Monday, 31 January 2011

doing a bit better this evening. still finding it hard to believe there is hope. but not entirely impossible.

it's just... my bump isn't growing. i'm not sure whether it's staying the same or shrinking. and yes, i over-analyse. constantly. i've been crazily hungry all the way through - and suddenly, i'm not. i'm normal-hungry. still not feeling anything that i'm certain is movement. it's now over 6 weeks, maybe even 7, that i've been feeling maybe-movement, and i'm no more or less certain than i was back in december. the last week or so, i've not been feeling round ligament pain either. then today pains that are more similar to period pains than anything.

any one of these things i could rationalise away, but the combination of all of them scares me, so badly.

anyway, thank you so much for all the support. it's amazing how many people read and who take the time to let me know they're thinking of me.

i kinda hoped that my own midwife would get back to me today but they must've wiped the message i left for her. maybe i'll try and speak to her tomorrow.

but i don't want to go to the hospital before thursday. i guess... i've waited this long, i want to hold out til the bitter end. thursday, for better or for worse, i will know what's going on in there.

it's just so hard.

i want my baby to be ok.

i just want to be able to believe.
so, so scared. all my belief is draining away. i need my baby to be ok. i'm so sure that something is wrong.

i'm so terrified.

i got a text yesterday saying 'i'm absolutely sure that everything will be fine this time'. i think the more unrelentingly positive people are, and the less they acknowledge the reality of our fears, the less positive i can feel. the less hope i feel there is.

i need you to be ok, little one. i love you so much.

Sunday, 30 January 2011

dopplers and scans: a retrospective

my post about dopplers and scans... i was worried about it before i posted it. i was hoping that people wouldn't read it as a criticism of their choices or a judgement on their strength. it really, really wasn't meant that way. pregnancy after loss is horribly hard and no one gets to judge how anyone else handles it. i am really, really sorry to have sounded like i might be judging anyone else's coping skills.

---

can i tell you some of the less exemplary reasons that i haven't gone for a scan, or don't want to use a doppler, while freaking out?

- because i'm scared that D would roll his eyes and tell me to stop panicking over nothing. (i have no reason to think he would. but i'm paranoid.)

- because i don't want to drag D out of work to take me to the hospital. i don't want them to get sick of him being in and out all the time. i don't want them to start making it awkward for him if i really do need him at some point.

- doppler... i wouldn't be able to use it without D. what if i couldn't find a heartbeat? so in the middle of the night i'd have to wake him up. if he was at work i'd have to wait. and if i had one there looking at me and i couldn't sleep i would just focus on it, and want to use it. and i would stare and stare and get myself more and more wound up.

and the biggest one of all....

- because i'm scared.

because i'm scared of not being able to find a heartbeat, and deciding whether to go to the hospital. i'm scared of going to the hospital, and having to explain that i can't find a heartbeat, and having a scan, and seeing the baby on the screen, still, unmoving, no flicker of life, too small.

i know that if something is wrong, the use of a doppler wouldn't make any difference either way. but... it feels like it would hasten the grief and the pain into my life.

---

another way to explain it. you know how some people can try drugs and enjoy them but never do them again, but some people are called to repeat the experience again and again, and end up addicted?

i've never tried anything, not really. i know i'm one of those people who would end up needing it to get out of bed. and i think for me, doppler use would be the same thing.

(i suspect that even in a 'normal' (not post-loss) pregnancy, if i'd started using a doppler i would end up pretty much like that.)

---

i agree with sally that it does most definitely depend on the circumstances of your loss. nothing would or could have saved my baby. but if i'd known that earlier intervention could have saved it, i don't think my reasoning would hold true. if i'd had appointments in my pregnancy when the midwife had listened to the heartbeat and i had heard it too, the idea of a doppler would almost certainly be more reassuring.

i also think that the distance between pregnancies is relevant. it took me nearly a year to get pregnant again. i had some distance. the anxiety and depression had started to lessen. of course, when i found out i was pregnant, the anxiety skyrocketed again, but it started from a lower baseline. if there had been less of a gap, i might not have been able to see things quite so dispassionately.

like i said last time, i have no doubt that sometimes i'm just going to go to the hospital and get the damned scan. my next scan is at 20 weeks; after that is 28 weeks then 32. will i be able to hold out eight whole weeks without seeing that my baby is OK with my own eyes? doubtful. very doubtful.

but like i said last time, too, dopplers only have negative associations for me. i've only had one used on me once, and later that day, as a direct result of that use, i found out the baby was dead. yes i would've found out sooner or later, but the doppler's use hastened that moment. in my head, the events (use of a doppler; discovering baby's death) seem interconnected.

if that wasn't the case, maybe they would feel more reassuring.

