Thursday, 14 December 2017

One foot in front of the other

I'm 22 weeks pregnant now. It feels like I'm slowly, slowly getting there; I can feel movement, I'm definitely into my maternity clothes, I've sent the paperwork off for maternity leave and I've started clearing the spare room.

There are a couple of things niggling at me though.

The first is the scar tissue and scans. I've had to have two extra scans as I've been chopped up quite a lot, and it's more difficult for the sonographers to see what's happening.

I'm fine with the extra scans, but at the last one I got told that the placenta was sitting over my last CS scar and that I "shouldn't worry about it" but that I was having an extra scan with the consultant in 3 weeks.

In the absence of any solid information, I went and dug around on Google. From what I can gatherr, depending on how bad it is, the placenta might move out the way, or I might have to have a more complicated section with a longer recovery time, or I might need a hysterectomy, or I might end up with damage to my bladder.

All of that is, literally, liveable with - but I wish I'd asked the sonographer a bit more at the last scan.

The second thing is the urinary tract infections. I tested positive for one in October, and then got put on antibiotics that made me barf.

After a week of throwing up, I handed in another pee sample. I heard nothing so assumed I was fine.

At my next midwife appointment, a third pee sample came up positive. It then turned out that the middle test had been positive too - once the midwife went back and found it in her notes.

I'm now on a second lot of antibacs that don't make me barf. Rather alarmingly, they can cause heart defects if I keep taking them past 28 weeks; if I'd known I would have stuck with the puking.

A consultant who I've never seen has decided that after I finish my current meds, I'm getting put on a third kind of low dose antibiotics for the rest of the pregnancy, and will be tested at every appointment for UTIs (but I already was getting tested at every appointment!).

I'm feeling a bit, if you'll excuse the pun, pissed off with the whole thing.

I have read that scar tissue can cause bacteria in pee but the midwife says she's never heard that. Which is entirely understandable. But then, she hadn't heard that the benefits of cranberry juice were now considered dubious either.

If the two high dose antibotics don't clear out the infection I'm not sure why the low dose one will help.

The only time I've felt remotely like I had a UTI was when I was on the barfy antibiotics.

My husband was full of good advice telling me to trust the medical staff, until I pointed out that if I'd done that in the past I would almost have certainly got a worse outcome from my last ectopic.

it's deeply unfair that assertive middle class women get better treatment. But it's in my best interests, physically and mentally, to read up on things, ask questions and not neccessarily accept everything at face value.

Anyway, I've got another couple of weeks in limbo before I can see a consultant and, hopefully, get some answers to all of this.

Sunday, 1 October 2017

111 weeks (or it feels like it!)

I feel a bit bad for not using blogger more. To be honest, I've got to the point that I'm really worried about jinxing things, and I only talk about the pregnancy with my husband and one or two others who I know are going to be ok, now with one exception (see below). Developments have been:

Scan - I had an 11 week scan today, a private one. It just seemed like the wait between the clinic scan at 8 week and the NHS one at 13 was way too long, and I had a particular panic at around 9.5 weeks, which was when my last pregnancy ended, although I didn't know it at the time.

The good thing was, the scan was fine. All looked good, measured up well, no cause for concern.

The bad thing was, I was so wound up I burst into tears as soon as I got into the scan room. This was partly because there seemed to be a large number of people in the room before us, who got out and started loudly congratulating each other on the baby's gender, and could they start texting their other relatives, and so on.

On reflection, I get a bit overwhelmed with the idea that people might do scans for fun, more or less, and actually enjoy this pregnancy business. Rather than bad luck conditioning them to expect the worse.

The ugly - the sonographer was nice and very calming. The external scan didn't work (the external scans NEVER work out), so I had to have a dildocam. Afterwards when I was sitting in the car I felt a bit weird down below, like I had a bit of tissue in a sensitive place. After a bit of investigation it turned out the condom cover of the dildocam had come off. My husband nearly crashed the car laughing...

After, the scan, I thought it was time to bite the bullet and tell my Mum. To be honest I argued with my husband about this first as I would, in many ways, have felt happier telling her when any new baby was, like, 10.

My mum likes to fuss, is quite hyperactive and in your face, and last time tried to gatecrash the hospital when I was in theatre, after we'd dutifully kept her updated of my long, ultimately failed induction and labour.

She did not in any way take it on board at all when I said later on that I did not want her turning up when I was on the operating table, and that she should have waited until we'd told her we were ready.

I discovered later that she'd been speculating to my sister about whether or not I'd have another IVF round, because IVF was "very dangerous". This will be something she read in one of her middle market, right wing, woman hating tabloids.

I told her just before we got to her house to pick up the Boy, and warned her not to let the Boy know. She started asking about the pregnancy when the Boy was out the room, and I answered briefly but changed the subject.

After a couple of minutes she demanded to know "When's your due date?".

I could, thankfully, truthfully say I didn't know. I've been too worried to look it up and delibarately asked the midwife not to tell me.

