Monday, 28 February 2011

my line manager said to me today 'do you think your hormones could have anything to do with it?'.

and i had one of those light bulb moments.

i had completely forgotten that even in a normal pregnancy, women have mood swings and get upset and scared and panicky and worried.

and when you factor that into the equation - i suppose i'm really not doing all that badly, am i?

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i haven't replied to email from anyone - except an odd one from my mum and someone i hadn't emailed in months - for over two weeks. i keep getting emails and meaning to reply but being completely incapable of sitting down and actually doing it. i don't know why, and it's driving me mad. i'm usually bad at email but not this bad.

comments, too. i appreciate them all, but i'm not replying - and barely commenting on other blogs too. i'm sorry. i really am.

i hope to catch up after i've been away.

i'm really sorry.

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i made lemon cake tonight. i'm going to take it to work tomorrow and try not to eat the entire lot myself.

scratch that. i'm going to go to bed now and try not to eat the entire bloody thing right now. that will also be pretty difficult.

sunday night freak out

wow, not had one of these for a few weeks. guess that proves how much better i've been doing these last three weeks or so.

i was ok. i've been scared again today, asking D for reassurance all the time, but i've been ok. talking about when we'll want people to come round and meet the baby after he's born - you know, the kind of stuff you don't exactly talk about on the days when you're convinced your baby won't make it.

i cried a little this morning. talking about whether you would change what could have been. of course i wish things could have worked out differently - but it's not that simple any more. to want to go back and change the past would mean undoing this baby, this little boy who i already love. and i couldn't do that.

does that kind of make my snowflake the price i had to pay for this baby?

that's sh.it if so. horrible.

but seeing as i've already paid that price, i might as well accept it. the only thing haggling would do right now is cost me more.

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the problem is, as i realised this morning, that i'm now at the stage where if the worst happened and this baby died too, i would not want to undo it. i would not want to wind the clock back and undo my baby's existence.

and i think that maybe that's why, as i switched the light off tonight, i started to cry. and cry and cry. because i love this little one. more than i want to. i don't want to be lost in hope. i want to hold some of myself back. so if the worst was to happen, i'd have a tiny piece of me that wasn't fully destroyed. and i know better than to think like that. i know that's not how it works. but still i try.

my midwife keeps telling me to have faith in my baby. and i do. i do have faith in him. i believe he can do it. but i don't believe in my body's ability to keep him alive and well. and worse, i don't believe in my body's ability to signal that something is wrong. last time i carried a dead baby for over four weeks and only discovered the truth at a routine check up. this time, i guess lack of movement would mean that at this stage i wouldn't have that kind of gap between something going wrong and me finding out, but.... but. still.

he's moving differently this weekend. he seems to move less at weekends anyway, but he's moving differently yesterday and today. i can't put my finger on how but it's so hard not to second guess. are his movements getting weaker? is it a bad sign that they've changed? should i go and get it checked out? and i'm just so scared of not getting checked out, but i'm scared of getting checked out too.

and my heartbeat is high the last few days too as well, although my blood pressure was fine when i got an emergency appointment with a nurse on wednesday, but i'm still scared that there could be something wrong, that my rapid (well, around 80bpm) heartbeat could hurt him, or could be a sign of something wrong.

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(while i've been writing this post, of course, he's been moving more definitely. so at the least, i think i can believe he's ok right now.)

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at the end of this week, i travel to my parents' house. i stay there overnight and then fly with one sister to visit our other sister in mainland europe. without D, who will stay home and do some DIY without worrying about me inhaling fumes or the like.

i think that this fear, this terror of something going wrong *now*, is partly because i'm scared that something will go wrong while i'm away, in a foreign country where i don't speak the language well enough for a hospital stay (although my sister could translate well enough, it's not the same) and where, worse, i would be without D.

what if the baby dies while i'm away?

what if he stops moving and my sister has to find me a hospital so i can get them to check he's ok?

what if they need to do an emergency section? would he be considered viable there? (i think he would, but it's hard not knowing for sure.)

and what if something went wrong and D wasn't there?