---

so a doppler doesn't seem like an option. and going for a scan every time i'm scared and anxious doesn't seem like much more of one. so i feel that i might as well make that into a positive choice, something i'm choosing, rather than just letting it be something falling out of terror and anxiety.

does that make any sense?

i hope it does.

i hope no one felt that i was judging them for coping differently to me. i swear, that was never my intention.
i wrote this on wednesday last week but never posted it. here you go. i should say i was really worried. i'm not feeling quite that bad today.

---

Recently it feels like every minute of every day is an act of faith. I have very little faith that things will turn out well. I inspect my bump daily and try not to panic that it's getting smaller. i inspect every sensation in my abdomen - is it a movement? is it just a vein twitching? It feels like my bump is getting smaller, not bigger. i turn sideways, inspect myself in the mirror. try to compare and contrast. where was it out to yesterday? is it smaller today? why are the movements not getting stronger? what will i do if the scan gives me bad news on thursday next?

i have my antenatal classes booked. part of me thinks we'll definitely be going. part of me worries that we'll be in too much of a state to remember to cancel when everything goes wrong and they will phone and tell us off for not turning up.

i consider our options if this pregnancy doesn't work out. will we try again? will D say no? i hope not, but i wouldn't blame him. This pregnancy is hard. it's hard on him to have to reassure me constantly when i know that he must be worried too. would we adopt? ask for screening to rule out a problem in one or both of us? but even if there was, even if it was treatable, there are still no guarantees it would work out. next time. and we would have lost even more time. it took nearly a year to get pregnant again. if the timescale was the same it could be august 2012 before i had a living baby to hold. i would be 36 by then. the odds of a second child would be slim. they're already slim; i'm not sure D would ever agree to go through this again. like i say, i wouldn't blame him.

and yet part of me is confident. part of me believes. all will be well. the baby is fine. how could it not be?

will i regret not getting a scan? last monday? this monday? was something really wrong? did we miss our opportunity to fix a problem?

eight days. this countdown is lasting forever.

---

four days to go now. it still seems a really, really long time.

Friday, 28 January 2011

dopplers, and scans

thanks to carol, who has just commented. you've reminded me that i was going to write a post about why i don't want to get a doppler.

i would like to state for the record, though, that i know i'm an oddity around these parts, and that what's right for me would decidedly not be right for everyone. for some a doppler is the only way of keeping sane in pregnancy post loss, and for them i'm glad that they have that option. but for me.... well, read on.

---

sooo... back at the beginning of the end, i had a midwife appointment. she listened for the baby's heartbeat. couldn't find it.

it was the first time she had tried to find the heartbeat.

that, right there, is my only experience of anyone coming anywhere near me to listen for a baby's heartbeat. the only association i have with it is anxiety, with death following swiftly behind.

so far, i haven't let her try in this pregnancy.

even the mere idea of her trying to listen for my baby's heartbeat is incredibly stressful.

---

it's probably fair to state that this experience colours the rest of my opinion about whether doppler use is a good thing for me, or not.

---

i've been told that any time i'm freaking out that i can go down to the hospital and get a scan.

since then, i have freaked out more seriously and more regularly than i have done at any other time during my pregnancy. i was kind of hoping that the result would be the opposite, that knowing i had the option would mean i didn't have to use it.

so. when i freak out, i have two options:

a) call my husband, tell him to drop everything and meet me at the hospital. rush to hospital. ask for scan. get scan. find out the baby's fine. or not, obviously, but finding out the baby's fine is the most likely outcome at this stage.

b) breathe. tell someone i'm scared. cry. breathe some more. drink water, wash face. try and focus on something else. anything else. calm myself down. later on, feel the sensation-that-might-be-movement. realise that i was almost certainly freaking over nothing. be scared that i'm not freaking over nothing, and that if i'd gone to the hospital that they would have been able to do something and that i've cursed my baby. over a few hours and days realise that this is unlikely. wait for the next scan i'm due.

so. a) may sound better to most of you, but honestly? i'm not convinced.

one of the things i'm trying to do in CBT is stop worrying, and stop expecting disaster at every turn. from that point of view, when you look at my options:

a) implies that there is a really-real problem, that needs to involve medical professionals and an ultrasound scan. a) implies that my anxiety has a basis in reality - that just because i'm scared and anxious there might be something wrong with the baby, when in reality the two things aren't directly connected. yes i'm scared and anxious, and yes it's possible that there is something wrong with the baby - but those things aren't linked. there is no causality at play.

b) implies that my fears are understandable, that they are there because of a horribly traumatic experience - but that they are not intrinsically linked to the health of my baby. b) implies that i can choose how to react to my anxiety. that i can choose to give in to it and decide that only proof that the baby is alive right now can cure my fears, or that i can choose to put my faith in this baby and in myself, and just get on with my day.

and giving myself that choice, and choosing not to go to the hospital? that makes me feel stronger. just a little.

of course, the part in grey at the end of option b) isn't so good. but tiny steps, right?