She looked slightly taken aback and then I got her onto something else. Until we left.

"Drive very very carefully!" she told my husband, "40 miles an hour, that's the speed! Well done!"

I'm not sure why she was congratulating my husband as his main contribution, apart from emotional support and hard cash, was having a wank in a jar over 2 years ago. Ho hum.

Anyway, I'm still not feeling entirely relaxed about the pregnancy - I don't think I'll ever get to that point. But it does feel as if we've gotten over some hurdles today.

Hopefully, eventually, I will unclench enough to be able to plan beyond my next scan.

Thursday, 31 August 2017

Hello again, EPU

At the start of the week I began spotting brown stuff. I very firmly told myself that this happened during every single pregnancy I had whatever the outcome, so it was just something that happened to me, and I wasn't going to freak out. No sirrreee. No freaking out here.

Until the next day when I started bleeding and phoned the Eearly Pregnany Unit in such a panic I could barely speak. I calmed down enough to explain my history and what was wrong, and got told to come in for a scan the next day.

My husband immediately rescheduled his work to come in with me.

I then had to go to a meeting at the Boy's new school. When I say "had", I could have cancelled it and spent the time fretting. But I'd have had to have explained to the Boy why we weren't going, reschedule with the school, and go out and drop the Boy at his childminder anyway or cancel him. And whatever I was going to do was going to involve speaking to people, so it just seemed easier to stick with plan A.

So I pulled myself together and ended up having to make small talk with one of the other parents who I don't know, which I suppose at least forced me not to sit around the house being mad.

When I got home the bleeding had stopped. But I'd had sporadic bleeding with both ectopics.

The morning of the scan, after my husband got up, the Boy brought one of his teddies and lay next to me to have a chat. It's part ot our morning routine.

I got up, went into the shower, and came out to discover that when my husband was getting the Boy dressed, he'd discovered a big angry looking rash all over his body.

We couldn't send him into school in case whatever it was turned out to be infectious, so my husband got a doctor's appointment. I had thought we could drive me and him and the Boy could sit in the car, except the only appointment he could get was exactly the same time as my scan. Fuck.

There was no time to organise anyone else tto come with me, so for the second time in 24 hours, I put on my big girl pants and went to the scan myself. Although to be honest I was shit scared of something awful going wrong and then being in such a state I couldn't drive back.

I managed to hold it together for the check in and in the scan room.

The sonographer did an external scan and told me she could see something in my uterus - which made me relax a little bit.

I was delighted, after we switched to an internal scan, when she said she could see a tiny embryo in the right place with a heartbeat. I'll take that, thankyou.

There seems to be some blood in my uterus that might make an appearance, but if I do bleed any more I need to go and get checked again rather than assume it's ok  (like I am going to be assuming things are ok after four losses rather than, say, calling up the EPU in such a state I can barely squeak out my name).

So I'm well aware that I've got six weeks more before I can relax a bit. But on the plus side, it is less than two weeks until my scan at the clinic, then we'll probably pay for a ten week scan. This is about as far ahead as I'm willing to think at the moment.

But my husband's birthday turned out ok in the end - although we never did find out what the Boy's rash was.

Wednesday, 23 August 2017

On the four week wait

Apologies for the delay in updating.

The clinic was good, I had a score of 350.

I'm now on the wait between the blood test and the first scan.

I'm finding the experience of the missed miscarriage the last time is making this one quite nerve wracking, to put it mildly.

Last time, I made a conscious decision not to be neurotic and try and enjoy the pregnancy. I made myself go out and try on maternity clothes not long after getting the result, and made some plans for holidays. I told myself it was ludicrous to worry about tempting fate by doing these things.

I did get all paranoid at around 6 weeks and got an extra blood test, which was fine and I felt silly for being so worried

I then was sick for the next 8 weeks or so, sore boobs, all the rest of it. No reason to suspect anything was wrong.

The nausea tailed off a fortnight or so towards my 12 week scan and I thought that was normal. The spotting I'd had for a few weeks stopped too.

I did feel very upset in the run up to the scan, but that could have been either subconsciously knowing or just that I don't like medical appointments.

Either way, it was still horrible finding out I'd had a missed miscarriage a fortnight before the scan.

At the moment, I worry that I'm not feeling sick or tired enough. I also generally get spotting in early pregnancy, which hasn't showed up either (I know, I know, it is weird to worry about not spotting, particularly how much angst it's given me before).

It's three weeks until my first eight week scan at the clinic, and every day feels like an eternity.

If I can just get to the eight week scan then I'm going to book a couple of reassurance scans. But at the moment I know there's nothing I can do but wait.

Sunday, 13 August 2017

Madwoman in the attic

I kind of thought I was through having drama on 2ww but, I was wrong.

I tested on Wednesday,  and Thursday last week. All negative.

I had a big argument with my husband about whether we should do another round, slept in the spare room and considered going away for a couple of days.

