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. 


Cracking up…

I think I’m losing the plot.

I’m 37 weeks and I CAN’T STOP CRYING. Like at all. For three straight days now. I know hormones are probably going a bit mental at this stage and Dr Google (I know, I know, don’t judge me I’m desperate) says that all the crying could mean labour is imminent so it’s *probably* normal…but I’m really anxious. What if it’s not normal? What if there’s something wrong? What if this is a sign I’m going to struggle with the dreaded PND? 

Paul is, as ever, being very sweet and thoughtful and doing his best to make me feel better but I just feel like nothing is working. 

I brought my maternity leave forward a week and so I finished work on Friday…I’m wondering if that’s partly what’s got me all in a state. I really enjoy work. I like going to the office, I like being around everyone and having a purpose and a distraction from whatever else is going on in my life. I guess I’m feeling a bit lost. A bit lonely too maybe. But mostly I’m scared and I can’t even really tell you what I’m scared of, just that I feel scared. And sad. And anxious. 

The aches and pains and niggles I’m having more frequently now are all too reminiscent of the physical pains of miscarriage and that’s definitely not helping with the whole being upset thing either, even though logically I know that it probably means I’ll get to meet my little man soon I’m worried that he’s not going to get here safe and sound. I don’t know why. I thought I was well past the anxiety of losing another baby but it seems to have come back with a vengeance this last few days. I had a bit of a fall on Saturday that scared me – it wasn’t anything serious and I’m absolutely fine and so is baby, but I can’t shake the feeling that it could’ve been much worse and that I could’ve lost him. That in itself is ridiculous! Why am I worrying about something that DIDN’T HAPPEN?! 

Maybe I just need to have a word with myself. Yes I feel like I’m out of control, yes I feel overwhelmed, yes I’m in a constant state of crying and worrying…but maybe I’m supposed to be? After all, I am about to experience the single most monumental thing I can experience so I guess it makes sense that it’s all a bit much when you think of it in those terms. 

It’ll all be worth it. 

Baby Shower! 

Last weekend was my baby shower which my gorgeous best friend Dee arranged for me and it honestly couldn’t have been more lovely. There was plenty of delicious food, lots of my favourite people, and an overwhelming amount of practical, thoughtful and beautiful gifts for our little man, as well as some for mum and dad too! Lucky us! It was exactly what I’d have chosen had I been arranging it myself – tasteful and elegant. Not that I ever doubt Dee’s ability to know exactly what I want. She’s good like that! 

It was such a lovely day (although I was completely exhausted by the end of it!) that left Paul and I feeling so thankful for all the wonderful people we have in our lives. It wasn’t just the overwhelming generosity of our family and friends, but also having those people there who’d seen us through our loss and are so thrilled and excited for us to be welcoming our little boy in just a matter of weeks now. It means a lot to know we have so much unwavering support during the bad times as well as the good, and reminds me how fortunate we are that we’re bringing this baby in to such a loving and supportive extended family. He is one lucky boy. 

Since the baby shower I’ve had my consultant referral. We’ve been measuring a week ahead since 28 weeks so we were referred by the midwife for a growth scan. I was ready to burst with the excitement of seeing him again…but he had other ideas and only showed us his bum!!! (He’s definitely going to be mischievous!) everything was totally normal though (thankfully!) and he already weighed 4lb 4oz at 32 weeks. I think it’s safe to assume he’ll be a real chunk by the time he arrives! 

So that’s my little update for you all, we’re all happy and healthy and just on countdown now to actually meeting the little man. 7 weeks to go! 😆 

Stressful week 

This week hasn’t been much fun. I had blood tests Tuesday (standard 28 week appointment stuff) that were a nightmare beginning to end! I’ve never been great with needles at the best of times, not helped by the fact that I have very thin veins so it’s always a pain in the butt trying to get blood out of me. Long (and slightly gruesome) story short, the end result was me camped out on my sofa all afternoon feeling light headed and woozy instead of rushing back to work as I’d intended. I also have some rather fetching heroin chic needle marks and bruises on both arms. Lovely. 

Then on Wednesday while I was in work it got to mid morning and I came over all faint again. I work with a team of men who are all freaked out enough by the prospect of me giving birth under my desk like the office cat or something (bless them) so they went in to panic mode as soon as I mentioned feeling a bit off. Fainting and feeling faint I’m told is perfectly normal during pregnancy so I didn’t worry too much about it until it didn’t pass after a good 20 minutes. I’d also been having cramps on and off since the Friday before. I didn’t really think anything of them, and just put it down to Braxton Hicks as they weren’t especially painful, more uncomfortable than anything. Sort of feeling like a very mild period pain. The midwife at my appointment the day before though had told me off for not getting them checked out when they were bad Friday night and had said if they stated again to head straight to the hospital for monitoring. With that in mind I thought it best I call the antenatal unit and just check with them. Initially they told me to take paracetamol and see if that helped and if not to call back. Honestly I didn’t think this was great advice. Paracetamol may have masked the feeling of the cramps (it didn’t actually) but I could still have been having them and been none the wiser. But hey, I’m not a doctor so what do I know?! So I wasn’t overly impressed with that response and I argued with them a little bit to try and get something more helpful out of them but they were having none of it. I took the paracetamol and drank plenty of water and just sat still for a while. I gave it 40 minutes before phoning back to say I still didn’t feel right and was still suffering with the cramps, at which point I was told to come in. 

