2013 can do one

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In the words of the lovely Coral Blooms, 2013 can do one. Man can it ever.

Unfortunately, like many of you I said something along those lines about 2012 and 2011 too.

2012 ended with three miscarriages. We were convinced then that there would be happier days ahead, and that 2013 would be a better year.

It’s hard to believe that I’m ending this year with another three more. And that the years seem to be getting progressively worse. Lonelier. Harder. Sadder.

But it was this year, after losing our fifth at 10 weeks, when I started blogging. I had already begun my self-imposed exile, removed myself from friendships, from family, from life really when I began to let it all out into cyberspace. I never expected to feel the emotional release or the overwhelming support, encouragement and love I get receive the the amazing community of loss and infertility. That’s really what’s kept me going this year. That and the support from my amazing husband and our overwhelming desire to keep trying until we’re successful.

I have no idea what Keep Trying 2014 looks like. If this pregnancy will succeed or fail. If we will be trying again with my eggs or try DEIVF or surrogacy or adoption. The countless possibilities take my breath away. But I can’t think about that.

Nor can I think about the excruciatingly debilitating cramps I’ve been getting, or my upcoming scan next week. Those are for another post. There is nothing I or anyone else can do about that right now.

I will try to focus on taking on step at a time, on being where I am right now. I will try to be hopeful no matter how scary that feels.

I hope that 2014 brings us all happier, brighter days. Thank you to you all for your incredible support xx

A year in pictures

This year has been the hardest of my life. So much loss, so much pain. But there have been other memories too. Here are some

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The last drink I’ve ever had was New Years Eve 2012. Haven’t had one since. I never thought it would suit me. It does

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Living in squalor has been very much part of my year.

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No really, it has. Renovations suck.

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But I found a way to find pretty things in life. These are the prettiest brownies I’ve ever seen.

20131227-214203.jpgAnd buying a juicer changed my life

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I became a British citizen. That was pretty cool.

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But going home always fills me with hope

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And DH’s gift to me on the hardest birthday of my life was spent well at a no-talking outdoor spa. Exactly what I needed

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Being at home, outdoors, is always cathartic

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Finding moments of beauty amongst the loss

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And receiving love from others in the depths of loss

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Escaping the pit of loss allowed us to heal and recharge even briefly

20131227-214834.jpgIf there is a sunset I’m almost always watching it

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Finding little treats of life within our little garden was a happy moment

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As are savouring precious moments with my furbaby as he smothers DH

I hope next year I will have a few more to add.

Is it over yet?

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Well I’m glad that’s over.

I tried so hard yesterday to be happy for DH. To pretend. It started out so well, with a good lie in, sunshine streaming into our bedroom, a long walk and gluten free French toast. But as the day wore on my happy mask did too.

I have made no secret that I have been dreading this holiday for weeks now. We cancelled Christmas at our house this year. No tree, no drinks with friends, no gifts, no cards, no family get togethers. Just DH and I watching cheesy comedies on the couch with the occasional walk and home cooked meal thrown in. Rest and recuperation is all I’m up for.

What I didn’t realise is that DH, who is truly into Christmas, had been secretly devising his fantasy menus for the holidays and getting all jolly sipping his vino as he whistles Christmas tunes in the kitchen. Then it hit me. I have cancelled Christmas on him.

I cancelled Christmas not him. He would have done all the usual things: cooked the meals, hung the tree decorations, had the friends over, travelled 5,000 miles back home to be with our families.

But I couldn’t do any of those things. I couldn’t. Everything about Christmas brings me pain. This should have been a time to celebrate with our children but it’s not because we lost them. We should be with our parents and siblings but we’re not because I literally can’t be in the same room as my pregnant SIL. I can no longer hide my sadness from my own family. I can’t see friends because I have dumped 99% of them since they’re all pregnant or celebrating their baby’s first Christmas. I can’t even look at a Christmas tree because it reminds me of my miscarriage this time last year. I cancelled our trip to good friends’ up north because I can no longer fake being a happy person.

And Christmas carries on without us. People are celebrating, drinking and being merry. Families are spending quality time together, laughing, smiling. Happiness. Lots of it. It’s everywhere.

Even you guys, you all amaze me with how well adjusted you all are. How you can drag yourself to family events, surrounded by pregnant women and small children. How you can pull yourselves together to be up for others when you’re feeling so down. I wish I knew how you do it, you are so strong.

In the end it was acts of unbelievable thoughtfulness and kindness from the odd friend or two I still keep in touch with that brought me to uncontrollable fits of sobbing. It was their thoughtful, poignant, overwhelming gifts. It was the calls from family, telling us of their plans and how sad they are to miss us. It was people asking why we made no plans. What do we say?

I’ve been off work for a total of about 40 hours and so far I’ve had two meltdowns. I feel responsible for putting this misery on DH. Because of me he isn’t seeing family or friends or anyone. Because I can’t cope. I wish I could cope. I wish this positive pregnancy test would dissolve my sadness, my anxiety, my terror. But it doesn’t. It won’t. These emotions are only now more intense, and the feeling of desperation is setting in.

Seven wonders

Today is the anniversary of my third miscarriage. It was a very difficult day last year, not just because of the loss, but because it was my third loss and it was Christmastime. It was the beginning of my life as a “recurrent miscarrier.” Going forward my life was changed forever. I have gone on to lose three more. I remember bleeding so heavily that day and feeling faint but going to buy a Christmas tree on my own and bringing it home by train. I could barely carry the stupid thing, let alone fit it in the train carriage, but I was determined to get it home. I guess I needed that sense of warmth, that feeling of comfort. I wasn’t coping. I sobbed as I put up the decorations.

