Happy ever after…

On 23rd January at 21:21 our much longed for, very long awaited beautiful baby girl surprised us and made her way into the world! Madeline Lily weighed a very healthy 5lbs 12ozs at 4 weeks early and after 5 days in hospital our dream finally came true when we brought our daughter home.

The last 3 and a half years have marked the most challenging journey we have been on as individuals, a couple and parents in waiting. We’ve been tested in ways we never thought possible, been strong during times when it felt hopeless, experienced many highs and many lows and always tried to keep believing and searching for answers. I’m proud of our perseverance, proud that we never let go of our dream and proud to have come out of this journey a stronger couple with a new outlook on life – one that makes us grateful everyday for what we have, and never have we felt more grateful than to have a beautiful, healthy daughter.

This is the start of a new journey for us, together as a family. We will never ever forget the babies we lost and the experiences we went through, that will stay with us forever, but we couldn’t be more excited to create new memories in this new chapter and live our lives again.

A very special friend who I met through this journey (trytrytryagain) encouraged me to write this blog to help me deal with things along the way and I will always be so grateful to her for that as its been an outlet for my emotions/feelings, allowed me to share my experience in the hope of helping others and enabled me to ‘meet’ so many lovely ladies going through similar journies where we have been able to support each other. If you’re reading this, you’re probably one of those ladies so thank you for your support, encouragement and bright words in times of despair. Trytrytryagain and I have formed a special friendship, which I know will be lifelong and I owe her a lot for her constant support – thank you for everything! 🙂

For all of you still on this journey, I sincerely hope you get your happy endings too. For me I always tried to think of every month, every try as a new chance with new hope for that happy ending (hence my blog name!) so never give up and stay strong, it’s all possible.

Lots of love xxx

What a whirlwind!

Well here I am quite a few weeks since my last post and I’m really happy to say that I am a couple of days away from being 34 weeks pregnant…..34 weeks pregnant!! How has that happened?!

To say things have been a whirlwind in the last 6-8 weeks is an understatement with the pregnancy, appointments, work, getting prepared, moving house and hosting christmas! Once we hit 28 weeks we thought we were feeling confident enough to go and start looking at baby stuff in the shops, something I have dreamt about doing for the last 3 years. It was nothing like I ever imagined though – I didn’t enjoy it as I wanted to, I felt anxious, like I was tempting fate. I almost felt like a fraud as well – “we won’t need any of this stuff because we’re not going to end up with a baby”. What was meant to be an exciting day out, turned into 30 minutes in one shop and me in tears in a nearby coffee shop unable to deal with it all! We thought maybe it was just too soon and a couple of weeks later, another good scan and lots of movement gave us a sudden wave of confidence to order our nursery furniture, go and look at prams and get all the big stuff that a baby needs. I’ve gone into my OCD organised mindset and am tackling the preparation for the baby like a work project! Even with items arriving at home and seeing clothes, booties, bedding, car seat, I feel sad not to have too much emotion and excitement attached to it all, but rather my practical head on. I know this is purely a defense mechansim and I can only imagine the level of emotion that will flood out and overwhelm me in due course!

This week we went to our first antenatal class which was eye opening and probably the first time we have truly been slapped with reality that a baby is going to arrive and we need to be prepared! I finish work for maternity leave in 4 weeks and suddenly time is flying by – it’s a whirlwind of emotion, and constantly in the back of our mind is “this could all still go wrong” – there’s nothing to suggest that’s going to happen but another default mode. This time would be harder than any other though with how far we have got, getting attached to baby’s movements, seeing baby stuff all over the house. We’ve already agreed we would pack up and head off travelling if the worst happened now – I couldn’t go back to day to day life. That said, we really are trying to be positive and in 6 weeks time we could have everything we’ve ever wanted and one part of our long, emotional journey will be over and a new one will begin.

Facing reality….

Here I am almost 26 weeks pregnant and I’ve started to deal with ‘normal’ pregnancy related things! Some of these have been forced and some have been by choice. I find myself letting go occasionally, believing that this baby may actually be our happy ending and then I get a wave of panic that I’ve let my guard down and resort back to panic, disbelieving mode!

