One year on. 

Yesterday marked one year since that horrible 12 week scan and what was to be the start of the worst week of my life. I try not to dwell on it, as dwelling does no good, so I spent the day doing normal everyday stuff. I went to the dentist, met some friends for coffee and had my hair done. And it was ok. 

I’d be lying if I said my mind didn’t wander, but I needed to be busy and wanted not to dwell on things that can’t be changed. I think I succeeded in that. 

So, a year on and a lot has changed. The miscarriage association are still plugging away doing a terrific job of helping and supporting those who suffer a loss, and I had the pleasure of an email from lovely Ruth (to use her full name) a couple of weeks ago updating me on the latest with the educational videos I talked about in a blog post months ago. The videos have been made and are being rolled out to GP’s, Ultrasound technicians and anyone else likely to come in to contact with a woman suffering a miscarriage, any time now. I’m really glad I was able to offer some insight for this project and so pleased that it’s come to fruition. I sincerely hope it has the effect we all hope it will. 

On a personal level, although my loss still at times feels very recent and very raw it was in actual fact a whole year ago now. In that year I’ve got a new house, new job, got engaged, and of course welcomed little Arthur in to the world safe and well. I’m thankful and very lucky to have all that I have, I know that, and I try very hard not to take any of it for granted. Do I still wonder what that baby would have looked like? Of course. Do I still long for him or her? Absolutely. But then I remind myself that I wouldn’t have had Arthur, and he is pretty awesome so I choose to focus on that on the tough days. 

Although this is a morbid anniversary, I felt I needed to mark it somehow. Just let the universe know that I haven’t forgotten. Will never forget. Here seems as good a place as any to do that since here is where my recovery began really. Here is where I found unending support and understanding, here I found friends accross the world. We dragged each other through those awful times, and celebrated together through the happy times. Let’s hope there are more happy times to come for all of us. 

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Father’s Day 

Paul became a daddy the second we found out we were pregnant. He’s always been caring and supportive, but as soon as there was a little life growing he became more focused, more attentive, and an even more amazing man than the one I’d fallen in love with. He was every bit as devastated as I was when we lost that baby, but never, not once, did he give up on me or on us. His support during that time was amazing. He was my strength when I had none, and he took all my crying and my anger even though he was no doubt feeling all those same things himself. He’s been a daddy ever since then. 

Today is Father’s Day. His first Father’s Day, and even though our little man hasn’t arrived yet, the love that Paul showers him already is a magnificent thing to behold. I will so miss seeing Paul kiss, talk to, and rub my bump affectionately but I’m so ready now to see him with our son in his arms. I know he’s going to be the luckiest little boy to have Paul in his life because I know I’m the luckiest woman to have him by my side. 

So this one is for Paul. The best man I know, and the best dad to be there is. 

We love you xxx 

Third trimester…meltdown city! 

My second trimester has been totally uneventful – which is great! It meant I felt better, had more energy, felt more like my old self again…but now as I enter the third trimester it’s really hit me. I’m having a baby. I know that sounds ridiculous and believe me, I spent most of last week feeling ridiculous and irrational and vaguely hysterical. (Poor Paul is all I can say!) The sad truth though, if I’m really honest is that I never really expected to get here. I never actually thought that being pregnant would result in a baby this time, because it didn’t last time. It’s only now that I realise I’ve been holding my breath and waiting for the thing I fear most to happen again. And then I passed the “viable” stage, and now with every week that passes the chances of my baby surviving even if he came early get stronger and stronger. 

And so of course I freaked out! 

All the things you’re supposed to think, worry and obsess about when you get pregnant I guess have kind of been on hold for me. Until now. But boy did I unleash them all last week! 

I’ve been suffering with SPD aka Pelvic Girdle Pain for most of the second trimester but it’s really ramped up pain wise in the last few weeks. As a result I’m not sleeping very well and I’m constantly in discomfort…these things combined with epic hormone surges and still working full time have made for a grumpy, emotional and irritable Cerian. It has not been a fun few weeks. Again I say, poor Paul! 

So last week it culminated in me convincing myself I was going to be a terrible mother, a failure to my son, and generally an all round useless human being. Now, with the love and support of Paul, my friends and family and the distance from last week’s hormonal mess I can see that while those worries are legitimate, they’re perfectly normal and as Paul pointed out while I was mid meltdown, the very fact that I worry about being a good mother means I’m already halfway there. He is very wise. So this week I’m feeling a lot better mentally. I’m still exhausted and grumpy, but I’m back to being impatient and excited to meet my little man, and I love all the little wriggles and kicks I feel – even when they are waking me up at 3am! 

I wasn’t sure whether to post this blog…I worried it would come across as me being ungrateful for being pregnant, moaning that pregnancy is hard when I know first hand how awful it is to want to still be pregnant and be able to do nothing about it, but when I started this blog it was all about being honest and talking candidly about my experience. So in the end I decided that I should continue with that honesty, and say out loud that yes; I have lost a baby and yes it was awful, and yes; of course I’m thankful that I was able to get pregnant again and sustain this pregnancy…but that doesn’t mean that it’s easy, and I shouldn’t have to plaster a smile on and pretend it is out of some sort of misplaced guilt, should I? 