---

when i freaked the other day i couldn't get hold of my midwife (she's on leave this week) so i ended up speaking to the duty doctor, and he said that if i couldn't settle without a scan, of course to go along and get one - but that if i could calm myself down on my own, that would be the most preferable course of action. and i think that helped too, knowing that there is a line i can draw, and that if i cross over then actually, it's ok to go to the hospital. so far, i've been on this side of the line, the side where i can choose to concentrate on something else, even while thinking 'it's pointless, why am i not on my way already, the baby is already dead'. it's not even that i override that line of thinking - it's an almost constant companion, these days - but usually if i wait long enough it quietens down so that i can ignore it and get on with my day.

and that kind of feels like a lesson for life. that when i'm panicking about something i can choose to give in, and make the fear feel real even if it's not, or i can choose to take enough time to calm myself down and then get the hell on with something else.

and that... feels like a better lesson to pass on to my child than the idea that panicking is real and must be taken seriously.

anxiety sucks, and is hard to take, and i hate it.

but i can beat that sucker.

it's going to take a long time and it's going to be hard work, and i don't doubt that sometimes i'm going to give into the fear and just go and get a damn ultrasound. but it feels good knowing that twice i've just got on with things, all on my own.

Tuesday, 25 January 2011

fourteeen months

fourteen months ago today.

life keeps moving on.

my snowflake seems so long ago, and so far away.

and almost like something that happened to someone else.

in some ways i'm grateful for the anxiety. it's a physical reminder of my grief.

sh.it. i should really remember to tell my therapist about that.

---

i miss you, my little one. i haven't forgotten. even though some days it feels like i have.

i wish you were here too and i was trying to figure out how to prepare you for your sibling.

Monday, 24 January 2011

update

i want a bath before bed so this is the (relatively) short version.

- i did my exam this morning. i actually ended up doing 2. i hadn't prepared for either. i got 90% on one (pass mark 47%; average mark only a little above that) and 98% (only one question wrong! - pass mark 67%) on the other. and i was stressed. go me. i didn't cry or anything. although i did cry in the car on the way. and then found out that i'd been following someone i knew a lot of the way. luckily she didn't seem to notice.

- i went back to work afterwards, although i called D beforehand, to see if he'd seen my note (i printed off this morning's blog post and left it for him to read with a message). he had, and he agreed with my opinion that going to the hospital would just reinforce in my subconscious that the only way to calm down when i'm freaking out is to go for a scan, that i have no choice over it or control over it. i think in the long run reinforcing this thought process would raise my anxiety levels, not lower them. and seeing as i can barely make 7 days without freaking out, i don't think that is an answer, not for me at least.

- i tried to call my midwife, just to get her opinion on that, but i couldn't get in touch with her :( in the end i called my doctors surgery and asked to speak to the duty doctor. i explained the situation to him (he's not someone i've seen) and he agreed that in the long run it would be self-defeating to run for a scan every time i panic over nothing (or, more accurately, over understandable fears but with no apparent trigger). he said that if i was finding it impossible to settle without a scan, that's different; but if i can give myself some time and calm myself down without running to the hospital, then that's better in the long run. for both myself and my baby.

- i want to deal with my issues before the baby is born. i don't want to teach my child to panic and to worry constantly. i want to be a better example than that.

- i'm terrified that the huge amount of stress i was putting on myself this morning (the first exam had relatively easy questions but you have to answer them *really* fast and i was panicking that i would run out of time... i didn't) has damaged the baby.

- i'm terrified that there really is something wrong and that in doing what i think is right for my mental health i'm losing time and that the baby either will die because of my lack of action, or is already dead. and then i will not only have to deal with babyloss again, but with actual guilt.

- i think i've felt movement today. but i've been thinking that since before christmas, and i'm still no more certain than i was then. if anything i'm less certain. shouldn't it be getting more definite? bigger? stronger?