The baby is extremely active in the evenings and at night time and quiet throughout the day – such strong kicks and what I can only think is somersaults with the odd bulge of what must be a head or backside! It’s a daily reality check that there’s a live, healthy baby in there. My husband has been looking up statistics of pre-term labour at this stage – our baby is actually viable if born now but would be on the lower percentile of survival and possibly have many complications and long-term challenges if it was ok. That scares me less than suddenly not feeling movement, having a scan and not finding a heartbeat – that fear will never leave me. We’ve been told by the midwife to start counting movement episodes in a couple of weeks when baby is more likely to be in a pattern but I think that’s likely to cause more anxiety than reassurance!

I’ve also had to face planning my maternity leave with work which you have to legally do by 25 weeks and that has been quite a stressful thing for me to face as that’s a huge forward planning thing and something I got excited about with the last pregnancy. It really felt like I was tempting fate. Of course it had to be done and on my good days, I feel like I can look forward to it! I’m struggling to sleep with the baby moving so much at night and am having quite bad pelvic pain so the thought of some time to nap at home when I finish work is quite appealing!

My husband and I agreed a few different milestones with this pregnancy and one was to start shopping for the big ticket items for the baby when I hit 28 weeks (when statistically the baby has a pretty good chance of survival if born) in case we need to order and wait for stuff. That is 2 weeks away and I’ve made myself look at various baby checklists to decide what we need to think about now and what can wait until nearer the time. We are both so looking forward to this experience of choosing things but I don’t feel like we will be able to fully let ourselves go, which is sad. We’ll do our best to enjoy it and believe though!

I truly am wishing time away at the moment and counting week to week when I know the baby is getting stronger and more able to survive. I hope my body continues to co-operate and keep our little one safe! xx

Possible to still be in denial (aka too terrified to believe)?!

It has been a long time since I last posted – my apologies! I’d like to say where has the time gone, but I can tell you exactly where it’s gone…..waiting, worrying, panicking, stressing, denying…the list is endless!

This weekend I will be 22 weeks pregnant and I can’t believe that even as I write it. Since I last posted, I have had to ‘come out’. I talked a lot about my anxiety in revealing my pregnancy but I was left with no choice due to the size of my bump! Revealing it to my boss, colleagues, team and wider friendship group was all met with “I knew, you’re showing and have been for a while!”. Those who knew my history have been great and avoided all the questions that come with a normal pregnancy, but those who don’t know have flooded me with questions – “when are you off on mat leave?”, “what have you bought?”, “what colour are you going to do the nursey?”, “do you want any clothes for the baby?”. I smile politely and mumble an answer when all I really want to say is “I’m too s*it scared to discuss mat leave, buy anything and acknowledge that we might actually have a baby as I can’t believe for a second this is going to happen, I’m just waiting for it to all to go wrong”.

Not only has telling people well and truly popped my denial bubble but feeling the baby kick and move has been a slap of reality, fear and excitement. Feeling that first kick and seeing it is something I just can’t describe – swamped in a few seconds of pure happiness and ignorant bliss, swiftly followed by “wow, this is going to make losing it even harder”. Please believe me when I say I am trying to be positive but those negative thoughts always creep in!  To prove I am having positive thoughts, my husband and I have made a few plans….we’ve signed up to antenatal classes, agreed that at 28 weeks (when the baby has a pretty good chance of survival if born) we’ll start buying a few things and are going to look at bigger cars for me that will accommodate a baby, all of its stuff and our beautiful, rapidly growing puppy!

I know these weeks/months are some of the most testing of our lives and I want more than anything to enjoy them, however small those moments.

For those who have Sky TV, there is a documentary on the TLC channel tonight at 10pm called ‘First Heartbeat’ – this is a documentary on recurrent miscarriage and treatment by a lady under the care of the miscarriage specialist I have been seeing. I first came across her last year on a forum which I followed religiously after my 3rd miscarriage. It’s going to make for mixed emotion viewing but she had a happy ending and I am so happy for her as well as really pleased that the subject of miscarriage is getting some much needed exposure xx

 

 

“You must be so happy to be past the point of your last loss…..”

