Puppy Love

When I was 4 a large dog put a paw on each of my shoulders and licked my face….in a friendly way….but to me it was terrifying and I had a fear of dogs for a very long time.

As a child I never had a pet – other than a few tadpoles which we released once they were frogs. I bought my husband fish one birthday and we had then for a few years….I fed them for him while he was away, but they were his….after the first few months I found them a bit boring to be honest.

My husbands family had dogs growing up, and he has always liked dogs.

Over the past 5 years or so I’ve started having more to do with dogs, friends of ours have some, so every time we visited I got more and more used to them. Then for a while my brother lived close, and he has a dog, so when they went away she would come stay with us instead of going to the kennels. It was great, I had a part time dog – all the fun, without the expense haha. And in there friends kept trying to convince us to get a dog – then their dogs would have a playmate when they came to visit. And with my husband being away a lot everyone agreed it would be good company for me….even the counselor thought it was a great idea.

But Mr wasn’t so keen….he didn’t want the responsibility, making it hard to go away spontaneously, or having the pick up the poo. I started to wear him down though, talking about fostering dogs instead of getting our own – so we could try it out. He said we should get our own instead.

We couldn’t decide on a breed we both agreed on…..and then the conversations stopped….when I asked him about it, it turned out he’d changed his mind. He didn’t want to get a dog after all. I was upset, and upset with him for not talking to me about it.

Fast forward to near the end of last year (and several conversations with the counselor encouraging us to get one) and Mr said let’s get a dog after all. I was dubious and uncertain. Around the same time friends of ours mentioned they were planning on getting one of their dogs pregnant. So we decided if they did we’d get one of their puppies, as their dog is lovely, and it would be nice to have that link.

Everyone talked about how good a dog would be for me, how healing it is having a pet. No one thought about how it might be triggering for me, least of all myself…until we made the decision to get one of our friends puppy.

There was the waiting for her to go on heat, and have a date with the puppy dad.

Waiting to find out if she was pregnant.

Mr started telling everyone we were getting a puppy later in the year…..before the puppy was even conceived. Straight to happy & excited for him. No worrying about what if’s. Appearing to have moved on from the past trauma.

Everyone told me how exciting it was, how excited I must be. It just felt like going through IVF all over again. Waiting. Uncertainty. Waiting for disappointment. Waiting for heartbreak.

The dog got pregnant, friends had seen puppies on a scan. Yet another milestone similar to IVF.

And still I couldn’t day dream. Couldn’t get excited. Dogs can miscarry can’t they? Puppies can be stillborn?

We tentatively started discussing puppy names. Arguing over them. Choosing is hard. Trying to choose reminded me it’s probably the only name choosing I’ll ever do. We never chose names for the babies we lost (other than pet names).

And then the puppies were born. And yes I was excited that day, getting updates and photos. Looking at the lovely photos of happy mama dog. Watching her lick and feed her babies. So adorable.

And at the same time, a reminder that I’ll most likely never get to nurse a baby, care for my own baby.

I am looking forward to when we get to choose our puppy, and bring it home, and building a relationship with it and watching it grow.

But I’m also stressed, about how I’ll handle such a big change and responsibility at the same time as sitting Uni exams, and at the same time as trying to carry all these feelings that keep swamping me.

NB Not my photo, and not my puppy.



Depression? Grief? Depressed Grief?

With my psychologies studies I’ve read quite a bit about depression (not that I’m in anyway qualified to make diagnosis or anything though) and also read about complicated grief (a ‘disorder’ that’s in the Needs More Research section of the DSM-5 – the manual for diagnosing psychiatric disorders etc). The more I learn though the more questions are raised rather than answered.

Last year one of the Uni papers I was doing looked at assessment tools used for diagnosing mental illnesses. As part of the course we were given some of the self-report scales to complete so we could experience what they are like (in preparation for sometime in the future when we may end up assessing and/or treating someone). The ones I completed gave me a score indicative of having severe depression and anxiety. Kind of confronting, but also quite understandable – it was about a month after my 5th miscarriage….I wasn’t exactly in a great space.

