Tuesday, 31 August 2010

ugliness

if you're pregnant, please don't hate me for this post. and please, please don't stop commenting. i don't want that to happen. but i need to acknowledge these feelings. because pretending they don't exist is just making me feel worse.

i kind of hope that acknowledging them will make them go away.

---

i look at the belly of every woman i pass.

i don't want to. if anything, i want not to. i want to be able to ensure my eyes never dip below a woman's chin, for fear of what i'll see.

but my gaze is drawn. i can't control it. i look. if the belly is flat, i can deal. i don't speculate. i'm ok. i'm ok.

but even the tiniest pot belly is enough to wind up my brain and send it spinning round in ever decreasing circles. is she? isn't she?

if it's big enough, defined enough to be a certain yes, i look away. i have no choice. i can't bear to see the belly i never had. the one i'm scared i'll never get to experience.

if it's a properly-huge about-to-burst due-date-is-any-day-now belly?

i recoil. i jerk my head away.

even though it's what i'm looking for - almost what i'm expecting - i'm never prepared.

----

i hate myself for this.

i don't want to be terrified of every pregnant woman i see.

---

i can't even cope with the ttc-pregnancy-birth boards at glow right now. so many pregnant people. so many of them who started trying well after we started trying again.

i'd be lying if i said that that, in particular, didn't sting.

i don't begrudge anyone else their happiness. i'm just terrified it will never be me. that everyone else will move on, and that only i will be left.

---

i'm actually ok on the blogs. if i know people are pregnant, i'm ok. i can offer love and hugs and support, and i mean them. please don't think i'm just offering lip service. if i comment, i mean it.

---

i want to be pregnant so badly.

i long to be pregnant.

which is kind of ironic, given how terrified i would be to actually be pregnant right now.

---

i hate this ugliness, carried inside me.

in about that spot where a baby should be.

Monday, 30 August 2010

it was a nice weekend. thank you to those who were thinking of me, it helped. sorry it's taken me a little while to update - i actually got back yesterday but haven't been on the computer since.

i had fun. it was good to see my friends. we went to a burl.esq.ue night on friday for the hen night, and then onto an indie club night afterwards. i spent ages dancing to indie classics (and a random lady gaga cover), in heels and everything. it was fun!

then on saturday my friend's birthday party was at her house. there was pringles, and cake, and plenty of alcohol.

and no pregnant people, and no conversations to make me upset.

but at the end, one conversation started off about education but ended up on how fast kids grow, and how toddlers make parents into bad dancers, and other related things. and i was ok at first, but as the conversation wore on with no signs of going onto easier topics, my friend caught my eye and mouthed 'are you ok?'. and really, i wasn't. it wasn't upsetting me, but it was making me deeply sad to hear how much those people loved their kids. and seeing as it was past 2am, i decided it would be easier to go to bed.

i miss being able to listen to conversations like that and just being happy for people and a little bit jealous because we weren't trying yet.

----

random fact: there's a driving school in newcastle called 'DBM'. for those not in the know, to me that acronym means 'Dead Baby Mama'. it was a bit freaky seeing it blazoned on top of a car the other day.

Friday, 27 August 2010

*is scared*

at the beginning of february i went to York for the day and it was really, really scary to go away from D. even just for 24 hours.

today, once i finish work, i'm going to York. without D, who's staying at home. i'll be there for two nights. i've got up very early this morning because i'm not at all ready and need to pack, but all i've done is sit around watching BBC News (you know you're up too early if Breakfast News hasn't started yet) and mope.

honestly, i just want to get back in bed and stay there. i want to wrap my arms around my husband, fall back asleep and know that if i need him, he's there.

i know my friends will look after me. and i'll see my parents tomorrow afternoon and they'll look after me too. but i will miss D. i'll miss knowing that if i have a meltdown he'll be able to look after me.

and i feel like such a wimp for it. i used to be the girl who'd go anywhere alone without a second thought. now, even overnight without my husband and i'm a wreck before i've even left. (although to be fair i'll probably be ok once i'm on my way.)

right. time to get in the shower, else i'll never make it out in time.

Thursday, 26 August 2010

this time last year

i had already done the pregnancy test and watched the display change to
'pregnant
1-2'

i had waited patiently for D to get out of bed and get showered so he was more awake. i had walked up to him with the test behind my back and then said 'do you really think we'll have trouble getting pregnant?' he'd floundered for words, before i pulled the test from behind my back and held it out for him to see. it took him a minute to register what it was and what it meant. but then he worked it out, and hugged me.

this time last year i was looking up the BBC pregnancy calendar at my desk in work while the skies outside were grey and heavy with rain. hiding it every time anyone came near.

my sister-who-lives-in-continental-europe called at around 10am. i had already guessed she was engaged but she told me during that phone call. i wanted to tell her my news, too, but didn't want to steal her thunder. it was really nice to hear about how happy she was.

i wasn't in work in the afternoon. i went to the library and got out four pregnancy books including 'what to expect'.

D and i were going to a Newcastle match that night with a friend from my work and her sister. before that D and i met for tea. i claimed when i nearly knocked over a glass of water that 'it was because i was pregnant', and we laughed. (i'm just clumsy, really.)

(we were so, so happy. jubilant, even.)

i worried when we jumped to our feet when newcastle scored and the cheers were all around that i would somehow be hurting the baby.

a year ago today.......

