Tuesday, 30 November 2010

the lovely Angela Rodman has an amazing giveaway on her blog. spread the word!

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i went to see my doctor today. we've decided that i'm going to start weaning off the antidepressants. i'm quite optimistic about it, but at the end of the day if i start to struggle i'll just go back onto them and try again later.

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i am actually a little more positive today. kind of. in a wonky kind of way.

i can't imagine this baby is alive. but i also can't imagine it's dead. i just can't imagine there is a baby. the idea that there really might be one is just ridiculous. like i say, my brain cannot grasp what is supposed to be happening.

last time, i didn't really believe there was a baby until we had the scan. which, unfortunately, fell only four days before it died. unfortunately, i then spent over four weeks with a dead baby inside me, finally getting excited about what was going to happen, utterly unaware that it was already over.

i suppose that if i acknowledge this pregnancy - the bump that has to be more fat than baby, the tiredness, the hope that i'm too terrified to let in - then i acknowledge the fact that it's already too late. that if i lose this baby too, i am sunk.

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i'm scared that the minute i believe in this baby will be the minute it dies. it's weird; some people are terrified that buying baby clothes or nursery furniture will somehow kill their baby. i'm actually ok with all that; i've bought far more baby things this time than i did last. for me, it's love and anticipation that i'm scared will prove fatal.

after all, it was when i was finally filled with love and anticipation last time that the baby died.

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i realise that some readers might find it hard to hear how negative i feel about the chances of this pregnancy sticking.

it's similar to anticipatory grief, i think. last time, i was so utterly unprepared for the possibility of things going wrong (i was past 12 weeks!!! NO ONE has a miscarriage after 12 weeks!!!! well, except for all the people that do....) that it utterly broke me when it happened. as a result, my psyche is trying to prepare me for the possibility of the same thing happening again by telling me that it's already happened. i mean, that's all very well. it sounds really sensible.

apart from the whole fact that it doesn't actually work at all. but who cares about that part?

if that doesn't protect me, i have nothing to stop me from falling into the ravine.

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less than 40 hours until my scan.

Monday, 29 November 2010

update

we're knee deep in snow round here. unheard of at this time of year.

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i've been getting random stabbing pains at the edge of my left b00b. rather disconcerting.

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i scared the bejesus out of myself this morning. i helped D push our car back onto the pavement this morning after it got stuck in the snow half into the road. and then remembered i'm ten weeks pregnant. i know it shouldn't make any difference, it shouldn't be possible to hurt the baby like that, but i'm still terrified i did.

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our 12 week scan is on thursday. it falls when i should be 10+6. but last time we had a scan i was 8+4 and the baby measured 9+1. so if it measures less than 11+3 i will be terrified that everything is going wrong again.

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of course, that's really only my secondary fear. right now i can't imagine that the scan on thursday will show that the baby is still alive. right now i am convinced it is already dead. and that because i am such a terrible mother, i should have realised this by now.

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it's not even that i'm anxious about it. i'm calm. i'm just waiting for my world to collapse again.

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last time our 12 week scan fell at 11+4. the baby died four days later. i realise the odds of the same thing happening again are minimal. but that just doesn't help. i can't imagine a good outcome to this pregnancy. i can't imagine myself with a bump... even though one is already appearing. i can't imagine myself with a baby. my brain just won't move in that way.

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i'm kind of aware that my experience is colouring my expectation, but that doesn't reassure me either.

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i don't want to lose this baby.

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but i'm scared it's already too late.

Thursday, 25 November 2010

a year of grief in review

it's been a year.

it's been a year.

excuse me if i'm repeating myself. but today marks a year since we found out our baby had died, and i honestly find that hard to understand.

it's been 365 days. 52 weeks. 12 months. four seasons.

how is that possible?

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i don't even know why today's date is the one that means something. we found out what had happened a year ago today, but that's all. the baby had been dead for weeks by that point; it measured 12 weeks 1 day, which would mean it died on 23 october, but i know things aren't that precise. i went into hospital on 29th november and actually had the miscarriage that day; i say 'had the miscarriage' because that was exactly what it felt like. it felt like the passage of waste products from my body, and that memory will always upset me. i'll write about it one day, but i keep putting it off.

the point is that that date doesn't really mean anything to me either.

