Friday, 29 January 2010

Levelling myself out. Temporarily.

I don't really have much to say at the moment. I am in that limbo land between my period and ovulating. So I am just sitting here, twiddling my thumbs until I see those 2 lines on the OPK.
This month I am *trying* to be relaxed about this TTC business. As relaxed as a desperate, bereaved mother can be. I am trying to be a 'cup half full' kind of girl. I guess today I wanted to write down in black and white my rationalisations on TTC. Apologies for the boring blurb I am about to write but I need to see this before my eyes, I need it to be my mantra for the next few months:

  • I have been pregnant 3 times in 2 years. To be specific, 12 months of those 2 years I was actually pregnant so I have been pregnant 3 times in 12 months of trying. To be even MORE accurate I have been pregnant 3 times in 10 months, as John pointed out that after the MMC we took a break and spent all our baby savings on a holiday so we didn't *try* for 2 cycles. 30% success rate. That's a pretty good hit rate really.
  • I know I can carry a baby to term. Despite my earlier losses, I now know that I can get past that stage and grow a beautiful, healthy baby.
  • My temps are looking very good for an ovulatory cycle. I see a clear triphasic pattern, all looking good for that egg squeezing it's way into my tubes.
  • I know it could just take time. We were timing sex pretty perfectly for 5 months with no luck. Then on the 6th month BINGO. So I just need to remind my impatient self that it'll happen, just in it's own time.
  • Every month we don't get pregnant is a month longer my body has to heal itself after Lucy.
  • We always would have tried for another after our first. So even though I keep thinking we are still trying for our *first* baby - we aren't. Lucy was our first baby, our daughter. We are now trying for her brother or sister, just sooner than we had anticipated.
Hmm. Looks very positive on paper. I just need to keep telling myself all of the above to stop regressing to my 'cup half empty' personality. No easy feat really.

Tomorrow I am going to London to meet up with four other Babyloss Mamas. I feel nervous, like I'm going on a blind date. I wouldn't normally ever do anything like this, but since Lucy I feel that nothing should ever daunt me again, or make me think 'I can't do it'. The hardest thing I ever had to go through was to find out my daughter had passed away inside me, and then to go through childbirth knowing my greatest reward had already been taken from me. I figure if I can do that, and carry on living to tell the tale, then I can do anything (or at least attempt to anyway).

I am going to try my hardest to start living for me, and stop living just to get pregnant. I am going to try and be more like the 'old' me. I want more fun in my life this year, I want more love and more laughter. I am going to make an effort to visit all of my friends from Uni that I always promise to go and see. I am going to make sure we visit the lovely couple we made friends with on holiday. I am going to start going to festivals again as for the last two years I have put off going because I *might* be pregnant, was pregnant or thought I would have a baby. I am going to cook, I am going to lose weight, I am going to meet other Babyloss Mamas so I can give them a hug and cry with them.

These are my new rules, and I will keep chanting my new mantra to help me focus less on TTC and more on my life as it was 2 years ago. Except I have the added life experience of carrying and giving birth to my beautiful, precious darling Lucy.

Sleep tight my little angel, we love you to the moon and back xxxxx

Saturday, 23 January 2010

Hitting the bottom...and bouncing back up

So this was the week I had a meltdown. A real emotional freak out. The kind where I moan, cry, wail, sob, scream and curse BADLY (and nearly put my own windows through).

The trigger was that....on Tuesday morning I got a faintly positive HPT.

Don't get your hopes up I told myself (as I got my hopes up).

On Tuesday evening I got another faintly positive HPT. I decided to wait until the morning and test again and then tell John. My hopes were, by now, firmly up and waving cheerily in the breeze. So Wednesday morning I am looking at a snowy white test. So I try another. And another. And a different brand. And I go and buy even more tests. And they all come back snowy white, not even an evaporation line to comfort me. And I have to face the crushing realisation that whatever small spark had triggered the 2 pink lines had gone.

It was like being smacked over the head with a boulder, I could hear the mocking laughter ringing in my ears.
This whole TTC again had become a desperate obsession, I am like a junkie looking for a fix just to see 2 pink lines on that test. On Wedneday I felt as though all of my hope had sailed - life and the universe was mocking me. I really hit the bottom, I cried and sobbed and drank and if I somehow could have scored hard drugs I think I would have gone and got myself obliterated. I felt like I was sinking into quicksand and no one could help me. A friend said that surely I couldn't feel any worse than the day I lost Lucy but you know what, I did.
I felt much worse, I felt grief for the child, the daughter, that I had lost and also grief for the child I hadn't even conceived yet.
That's how it is every month we don't fall pregnant - I grieve for a child that wasn't even there,  a child that is just a little glimmer of hope in my mind. And when that glimmer fades away I despair and torment myself.
So I faced the very real possibility that I was heading into depression. More and more was the urge to just vanish, close my blog, close my Facebook account, turn my phone off. And I realised that every day I was feeling this way then there was no hope of catching that egg. I believe the mind is a very powerful thing. Negative thoughts will not help my body conceive. I think my mind recognises that to fall pregnant whilst in such turmoil will not be good for the pregnancy.
And I know factually that the three times I have caught the egg have been when I 100% believed I wouldn't catch the egg, and I was therefore relaxed and putting no pressure on myself. So I have bought 2 Hypnotherapy CDs to listen to, one for relaxation and another directly for relaxation in preparation to conceive. Very hippy dippy I  know but I am relishing the thought of taking charge of my own mind again, and being able to relax each month and not obsess or stress or torture myself. That is my preliminary goal, and of course I hope that this will lead to my secondary goal, to conceive. Here's hoping. Here's praying.