- i don't want to get a doppler. i will blog about the two reasons why tomorrow, if i remember. i realise people are trying to help when they suggest it but it makes me frustrated. i know i'm the oddity in these parts for being like that, but hey ho.

---

ten days. nine days now, really. single digits. that's do-able, surely? without me losing the precarious grip i have on stability right now?
last night, lying in bed, i had a sudden flash of what it would be like if you were gone. if you had slipped away without me even knowing. and it was shocking, and pain-filled, and dark. it was a bad, bad place.

i am so scared that it's true. i am so scared that you have left me.

i regularly ask your dad whether you are doing ok. and he answers me - sleeping, he answers. or happy in there. and i honestly believe him. even though there is no way that he could possibly know what you're up to. i believe his instincts. i have no faith in my own. last time around, i thought you the baby was fine. but it turned out it hadn't been fine for a long time.

(it turns out that even now there is some part of my brain that feels like i'm carrying the same baby. i thought i understood by now that that's not true, but it seems not.)

and once more, there is no real reason to think that anything could be wrong. but then there wasn't last time, either. and so the lack of worrying signs is not reassuring. not at all.

my 20 week scan is in 10 days. 10 days. can i get through that without cracking up? without crying every day? D's not in work today. this would be my best opportunity to drag him to the hospital. but, god. haven't i already done that enough? would he complain? would he understand? i'm spending so much time second guessing that i don't even factor in whether it would be mentally good for me to do so or not. would the reassurance help me? or would giving in to the terror just make me believe that there really is a reason to worry, other than the fear of loss, the fear of history repeating itself? i wish i knew.

i just want to know you're ok. even the smallest possibility that you're not hurts me badly.

----

i have a sodding exam to go to this morning. i'm doing an adv.anced appre.nticeship through work and i have a test for it. i'm going to go, and hope that i don't break down half way through.

Sunday, 23 January 2011

here's a question for you.

i've been reading a couple of books about birth. one is Stand and Deliver!: And other Brilliant Ways to Give Birth > and one is Birth Skills: Proven pain-management techniques for your labour and birth . and they're very interesting, yadda yadda yadda, and make me realise that i really do need to prepare for birth starting earlier rather than later.

BUT.


the books don't mention stillbirth. not at all. not even in passing. not even contact details for SANDS. and... i don't know. i can even (kind of) understand pregnancy books not discussing it, at least not properly. because they are more general. but it seems extremely remiss, knowing that 17 babies die before or shortly after birth every day in the UK, to leave that fact out of a book about the process of giving birth. not even to give the contact details for SANDS.

what do you think?

Friday, 21 January 2011

something has just occurred to me. i don't think i've ever mentioned except possibly in passing that i am currently undergoing CBT from a psychologist to deal with the Generalised Anxiety Disorder that i was slightly prone to even before babyloss and that has got a hell of a lot worse in the last 14 months.

it just suddenly occurred to me that this might explain me, my stress, my anxiety a lot better.

anyway. i have tonight started a blog to talk about my CBT and anxiety, but also to talk about my ongoing quest to try and tidy up my bloody house. however because of the nature of what i'm talking about i've set it up as an invite-only blog. comments will be on, but i am not open to anyone second guessing my therapist :) the tidying my house, however - anyone can kick my ar.se about that part!

if you want an invite to the blog please email me. you're all very welcome to read, but i don't want it to be open to the entire interweb :)

Monday, 17 January 2011

feeling better tonight, thanks to a very understanding colleague in work who calmed me down when i turned up in tears. she wanted to send me home, but i would have just freaked out on my own at home. i was ok at work. at least i had distractions.

i think i've felt some movement tonight, but it's hard to know for sure.

i just wish i knew how this was going to end.
cross posted with an online pregnancy-post-loss forum:

after being 100% happy and confident all weekend after the scan last week went so well, i'm now back down to earth and terrified that the baby has died :(

i think the only reason is because i've been confident and not-worried all weekend, so *obviously* that means this is the moment where something has gone wrong (at least in my twisted brain). i felt something last night that i'm pretty sure was movement but it's still pretty early - this is the furthest i've got in pregnancy and i never felt any movement last time, but even so i'm just thinking 'well that just means it died overnight instead of yesterday'. i never really feel anything in the morning anyway but i just want it to move so i know it's ok.

i just want to know it's ok in there. hang on my love. please hang on.

Saturday, 15 January 2011

i kind of hope that this post might bring some small degree of comfort to people in the very newness of grief who believe that their OH does not care about the loss of their child.

