a baby was both a mental and physical journey of excitement, hope and loss, something I had never imagined would be so difficult and sometimes so painful.

Whether you are thinking about getting pregnant, trying to conceive, are in the midst of your pregnancy, or you are fortunate to be holding that bundle of joy, you will understand that each and every couple has a very different experience. I found that my experiences even differed throughout each of my pregnancies. Unfortunately there is no set formula, rhyme or reason when it comes to falling pregnant, or starting a family and that really is the beauty and the pain of this amazing journey.

This is my journey through early pregnancy: the good the bad and the ugly. This is my personal account of how I felt, what I experienced, the highs and the lows, and sometimes how I dealt with the setbacks I was forced to face on our baby-making road.

I do not wish to advocate any advice throughout this story, or provide any false hopes or crush any dreams. I wrote this to share my experience of a personal topic that many women don’t seem to talk openly about.

It was something I realised during my pregnancies and my losses. Many women and men see the subject of early pregnancy loss as taboo, and generally avoid discussing their own experiences. Perhaps it is too hard and too painful to discuss, perhaps it’s the knowledge that others will be questioning them on what happened, or what they will do next. I’m not really sure.

Many couples we know didn’t tell a soul that they had experienced infertility, loss and disappointment in the early stages of pregnancy. Most, I found, would wait until the end of the first trimester, or even late into the second trimester before sharing their exciting news with close family and friends that they were even expecting. It was a nice little secret most couples kept to themselves in those earlier days of pregnancy. During those exciting times when we found out we were pregnant, I suppose keeping it between myself and my husband would have been something just for us to know, and enjoy that moment. However, I guess I’m a little different to the norm, and it’s probably why you’re reading this now.

What I found is that each time I went through the process of excitement to apprehension and loss, it was the support from friends and family that helped me stay strong. My workplace was supportive and understanding and it really wasn’t worth the time and effort for me to be secretive about what I had gone through. Especially with the number of hospital and doctor’s appointments I ended up attending.

However, in saying this, I appreciate that this was the way I coped with my personal feelings and experiences, and that everyone has different needs and therefore may approach things very differently. There is no right or wrong way to manage pregnancy and loss, there is only your own way.

I hope that my story is helpful in some way.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

New Horizons

 

 

The world of ‘trying to conceive’ is a place that is both physically, mentally and emotionally all consuming. It’s a place I didn’t even know existed until two years ago and frankly one I was  quite unprepared for.

At the age of thirty-six, I had no idea of the impact of cycle times or when I actually ovulated, and then there were Basel temperatures, cervical mucus, days past ovulation, implantation and the hope of that elusive ‘Big Fat Positive’ result! Many couples at certain points in their life or at various ages make that important decision to start a family, and this then starts a cycle for some that results in a very quick positive result and a lovely bundle of joy! For others, it’s a tough road filled with hope, heartbreak and turmoil, with numerous unsuccessful conception cycles and early pregnancy loss through miscarriage. So how do you really prepare for this? 

I’m not sure you can. Whilst I possibly didn’t really understand the world of trying to conceive, you quickly learn as you enter it. I recall discussing with my husband how we would probably be pregnant within the first couple of months. We were so excited! We were very naïve. Many people had warned me, saying I would have a challenge being ‘over thirty-five years’, but we were both fit and healthy with an active sex life, so why would we have any problems?

I had a number of friends who had prior miscarriages or fertility problems, and again that hadn’t phased me. Of course I’m different, and it will happen for us, I’d thought. We will have a family within the next twelve months. I was so certain of that.

It was seven months before I got my first positive pregnancy result. I was getting incredibly frustrated at that point, thinking it would never happen, and that there was actually something really wrong. We even started to look at alternative options like adoption or surrogacy. A little premature, but that’s me all over; I’m impatient. If you were to compare my experience with others, seven months is actually a good result. I had heard of many others who had tried for over twelve months before getting pregnant the first time.

Whilst we didn’t have a first successful pregnancy, it gave us hope. That’s just part of the story that you will read in the later chapters. What I found is that pregnancy is a journey, with many bumps along the road. The timing of cycles and waiting for results, the hope and excitement of finding out you’re pregnant, and then the pain and grief of miscarriage, which often leads to starting all over again; it’s not an easy ride for any woman or couple to endure. Nonetheless, it’s a passage that many couples unfortunately need to pass through to achieve their ultimate goal, a healthy baby, starting a family and becoming parents. It’s one of the ultimate life experiences and an aspiration I’ve personally dreamt about from as far back as I can remember.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Reflections

 

 

Somebody asked me once whether I would go back and change things; whether I would alter my path if I had the choice. Would I have started trying to conceive earlier, start a family, had I known that we would have the challenges we faced? It made me think. Would I? If I had a time machine, would we have started earlier, and would I have looked at my priorities differently?

As I reflected on this question I recalled several events throughout my life that made me really think about motherhood. It was during these events that I may have had a choice to prioritise my decisions differently about family and my quest to become a mother.

Looking back, I’m not clear whether it changed the way I viewed my potential to become a mother, but these events certainly stay with me, even today. Perhaps in some ways, they reaffirmed my path?  

In the years before I decided on parenthood, I did find that anyone who was currently a parent, or others who had started the process of conception had an opinion on it, and they were quick to share their views. It was clear that of course everyone’s own view was the correct one; that we should accept and follow the same set of guidance, and all will be well in the world.

Who would have thought it was all that easy?