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i had a dream last night. i was staying at a hotel. maybe for a family wedding, i'm not sure. but i wandered off to a nearby park, running across busy roads to get there.

and i climbed in up a steep and muddy hill, let myself in through huge wooden doors.

but i was barely inside before hotel staff approached me. before they told me i couldn't go in there. i didn't belong. i would have to leave.

and i didn't get the symbolism when i woke up. but tonight, while making my hot chocolate after getting out of bed, suddenly it became clear. that's the outcome i'm afraid of. that even after all this time i still won't get to be a mother. i still won't get to enter that mystical land.

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this sucks. (understatement of the year?)

i just want to know that my little boy will be OK.

Wednesday, 23 February 2011

Progress?

I was talking to one of my sisters on the phone on Monday and realised that about 2/3 of me now expects this baby to be OK, at least in the long run. More precisely, 1/3 of me expects him to die, 1/3 to be born early and have problems but to be OK in the end, and 1/3 just expects him to be OK. Considering that at times during this pregnancy I have been 100% sure he's either going to die or dead already, I am amazed by this. I didn't honestly see it coming.

We've booked the 4D scan. Mid March. Apparently a consultant obstetrician does it, so if anything is wrong we've got the right person in the room with us. I still don't know for sure that we'll do it, but I think I do want to. I want to see what my baby looks like.

Rach said something in the comments about me definitely feeling movement now. I guess I am. But I'm still entirely unable to say out loud 'the baby's moving' without qualifying it with 'I think' and 'I'm not really sure' and 'Maybe'. Even when I say to someone 'I find it really hard to say this without qualifying it, but the baby's moving right now' I find myself injecting 'I think' and 'probably' and all kinds of other things. (And to be honest so far I've only been able to even try to say it and sound in any way definite to D and one of my sisters.) The anterior placenta doesn't help I don't think. A lot of the time it feels like he's dragging my internal organs around, rather than kicking or punching me.

I'm still scared for him. I still don't trust my body's ability to care for him and keep him alive. But so far he's doing well. I am doing better at focusing on that these days.

I spoke to someone from an antenatal mental health group I've been going to today. I haven't seen her in a while as I've been busy those afternoons and the group was cancelled today. She said I sounded a hell of a lot better than I did last time I saw her. And she's right, I do.

Having said all that, the last few days my heart rate has been higher than usual and my blood pressure's felt a little high. I'm going to see if I can get it checked out tomorrow. Just to be sure.

Did I tell you about my ears being blocked up? They still are. I'm supposed to be flying out to visit one of my sisters next weekend, with my other sister. I'm looking forward to the three of us spending some time together. My ears had bloody well better sort themselves out before that. I'm sick of only being able to hear in my left ear.

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Oh. And tomorrow I'm going to see Val McDermid, my fave author, at an event she's doing. And on Friday I'm going out for tea with D and a couple we're friends with. And on Saturday I'm meeting Becky who is a lovely friend of mine. I've not been this sociable for weeks. I'm quite proud of myself.

(I can't be bothered with links today. I'm very sorry my lovelies. If I can be bothered tomorrow I'll add them in!)

Tuesday, 22 February 2011

i had to go to the hospital tonight. the baby didn't move all day and i was scared to death. he's ok though. they listened to his heartbeat and he's fine. the midwife used the word 'perfect', which scared me, but she meant well.

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i think i've mentioned that there are four other pregnant women in my work. i've spoken about being pregnant to three of them since finding out they were pregnant. the fourth i've only seen in passing. she's one of those people who's lovely but i never see her so i always forget that she's lovely. anyway, i bumped into her today, and we ended up chatting. and i found out she had an ectopic pregnancy at the end of last year.

i had suspected that she'd lost a baby, but it's not the kind of thing you can exactly ask. but she was quite open about it, and we ended up talking about pregnancy after loss. her experience was obviously very different to mine, but her experience of pregnancy after loss... well, let's just say it was nice to talk in person, out loud, to someone who gets the fear and the reluctance to believe the best and the being slightly freaked out by all the pregnancies in work and the not really being a normal pregnant woman and ... just everything.

i wanted to hug her at the end but didn't want to freak the poor girl out :)

Sunday, 20 February 2011

Thank you all for your support last week. I still can't come anywhere close to believing what happened to my friend. It's just so wrong. I can't get my head around how unfair life is.

