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Superhero or puppy?

It was my 16 weeks check up with the midwife today. Went with Paul (yeah, after two weeks ago, I don’t think he’ll be missing any more!)-although, he did threaten to go in just a shirt. Yep, no pants or shorts! Found this hysterically funny, which he was shocked at as according to him, I’ve been a bit dramatic and apparently lacking in any humour… Now, I’m dramatic at the best of times but I don’t think jokes about running off with Max and the baby are funny LAWSON!!! Despite this, he then teased me about the amount of time it would take us to get there (it was ten minutes around the corner from where we live), counting down each minute but to his credit, he did get us unstuck as there was a weird road that I hadn’t accounted for that had a different name to the one we were looking for. We had walked into the surgery for about 10 seconds before we were called in so no time to do a pee sample and poor Paul had the door shut in his face! I was given my orders to wee on command (I had just moments before gulped down a tea and juice before leaving) and could barely squeeze a drop out! Apparently the 10ml I caught in the plastic tube was enough to test though- PHEW!

First time meeting the midwife team who will be delivering Blob hopefully mid January- they seem so lovely! Really warm even if I was given a stern talking to about staying calm as it no longer just affected my heart rate but Blob’s too (blood pressure was fine). She also went through my bloods and urine samples saying that my iron level is brilliant (14.7 which is bang in the middle where it should be), I came back as being resistant to Rubella, I have no syphilis, HIV or other STDs. I’m still O+, a normal thing in relation to sickle cell (there was a lot of information! I don’t remember it all!), blood sugars were well within the completely normal range and pee was all fine. No more protein traces which is fab. She then asked about my anomaly scan and when that would be but the QE hadn’t booked me in for one – probably as they thought I’d be continuing at Tommies but that’s all sorted now and hopefully, the next time we see Blob will be on the 27th of August! Paul wants to find out the sex- all I want to know is if Blob is ok!

The midwife then said that she wanted to have a listen to Blob’s heart and I guess my face must have looked aghast, as she did the usual spiel about how it was still early days and not hearing one would be perfectly normal and then stopped, looked at me and said, “You’re still going to worry aren’t you?!” 

I needn’t have worried. She examined me and found the top of my uterus was up, about an inch from my rib cage. She then found the heartbeat straight away. It sounded like Blob was having an EDM party in there… The heartbeat was so loud and clear! It also sounded like baby was tap dancing in time… Starting to become quite concerned that Blob is going to be a superhero with hyper activity as its super power! Am also quite worried that I may be having a puppy, similar to what Max was like…!

I was also able to tell the midwife that I have felt Blob’s movements a lot- that its been doing full somersaults that I’ve felt even when walking about. First one was last Monday- thought it was a weird gassy bubble to begin with but it wasn’t my body doing it- it was so weird! There was something else moving inside of me! The other day, Blob did a massive flip flop in the middle of Eltham (for the Americans- pronunciation is: El’tum. Yeah, I know.) whilst I was on the phone to Paul and it made me yelp in surprise! It’s doing that more and more on a daily basis, usually late afternoon to early evening. 

Whilst I still haven’t had anyone guess I was pregnant from my shape, I feel like things are changing quite rapidly. My tummy is rounding up and hardening- you can feel where my uterus is quite easily. Paul feels like there’s a big change too. I can’t suck it in anymore either… After years of posing in front of the mirror sticking my belly out, its weird to see what a different shape it is and where it sits, as against a fat belly. I feel like my belly is becoming quite pointy and slightly larger on the left-hand side but that’s probably only something I can see!

Yesterday, I sent off for some wool to knit a baby blanket. That’s the first thing I’ve bought for Blob. Just making one with simple stripes in primary colours. Felt a bit scary but it’s time, Simba. Time to start believing that maybe this time next year we’ll have a baby.

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Self-induced lunacy

Yeah and add to that picture, unicorns, rainbows and marshmallow clouds!

Yeah and add to that picture, unicorns, rainbows and marshmallow clouds!