I think I will forever hate Christmas as long as I have no children because of that day.

This year we have rejected Christmas completely. We have no tree, no decorations, bought no gifts for anyone or ourselves. We have no family here so we will be on our own. We won’t be doing any Christmas dinner or parties and have cancelled our plans to go to friends for a few days. Quality alone time is what we need. We plan to spend the whole time on the couch watching films, not Christmas films, but funny films, and ignoring the whole event. I’ve already got Blades of Glory, Anchorman and Zoolander all cued up.

And today I find myself, unbelievably, in the precarious position of being pregnant for the seventh time. Yes I only miscarried last cycle. This has happened before. I have been able to get pregnant four cycles in a row in the past but lose each and every one of them.

I took a cheap HPT on 10dpo because I was feeling some pretty strong symptoms. When I looked at it after a few minutes there was a spider sitting directly on top of the spot where a second line should be. I freaked out. Talk about bad omen! So of course I squished it, ruining any opportunity to see a second line and swore I would never test again because it would be doomed anyway. DH thought it was a good omen and convinced me to test again the next day.

No spider this time but two double lines. Strong double lines. Then a positive digital test.

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That was 11dpo, and technically within the normal timeframe for a BFP. I have never had a BFP in my life before 15dpo and they have always been faint. Late implantation equals miscarriage for me. Period.

But this time I had two strong double lines at 11dpo! I still can’t believe it. My period isn’t even due for a few days. I even had an implantation dip in my BBT followed two days later by really strong symptoms. And now my telltale abdominal hum has confirmed for me this is really happening again.

I’m not about to get ahead of myself here. I know how likely it is that we could lose this one too. There is too much wrong with me that getting this right is a long long shot. But something in me feels Ok. Content. At peace. I can only take one step at a time.

I was reluctant to come clean about this though. I have debated for a few days whether to even post about it. I live in fear of jinxing it but I am also finding myself almost apologetic for this warped ability to get knocked up quickly but not be able to follow through. Like I’m wasting life. Like my body is a death trap for these little humans. Like I’m irresponsible. That it’s my fault. I could be wasting another life right now. Infertility and RPL strikes the psyche in horrible random ways.

I also feel particularly awful that many of my fellow RPL and infertility bloggers are in the throws of horrific losses, pregnancy purgatory, in agonising holding patterns or suffering another disappointment right now. And it reminds me of the grief that overcame me only one month ago. I feel these losses, these disappointments as my own, making this pregnancy even more surreal. I don’t want to make anyone feel uncomfortable or sad and I know all too well the mixed emotions that come with this kind of news.

I hate recurrent loss. I hate infertility. I hate the uncertainty, the anxiety, the dread of something we want so much. Why is this so hard?

So I guard my faith today. I will remain cautiously optimistic but conscious of the possibilities. Whatever happens will happen. There is nothing I can do but wait to find out. Please help me keep some hope.

WTF appointment

We had our WTF appointment on Friday at our New RPL Clinic (a recap of my diagnosis is here). Although it took us a 7 hour round trip journey up north it was worth it.

We didn’t wait to be seen. We were given 45 minutes of solid consultation time. We were listened to and encouraged to ask questions. We learned a lot.

Although we left there without any concrete answers we both felt remarkably reassured. He helped us to see that the treatment for a highly receptive (but not selective womb) can’t save every little embryo. We knew that, but sometimes it’s just nice to hear it.

He encourages us to keep trying, wants us to carry on with the progesterone in the 2WW for a few more months. Then have another biopsy as it has proven to be the most effective treatment in resetting the stem cells in the womb that will support an embryo. The progesterone and the biopsy both promote the healing process called decidualization which encourages implantation and brings the womb lining in synch with embryo development. All the things that seem to be going wrong for me.

He also explained a thick lining doesn’t always equal a good lining. That even a thick lining can still send out mixed signals, allowing a good embryo to be unsupported. So I can continue to improve the thickness but this won’t solve all my problems.

He relaxed my concerns about age when I touched on egg donation, saying it will be there as an option whenever I want it, whether I’m 37 or 47 (as long as I’m still menstruating) and so why not give myself the best chances of conception with my own eggs for now.

He cautioned us on the treatment proposed by our other doctors, saying that timing is the most important factor to consider. Blood thinning and reducing NK cells are certainly beneficial for me, but only at the right time in development of an embryo. Too much of these things too early could hinder early development, making miscarriage a likely outcome. The right amount of NK cells is critical to embryo development. Too few can cause problems. Just as blood thinning causes an influx of oxygen to the embryo, too much oxygen too early can cause damage.

So much to consider. But his is a science makes sense to us. It has explained so much about what keeps happening. The fact that these people are pioneering the research from a teaching university is encouraging to me. He has the studies and evidence to back up his argument.

He admitted they are still learning so much about this aspect of RPL and that they are in no way there yet with the science. It pains me to think that in five or ten years they may have a solution to this but in the meantime we have to simply keep trying. In the meantime these treatments might help but they are not a cure. Knowing they are working hard on finding answers is encouraging.

And now we wait. We are deep in the middle of the 2WW. I don’t have a lot of hope for this cycle, I feel a sense of foreboding that 2014 is going to become a lot more complicated. But I’ll try to ignore that for now. Instead I will think about 2014 bringing a new energy, new direction, new hope.