Wednesday, 23 December 2015

Festive Period Holiday Announcement

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With Christmas being just two days away I'm going to take a little break from Jack Russells and Rainbows to spend some quality time with my family. It's hard enough running two blogs simultaneously let alone at Christmas, especially when the subject matter here is a often a little less than cheery! 

While I'm on that subject I promise to be more upbeat with the posts in the new year. I only felt that I had to get some of my sad stories and negative thoughts out before 2015 ended. It's been a tough year but I'm looking to 2016 with positivity and hope. So much hope.

I'll be back in the new year but until then, I hope you have a wonderful Christmas and a Happy New Year. Hopefully next year can bring me happier times.

Until then, stay safe and I'll see you in 2016.

Wednesday, 16 December 2015

Facing Christmas After Losses

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Christmas is one of my absolute favourite times of the year. It's hard not to get caught up in the festivities when there is so much good food, presents and family time. Those are some of my favourite things right there! This year, however, is tinged with just a hint of sadness for what could have been, what was meant to have been.

I have already passed the due dates of two of my pregnancies and whilst I know that I shouldn't I cannot help but think about how I should be about to celebrate baby's first Christmas. I should be able to walk through the shops and pick up that oh-so-cute outfit or those adorable toys knowing that I have a little one to give it to but I can't because I don't. At the very least I was meant to be almost 28 weeks pregnant with pregnancy number three, almost into third trimester but instead I'm sat here wondering if and when it'll ever happen.

Christmas is one of those times that for me is all about family. The husband, dog and I make sure to visit both sides of our family equally over the Christmas period, including splitting Christmas Day up so that no one's feeling get hurt. At first it was strange for me but now I love it. I love being surrounded by all of those that we hold closest to our hearts. This year I'll just be missing three of them. This year I won't get to share it with my new little family, nor will I have the promise of my little family growing in my stomach, like I had thought I would. That sucks.

It's easy to fall down the trap of thinking "if it had all gone well then..." or "if only we had been quicker in identifying the problem then..." The thing is no matter how much I wish things had been different I cannot do anything to change how things are right now. All I can do is hope that 2016 will tell a very different story but we'll just have to wait and see. 

"If ifs and buts were candy and nuts 
we'd all have a merry Christmas."

Wednesday, 9 December 2015

The Worry That It Will Never Happen

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The further I get from my missed miscarriage in August the more that I begin to worry about having a healthy pregnancy in the future. I cannot deny that the thought of such a thing never happening hasn't crossed my mind a few times lately. I don't doubt that at some point in the future I will see a second pink line again. I am sure we will feel that rush of joy, that surge of possibility again. Although I've not gone into too much detail about it we have managed to conceive pretty easily in the past, there doesn't seem to be any problem with that part of the process. What I do worry about, however, is having a successful pregnancy; full term with a happy, healthy baby at the end of it. What if that just isn't possible?

Some would say that it is silly to even think about that possibility especially when I don't know of any reason why I won't. After all, it seems that our losses up until this point have been pure misfortune. Why worry about something that isn't even guaranteed? Some would tell me to not stress about it and it'll happen. Oh, if only it was all that simple. I truly wish that it was.

I'll be honest, while I'm scared that I'll never know what it is to be a parent I'm more scared of depriving my husband of becoming a father. I know that he would (will?) be an amazing dad with just the right mix of fun and seriousness. How can I stop him from experiencing that?! It worries me that perhaps my body can't do that which it is designed for and it's a really scary prospect. If the time ever comes when I have to give up this dream of having my own baby I know that a little part of me will be lost, broken, forever. How do I live with that?

I am aware that there are many options when it comes to having a family, that I don't necessarily have to experience pregnancy to become a mum but a very selfish part of me wants that experience. I want to go through all the aches and pains, the emotional turmoil that hormones inflict on you, the labour and delivery. I want to know what it is like to carry your own little human for nine months. I don't want anyone else to experience that for me. 

