Resurfacing

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I can’t believe how long it has been since my last post. Where do I start?

Tired, oh so tired.

Unbelievably I’m 22 weeks today. We had a scan last week that went well. These things still bring tears to my eyes. I can’t believe a heart is still beating in there, I just can’t. Nacho is measuring on time and everything seems OK. He is a bouncing kicking ninja. He makes me smile when I feel him moving in the middle of the night, or when I’m in a meeting. It is the best gift to be reminded that he is doing fine and just doing his thing. I am so overwhelmed and thankful every single day.

I am continuously at the hospital. Continuously waiting at the hospital. Although I am being seen a lot but several different specialists I don’t feel like I am getting consistent care. Advice I get is fast, preoccupied or conflicting, I never see the same doctor or midwife. There’s something about being a patient at a large hospital that makes me feel like I am slipping through the cracks a little. Not that I have anything to really justify that statement, it’s just a feeling. The important thing is that they feel like everything is going OK. So for now that is good enough for me.

We are over half way now. I am filled with excitement and fear and anxiety.

I think for those of us immersed in the world of infertility and loss, we almost know too much. We know what can go wrong. We have seen it happen. We have friends who have been through it. We hear their stories everyday. That naivety and innocence other lucky couples get to experience isn’t an option for people like us. This knowledge has a weight. I feel it everyday. I’m scared for the worst. It’s what holds me back from feeling safe, feeling comfortable, from trusting my body.

Maybe this is still why I have this innate fear of telling others. I still want to keep him secret until he turns up. It feels so much safer that way. Crazy I know. My therapist tells my this could be lingering PTSD. To this day I can count on one hand how many people we have told. Our families know, my boss, and two friends. But I think another week and there will be no denying it, my bump is getting big. Yet I still can’t identify with other pregnant women I see day to day. I haven’t been able to reconnect with the friends I’ve lost over the years. I just can’t relate. I don’t feel any different. Nothing has changed for me emotionally. I feel as cautious and scarred as ever. I wonder if we ever lose these RPL or infertility battle wounds?

But the long time I’ve taken to post again I am blaming on my job. It has taken over my life. I’m going through a massive work-life imbalance, something that has got to change immediately. Since January my work has ramped up to the point where I am working 70+ hour weeks. I haven’t even had time for a haircut let alone a blog post and this makes me so angry. My job is not physical or laborious but this is still not good. It is stressful and challenging and I am shocked and dissappointed in myself that I have put up with it for so long. I raised it as an issue back in January and continued to discuss it with management that something has to change. They keep making promises that they don’t keep and I am sick of it.

I have only recently told my boss I am expecting, something that took everything I had in me. He was great about it but you’d think the pressure would lighten up? Nope. What I don’t understand is why do I even care about this job? I have been waiting and working so hard to have a pregnancy succeed why do I give two shits about this job? I’m still figuring it out.

I finally jumped up and down enough that they have taken notice and started to do something about it. I booked this week off to recover and when I get back I won’t put up with this crap. I can’t flat out quit because we are dependent on my maternity pay – we JUST qualified by the way. A LMP 10 days sooner means we wouldn’t be eligible. So I am thankful for that.

So you haven’t missed much. Thank you to all who have checked in, your kindness overwhelms me everyday.

One thing is for sure, I miss this blog, I miss the feelings this blog allows me to express and I miss everyone I am connected to on here. I promise not to be gone so long again. Lots of love to you all. xx

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

Graduation

Thank you so much to everyone for all your well-wishes, especially to those who stopped by to check on me the last few days. I apologise for the radio silence. Work has been crazy for the last two weeks which has been a blessing in a way because it has taken my mind off constantly wondering if Nacho is ok in there. But working through the weekend and into the evening isn’t really what I had in mind. I’ve been sick as a dog with the flu for a week on top of things and fatigue has taken over my life. That’s pretty much the only thing that reminds me I’m still pregnant.

Most of my symptoms and what little nausea I had has stopped now so I have nothing to tell me Nacho is actually ok in there. That’s not normal is it? I don’t know, we are entering into unchartered territory here.

When symptoms stop is when alarm bells go off in my head. That’s when things went wrong before at ten weeks. So when I mentioned my feelings to DH he immediately suggested we get a scan to put my mind to rest. So we got one last week and it was worth every penny. I was quite nervous though and my heart rate was visibly elevated and as a result so was Nacho’s. It never occurred to me that our heart rates would be linked. This really hit home. That my stressing directly affects little Nacho.

The sonographer was very pleased with Nacho’s progression. DH keeps telling me that he’s just trying not to worry me and is just quietly growing and ticking along. But really Nacho, I wouldn’t mind a few signs here and there, you know?

Last night was our 10w scan and the Harmony test. This isn’t covered under the NHS so we’ve gone privately for it. I know this test is called all sorts of things in other countries but it’s basically a non-invasive blood test to tell us whether we are at a risk of chromosomal abnormalities like Downs, Edwards, Patau. When read in conjunction with a nuchal scan it’s supposed to give a highly accurate assessment of risk and should help make decisions whether to proceed with amnio or cvs. We decided to get the test and nuchal scan done at the same clinic by the guy who invented the combined test because we ultimately want to do neither amnio or cvs and figure if we have to pay for it we might as well go to the best.

We find out the results in two weeks when we have the Nuchal scan. This scares the crap out of me. The thought of being told Nacho might have a 5-10% chance of surviving beyond the first year fills me with horror. I don’t like statistics, I don’t have much luck with them. But I’m getting ahead of myself. I’ve promised myself not to worry about things beyond my control right now, for Nacho’s sake. I’m going to stick to that plan. I don’t want to cause Nacho any unnecessary anxiety. That little heart needs to keep beating peacefully.

What a difference a week makes. Nacho has gone from a blob on a screen to a bouncing, kicking, stretching, waving, smiling person. It was the craziest thing I’ve ever seen. We never expected to see that yesterday and were brought to tears by the sight. Yippee!!

This morning we had our regular recurrent miscarriage EPU check up where we were discharged. The thought of finally graduating from that miserable place made me giddy with anticipation. We have officially surpassed all previous pregnancies in terms of gestation at this point. Scary unchartered territory but I feel ok. Passing my due date a few weeks ago was so hard but things are lightening up.

Now I just want to relax. I don’t want to make any decisions. I don’t want to have to chose a hospital. I don’t want to have to decide what my treatment plan is going forward. I don’t want to have to choose whether to have amnio or cvs. I just want to lay low. These first 10 and a half weeks have all been such a rollercoaster and I am exhausted.

One thing is for sure: I can’t wait to get off this prednisone. Don’t get me wrong I am thrilled that it seems to be helping and would do it again a million times over but man do I feel terrible on it. My face has recently swollen up and I can’t sleep no matter how tired I am. Two more weeks to go.

On the plus side, doing clexane injections everyday has become very routine and they don’t bother me at all. I’m quite impressed with myself that I’ve been on top of it enough not to have skipped a single medication or supplement so far. I hope I can keep it up.

I don’t know what did it this time but between the Intralipids, LIT, Clexane, progesterone, prednisone, aspirin, Chinese herbs and pre-conception supplements and routine something seems to have clicked. I don’t care what it was that worked as long as it keeps working. Grow Nacho grow!

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.