I hope that in being bold enough to say “I’ve had a wobble” other women who may be feeling the same will feel less alone. I felt ashamed that I was feeling so overwhelmed, scared and anxious and yeah, I felt ungrateful. And that just exacerbated all the feelings of being a failure that I already had so it was a vicious cycle that had me sobbing hysterically for about three days straight. 

Pregnancy is an amazing thing, and most of the time I love and enjoy it but some weeks are really bloody hard. Maybe that’s ok though. Maybe it’s ok to find it hard. Maybe it’s ok to have a wobble. Does it make me a bad person? A bad mother? A bad woman? Probably not. It just makes me human. 

As I lie here watching my little boy wriggling around, oblivious to how crazy his mother is, I feel content and at peace. So in the grand scheme of things, I think we’re probably going to be ok. I have no doubt that it’ll continue to be hard sometimes, but more than anything I think it’ll always be a miraculous, wonderful, amazing thing. Worth a little bit of crazy any day. 

Due Date 

March 22nd is the day I was meant to have my baby. The date that’s been constantly at the back of my mind since last September, the one I’ve dreaded the most. 

If I’m honest, I thought being pregnant again would make it easier somehow but I think that was wishful thinking. It’s a couple of days away and I can already feel the emotions bubbling up to the surface so I’m really glad I had the foresight to book a couple of days off work Monday and Tuesday. I guess it’s different for everyone, and on the one hand I did think maybe being in work would be a good distraction, but deep down it just feels wrong to be getting on with life when I know that’s the day my life should have been changing forever. 

I don’t want to focus on how sad and how hard Tuesday is going to be for me – that’s a given, but at the same time I don’t want to brush it under the carpet and pretend it’s just another day. I kind of feel like I should be doing something to mark it. I just don’t know what. 

So I’ll be at home able to feel whatever I need to feel and grieve however I need to grieve without prying eyes or well meaning friends and colleagues trying to help but not knowing how. I decided that removing myself from that potentially painful situation was probably wise because people don’t understand. With all the best will in the world, unless you’ve gone through it yourself (and I hope you never do) you simply can’t understand. I know all it would take is for one person to say “at least you’re pregnant now though” in that helpful, cheery tone to make my head explode and me to say something I regret to someone who was no doubt just trying to help. 

So that’s where I’m at this morning. Headed off to my first NCT class to talk about all things babies when actually I’m pretty preoccupied with the baby that will never be. The one that nobody will talk about. Of course that then makes me feel guilty for (for want of a better word) “prioritising” my lost baby over my living one today. 

This whole process of pregnancy and miscarriage and pregnancy post miscarriage is a whirlpool of conflicting emotions – guilt, anxiety and stress. I know in the long run it’ll be so worth it, and I know from my own experience that time really does heal, but I also know that this pain will likely never leave me. I’m not sure I want it to either. After all, it’s all I have left. 

As hard as Tuesday will be, once it’s gone, it’s gone. I feel as though it’s the final stage of the grieving process. The last landmark date that I have to deal with. I’ve found a place for my grief and whilst it will always be with me, it’s manageable. I just have to get through Tuesday and then put that grief back in its box. 

 

Mother’s Day 

There’s a very good reason that my best friend, Dee, is my best friend. 

Today is a weird day for me. I’m so lucky to be having a healthy little boy, and so happy to know that I’m a mum…but I’m also sad. Sad that my first little one will never call me mammy. Today is a day that forces me to think about my loss, probably made all the worse for knowing that my due date would’ve been just a couple of weeks away. I’m sure Paul would’ve been making a fuss of me today, excitedly looking forward to welcoming our baby any day now, and that’s hard to contemplate. 

Honestly, I’m in a weird emotional state at the moment and I’ve been trying not to dwell on what might’ve been, trying not to be silly or ungrateful for what I have now.

 I didn’t really think anyone else would think about it. I don’t mean that in a horrible way, it’s not that I think people don’t care or anything, it’s just that people’s memories are short, their lives are busy, and unless they’ve experienced that same loss they just don’t understand. And then Dee text me to say that she’s thinking of me and my first little one today. It touched me more than I can say. Yes I had a cry, but to know that my baby is remembered by others too is a really lovely, comforting thing. That message also allowed me to feel what I’ve been trying to avoid feeling. By having someone else acknowledge my grief, it feels ok to have a cry. It feels ok to not be strong today. For that, and so much more I thank my oldest friend. 

I guess today is going to be hard, and I have to accept that and try to look for the positives. At the same time, I wanted to honour our loss too. 

I’m thinking of you all today, all you special women who’ve helped and supported me through what was the hardest time of my life. Today is a tough one, but we’re strong. We’ll get there.  

 

The ever expanding bump! 

LOOK AT IT! I am huge already and I couldn’t be happier!