So being past the point of your last loss automatically means everything is going to be ok with this pregnancy, right?? Right??! I know people are only trying to be kind and positive but there really is never a safety zone. Losing our last pregnancy at 15 weeks doesn’t mean that now at 15 weeks 5 days, I am going to give birth to a full-term, live baby. There is a small mental relief to get past the day of 15 weeks but I probably feel more anxious now than ever – anything can happen at any time, we all know that.

Last week I finished my steriod drugs that were part of the treatment my recurrent miscarriage specialist has me on and that was a big deal – they’d felt like somewhat of a comfort blanket as it was something new that I really hoped would help and it seemed they’d done their job – getting me to 12 weeks. But what next, what would help me past 12 weeks? Hope, hope more hope, vitamins and progesterone it seems is the answer! The only other thing to cling onto was my last intralipid treatment which I had yesterday. Before the treatment, I had to have a scan to check everything was ok. This is the first ever scan I’ve had to do on my own as my husband couldn’t come because of the nature of his job, so I was doubly nervous but I had no choice but to just get on with it. Luckily baby is doing great, right on track and extremely active! It was the first time in this pregnancy I got a glimmer of excitement as I saw its legs kicking away and how much growth there had been since the last scan. The excitement was short lived though – as soon as the scan machine switched off,  I was back to pure fear.

Whilst I was sat hooked up to my intralipid treatment (which took 3 hours instead of 1.5 hours because of my “didn’t want to play ball” veins), I chatted away to the Senior Midwife who was looking after me. It surprised me that in her position, working in a miscarriage clinic, she could say “You really need to make sure you start enjoying your pregnancy, esepcially as it’s your first” – the comment really took me aback and as I started to explain why that will never be possible, she said she understood, but did she really? I know like the people who have commented on it being great to be past 15 weeks, she was trying to be kind, positive and reassuring with “you’ll start to feel movements of the baby very soon and that will reassure you every day, you’re past the real danger zone now…..” but I know that no-one except us RPL ladies will ever understand that there will be no relaxation until a full-term baby is in our arms.

I’ve spoken before about how much I want to be excited and plan for this pregnancy like a “normal” person but I’ve come to terms with not being able to be that way. My plan of ignoring it as much as I can is creeping away week by week as my bump grows and new pregnancy related ailments appear but I’m still trying as it’s the only way I feel I can manage. We are due to move house in the next month to 6 weeks so I have the house to start sorting out and we have some lovely breaks away planned including one this weekend for our wedding anniversary, which we celebrated on Tuesday. As we reflected back on our 3 years of marriage, we couldn’t help but feel sad about how much hope and expectation we had for the start of our married life and how reality couldn’t have been further from what we imagined! That said, we still have some very happy memories and are stronger and have more love for each other than ever and I am thankful for such a wonerful, supportive husband who is always by my side. I know people who have been through fertility problems and it’s pulled them apart so we are very lucky to have each other.

Things happen that we don’t have control over (as a control freak, that’s hard to say!) and we either sink or swim – I’ve never felt that I’ve swam but I have always tried to keep my head above water and my husband, family and friends are always there helping me. We have to be thankful for the good things that come out of the bad and closer, stronger relationships with those around me are one of those things.

 

Pressures of not being a ‘normal’ pregnant person

In one of my previous posts I talked about the recent pressure I’d been feeling after the news of two of our close friends announcing their pregnancies. Today, a very close friend at work announced her pregnancy and she is only a couple of weeks behind me.

