Saturday, 24 April 2010

Dream state

Lucy feels so very far away from me now. My pregnancy with Lucy, and the subsequent heartbreak and devastation that followed - well they are taking on more and more of a dream like quality these days.
When I think about the key moments that are engrained in my mind - that sickening realisation on that sunny morning that I couldn't get her to respond to me, the drive to the hospital, the scan, the hysteria, the phone calls, the tearful relatives arriving, the endless questions (the list goes on and on) - they have that dream like haze over them these days. Like when you wake and you try and think about the dream that was just very clear in your mind, yet now the more you think the more it is like you are watching it through tinted glass - the edges are smudgey and you can't quite get clarity in the picture, just fleeting glances of faces, rooms, minor details.
The rawness of the emotion I felt in those early days has settled, but is never far from the surface. It can sneak up from nowhere, but all of a sudden the hot tears are stinging my eyes and the knot in my throat is suffocating and no matter how much I swallow it won't shift and then the tears fall. Time at first forces you to carry on living, you can't fight it as the second hand keeps going round and minutes pass, then hours, then days. Gradually you stop trying to fight it and acceptance of what has happened begins, albeit very slowly. And eventually you start to find joy in life again, although it is a strange happiness that you have now because underneath your smile and laugh your thoughts always flick for a moment to that little baby soul that touched your life and was gone. And then you want to scream at people and tell them your inner anguish. I hate it when people don't see Lucy as a baby. They don't have to say anything, but the way they speak about her, their body language - a whole host of things - it's a dead give away. I don't know how they perceive her, a miscarriage maybe? A strange alien bump that was once protruding in front of the host and then vanished? I just know that in their head they don't imagine ten pudgy baby toes and soft downy baby hair when they think of her. They don't imagine a baby.
Or do they?
Is this just my own paranoia? These almost protective feelings I have as her mother, I don't want my beautiful child to be though any less of, I want her memory to be respected and cherished. I don't want her to be classified as something she's not, or feared as some sort of freak. I just want people to see her and understand this pain we suffer at having lost her, she was a baby, she was absolutely perfect and we loved her fiercely with all of our hearts. We still do.

7 months today I held her for the first time.

Sunday, 18 April 2010

Blind faith

8 weeks and 3 days today. I have gained 2 days I know, I had another scan on Thursday just gone and they dated the pregnancy. Baby was measuring spot on 8 weeks so my new EDD is 25th November - our wedding anniversary. I know you could say it's coincidence and nothing more than that, but I found out by my birthday I was expecting again and my due date is my 4th Wedding anniversary - I like to tell myself Lucy has sent her blessings and a very special present for her Mum and Dad. I hope so.
The browny discharge is continuing on and off, some days it is barely there and others is in full force. They saw a tiny bleed on the scan but nothing they said to worry about, just that it could be the cause of the discharge. Baby had grown from 9mm to 15.2 mm and still had a heartbeat.

I am trying to comfort myself with the thought we are now past the point that my little bean stopped growing before. Baby has grown as it should and the bleeding does not seem to be affecting the pregnancy. Sometimes it comforts me and I get a rush of excitement, I allow myself to think a bit further into the future and imagine a Summer with a bump and swollen ankles. Then I reign it back in again and the dark thoughts are back. It's all about having blind faith I think. No matter how many doctors I see, even if they scan me everyday, there is no guarantee I will take this baby home. No one can offer me that assurance, it is just impossible. So all I can do is believe it will be OK. Some days I can do that, others not so much.

The guilt about Lucy has also started. I feel bad for even wanting another baby, for being pregnant again so soon after losing her. I feel as though I am trying to blot out her existence, even though I am not. I feel guilty that I crave so much a 'normal' baby, not one that was lifeless and couldn't come home with me. But I can't spend my life mourning her all day, every day. Her journey started because we want so much to be parents, filled with days at the zoo, and noisy car journeys, and  first days at school. But the hurt is still there that I can't do any of this with her. Why was she sent here, to spend such a short time in her bubble world? My little daughter. My sweet baby girl. How much I love her. And whilst I am caught up with all these feelings about her I then get a jolt of guilt for this little life inside me. Will I be able to love this baby as they deserve whilst I am still so in love and grieving for my lost daughter? I know that I will, the evidence is there in other peoples blogs about their rainbow babes. But it is such a strange mix of emotions.  I am just very thankful to be given the opportunity to be here again, stange emotions or not. But I didn't realise though how fragile I still was until I was pregnant again. I thought I was stronger, more then ready to handle another pregnancy and more than capable of dealing with another loss should it happen. The bleeding has shown me how I would feel if I were to lose this baby as well. And it was not a good place to be. In fact I don't think I would be able to pick myself up again. It was scary, I just hope and pray that it is a place I will not need to visit.
4 weeks until the end of the first trimester. Please pass by quickly and uneventfully with Rainbow baby still growing, and heart beating away happily inside me.

Saturday, 10 April 2010

Day by day

Another day is here. I am 7 weeks today.

My scan went OK on Thursday, we have a sac, yolk and small crustacean shaped human being with a beating heart.
As I was waiting in the day room to be seen (amongst four or five heavily pregnant women) I dissolved into tears and sobs. Scans bring no joy for me, I have no excited anticipation, just a feeling of impending doom that I can only compare to how Anne Boleyn felt on the morning of her execution. The unavoidable is apparoaching.