Wednesday, 25 August 2010

last night....

in the supermarket, something happened that's never happened before.

i was wandering round after D, largely in tears, when suddenly i had a flash.

it only lasted a second. but in that second? i imagined me pregnant.

i was in Asda, with D and a huge belly. we were laughing about something.

we were happy. and everything was ok.

---

i have never imagined myself pregnant before. never been able to visualise it. never been able to understand.

and i still can't, not really.

but for that one second, i could.

---

maybe.

just maybe.

maybe there is hope?
i am so tired.
i just want to sleep.
but i have work to do and i want to get it finished this week while it's quiet.
and i don't want to use up my rapidly-dwindling annual leave, and i don't want to open up the can of worms that is sick leave.

---

do you remember that one of the main ways my anxiety showed up was my terror of leaving the house or the car unlocked?

last night, late on, i took some rubbish out to the bin. i found my keys in the lock, on the outside of the front door.

i had unlocked the door and failed to transfer my keys to the inside of the door.

it's hard to accept that the one time i actually did something stupid (thank goodness they were still there!) i had no idea of what i'd done.

---

it's going to be one of those days that i struggle through on willpower alone.

i was ok before yesterday. why do people have to pick at my scabs?

Tuesday, 24 August 2010

my head's all in a spin.

i was terrified all morning.

the short version is that they didn't find any problems. but that doesn't explain anything. so i don't exactly feel any better.

---

but.

she had the report that the hospital did on the baby.

somehow.

i don't know why i've never been able to get it.

it was 55mm long.

(so small. so small.)

it had two arms. and two legs.

each of them had five digits.

there was no mention of a tumour on the neck.

and she said she thought that if there had been one that the report would have mentioned it.

so the only thing i thought i knew i was wrong about.

and the only answer i thought i had, that the baby had a chromosome abnormality, was wrong.

and it made me long for my baby - my tiny, perfectly-formed baby - all the more.
our appointment is this afternoon.

i'm scared.

i don't know what we'll find out.

but also, there's this.

if something is wrong with me i'll need to share. to talk about what's wrong and how we move forward.

if something is wrong with D, i'll need to share. to talk about what's wrong and how we move forward.

but if something is wrong with D, he'll need to keep it secret.

how do i reconcile this?

Sunday, 22 August 2010

happiness today - hope tomorrow

the very lovely miss ruby gave me an award. eleven days ago.

i've not accepted it yet, because it involves being happy about something. and to be honest, i haven't been happy about anything this last couple of weeks. but i think it's a great award, and i hope it spreads through the blog world.

here's miss ruby's take on the why....

'infertility (and many other things in life)
makes you focus on the future
your desire is for a future event
even if you manage to get knocked up
or
get a successful adoption placement
it's still a future event
and
so we're constantly looking forward
looking to the future
and
focussing on happiness we may achieve then

but

what about the now?

what about what is making us happy in this moment
in this very instance?'

which- well. i'm not going to argue with that!




so here's the rules:
'all you have to do is

put that picture
yup that one up there
on your blog

and

blog about one thing you're happy about
right now
and
one thing that you're hoping for in the future'

so here i go.

i'm happy that i joined the gym.
and
i'm happy that i just got invited to my friend's wedding
(especially because she gets married where D and i did, and i love the place)
and
i'm happy that i'm my sister's bridesmaid when she gets married in september

(that's three for the price of one!)

and what do i hope for?

i know you all know that i hope that one day i'll have a living baby.

so it would be a con to use that!

so i will tell you that i hope that D and i stay happily married for as long as we can.

---

this is as far as the post got last night. but i forgot that i was supposed to pass it on.

the thing is, when you're deep deep down in the depths you sometimes can't find the happy anywhere. and i don't want to put unnecessary pressure on anyone. that's not what this is about!

so if you are listed over there (points to the right), then i give you the choice to accept this award.

---

(i've just realised that there were blogs not listed that should have been. i'm sorry if you were one of them! if we're friends, or if i leave comments on your blog, and you're not listed, please shout. it's an oversight, not a rejection. i promise.)

---

i ended up deleting the original post and replacing it with this as the post didn't show up as new in google reader. sorry for any confusion.
sorry about the post that disappeared for those who saw it in google reader (WOW that thing's fast, i only published it for ten seconds before putting it back to draft status!). i just need to add something to it but at 1.30am i decided it was time to switch my laptop off. it'll be back soon.

Friday, 20 August 2010

Wednesday, 18 August 2010

i went to bed early last night. well, early for me anyway. yay me!

... well, i got in bed early. then i was unable to sleep. til just before midnight. then i woke up at 6. 8 hours sleep fail.

but still, i slept well. and as i woke up half an hour before my alarm, i did the 10 minute relaxation thing before i got up. and i did the 41 minute cd when i got home. AND i went swimming. go me.

of course it's 11.30pm and i should've been in bed an hour ago. tiny steps.....

i'm trying to decide whether to join a gym at a local hotel. it's not too far from home, but in the opposite direction to work. it's not exactly cheap, but the facilities are FAR nicer than any of the local council places. and if (IF) i get (ever) pregnant i can freeze my membership if i want to. and the people (both the members and staff) seemed nice when i was there tonight.

but we can't afford it. especially not after barcelona.

but we can, kinda. it just means shuffling money round a bit and taking longer to pay off the credit cards.

and when i was having acupuncture that cost nearly twice as much.

erk.