The pressure of pregnancy announcements when you’re an RPL lady….it’s a horrible reminder that you’re not pregnant, you’re not that ‘lucky’ lady and you wonder whether you’ll get pregnant again and if you do, will you have another miscarriage. It’s a gut wrenching feeling like no other and there’s nothing that eases it unless you are actually pregnant yourself. Even then I have still had that gut wrenching feeling upon hearing other peoples’ pregnancy news but for different reasons. Of course you are always happy for people, especially those close to you, because you being pregnant (when it is normal) must be amazing. But the news brings unbelievable pressure. The now three pregnancy announcements are so close to ours – within 1 day, 2 weeks and 5 weeks of our due date – that ‘if’ (yes, I’ve upgraded from ‘when!’) something were to go wrong with this pregnancy, we would have to live through our friends’ pregnancies with very close reminders of our own milestones….slapping a smile on and trying to be happy for others when you feel unbelievable pain…”that should be me”. How do you deal with that? How do you continue to try and be happy for your friends? How do you try not to treat them differently and have them treat you differently? There’s no magic answer as we all know but I cannot stop feeling anxious about this at the moment especially as we come closer to being at the same stage as our last loss.

I so want to be happy and excited – I want to share our friends excitement about which pushchair to buy, names and plans for maternity leave but I can’t. I can only just about utter our due date when we’ve been asked. Will I get to the point where I can look at pushchairs? Probably, if the baby actually arrives but I can’t ever believe I will feel confident enough to do it or that we will actually have a baby. Having 2 of your closest friends pregnant at the same time within weeks of each other is anyone’s dream, but for my husband and I, all we think is “well that’s too perfect, we’re not lucky enough for that so something is going to go wrong.” We surely can’t all have successful pregnancies based on statistics and odds are on us given our history.

I have also mentioned before that I have been very lucky with work in that they are letting me work from home permanently so I can try to have less work pressure and I am so grateful of that. I’m occassionally going into the office as I have a team and certain meetings I need to be there for but I have avoided it this past week and this week as if I go in, I will have no choice but to tell people I am pregnant as my bump is now very obvious. I don’t want to tell anyone and I want to hide it for as long as possible but I know I physically can’t do that anymore. Never have I wanted to wear spanx more!! I want to remain in our bubble so that if things go wrong I don’t have to face telling people and we can be private about it.

We’re seeing our NHS Consultant again tomorrow for more infection swabs and cervix discussions (how lovely!). And Friday we are seeing our miscarriage specialist for a scan and checks as I am weaning off all the drugs. I’ve been really irritable coming off the steriods (much to my husband’s delight) and feeling a lot more tired so it’s not been pleasant and as much as I am incredibly nervous coming off the drugs, I will also be grateful to not have to pop copious amounts of pills every day and try to return to normality of just vitamins.

I know I must continue to try and feel very grateful to be in our situation as 13 weeks ago, this is the only place I wished I could be. But as we all always say, nothing will bring us peace but having a healthy baby in our arms and that feels like a distant dream at all stages. We always have hope though and we should never underestimate the power of hoping – we have a chance, we have hope! xx

We have a healthy baby!

Yes good news! We have a very healthy, very wriggly baby…..and the relief is enormous! We will never feel “out of the woods” and our next milestone is getting past the term of our last loss at 15 weeks, but the scan today was an important milestone to learn the baby is physically ok, all is as it should be with me to carry the baby and we also found out yesterday that all our chromosome/syndrome tests are all good. So at this stage, we couldn’t ask for more and we just have to hope and pray that my body behaves and continues on!

Today has been very bitter-sweet for us though as it’s exactly one year ago since our 15 week loss so being back in the hospital and remembering has been very sad. We were very fortunate today to have a Consultant shadowing the scans when usually it’s just the sonographer – she was super lovely and spoke to us about the last miscarriage saying that how it happened for us is such a grey area and there’s nothing to suggest any reocurring problem that means it will happen again. I’m taking antibiotics in case of infection and my cervical length looked totally normal. All we can do is hope, pray and try to be positive.

So next steps now are intralipid infusion on Saturday, NHS Consultant wednesday and miscarriage specialist a week tomorrow. All of these appointments are just “care checks” now so it’s good we have that.

I really would like to thank all of you ladies who have taken the time to comment and support me in the lead up to this scan – your thoughts and wishes mean so much and whilst none of us want to be in this RPL group, it’s wonderful to have such a group! xx

In a weird place…..