I've always been a worrier. Why did I think with trying to start a family I would be any different? How naive.



Wednesday, 2 December 2015

The Things You Learn...

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Let's be honest, when I first began to think about wanting to start my own family back in 2012 I had no idea of what I was actually getting myself in for. There was so much about trying to conceive and pregnancy itself that I had never even begun to consider. All I knew was I wanted a baby and I wanted one now.

Of course, I didn't get one then and I still don't have one now but since then I have learnt so much about trying to conceive and my body.

I won't go into the nitty gritty of it all. I'm not sure that everyone that has been dropping by here is really interested in the anatomical goings on of trying to conceive. Nor do I really fancy getting that personal on this blog. Well, not yet anyway. Not while we are still warming up to each other and while this whole being open about trying to start a family malarkey is new to me. For now, I don't think you need to know all the details.

I'm a believer that knowledge is power and with being an anxious sort of person I like to prepare myself thoroughly before I begin any new endeavour. During the years that I was waiting for the husband to be ready I researched a lot. I found forums and websites packed full of information that has helped me along this journey. Of course, words on a screen or a book can never fully prepare you for any of this but I do think that it has helped me a lot.

While on this journey to (hopefully) parenthood, I discovered that ditching the contraceptives doesn't equate to TTC in some people's eyes. In fact, solely ditching the contraceptives and seeing where things end up is often considered "not trying, not preventing" (NTNP). This was the first thing I was to learn. You see in my naive mind I thought not using contraception was essentially trying for a baby. Apparently not. Apparently really trying for a baby involves ovulation predictor kits (OPKs), temping, charting and checking other bodily signs that we aren't going to discuss yet. Maybe I'll save all that for another day.

What I will say is that consciously trying for a baby (or NTNP) has made me hyper aware of what is going on in my body. I'm so in tune with it nowadays that it's insane. I feel every little niggle, I'm immediately aware if something doesn't feel right  when I would never have noticed it before. I guess when there are so many symptoms of ovulation and pregnancy that you become heightened to every sensation within your body easily - especially when driven by the desire to have a baby.

It isn't just what has been going on with me physically that I have learnt a lot about but also how the body works in general. It's amazing just how little you are truly taught about growing up. The myth of if you have sex without protection you will get pregnant that is fed to us in schools is nothing more than just that: a myth. It's all about timing, your fertility, his fertility and even just a little bit of luck. It won't necessarily happen immediately, the first and only time that you have sex. Of course, it could but it's pretty unlikely that one time will lead to a baby - although they do say that it only takes one time.

I feel like I've learnt a lot during my experience of TTC and my three short-lived pregnancies but I still have an awful lot more to learn, to experience. Everyone's bodies are different. Everyone's pregnancies will be different. Things that will happen to someone else during pregnancy won't necessarily happen to me and vice versa. That's why researching and reading can only tell you so much.

I guess I've just got to really experience it for myself.

Wednesday, 25 November 2015

Pregnancy Two:: An Ectopic

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It's been six months since I shared my experience of my ECTOPIC PREGNANCY over on my other blog, Dib-Dab-Debs and whilst it seems almost a lifetime ago I can still remember every little detail of that day in April. The full story is over on Dib-Dab-Debs if you want to read the very raw thoughts on what happened to me days after it did but for today, here, I'll just give you the abridged version.

On March 22nd 2015 with my chemical pregnancy only just behind me, I found myself staring at a second faint pink line on a HPT. I couldn't believe my luck, I had managed to fall pregnant again straightaway. That's amazing. Some people try and try for months on end and there I was falling pregnant for the second time in two months, no horrible waiting, no horrible negative tests. I was pregnant again but as we all know now, it wasn't meant to last.