---

i genuinely believed when i wrote that last post that D did not care about the loss of our child - at least, not as deeply as i did. i had seen him mourn a child before. it did not look like this. ergo, he did not care so much. and on some levels i could understand that. the loss of a child you love who loves you must be terrible. i know that in some ways he still regrets what happened, although he had very little choice in the matter.

but now, over a year after our loss, i can see that it did affect my husband. that he was sad that we lost our baby. that it did change him. i was just in a place where i couldn't see that at the time.

even though it was not as hard for him as it was for me, it was still a horrible experience for him. but for him, the hardest part of a horrible experience was coping with seeing me descend to a dark, scary place, without any confidence that the woman he had fallen in love with would ever return to him. and to him, that overshadowed the loss of our child. and thinking about it now, it must have been terrible for him to see me go through all that and not to know how to help me. i can't imagine how i would have coped with seeing him go through the pain i've suffered in this last 14 months.

around new years eve, D started talking about cutting his hair. it was short when i got pregnant in 2009, but he started growing it at that time. i think he thought that it would be his last chance. that he'd have to cut it when the baby was born.

but then, what happened happened. we lost the baby and went into freefall. i fell deeper into depression. D didn't - couldn't - understand what i was going through. grief is always different. even if two people suffer the same bereavement it will be different for them both. but he kept going. what choice did he have? he went into work, every day. hardly any time off sick, as always. he comforted me when i cried. (the times when i let him know i cried, anyway.) he worried about me. i didn't really realise he worried about me until i was a lot better. he hid it pretty well.

and all that time, his hair got longer.

and i didn't see any connection. until around new years. over a year later. when he started talking about cutting it. and said that it was time to stop mourning.

---

i've been wearing a bracelet that noone would ever think was a sign of mourning. he's been growing his hair. and i didn't even realise. all this time, even if it hasn't been visible - even to me, the person who knows him best - he has been mourning too. he's even had a visible sign on his person, like i did. like me though, it's one that's not obvious.

this morning, he finally cut his hair. i was sad when he went out. his hair looked gorgeous. all soft and smooth. i took a couple of last photos, my hubby with long hair. i stroked it and kissed it and said goodbye. i know it must sound pathetic. but i was a bit scared. i even made him cut me off a lock. to remember. i'm crying as i write this. i realise that must sound ridiculous.

he came back. with short hair. shaved at the sides. spiky at the top. it actually looked awful at first but he dived straight into the shower and when he came out it looked good. completely different from before, but good.

and today we've tidied up, a bit. and cleared out, a bit. and decluttered, a bit. and we kind of have tentative plans to carry on with that tomorrow. and my hubby looks good.

it's not that it's 'time to stop mourning'. part of me will always be mourning. but we have a chance at a living child, and whatever happens, we still have each other. this last 14 months has been incredibly hard for us as a couple, and this next 14 months will be, too. but the last couple of months, i've been really realising quite how much i love this guy. realising that he has always been there, even when he hasn't understood my grief. realising that if we can come through this amount of shit and still love each other and be happy as a couple, then we can (probably) get through anything. i'm bloody lucky, in many ways. except for the babyloss thing.

---

the other day, while we were waiting for the scan, i was crying. i was so scared. and then i said to D, 'even if it's bad news, we'll get through, won't we? we'll be ok? in the end?'

and he said yes. and i believed him. i still believe him. and i stopped crying.

maybe that's all there is to it.
i wrote this post a long time ago now. in may last year. not far off an entire year ago.

i wasn't sure whether i should post it or not; it was filled with pain and unhappiness, so i left it saved as a draft and never published it.

now i want to write something else about my husband, about how the loss affected him more than i knew, and it will make more sense if you read this first. so please do read, but know that the light i'm casting him in is not entirely fair, although i thought it was at the time. and please do read my next post, to understand more how our loss affected him.


---
---


my baby wasn't the first child my husband has lost.

over eleven years ago, a child was born.

it wasn't my husband's child. it was his girlfriend's, but not his. this came as quite a shock.

but. he did what seemed to be the right thing. he took the baby on. looked after him. was the main carer for the child (... the baby's mum was young, was more interested in going out). looked on the baby as his own.

then. arguments. threats. 'i'm taking the baby away.' she never did.

until he couldn't take any more. called her bluff. handed over the baby. told her not to come back.

he never saw that child again.

---

and he mourned.

for six months, he had cared for this child. loved him.

and then - nothing.

it took him a long time to be able to dismantle the cot.

i saw him during this time. he was broken. devastated.

