Monday, December 13, 2010

New beginnings :: take two

This is to be a pregnancy diary of sorts for me. A warts and all account of how I came to be here and of my travels down this path. I hope I can write daily but if not, at least weekly. I want this to be something I can look back on to help me remember things as I realise from my first pregnancy that you so easily forget (or perhaps block!) the journey as life goes on.  I want to be completely honest and open about all I go through and not 'pretty' it up as I feel that it can be cathartic to share experiences fully, both the positive and the negative.  

I don't mind if other people follow this blog, if they do I hope they can take away something positive from my experiences.  I remember during my first pregnancy there were many moments that I thought, well here's something they never told you about! So maybe for first timers it may shed some light on what to expect and maybe for others they can just relate, either way I am happy to share my journey.

I first found out I was pregnant on the 29th of October and it really came as a big surprise.  This year has been one filled with slightly more lows than highs so it was with mixed feelings that I sat and let this news sink in.

I suppose I should begin at an earlier point to put this all into perspective.  My husband (Big V) and I had both decided that we wanted another child, our baby (Little V) had turned one in January and we thought that by the time 9-10 months had rocked round, she'd be old enough to understand what was going on.  I had made the decision to enroll Little V into one day a week of childcare so that she could meet other children and if I were to fall pregnant it would give me a free day to set up appointments for OBs, GPs, blood tests, etc and basically have a moment to myself if I needed it. During Little V's pregnancy I had morning sickness basically all day and all night until 15 weeks when it mysteriously disappeared so I was a bit worried it would be like that again meaning poor Little V would not get much out and about if I was laid up on the couch all the time!  

Towards the end of May I felt like I had contracted cystitis (dreaded urinary tract infection for those not in the know) and so I went on a course of antibiotics but during the course of taking them I started to throw up and feel the same old creeping nausea of morning sickness. So I did a test and it came back positive, needless to say I stopped the antibiotics even though they are schedule A (safe for pregnancy) and went to see my OB.  She did a scan and gave me a picture showing that I was 7 weeks and 5 days along. Big V was ecstatic but I have to say looking back now I had feelings of trepidation even then. 

As the pregnancy progressed I was constantly ill with morning sickness, I had the worst hormonal lows I've ever had in my entire life and I seemed to have a perpetual cold that just wouldn't go away.  Around 9 weeks I caught something from Little V and came down with a fever which worried me no end. I went to see the GP on the Monday and explained my fears about my pregnancy and she tried to make me feel better by using a doppler machine to see if we could hear the heartbeat of the baby.  She said she could hear it but I just couldn't make it out.  

I started having these feelings like there was something wrong with the baby and upon expressing them to Big V, he'd say, "There's nothing wrong, you're just feeling the effects of your hormones. Everything's fine." and words to those effects.  Of course I would try and believe him, because I knew I wasn't feeling my normal self but at the 12 weeks scan my worst fears were realised when the lady scanning my belly switched off the machine and took my hand and said, "I'm sorry but I can't find a heartbeat, your baby seems to have stopped growing a few weeks ago." and I just remember feeling very unsurprised. I told her I knew already and she said that Mother's often do before anyone else. My poor, poor husband of course had no clue and he was devastated. I comforted him as best I could but honestly what do you say?  Neither of us had ever dealt with a situation like this, in fact neither of us have had many encounters with death at all, certainly not this close to home.  

I ended up miscarrying naturally a day later and I have to say it is a very sad and lonely experience. I was at home and Big V was at work. I had started cramping in the morning and he asked whether I wanted him to stay home but at that stage the gravity of what was happening had not sunk in and I told him I'd be fine. I was feeling like I had accepted what was going on, after all I had known all along hadn't I?  The cramps got worse around lunch and all of a sudden it started, I barely had enough time to get to the bathroom.  It seemed like I was contracting and expelling all at the same time, I started crying because I realised it was birth without the effort and that there would be no joyous meeting at the end.  It felt like my insides were falling out and I could do nothing to stop it.  My body had taken over and to put it bluntly was cleaning house. I think sometimes, while these automatic responses can be a blessing they can also be a curse.  A blessing because mentally I could not have driven the process, a curse because of the loss of control over my physical self.  I managed to call Big V and he came home immediately even though he couldn't really do anything it was an enormous comfort to have his presence there.  A solid, warm rock of a man; he truly is my other half.  

