It happened differently this time

We’re going through a second miscarriage. A very different experience but the same outcome and potentially a sign that something else is wrong. Today’s scan shows no heartbeat and no growth. I’m having a DNC tomorrow and we will be doing genetic testing on the embryo. If it is normal it means there is probably an undiagnosed problem with me. Utterly devastated and shocked.


Pregnancy headache

I’ve suffered from frequent headaches most of my adult life. These got much better when I went off the pill but I would still get a headache fairly frequently from muscular tension caused by sitting for too long. In the last week though I have had two headaches that have lasted several days and are severe… Terrible throbbing behind my eyes and at the base of my neck. Combined with feeling nauseous, feeling really tired and still bleeding a little I’m really feeling quite miserable at the moment. I’m sure the headaches are hormone related. I’m so aware of not taking anything that will harm my developing baby. I read that at this point in pregnancy the baby is growing 100 brain cells every minute and I certainly don’t want to interfere with that. However I also have to work and function….What have you guys done to treat a bad headache during pregnancy?

First scan

After an absolutely agonising wait, the day of our first scan finally dawned. Ladies and gentlemen we have one healthy baby with a strong heartbeat and measuring right on track. I think God knew that I wouldn’t be able to cope with the anxiety of a high risk twin pregnancy. We’ll go back next week again for a reassurance scan just to make sure all is good.

A funny thing

The other day I went to collect my medication from the pharmacy and the pharmacist asked if I was pregnant…. I can’t even remember how the conversation went but somehow I ended up telling her that we had done ivf and that it had cost a lot of money (I don’t normally volunteer this information but she asked some pretty direct questions). She also didn’t know what ivf was, so I told her… At which point she looked at me with great confusion and asked why we didn’t just try ‘the old fashioned way’. Thinking I had surely misunderstood her, and feeling equally confused, I asked if she meant why didn’t I just have sex with my husband, to which she replied ‘yes’…. with a big smile on her face, as though she had just solved all my problems. No words.

Pregnancy so far

Has been absolutely bloody awful. Of course this will hopefully change in a matter of minutes when we have our scan on Monday. I’m sincerely hoping that if we see that we have a healthy pregnancy and that despite the bleeding all is well, then maybe, very tentatively, I might be able to start enjoying it. But for now, what with the bleeding and extreme worry combined with feeling absolutely exhausted, I am not having the time of my life. It might be fair to say that I am finding it somewhat traumatic with flashbacks of our miscarriage last year making a regular appearance and the calm I had found prior to transfer disappearing in the wind (or down the toilet in my case). Whilst I am longing for the reassurance of Monday’s scan I am also absolutely dreading it and literally feel sick thinking about it. Last year we had regular awful scans with slow progress until we finally got the news that there was no heartbeat and it was game over. Half of me is expecting this again on Monday… Cause it’s me, I seem to fall on the wrong side of statistics and have never really received good news. And then a small part of me can almost picture a good scan with a lovely strong heartbeat. As usual, only time will tell… Not a fun waiting game.

The lesser sister

The big sister, the one who gets all the attention, is the tww… It even has an acronym. The less well known of the two, but even more terrifying, is the two weeks AFTER the tww… That period of time when you know you are pregnant but have no real way of knowing whether or not everything is on track whilst you wait for the first scan. This is even more terrifying when you have slow rising betas or bleeding…. Both of which I have now experienced. It is awful. Truly. I sincerely hope that if this pregnancy is healthy, time speeds up or my anxiety levels calm down. 7 sleeps till our first scan at 6w5d’s.

Spotting and freaking out

Last week Wednesday I had a tiny bit of spotting. Of course I panicked and phoned my clinic. The nurse talked me down and reassuranced me that everything was fine and that 30% of women spot in pregnancy. I couldn’t help being fed up with this… I always seem to fall on the wrong side of statistics!  Yesterday we flew to Cape Town and met up with friends for lunch. The setting was beautiful but instead of enjoying it, I was in an absolute state of panic as I went to the bathroom and there was what I would consider a lot of red blood for a pregnant lady. Not like I would get on my period, but almost. I called my clinic and asked if I should see a doctor or try and have a scan. They felt that going for a scan would make my anxiety worse as at 5w3d’s there wouldn’t be much to see and that would be worse. Again she said that it can be normal and to try and take it easy (physically). The spotting stopped towards the evening but there has been a small amount again this morning. Has anyone else had this experience???