---

when we found out our much-wanted baby had died, he was also devastated.

but.

it did not last so long.

---

i have seen him grieve for a child before. a child that was not even his. the child of a woman he did not love.

but -

a child who was real. more than just a concept. a child he had held every day. a child who loved him, who depended on him.

---

he grieved for our baby for a few days. and then, he moved on.

---

i don't think he has any idea how hard i find this.

---

i don't think he has any idea what this is like for me.

---

i have no idea whether i should post this or not.


---
---

please remember, i know differently now. please don't judge him on this. it wouldn't be fair.

Thursday, 13 January 2011

long story short: i had a scan today at 17+4. was scared to death before i went in but everything was fine. baby measuring spot on for where it should be. yawning, turning, wee-ing, swallowing. five more pictures. a heart with all its chambers and kidneys and a gall bladder.

and, a doctor who has agreed to give me scans at 28 and 32 weeks as well as my 20 week scan in three weeks' time, and who told me that any time i'm feeling anxious to phone up and that he will put on my records that i should be given a scan. i love my hospital.

i will do the longer version of this post at the weekend for those who are interested! although it probably won't be as long as it would have been if i hadn't posted this :)

Tuesday, 11 January 2011

yesterday was D's birthday. this was my post from his birthday last year. we first kissed on his birthday, so it's always a special day for us.

we'd known each other somewhere around a year at that point, maybe a little longer. i'd been hugely attracted to him from the first moment i saw him, but i had a boyfriend i was happy with so i just put it down to pheromones or something. D had never given me any inkling that he might be interested. we were just friends, albeit i was in awe of him; he was a proper goth at the time and seemed far too cool even to be my friend.

that night, i ended up going out with a load of people for his birthday while my then-boyfriend went out with some other people. i got rather drunk in the pub and ended up saying to our best friend, J, 'don't let me get off with* D tonight'.

little did i know that D had cornered J separately and said to him 'don't let me get off with B tonight'.

* 'get off with' in the 90s = 'make out with', i guess.

so, yeah. at this point J threw up his hands and left us alone. we were all supposed to be going clubbing afterwards but only J and the two of us ended up in the queue, D telling me he was cold and putting his hands in my coat pockets to keep them warm. J disappeared the second we got into the club.

i held out as long as i could, but i wanted so badly to kiss him that it was always just a matter of time.

i told my boyfriend the next day what had happened. for the next four weeks or so i flitted from one to the other, not thinking there was any future with D, but unable to stay away. in the end even D told me i should go back to the boyfriend; he thought at the time the other guy was the better long term prospect.

as for me... well, i kinda wish i'd put together in my head that anytime you start kissing other guys, you really should stop to consider whether you want to stay in your primary relationship. as it turned out, i didn't, but i stayed with him out of a misguided sense of guilt until a year later, when - irony of ironies (or maybe just karma catching up with me?) - he cheated on me.

it took another couple of years after that, but in the end i bumped into D again, and had the same sense of being slammed into a wall from full speed of 'this is the guy you should be with'. it took me a while to get up the courage to tell him how i felt, but when i finally did he told me he felt the same :) we've been together ever since - 10.5 years. we got married nearly 7 years ago now.

last night D picked me up from work and told me that he needed to drop something off in town before we went home - not unusual. he drove us into town and parked the car. 'come with me?' he said.

that part was unusual. i wondered why, guessed maybe he had discovered a work connection with someone we know as we walked down the street. but then he stopped and grabbed my hand. 'it's cold,' he said, suddenly a little bashful. 'can i put my hands in your pockets?'

and then i realised we were right outside where the club used to be. as near as we could get to the place where we first kissed.

fourteen years. it's amazing to think of all the years that have passed since our first kiss. and you know what? for the sake of having him, even all the pain i have lived in the past 14 months is worth it. i love him that much.

i couldn't stop grinning for the rest of the night. this guy next to never buys me flowers. he wouldn't ever dance with me, anywhere, even to a song he loves. he'd never make me breakfast in bed. but he will drive me to the scene of our first kiss 14 years later, just to make me smile.

love you, D. thank you for helping me get through this last year's shit. you mean the world to me and i love you more than i can say.

Thursday, 6 January 2011

6 january 2010; 6 january 2011

one of the things we were told when we first went to the R.V.I. for medical management of my miscarriage was that if we wanted, we could attend a communal cremation ceremony at the Cre.m on the We.st Road. if we had wanted to have a funeral or a personal service, we would have had to pay for it ourselves, but the hospital arranges and pays for this ceremony once a month. the remains of each baby would be placed into a box and the boxes placed into a coffin. there would be a service at the Cre.m and then the coffin would be burned and the ashes scattered in the Gard.en of Remem.brance.

