When did life get so complicated?

I am going to apologise for my radio silence again. Things have been especially weird for me lately and I am still wrapping my brain around things. Normally I would reach out to the blogosphere but it didn’t feel right, until now.

I don’t know where to start. The good news? Nacho is a beautiful 32w4d today. I am being managed carefully at the hospital. The love I feel for this kid is overwhelming, it brings tears to my eyes whenever I think about how much I love him. He has his own little personality that is so unique and I can’t wait to meet him. This enhances the pain I feel for my lost sweetpeas more and more. They would have all had unique sweet little personalities too.

This is the time last year when I lost sweetpea #5. One year since I lost myself. I was hanging on for the two years beforehand but losing #5 completed ruined me. I have been slowly scraping myself off the bottom of the pit since then.

I was recently diagnosed with prenatal depression. I have had a hard time determining what is just hormones and what is sadness, but my therapist seems to think I tick all the boxes. It appears as though I do. I don’t know why that is embarrassing but it is. Surprisingly they are not hard boxes to tick. I can completely see how RPL and IF could bring this on.

I continue to see a therapist once a week which helps, and I am trying to open my mind up to the thought of actually meeting little Nacho but I am still very afraid to really commit to the idea of him actually turning up. All I have wanted is to have a little person in my life and you’d think I should be happy about it now that it’s actually happening. It’s not that, because I am happy, but I am also terrified, overwhelmed and sad most of the time. It’s hard to explain. I have yet to buy anything really other than a few second hand clothes online, going into a baby shop still fills me with anxiety. Slowly though I think I am coming to terms with the idea that he is OK in there and that he will be with me soon.

The saddest part to this story is that it is looking more and more likely that I will be splitting from my husband before Nacho makes his appearance. I have not really blogged about this before and I feel quite vulnerable doing this, but this blog is my way to vent and I think I finally need to do that. It is a really long story that I don’t intend to bring you all in on but suffice it to say that DH has crossed my one and only line too many times. It would appear that he is struggling with the idea of fatherhood more than he can verbalise. He has yet to confirm this to me, I’m still only guessing.

Throughout our relationship he has needed to blow off steam, as we all do when we live busy lives. He goes out on these benders and does not call, tell me where he is or attempt to come home before 7am. I would normally be fine (well more tolerant) with this except for the fact that 10 years ago DH nearly died of a drug overdose on one of these benders and had to be resuscitated by the paramedics miles away from me and our home. Since that day my only stipulation of our relationship was that he needed to stay away from that drug. Did he want to? Yes. Has he? No.

I don’t believe he is an addict, or maybe I’m naive, because he only does this once or twice a year. For 10 long years I have sat up through the night wondering if he was dead or alive, if he was suffering or alone, until he decided to turn up once he had shaken off the effects to grovel. I have been pregnant many times when this has happened but it hasn’t mattered. He swears that he is devoted to me and Nacho and doesn’t know what is wrong with him but has refused to see a therapist about it with or without me. Until now. I have given a handful ultimatums by now, and none of them mean anything to him. Brick wall. Endless empty promises.

The sad thing is that 95% of the time he is a devoted and loving man who is very excited to meet his long-awaited son. Day to day he takes on so much responsibility to try to eliviate any stress I might be suffering. But then he goes and has these inexplicable sessions of destruction, fully aware of the consequences. It’s like he’s a different person. I understand that everyone needs an outlet for this kind of stress, and some of you may fee like I am being especially harsh, but no amount of day to day support can make up for the trauma of those long nights wondering if Nacho will ever get to meet his dad. I don’t ask for much, just this one little thing. Oddly I am quite a tolerant person otherwise and always have been.

Am I supposed to sit back and watch as my self-confidence and self-worth quietly and slowly wane? After having watched my parents go through more or less the same thing I had always promised myself to have more self-respect than than to allow someone to hurt me over and over until I became a shell of a human. My mum raised me to focus on my career and to always look out for number one and I realise now that I am in her shoes, making that connection 20 years before she made hers. Nacho is too important to allow this to carry on. He deserves to have a father he can depend on.

So somehow I have to find a way to pick myself up, and start to consider life as a single mum. I never in a million years imagined this would be the outcome for me, I had believed DH would grow up eventually and we would finally get to enjoy a child who has meant so much to us both. We had such a long hard journey to get here.