Hi my name is Sarah and I have an extremely over-active imagination. Not only is it over-active but it also imagines the worst case scenarios. Like a few months ago, I had to walk over to the cash point early in the morning to get some money out for the dog walker. At the time, there was this man who had escaped prison called the Skull Cracker as he like to mug people and cave in their skulls and obviously because he was on the loose in South East London, I would be attacked by him whilst I walked over to the ATM with Max. Actually no, the anti-fantasy was worse than that, I imagined Max being attacked or him attacking Max, after he attacked me. Obviously, this didn’t happen. The Skull Cracker was in fact caught later that day  but perhaps this shows you a little of how much crazy there is inside my head. 

If I receive criticism, it’s not that someone is trying to make me better. Criticism means that I am the worst person on this planet and don’t deserve to walk amongst the regular humans. I know that this should mean that I shouldn’t really leave the house due to nerves and a lot of the time, I don’t! However, I have learnt good survival techniques and if you know me, you’ll probably think that I am the most confident and bubbly person you’ve ever met. I would like to use the swan analogy but there is nothing swan-like about me! I do work very hard at hiding my fear of the world. I still Crimewatch narrate late night sole walks and dread meeting up with friends I have known for years. For example, I met up with friends from my old school last week- the day before and the morning of, I was panicking chronically! What if they actually hated me? What if I became that person who kept coming back to see old workmates when they had moved one (think David Brent in the Office)? Of course, I was being utterly stupid letting my brain get ahead of me- I was welcomed back with so many hugs and lemonades!

Obviously given my past successful pregnancies, I have come with some baggage to this one. Paul doesn’t let me wallow too much though which is possibly the healthiest thing ever. He listens to the crazy, then takes the piss and we both fall about the place laughing! Best medicine ever. I’ve been doing a bit of fear fire fighting today- I managed to book Paul and myself on the NCT course so we can laugh through the breastfeeding fails and huffing exercises together. This was a big anxiety as after all, will there be a baby? I think the hardest bit of what’s happening at the moment is that I now have to wait until the end of the summer for my next scan. When you’ve been scanned pretty much every other week, waiting four more seems like a century. I also bought some maternity clothes today and another bra (freaking H cup!!!). whilst things are becoming tighter, I could have probably gone another month or two if it wasn’t for the fact that all my clothes have either been eaten by Max or falling to pieces- like ladders in leggings, teeth marks in dresses. There are obvious reasons why I was scared to buy maternity clothes. I am starting to get a bump but it is very tiny! I mean, if Blob is doing ok in there, it’s about the size of a large orange right now and apparently in the next four weeks, it will do some crazy growth to being the length of a banana by the end of the summer holidays. This again is absolutely terror fraught. Anti-fantasy galore!!! 

I guess it doesn’t help when you feel a bit of a fraud and you’re waiting for someone to say, “I’m so sorry…” My imagination is beating me up right now! I just need to beat it back into a more positive shape.

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Panic Stations!

 

Yes, this should be on every tube map.

Yes, this should be on every tube map.

I realise that perhaps for a highly anxious person such as myself, having a baby isn’t the best thing to do. My anxiety has been pretty much life-long- my first recollection of having an anxiety attack was my mum going into  hospital to have my brother. Knowing that she always came back sad from the hospital, there was no way I was going to allow her to go. Another early panic episode was when outside an old house, a taxi flipped because it was travelling too fast- my medic parents told me to stay indoors as they ran outside to check over the people inside the cab and I remember wrapping my arms around my then Bassett (Choti) and not being able to breathe.

My panic attacks start off pretty straight forward- I get tingling in my extremities (hands and feet) like I need to run or cartwheel away from my perceived danger. This then travels inwards to my arms and and legs (which I start to flex and stretch) and I start to gasp for air, beginning with yawning and over-the-top sighs. When I panic, I can’t think straight (obviously!) and I certainly don’t take in information properly. Today was such a case. It’s only now that I look back at it with hindsight that I can see what actually happened.