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the memory of last winter seems unreal now. it doesn't seem like something that happened to me. looking back, it's clearer what i was going through; but i don't seem connected to it. it seems like something that happened to someone else.

in the immediate aftermath, i told work that i would be off for two weeks, because there was a girl in HR who was due to go off on maternity leave and i couldn't deal with seeing her. i genuinely thought that two or three weeks would be all i'd need. that i'd go back to work a week or so before christmas when everything was slowing down for the holidays, that it would be ok by then.

looking back, it's clear to see that in the event i spent december running round in shock. going into town nearly every day, sitting in starbucks, trying to avoid the reality of what had happened. christmas we pretended everything we ok - i think we actually put on quite a good show. we even convinced ourselves that we were ok.

at the beginning of january, though, we went to a cremation ceremony for babies who had been miscarried in hospital. just us and maybe four other couples. we'd been led to believe it wasn't overly religious, but it turned out it was; this wasn't comfortable for either of us, but still i sat and sobbed my way through the entire thing.

it was at this point i began to realise that something huge had happened, and i couldn't run away from it. that the way out was through.

january was very dark as i began to accept the depth of my grief. the ground was covered with a blanket of snow for most of the month. it helped. the weather was so out of the ordinary - we often get snow in the winter, but it never stays for more than a few days usually - that it felt like the weather knew that we were in mourning.

in february i went back to work. at the time it felt like i'd been off for too long, if anything. my doctor disagreed, but reluctantly signed me off as fit to go back. i was ok the first couple of days, but then it really started to hit me. that time had passed. that everything was real. it hit me in the gut the day that i picked up my date stamp and it read '25 November 2009'. don't get me wrong; i was aware that time had been passing... but at the same time, i really hadn't.

march was hard, although tiny little glimmers of hope started to show. not all the time, just every so often. but april was mixed. it began well. i almost started to feel like me again. but towards the end of the month, i started spiralling back downhill. by the end of the month i was off sick again, barely able to cope. may - especially the beginning of may, around my due date - was a hard, hard month. i finally went onto antidepressants. they helped.

june and july were ok. i had times when i was doing well and times when i really, really wasn't. at the end of july we went on holiday to Barcelona. it was just what we needed. we came home relaxed and happier.

unfortunately, then i immediately went on my sister's hen do and was unexpectedly confronted by noticeably pregnant women, causing a downwards spiral once more. august and september i forced myself to carry on, sometimes believing that i was really doing ok, but in reality not being ok at all. in the end, work referred me to occupational health, who broke through my defences and had me in floods of tears in less than five minutes. i was then signed off work for another six weeks, during which time i found out i'm pregnant again.

and now we're here.

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you know what? being pregnant again is hard. i can't emphasize that enough.

it's not a magical cure-all. it doesn't fix my pain.

don't get me wrong; i'm glad that i am. i'm glad that i have a glimmer of hope in my life. it's much better than the alternative. but you know what else being pregnant means? it means the possibility of pain. it means the possibility of losing a second child. it means trying to fight off anticipatory grief.

(D's already concerned that if everything goes well, i won't be mentally prepared. that if we actually take home a living baby, i won't know how to deal. at first i thought that he meant i wasn't prepared for the reality of being a mother, of caring for a baby 24 hours a day. but recently i've begun to understand that that's not what he means. that he's scared i'll be prepared for pain but not for happiness. that i'll end up with post-natal depression because of our history. and honestly, i think he might have a point. luckily, though, in the last week or so i've had my first appointment with psychological services after being on the waiting list since march. and it turns out it's not counselling; it's therapy. it's regular appointments with a psychologist to give me tools to be able to cope with all this.

thank goodness.)

