Decisions

It’s pretty obvious that my life has been in limbo for the last 2 years 9 months.

I’m currently going through the second baby-boom with 4 people I know that are concurrently pregnant, and a horrible, sneaking, cold-chill inducing fear that my sister-in-law is going to be next (not to mention my next door neighbour). They got married a couple of years back, her husband is now home after 6 months away on a boat and more permanently stationed on land (Navy man). They’ve just got back from a huge, no-expenses spared holiday in the Caribbean (way more than anything we can afford), and before they left she said to me We’ve got to do it while we still can.

I know a pregnancy is coming and I’m terrified. Terrified of how it’ll make me feel, and terrified that all my baby things, which I’ve so determinedly held onto, will be under call for donation (our families do not know we are still trying because it just became too difficult to keep telling them about the losses). I really don’t know how to prepare for this, or what the hell I’m going to do when it happens. I wanted to be done, so I could help out, and be a fantastic auntie, and be on hand for my SIL. But instead I’ll be tearful and jealous and I won’t be able to visit them and my mother-in-law will talk about the new baby all the time and expect me to do that thing that mothers do when they’ve had their families – get all soppy about babies. Oh gawd, we’re gonna have to move to another country. Seriously.

And on top of that, I’ve become horribly aware over the last few months of just how much my life is on hold. I do pretty much nothing career-wise, despite being highly educated and previously a proud and conscientious employee. My sense of self, my sense of worth has fallen so far. I haven’t been shopping for new clothes (other than the absolute basics here and there) for over two years. Almost everything I own has a hole in it somewhere. I asked for knickers and socks for Christmas. I don’t like to ask my husband for money to buy new things because a) I’m not earning and b) I’m just kind of waiting to get pregnant so I can wear these things out for good and chuck them. I can’t even really explain why I’m slobbing around in old clothes to be honest. Well – I can, it’s because nothing else is as important to me as this baby. I have energy, and I’m reasonably intelligent, and I could write or program for money, and I think I’ve got the guts and the resources to freelance my way to a reasonable income, but I just have false start after false start because I keep coming back to the obsessing, the reading, the research, the everything.

(Did I mention I found out I had a mild B12 deficiency? It was in my medical records that I requested for the clinic, but no doctor thought to tell me. DER!!!! I’m taking methylcobalamin now – best bioavailability – and don’t even get me started on the research linking low B12 and miscarriage rates.)

The thing is, I AM better than I was. I am no longer a tearful mess. I eat pretty damn well most of the time, I have fairly consistent energy levels physically and I’m more content, more happy at home than I have been for a long time. I don’t cry every day like I used to. In fact, I’m in quite good spirits about 50% of the time! Ha.

But progress is slow. I still have bad days. Bad weeks even. And I feel like I’m never really going to do anything until I shake this RPL ball and chain. My life is tick-tocking by, along with my body clock.

How far are we willing to go? Do we want to approach IVF? Do we really want to do that when we cannot afford to? Really? And what if it fails? Then what? Do we call it quits, or carry on trying?

What if it never happens? How long am I prepared to wait?

In some ways, RPL has been a blessing. Without it I may not have discovered I was celiac. I could still be suffering bloating, gas, running bowel movements, eczema, exhaustion, weird rashes, heart arrhythmia and building up to a whole host of much worse issues as I get older. I could still be drinking tons of caffeine instead of being able to power through the day without that horrible afternoon slump. I could be eating crap food and wondering why my body is falling apart. RPL has given me the awareness and power to radically improve my health – even if there has been no baby. I’m undoubtedly in better shape now that I’ve been in for years. None of that would have happened if I hadn’t been trying to create a safe, healthy environment to grow a child.

But the benefits are going to run out soon. I can’t get younger. And neither can my eggs.

Cycle update

I did eventually get a temp rise this month, but it took several days post my opk to go up. I don’t know if that’s just a slow rise, or a late egg release, but my temps are nice and high now, which I am relieved about (stay away menopause!). We’re heading towards the month I had planned to get pregnant – I’ll ovulate in about three weeks I guess and this is going to be the one. If it’s not, we thought maybe IVF. And I know we need to make the decision so we’re not left waiting around for ages getting tests and all sorts before they can get started.

Everything else in life seems to move too fast, and all this baby stuff seems to move too slow. It’s frustrating as hell. I’ve never been any good at waiting, or multi-tasking, and this whole thing has just totally floored me and my progress in life. I’m almost embarrassed to meet up with friends socially because I have just done NOTHING for so long. How can I explain I’ve been dealing with pregnancy, loss, medical tests, research, appointments, tears, joy, hope and despair? And that’s another thing – my social life is pretty much nonexistent anyway where I’ve cut myself off from so many people.

Eugh!!! I want to be happy and pregnant! Is that too much to ask? I want to get back out there and feel good again!