---

it just occurred to me that it might be a good idea to check that there are no pregnant people involved in any of the events i'm going to in York the weekend after next.

one fb message sent. will text the other person tomorrow.

sick.of.this.being.an.issue.

---

i also want to stop blogging every day. it's a bit exhausting. but i keep needing too. arrrgh.

Tuesday, 17 August 2010

i owe so many people email and so many people blog comments. i'm thinking of you all and i haven't forgotten you; i'm just very overwhelmed at the mo. ironically, now i'm feeling better in myself, i'm feeling even more overwhelmed by the weight of everything that needs to be done.

----

i went to the GP today and she's tweaked my antidepre.ssant dosage and timings. let's hope it helps eh?

----

following on from this post, i have two relax.ation cds that i got from work about 18 months ago. one's ten minutes or so, the other is 40 minutes long. i've done the short one most days in the last week or so. i did the long one today. usually when i do either of them, i stay conscious - i don't 'drift off' or anything. today, i did - until one of my neighbours started clattering round outside, anyway. not long into it. still, i think that's progress.

i plan to call the gym about joining tomorrow and hope to go for a swim tomorrow night.

and i've been eating a more realistic amount of food the last few days. my weight is going down, just a little, but it's the right direction.

and i'm going to bed as soon as i finish this, and might actually get 8 hours sleep during the week for once.

i'm not there yet. i have a long long way to go.

but i'm moving in the right direction.

yay me.

----

cd12 today. our chances of conce.iving this cycle are minute. a) we have a fertili.ty testing appointment and can't DTD sunday-tuesday next week. b) i'm away without D the weekend after that. and the chances are that i'll be fe.rtile in one or the other of those times.

dammit.

Monday, 16 August 2010

today has been ok, really.

---

today's thought, though: one of the things that this loss has taken away from me? being good at my job.

i don't have the most important job in the world. i'm not the best person in the world at what i do. i have my weak areas, and i work on them.

or at least, i used to.

i never used to have days where i just sat and stared at the screen before. where it was sheer force of will that kept me at my desk all day.

i never used to drop the ball half as often as i do these days.

twice i've gone for an internal job where i work now. both times i got a copy of the reference written about me from the person i worked for. both times it was glowing, and made me feel capable of much more.

i shudder to think how much opinions of me have fallen. because i am not that good any more.

---

Current music: Head Down by Nine Inch Nails

And this is not my face
And this is not my life
And there is not a single thing here
I can recognize
This is all a dream
And none of you are real
I'll give anything
I'll give anything

Hey you
What you running from?
All your hate
What you've become
Bet you didn't think
It would happen to you

All used up
Half way through

And this is not my face
And this is not my life
And there is not a single thing here
I can recognize
This is all a dream
And none of you are real
I'll give anything
I'll give anything



I wish this wasn't my life.
And sure as hell I didn't think this would happen to me.
You're all real, though. And I wouldn't be able to make it through without you.
thank you.

Sunday, 15 August 2010

i don't know how i hadn't realised, but next week is going to be really difficult for me.

on 24th august we have our first appointment for fert.ility testing.

on 25th august it's the nine month anniversary.

on 26th august it's exactly a year since we found out i was pregnant.

i'm not quite sure what to do. should i take leave? or would it be better to be in work, not sitting at home aware of every passing minute?

i guess i have a week or so to figure it out.

Friday, 13 August 2010

i just wondered.

while i'm thinking about how to destroy angels, what do you think this song is about?

---

Fur-lined lyrics
I can feel it taking hold
Now I am an animal
Now I am a chemical
Once again
And you caught me through the crack
Everything is right on track
I am never coming back
Again and again and again

Everything
Everything is echoing
Is this really happening?
Again and again and again

Close enough to feel the flame
I can push it through the pain
And it was everything
Again and again and again

I don't want to lose control
I am just an animal
Just a fucking chemical
Once again and again and again

Everything
Everything is echoing
Is this really happening?
Again and again and again

Everything
Everything is echoing
I keep coming back again
Again and again

---

would it make any difference if i told you the woman who sings it is pregnant?

one year ago today

  • i interviewed someone in work for a job and she was really excited and happy when we offered it to her. it was her birthday that day. she was wearing a really nice coloured glass necklace that i kept thinking was beautiful while i was interviewing her.
  • work was generally busy. i sent some letters over to someone in a different office. i dug out an old email with instructions about how to move files around our organisation for a work colleague. i helped cover reception.
  • i emailed my middle sister at lunchtime, excited that i had nine stories out there. (one was published. seven weren't. one i never heard back about. any chance you're still interested, People's Friend?) she emailed back and told me she had had acupuncture that morning and that she had a headache. and that her phone was broken but that she'd get it sorted out so we could catch up that weekend.
  • i sent ten emails from home in the space of two hours. mostly writing related.
  • weirdly, i forwarded myself an email from one account to another entitled 'baby'.
  • i did not blog, and the photo i posted that day wasn't one of my own.
    and:
  • the husband and i DTD. it was only day 13 of my cycle and i thought i wouldn't ovulate for another 4-5 days but we'd read this article on the BBC about more frequent se.x being better for conception so we were starting already.

... and. somehow. our baby was conceived.