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i am regularly filled with fear. the terror of things going wrong again isn't constant, but it's regular. two scans haven't really made me any more confident that we will have a good outcome. sure, it's good to know that there's really a baby in there, and that it had a heartbeat when we saw it. but we had that last year, and, well. we all know how that ended.

this pregnancy will either end well or it will end badly. the odds might be in my favour, but it'll either happen or it won't. at the end of the day, i see our chances as 50-50. no better, no worse. either we get to take home a living baby or we won't.

i hope (more than i can say) that this pregnancy will end well, with a living, healthy baby. but i find it very, very hard to believe. because i'm all too aware of just how often things go wrong. i'm aware that when the books say that the risk of miscarriage drops after the first trimester, that they mean exactly that and no more. the risk drops, but it doesn't go away entirely. that even if i get through the first trimester (and that's still not a given, even though i'm getting close now - ten weeks tomorrow), that doesn't mean that i won't miscarry in the second, or that i'm not going to find out that the baby has a condition incompatible with life.

it doesn't mean that i am somehow safe from the risk of having a stillbirth.

my dad said the other week that he was sure everything would be ok. and he meant it well; he just can't stand to believe that this could happen again. but it scares me when people say such things. i don't want to tempt fate. it feels like people are pushing my head above the parapet.

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in the end, today isn't about possibilities. today is about remembering what was. a year ago right now, we were about to leave the doctor's surgery to go to the hospital. the midwife had said that she thought everything was ok, but that she would send us down there. just to make sure. because she knew i would worry otherwise. and at the time, she truly believed it. the sun was shining. we knew everything was ok. we were just going to get an extra peek at the baby. all was well.

i think that part of me will always be stuck there, waiting at the hospital. believing in that baby. just a little bored. happy to have a chance to see our acrobatic little baby once more.

i want a part of me to stay there. to be happy for that baby. to love it and cherish it. my tiny little snowflake.

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i love you, my little one. my first child. i wish i'd got to meet you. i wish i hadn't been too terrified to look when you passed from me. i wish you could have known how much i love you. how painful it was for your dad and i that you had to leave us.

i wish i could have known which of us you'd look like. i wish i could have known whether in time you would have liked the music we like or whether it would have made you cringe with embarrassment. whether you would have preferred indian food, or chinese, or pizza. i will always be sad that i don't know who you would have been. even whether you were a boy or a girl. i will never know, and that makes me so sad.

even if all turns out well with this new spark of life - even if we were to have another five or ten or twenty babies - please know that we'll never forget you. i will remember. i hope to honour your tiny life by always remembering how lucky i am to have had a chance to see you leaping and dancing inside me.

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and thank you - more than i can ever say - for sending me the snow today.

Wednesday, 24 November 2010

christmas

i kind of think this post needs to come with a health warning. i know that quite a few of my readers are facing their first christmas after losing their babies, and this post might be quite incomprehensible to you right now. to be honest, it's a little incomprehensible to me too, but it is what it is. and i hope that at least some of the older-timers understand. at least a little.

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you know what? i am ridiculously excited about christmas this year.

and that's not usual.

usually, i'm not ready for christmas to even think about starting until december. preferably about the 10th. i get annoyed at the christmas decorations turning up in early november. i scowl when the fenwicks window first appears.

but this year it's been different. i mean, i started out as normal - annoyed by early christmas decorations. but that only lasted a few days. then i started liking the christmas lights. and looking at christmas decorations and - gasp - being excited.

i found myself in HMV today deliberating on buying a cd of christmas music, ffs! the only reason i came home without one is that none of them was quite what i was after. i am SO not the kind of person who buys christmas cds.

we bought our christmas tree last night. and a load of new decorations. we haven't put it up yet, but it'll be going up soon. and i can't wait. i want to wrap all my presents and put them under the tree. i want to write my christmas cards. it's been snowing, and it's due to snow loads more tomorrow, and that makes me happier than i can ever say.

basically, i want it to be christmas.

and i suspect there are two reasons for this. i'll share the slightly more horrible one first, so i can end this post on a nice note.

i think the first reason is that i want to make sure that i get *some* amount of christmas spirit this year. if something goes wrong, i want to have enjoyed myself beforehand.

because last year was a bust. we went through the motions, but neither of us enjoyed it.

but.

last year was a bust. last year we didn't enjoy christmas at all. this year i want to have fun. i want to listen to daft festive music and get excited about mince pies and wrapping presents. i want to see if i can make non-alcoholic mulled wine and non-alcoholic bucks fizz. i want to put my christmas tree up while it's still november and leave it up right the way through til twelfth night. i want to light bunches of candles and turn off the lights and snuggle with D on the sofa. i want to go to carols by candlelight and listen to the choir and sing the carols.

i want to enjoy my christmas. and dammit, if it's at all possible to do so, i'm gonna.
there was a thin scattering of snow on the ground outside when i woke up this morning.

it's due to keep snowing today. and tomorrow.

i don't believe in signs, but i am so thankful for this.