D didn't particularly want to go, but i did. we were told it would be held on 6th jan. and that it would not be particularly religious.

that part was a lie.

(god, back then i thought i'd be back at work by then. i wasn't back for over a month after that. i should have been off for longer.)

back then, it was snowing. it had been snowing since mid-december and it would be snowing for some time to come. and i had found this story, in which a mother turns up ten minutes late and misses the ceremony (but it turns out that her daughter was not cremated that day anyway... it's horrendous). so i was terrified we were going to miss it.

so that day i woke up at 6.30am. we were ready to leave the house just after 7.30. it was snowing heavily, and when we tried to move the car, it got stuck in the snow. we tried to dig ourselves out; it didn't work. D tried to push; that didn't work either. in the end the girl next door, who we'd never done more than exchange smiles with previously, helped push us out. then we helped push her car out. it was ridiculous.

in the end we arrived at 8.15 for a 9.00 ceremony. they hadn't even started clearing the car park. we parked and got out. walked around in the snow for a while, before looking for the waiting room and finding both it and a hot drink machine (thank goodness).

then it transpired that the hearse bringing the coffin had been delayed by the snow, so there would be quite some wait. oh, the irony. or something.

so we waited.

in the end, there were four other sets of people, i think. three other couples, and a family. complete with children and grandparents. i was quite upset by this at the time - why would someone bring children to a ceremony like that? how insensitive! - but now i realise that this will have been important to those children. to have a chance to say goodbye. i just wish someone had told us that it wasn't just for us, that we could have taken other people along if we wanted. we wouldn't have done so, but it wouldn't have floored me so much that other people did.

after the ceremony, we drove home. D was due back at work but he phoned and said he was taking the day as leave. we went for a walk in the snow. i cried on and off all day.

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my family has never been the sort of family that 'does' visiting graves. i've never really understood it. but things change. i've been up to the cre.m twice since then. the Snowdrop Garden... it's peaceful, and it's sad. it's somewhere to go, and to think. it's somewhere safe.

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in december, as january neared, i realised that i felt a bit weird about this date, 6th jan. i asked my line manager if i could take the day as leave. she agreed. i decided to go up to the Cre.m. just to sit there for a while.

i needed to sleep in. but i woke up as D was getting ready for work, and got up for a glass of water. i peeked outside, and there was a thin smattering of snow on the ground. it felt right.

i slept til nearly ten. i was so exhausted yesterday, it felt good. it was lunchtime before i got myself together to leave the house. i was tempted not to bother going - it's quite a trek to get there, and i'm still tired; i could have enjoyed a day relaxing in the house - but something made me go.

i'm glad i did.

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when i got off the bus at the Cre.m, it was starting to snow.

as i walked to the Snowdrop Garden, the snow got heavier. it wasn't sticking, but it was coming down.


as i sat in the garden, it snowed.

tiny snowflakes landed on my bag. this was the best picture i could get.

for a long time i just sat. not really knowing what to do.



and then i started to talk. i told the baby, i miss you. that i wish you was safe with me. i wish i was wondering how you would deal with a little brother or sister with such a small gap. i will always love you, and miss you.

and i started to cry.

and as i stopped talking and crying, the snow started to slow.

and as i left the garden, it stopped.

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i don't believe in signs. but ...

... this felt like one.

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i miss you, baby. i miss you so much. i wish you were here. i wish i could have both you and your tiny sibling. it's not fair that i can't.

i love you loads. more than i can say.
yesterday i went to Almonds and Raisins, the health food shop i go to most in Newcastle (for many reasons, although vegan chocolate cake slices are one of the most important... yum).

anyway. i asked the lady behind the counter about whether she knew anything about Bach flower remedies, as someone has mentioned that they might be useful for me and i was wondering if they are safe in pregnancy. the upshot of the conversation is that she didn't know, but she was very wary about taking anything in pregnancy that hasn't been prescribed (which is my opinion too). but as a result, she realised i was pregnant, and i ended up telling her what happened... i was going to say at the end of last year, but i can't say that now. at the end of 2009, i guess.

and. she. was. horrified.