Friday, 15 January 2010

Close to the bottom

"When the Japanese mend broken objects, they aggrandize the damage by filling the cracks with gold. They believe that when something's suffered damage and has a history, it becomes more beautiful."

There is a big Lucy shaped hole in my heart, in my life. In my mind I can feel her weight in my arms, feel her soft baby skin under my fingers. At the moment I am finding the days harder than ever. On my second day at work, a colleague said to me in the kitchen - "It's good that you are back, you have to move on".
That cut like a knife deep into my heart. Is that what everyone at work is now thinking? That at three months, I should be moving on, packing up my Lucy shaped hole and the condolence cards and everything baby related and putting them away? 

I can't do that. 

My life is always on pause, always stuck at that terrible day, hearing those words and staring at my dead baby on an Ultrasound machine. I can't and do not want to 'move on' right now. Carry on, yes I am doing that. I am functioning on a day to day basis. But I am hanging on to my little girls memories for dear life, and my opportunities to talk about her are dwindling by the day. No one asks anymore, no one mentions her the way they did. But she was here, she was my daughter, she kicked and rolled and hiccuped. She was made out of love by me and John, and she was the most precious, precious thing I have ever had the honour of meeting. Just seeing her beautiful face, it was the most wonderful and the most devastating moment of my life. If only she had opened her eyes. 

The grief at not getting pregnant again is mixing with the grief of losing my beautiful, precious daughter. It is mixing and churning into a heady cocktail of pain, and bitterness. I am in pain today.

Monday, 11 January 2010

Working 9 til 5

Well that's a falsehood really as I work 8 til 5.

So today was my first day back at work. I'm on phased return so only have to go in tomorrow and that's me done for the week. My weekend starts early, how very exciting.
It wasn't as bad as I had anticipated to be honest. My boss was nervy and a tiny bit irritating as he clearly has no idea how to deal with a woman who left to have a live baby and has come back a bereaved parent on the edge of sanity. I had no wobbles, I even answered the phone despite them telling me I didn't have to (in case I scare the customers away). I slipped right back into it, I have to say. I am always impeccably professional at work. I don't shirk, I work hard and I am good at what I do. So it was actually nice to slip back into that mindset again, it was a welcome injection of reality. In fact it was almost like the last 12 months of my life never happened. 2009 seemed like a missing year in my mind. A dream, albeit a horrific one.
The only thing that reminded me was the huge wallchart in front of my desk. Last year I counted down every milestone of my pregnancy on that chart. I counted the weeks and days to each appointment, each scan, each parenting class. At the end I stared endlessly at my due date, 14th October. I gazed at it and wondered  when my baby would arrive, knowing nothing of how much my life was going to change.
So it was hard to look at that empty calendar today. I have no happy goals, no celebratory milestones to look forward to. Just the anniversary of my babies death, and her birthday. And her cremation date.

I am in the 2 week wait at the minute. I am tired of living to ovulate every month, I wish someone could turn my brain off. I am all consumed with getting pregnant again. We have had endless sex each month and nothing has been happening. I am starting to feel like I am losing this pregnancy race. And I know it's not really a race, but I am starting to wonder if it will ever happen to me again. I want to move on from this chapter in  my life and just start living again.Just being me, and not living and striving to have a baby, a living, breathing offspring. I just want to live again, and not living to reproduce. And I'm pissed off that I can't get there yet.

Tuesday, 5 January 2010

How much is too much loss?

Over the last few days I have heard very sad news from a few people, other ladies that have been though a stillbirth who have now had further tragedy. My heart is aching for them, I am feeling their sorrow very keenly. I can't get my head around this imbalance of shit that is being heaped upon the nicest of people, who have the simplest of dreams.
It has made me think about my own previous losses, and I am wondering how much loss can you put yourself through for this dream, before you are broken and enough is enough?

Two years ago we decided to start a family. A month and one day later we were both staring at two pink lines in disbelief. Shock. We never expected it to happen so quickly. We were shell shocked for about a week. Then one day that wore off and was replaced with so much excitement! We were going to be parents! We hugged and kissed and cooed and planned.

The next morning I woke up to period pain and heavy bleeding.

And that was the end of that.

We were very sad, but we were young, had time on our side. We hadn't expected it to happen so quickly, we rationalised it was not meant to be our time yet, we would keep trying.