I was strapped to a couple of monitors, one for baby’s heartbeat and one for contractions, and just had to lie there for 30 minutes of monitoring. Baby’s heartbeat seemed strong and loud (although the little monkey wouldn’t stay still so Paul had to chase him around with the monitor to keep his heartbeat recording!) and I was feeling fine other than having the cramps. Eventually we saw a Very lovely Dr who asked lots of questions; had I had any fluid leaks? Any blood loss? Could I describe the cramps? Did I feel otherwise well? Had I suffered a miscarriage or premature labour before? Was baby still active? We answered the questions and waited for her diagnosis. She was concerned it could’ve been premature labour, so mentioned the possibility of steroids to help speed up development of baby’s lungs but wanted to go and check with a consultant. We waited a little longer and then she reappeared with this oh so clever test (I’m a bit of a nerd so was really excited about this!) it’s basically a swab that tests for a particular protein that your body only produces when you’re about to go in to labour. The theory being that if it came back positive then they’d pump me full of steroids, and if it came back negative then it wasn’t premature labour. I was fascinated! So we did the test and it came back negative, hurrah! They ran some other normal tests, urine samples, blood pressure etc and everything was peachy! We spent all afternoon at the hospital worried that something horrible was happening, but in the end it was all just a false alarm. I’m still having the cramps on and off and we still don’t know what they are but the Dr wasn’t worried and her best guess is that baby’s growing so much now that it could just be muscles stretching and causing discomfort. I’m keeping an eye on it though, and if I have any other symptoms or the cramps get worse I’m to go back. 

I have to say, the boys in my team were great. Very sweet and very caring (all carefully hidden under a cloak of sarcasm and piss taking of course) and have been looking after me all week. Us pregnant ladies are sometimes very quick to say men don’t understand or that they’re a bit useless but honestly, I was very impressed and touched by their concern. And of course Paul was the calming and rational influence I always need in a stressful situation too. He is going to be such a great dad. 😊 

So, that was my eventful week! I’m hoping for some calm and quiet now so I can look forward to my baby shower (now only 3 weeks away) and seeing all my lovely friends in one place. Plus there’s going to be cake and plenty of it which is never a bad thing! 

Wednesday did give me a kick up the bum though, I hadn’t even really thought about my hospital bag until then but the prospect of giving birth earlier than planned has given me the nudge I needed so I’m now on top of all things hospital bag! The nursery is ready and waiting and we’ve got most of the big stuff we need sorted, so I’m starting to feel calmer and more ready now. 

Anyway, here’s a video of the little man having a good old wriggle. This last few days he’s been non stop – something tells me he’s going to keep me on my toes! 

“Ooh you must be due any day now”… 

Well I’m not!

In fact I’m not due for another 3 months yet, but that doesn’t stop people telling me how huge I am or comparing me to various modes of transport (and no, I’m really not joking. A colleague genuinely told me I looked like the front of a ship this week) 

It’s not that I mind. I mean I am growing a person after all so I totally expected my body to change and I’m embracing that and actually loving that my body is doing this amazing thing, but it does irk me that people seem to think it’s completely acceptable to point out just how huge you are! It’s just plain rude if you ask me. I wouldn’t dream of telling someone they looked huge – pregnant or otherwise! Particularly as I’m still eating healthily, I haven’t gained weight anywhere but my bump (OK, and my boobs which were cartoon big before I was pregnant so now are competing with the bump as to which stands more prominent!) but, I certainly haven’t just thought “sod it! I’m eating for two pass the chocolate!” The weight I’ve gained is good weight, healthy weight, baby growing weight. I’m ok with that so frankly, anyone else can just kiss my (apparently now fat) ass. 

The thing that annoys me the most with this though is that I’m thick skinned, and I’m comfortable with my body and the changes it’s currently going through, but not everyone is. I know several other pregnant ladies who would be reduced to tears if someone told them they looked like the front of a ship! So what about those women? Why should they be made to feel bad about their appearance? Isn’t it bad enough that we get “fat shamed” or criticised for having cellulite or stretch marks when we’re at our best, without picking on us when we’re at our most vulnerable and most uncomfortable? 

Bottom line though for me? I think people need to engage their brains before their mouths and realise that their words can be hurtful or offensive (or both!) and  maybe the next time someone has something negative to say about my body, I’ll politely point out that after feeling my body had failed me I’m more than happy to take a little weight gain if that means I have a healthy, happy little boy at the end of it. 

And on that indignant, self righteous note here’s a picture of me today at 26+4. So definitely not “due any day now”! 


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.