When it was all over I was so utterly drained, emotionally and physically. I think I slept for twelve hours straight. And where was Little V through all this? Napping obliviously away in the bedroom. I remember thinking the timing of the whole thing was amazing as I had basically just finished putting her down to sleep when it all first started.  I'm glad she wasn't aware of what was going on.  The next couple of weeks were blurry and numb. We received well wishes from those that knew and had to deal with many awkward situations telling others we were no longer pregnant. When confronted with this situation I often found myself playing the role of comforter as I didn't want the person to feel bad because you can see them struggling, trying to find something appropriate to say.  I'd like to think I am quite pragmatic and that nature has it's way of dealing with these things and I try and take what I can from the whole process and use it to learn new things about myself and life in general.  I have a new appreciation for my daughter and my husband. I knew I was lucky before to have them but now those feelings are stronger and we are closer as a result.  The sadness over the whole loss was a new experience for me. It was not a hysterical, depressing thing, rather somehow deep and meaningful, and now a part of me. 

Some weeks later after we think the whole thing is over I am told I must go in for a scan as I had last reported to my OB that my bleeding was taking some time to peter off. Not having been through this before I didn't realise that this wasn't normal. It turned out I had 'retained product' a charming, cold medical term meaning you haven't quite finished the job. Great, just great. So I end up going in for a hysteroscopy, not a DnC as the 'retained product' was only the size of a five cent piece. How frustrating! But it could not be left for me to try and expel during my next period for reasons of risk of infection and also the fact that it may act like an IUD and create complications for future pregnancies. So yet another thing to drag this experience out when all I want to do is put it behind me and start building myself back up. I had been feeling so much better, lighter in mood, more motivated and generally well all over.  

I went in on the 16th of September and it was all over and done within a matter of hours. I was told I have some light bleeding and to book myself in for a check up with the OB 6 weeks later and to get a check up scan a couple of weeks before that appointment. The bleeding however wasn't light and so panicking that they hadn't got rid of it all, I rang my OB the following Monday and we came to the conclusion that it was my period, how very regular of me!  So at my check up scan four weeks later I warned them I might have to cancel as I might be due for my period again.  Luckily on the day, I hadn't started and so I went ahead with the appointment. The lady assured me everything was 'beautiful' in my womb and exactly how it should be. I asked if she could tell if I was going to get my period soon and she informed me that my lining was 7mm thick which indicates that the walls are thickening in preparation, to which I replied, "In preparation for a period, right?", "Either that or pregnancy." She said. "Am I pregnant?" I immediately ask but she tells me it is too soon to tell but if I think I am due for a period then that is probably the most likely thing.  

So I wait for my period to arrive and a week goes by and it is getting to the end of week 2 and I think, what the hell is going on? Maybe I should do a pregnancy test? So I do and lo and behold it is positive! Amazing! I ring my OB and she also thinks this is wonderful, amazing news. We cancel the check up appointment and make one for some weeks later so I can get referrals and everything in order.  When I finally go in for the first scan I feel so nervous. There's no reason why it should be like last time, I am much healthier, no colds, no perpetual hormonal lows and not even as much morning sickness. When she does the scan the date shows 7 weeks and 5 days, exactly the same time as the previous baby but this time it LOOKS like a baby. I can clearly make out the head and the beginnings of bumps that will be arms and legs. The previous baby's picture looked like just a strange blob, perhaps all along things weren't right. I'll never know so I won't dwell on it.

I have recently been in for another scan and I was so nervous leading up to it which of course is to be accepted given all that has happened but I was so relieved when the baby showed up on the screen. New V was bouncing around, punching his/ her little arms almost like they were waving at me. We are now nearly 12 weeks along.  I have to say there were a few tears because I want this to be a beautiful, positive experience, un-shadowed by the events before and when I saw the little one waving and bouncing so merrily it really reinforced for me that every time is different and whilst there will still be the occasional worry I will still invest myself fully in this new journey and try and love every moment it brings.

This is a very long entry and I don't plan on others being anywhere near as long. I just felt like I wanted to put into words my account of how I got here.  If you made it to the end, thank you for reading. 

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