The logistics of actually doing this are sinking in: giving birth without my husband (damn good thing I will have my doula – yes I did end up hiring one – more on her another time), struggling through the early weeks on my own, eventually selling the house, packing and moving across the world back home with a young baby. It has been done by thousands of women before me and my situation is not unique but man does it feel like shit.

It’s too bad that I have very few meaningful relationships now since I dumped all my friends during my struggles with RPL and I live in a country without any family. But I have made it this far and I will have to find a way to do this. In the meantime I have sent him away to try to figure things out. I’m not sure what resolution will come of this. My mum has offered to come out anytime to help and I will take her up on it.

I am so ashamed, so devastated that my marriage is not one those that got stronger through IF and RPL and that Nacho and I don’t mean enough to DH. I visualise how nice things could have been together as a family, it’s what kept me going all these years, but I see now that I would have to compromise myself to achieve that.

What I am trying to remember is that Nacho is the most important thing right now. He needs his mum strong and devoted to him. Nothing else matters. That is my focus now.

Empathetic Sunday

I’m feeling particularly empathetic these days. Maybe it’s the hormones, maybe it’s the anxiety I can’t seem to shake, or the impending doom I feel about Nacho on a daily basis, maybe it’s a particularly emotional time in the blogosphere. But I’m finding it hard. There’s so much pain out there I just want to fix.

My hormones may be raging, yes, but it never ceases to blow my mind how emotional this journey is. It’s not just the highs and lows of our own experiences as individuals, but when you invest in the support of the journey of others in our community as we all do it is can be overwhelming. So much happens in the community of loss and infertility.

For the past several weeks, months, years I have witnessed, via blogging and twitter, long awaited BFPs, painful failed IVFs and IUIs, heartbreaking miscarriages, joyous births, devastating stillbirths, successful pregnancies after multiple losses, shocking second trimester losses, world-changing diagnoses, horrible set-backs, botched adoptions, cancelled cycles, making peace with moving on, cruel anniversaries, all bringing tears to my eyes.

It’s like being on the front lines of a warzone. There’s so much power, so much drive in our desire to be parents. It’s literally life or death. And we are faced with it everyday as we support each other. The sheer strength we all demonstrate to get ourselves through another day is mind boggling.

I’m saddened so deeply lately by my friends, you know who you are, who are struggling through countless failed ivf cycles. My heart is bursting with anger and sadness. The loss is blinding. I just don’t get why these things happen to good people. All we all want is a baby to take home.

And the losses. So many babies lost.

A few weeks ago the loss of a twitter friend’s second trimester twin babies really hit home. The twins were very close in gestation to Nacho, they had just reached “viability”. A cruel word. The grief and disbelief that this poor family must be enduring takes my breath away. How, in one day, can someone go from being fine to losing both her babies? I just don’t understand.

So much heartbreak.

I know, I know, there’s lots of good news out there too. Such happy stories, such relief. I celebrate these little milestones no matter how small.

Apologies for the super down post but I promised myself to get the thoughts that cloud my mind out onto virtual paper when I need to. Today has been a day of reflection too. Thinking of my own lost sweet peas tears me up inside. I think about all six nestled up in a cozy little pod together, looking after each other. I grieve for them everyday. I’m beginning to understand that that’s ok.

Homage to #5

I am finding this week harder than I thought I would. I’m facing a due date today I really thought would bring a real live baby. This week is when we were meant to meet Sweetpea #5, a little boy. I regret so much not naming or even nicknaming him. It is hard to refer to him as a nameless number.

The other due dates were freaking hard, don’t get me wrong. The first was a killer. But #5 was the one we thought would make it. The one that made it the furthest. The one that defied all our RPL issues. The one we invested so much in emotionally, physically, financially. This is the one that finally broke me.

I had envisaged feeling sad this week and needing to spend some time alone but I feel broken. No matter what exciting stuff is happening right now with Nacho I feel overwhelming grief and sadness too. Concurrent conflicting emotions.

I think the reason why this is so hard is because this week signifies the loss a baby boy but also so much more.

This was the loss that resulted in my diving off the deep end. I had just about managed to keep my shit together after the first four. Life was tough but I somehow found a way to get through my day like a normal functioning human being, not the zombie I am now. I was able continue to see friends, I held down a challenging job, I could function day to day although I was hurting a lot. I realise now I was in serious denial.