I first knew that something wasn't quite right when I began spotting two weeks later and by the time I started bleeding properly a few days after that I feared that I had miscarried my second baby. I didn't have any dreaded cramps or even much pain at all - just a little discomfort. I had an appointment with my GP that week who referred me to the Early Pregnancy Unit for a scan as urine tests still confirmed I was pregnant. I didn't hold out much hope and a week later on April 16th 2015, I went for my very first ultrasound scan at the EPU.

I'd prepared myself for a miscarriage, for my baby to have already have gone but I never expected to see it still there. heart beating, only in the wrong place. I had an ectopic, or tubal, pregnancy which basically meant that instead of implanting in the uterus my baby had implanted in the fallopian tube. My baby couldn't be saved and I had to prepare for surgery. I had to say goodbye to my baby at eight weeks.

The idea of surgery on the day didn't particularly scare me as I didn't have any other choice. They told me that they would perform a laparoscopic salpingectomy which in layman terms means they would remove my fallopian tube and the pregnancy through key-hole surgery. The severity of having surgery never really hit me until after it had happened. Why would it? They perform these procedures all the time and I had no say in the matter. Before long I was back on my ward, drowsy and a little sore - and no longer pregnant.

My stitches took time to heal and even now I'm left with three little scars. I still think that they are pretty noticeable but others tell me different. I'm left with other scars too of course but you just can see them. Having an ectopic increases your chances of having another in the future, it can limit your fertility with only using one tube (although sometimes your other ovary compensates for that), it is a constant worry every time you think about trying again. It's something that I have to live with every day and it isn't easy - even now.

When I look back on the events leading up to April 16th, finding out I had an ectopic pregnancy, seeing that tiny little heartbeat, being scheduled for surgery, having surgery it still feels surreal. It's almost as though all that couldn't possibly have happened to me. How is that girl the same one that is writing these word on this very screen? It seems impossible. I think a lot of that has to do with the fact that those events, that surgery has changed me. 

Up until April 16th 2015 I had never spent a single night in the hospital - not even when I was born. In fact, I wasn't even born in a hospital but at home on my parents' couch on a hot summer's day in July which was totally unplanned. My mum insisted that so long as I was healthy she was taking me home as I hadn't even been born at the hospital. Other than one trip to A&E in my teens after my thumb had been hit rather hard with a hockey stick, I hadn't stepped foot inside a hospital for my own health. Suddenly, not only was I in hospital but I was having surgery - and staying overnight. It doesn't feel like something I would do at all! 

I'll forever try to avoid staying overnight in a hospital again (even if I have some healthy pregnancies) as I truly believe nothing helps me heal faster than my own home comforts. Don't get me wrong, if I am ill or there has been complications then sure, on doctor's recommendations I'll stay. If not though I'll be rushing right out of that place, quicker than you can say "Bob's your uncle." If I'm healthy enough then I'm out of there!

My due date for this little one is tomorrow, 26th November 2015. It's hard to reach this date and not have anything to show for it, to know that so long ago I lost it all. I don't get to sit here, rubbing my overgrown stomach, complaining about how fat I feel, how desperate I am for them just to arrive and that really hurts right now. Instead I'll light a candle and keep them in my mind. It's all I can really do now.

Wednesday, 18 November 2015

Trying Again After a Loss

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There are no hard and fast rules as to trying again after a loss. Every couple is different, every situation is different, every body is different. Depending on your situation it may be possible to start trying straightaway whilst I've also heard of many women being advised to wait three months, or three cycles. It is, of course, important to listen to the advice of those in the medical profession as they know best but when it comes to being emotionally ready... Well, that's a whole different ball game.

As I am not medically trained in any sense, I can only talk about my own experiences and the advice I have been given by my doctors for my individual situations. Each time I was told that I could begin trying again whenever I liked, there was no waiting period for me. It was simply a case of waiting until I felt ready. But what does that even mean? After a heartbreaking loss are you ever truly ready to start again?

In short: I don't think you ever can be completely ready.