This was my first appointment in this pregnancy that I have had to go to by myself (cue alarm bells). My midwife had made lots of appointments for me to see obstetricians and psychs due to the losses and my past mental health and today was the first. I had to go and see the obstetrician at the hospital up the road. First I was seen by a lovely nurse, who told me I deserved a gold star for my urine sample and my blood pressure and then I sat there, in front of the empty fish tank, imagining I could smell the tiny bit of dank water that was lying still at the bottom. Finally it was my turn with the doctor, who was wearing the most beautiful outfit. She asked all the usual questions about what had happened so far, how I was doing and explained why the Time Team would be getting in touch (for those of you with a knowledge of British telly- sadly, this doesn’t mean that Tony Robinson will be excavating my uterus to check for historical evidence of cavorting elephants.) She also owned up that she felt that the CVS anaesthesia was purely psychological in her view (I bloody thought so!) After all the usual questions and the normal blank mind about what questions to ask her (got to start writing them down), she then wanted to have a listen to Blob’s heartbeat.

She couldn’t find it.

I think she poured on about a tonne of gel in the hope that there’d be a better connection but it didn’t make much of a difference. She sent me to drink some more as she thought she’d heard something but wanted to hear it more clearly. I left my bags in her room (BIGGEST FUCKING MISTAKE EVER) to run around trying to find a water dispenser that worked and ended up in ultrasound next door where lo and behold, I bump into one of my former teaching course mates whose wife is now expecting their second, three days after my due date! It was nice to see him, he’s truly a lovely guy and I didn’t feel like such a lemon standing there glugging back icy cold water (total brain freeze)- it gave a sense of normalcy to the panic that had set in.

Once I had drunk a lot of water, I went back thinking that I’d be able to go back in straight away but someone else was in there, meaning that I sat without any contact to the outside world in that bloody fish-less waiting room. My hand went instantly to my Jizo necklace and I sat there praying and rubbing it, feeling its big ears and tiny grooves, hoping that this wasn’t the end. After what seemed like an age (read five minutes), I was called back in. 

There was still no clear heartbeat. I think she said that all she could hear was the baby moving around but to me I hear that as being the doppler was moving the baby around. Every now and then there was a slight sound of a heartbeat but for milliseconds, nothing substantial. The Dr didn’t seem to perturbed but said that she wanted to scan me to put my mind at rest as she didn’t want me going home and worrying about it. At the time I heard that she couldn’t find a heartbeat and that she wanted to scan me to make sure everything was ok. 

See what panic does?

I walked in a daze through to the café in the hospital and sat at a wonky table outside to make the phone call to Paul. I told him what I thought had happened and he pretty much told me to stay where I was and he’d be there as soon as possible. Towards the end of the conversation, my voice started to crack and that was it, I had a few tears in the hospital café. Everyone was being really lovely on twitter- reminding me that it was perfectly normal to struggle to find a heartbeat at this stage (I think the Dr said something too…), I then saw that I’d received a message from work asking me about what time I’d get in- I texted my Head as I thought I might be a bit too teary to talk, didn’t hear anything so rang and no one picked up so I rang the main school office and spoke to our lovely secretary and told her that I was being scanned at one and that I’d try to get in afterwards. A few minutes after that, the Head rang. I was so worried that she’d think I was taking the piss- I mean it’s bad enough that she hires me and I get knocked up in the holidays before I start, let alone a high risk pregnancy that requires lots of appointments.

I needn’t have worried. She was utterly wonderful and even offered to be at the end of the phone during the scan if Paul didn’t make it in time. Apparently, one of her pregnancies was high risk so she gets it. As it got ever closer to 1 o’clock,  I decided a loo trip and then a trip back to ultrasound’s brain freeze water was in order so I texted Paul to tell him my change of location and he dutifully turned up to ultrasound just as I was walking out, about to walk over to the fetal medical unit. After a quick kiss and me accusing him of smelling like beans, he held my hand as we walked over to FMU. It’s terrible that we both know women’s services so well! A lovely lady behind the desk took my notes and ushered me into a side room, which kind of made me think the worst… Good news doesn’t come in side rooms so panic rose even more. Right to the point where when I lay down to have the scan, I started retching to be sick… Just like I’d done two weeks beforehand at Tommies.