But as we lost him I lost myself. I fell off the virtual cliff of normality. I could no longer face life or pretend any longer. I couldn’t face anyone or anything. I stopped communicating. With everyone. I stopped going out, I could barely function at work, I was lucky if I got out of bed. It was the beginning of the self-inflicted loneliness that I live in now.

I keep thinking about our alternative life that could have been. The one where I would get to take home a baby this week. The one where I maintained my calm. Where all the sadness has ended. Where I continue to live my usual life. Where I meet up with my five mates all expecting in the next six weeks. The happy life. The life of balance and optimism. Why do I do this to myself?

So I guess today I’m grieving the loss of a little boy. I’m grieving the loss of the old me. My old life, my friends, my best friend. My naivety, my confidence, my energy, my lust for life. My belief in myself.

Did I tell you last weekend was the baby shower of The Sweet Pea Thief. Remember her? Yeah. She’s due in a couple weeks. I wasn’t invited to her shower and I’m ok with that. Ok it stung a little. I would have liked to have been invited so I could decline it but really I haven’t spoken with her in almost 6 months so why would I be invited. But the thought of her and all my old friends celebrating the arrival of her baby fills my heart with sadness. No one is here holding my hand as I cry alone about the loss of mine. No one remembers the ones we lose except us.

Sigh. That loss inspired this blog. Letting the heartache pour out into cyberspace has been more cathartic than I ever had imagined and I realise now that it had to happen that way or I would have imploded.

So in many ways I’m thankful for this experience. I’m thankful that I finally found a way to put myself first, to do what I need to do. To simplify my life. To connect with others enduring a similar hell. To remind myself that actually nothing else is that important.

But this particular loss has also made me acknowledge my complete and utter desperation for little Nacho. I can’t face another loss. Period. I bonded with #5. I spoke to him everyday, wrote letters to him, kept him warm. I believed so hard that our love was strong enough to keep him safe. But it wasn’t. Nothing was.

And now my fear of losing Nacho is overshadowing my ability to bond with him/her. I hope that if we get to surpass the point where we lost #5 that I’ll begin to breathe easier. I feel guilty dwelling on the past, on what was lost, and not focusing wholeheartedly on the future but I also feel like I haven’t fully grieved yet and I need to allow that to happen.

I hope Nacho isn’t upset with me. I hope one day to be able to explain to him/her why this week will probably be hard forever. I feel like Nacho already understands and is trying to make life extra easy for us by blasting ahead so courageously. It has helped already so much. I see how hope can be the lighthouse in the stormiest of waters.

Hanging in

Thank you for all your amazing support in the last week. I say this all the time but your support is seriously the guiding light in my life. You and DH. Complete lifesavers.

We had our NHS scan on Wednesday last week, I was 6w4d. It was really freaking hard to go there. That clinic is hell on earth. It’s the early pregnancy unit for a recurrent miscarriage clinic. Yeah, imagine what it must be like to work there. Last time I had a scan there I was the fourth person in a string of no-more-heartbeats. Rarely is there ever good news in that place. Sobs echo in the waiting room on a regular basis as we all sit quietly freaking out, wondering if we’ll pull the short straw this time. The woman before me pulled it this time, it was awful.

I had convinced myself that I would too. I had convinced myself I had no more symptoms and that after four days Nacho’s heart must have stopped beating. I had totally psyched myself into expecting to be let down and even told DH not to be too positive. But in his typical way he tried his hardest to build me back up.

I couldn’t look at the screen. Too scared. Instead I was fixated on DH’s face who despite his usual zen-like facade was evidently very concerned as the sonographer struggled to find Nacho. We were pleasantly surprised though that he/she was in fact still there and was still measuring right on time. More sobs, hugs and high-fives. Something tells me that will never change. I hope it never does.

Since then I’ve been lingering in the inbetween. Melting down one minute, content the next. Because I don’t get morning sickness ever I freak out if I go ten minutes without any of my usual symptoms. That happens a lot. A downward spiral of doubt and despair until suddenly I’ll get a twinge to remind me that everything might actually unbelievably be ok in there for once.

I’m trying. I really am. I’m listening to my hypnotherapy tapes, meditating, going to therapy, acupuncture, resting. But it’s hard. It’s so hard to keep the faith. I’m so worn into the pattern of grief and loss that I find it so hard to let things be … positive. Things are never positive for me. How can this be going well?