---


this year? i went into work late. it was raining. i typed up some minutes. i went into town at lunch. it was raining harder. i looked at printer cartridges in two shops and decided to buy them online instead, cause daymn, they're expensive.

i got a coffee from starbucks. i listened to how to destroy angels while i walked into and around and out of town. i ate hummus sandwiches for lunch.

i looked at my email and calendar archives from last year. (you didn't think my recall was that good did you?)

i told a couple of people in work that my husband used to be dress like a goth and promised to take in photos next week.

and. i told one of my friends in work that today was the anniversary of the baby's conception.

i haven't mentioned it to D. i'm not sure how he would react. i don't want to be upset if he doesn't care.

i will tell him the anniversary of finding out we were pregnant. i think he'll remember the date of the loss anyway.

it feels kind of fitting. that today is friday the 13th.

i don't really know what to do with myself tonight.

---

i think 13 days time - the anniversary of finding out i was pregnant - will be harder.

Thursday, 12 August 2010

#3 of 3 (the NHS is good and my GP surgery is excellent)

i would also like to say that my GP surgery has been absolutely amazing. i have seen my GP an awful lot, and she has been very supportive. re counselling - if i just needed generic counselling i could access that through my GP's surgery without anywhere near such a long wait. thing is, i've had counselling and CBT in the past and am very self-aware and know exactly what my problems are - largely that i hold contradictory beliefs (believing every month i'm pregnant vs believing i will never get pregnant) and that i will need help and support being able to deal with pregnant people, because i can't avoid them forever (and tbh i think that when if i ever get to be a pregnant person myself i think i'll find myself incredibly difficult to live with) i need more guided, specific help than just CBT or someone to go and talk to once a week. if i was suicidal or self-harming i would be seem immediately (and they asked the question last night).

ironically if i was actually pregnant i'd be seen a lot sooner too. they have a separate perinatal service. it makes me laugh. purely because the alternative is crying.

i don't want you all to think the NHS hasn't been looking after me. they have been amazing. if i ever move away from my doctor's surgery i will be devastated.

(jesus. this post is ridiculously long. i have split it into three. 1229 words is far too many for one blog post.)

#2 of 3 (stress, 'just relax' and getting pregnant)

so apparently stress reduces conception probabilities across the fertile window: evidence in support of relaxation. (or, according to the BBC, High stress 'delays pregnancy'.) 274 women were followed in the trial, so it's not huge but not tiny. women who had a high level of an chemical that is an indicator of adrenalin levels in their saliva had a 12% reduced chance of getting pregnant compared to those with the lowest levels.

and eliza has started a thread on relaxation and ttc and pregnancy on glow yesterday (presumably before she saw this report).

this is all very interesting, because the last few days i've been thinking about something i found a little while ago. the item is here but if you get wound up by such gems as 'Do talk positively to yourself. Your body believes every word you say. If you’re moaning and saying that you’ll never get pregnant, you won’t.', then please don't click that link (i cannot take responsibility for pc monitors broken by people who ignored that advice and ended up smashing their computer screen, ok??). instead i'll post the part that i've been thinking about.....
Harvard psychologist Alice Domar, Ph.D. recently completed the first five-year study on the effects of stress and depression on fertility at the Mind/Body Medical Institute, a division of the Harvard Medical School. Her subjects were women who had been infertile for up to three years, with depression levels as high as those of terminally ill patients. They were given a ten-week course comprised of support groups, with lessons in meditation, self-nurturance, exercise and nutrition. Their depression levels were brought into the normal range and within six months, nearly HALF were pregnant!

now, isn't that of more practical use than such sentiments as 'Don't anticipate trouble. It can become self-fulfilling. The value of a positive mindset cannot be overstated. Envision yourselves as parents and stay focused on that picture. It will reassure and sustain you.' (again from the same page... i don't know how such useful information and such immensely annoying phrases can coexist!)

i think i was reminded of this because the study was also mentioned in page 6 of this article. it's also worth clicking to this page of the same article, which states 'In a small study of 97 Boston IVF patients younger than 40, women who had participated in 5 to 10 mind/body sessions were 160 percent more likely to get pregnant after a single IVF cycle. And more than two thirds of women with a clinical diagnosis of depression got pregnant after these sessions, whereas none of the depressed women in the control group conceived.'.

see, telling people to 'relax and it'll happen!!!!' is not helpful. telling people that support groups, meditation, exercise, counselling and nutrition advice might increase their chances of conceiving, and will aid their mental health anyway so that they are more able to cope even if they do not fall pregnant, is far more useful. what does 'relax' mean anyway? 'trying to relax' is an oxymoron, and telling people to relax is not only counterproductive but also blames those having difficulty conceiving, or those post-babyloss, for the stress and anxiety and depression that are an absolutely normal response to the circumstances they find themselves in through no fault of their own.

i'm not saying that i think meditation, exercise and eating right are some magic cure for infertility. just in case anyone thought that was what i meant. if you've been diagnosed with a condition that means you're not going to conceive then these things aren't magically going to cure you. but knowing that these things, plus proper support from medical professionals and friends and family, might actually improve success rates for the interventions that exist? that's useful.

my point is that last year i went to some sessions at work about countering stress levels. at these sessions we were given cds with guided meditation sessions. we were given hints and tips on how to cope with stressful situations. we were given little yellow stretchy rub.ber people to remind us not to let ourselves get stretched too thin.

and the last few days i've been doing the relaxation cd again daily.

and i might rejig our budget and find some money to join a nearby gym, with a lovely pool, which might make me more likely to go swimming.

and maybe if i do those things i'll manage to make myself go to bed earlier, instead of sitting up blogging til after midnight.

and maybe then i'll have the energy to make myself proper food.

and maybe (just maybe) i'll lose some weight, and get closer to the weight i was when i got pregnant before.

and maybe

just maybe

if i can do all those things?

maybe it will happen again.

maybe i'll get pregnant again.