Another BFN on Friday. I was 8dp5dt so, when the test was negative, I decided I was done. Apart from anything else, I felt really period-y and ill, and was having bad cramps. And I'd never had a pregnancy, whether it turned out ok or not, that hadn't shown up by that point.

I stopped meds halfway through the day, drank wine and cried. I made up with my husband and, we agreed if it was something I really had to do, we'd have another go in January.

Then I started being sick in the early evening, and was up half the night with diarrhea and vomiting.

Saturday morning, I had one last test. I thought I might as well use it and... very faint positive. Which my husband saw.

So I started taking all my meds again.

The stomach bug lasted 24 hours, and my husband got it too.

Frustratingly, I seem to be able to spot lines on the two tests we've done today when my husband can't. He didn't see this morning's one at all. I've waved tonight's one in his face as I'm typing this and he can see it this time, but couldn't a few minutes ago.

I don't have any symptoms, but I don't know how much that has to do with the stomach bug. If it's fucked things up, or my half day of abandoning the cycle has, or whether I would have just have ejected much of the meds from my body fairly quickly anyway.

I don't know if I'm having an actual pregnancy, a chemical one, or if this is going to be the start of getting 48 hour blood tests, or what. Or if I am hallucinating pink lines on pee sticks, or if my husband needs his eyes tested.

Blood test tomorrow.

Friday, 4 August 2017

The two week wait, again

I'm towards the end of another FET - transfer was yesterday. I've done lots of these now, but they always mess with your head.

Sympton spotted: Feeling sick.
Rational explanation: I'm on four different kinds of drugs, all of which list "nausea" as a side effect.

Sympton spotted: Mild cramps.
Rational explanation: The nice gynaecologist was up in my cervix with a catheter. This probably accounts for feeling a bit weird after.

Sympton spotting: Feeling bloated
Rational explanation: Meds and farts.

I don't always cling to rationality. Last time I tested after two days, in a fit of mad optimism, because I was sure I was throwing up so much I had to be pregnant, despite the fact that nobody gets sick from something as tiny as a 2dp5dt embryo. It was a BFN, of course.

Mind you, I find the way the last cycle turned out has a direct effect on how stressful the next 2ww is. It's like that sayign about generals always fighting the last war - after I've had a loss I'm always convined it's going to be a positive that I am going to be stressed about, although apart from between the Boy and the pregnancy that ended with a missed miscarriage, I've never had two positives in a row.

After a BFN, I generally feel a bit more relaxed about the whole thing, although more inclined to look forward to my first glass of wine than worry about having a negative.

Anyway, if this is a BFN, there are no more frosties and I'm not sure what we'll do next. I feel like, not exactly that I'm too old for all this now, but I've spent a lot of time in my 20s and 30s having treatment. I don't know if I'm ready to quit though.

Wednesday, 24 May 2017

The relativity of mental illness

The phone went off today. I answered and it was my older sister.

She was in tears, so much so it took a few attempts to get at the bottom of what was wrong. It turned out she was really dreading a counselling appointment she has tomorrow.

I talked her though writing things down so if she got so wound up she couldn't speak she should still communicate (her therapist apparently wants her to rehearse it all in her head), having something lined up to do afterwards to cheer herself up (her husband is an arsehole and won't do anything, and agreed with her that the things she's upset about are very upsetting.

I had to go, but then spoke to her again later. It was the same conversation, although I suggested she take up some sort of exercise as that helps (her back hurts), line up something to do with her kids (she might).

I found myself getting rather irritated a couple of times (and I hope it didn't show), when she wanted to talk about our brother dying and how she'd never got over it, and had I got over it? I still think about him, but generally get on with my day to day life, because that's what you do.

I find it frustrating that my sister rejected virtually all the suggestions.

At a loss to suggest anything else and not really knowing what else I could do, I got the conversation back onto more normal stuff, she chatted for a bit and said she had to go.

I also find it quite difficult because I genuinely have had mental health problems myself, to the point of being on ADs a few times. Twice through pregnancy losses, once through a career related drama last year.

To be honest I'm still not feeling entirely myself about the career thing and miscarriage happening so close to each other (I will blog about it at some point when I've figured out how to make it less identifying), but I have been religious about going to the gym recently, doing my actual job, spending time with the Boy and hobbies and just trying to tread water until I figure out what to do next.

It's difficult because you can't measure mental health problems so I know I can't tell her that x, y or  worked for me so she needs to give herself a kick up the arse.

 I also can't get sucked into her calling constantly as that will pull me back into bad mental health myself, which helps nobody.

I know from bitter experience that as a society we just aren't set up to help other people through depression or bad mental health, but I don't know what to do beyond what I have done.

I did, once, find a newspaper cutting that my mum was going to send my sister, that was from a right wing newspaper and inferred that the high rate of women on antidepressants was down to us wanting to "have it all".

I know this was a bit bad of me, but that article mysteriously found its way into a recycling bin outside of the house. It probably had a negative impact on my mother but not as bad as the one it would have had on my sister had she read it.

I guess it's all about trying to find a balance.