There is always a real fear of it happening again. The phrase "recurring miscarriage" or "recurring losses" is one that chills me to the bone. As each of my losses has been different from the last I can only hope that there isn't something wrong with me and that I've just been unlucky. Really, really, incredibly unlucky. It is that fear of something being wrong, that fear of losing another baby and experiencing that pain all over again that keeps you from being one hundred per cent ready. You can't go back to how things were before, in the beginning, when you had that naive confidence that it wouldn't happen to you. It did and you just have to learn to live with that.

I've had three very different situations which led me to trying again but the reason behind not waiting remains the same: the incredible desire to have a baby. The thing is no matter how much I wish things were different right now, no matter how much I long for that which I have lost, I cannot have it back. Nothing takes away the pain of losing a baby. It is something that I think about every single day without fail and yet the only way for me to move on is to look forward and concentrate on having a healthy pregnancy and baby in the future. It doesn't do anything to dwell in the past in a perpetual state of mourning. I have to believe that there is something spectacular waiting just around the corner for me.

Unfortunately for me trying again after my first loss resulted in another and then another before I've reached this spot that I'm in right now but I refuse to give up hope. It does mean that with any future pregnancies I'll worry probably more than the average person who hasn't experienced a loss. It does mean that I carry about my little lost babies forever, wondering what could have been. But I can't let that stop me from going after the thing I want most. I have to believe that next time will be different.

I am not a quitter. I won't be defeated that easily. It is for that reason that I find myself trying again, and hoping once more, for a healthy pregnancy and a healthy baby the next time.

Wednesday, 11 November 2015

Pregnancy One:: A Chemical Miscarriage

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Before I delve into the three, individual stories of this year's losses (to be covered over three separate blog posts) I feel like I should take you back to the beginning.

For as long as I can remember I have always wanted to be a mum one day. Don't get me wrong I wasn't one of those teenagers whose sole desire was to have a baby, I wasn't but it was always a "one day" sort of thing. When some people think of the future they think about what car they'll drive or where they will holiday or their ideal career but for me it's always been simple. I want to have children. Whenever I looked to the future I pictured myself with four children of my own and all the other details like how I would get there were all a bit sketchy. I didn't really understand the concept of broodiness until full blown baby fever knocked me off my feet when I was twenty-three.

Let me just tell you now that nothing could have prepared me for that overwhelming urge to have a baby. It was intense. It took over every waking thought and made me down right miserable for something that I knew I couldn't yet have. With our finances at the time being okay at best and my then-fiance, and now husband, being not at all emotionally ready to take any wobbly steps down the road that is parenthood, the idea of becoming a mother any time soon was squashed. It didn't make the desire go away but I had to subdue it not only for my relationship but for my own sanity.

Fast forward two years and I'd finally convinced my husband that we were ready (and able) to take the steps to trying for our own little family. There was just no point in dragging our heels any longer. We were (and still are) very much in love, married with a roof over our heads and a comfortable money landing in the bank every month. Even if we were crazily lucky to get a positive home pregnancy test there would still be nine months before baby would arrive. That had to be plenty of time to get everything sorted out in our heads and home, right? Little did I consider that I would still be waiting for that successful pregnancy eleven months later.

Imagine our surprise on the 14th of February when, after one month of trying, I had a faint second pink line on my first ever HPT. From the moment that I saw that line I could almost see my child's future unfolding before us. Would they look like me? Would they have my husband's confidence? Would they grow up to be successful? Endless thoughts, hopes, dreams and ambitions fluttered before our eyes but it wasn't to last.

I tested again a few days later and found that my second pink line had not gotten stronger like it should have but faded. My heart sank. While my husband tried to assure me that it would be okay, that the test was rubbish, I knew that this little one wasn't going to stand the test of time. I tried to find an explanation that meant our tiny little baby was fine, I wanted to believe it so badly, but the very next day I began bleeding. I had what is sometimes referred to as a chemical pregnancy. I lost my first baby at 4 weeks and 5 days. It was all over before it had even really begun.