Today I am officially 12 weeks pregnant and tomorrow is our scan – I’ve got the usual anxiety plus a bucket load more as this is a big scan in terms of not only checking we still have a hearbeat but checking that the baby is physically ok.

In the last week though I’ve felt in a very weird place and I think I know a few reasons why….

  1. One of my husband’s best friend’s announced he and his wife to be are expecting a baby and I am only one day ahead of them (they only tried for one week and fell pregnant!!!). In any normal pregnancy world, this would be super exciting to be expecting a baby almost to the day of one of your best buds but to us it brings nothing but absolute fear and a whole pile of pressure. Of course their pregnancy is going to work and when ours doesn’t (default mode) we will have reminders to the day of where our pregnancy should be, how old our baby should be etc. Terrible to think this way but understandable I think.
  2. Our very best friends also announced that they are expecting. They have been trying for 4 years without even a hint of a positive test so we are genuinely very very excited and happy for them and if there’s anyone I would want to be pregnant with at the same time, it’s them. It does of course bring similar feelings to the above as this will be another pregnancy as a reminder.
  3. Ever since I was little, I’ve had a weird OCD ‘thing’ that happens when I’m anxious and it generally goes along the line of “If I don’t do x (or I do x), something bad will happen” and it’s been heightened this past week in anticipation of our 12 week scan. It’s a whole host of random things like, “if I don’t do a good deed today our baby won’t have a heartbeat on Thursday” or “if I don’t lie on my left side all night (as apparently this is better for blood flow to the baby), then if our baby doesn’t have a heartbeat on Thursday, that’ll be why”. I know it’s all crazy stuff and even when I’m acting on the thoughts, I know it doesn’t actually have an impact but I still have to do it “just in case”. It drives me mad and I know is linked to feeling anxious – nothing can really prevent it, I just have to try and manage it but it just brings me extra anxiety in itself.
  4. I have started showing as I mentioned in my last post and people who know can’t help commenting “wow, you’re showing already, look at your bump etc” and it makes me sad that I should be excited about that and can’t be.

So I think all of the above has contributed to us not being able to be in our bubble of “ignoring” the pregnancy which is our coping mechnasim to try and get through each week and not getting too attached (yeah right, I know!). There are now more pressures, more reminders, more reasons for anxiety and I just feel strange about it all. I want tomorrow to be here but I am also so so nervous about it. Maybe I’ll feel a little better after the scan if all is well but we’ll see. Not a fan of this weird place…..please time, move quicker!!

Back to the real world!

I’m back from holiday and what a crash into the real world – work, doctor appointments and reality! We had an amazing 10 days away and managed to relax and switch off much easier than we thought which was lovely. I really wish we could win the lottery and be on one permanent holiday….if only hey?! I always think it’s amazing how just even sunshine makes you feel better about everything and a couple of days of no time schedule – eating/drinking/doing what you want, when you want, really makes a huge difference to your stress levels and mental health. The day we got back we booked a mini break away in the Cotswolds for our wedding anniversary which is only a month away so that will be nice to look forward to and we have a couple of trips with friends planned too so I shouldn’t complain really!

The day after we got back from holiday I had my 11 week scan with our miscarriage specialist and I’m pleased to say that all is well – growth on track and nice strong heartbeat but I was disappointed at the speed of the appointment because the specialist had literally squeezed me in before his 2 week holiday so we didn’t get to see much of the baby, literally a few seconds – in fact, it was so quick I said to my husband “did you see arms and legs?!”. As everything was good, we went on to have our screening blood tests done which checks for things such as Downs Syndrome. The bloods get sent off to the US so we have to wait 2 weeks for the results which I know will feel like a lifetime. In the meantime, I’ll have my 12 week scan with the NHS next week where we’ll get a much less reliable indication but at least we’ll get a much more in depth scan all being well.

