Wednesday, 30 May 2012

By The Time You Read This I'll Be Gone

Not for too long mind.

Back in January the husband made some pretty strong statements regarding the forthcoming Queen's Jubilee. I think the sentence he used included the the phrases "cunts with bunting", "inbred half-wits" and "rather gouge my own eyes out". I decided that to prevent him ending up in the tower it would be wise to remove ourselves from the country for the celebratory weekend.

Which means that we booked this and next week off work. Given the trauma of the last couple of weeks this has turned out be to exceptionally good timing.  I continued to work through much of last week (except of course for Friday - op day) and the week before. Whilst this was a good distraction technique it hasn't allowed me much time for any kind of emotional recovery (and on the plus side no time for an emotional breakdown either, every cloud and all that).

Today we are off to foreign-lands. I've downloaded a kindle-full of books and intend to pursue some full-time lounging activities.

So if I am quiet for a couple of weeks it is more likely to be a result of limited internet connection and better things to do than blog than any kind of emotional breakdown.

See you on the other side.

Sunday, 27 May 2012

A Public Service Announcement

Physical recovery from Friday's operation has been relatively smooth.

I had to have a midnight feast on Friday night/ Saturday morning to line my stomach before necking some hardcore painkillers, but other than that the pain has been no worse than normal period cramping.

Emotionally it is tough, I am looking forward to not waking up at 5am every morning and finding myself thinking. Thoughts are overrated.

But back to the bodily recovery. I was given an advice sheet on my exit from hospital telling me what I could and could not do and it was all pretty much as expected.

I wasn't allowed to drive, drink alcohol or sign any legal documents (so that has put the divorce on hold for at least a little while).

I flagrantly ignored the advice to: "Be careful when using electrical appliances as your coordination and reactions may be affected" which I assume is why I am losing every Words With Friends game I am currently playing on my phone.

I was delighted to read that I was to: "Avoid lifting, straining and strenuous exercise for 2 weeks" as we'd offered to help a mate move from his top floor flat on Saturday. It gave me an excellent excuse for loitering in the kitchen wrapping glasses in newspaper whilst the husband lugged heavy boxes down six flights of stairs on one of the hottest days of the year so far.

There was, however, one rather disturbing bit of advice around preventing infection. It said:
"For the first 2 weeks (or until bleeding has stopped) avoid sexual intercourse (if you cannot avoid this, please use a condom)."

Ladies, ladies, ladies if you 'cannot avoid sexual intercourse' go to the police; No means No!

(And if you really can't control yourself and your libido remains unaffected by recent events then you can be more creative than just bunging a condom on his old chap and crossing your fingers that you don't get an infection.)

Friday, 25 May 2012

Has It Really Been That Long?

Today marks four years since my first post (the earlier ones were back dated by me).

Four years ago I thought:

  • That I was probably over-reacting about not being able to get pregnant and it would most likely happen soon
  • That I'd get bored of blogging pretty quickly, maybe after a couple of months
  • That clomid was spelt with an 'h'

I was wrong on all counts.

The first two and three quarter years of this blog were pretty uneventful, the odd doctor's appointment punctuating many, many months on birth control as the doctors sought to control my womb lining. Things only really kicked off last January with IVF and since then I've had four rounds back to back.

The last three months have really seen things hotting up. At long last a pregnancy, and I thought this was it. However, it was too short-lived and this morning I had an operation described by the consultant as a 'removal of the products of conception.'

I'm at home now recovering.

Physically I feel Ok.

Emotionally I am wavering between relief that it is over and I can start thinking about recovery, and tearfully mourning the loss of what could, and should, have been.

However, I am not inconsolable.

I got pregnant. For the first time in 5 and a half years of trying, my womb actually managed to let not just one but two embryos implant. Next time maybe they will stick around.

And there WILL be a next time. I have three embryos in the freezer and they need their Mummy! We will try again.

But not just yet. First, we need time to recover.

And lets hope it won't take another four years of blogging before a full-term, healthy pregnancy.

Tuesday, 22 May 2012

Mind Over Matter

The doctor who scanned me last week told me I had two options:

I wait to miscarry naturally or I opt for a medical 'evacuation'.  Whilst he made it clear it was absolutely my choice he also indicated that a natural miscarriage might be best for my body. It is more natural, allows my hormones to reset themselves, and is likely to be a cleaner - more comprehensive - evacuation.

I tried to wait.

I thought it had started naturally but it was a false alarm and for the last week I have been in a hideous limbo. Both dreading and hoping for the arrival of blood.

My morning sickness doesn't seem to have been impacted by the fact that there is nothing living in my womb. The placenta is continuing to churn out hormones, and I am still being sick on a daily basis. Whatever resolve I had to wait has disappeared somewhere down the toilet one morning along with my breakfast. Morning sickness is one thing when you think it is a sign of a healthy womb inhabitant exerting its influence on your body, but a very, very miserable experience when you know it is for nothing.