Tuesday, 23 November 2010

a few people have stopped in to make sure i'm ok so i just wanted to quickly update* to let you know that i'm ok. feeling much more sick today and yesterday which i'm hoping is a good sign. feeling quite positive in myself. feeling quite quiet though; i haven't commented on anyone's blog in a while now. i'm reading but keeping posts unread in google reader because i want to reply, but can't find any words.

very aware that this thursday marks a year since we found out the baby had died, and rather wary, because i don't feel upset, and that feels wrong.

i'll talk more about this later on tonight. in the meantime, thank you for thinking about me.


*i loves me split infinitives....

Thursday, 18 November 2010

thanks all for the comments on my last post. i feel more at peace with the situation now.

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still spotting a little. i've been having some abdominal pains but they seem to have eased off. hoping that's a good sign and not a bad one.

got a midwife appointment tomorrow. hoping she can reassure me a bit.
wow. someone i was friends with on lj (livejournal) is pregnant. as you will know i find it really hard to hear about other people's pregnancies... i tried to be ok with it but then she posted two vids of her ultrasound and it was so painful to see.

i sent her a message telling her my history and asking her if she would mind filtering me out of her pregnancy-related posts. i worded it really careful and said that i felt like a horrible person asking her to do this. but she seemed like a really nice person. i thought she would understand. lj's not like fb, you can't just hide a single person (at least not as far as i know).

i got a message back from her this morning telling me that i should feel like a horrible person and that it was disturbing that i would project my problems with pregnancy onto her. she accused me of trying to rob her of her happiness.

oh yeah, and she's deleted me.

full disclosure: she stated in one of her posts that she's terrified of miscarriage, but she's had quite a few healthy ultrasounds and is now over 10 weeks - so her risk is very low. and again we all know that means nothing, but... i still fully expect everything to be ok for her.

she asked me not to reply so i'm respecting that.

part of me wants to tell her i'm sorry for upsetting her - because i really, really am - but part of me just can't understand why a message i thought was calm and considered was read as disturbing and - reading between the lines - cruel.

tell me truly. i can take it. am i a horrible person? i thought not, but maybe i'm wrong :(

Tuesday, 16 November 2010

i arrived at the hospital early. i was waiting outside the EPAC for D when the fire alarm went off and all the doors shut. and not a member of staff in sight.

in the end some staff turned up. they put me in the day room off one of the wards. i tried to call D to let him know but i couldn't get through. i was terrified they were going to make me go in and start before he turned up. i ended up in tears in the day room.

he got through to me in the end though; said they wouldn't let him upstairs yet but he'd be there as soon as he could.

it felt like forever but in the end the alarm was switched off. a nurse told us we could go back to the EPAC. when i got out D was just arriving. such a relief.

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i'm not quite sure how to say this. i was so adamant that everything was wrong.

the nurse started the scan, then looked up at us and said 'the baby's fine!' in a kind of 'what on earth are you here for?' kind of tone of voice.

last week it measured 7+1, apparently.

this week it measured about 9 weeks.

so it's doing pretty well in there.

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thank you so much for being there for me, everyone. it means the world.

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my 12 week scan is scheduled for 2 december. as far as i'm concerned i should be 10 weeks 6 days then. if today's 9 weeks was correct though i'll be about 11+3.

so just over two weeks to get through til we can have another peek.

i'll try not to go too crackers between now and then.

Sunday, 14 November 2010

no real change. a couple of times there's been more blood. still brown.
i'm going to work tomorrow.
yesterday i didn't think there was any hope. today i think there's maybe 1% of a chance?

but then, last time i didn't know things had gone wrong 4.5 weeks before i found out, so what the hell do i know.