A few months later we started seeing a counsellor. She talks a bit about feeling peoples vibrations/energy – not really my kinda thing, but in lots of other ways she’s a great fit for us as a couple. Sometime in our first few sessions she mentioned she didn’t think either of us were depressed, just grieving deeply. Again understandable.

Fast forward a few months. I wouldn’t say I’m in a great space, I don’t love my life, I still struggle getting through most days. But compared to back then, I feel I’m doing a lot better. I get out of bed much easier, I exercise 5 out of 7 days a week (most weeks), I mostly eat ok, I’ve been putting in full days of uni work when months ago I struggled to get off the couch and settle in at my desk. I make more of an effort to socialise, and have even been going out of my way to spend time with my niblings.

At our recent counselling appointment (we hadn’t been for a couple of months what with Christmas and holidays etc), the counsellor asked if I thought I was depressed. (She used to be a GP so was coming from a medical space when suggesting this). I didn’t really have an answer. Generally I think I’m just grieving. There’s no time limit on that right? And when every day, everywhere you go, you’re confronted by what you want but don’t have, smacked round the head by reminders of what you’ve lost, surely it’s understandable to not be the best company all/most of the time….

Where is that point that grief becomes depression? When does one think about medicating grief? I read a blog post a while ago that touched on this – but I can’t for the life of me remember who’s blog it was, if you know the one I’m talking about, please link me below! If I remember rightly, it talked about maybe we need to focus less on diagnosing people who’ve been though infertility treatment with depression, and focus more on creating space for allowing their grief. But then at the same time, maybe all the IVF drugs do mess with our brain chemistry. Maybe antidepressants are a good way of rebalancing the brain after all we’ve been through. And maybe it’s as much about trying to be a nice person to be around for those close to us, as it is about finding ways to cope with the world easier?

(Image found on Pinterest, not sure who to credit)

Surviving the Festive Season.

If you’re like me, then from about the time you’ve been pregnant for, oh, say a minute….you’ve started dreaming of a future with that baby. This years pregnancy was no different, in the short few weeks of pregnancy I’d imagined many times over what it would be like to have a new born next Christmas (we would have had a 6.5 week old if we hadn’t miscarried). So from when we found out this pregnancy was no more, I had started dreading this years Christmas. I’d found the last couple of years hard enough, the joy of the season stolen by years of infertility treatment and loss. The thought of pasting a smile on my face to make it through a day of family, where the kids would be doted on by loving grandparents (and a loving aunt & uncle, cos I wouldn’t deny those kids my love), where the family themselves are almost ‘picture perfect’ (such a loving, functional family I’ve decided they must be abnormal!). Not helped by the fact my family has had more trials this year, resulting in more separateness in those relationships. Christmas is a tough time when your family is difficult, and you don’t have the children you desperately want.

I read various blogs on tips for surviving the season, looking for the magic solution and my desire to just run away got stronger and stronger. Unfortunately, Christmas is yet another area where my husband and I aren’t on the same page so a lot of the tips I read aren’t quite so helpful because they rely on you both wanting to avoid/manage the season. He loves his family, he loves spending time with them, doesn’t seem to be affected by the same bittersweet pain I get from being with the kids and the others. To him they’re his niece & nephew, they’re not a reminder of the cousins our kids should be growing up with. Me playing with them seems to just be me being an Aunt, whereas for me watching him play with the kids reminds me of the great father he would be, and how much I wish I could have provided him with a child. For him the only way to have a Christmas, is to spend the day with his family. And due to the tension in my family, and the nature of his work meaning at best he’s home for about 12hours on Christmas Day, all the past Christmases have been spent with his family.

So when I admitted to myself that what I really needed to do this year, was have a year away, just the 2 of us, making some new, non-traditional memories, in the hope of having a clean slate next year…..it was a struggle to get him on board with using his annual leave to do something other than spend time with his family. In a time filled with other marital stress it was a tricky situation to navigate, lots of tears were shed, and we even had to communicate via written letter. Here’s an excerpt of what I wrote (with a few changes to keep it anonymous), trying to get him to understand why I needed a year away from family Christmas.