---

but even if i don't, at least trying all those things has to be a better way of living than letting myself get tossed around by stress and depression, hasn't it? it might not cure them, and it might not make me get pregnant, but at least i'll be in better health and less likely to stay on the antidepressants for ever, no?

(not that there's anything wrong with staying on ADs forever. but because my depression is reactive i hope that i won't need to. but if i do? no biggie. i'd just rather not.)

#1 of 3: today is a little easier

i wrote that last post last night. i feel that i should point out that i'm actually doing a bit better today. i actually managed some work today. earlier this week it was all i could manage to sit and stare at my screen, so this really seems like progress.

i also feel capable of making proper food for tea. last night it was oven chips and oven burger thing. tonight i had wholemeal pita pizzas with vegan cheese and tons of veg. go me.

(i won't tell you about all the cake i've eaten today though. i'll pretend i'm healthy and just eating all the senzzzible stuff. honest.)

i won't pretend that i had the perfect day. i didn't. when i remembered that tomorrow is the year anniversary of the conception of my tiny little snowflake, i felt like my stomach had been left at the top of a rollercoaster. i felt hollow and a little bit sick.

but still. today is better than yesterday and the day before that, and that's the important thing.

(i wrote the most amazingly giant post. it was over 1220 words. i decided that was just ridiculous so i'm posting it in three sections. sorry about so many posts in one night but they do all belong together. kind of.)
I'm not a big jewellery person.

I used to be. I used to have big rings I wore every day. I used to have friendship bracelets (proper woven ones, not the thin ones like in FlashForward) and leather bracelets. I used to wear earrings a lot. Although I didn't have my ears pierced til I was 15. (But then I wanted more, but wasn't allowed til I'd gone to university. I hadn't been gone long though before I put another two holes in my left year. They were done before I went back home at Christmas.)

But I digress.

The rings started to be left off as I 'left' uni (jumped or was pushed, it's hard to say) and then when D and I got engaged they went completely. I didn't want a ring with a stone; we used a tradition I think is Austrian, where the couple both have their wedding rings for the time they are engaged but wear them on the opposite hands. I liked wearing something to show I was engaged, but liked D doing the same thing. And I wanted that ring to be the focus point. The other jewellery it's harder to pinpoint. I just stopped over the years. I'm not entirely sure why or when.

These days I have an ankh necklace and a snowflake pendant. i'm wearing earrings again; three hoops in my left ear and a yin yang or a pentagram or an ankh in my right.

and i started wearing bracelets.

at the end of july last year, i bought a pair of black bracelets from H&M. i only wanted one, so i gave the other to my sister. (incidentally, she wore it at her hen do the other weekend. which was odd, considering what i'm going to say.)

i wore mine on and off through my pregnancy, just because i liked it. (my LMP started 1st august, but according to the scan the baby had been conceived on 13th august, so effectively i bought it almost exactly when i fell pregnant.)

then the baby died.

and then the bracelet became something more. it became something i put on at the same time as my watch and the rose ring i also wear daily too now. it became something i wore nearly every day. when i went back to work it became something i wore every day. it was my version of wearing mourning. even if the rest of the world didn't notice, it was an outward sign of my grief and pain.

the problem was that i then didn't want to stop wearing it. even when i also did.

---

that weekend i was in york and had fun? i left it off then. wore another bracelet. one i love, a heavy silver one. but other than that i've felt that i have to wear it all the time. whether i want to or not.

so when we went to barcelona, i made a decision. that i wasn't going to wear it. that i was on holiday. that i was going to put my mourning and my grief aside, and enjoy the sunshine, and be happy.

and it worked. the sun shone and we relaxed and i was happy.

and i got used to not wearing that external sign.

---

the problem is that now i'm bad again. i'm grieving. i'm in pain.

and now i want to put it on. but i don't.

and it's really, really confusing.

and i know that it's just a damned bracelet, and i shouldn't attach this much significance to it.

but i did.

i wish i hadn't.

Wednesday, 11 August 2010

the irony is....

that only two or three weeks ago, i was actually a little disturbed by how OK i was. i was sad about being happy. i was feeling bad about feeling ok.

---

I talked a while ago on the other blog about the waiting list for counselling. (for those who can't be bothered to click the link, i'll summarise thus: it's ridiculously long.) at the weekend, i received a letter asking me to have a screening appointment either over the phone or in person.

i went along today. apparently the guy i met has been asked to screen the waiting list, to make sure that the people on it a) still want to be on the list and b) couldn't be supported or dealt with in a different way.

apparently i definitely belong on the list.

on the bright side, apparently somewhere around half the people screened so far have dropped off the list for various reasons; either they don't need support any more, or they're going to get some other kind of help. so i guess i'll be getting help sooner.

doesn't help me right now. but still. yay?
i discovered something at the end of last week and it made me uncomfortable, and nervous. and i'm not sure what to do with the information.