We went to the hospital yesterday morning and once I'd had a thorough wanding the doctor confirmed the earlier diagnosis. The twin that I thought had gone was still there, along with a larger but equally unviable embryo.

No heartbeats.

No hope.

Again I was given the options but with no timescales for when I might miscarry (it could be weeks still) we opted for the evacuation.  I am booked in for Friday.

It might not be the best solution for my body, but I am quite, quite convinced it is the right solution for me.

This is one emotional rollercoaster I cannot wait to get off.

Saturday, 19 May 2012

Lest you forget I'm British, let's talk about the weather

I have been so touched by your comments, and the emails and texts that I've been sent. Both from people I know but also those who I don't but who have been through similar experiences and understand what a shit place this is to be.

Although, if pushed, I will have to admit to having a favourite.

I am sorry, it wasn't yours - unless that is you happen to be an 89 year old man from the North East of Scotland who got an iPad for Christmas and is getting to grips with email. (And if you are look away now, this site is not for the likes of you.)

On Wednesday the Husband's Grandad sent us this email, the second paragraph is golden:

Hullo folks

I had your Mum up yesterday and then in the evening she phoned giving me your unfortunate news. It must be quite heartbreaking for you both but don't despair. Keep your spirits up. It will happen!!!*

No improvement in our weather yet. Still too cold with snow showers in the hills. Roll on summer.

Keep well. Cheers meantime. Granpa

This has now leap frogged my Dad's misguided LOL (Oh god he has something in common with David Cameron - shoot me now) as the best commiseration from a relative.

*yes, I can forgive the triple exclamation mark on this occasion.

Wednesday, 16 May 2012

How to miscarry at eight and a half weeks

Follow these simple steps:
  • Delete the iPhone app that gives you daily pregnancy updates 
  • Unsubscribe from the email that sends you weekly foetus and fruit size comparisons
  • Turn off your phone's medication reminder app
  • Take down the embryo photo from the fridge
  • Text sisters
  • Ask a sister to call Dad
  • Get the husband to call his mum
  • Email / text friends
  • Buy pillow-sized sanitary pads
  • Delete the Pinterest nursery board that you started, but at least had the decency to name “Too Soon?”
  • Cry
  • Try to eat because despite the lack of heartbeat something is still giving you morning sickness
  • Take down the Congratulations card your in-laws sent
  • Put it in a box with the pregnancy tests, hesitate before putting in the bin
  • Stock up on strong pain killers, despite knowing they’ll only help with physical pain
  • Wait

Tuesday, 15 May 2012

It is over

There was no heartbeat at the scan today.

I've stopped the drugs.

I'll miscarry naturally at some point in the next week or so - unless I decide to go for a curettage and get it done medically.

It is a frying pan or fire sort of choice.

This feels like a nightmare, but it is very real.

Wednesday, 9 May 2012

Good Morning ... sorta

Pregnant women are amazing.

 I really don’t understand how they do it.

Not the getting pregnant bit, I understand the mechanics of that (at least the principle, if not how it really works without a hell of a lot of medical intervention), but the whole first 12 week thing.

We know the first 12 weeks are risky and it is probably best to wait until you’ve cleared the hurdle of the first trimester before you start telling people you are pregnant. I’ve worked with many, many woman who have announced, out of the blue, that they are 12 weeks pregnant. Even my older sister managed to successfully conceal her first pregnancy from me despite living just ten minutes away and me being a regular visitor to her house.

How do they do it?

I am a mess. At work I am struggling through the morning. A couple of merry chunders in the loo yesterday sorted me out. This morning I was fortunate enough to be sick in the comfort of my own home without having to resort to the floor of the disabled toilets as my resting place.

It is bad but could be so much worse. My boss knows I’m pregnant so when he asks how I am I can say, weakly, “a bit shit” rather than having to act all bright, perky and efficient. A couple of other folk at work know as well so one (who is pregnant herself so knows the form) will lob me a dried apricot when I am looking particularly feeble. The other (a bloke so will never really know the deal) will give me a sympathetic, slightly awkward, shoulder rub.

NOTE: shoulder rubs do not help, they make the baulk worse, but I very much appreciate the sentiment.

But I really can’t understand how I have, on several occasions, worked closely with a pregnant woman and not noticed. (This was mostly before infertility, which fine-tuned my pregno-dar).

The fortunate thing is that I do seem to have classic morning sickness - it starts bad and gradually dissipates through out the day. Which gives me the benefit of a daily reminder that all is going well with the little womb-parasite, and the afternoons to schedule meetings where I hope to sound at least half-way compos mentis.

Sunday, 6 May 2012

Womb For Improvement’s Law Strikes Again

You may remember that when I turned down a job offer in March I was worried I’d scuppered my chances of getting pregnant.