Thankfully those horrid cramps have stopped. I was assured by the EPU that they were definitely obgyn related and not gastrointestinal. That it’s probably just my womb adjusting, relocating, making space. I hope they’re right.

Now we wait some more. On Saturday we’ve got The 8 Week Scan. I can feel my anxiety ramping up for it and I’m sure I’ll be the same as every other time: heart in my throat, talking myself into believing the worst. But I’ll try really hard not to. I’m trying really hard to remember this one is different.

The Sighting of Number Seven

We opted for a private scan today ahead of our NHS appointment on Wednesday. The thinking was that neither of us could handle going back to work after the appointment if we got bad news. So we thought at least if we preempted it today then we’d be able to grieve wholeheartedly on the weekend. I’m glad we did. Our recurrent miscarriage clinic’s sonogram room just brings up too many bad memories.

The past two weeks have been hard. I’ve been avoiding this pregnancy since we found out. GK from My MMC Story called me on it: Keep quiet and the universe might not notice you.

She’s right, that’s EXACTLY how I feel. If I don’t talk about it maybe it’s not really happening. If it’s not happening then nothing can go wrong.

I have been hovering this weird in-between space. The numbness of anxiety and desperation, between hope and fear, between longing and dread. Speechless.

I tried so hard not to think these past few weeks, to put this pregnancy out of my mind as best I could. Tried to completely ignore it. Easier said than done. There were moments where I was able to do that during the holidays, to be mindful, to soak up the moment.

The best of those days was on Sunday when the Hubs and I walked along our local canals 6 miles all the way down to the Thames. The sun was shining and it was a beautiful crisp glorious day, with so few people out. We walked slowly, arm in arm, soaking up the rays, chatting, laughing, enjoying each other’s company so much. We got a perfect table in the perfect sunlight in a perfect little pub where we ate the perfect lunch. We both miss being close to large bodies of water, so being on the river was like going home. The day was so blissfully ideal it still takes my breath away. We didn’t talk or think about how freaked out we are once.

But many of those days were hard, scary, worrying. For days I’ve had an overwhelming feeling that this is over. I already started grieving. As horrible as that sounds, I’d already started giving up on this little sweet pea. I admit it is taking the easy way out. Self protection once again at its finest.

The other reason for anticipating the worst is that for over a week I’ve been suffering what I can only describe as debilitating excruciating uterine contractions. So severe they cause me to drop to the floor, writhe in pain, triggering the shakes, nausea and the immediate and complete evacuation of my bowels (totally TMI, apologies). They come in quickly and at night, lasting for five minutes, completely debilitating. It feels like a hand is ripping my uterus from the inside out.

No one knows what’s causing it. Some docs think it’s gastro related, which makes sense because of the end result (no pun intended) but it starts with horrific cramping in the womb, just like PMS but ten bajillion times worse. Others think it’s a new food intolerance developed since the BFP. I just can’t see how anything could survive that. The pain has shaken me to my very core, filling my eyes with tears. How can a precarious little embryo survive that storm?

Yet somehow against the odds at exactly 6 weeks today they were able to see everything is in the right place, measuring right on time. And then we saw it. A tiny quivering little pulsating heartbeat. Still so new, so early. There’s a tiny little heart beating in there guys. I cannot believe it.

Cue the sobs. Both of us, sobbing blubbering fools. Hugging, uncontrollable giggles, sighs of relief. The sonographer thought we were completely mad but she was still very nice. Don’t think they see many recurrent loss patients at this place.

And breathe.

One long deep breath to last me another two weeks as I continue to live my life in agonising two week intervals. Two weeks until The 8 Week Scan. So much can and has happened in that time but getting over this first hurdle has helped me to begin to focus. Maybe now in the meantime I can try to connect with this Sweet Pea #7 as scary as that sounds. DH has already nicknamed it Nacho (don’t ask). I learn so much about hope from him and you all every single day.

2013 can do one

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

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

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

No really, it has. Renovations suck.

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

I became a British citizen. That was pretty cool.

But going home always fills me with hope

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

Being at home, outdoors, is always cathartic

Finding moments of beauty amongst the loss

And receiving love from others in the depths of loss

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

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

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?

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.


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.