A bit of a shock at the appointment was learning that I now need to start weaning off my steroid medication – my husband’s face was pure shock when the specialist said this very casually. Both of us knew this would have to happen at some point but we have literally been living scan to scan and didn’t expect it to be this early or to get far enough to need to do it so we’re both panicking about what will happen as I come off the drugs. I reduce the steriod by 5mg every 4 days and I’m only on 25mg so I’ll be off it pretty quickly, starting next week. After that it’s just vitamins, progesterone and a wing and a prayer – the thought of which is literally terrifying. Have the steroids got me this far or would I have got this far without them? Will things go wrong when I stop taking them? How will my body react? One of the main reasons for stopping the steriods is that prolonged use in pregnant women can weaken your cervix and there’s a quesiton mark over whether this or infection caused my 15 week loss so I guess I should almost be thankful to come off them in a way. All we can do is hope and pray and I’ll start being scanned for signs of any cervix problems next week – my NHS Consultant has already mentioned a cervical stitch but they only like to do this if absolutely necessary but I am going to do everything I can to push for it – I just want to cover all bases as much as I can.

The other thing we’re trying to process this week is telling people, with the 12 week mark looming next week. I’ve already got a small bump, which is so early and could be holiday food/progesterone bloat (!!) but I’ve have had a few comments so it’s obviously there and therefore going to be hard to hide. I just really don’t want to tell people, especially those at work and it’s a thought that is upsetting me. I don’t want to have to deal with what I did last time – going back and telling everyone we lost our baby and then dealing with awkward moments where the news hadn’t filtered to people and they asked me how bump was. Having spoken to my husband and a friend about it, I’ve decided to wait until it really is obvious and I have no choice (if we get that far) and as I’m primarly working from home at the moment, I can just wear disgusing clothing on the days I have to go into the office. It’s been a sad thing to think through because this should be a time when you’re excited that at 12 weeks you can shout it from the rooftops and be wanting to show off a small bump but for us RPL ladies, it’s the exact opposite – dread of the 12 week scan and wanting to hide any signs of being pregnant so we can stay in our bubble.

On a positive note, the morning (all day!) sickness has pretty much disappeared which is an amazing feeling – you don’t realise how awful it is and how much it stops you doing until it goes. I’m now just really tired still so napping a lot and hoping that in the next week or so that will start to lift.

For now, more appointments, more waiting and comtinued hoping! 🙂

 

Time flies….or does it?!

It’s been a little while since I last posted and whilst on one hand I don’t know where time has gone, it’s also felt like it’s stood still. On Thursday we had our 9 week scan and I think I was most nervous about this one for some reason as was my husband – he was a mess bless him! Even the consultant commented on it! It was great news though – baby measured 9 weeks 2 days, heartbeat was 179bpm and we actually saw a lot of movement with the arm and leg buds! We were not expecting it and it made it feel real for the first time this pregnancy. This scan was with our private specialist and he said at 9 weeks we ‘graduate’ to the next stage of things where we talk about screening tests and our miscarriage risk goes down to 1%. Of course that statistic means absolutely nothing to us as we experienced a 15 week loss so as always all we can do is hope. I really would love to take comfort in such statistics but I’m sure none of us RPL ladies do.

I’ve also had appointments with the midwife and NHS this week to keep things moving on that side – it’s a full time job keeping up at the moment! I’m under consultant care and have had swabs for infections (the suspected reason for our 15 week loss) which all came back clear but as an extra precaution I’ve been on antibiotics which has been reassuring.

On Monday we are off on holiday for a week and I literally cannot wait! It’s going to be so nice to have some sun and relaxation and get away from appointments, work and daily life! I’ve been feeling pretty rough the last couple of weeks with on and off nausea all day and a lot of heaving but luckily I’ve not actually been sick as I don’t know how I’d take my daily 22 tablets  otherwise!! I’m having a lot of naps too to get me through the day but I’m still in bed pretty early. You gotta do what you gotta do hey?!

Our next scan will be the day after we get back from holiday when I should be 11 weeks so the holiday will be a nice distraction in the lead up to that.

For now it’s last minute holiday shopping and packing!! xx