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

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.

Silver lining & moving forward

The other day I went in for what was meant to be my 7 week scan. They already knew I had lost this pregnancy but wanted to be sure everything has come out cleanly. It was emotional. The last time I was on that table we were told our 10w sweet pea’s heart stopped beating. I hate that place.

The good news out of a bad situation is that there’s nothing left inside. My womb was clean and tidy. And the bonus was finding out is my lining on CD12 after a miscarriage was 9mm. I don’t think I have ever had 9mm ever, or at least not while we’ve been aware of my lining being pretty thin. During our 5th pregnancy in the summer it was consistently around 7mm. Not ideal.

I never got the chance to get my lining checked in this last pregnancy but I’ve been on a mission to improve my lining regardless. Pomegranate juice, protein, acupuncture, Chinese herbs, and oh yeah, this cycle I started on viagra suppositories. I had only been on them a few days when I had the scan but something’s obviously working. Now’s the time to act on it.

Or is it? I can’t help but feel somewhat reckless trying again so soon after loss. Is it really a good idea? Am I trying to forget too quickly? Have I allowed enough time to heal? Will this have a backlash later? Am I dishonouring the loss by moving on too quickly? Am I in denial that this might never happen?

I don’t know where the guilt and hesitation is coming from. Maybe it’s my TCM who wants us to take a three month break. She wants us to build the body back up again. I do recognise the benefit of waiting on the body. I see how it can rebuild strength and stabilise hormones. I may be kidding myself but I don’t see the proof that my body is depleted from this loss. Previous ones? Definitely. But this time I feel good physically. My BBT chart is the most consistent and stable it’s been since I started charting years ago. My lining is good. I’ve sustained the preconception plan for months. And I am feeling better mentally than I have in a long long time. Although I am tired of all of this, I feel … strong.

We are definitely running the risk of repeating a pattern though, I see that. Our first four losses were literally back to back, I think it was our way of pushing past the pain. Just keep trying again and one will stick. It has to. I’m seeing some of that motivation in myself again now, but things are different. Back then I was confident we’d get there eventually, and as our positivity and hope gradually faded with loss after loss, devastation took its toll. That is when we took our much needed breaks.

Now, I have absolutely no idea what to expect. We could go through another six losses and still come out empty handed. I recognise that now and am gradually coming to accept it. So although I may be motivated by desperation, truthfully there’s a little bit of “what do I have to lose?” going on in there as well.

Wait or try again? There are benefits and disadvantages to both.

After some thorough discussion we decided to give this a chance, we committed to trying this cycle. I am still on the supplements and diet, the Clexane, the steroids, the Intralipids, the Valium. I’ve got follow up appointments with two clinics the coming weeks.

We both fully acknowledge this may very well lead to disappointment in more ways than one, but at least we feel like things are moving forward. I feel I need to act while motivations are up because who knows when I’ll feel this good again. So much of recurrent loss is about finding balance in the continuous cycle of highs and lows. Finding the strength to pick ourselves up again. Recovering when down, moving forward when up. Strike while the iron is hot I guess. I’m willing to accept the consequences.

6 is no longer my lucky number

No longer positive. 5 weeks and 3 days. Our sixth pregnancy is over.

I knew from the very moment I saw that late weak positive there was no hope for the little one. No hope for me. Doomed from the start.

Infertility has played yet another cruel joke on me, spurring me on with progressively stronger positives and symptoms before taking it all away. Allowing my telltale sign–the beautiful buzzing abdominal hum I get each time– to rage, filling me with hope and promise and love. Then to stop it all in an instance. There aren’t many experiences quite as deflating as watching BFPs progressively fade to nothingness.

And now I get to wait for the full sensory experience of my tormented cramping womb screaming out in anger as the sweet pea begins to slip away from inside me. How long I have to wait for that I have no idea.

I have been through this so many times but I still, somehow, relentlessly add up all the things I have done to potentially cause this loss. Someone has got to take the blame. It has got to be me.

And now, cruelly, I am beginning to grasp that I will never ever have a child.

I am a fool for ever thinking this might work one day. Shit eggs + shit womb = no hope in hell. There’s no point in proceeding with egg donation if I can’t nurture a baby in the wasteland that is my womb. And there’s no point in surrogacy if I can’t produce a single decent egg for someone else to carry for me. I will likely never bear a child or contribute to the making of one. I can only contribute to death and loss.

This is me not coping. This is me one inch away from burning down my house, getting on the first flight to Nepal alone with nothing more than my passport, or binge drinking myself into a coma. I’m not sure which one.

As I commuted home last night, conscious of impending trauma, after a week at my new job where I have to be disgustingly ambitious, motivated and keen, no one gave a shit. Why should they. They don’t know my story. I wanted to shout at them all “I AM LOSING MY SIXTH PREGNANCY, BE NICE TO ME!!” but I didn’t. Instead I allowed them to push me and shove me and step on me as they do everyday on my journey home. Instead I listened to my colleagues talk about how drunk they got at a fancy dress party when I was was busy sobbing myself to sleep. My story does not matter to them or to anyone. It only matters to me.

Nothing else matters anymore besides this story. I have no feelings for anything or anyone. I feel empty of everything but hate. I have never felt more alone in all my life. I can’t relate to anyone.

Regret, guilt, rage. I brought this on myself. If we had only started earlier, if we had only not moved across the world at a time when people start having families, if only we had not put ourselves, our ambitions first. We wouldn’t be in this situation. Running out of time, out of options, out of money. It is my fault and I have to face the consequences for the selfish naive decisions of my foolish younger years. Nothing will make me feel differently about these choices. I deserve this punishment.

Today the only thing getting me through my day is the idea of heavily self-medicating as I cry myself to sleep. Dosing up enough in hopes that I sleep through the miscarriage. How I tackle tomorrow I have no idea. Oh what great things I have to look forward to.