What I have learned is that life is not that easy. There is no clear path; no one right way forward, and fate above all will guide our future. At the end of the day, we all roll the dice, and move forward with the hope that we land where we want to be. If we don’t, we just keep rolling.

Regrets? I have none. All I have are my reflections, and the knowledge of different paths I could have taken at different stages of my life.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Specialist Advice

 

 

In my early twenties I had a serious relationship; I was young and enjoying life, living in a different state away from my hometown, with a promising career ahead of me. Whilst this was my first serious relationship, the guy himself was not someone I could foresee a long lasting future with. In the end we stayed together for around four years, and that was far too long.

During the time I was in this relationship, I was advised that I had an abnormal cervical smear. In the investigations, my gynaecologist did say to me that I had follow on problems from an appendix operation I had when I was sixteen and possible signs of endometriosis. He told me I should consider starting a family earlier rather than later.

In fact his actual advice was, if you don’t start trying soon, you may not be able to have a family in later life naturally. I was young, my life was ahead of me, and for me having a baby at that stage of my life, with a partner who was unreliable and more like a child himself, was the last thing on my mind.

It did stick with me however, and there were times when I reflected on the risk I was taking. The bigger risk to me however, was bringing a child into this world when I wasn’t ready to be a mother. I didn’t have the financial stability to offer a growing child, the structural basics, a loving, stable family or a home with a suitable environment for a growing active child. Finally, I still wanted for things in life, to experience the things I aspired to achieve, personally and professionally. I never wanted regret, and personally it would have been unfair to start a family when I wasn’t ready. Had I taken my doctor’s advice, that child would be almost fifteen years old, and my life would be very different. The big question to ask is: ‘Would I have really regretted starting a family back then?’ My perfectly honest answer: ‘No’.

As an adult you make life work with the circumstances you are given. I know that any child I might have had at any stage of my life would have been loved wholeheartedly. With one parent or two, with limited financial resources, that child would have had what was necessary and important for a happy healthy life. Love would have been its centre. Nonetheless, I did make a choice at that point in my life, and that choice was with no regrets. I wouldn’t be who I am today and we make the decisions in our life for a reason, and life just happens.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Putting My Eggs in One Basket

 

 

By the time I was thirty I was single and I had moved interstate again, back to my home city. I had a really good job, I’d bought myself a house, and I was living a fabulous single life with great friends, lots of travels and spending my disposable income on extravagances whilst I could. I actually loved being single and free at this point of my life. I had felt lost in my past relationship, becoming someone I really didn’t like, which ultimately impacted my friendships and my self-esteem.

Finally I was carefree, with only myself to worry about. I wasn’t even looking for a partner at this point of my life, as I was focusing on who I wanted to be and enjoying myself.

I was at a good friend’s house one afternoon, having afternoon tea. This friend I’ve known since I was at school, and she has been in the same relationship since her late teens. She was married in her early twenties to a lovely man, and they had their family home set up, with their first young daughter only two years old. She had experienced some trouble conceiving originally, so she already understood the challenges that many face when trying to start a family. Me, I was still oblivious to all of this, and had not thought further of starting a family at this point. In fact it was not a priority at all at this stage in my life.

My good friend asked me about my life; did I have a boyfriend, why not, am I putting myself out there? All those fabulous yet imposing questions you love to hear from a happily married person when you’re single. I was nonchalant in my responses, and tried to change the subject. Then the real killer question came, the one that stuck with me for a while.

‘Have you thought about freezing your eggs?’ She asked me in a way that was light and airy, yet I saw the intent in her eyes. I remember looking at her confused, not really sure where she was going with this. I kind of laughed, brushing it off as a joke. But she was serious.

‘You know you’re thirty now, and your chances of conceiving decrease year after year. Even if you met someone now, you might not be married for a couple of years. You should think about freezing your eggs. You don’t want to lose your chances of having a baby in the future’. She was so direct, something I loved about this friend, and sometimes she was right to be.

That conversation still replays in my head, and to be honest I cannot remember what I said in response. It wasn’t something I had ever thought of, and I didn’t see it as something I should be worried about at thirty. Would you?

Anyway of course I didn’t take the advice. It didn’t even start me in a mad panic to find my future husband. I carried on with my lifestyle, moving again interstate within a few months for my next career opportunity, and in my early thirties I moved again, this time overseas to further pursue my career and my personal ambitions, to travel and find adventure.

Well, I’m happy to say that all my eggs stayed firmly in my ovaries, waiting for the day that I would finally settle down, opting for the natural way of starting a family. Perhaps it was the ‘au naturel’ way to approach my family options, but I was comfortable with that at the time, and I still am now.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tick-Tock-Tick-Tock.

 

 

One final incident that stays with me happened after I had met my now husband. We were both around mid-thirties, and had been together just over a year having just moved in together. We were enjoying our life as a ‘young’ couple with financial freedom. We enjoyed champagne dinners out, romantic weekends away, travelling to new and exotic destinations and just enjoying life with no real responsibilities. We were also saving for our first home together.

We were out for dinner one evening at a small local restaurant. Another couple were at the table beside us, and somehow during the meal we started conversing with them. I’m not really sure how it happened, but I ended up in conversation with just the woman, as my husband and her partner engrossed themselves in their own banter about cars. She had been telling me that they had been married now for several years, she was over forty and that they were desperate to start a family. Due to her age, she was seeing her chances to conceive a baby start to diminish, having tried several options including a number of rounds of IVF. Nothing had been successful for them so far.


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