I want to say more about that situation but there's not really anything else to say, is there? I can't really support her; I know how hard it is to deal with pregnant people in the aftermath of a loss, so there isn't really anything I can do. And that's hard to accept but it's true.

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Emotionally and mentally, I'm still not doing too bad, considering. I'm not doing as well as I was before I heard about my friend but I'm still doing OK. Not panicking. Fairly worried but at a bearable level. Finding it hard to believe that my baby is OK but also finding it hard to believe that there could be anything wrong. Which, on balance, I'll take; it's better than the long time when I was just waiting for the minute where it went wrong.

We're thinking about getting a 4D scan at the hospital I'm booked into. D has some money saved that he was going to put towards a TV and I have £50 from Christmas that I don't know what to do with, so we'd only have to find an extra £25, which I'm sure we could do. Part of me thinks that we should save that money and use it on things for the baby. But part of me thinks that... well, part of me thinks it will help me to believe in the baby. That it will stop the part of me that's still holding back. Most of me isn't now, but... part of me still is.

And part of me thinks that... that if this baby doesn't survive, at least I'll have that memory. At least I'll always know it was real.

I don't know. Part of me thinks it's a good idea, part of me doesn't. Any opinions welcome.

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Physically I'm mostly OK but my ears are stuffed full of wax and I can't hear through my right ear and haven't been able to since Monday night. It is driving me insane. I cannot wait to get my ears syringed (I don't think it's going to clear up on its own but I have to wait for the wax to soften which is going to take FOREVER.)

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And, there's something I've been wanting to talk about at my private blog, but before I do I wanted to know how people react when they know their friends and family are going through a tough time - what a 'normal' response is. But I only have five readers over there (do email me if you want to join them!!!) so I'm posting a survey here. It's only got one question. Please do fill it in! Here you go.....

Create your free online surveys with SurveyMonkey, the world's leading questionnaire tool.

Sunday, 13 February 2011

i've been planning on writing a nice positive post about how i'm coping well and haven't freaked out in 10 days and counting and all that. well, everything is still ok with me, but i just found out that a friend of mine from an online pregnancy-after-loss board (not someone who has a blog) has lost her baby at 23 weeks. and i cannot understand why she has to go through this again. it is so wrong, and so unfair, and i don't understand, and i don't know what to do for her; i don't have any contact details other than an email address and that's just not enough.

previously she lost twins. she has now lost three children all at a similar stage of pregnancy and has none living. i don't understand. i don't understand.

it's not right and it's not fair.

Wednesday, 9 February 2011

i went to see the midwife today.

i made the appointment a couple of weeks ago, when i was freaking out. it was the first appointment she had.

i haven't freaked out since my scan last week. almost a week ago now. that's pretty impressive for me, really. but i went along to the appointment anyway. i had a few questions (i always have questions. i bet you can believe that, can't you?).

(incidentally, the cbt is going well. at my last appointment my therapist reckoned i made a bit of a breakthrough. i thought he was overstating his case a bit at the time, but i've been less worried this last week. it's possible that he was right. dammit. i hate when people are right. if you're interested don't forget to email me and ask for an invite to my private blog.)