A month later we were looking at two pink lines again. We were cautiously excited. At 6 weeks I started bleeding heavily. I was distraught.
We were scanned and to our amazement on screen was a little flickering heartbeat. So we were sent home on bed rest and the bleeding stopped. And then at 7 weeks it started again, heavier this time.
So off we trot to the early pregnancy unit, this time expecting the very, very worst. And there was our baby, heartbeat flickering. A fighter. A trouper. Little spud. And we are sent home again, and the bleeding stops. And it doesn't come back. And my family, friends, husband, all breathe a sigh of relief.

Then, when I am nearly 10 weeks I have to go back for a follow up and dating scan. We walk into the scan room full of happiness, relief that there has been no more bleeding, excited to see our spud again.

Except this time, there is no flickering heartbeat.

I thought my world fell apart then but now, after Lucy, I think maybe it just cracked wide open. I am sent home to let me miscarry naturally. Except my stupid body doesn't know the baby is gone and I continue with the morning sickness and pregnancy signs. So a week and a half later I go in for an ERPC.

Then follows the months and months of trying and hoping, but we can't seem to catch that egg anymore. And each month we don't I lose hope. And then, on 2nd February 2009 when I am 3 days late I find myself looking at those two pink lines again.
And this time I still bleed in the early weeks but all the scans are fine. 6, 8, 12, 21, 28, 34 weeks, all show my little girl waving and swallowing and kicking and sticking her tongue out. Until that fateful day 23rd September 2009.

And so, like so many others, I find myself here again with thermometers and test strips and jars of urine loitering about my bathroom (a few house guests have had an unfortunate surprise). And every month is torture. But that is only half the battle. If I ever find myself staring down at those two pink lines again I am only just starting a whole new journey.

And one that no one can guarantee me a happy ending with. I am sick of people telling me that it will be OK next time. That sort of comment could only ever come from people who have managed to avoid a life changing event. They still have that cheerful 'won't happen to me guv' attitude. But I know it can happen to me. It has happened three times, and I am not alone in this. So don't patronise me and tell me it will be OK.

So no happy ending guaranteed, right? So back to my original question - how much is too much? When do you stop? When do I give up on my dream? What if I lose another baby? Do I give up then? Or do I try again, and maybe lose another? How much more can my broken heart take? How much more can I put John and my family through? At the moment, my desire for a baby is too strong to give up. I am almost stubborn in my demeanour - I will NOT let that absolute BITCH Mother Nature beat me. I will keep going until I get a baby in my arms to keep. But I am feeling the pain of these other womens losses so strongly, I am questioning if I can do it. I have suggested to John about adoption, but he didn't see why we would need it as "It'll happen, we'll get our baby". I wish I had his optimism. And his resolve.

I have to try one more time at least, but there's not much glue holding this heart together anymore.

I have lit a candle tonight for some very special angel babies that have gone to join their brothers and sisters. I am thinking of their Mummies, Daddies and families.

I put this on my Facebook too, I think it is beautiful:

"A butterfly lights beside us, like a sunbeam. For a brief moment it's glory and beauty belong to our world. Then it flies on again, and although we wish it could have stayed we are so thankful to have seen it at all"

Saturday, 2 January 2010

Happy? New Year.

I've been so busy lately, I haven't had time to blog. This isn't to say things have got any better, things are still shit. But I just haven't had the time to write about the badness, I'm too busy living it.
So it is a new year. Everyone keeps telling me this will be our year and I am trying to believe it. So far I have not managed to get pregnant again, despite really trying. Every month I break my heart when my period shows up, the last one arrived on Christmas day morning so that was a big fat kick in the teeth. This time last year I got my BFP with Lucy. I was apprehensive as I expected to miscarry again but as time ticked on I let myself dare to hope that I would finally achieve my dream of being a mummy. I imagined that this Christmas I would be frazzled from no sleep, carrying a screaming newborn round and smelling of baby sick.
I have started having severe panic attacks. I have never had them before in my life and when I had the first one I truly thought I was having a heart attack. I had no idea how physical they were. The racing heart, the breathlessness, the sweating and shaking and the irrational fear that I am about to shuffle off this mortal coil. So I'm off to the doctors about them this week at some point. Obviously this is connected to Lucy and my sudden fear of death and people I love dying, but I am not sure how to deal with it and stop them happening.

I go back to work this month on 'phased' return, they are worried I am going to have a breakdown and tell my customers to shove their cheese up their arses (I work for a dairy company). I am looking forward to getting some normality back, and there is only so much Loose Women that I can take.

I also had my consultant appointment last month to get my PM results. Long and short of it is they think I may have APS and so I have been tested again for that, if it comes back positive again then next time I'll be on blood thinners. The other thing was a 'sudden catachylsmic failure of the placenta'. It just packed up. So I'll also be induced next time at about 35-36 weeks. Not sure how I feel about it all really. Angry? Numb? Satisfied to finally have some answers? Hmmm. All of the above I guess. Just need to get pregnant again now, it's all I can think about or talk about. I'm getting on my own nerves.