'seventeen weeks? you didn't find out for five weeks?'

and you know how some people could make that sound like a criticism? like, 'how on earth could you not know something was wrong?'? (the thing i think myself.) well, she didn't. and it's a long time since i've seen that look of compassion on someone's face.

and i was ok while we finished talking, and when i left the shop. but as i walked towards the library, i realised it again. five weeks is a long time to think you're pregnant when you're actually not. and when you think you were well into the second trimester and the 'safe' (ha ha) period, to find out that as far as the NHS is concerned you had a first trimester miscarriage, not something that deserves investigation, or even extra scans the next time around? that's an extremely hard thing to deal with.

and! i didn't cry, but i was definitely tearful as i walked on.

but then... my brain continued with this train of thought, but then it made a leap. an amazing leap.

partly because last time is my only experience of being pregnant, of wanting and expecting a living child...

and partly because i'm pregnant at the nearly exactly same time of year and living through a very similar winter to last year's grief-filled season...

and partly because i'm terrified to believe, in case my belief somehow kills the baby....

i haven't been living this pregnancy.

i've been reliving my last pregnancy.

and we all know how that turned out, so i've just been waiting for bad news to turn up. and really, i've been expecting it in the next few days. i'm well aware that on saturday i'll be 16+6. the day when it all went to shit last time.

in the meantime, i haven't really realised that this pregnancy is different. even though so many things are different to last time. a different hospital. more scans. a baby that moves slowly, deliberately on the ultrasounds, rather than last time's that wouldn't keep still. a bump that is growing, albeit slowly, rather than last year's, which popped out and then didn't really change.

a baby that i already know has lived longer than the last one, even if it only turns out to be one week and three days longer. it's progress. maybe not a huge amount, but it's progress.

and with all that came a lightening. not a huge one, but a lightening all the same. my fears have not disappeared, but they've become a little - just a little - more manageable.

and i'm starting to realise that maybe... just maybe... there is hope.

maybe this baby will make it.

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this also kinda links into this post inspired by a comment from Merry

---.

and i'm still really scared, and i'm still going to blog about it, because i need to let the fears out, because i don't want them staying inside, where the baby is.

but... maybe there is hope.

maybe this baby will make it.

maybe a week today the scan will see a baby that's moving, that's the right size, that's healthy, that has a perfect heartbeat.

not definitely. nothing's guaranteed. but it's a possibility.

and maybe that will keep me cracking up. for the next seven days or so, at least.

Tuesday, 4 January 2011

back to work tomorrow and i can't sleep tonight. it doesn't help that we've been going to bed well after midnight and sleeping til late. it's been lovely, though. even though D had to work between christmas and new year it's felt that i've had a lot of time with him.

i don't want to go back to work. i want to stay at home with D and hide from the world. i wish i could.

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the house is a state. i haven't done a single one of the things i planned to do while we were off. except chill for a bit, i guess. there are still piles of stuff piled everywhere. more than there were before.

i was reading frustrated fairy before and she mentioned flylady.net. it's a site/support thing/email list for those who need a bit of help/guidance to tidy up and declutter, i guess. i signed up and have been reading the beginning parts which start with cleaning your sink. so i cleaned my sink (unfortunately can't make it shiny as it's white plastic so i kinda feel like i already failed) and then i cleaned the kitchen surfaces and the bathroom. and got things ready for work in the morning. yay, right?

except that i cleaned the bath. and lifted the hoover. and did some bending and stretching. and then panicked because i'm scared that all that will somehow have hurt the baby.

except that there's a part of me that won't shut up, that's telling me i can't have hurt the baby, because it's dead already.

and i'm just sick of this. the constant uncertainty. the fear and the dread. the not-knowing. the fact that even if i get through my next scan in ten days or so and my 20-week scan at the beginning of feb there are no guarantees that this baby will be alive and well.

i make D say good morning and good night to the baby. i rub my belly. i make sure i don't lie on my back or my front. i obsess about whether my bump is growing or shrinking; panic when it seems smaller than it did the day before. i panicked this morning when i weighed myself and realised i've lost a pound (lb, not £). i do everything i'm supposed to do; don't do anything that's not considered safe.

but there's a voice in the back of my head that talks too loudly for me to ignore. a voice that tells me i can do what i like, but that it's all pointless. that the baby is dead and gone already, that i can't do anything to hurt it now.

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i hate the way pregnancy after loss is tainted by fear.

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it's not that i want to sleep through this pregnancy. i don't. i want to experience it. i think all i want is a glimpse. july 2011. did we make it? is the baby alive and safe? and if we did, and it is, then i can relax.

but unfortunately, it doesn't work like that.

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if i get to sleep now i can scrape 4 hours sleep before work. not enough. not enough at all. but i guess it'll have to do.