Saturday, 13 November 2010

no change here. no more blood. still no pregnancy symptoms. i know they can come and go but until wednesday they were pretty much constant. i haven't had any for three days now.

i cleaned the kitchen this morning. D had made gravy yesterday. normally it makes me feel sick dealing with the jug even when i'm not pregnant. this morning, not a flicker. i actually feel less sick than my usual state of being.

still over two full days to go through before i can find out what the hell is going on.

we've given up hope. i mean, i'm not drinking alcohol or eating runny eggs or anything yet (and i crave nothing more than the oblivion of being really drunk right now) but that's only because i don't want to do anything i'd regret in the unlikely chance that everything is actually ok.

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we started trying to conceive in april 09. (i know that's nothing compared to some of you.)

if you'd told me then that 18 months later i still wouldn't have a living baby in my arms i would never have believed you.

the dream seems extremely far away, and entirely pointless.

Friday, 12 November 2010

last time around the baby died four days after a scan.

this is all happening three days after a scan.

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last time i found out the day after i'd been out for lunch with a group from work.

today i went out for lunch with a group from work.

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last time it was november.

now it's november.

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this doesn't feel good.

i'm going to bed.

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i'm terrified i'm going to wake up bleeding in the middle of the night.
i went to the loo before. there was blood.

brown blood. old. not much. but blood.

blood is not good.

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i called D. work and mobile. couldn't get through. i called my midwife. her phone was switched off.

i got someone to give me a lift home from work. i didn't know what to do. the only number that looked potentially useful in my maternity notes was the number for the maternity assessment unit. i called. they told me that as i hadn't had a dating scan yet that they couldn't do anything for me and that i would have to go to A&E.

A&E is at the General. the Early Pregn.ancy Asses.sment Cl.inic (EP.AC) is at the RVI. i already didn't like this.

i got hold of D. told him to see me at the General. phoned a taxi.

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we basically waited at the General for over an hour and a half for someone to a) take my blood pressure and b) make me an appointment at the EP.AC. what a fuc.king waste of time. they showed no interest in the fact that although i don't have pain in my abdomen i do feel like i feel when i get my period, or the even more tellling fact that my pregnancy symptoms are easing up - the nurse actually said 'well that's good!'. NO IT'S FUC.KING NOT.

no. it's fuc.king not.

they didn't even check my cervix. i'd think that was something important.

and this is the best bit. the appointment at the EP.AC isn't until tuesday.

i don't feel sick any more, not really. i'm not tired. i've had some blood. i feel like i do when i'm getting my period.

i can't help thinking that it's all over but the bleeding.

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i really believed in this pregnancy.

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please don't say there's still hope. i know that technically there is. but... just please. don't say it.

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edited to add - D pointed out ages ago that the blood was probably from the scan on tuesday. it's not the blood that's freaking me out. it's the sensations that are similar to when i have a period. it's the fact that the nausea is gone and the tiredness is all but gone. i know i started with it, but that's really not the main part of this.

Thursday, 11 November 2010

yesterday i went back to work after being off sick for over six weeks.

it was really scary.

when i got home i didn't even take my coat off before flaking on the sofa. i dozed for over an hour then watched the Gilmore Girls. i felt so sick and dizzy.

but reassured. sick and tired are good signs, right?

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this morning it took me an hour to get out of bed. while i was working up the energy, my brain decided to replay being in hospital, miscarrying my baby. it was really quite horrible.

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it took me a while to get myself to have my breakfast. but i managed in the end. i ate more today than yesterday, in the hope it helped stave off the tiredness and nausea for longer.

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i felt sick at lunchtime. but better after i'd eaten some crisps. (chips for my american readers.)

i wasn't exhausted this afternoon. tired but not exhausted. i didn't feel really sick.

the afternoons seem to be when i feel worst.

between that and the reruns going through my head this morning, and some random pains to each side of my abdomen, i'm busy being scared it's all over today.