Now it is easy for an outsider to think it was only 4 weeks and 5 days, barely a collection of cells and not really a baby at all but to us it was so much more. It was a hope and a dream torn away from us as soon as we had it. It was a part of me and my husband, our first little child. 

I will admit that back then I thought that perhaps I was over reacting to our first loss. Some women have miscarriages that are later in the first trimester, in the second or third trimester, ectopics, still borns, infant deaths. Surely theirs were more worthy of tears than mine was, my little glob of cells. I persuaded myself not to dwell on the loss of my first little one and focus on trying again. Next time would be better. Next time it would work out.

I was wrong about that but that's a story for another time.

Now when I think about baby one I realise that no matter how short a time they spent with me they were very much a part of me. What happened then (and in subsequent pregnancies) has shaped me, for better or for worse. This little baby deserves to be honoured and remembered because, despite only being here fleetingly, they were here and really that's all that matters.

My first little baby would have been due around 24th of October this year and I found arriving at that due date, not being pregnant, very hard - especially as a month previously I had naturally miscarried baby number three. It's hard not to have something that you really wanted and that was almost within your reach. We lit a candle in the morning and later, when we were driving to my husband's grandpa's birthday celebrations, we saw three rainbows. Babies after a loss are often referred to as rainbows (hence Jack Russells and Rainbows) and however silly it sounds seeing the rainbows brought me some comfort on a difficult day. I know it was completely coincidental and I don't believe in any sort of higher power or the universe sending "signs" but it made me smile.

We're not ready to give up the fight. I don't think that we ever will give up this fight.

Wednesday, 4 November 2015

The Beginning... Well, Maybe the Middle Really...

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Well this is daunting.

I'm staring at a stark white page at the beginning of my journey looking for the words that will sum up what this little space is all about, what I hope to achieve by writing here. Actually, it's not so much the beginning as somewhere in the middle. I already started this journey in January 2015 but it almost feels as though all I am doing is starting all over again. Back to square one, taking tiny baby steps one at a time, hoping and praying that this time I don't fall and that I'll reach my destination.

For a couple of years now (albeit sporadically in the last few months) I have been blogging over at Dib-Dab-Debs documenting my life and all the nonsense that seems to travel through my mind on a daily basis. Since I was a young girl writing has been a real passion of mine. It's ridiculously cathartic for me and something I enjoy immensely, even if recently I've struggled with writer's block, the words too often stuck and jumbled in my head fighting to come out in some sort of coherent order - and failing. For me writing is like being able to say all the things that I have been thinking without actually having to say them aloud to someone and see their reaction right in front of me. This screen is something I can hide behind a little and being someone who is painfully introverted at times this is some comfort to me.

Anyway, I'm rambling here...

Having Dib-Dab-Debs as my little corner of the internet, it has been nice to have somewhere to not only be able to express my thoughts and daily going-ons but to look back and remember all the holidays and trips that we've taken, the things I've learnt, the person that I was at the beginning of that journey. But a part of my life isn't so well documented within those pages. A big part of my life, this past year.

You see life has changed a lot in the past year and is still the same all at once. Over the course of the last eleven months my husband and I have been trying to start our own family and despite getting our foot on that ladder three times we are still no further on than we were at the beginning of the year. I'll explain more later but right now all you need to know is that I'm not the same person I was at the start of 2015, welcoming in the new year with so many hopes and dreams. Too much has happened since then, I carry too much with me every, single day now. And so it is here, on this new endeavour that I'm naming Jack Russells and Rainbows, that I'm going to document that part of my life. Here I am going to give it  the attention that it deserves.

Maybe I'll be the only one to ever read these pages or maybe there will be someone else who follows my journey but for now, it's nice to just have me and my laptop with words finally filling the blank screen once again.
 

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