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last night, i thought to myself that maybe i would be brave enough to let her listen for the heartbeat. i wasn't sure. D wasn't going to be there, for a start. and although the scan was only a week ago... well, a week is a very long time. and although i'm 21 weeks now, i've still not been certain about whether i'm feeling movement or not. it's been about 7 weeks since i first felt something that could be movement, but i'm no more or less certain that that's really what i'm feeling than i was back then. i did find out at my scan last week that my placenta is anterior (attached at the front), which probably explains that and is good to know - but it's still all a bit nerve wracking.

so, anyway. i went in. i asked my questions. then i did it. i asked if she could listen for the baby's heartbeat. i hopped up on the bed - so glad that i was in a different room than last time; i don't know if i'd have been able to do it if we were in the same place.

and i did it. i let her listen.

it was hard to pick up; the sounds of the placenta, with it being at the front, were much louder than the sound of the heartbeat. (which makes me doubly glad that we've never tried with a doppler ourselves; i would have freaked if we were unable to pick it up, and if even my midwife found it tricky past 20 weeks i doubt we would have managed it ourselves.)

but i heard it. the beating of his heart.

it was amazing.

comparative mourning

i read this article on the guardian website a while back. it talks about a family who lost a three week old daughter, and how hurt they were when the vicar removed fake flowers from her grave. it talks about a couple who lost their 25 year old daughter, and how when they visit their daughter's grave they routinely put fake flowers on other graves nearby that have been neglected.

the vicar says "The metaphor of flowers is the beauty that weathers and decays. That is why we always put real flowers in the churchyard where they are associated with funerals. Plastic ones don't decay, so the metaphor gets lost."

hmmm. i don't buy it. and those who have lost loved ones know all too well that nothing is forever. for some (including me, sometimes) flowers dying brings back the pain all too clearly. don't those who mourn deserve to do it in their own way, metaphor free?

anyway, hasn't he seen how fake flowers fade and crumble over time when left out to the elements? they may take longer about it, but they don't last forever.

but i like the quote from the sociologist at the University of Bath.

"There are competing expectations about grief. For some people it's about moving on. For others it's about an ongoing relationship," she says. "There is a view of stages of grief that ends with 'letting go'. Some people don't do that. They never will let go, and that is OK."


they will never let go, and that is OK.

doesn't that make a change from what the grieving are usually told? the implication that if you don't 'move on', whatever that means, that you are somehow faulty?

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then today i read this article on the BBC. which, to be honest, is even more depressing.

apparently there is a cemetery in essex that a national newspaper has seen fit to call the 'poudland cemetery'. (for those not native to the UK, that's quite an insult.) other mourners have taken offence at the fake flowers and wind chimes and the council have said that any wind chimes or ornaments left in the trees by 1 march will be removed. people will only be able to have two wind chimes and two solar lights. i don't want to link the article, but it's here: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1352498/Essex-Council-bans-ornaments-Cemeteries-Poundland-graves-go.html

i personally think the first two pictures are absolutely beautiful.

the BBC article talks about a 'class war' in mourning, and i think they're right. i think that the displays of teddy bears and wind chimes get dismissed as 'tacky' by the folk who are there to mourn parents and grandparents. by those who haven't lost children. children who should not have died.

but i don't think anyone gets the right to judge anyone else's grief. to call it tacky or to ask them to move it elsewhere.

and i will be honest. before i lost the baby i might have thought it was tacky too. but i see things differently now. i see the love and the pain and the loss that makes people want to bring some comfort to a baby's grave, or a child's grave, or even an adult's. and i ache for the grieving.

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when we were in barcelona last summer we went to visit a cemetery, the Cementiri del Poblenou. it was completely different to anything i've ever seen in the UK. we spent a long time wandering round and looking at the graves.

all the flowers in that cemetery were fake. real ones would never survive in the spanish sun, not in summer at least. i'll never forget the sound they made as the breeze blew and they rustled. it wasn't quite like anything i'd ever heard before. the sound of spanish mourning, maybe.

i want to post some pictures i took. i hope no one finds this disturbing, that i took pictures of graves. i loved them and i wanted to remember them. i'm sorry to anyone who finds it distasteful.

these people were loved. i'm sure that by some standards these graves are tacky, too. but i think they're beautiful and amazing.








































Tuesday, 8 February 2011

Outside my front door...





















Just the one has come through and flowered.

I would have thought I'd be upset about that, but it feels kind of right.