What am I gonna do people? This is a theoretical question – I know I’m the only one who can answer it. I’ve got to look deep inside and find the answer and then somehow decide that I’ll integrate that answer into a successful life, regardless of what actually happens.

What I do know is, as long as I am TTC, I’m not putting 100% into anything else in my life. As long as I am TTC, everything else gets the leftovers. And that’s no way to live.

Second Hand News

Once upon a time, I fell in with a group of four other mums. We met up every week for about 18 months. We even all went on a weekend break together once.

They were nice, but that was about it. I never fitted in, I was always clearly the fifth person, and I was never particularly close with any of them. In fact, after a while I realised that after I saw them each week, I would come home feeling worse about myself and my life than I did beforehand.

But we carried on meeting up.

Why?

Because they invited me into their group when my youngest was just a few months old. I had a baby and a 2 year old and I was struggling to get through the days, struggling to give each of them the attention they needed. I was grateful to be included. I was also (probably) a bit depressed, not having recovered psychologically from the trauma of my first birth, and having had a narrow miss of a repeat on the second. My ‘real’ friends – the ones I would rely on in a crisis – live across the country from me. If I’d known how much I would have needed them when my children were babies, I’d have moved back to where I came from a long time ago. So I was lonely too, and like I said, grateful.

About six months after I fell in with this group, DH and I started trying for our third. I didn’t know it at the time, but so did one of the other mums. She also had two young boys.

When I miscarried, which was at just over 13 weeks, and after I got out of hospital, I explained everything to them. The mum who was trying, let’s call her Sally, said to me that she had started trying at the same time I had gotten pregnant. She got all upset because she wanted the same age difference between her children and she said with such sorrow in her voice “it would have been the perfect time for me to get pregnant…” She had tears in her eyes. Although I had just come out of hospital with no baby, she was upset because I had gotten pregnant and she hadn’t. I knew that TTC was an emotional journey – and I well understood the close-in-age issue as it was such an important thing to me, which I still grieve the loss of. So I put her tears down to that.

Time passed, and for a while we shared the basics of our TTC journey. Then, four months later, she tested on the morning of her oldest son’s 4th birthday. It was positive. At his birthday party she came over, shoved a bag of ovulation tests into my hand with a big smile and walked off (the confidence of those who haven’t experienced loss).

Meeting up each week became torture. Conversations revolved around Sally’s pregnancy progression, all the while we were trying and failing. We were at a picnic once and pregnancy was the topic of conversation (as usual), and Sally said to a new mum that had joined us “You don’t want to have a third, third babies are tricky aren’t they Rose?

The other mum looked confused and said, “Are you pregnant as well Rose?”. I had to explain the miscarriage to her, and she looked really awkward and apologised a lot.

Sally had the baby just as I approached the one year anniversary of my miscarriage. I went to her baby shower and put on a brave face.

After the baby was born, she did a weird thing. Although I overheard her a couple of times talking to the other mums about how hard it was, and how difficult she was finding three kids under 5, whenever she talked to me directly about it, she told me it was the ‘best thing in the world,’ and ‘the boys are besotted by her.’ and ‘it’s just easier having more kids.’

I don’t know whether it was my state of mind, but it seemed like she was trying to make me jealous. Which of course she didn’t have to do, because I already was.

The five of us went out just before Christmas for a birthday meal (three of us had December birthdays). The conversation turned to housework and Sally shouted out “It’s just really hard to clean a house with three children, isn’t it Rose?!

I don’t know Sally,” I said slowly, “I don’t have three children.

Oh, well the baby doesn’t really do anything.” she said, and then carried on talking.

A little later, she waved her arms around to get everyone’s attention.

Guess who I SAW!!?

A chorus of who? who?

Erica! She’s pregnant!! After her miscarriages she thought she’d never have another, she said she was going to stop trying, but she’s pregnant!!!

Two of the mums looked a little uncomfortable. I suppose this was news, but it was still my birthday, and I still remember how uncomfortable I felt with her that evening.

When her youngest was 4 months old, I fell pregnant again (I’ve skipped over the chemical pregnancies I experienced in the interim). I told the four mums together after a scan I had at 10 weeks (my third, or fourth scan by that time).

And Sally cried. She cried over my happy news, because she wanted another baby.

When I lost that pregnancy as well, which was just days later, I sent them all a text. And that was when I realised my priorities were all wrong, and I broke out of my friendship ‘jail’.

The one that had made me feel so shit for so long. And I have never regretted it – I am so, so glad I don’t see them any more.

There were many other weird little things that Sally did and said that made me feel bad, odd comments, bitchy text messages, too many things to chronicle here. But the weirdest thing of all is that although I slipped out of their lives with ease, Sally, out of everyone, was the one who kept trying to maintain a friendship. She texted me several times over the next couple of months asking to meet up or suggesting activities for the kids. Once she asked if I’d tried to connect with her on LinkedIn (I hadn’t). I ignored the messages and eventually she stopped.