For years I’ve loved Christmas – after the Christmas when I had appendicitis and could barely even open presents because I was in so much pain, Christmas became about family for me. That was when my favourite Aunts and Uncles might visit, our house would actually be filled with laughter for a change, there’d be people chatting round the table at meal times, unlike the silence we often had when it was just the immediate family. I could actually have conversations with people, rather than just listening to my dad or brothers talk at me. It was probably then when I really learnt to love cooking and baking for people, the family that visited always appreciated what I made – and even said so. And I loved the camaraderie of preparing meals with my relatives. There was more fun in our house then. So Christmas became even more important, because that’s when I got a taste of the sense of family I’d always wanted. When I joined your family Christmas’s, it took a bit to adjust to because you had different traditions, and different ways of doing things – but that sense of family was there from the beginning. I was overwhelmed that first Christmas with your families generosity and inclusion – well I have been all the time not just at Christmas. From really early on I knew I wanted a future with you, and I started to imagine how wonderful and amazing it would be when we had children, for them to grow up in that environment, with such generosity and love and fun and laughter and attention. As your sister’s had their kids, I imagined even more how wonderful that would be for our children, how they’d get to have a lovely relationship with their aunts and uncles and cousins. I could picture it. And I did picture it, every Christmas. And then we started trying to have a baby. I remember us being unsure about how we’d managed Christmas and going to Queenstown for my brother’s wedding (when it was first planned for the end of Dec) because we thought we’d have a new born. But we didn’t because by then we’d found out we needed IVF. And then we got pregnant, and I imagined being pregnant at Christmas, and then we weren’t. A little of the shine of Christmas wore off, but not much. And then we had the Christmas with the chemical pregnancy just days before, that really spoiled the festive season, and the same year there was all the drama with trying to do Christmas with my parents separately. And then we were pregnant again, and I imagined next Christmas being pregnant, and how the one after that we’d have a baby, and how that would be with your family, and how spoilt and loved our child would be by everyone. And then we weren’t pregnant any more. And I wanted to avoid Christmas completely, but it was important for you to be with your family, so I tried. I did less Christmassy things than I normally would leading up to Christmas because I wasn’t feeling it, and I wanted to conserve my energy, so at Christmas I could keep a smile on my face, and ignore the pain in my heart so as not to ruin everyones day. And then last Christmas we had a tiny bit of hope again so I didn’t feel I could ask for a Christmas off, I wasn’t keen on Christmas, and well, nothing with my family felt Christmassy, but we did it, we had Christmas with your family the way they wanted it, but I could still see in everything we did that Christmas all the ‘what ifs’ – that was the Christmas we should have had BabyX with us after all. And then this year, for as long as our BabyY was with us, I had imagined the rest of this year, and into next year. I had imagined having Christmas with a newborn, finally we’d have that Christmas we’d talked about, that I’d dreamed about for years. And then that was stolen from us too. And on top of that every year at Christmas someone in your family says ‘Christmas is all about the kids’…..which as we haven’t managed to produce kids for Christmas to be about (and remembering I often feel like its my fault we don’t have kids) leaves me feeling even more pain about Christmas. You talk about how emotionally drained you are from all the years of treatment and loss. That is how I feel about having to go through another Christmas, trying to smile and pretend my heart isn’t broken, and not wanting to ruin the day for everyone else, but also seeing our BabyY & BabyX & other losses in every element of the day. That’s why I want to just do something different this year, just with you. So we can make some new and different memories. So that at the next Christmas I can actually participate in it, and find the joy again, & be fully part of a family Christmas again.