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This poem was written on the front of the order of service when we went to the communal ceremony at the west road. It made me sob.

The world may never notice

If a snowdrop doesn’t bloom,
Or even pause to wonder

If the petals fall too soon.
But every life that ever forms,

Or ever comes to be,
Touches the world in some small way

For all eternity

Sunday, 6 February 2011

i have loads to say, but no space or time to get it out right now. but i wanted to link this post, by tash, because it's amazing, and gives me hope.

Thursday, 3 February 2011

first things first?

the baby's fine.

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this post is rather bitty. my brain's jumping around. sorry in advance about that.

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i was actually ok this morning. quite calm.

i wasn't very optimistic though. i cleaned up before i went. made sure the house was tidy (well, as tidy as it gets round here) and the washing was done. i even left my toothbrush and PJs and deodorant and moisturiser out, in case i needed to stay in hospital for any reason and D needed to come back and pick them up for me.

i was even ok in the waiting room. they were running late, so we had to wait about half an hour before we were called in. i was chatting to D about the White Stripes breaking up and stuff. but when they called us through and i got onto the bed the sense of dread returned, the sense that there was no hope. i started crying. D had to explain why.

but the baby was fine. all the checks they do, fine. spine and stomach and lips and feet and heart and everything else, all fine.

and? he's a little boy.

same as they told us three weeks ago. i don't necessarily trust being told once, but two different people... yeah. and anyway, it feels right. i was expecting a girl - i only have sisters - and i was a little shocked when they first said boy, but only for a few seconds. after that... it felt right.

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it seems more real since finding out he's a boy. like there's more to lose.

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i just talked to D. i'm shocked at how worried he is about my mental state. he says i'm not showing any signs at all that i'm happy to be pregnant. i hadn't realised how badly i seemed like i was doing, to him at least.

he needs me to enjoy this. even if things are going to end badly.

i don't know if i'm capable of doing that. but i need to try. for D's sake and for my little boy's sake, if not for my own.

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yesterday some pain started. nasty abdominal pain, on the left side of my torso. i saw my GP tonight and she reckons it's just muscles and ligaments doing their stretching thing. it's... weird. it feels like it should be scary, but it's not.

but it's really painful, and it's something that constantly makes me wonder if everything really is ok.

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basically, everything is ok.

people are expecting me to be thrilled. i'm relieved but... just relieved, and tired. i'm glad he's ok but haven't got the energy to be excited. not yet at least.

the movement has felt a bit more definite today. maybe if that trend continues over the next few days i'll feel a bit more excited?

i hope so.

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i'm having a little boy. i never thought i'd really want a little boy, but i do. more than i can say.

Tuesday, 1 February 2011

i said before that i didn't want to be in my second trimester, that it didn't feel like a safe place to be.

it's been getting worse. now i'm further than i even thought i'd got last time, now i'm in uncharted territories, it feels like i'm on one of those old maps, where cartographers wrote 'here be dragons' because they didn't know what was out there. and it just feels like i'm waiting for one of the dragons to pick me off.

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i've just had a nosebleed. a great one where the blood somehow managed to drain into my throat. eww. anyway, nosebleeds are a pregnancy thing, right??

yes, i'll clutch at any passing straw right now.
D is out tonight. With some friends from work. I was out earlier but cried off as early as I could and came home.

He just called. He is drunk and on his own in his friend's car while she and another girl are off getting burgers. He's waiting for them to come back so he can get home.

Hopefully he'll be home soon.

At the end of the call, he said 'love you, and the baby'.

and it broke my heart. because he is trusting me to look after the baby. to keep it alive and well and healthy. and i don't believe it. i don't believe i'm capable of that.

i want him to have a night off from everything. from my fears and craziness. i want him to be drunk and happy. yes, even on a work night.

i just need everything to be ok. i can't stand the thought that his heart might break on thursday. right now that thought is actually worse than the thought of my own heart breaking.

i could bear it happening to me. i don't know if i could bear it happening to him.