I don’t know why she was this way with me. Maybe she saw something in me that reminded her of something in her past, or maybe she felt that she could be ‘better’ than me because I kept losing my pregnancies. I don’t know.

Why am I telling you all this?

Because I am still friends with one of the nicer of the four mums on Facebook – she lives literally round the corner from me. And although I’ve seen her a few times, and she’s never mentioned it, Sally is pregnant again. With her fourth. I know because she was in a baby shower photo that was tagged on Facebook. Bloody Facebook.

As if Sally didn’t give me enough to complain about while we were friends, I’m now haunted on Facebook by pictures of her about to have her fourth child. I don’t want this to sound like it’s some kind of competition – it’s not about numbers. What upset me this morning is simple. Jealously. Jealously that she can just get pregnant, whenever she wants, and have a child. Jealousy that she will have grown and given birth to TWO babies in the time we’ve been trying. That my uterus has remained stubbornly empty of a beautiful new baby and she will have borne two children from hers.

I hope we never, ever meet again, because I can imagine her fake condolences, “Oh, so you never managed to have another baby then? Such a shame…

I know I have nothing to complain about, really. And I know that given my mental state I could have misinterpreted things she said and did. And I know I should have broken off the friendship with her and the others long before I did. But it still felt like an arrow through my heart when I saw the photo of her and her huge belly this morning.

My Trip To A&E

This morning after dropping off my oldest at school, I decided to head down to A&E to see if they could scan me and tell me if this pregnancy has a chance.

I waited 90 minutes for the “meet and greet” (that’s the first bit, before you get to see the doctor). I explained everything to the nurse. She called the Early Pregnancy Unit (eye roll – should have gone straight there), who said they couldn’t fit me in today and that I really needed to be 7 weeks before they would scan me. There must have been a change of dates because they saw me at 6+3 last time.

Anyway, the nurse did a pregnancy test. I think it crossed her mind that I was making the whole thing up. She asked me, “Exactly who has confirmed this pregnancy?”

Sigh.

Long story short, she told me to take another pregnancy test next week and if it was still positive and I was still bleeding to come back and they would refer me to Early Pregnancy.

I explained I already had a scan booked there at 8 weeks.

She offered to book me an appointment with my GP.

That was beyond pointless, so I thanked her and left.

Sigh.

Bleeding has picked up enough that I’m now wearing a pad, just in case. Oldest son has a playdate after school today and I’m heading off to get him in a minute.

I called Mum and told her it’s probably all over. She’s holding out for a miracle, as am I.

I’m feeling pre-menstrual and my lower back is starting to ache. I just cannot believe the timing – it’s almost comical.

Ha ha.

If I ever have a third baby, I am going to write a book about all this.

6 Weeks

I think it’s getting to the point where I have to face the fact that I am going to lose this pregnancy.

I’ve had very light spotting for four days, but yesterday, the fifth day, I had two bouts of bright red bleeding. Not a lot, but it was there. Once in the afternoon and once before bed.

This morning my temperature is lower (although still above the coverline), and I’ve got brown spotting first thing.

I’ve also had no morning sickness, which I normally get from around 5.5 weeks. The two 6.5 week miscarriages I had before my first son were the same – no sickness and then both pregnancies failed at 6 weeks 4 days.

I’ve had no cramping or in fact any sensations at all so far in my uterus – it’s just silent in there. No other symptoms at all, apart from feeling more tired in the evenings.

I really thought this one was going to be it. In fact, there’s a part of me that’s still hoping despite the very obvious fact of the bleeding/spotting that there is a chance.

I’m sad for me, and also for my husband.

It’s my 40th birthday tomorrow, so at this point I am just hoping that it holds out until Thursday, when we are back from our night away and my in-laws (who we haven’t told) have gone home.

This Morning’s Test

Because I changed test brand, and test sensitivity, I decided I couldn’t really make any kind of judgement on what was going on.

So I went back to the shops and bought some more of the 25miu tests so I can compare properly. And here are all of them:

asdapregnancytest

The 14dpo is still wet in that one, so here’s 12dpo and 14dpo dry:

12-14 copy

As and you can clearly see, there is barely any progression there at all.

What you should see, of course, is something like this:

 

progression

So… I know that HCG can be low and slow to rise sometimes and everything still turns out ok, but generally low and slow rising means only one thing: non-viable (ectopic, blighted ovum, chromosomal issue, etc. etc.).

I haven’t had any bleeding or spotting so far.

My temp over the last three days has gone 98.8, 98.7, 98.6, so it’s falling, but these are still very high for me.

I think this is probably going nowhere.

Probably.

And if it does, at least on my 40th birthday (in 15 days!) I’ll be able to have a champagne breakfast. And lunch. And dinner. Before collapsing into an expensive hotel room bed and wondering if I’ll ever be able to make a proper baby again.

Meh. Sorry – just ignore that. I’m not trying to make you feel bad for me – I’m actually ok about this.

I don’t even know why, but I am.

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