(really, there's nothing to do with the information. i think i just need to talk about it.)

yeah. so.

back at the end (or the beginning, i suppose. depends which direction you're looking in.), they told us that the baby measured only 13 weeks. i knew that that was that, because i was supposed to be 16+6 that day.

last week, while looking for something else that i didn't actually find, i looked at the last scan picture that they gave us from that day, the one where the baby is dead. and i noticed something. i noticed that the CRL was given (57.7), with 'GA' below.

the GA on the scan picture is 12+1.

12+1 ≠ 13.

12+1, in fact, is six whole days earlier than 13.

and if 12+1 is true? then our baby died almost a full week earlier than we thought.

if 12+1 is true? then i carried my baby for 4 weeks and 5 days after it died without any clue that something was wrong. not 3 weeks and 6 days.

(and yes. that makes a difference.)

if 12+1 is true?

then our baby lived only four days after our twelve week scan.

---

if our scan had happened to fall a few days later, maybe the baby would have been dead already.

and i wouldn't have started to believe.

and maybe this wouldn't have destroyed me quite so thoroughly.

---

not quite, anyway.

-

-

-

but why did they tell me one thing and let the picture say something else?

i wish i understood.

Tuesday, 10 August 2010

i've been meaning to post this for about the last month but i've kept forgetting.

it took me that long to work out why 'rainbow babies' are 'rainbow babies'. it's because of noah, right? because of god's promise not to destroy life again?

(or am i overthinking?)

(also, i'm not religious, but i was brought up cath.olic. i know my bible.)

----

friday this week marks one year since our baby was conceived.

friday 13th. of course.

how is it a year since this began?

how is it eight and a half months since it ended?

how did something that existed for such a short time break me so thoroughly?

----

i worked out today (because torturing myself with what-probably-won't-happen is fun!) what my due date would be (if i ovulated to a normal timescale) if we were to get pregnant this cycle. it would be 13th may 2011. one year and one week after my last due date.

and, of course, that would be friday 13th may.

sometimes you have to laugh. or else you would scream.

----

i was at the doctor's tonight (not my usual doc, but another nice one), for something kind-of-tangenitally-related-to-all-this-fertility-stuff-but-not-really, and she mentioned our referral. and she said something like 'let's hope that getting the referral works wonders and you get pregnant and don't need it'.

i'd be lying if i said i hadn't hoped the same thing.

----

i am sick of finding life impossibly hard. i am sick of crying. i am sick of grieving. i am sick of unsuccessfully ttc.

i miss being happy. i miss being cheerful. i miss my optimism. i miss my belief in the future. i miss my naïveté.

i am bored of being this miserable person.

i know it doesn't work like this. but i want to be done. i want to pack my grief up neatly into a box and put it on top of my wardrobe. just take it down on occasion, and remember. i want to be able to choose when i do that. i don't want to be blindsided. i want to live a proper life again.

but, at the same time, i don't want to forget. i don't want to be unaffected by the loss of the first child we conceived.

i guess there's no good outcome to this, really.

i can't believe that still surprises me, all this time later.

----

thank you all for supporting me through this horrible time. it helps knowing there are people out there thinking of me, who care.

Monday, 9 August 2010

and then....

just in case i wasn't finding life quite hard enough, Te$co Baby magazine turned up in the post on Friday. i phoned up at the end of may and asked them to take me off the damn list. i heavily alluded to why. that was over two months ago. why the hell am i still on the list????????

i phoned up. told them again. the woman apologised. not as much as i'd hoped, but she apologised. and when she'd removed me she went back into the system to make sure i'd really gone.

i had.

---

after that? i opened the magazine.

stupid, i know. but i kind of wanted to see what my life would be like. if 'things had been different'.

i found out that i would have been thinking about weaning. i would have been thinking about christenings or naming ceremonies. i looked through dispassionately, looking for clues about what my life would have been.

but it seemed less and less real as i turned the pages. less and less like something that could have been anything to do with my life.

was i really pregnant? did i really have a scan where everything was a-OK? did we really tell people that we were going to have a baby? that we were going to be parents?

i had to count up, to see where we would have been. three months. i would have had a three month old baby.

(is that all?)

but it seems so far away. it's over eight months since our lives started to diverge. mine, and the shadow-life where my pregnancy continued. the one in which i gave birth on time to a living baby.

it's so hard. living this life. caught between one life and its shadow version, where everything went right. not knowing if i'll ever get to experience a version where it all goes right.

not knowing whether i'll ever get to hold a living breathing combination of my genes and D's.

Sunday, 8 August 2010

hen dos and pregnant women

so. last weekend was my middle sister's hen do. we went to chester for the races and stayed a couple of nights. i drove us over there. i thought about asking on the way whether there would be anyone there who was pregnant. but i didn't. they know how hard impossible i find it to be around pregnant people. she would have warned me.

my sisters and i arrived at the hotel laden with bags and dresses and made our way to reception, where two of her friends were waiting for us. i know them both, she's been friends with them for years. i haven't seen them in a long time. i was looking forward to catching up with them.

except. i looked closer at one of them. she had a white top on, fairly sheer, and it looked...

it looked like her belly was sticking out.

it looked like she was pregnant.

pregnant enough for her baby to be moving round inside her. for her to be feeling it. while i was standing next to her.

but she can't be! there's no way my sister or my mum would have left me found out like this. they would have warned me before. i must be imagining things.