First beta at 11dp5dt

Is 424. Phew. First hurdle crossed. We are not going to be monitoring beta levels, much to the surprise of our nurse! We’ve decided to approach this pregnancy very differently and will simply wait for our first scan at 7 weeks. Our experience last year was that despite all the betas and scans, we knew something was wrong, but not what… And only time could make this clear. In the interests of healthy distraction my husband and I are off to Cape Town for a nice long weekend next week. Yay!

Infertility, grief and acceptance… I was wrong. Maybe time does heal?

I’ve had some thoughts churning around in my brain for a while now, and I wanted to try and crystallise them by writing them down. I don’t know if I will be able to express them adequately – they feel rather like wispy vapours drifting around on the edges of my brain, and I fear I might not be able to gather them into a coherent concept. But let me try.

These thoughts started with my own experience of finding myself in a better place this year, despite the fact that I still do not have a baby in my arms. I said for a long time that the worst thing about infertility was that it just got worse and worse over time. It wasn’t like a once-off traumatic event where, despite the devastation of the event, time would pass and with it would come healing. Infertility felt like a bad event that just kept happening over and over again – like being caught in some kind of warped Ground Hog Day where time did not heal but rather, the more time passed, the worse things got. However, my own journey has shown me that this is not necessarily the case. From a personal perspective, my husband and I have moved beyond the absolute devastation of our miscarriage last year, into a space where, through giving up on using my own eggs, we have been able to find a new sense of hope. This has been an interesting experience for me. If you had asked me a year, or two years ago, how I would feel about using donor eggs, I would never have anticipated feeling relief, or being able to view it as a positive experience. I remember vividly sitting in our previous fertility clinic on Sunday 23 February 2013 for our last attempt at Artificial lnsemination. I remember the date because it is my birthday and I was convinced that this amazing alignment of the universe’s timing would result in a take-home baby. We were sitting waiting for our sperm to be processed and we got chatting to a young couple next to us about why we were all there. They had recently received the diagnosis of Diminished Ovarian Reserve and I remember feeling absolutely horrified for them. I remember walking out the clinic, turning to my husband and saying, ‘thank God that is not us’. Famous last words. If anyone had asked me on that day, how I would feel about using donor eggs, I would have reacted with absolute shock and horror. I could not have imagined a future self that would not only feel OK about using donor eggs, but who would feel relieved and hopeful. I guess what I’m saying is that I was wrong. Time does heal. Events may get worse and you may not have a baby in your arms, but somehow if you keep moving forward, the darkness can lift. You may even find yourself embracing options that might at one point have felt unimaginable.

These thoughts extend to my experience of other ladies who I have met through blogging. Recently I have been struck by the enormous courage of the women whose blogs I read and who I feel have become my virtual friends over the past months. There are women here who have suffered unspeakable losses – physical losses, like the loss of their babies, due to miscarriage or pre-term delivery. And then there are women who have not been able to get pregnant at all and so have suffered the loss of hopes and dreams, the absolute heartache of unchosen childlessness. These women have been through hell and back. There have been days where they have cried, wailed, suffered, raged and questioned. But over time, I have witnessed them working through these emotions…. and coming out the other side. Certainly not unscathed, definitely not unchanged… but they’ve made it. Some have made it with babies in their arms, some have not. Some have had their own biological children through sacrifice and perseverance and enormous amounts of courage. Some have been equally courageous by admitting that their dreams for a biological child are over and they have found a new way forward – whether (like myself) through egg donation, sperm donation, adoption, surrogacy or choosing to remain childless. For each of these women, the journey has been different and the way through the darkness is unique for everyone. For some women, the journey is circular – finding a way forward and reaching a point of acceptance and then circling back again into the darkness due to some kind of change, be it external or internal triggers. I fully accept that although I have found renewed hope, I may very well circle back into despair depending on what happens next. But I do hope that I remember this newfound perspective which is:

1. Time does heal. Emotions evolve and the storm does pass. There is no way of knowing how long the storm will last, how long it will take to pass, or what it will take to get through it. But trust that, Somehow. It. Will. Pass.

2. The storms make us stronger, and I truly believe that we end up better people and better parents as a result of the challenges we have faced. In trying to make sense of some of these thoughts I turned to the work of Elisabeth Kubler-Ross, whose work with the dying has helped inform a lot of understanding into the experiences of loss in more general terms. I read a beautiful quote that made me think of many people I know in real life, but also a lot of the ladies I have come to know in cyberspace. I’ll end with it: