One day at a time

Thanks to you all for your support during this amazing and scary transition.

Right now I am full of excitement, desperation, anxiety, happiness, fear, and pure love. I can’t say I’m getting into the groove of this yet but I am continuing to take one day at a time.

After the results of the Harmony test and 12w Nuchal scan we took a few days to enjoy the knowledge that everything was looking good. Nacho was actually measuring four days ahead so they have changed my due date to reflect his new size. We have lost four precious days of this pregnancy as a result. Today marks 14w5d and I am in utter disbelief.

I attended my first antenatal midwife appointment shortly afterwards, at the hospital we decided on. I had been preparing to be treated like a normal pregnant woman, thinking they wouldn’t pay much attention to my history now that I have officially graduated from the recurrent loss clinic. But what came out of the appointment couldn’t be further from what I had expected. After a thorough Q&A and check of the relevant vitals it was determined that based on my RPL history and current clotting disorders, my family history and the list of drugs I’m on, I tick all the boxes for preterm labour and other complications and will be treated as a high risk case.

It was explained to me that all the choices I was previously told I would be able to make surrounding labour and birth have now been removed and that I would give birth in a labour ward under the conditions agreed with our consultant. This doesn’t really bother me, but I did wonder if they have had many RPL patients because BIRTH is the LAST freaking thing I could possibly even think about right now, I can’t even think about next week.

I’ve also been warned that I am likely to require a cervical stitch in the next few weeks, something I was not expecting. I will do anything if it helps.

Since that appointment I have already been seen twice (and got to see Nacho again – bliss)and will continue to be seen once a week by the midwives and various consultants for cervical exams, blood tests, and additional scans for Nacho. It is a bit overwhelming to be so thoroughly scrutinised but I am so appreciative. Anxious but appreciative.

Otherwise, nothing has really changed for me since the day one. I am still fundamentally terrified Nacho’s heart will stop beating one day and I will be able to do nothing about it. I wonder if that fear ever goes away.

But as DH and I move forward each day with trepidation, Nacho couldn’t be more oblivious. He is growing fast. His presence is showing now and each day it feels like the bump is getting bigger. Well I guess that is how it’s supposed to work. His growing, as happy as it makes me feel, also fills me with anxiety as I know I will need to address it with the outside world soon. This is something I am most definitely NOT prepared to do.

I have always hoped that I could just exclaim at the end of this “hey guys look what I found!” and point to a little person that (hopefully?) bears a resemblance of DH and me. Can’t I progress through this without having to tell anyone?

No one knows except for you guys and one IRL friend. Why don’t I want to scream it from the tree tops like everyone else? Why do I panic when I think about telling family, work, the few friends I have left?

1) Telling people makes it too real. If it’s real then something bad could happen. Again. If the universe doesn’t notice I might just squeak through unscathed. Stupid but pretty accurate.

2) The more people who know, the higher the expectation will be for me to go back to being the person I was before all the sadness. Many people have intimated they are just waiting for me to “snap out of it”, to be cured by finally having a baby. A baby isn’t just going to cure the sadness and heartbreak we have experienced over the years. I’m sure it will take the edge off, but I will carry my lost ones around with me forever and I don’t know if I can ever be the same person again.

So for now we have decided to lay low, to keep quiet a bit longer. It feels better that way. I can still try to enjoy this pregnancy even if no one else who knows about it. But I will have to tell work soon. I can barely think about that. Today I’m just going to focus on making it through today.

I can’t believe this

I can’t believe I’m writing this post but unbelievably, remarkably, I can report today that all is well.

The results of the Harmony test came back 1/10,000 chance of Edwards, Patau or Downs. The Nuchal scan confirmed that so far everything is ok.

And little Nacho is a wriggling, gesticulating, kicking little boy!!

We are both so overwhelmed with emotion at the moment. We never ever thought we’d actually get here. There are still many hurdles ahead but just having reached twelve weeks is massive blessing to us. Whatever happens going forward we are just so so thankful to have reached this point.

I’m going to go ball my eyes out now. I promise to write more later.

Thank you to you all for your support and encouragement. It has helped me more than I can ever articulate. xx

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.

Nacho lives

Today was The 8 Week Scan guys.

I was really quite freaked out again. I had gone about 3-4 days without ANY symptoms last week so I was convinced there would be nothing in there. This rollercoaster is so knackering.

But Nacho’s heart was beating away and he/she was measuring bang on. It was so crazy to see. It was also crazy to hear a heart beating for the first time. We’ve only ever seen it. But hearing it is completely mental.

More tears, more high-fives, more sighs of relief. Today was a good day.

I had high hopes today. I took it as a sign that of good things to come because Nacho Libre was on tv today. What are the chances of that? The universe is sending me a sign!!!

So what did we do to celebrate? Went for a Mexican lunch! Little milestones. Little steps. I’ll take whatever good stuff I can get right now.

The weeks to come terrify me. I have a another scan on Wednesday but I’m hoping to keep it together for that. Wednesday though is also my due date for Sweetpea #5. This one will hurt more the rest I expect since it was the one that made it the furthest. The one we had the most hope for. I want to bury myself in my duvet and make it all go away.

The next big milestone is The 10 Week Scan. Because we lost SP#5 at 10 weeks I know I’ll be terrified going into it. But I realise there’s nothing I can do now but wait and see. More waiting. More hoping.

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

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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