The fabulous Sister at the EPU scanned me straight away when she saw the state I was in, and for a brief moment I was content in that dark room watching my babies heart flickering.
But the anxiety and dark thoughts are never far away, as we left the hospital I began to worry about another MMC as with the one I had before Lucy the baby stopped growing about now but wasn't found until a couple of weeks later. And to compound that worry, I am still having browny discharge. It is enough to spot onto my panty liner and is on the toilet tissue after peeing. There is not loads of it, but there is enough of it to be a concern. I am also having back pain on and off, so I am in a constant state of fear.

I did have the same with Lucy from about 6 weeks through to about 9 weeks, so I am trying to tell myself that it is nothing to concern myself with. But my advice falls on deaf and ignorant ears, of course I am worried. I wish for this to be a normal, boring pregnancy that millions of women seem to achieve every year. I am waiting to hear from the hospital regarding my consultant care plan starting. I may phone the EPU again on Monday. Time is passing, albeit very slowly for me.

Wednesday, 7 April 2010

The Birth

I am very, very proud of myself, my husband and my lovely angel Lucy, for getting through the experience. A very strange thing to be proud of I guess, but I was so worried about Labour and how I would handle the pain that I felt very proud when we got through it and were together as a family for a few hours.

The room they usually used for these sort of 'situations' was already being used, so I was ushered into the room where the birthing pool was. It seemed ironic as I had been planning on using the pool for pain relief when I went into Labour.
I had been forewarned it could take up to 24 hours for labour to really kick in. This sounded horrific to me, and I thought that there was every chance it would take this long as my body did not seem ready to give up my baby just yet.
I was given gel to ripen my cervix and told I would be checked in 6 hours at 10.30pm. Nothing really happened in the first few hours except more tears. We all sat around in the depressing room and wondered if this was really happening. I couldn't tell you what we spoke about, except they were empty, meaningless conversations. Nothing meant anything now my baby had gone.
Eventually I started get low back ache, like before my period. I didn't realise it at the time but these were contractions starting in my back area. John, my Mum and my Sister took turns to rub my back for me, or I would pace the floor rubbing it myself. It was surreal as I had tried to imagine Labour so many times, now here I was but everything was not as it should be. Everything appeared as though lit by a half light, making the experience even more surreal. The backache continued but it was bearable, at 10pm the midwife Meaghan came to check on me and everyone was ushered out of the room.
"Good girl!" she exclaimed, "You are already 5 cms dilated! I am going to break your waters now". A moments discomfort then a warm bath water feeling washed through my legs. "There is blood in your waters" she told me, "You may have had an abruption - have you had any pain?". The guilt as I racked my brains trying to think, had I missed a vital sign that could have saved my babies life? I didn't remember any pains, hell, I would have been straight up the hospital if I had!
She asked me if I wanted any pain relief, I told her no as I thought I had managed so far without any, I'd be OK. Then the next contraction came. And it hurt like hell this time, now that the soft cushion of my amniotic fluid had been removed. So I buzzed and was begging for pain relief, I was given Entinox and Diamorphine. And then things start to get a little fact, I lose an hour or two. I have vague recollections of hallucinating, the beeping of equipment made me think I was in a nightclub, I had an entire conversation with John that didn't actually happen. My grasp on reality had slipped waaaaay out of reach. I didn't say much and when I did it was total nonsense. And it doesn't take the pain away, in fact you still feel every single painful contraction you have, but for some reason you just don't seem to care or react in the normal way to the pain. I remember hanging over the back of the bed with the mouthpiece for the gas and air firmly clamped between my teeth, and I though how funny it was that I had been nervous, embarrassed about showing strangers my bits and pieces and yet now here I was, nightie hitched up around my waist, all my bits on display and I couldn't have gived a damn if the Queen herself had popped by. When you are in Labour you go into your own little bubble, you totally withdraw into yourself - well that's how it was for me anyway. Then I am feeling the urge to bear down, and Meaghan is telling me I can push, and I am now saying I need an epidural. Meaghan says I can have one but then she checks and tells me baby is already on the way- it's too late for any more intervention now. So I flip onto my back, and she tells me to push with every contraction. I push with all my strength, and despite the pain I try not to cry out as all I can think is I want my baby to be born with dignity, not to a sweating, cussing, screeching banshee. So I barely utter a sound, and I am concentrating on the words Meaghan is saying, I pant when she tells me to and it burns and burns but I don't push, and then she tells me to push again and so I do and suddenly... relief.

Lucy is born into the world, and the room is silent.

"It's a little girl" Meaghan tells us, and we kiss each other and cry softly, partly with happiness that we finally meet this little person, but mainly with sorrow that she will never be ours to keep or parent in the true sense of the word.
Lucy is placed onto my chest so I can see and I gaze at her through my drug addled fog and barely take in what had just happened. "Her name is Lucy" I mumble, and all doubt as to whether I would use my special name that I had lovingly chosen is gone - Lucy deserves her real name, not a made up name because I am too selfish to part with the name I love that I know won't ever be used for a living child.
And then all hell breaks lose, I am haemorraghing and my uterus won't contract down and they can't stop the blood. The cord was stuck round Lucy's shoulders and when they cut it to free her they cut me as well by accident and so the bottom end of the bed is now awash with blood and medics and doctors trying to stitch me up and trying to stop me bleeding to death. I am being injected, prodded, poked, stitched, manhandled. But I am still in a Morphine fogged dream world, and all I can say to the Midwife is I don't want them to take my uterus away. And I wonder why there is a cleaner at the end of the bed stuffing my lady bits with paper towels, John laters tells me this was another hallucination as it was actually a doctor stitching me up.

And suddenly the room is empty again, and I stare at this little girl on my chest, and I tentatively reach up and touch her face - it is warm - and this surprises me as death is cold in my mind. I stroke her perfect little cheek and marvel at her beauty and how much she looks like both of us but in miniature.