After a few minutes of being upright, the doctor started to examine me- in fact she exclaimed, “Well, I have never seen such a wriggly baby! This explains an awful lot! No wonder I could only hear movement noises!” The baby was flexing its legs and propelling itself off the walls of the placenta- seriously, it was bouncing off the walls! Arms and legs were flailing around, its back was curling and stretching- we had to wait for it to calm down and spin itself into a better position to see its heartbeat. Paul was wide eyed at seeing it bounce around so much! I was just relieved that things were ok. In seeing the doctor again, I got to ask the questions that I’d forgot to ask before- about headaches and taking paracetamol for them and my dizzy spells. She okayed the paracetamol straight away, saying that it is no more toxic to you when pregnant than when not and then checked my notes for my haemoglobin levels and laughed! Apparently, I’m definitely not anaemic!

We caught the bus back home (with the worst driver known to man- he didn’t believe in pulling over to the bus stops, just stopping in the middle of the road near to the stop) and slowly shuffled the 10 footsteps to our home. Both of us relieved and exhausted all at once. We’ve both fallen fast asleep this afternoon (mine might be due to an extremely over active baby).

So my next appointment is in two weeks on the 30th of July… Paul’s coming.

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So time to move on?

Hahaha! I may have moved my blog(after constant complaints of not being able to comment on posts from mainly wordpress bloggers!) but I still can’t move on from the question titles. For just over a year, I’ve posted on One Day, Baby?, which was my blog that dealt with my five miscarriages, being genetically wonky and the start of our journey towards using PGD to get our one day baby. I’ve also decided to create a new blog as the content in here could be triggering for those still trying to become pregnant.

So, we ended up not going to that appointment with the geneticist to start the IVF because on the 15th of May 2014, I peed on a stick and it instaneously came up with a big fat positive. For most people, this is a moment of joy but for someone with repeat pregnancy loss, your first thought is, “Here we go again.” A text message to Paul with a picture of the pregnancy test and “Oh shit” followed before I went to sit in a blurry staff meeting.

The first pee stick. No denying that blue line, it's stronger than the control line!

The first pee stick. No denying that blue line, it’s stronger than the control line!

Paul was understandably worried about me. I’d barely dragged my ass through the past 18months and here we were again. For some reason, from the start he felt this was it and we would get a baby from it. I thought I hid it well but apparently I threw him a death stare when he said this! Too many people had said that they had every faith in another one of my pregnancies and they didn’t make it so when husband number one says something, I wanted to strangle him!

I felt a little sick, extraordinarily tired and my boobs felt like they were about to explode so I did some maths and worked out that I would be coming up to 5 weeks so I peed on a clever stick the following weekend to make sure that my dates were matching and it wasn’t a chemical.

 

 

Yup, them dates match nicely!

Yup, them dates match nicely!

They did. Very nicely. I was looking for a three week plus sign and there it was! So I tried to carry on as normal- I rang the following week to book an appointment for the half term holidays to see the GP and ask them for a scan at the EPU later in the week as I would be around 7weeks on the Friday. Paul wasn’t able to come and so Kat stepped in and held my hand as I shook and panicked. So many faces of the staff had I seen before. This time there was a heartbeat.

Blob measuring 6 weeks and 6 days.

Blob measuring 6 weeks and 6 days.

I can’t really describe the relief of seeing that first ever heartbeat. I knew I wasn’t out of the woods by any stretch but the moment I saw that tiny flickering light, there was a sliver of hope that I’d never felt before. This hope lasted for another week and a half, in fact, right to the middle of my school’s OFSTED inspection. I woke up at 3am and went for my middle of the night pee and as I wiped, there was blood. I sat there and sobbed for a good half an hour. Paul hadn’t come to bed that night-he was dozing in the other bedroom and I felt guilty trying to wake him up so I lay awake chatting to the girls on twitter who were doing their best to calm me down as I worried about my sixth loss. I went to work and was promptly sent home again by a very caring Head and Deputy who wanted me checked out so I rang the GP from the back of the taxi. He wasn’t exactly the most caring or understanding GP but allowed me to have another scan the following day. Paul still remained calm and positive even though I felt as though I was falling apart. He said that he’d never seen me so frightened as she scanned me again. She couldn’t find the reason for the bleed and baby’s heart was still beating away!