Paul’s been away for work all week and so that’s been hard as this week I really noticed that I “popped” and he’s missed it which makes me sad. I’ve missed him talking to bump and I’ve definitely missed being cwtched and just generally basking in the happy glow of our excitement. I also didn’t realise how much he’s been helping out around the house until he wasn’t here – as a result of having to do it all myself this week I am absolutely exhausted and have had a three day headache. So that’s not great, and waking up at 3:30 the other night to be violently ill wasn’t my best day either! But Paul is about half an hour away and we have a blissful weekend of absolutely nothing planned! Just some “us” time, and plenty of relaxation. I can’t wait!

There’s been some really great news this week which I’ve been following closely on Twitter that I’m so pleased about. Tommy’s have announced that they’re working in partnership with several universities to open a centre (the largest in Europe) to research early miscarriages regardless of how many you’ve suffered. Currently under NHS rules you have to have suffered three consecutive miscarriages before they’ll even consider looking in to possible reasons as to why it’s happened. Having endured the pure heartbreak of one, I can’t imagine having to suffer three so I really feel that this centre will make a massive difference to people’s lives.

The other bit of news that I saw just today, is that a hospital in West Wales are undertaking a review of the diagnosis and treatment of miscarriage by using real women’s experiences to help shape how they move forward. So far, it’s just the one hospital doing this, however, it does signal hope that others in Wales will follow their lead and that would be a great thing. Nobody should have to suffer the poor treatment and lack of care that I did at what is already the most horrendous time.

All in all, I think positive changes are happening and that can only ever be a good thing. So I want us all to give ourselves a pat on the back, because it’s people like me and you who took the decision to be brave and talk openly about such a terrible thing that have helped get the message out there that miscarriage is nothing to be ashamed of and is something that happens way too often.

I’ve added some links to the bottom of this post so anyone interested can read more about the stories I’ve mentioned.

http://www.fons.org/programmes/report-details.aspx?nstid=68819&page=projects&from=1

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-3410991/I-feel-broken-Women-suffered-miscarriages-share-heartbreaking-confessions-sorrow-shame-feel.html

https://www.tommys.org/research/current-research-projects/miscarriage/tommys-will-be-opening-europes-largest-research-centre-dedicated-to-preventing-early-miscarriage

So, that was Christmas! 

It’s been a while eh? I’ve been AWOL lately for a couple of reasons. One is that honestly, there really hasn’t been much to say pregnancy wise. I think everything is ok, and aside from the usual anxiety I’m feeling pretty good. Still suffering with nausea and sickness (which I’m thankful for as I hope it means everything is ok) and still tired a lot, but otherwise no spotting or cramps, no backache…I’m feeling fairly positive. We have our dating scan a week today and as it draws nearer I am feeling more and more anxious. I keep reminding myself that we saw a very wiggly baby and a strong little heartbeat at 9 weeks and since then I haven’t had any sinister symptoms so everything is probably OK, but I can’t help but worry. 

We told our parents over Christmas. Paul’s mum got a bit tearful, both my parents looked shocked and confused and then excited and now just anxious. That makes me really sad. I totally understand why they feel the way they feel, hell we’ve felt it for 11 and a half weeks now. I get it. Nonetheless, I’m sad that my parents can’t just be excited and happy at the prospect of their first grandchild being born. As heartbreaking and awful as a miscarriage is at the time, it’s impacts are ongoing and far reaching. I suspect this pregnancy will always be tinged with a little sadness and worry until little one is here safe and live and healthy. 

So, other than pregnancy woes, we’re moving house in a couple of weeks so we’re in the process of packing up our flat and getting ourselves organised ready for the big move. Needless to say, it’s a stressful time but I’m determined to stay as relaxed as possible. I’m taking absolutely no chances with my health or my baby’s health. 
We had a really lovely if a little strange Christmas. Strange because my lovely Nan was taken in to hospital with pneumonia and although she was out after a week on the 23rd, she isn’t really herself again yet. She’s weak and tired and apparently that can take up to 8 weeks to subside. So there’s been a lot of back and forth and worrying about her whilst trying to make the best of our Christmas and make hers as good as we could. Paul and I stayed at my parents house for a few days where my mum spoiled us, fed us and generally looked after us. I have to say, it was kind of like being a kid again having my mum run around doing everything for me…and it was bliss! It meant we got to have a real break because I wasn’t constantly thinking “I should be packing that, or washing this, or cleaning that” and the break definitely did us some good ahead of a busy few weeks. My parents made this Christmas much easier on us, and for that I’m so so thankful because I dreaded Christmas after the miscarriage. The thought that I should be six months pregnant and have a lovely big bump was something that I knew would get harder and harder. I didn’t really want to be around all the usual crowds of people, and I really didn’t feel much like celebrating. In the end, it wasn’t as bad as I expected. I did avoid crowds, and I did have a quieter Christmas than usual because it’s still really hard, and even being pregnant again doesn’t take away the pain. It helps I think, but it doesn’t ever go away. If I allowed myself, I could still sit and sob for that first baby. 

I don’t know when we’ll start telling people the news, and I don’t know when I’ll post these blogs I’ve been writing for months either. I still feel like saying it out loud and having people know is just tempting fate. Silly superstitions, but honestly everything makes me panicky this time so I’m going to go with my gut. It’s never steered me wrong before so when I feel strong enough to share my news I will.