... but isn't that a B0unty pack sticking out of her bag?

oh.

---

then the other girl picked up the bag with the B0unty pack.

both of them?!?!?!?

---

at this point i went to queue with my youngest sister, who was waiting to check us all in.

'do you know if S and J are pregnant?'

she didn't know.

by this time the third and final group of people had arrived, and i realised i was going to have to ask. because if one or both of them was pregnant, i needed to make sure they didn't talk about it, or at least not in my earshot. i needed to make sure that i could pretend it wasn't happening.

i went up to S. i asked if she was pregnant, and she looked at me with concern and nodded.

'please can you not talk about it?'

and then i burst into tears before i could even explain 'at least not within my earshot'.

she's a doctor, which probably helped. she took me up to the bar and sat down with me until i'd managed to stop crying. 'i didn't know,' i said. (i'm pretty sure she'd realised that already.) 'i couldn't even see my best friend from february til july because it was too painful to see her while she was pregnant.' she winced sympathetically.

turned out she was 22 weeks pregnant. i told her that the only way i'd be able to cope with the weekend was by pretending it wasn't happening. she was very understanding. told me how upset she'd been to hear about what had happened to me. it helped.

then she asked if i knew the other girl was pregnant. 24 weeks. i'd been hoping i was wrong, but i knew i wasn't. i asked her if she would tell her the same thing and she agreed, said she would explain.

i'd managed to stop crying by this point, so we went back down to where the others were, and i went up to my middle sister, the one who's getting married, and i said 'i didn't realise that S and J were both pregnant.'

turns out she thought that my mum had told me. when i spoke to my mum later, i found out that she'd been planning to tell me, but that with various things that had been going on it had slipped her mind (and given all the stuff that's been going on, that is understandable).

so i went along and kept smiling, even though when the jealousy and the grief threatened to overwhelm me.

---

it was the next day, at the races, that they did.

there were a handful of people coming to the races who hadn't been there the day before. it was nice to see them. i hadn't seen most of them for a long time either. and mostly it was ok.

until the moment, during a conversation about how cold it was, when i heard one of them say to S,

'at least you have a baby to keep you warm...'

from that point it was just a matter of time until i had a meltdown.

my mum had come over for the races. she wasn't around at that moment, but when she saw me again she knew something was wrong. she kept trying to talk to me, to look after me. i knew she knew i wasn't ok. but i was barely keeping myself from sinking to the floor and sobbing as it was. all i could do was talk slowly, deliberately, and as little as possible.

---

in the fourth race there was a horse called Snow Bay. we never named the baby, but i think of it as my little snowflake.

most of my bets i put on each way. but i bet on Snow Bay to win.

and i stood, watching the race, my heart in my mouth. my fingers on my snowflake pendant. as Snow Bay took the lead. kept the lead.

i thought it was a sign. i thought my two pound bet was going to win me a nice chunk of cash.

i thought it was a sign. i thought that maybe there was hope for me and D.

and then with seconds to go something went wrong, and he came in somewhere around eighth.

if it was a sign it wasn't a good one.

---

the night before, on the lottery, i'd had the number next door to every single number that was drawn. seriously. every.single.one.

all my omens are shitty.

---

i lost a shedload of money. nearly everyone came out better off than they'd gone in. i came out by far the worst off. i won 30p on one bet and 3.50 on another. that was it.

by the time we got back to the hotel i was losing my grip. i said goodbye to my mum and my dad who'd come to pick her up. i went in with the others, wondering how long it would be before i could just go back up to my room and cry and call D. my middle sister saw me. she asked if i was ok. by this time i couldn't hold back the tears. i said, quietly, that i was going up to my room. she wanted to come with me. i told her i needed to be on my own.

walking down the corridor to my room, someone saw me crying and asked if i was ok. i didn't know how to answer, but i thanked her for checking.

in my room, i cried. i howled. i ached. i called D. but what could he do from hundreds of miles away? it wasn't even that i wanted to go home. i just wanted to crawl into a cave, a nice dark cave, and hide until the pain went away. it must have been horrible for him to listen to me cry like that, to be unable to comfort me.

my youngest sister came in (we were sharing, she didn't have much choice). then my other sister texted her. i told the youngest to say the other one could come along. she did. they sat with me. middle told me that when she saw my face the day before, she had expected me to leave, straight away. but how could i have done that? how could i have missed my sister's hen do?

she asked if i wanted to leave then. or if i wanted our parents to come back and pick me up later. no, i told her. i had to stay.

she told me i didn't have to. but i did. it took me a while to figure it out, but i couldn't let it win. the grief. the depression. i needed to be the stronger. i've always been stubborn.

but since then, i've been bad again. i've been anxious. i've been depressed. on thursday night, after work, i cried for hours.

i talked to my mum on the phone. we agreed that much as i'd wanted to stay, that actually, leaving might have been a better plan. refusing to put myself through that torture.

---

it hurts, not to be able to talk about people's pregnancies. not to be able to ask them how things are going.

i don't want to be like this. i want to be happy for people. i want to hear about how it's going for them.

i don't want to feel like a bad omen.

i don't want to feel like a portent of doom.

i don't want the sight of a pregnant woman to feel like a knife through my heart.

but i am. i can't. i do.