Our counsellor got it straight away, but of course she’s never going to tell us what to do. Eventually he agreed, reluctantly. We booked accomodation at a place we’d never been to together, so we could do different things and make new memories together, and where we knew no one so there’d be no expectations to socialise. Apparently when he told his family we wouldn’t be around for Christmas, his sister was upset “because the kid’s wouldn’t get to see us for Christmas”…….it probably had a more to do with the reasons he told her for us going away, than her specifically, but to me, the fact that that was her first thought rather than “oh shit, my SIL is really struggling, how can we make things easier for her” says a lot about this whole f’in pronatal world we live in. I was concerned they would try to recreate Christmas on another day – which I didn’t want to do…it’s not about the calendar date, it’s about the activities that make up the day. So we arranged to have a casual BBQ with a small secret Santa gift exchange the night before we left – control what you can right.

Of course, I was fully expecting our trip away to be amazing, full of fun and laughter, easy – and putting pressure on myself to make it this way. To prove to my husband we could have a good time together, and that it was a good choice to go away. I should have seen it coming, but I’d been so busy and exhausted that week I didn’t have time for self awareness. Our first morning away I was woken by the yelling, laughing and crying sounds of kids having the quintessential Kiwi summer holiday. Followed a few hours later by the lovely arrival of period cramps. Hormones & heart ache, such a lovely combo. It’s hard to be good company when you’re feeling dizzy, nauseous and crampy. Which of course made me feel even worse, that he wouldn’t have a good time & would regret agreeing to going away. That it wouldn’t be a good trip for us to reconnect with each other. That it wouldn’t be the solution to Christmas I was looking for.

I got even shittier with the situation and myself as we wandered around the township we were staying, and it was filled with happy families and pregnant bellies.

The grip the hormone gremlins had on my brain and body eased somewhat, and we did have good times, did things we hadn’t done before (like horse riding on the beach) and made some nice memories. I also realised it was better than a family Christmas – despite all the reminders, it was just the usual reminders I’d get on any summer holiday, rather than specific Christmas reminders to our family. I allowed myself to accept that while it was easier than dealing with a family Christmas it was by no means easy, and nor should I expect it to be.

Because after all there is no escaping the pain of heart break.

DSC_0741 (1)PS This is one of my own photos for a change.

All or Nothing.

I generally think I’m an all or nothing kinda person – I’m either doing really well at sticking to my healthy eating plan, or I’m really not! And also, I grew up being told I never finish projects or stick to things, so often I feel I have to complete something because I said I was going to (being true to my word is really important to me!), and a lack of self-trust (and a lack of what some people call ‘gut instinct’) means I can easily keep going with a project or idea for longer than I should. Generally about the time I finally decide to stop doing something, I realise I should have made that decision earlier (fine example…going part time at Uni!). So despite the creator of Capture Your Grief, specifically saying, only do the days that feel right, and look after yourself etc., it wasn’t until TheEcoFeminist wrote this very wise post, that I gave my permission to stop doing this project. Part of me had felt maybe if I keep pushing through it, I’ll find some healing – you know ‘gets worse before it gets better’ kinda thing. But I was finding doing the project had me thinking about the babies we’ve lost, ALL THE TIME (and it’s not like I don’t think about them pretty much every day anyway) and looking at other people’s Capture Your Grief posts on various social media sights. It started negatively impacting my sleep, which is generally a bad sign, and brought on an all encompassing grief attack. Yep, I’d captured my grief all right, I was literally drowning in grief.

Of course, it may not have been this project at all that brought on this latest deep, dark grief attack. It may have been the lady who did my manicure (the one that was a birthday treat, supposed to be a nice experience of pampering)….the one who’s baby is due 2 days after the due date for our most recent miscarriage. Yeah, that was fun, sitting there captive, listening to her talk about going on maternity leave etc!

Or it could have been, just a normal, unexpected, wave of grief as sometimes happens. Whatever the trigger, it’s been a long lasting, smothering, horrible grief attack.

It’s really hard to keep your head above water, when none of your coping strategies seem to be making any difference, nothing seems to be changing, and then when it starts having a really noticeable impact on your marriage….well, combined with the general “don’t know whats going on with my life, everything is in limbo”…..it really feels like you’re a bunch of tiny pieces being tossed around in a horrible stormy sea (and believe me, I know how that feels to sail through an actual massive storm). There’s a decided feeling of ‘What’s the f%@king point?!’