Blob at the 9 week mark

Blob at the 9 week mark

After the drama of the ninth week, I ended up seeing so many landmark dates that I had never met before- I got to meet a midwife- who, poor lady, had to start writing my notes up in her lunch break as my medical notes were so extensive! I got my pregnancy notes and Bounty pack- something I have never managed to reach before.

Maternity notes and freebies! I was only brave enough to put the hand gel in my bag- Max has since eaten the sudocrem pack...

Maternity notes and freebies! I was only brave enough to put the hand gel in my bag- Max has since eaten the sudocrem pack…

After I had my midwifery appointment, I thought maybe it would be time t try and find out through a blood test whether my pregnancy would be genetically viable as after all, that was what had caused so many losses before. On ringing the clinic that offered it, I found out that they couldn’t do the test on me due to my wonky genes so I rang Guys to postpone my appointment for PGD and ask them what I should do next. They advised not going for my dating and nuchal at my local hospital and to come to St Thomas’ instead who could also do a CVS. A CVS is where they suck up some of the placenta through a big needle that they stick in your belly and they test it for genetic abnormalities. I started to freak out big time around the time of the weekend before the scan and CVS. Anyway, I had to get a dress for my cousin’s wedding and had a terrible time trying to find one as non-maternity wasn’t quite right and maternity was too big! I was also a little superstitious about buying maternity before my 12 week scan. Be awful if I had to take it back a week later. I ended up in Monsoon looking for something to cover my arms and fell in love with a dress which was utterly perfect. As I walked out of the dressing room, Paul’s and my first dance song was playing and then on the way home, I saw the most beautiful rainbow across the road from where we live.

A little ray of hope!

A little ray of hope!

The day crept closer. I became more anxious. In fact, I didn’t want to go home after work on the Monday night. The next day arrived. As we came out of Westminster station, Big Ben began to chime which reminded me of being a child and my dad driving me into London to hear the peals before bedtime. We then made a slow walk into the hospital and up to the eighth floor where we sat in a claustrophobic waiting room where I sobbed and almost vomited whilst all the other mums-to-be sat there grinning and serene. Within a couple of minutes, we went to through to the doctor and the nurse who would undertake my scan and CVS. It was a big room with a lot of big screens and monitors- I was shaking like a leaf and she then started scanning me. That heartbeat? Yep, it was still there throbbing away and I got to hear it! Nuchal translucency came back at 1.6mm and when anything up to 3mm is fine, I was pretty happy with that! I then had the CVS- I’m not going to lie to you- it hurts like a bitch! They numb your skin but the needle doesn’t just go into the skin-it also goes through your stomach wall and into your uterus. They don’t numb those bits! I had to have it twice as the first sample wasn’t enough so for the past two weeks I’ve had a mofo bruise on my tummy! Two days later, I got the all clear genetically. I have no words to describe that moment other than it catapulted us into a scary situation that this Blob might make it to being a baby.

Blob at 12 weeks. It's blurry as I was giggling and blob was dancing on the screen!

Blob at 12 weeks. It’s blurry as I was giggling and blob was dancing on the screen!

So where am I now? In my second trimester and about to go and see an obstetrician to check that there is nothing else going on. I’m still terrified. I still check the toilet tissue every single loo trip. I am waiting to lose the baby on a daily basis because how come I’ve got this far and the others didn’t? It’s also mega scary without many symptoms. I’m also in a weird place as people are treating it like there should be a baby in January and I’m still very scared that there won’t be.There’s this weirdness of saying, “Oh this time next year…” and as soon as I catch myself saying it, I want to cut my tongue off as I fear I’ve cursed it all.

Silly, I know!