Womb For improvement’s Law stated that by turning it down and thus clearing the way for a pregnancy I was jeopardising my chances. What I didn’t tell you at the time was that I had actual proof of this - the wombmate got a new job and then got pregnant during her notice period. Starting her new job was pretty tough with morning all-day sickness to contend with as well as the normal nerves and stress.

But I had a chance to put myself in another tricky situation that, if it played out, would most certainly make pregnancy most awkward.

I occasionally get to travel in my current role. In eight years I’ve made four overnight trips, twice to Milan, once to Barcelona and once to Ireland. Sounds glamorous, and I’m not going to be one of those folk that is blasé about overseas travel – it is pretty exciting. But to you non-Europeans it might sound a bit more extravagant than it is, only a couple of hours in a plane.

I’ve never had the opportunity to do any proper travel, until a couple of weeks ago. I was invited out to Qatar. This is a part of the world I’ve never been to and, not being a massive fan of conspicuous consumption, not a place that I’d ever spend my own hard earned cash to go to. However, when I was offered the trip I happily accepted – if nothing else it’d be an experience.

There was one slight concern at the back of my mind when I planned the trip; if my fourth IVF worked I’d be six weeks pregnant when the trip was due to happen.  But I consoled myself, it had never worked before and it was time to stop putting my life on hold.

And then Womb For Improvement’s law did its thing and I got pregnant. And panicked.

I spent at least two hours trying to work out whether I could let down the client and just refuse to go or risk my burgeoning pregnancy on an 8-hour flight and a weeklong excursion away from home.

Then I realised there was no contest. I explained to my boss exactly why I was not going to go, and luckily he knew better than to try and talk me into it.

It is a good job I didn’t go, as if I had then on Monday night I would have been on a plane, not at home. Either way I would have lost the twin, but if it had happened on a long-haul flight I would have been convinced that was the cause. So although the outcome may have remained the same I have no regrets about not going, and if I hadn’t initially planned to go on the trip maybe Womb For Improvement’s Law wouldn’t have seen fit to let me get pregnant.

Maybe ...

Or maybe I'm getting to caught up in my own hype!

Thursday, 3 May 2012

Just What The Step-Mother Ordered

I think because I use to malinger quite a lot between the ages of nine and 13, faking coughs and pretending to feel a bit sick to get off school, I now HATE taking time off sick.

I finally twigged aged about 14 that being sick to avoid a bit of homework didn't actually make the problem go away but made it worse as I tried to catch up with what I'd missed and keep up with new stuff. What can I say - I am a slow learner.

I am also blessed with the immune system of a girl who went through the British boarding school system where a bit of dirt was thought to do you more good than harm. This was beautifully illustrated back in November 2010 when Moroccan Dysentery struck, I suffered for about two weeks. The husband however, who was raised by a mother who was much more hygienic than our school cooks, he was suffering for over three months.

In fact November 2010 was the last time I had a day off work sick, until this week. (I have been scrupulous about taking holiday for hospital appointments throughout my IVFs).

I didn't go into work on Tuesday - the day after that Monday - which I think is fair enough.  I got back home after the scan at about 11am and for a foolish moment thought "I don't feel so bad" and emailed my boss asking him to send me a couple of documents to work on.

I then spent the rest of the day in bed.

I'd planned to go back in to the office on Wednesday and for the remainder of the week.  After all I wasn't in pain, the morning sickness has lessened along with the number of womb-inhabitants. Also I have a particular had a problem taking time off work for self-inflicted sickness - admittedly this rule was conceived for hang-overs but what is more self-inflicted than spending ten grand on getting yourself knocked up?

Then I spoke to my step-mother - a retired nurse. It wasn't so much a suggestion than an order than I didn't return to work this week. There are some people you don't argue with, and lets just say I've seen Snow White and the seven dwarves enough times to know a step-mother is one of those people.

I can't quite bring myself to call in sick, I feel ok (other than the welcome morning sickness). So I have compromised by working from home for the last couple days.  Which has allowed me almost constant sitting down, a little kip at about mid-day and lots of 'comfort breaks'.  All in all it is rather pleasant, and with a Bank Holiday on Monday it'll be a while before I go back to work.

I could probably get back into this skiving lark.

Tuesday, 1 May 2012

It wasn't supposed to happen like this

Last night I started to bleed.


I called the husband from the toilet and told him I was bleeding "From where?" was his slightly clueless response.

It wasn't just fresh, red, blood. There was a clot - a big one. I knew what it meant.

I called the clinics emergency number and went there this morning for a scan.

The Doctor warned me she wouldn't say anything for a while and then I waited whilst she made a thorough examination of my uterus.

The husband held my hand throughout, (he does have some uses).

And there was a baby, with a steady strong heart beat, measuring 6 weeks and 3 days - by my calculations I am six weeks and four days, it is close enough.

Then I cried.

From the shadows in my womb that the doctor could see it looks as though both embryos originally implanted and I lost one last night.

I can't mourn the one I lost, I want to focus on the one that I now know I have.

It is, despite everything, a good day.