It’s a real shame there’s not set of instructions for dealing with this kind of grief – follow these steps and you will start to feel better, or at least see some progress. Instead you try a bunch of different tips and tricks, and then try them all over again, and if something helps you keep  doing that, til it stops helping, and then you starting trying everything else all over again. All the while, trying to support your relationships and your partner to get through this safely too.

So in summary. Grief sucks. What ever you’re going through at the moment, I hope you’re taking care, and that you’re surround by people taking care of you too xx

Where are the words?

I keep wanting to write, but don’t know what to say…seems the feelings don’t change so much and I mostly feel like I’m just being negative all the time – & I know how tedious that can make reading! I even struggle to find the words to reply to your comments with I love reading & really appreciate.

Irony is I’d like to improve my writing, and maybe start writing for magazines or something (something thats not a university essay at least!)….but I don’t know what to write about (that would be good enough!).

I wanted to write a post for World Childlessness Week last week, but had a few too many feels, and didn’t think I could add anything to the conversation already happening. Currently feeling like I’m in some weird no mans land – not in Treatment world, because we don’t know if we’ll actually do any more treatment (and when each person in a couple is on a different page this is a really tricky, fragile uncertainty)….but because we haven’t reached a definitive agreement on doing no more treatment, I don’t feel like I fit in the childless world. When infertility leaves you feeling like you don’t fit in the world, feeling like you don’t fit in the infertility world too is not a great space to fit in. Humans always want to feel like they belong somewhere.

To start with it felt like the counsellor was of the belief that we shouldn’t keep trying and therefore kept asking me the hard questions, but I’ve since realised over more sessions that she takes turns asking both of us the tough questions. I suspect that we both ignore these questions in between sessions, hoping that either they’ll go away or that an answer will come to us without us having to face the question. I’m starting to feel that I’m probably gonna have to be brave and face these questions, and the fear of the future, in order to actually heal some and be able to live with what ever decision we make – but with how quickly panic starts to rise if I even slightly glance in the direction of those questions, I fear facing them head on will find me falling apart even more than I already have….and I don’t know how I’ll be able to keep going with everyday life, if I let that happen…..it’s like I need to find a large chunk of time with no commitments so that I’ll have time to put myself back together before I need to function again. And in the meantime til I find a chunk of time, I’ll just keep looking the other way and hoping the question will go away. Or maybe, I’m slowly putting myself back together after all our losses, in order to fall fully apart again….

Uncovering Feelings

Recently I was thinking that I’d started to feel (a little bit) better….better/ok is all relative though, so having been feeling pretty shitty for so long it doesn’t take much to feel like an improvement. How quickly our bars for ‘ok’ are reduced!

However, I also recognised that this was the time for some healing to occur, when there’s a tiny glimmer of emotional energy to process things. So we made an appointment with a grief counsellor, someone neither of us had seen so that we could have a clean slate to start healing as a couple, not just working through things individually – things had become a bit fragile with our relationship so strengthening our marriage is also important at this stage.

We had our first session yesterday. It was quite confronting, the therapist asked some hard questions – ones I at least struggled to answer. While logically I realise I need her to ask the tough questions so I can process and accept my feelings….emotionally it’s terrifying. Made me realise how much I’ve boxed my emotions up in order to feel less pain. Flip side is you feel less anything. But now her questions have started making gaps for feelings to escape. I’m not sure I really want to feel them even in order to find a way to start actually living again.

She also was surprised at the amount of treatment and loss we’d been through, and that I’m still wanting to keep going. While its obviously always been still there as a big possibility, I’d been ignoring the fact that it’s most likely we are still facing a childless life – grieving our baby boy was enough, I didn’t want to feel the feels of facing a childless life too. But now the therapist has started asking questions, that reality has been shoved in front of me again. I don’t want to think about it. I don’t want that to be my future. The few thoughts I’ve had about it since yesterdays session has already started the feelings of panic and absolute terror welling up. Utter lack of control and powerlessness, overwhelming fear of the future. I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to face these feelings full on, they seem to big for me to handle.