---

i usually double my dose of antidepressants in the run up to my period. in the high and the happiness of barcelona, i'd decided to leave it a little later. see how i managed.

since that day, i've been on the double dose. i'm sticking with it for another week or two. because since then, i'm not coping so well.

not pregnant again this month.

we've been referred for fertility testing. the appointment is in a couple of weeks.

i cannot believe it's come to this.

Saturday, 7 August 2010

excuse my french, but what the fucking fuck is going on with all these murderous mothers recently?

first this woman in france has been charged with smothering eight (EIGHT!!!!!!!!) newborn babies.

then this mother has allegedly murdered her three children.

and as if either of those cases wasn't quite enough, now i hear that this dutch woman has been charged with murdering four newborn babies.

ALL I WANT IS *ONE LIVING BABY*. IS THAT TOO MUCH TO ASK????? I SWEAR I WOULD NEVER HARM A HAIR ON ITS HEAD.

i can't even believe these cases are real. in my mind they are just particularly gruesome fake news stories that somehow got onto the BBC. if i start to think about them being true i think i will seriously go crazy.

Friday, 6 August 2010

and then....

Barcelona was a high point. The sun shone. The heat was almost too much. Almost, but not quite. It melted the stress, the weights from our shoulders. I was on a high.

I was happy. Properly happy.

And then we came home. That, I think, was the worst mistake I could have made. I don't really know of a way that we could have stayed, but we should have thought of something.

Anyway. This blog entry was typed into my netbook on the train back to my parent's house, just over 24 hours after flying back into the UK.

-------



I'm currently on a train. The journey is being tortuous. First of all, a child crying. A baby I think, but an older baby. One who is crying out of anger or frustration, deliberately. Maybe just anger at being in a hot stuffy airless train where its parents can't meet its needs like they normally would. And crying babies don't normally bother me, but for some reason, this one tonight does.

I have my mp3 player with me but it's only just occurred to me to use it. After the baby has stopped crying. Ah well. Better late than never.

And then. I'm sitting at a table. And at Leeds a woman took the seat diagonally opposite me. And then was joined by her child, sitting next to me. And kids don't normally bother me either. (The only group that consistently gets to me is visibly pregnant women. They are always like a punch in the guts.) But this one is different. He's a boy for a start. When I imagine having kids I never really imagine having a boy. But. This relationship that's playing out in front of my eyes. It fills me with longing. He's been telling her about how paper aeroplanes can be used to send messages in wartime. She's talking to him as an equal. Listening to him. Suggesting ways he could use the messages to conspire against her if she grounded him.

And it's just not fair, you know? I should be at the beginning of that journey now. I should have a baby aged nearly three months. I should be wondering where the time has gone. (I am, I guess. How is it already eight months?) I should be dreaming of how my child will grow. I should be trying to prolong every minute, but knowing it will always grow away from me.

In four years' time, or thereabouts, I should be worrying about whether they are ready for school.

Seven years after that, I should be wondering with amazement how my baby is already big enough to go up to secondary school.

And then, eighteenth birthday. Twenty-first. First job. Relationship of whatever guise. Children of their own.

But it's not just those things that I miss. It's the certainty that those things will happen, sure as night follows day. (Sure as grief will touch any life, sooner or later.) Now all I can see is things that can go wrong. Small children knocked over crossing the road. Bigger children getting drawn into things they shouldn't. Young adults being involved in car crashes. And all the other millions upon millions of ways a life can slip away.

I never admitted it to anyone else, except maybe D, maybe once. But the reason I want more than one child is that I don't want to be left childless if I have a child who dies. And losing my baby, albeit at 17 weeks (... or 13 weeks; maybe one day I'll decide on one or the other) has not made me breathe a sigh of relief. It's not made me feel that the worst has happened and that I'll be safe from future tragedy. Instead, it's made me realise how precarious life is. How easily it can slip away.

How easily it can resolutely refuse to happen at all.

And I know that having more than one child wouldn't safeguard me against this. I know that sometimes siblings die together, in tragic accidents that make onlookers catch their breathe and think thank goodness it wasn't me. But it lengthens the odds.




Friday 30th July.

Thursday, 5 August 2010

Tuesday, 3 August 2010

sorry for the unannounced absence. i seem to be the last person left on the whole internet who doesn't like to announce in advance that she's going on holiday in case the burglars take it as an open invitation to work out where i live. D and i went to Barcelona for just under a week, then i was only back overnight before going off to my sister's hen night in chester (she gets married in september). i got back on monday and since then i've been trying to catch up with myself.

i wasn't warned in advance that there was no only one but two visibly pregnant people (22 and 24 weeks) going on my sister's hen do. i think my mum thought my sister had told me and my sister thought my mum had. it was horribly hard. nearly impossibly hard. and the wifi at the hotel was too bloody expensive so i couldn't even get on the internet to vent. i do actually need to talk about it but i'll save it for another time. i have loads of blog posts in various formats and i'd like to post them in order.

in ttc news, my BBT dropped today. i only ovulated on day 24 and today is day 32. that's an 8 day luteal phase, and that's not long enough. i keep hoping against hope it turns out to be an implantation dip, but it's too late for that really. shit. my chart's here if anyone wants to try and make sense of it.

will post the delayed posts in the next few days. how are you all doing? hope you're OK?

just wondered

did anyone get hold of this book? what did you think if so?