Tuesday, 9 November 2010

i felt like i was walking to my own execution as i made my way to the early pregnancy assessment unit.

i panicked as i walked into the room. D was late and i didn't want them to do the scan before he got there. they started the initial assessment first though and he arrived only just after.

i was so terrified as she started the scan. she seemed to take forever before she told us what was happening. i was so scared the news was going to be bad.

but then...

we have a heartbeat.

(we have a heartbeat!!!!!! can you believe it?!?)

the baby's measuring 'seven plus' weeks - according to when i ovulated i should be 7+4, so that sounds good enough to me.

there's definitely only one. thank goodness.

not ectopic. not molar.

a healthy, viable pregnancy.

and things are looking good. and our chances of miscarriage are 'very low'.

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i didn't cry until she started to show us the baby's heartbeat. i could barely see it for crying. D said it looked stronger and faster than the heartbeat we saw at the 12 week scan last time. i'm glad he was there, on so many levels.

they wouldn't give us a print out (apparently they don't at these early appointments) but they let D take a picture on his mobile.

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we're still not telling everyone, but i think we're going to start telling a few more people.

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i can't tell you how relieved i am. we both are.

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even if this little one doesn't stick around, at least we got to see it.

Monday, 8 November 2010

wish me luck

i called the hospital this morning. they had one scan appointment left for tomorrow. 11am.

please keep everything crossed for me.

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when i got home today i found my appointment for my dating scan. at the beginning of december strange coincidence.

i just hope i get that far.

Thursday, 4 November 2010

i went to see my GP this morning.

when i arrived at the bus stop, a single crow was hopping round a few feet away.

my heart sank.

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i got the doctor to show me the actual numbers from the HCG blood tests.

the first number, at 5+3, was 17,116. the second, 48 hours later at 5+5, was 24,010.

that's not doubled.

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however, they are pretty high. and apparently when they are over 6,000 mIU/ml they take four or more days to double. but other pages say that levels should keep doubling up to about 7-8 weeks, and i'm not there yet.

and now i've just looked at the table at the bottom of this page. going off that my numbers are higher than the usual range.

shit. i wish i understood what the hell was going on.

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i don't want it to be twins. i know too many people who've had twin pregnancies end badly.

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i'm also hoping that this doesn't signal molar pregnancy.

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aaaaaargh. my head is a mess. i'm so terrified that this pregnancy is over even though it's hardly begun.

i'm also kind of wondering whether i'm further on than i think, but my chart seems pretty definite - not much room for having ovulated earlier than it seems. no?

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i'm hoping to get a scan on monday or tuesday. i need to know.

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edited to add, i called the hospital. the woman i need to speak to isn't in til monday. i guess i'll call on monday morning.

Wednesday, 3 November 2010

This is a really interesting piece on the BBC website. It's about a funeral photographer.

I remember reading somewhere years ago that the Victorians took photographs of everything, including their funerals. (Apparently it wasn't just their funerals; they also used to take pictures of the dead.) I could understand the theory of why - they took photographs of everything, both happy and sad - but didn't really understand. Not really.

And I didn't understand. Until last January, D and I standing in the chapel at the crem. And the thing I wanted more than anything else was a picture of the tiny white coffin that contained the remains of the babies being cremated that day.

I knew I should have gone outside and got a picture of it before it came into the chapel. But I was somehow scared. I didn't. And then as it got to the end of the ceremony and I realised that I only had a short time left, I picked up my camera as quietly as I could and snatched a shot of the tiny white coffin.

I was really scared that the other parents there would freak. Would ask me what the hell I was doing. Noone did. I don't know if that's because they didn't realise what I'd done, or because they were too upset to care. D was pretty weirded out by it, but he didn't say anything after a whispered 'are you serious?'

So. I guess all I'm trying to say is that I'm glad someone is breaking this taboo. Even though it's a bit weird that it's a business idea.

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I should probably say while I'm here that I'm OK. Struggling with nausea. I threw up last Friday but other than that I've just been queasy. More so than last time, which is kind of reassuring, but not constantly (and interestingly not first thing in the morning) which isn't.

I'm 7 weeks on Friday. I was supposed to get a scan around that time but... I guess I'm scared. Even if I do and all's well, it doesn't mean all will stay well. And I guess... if the news is bad it'll come soon enough. I guess I don't want to hurry it along.