I learnt pretty young that life isn’t fair….but this, this losing a dream, is a whole other level of unfairness!

Another Rollercoaster Ride

I’m sorry it’s been a while since I wrote….have been meaning to write this post for ages, but life & feelings keep getting in the way. I’ve um’d and ah’d about whether to write this post or not…..I feel a little like a fraud after everything I’ve written before now….but then I also realise I said I wanted to show the reality of life after fertility treatment….and it doesn’t always go the way we expect, so being open about that is probably a good thing too. Fully away also that not everyone reading this will get or understand or agree with our decisions – and that’s ok, if this post is triggering for you I’m sorry & I understand you moving away from the blog….but I’ll also put up front (in case you don’t want to read til the end) this is not a happy blog post.

Towards the end of last year, while we were still struggling to come to terms with a childless life, we somehow stumbled ourselves on to a page where both of us realised we weren’t ready to be done with fertility treatment. As much as we knew fertility treatment was painful, last year was painful too and we didn’t feel like we were making any progress in accepting it (despite spending lots of $$ on therapy!) – so suddenly we found ourselves looking into treatment options we hadn’t considered before.

And before we knew it, we’d remortgaged paid a deposit & booked flights to Europe….we were going to try again, with different treatment in a different country – surely that boded well for us, taking a different approach to all the other times…..the healthy eating & taking tonnes of supplements kicked in – though tripping around Europe with all the cakes and baked goodies did mean there was some (lots of) indulgences! Treatment went surprisingly well – was hard to believe….and was interesting watching my anxiety responses kick in before I even had any news on the days we talked to the clinic – trauma responses take a while to get rid of I guess!

Once we returned home, life was a whirlwind – sold our house, bought a new house, Uni started (which involved going out of town for a course)…..it was quite hard to cope with this much Life going on, all the while wondering if I was pregnant….when we finally got the blood test results it was positive…the pain of all previous times over rode any excitement and all I had was tears….I hoped that further into the pregnancy my worries would be more manageable and that there would be space for excitement…..We made it to our first scan at 6 1/2 weeks….the anxiety levels before this appointment skyrocketed….last time we had this scan it hadn’t been good, I’d had some spotting leading up to this time, so I wasn’t feeling super positive…..but there was a heart beat….I cried, there was a baby growing in me….it was amazing….it still didn’t feel real…I still wasn’t excited….I was so scared….I kept having words with myself…there was a heartbeat…all the signs suggested everything was going fine….I just needed to keep breathing….

We made an appointment with a midwife, we moved into our new house, I kept trying to do some Uni work, I felt uncomfortable in my own skin but mostly I could remind myself it was all for the greater good…it’d all be worth it……

We went to our 9 week scan, both of us pretty sure everything was fine….the anxiety didn’t really get too high this time, surprisingly….we were in new territory….but it would be ok.

Except it wasn’t. There was no heartbeat. Our baby had stopped growing a few days after our last scan. Our world was falling apart all over again. We swore & cried, & left the appointment….and just as we hopped back into our car, someone trying to park next to us, drove into us – nothing major just frustrating, we held it together, exchanged details….and as we drove off…the driver got her baby out of the car…..F’ing hell, she got lucky and drove into us….we got nothing.

That was a week ago….feels like yesterday and forever all at once. I went to hospital a few days ago for surgery….at least now physically I can start to return to normal. I’m not sure how to heal our hearts thought. And as for what’s next who knows….everything seems a bit pointless at the moment, so we’re focussing on breathing, holding each other close & medicating with chocolate.

Real Messy Life

It’s been a bit quiet round here, I’ve been severely lacking in energy and motivation for anything – so what little I have had has been saved for getting myself out of bed and to Uni, and doing assignments. I’d been thinking to myself I should just wait til I had time to write a proper post, about one of the ideas on my list of Blog Post Ideas, but I’ve always tried to keep this blog real, to show what it’s really like learning to live again after IVF, not just profound, wise posts that offer advice or learnings. So that means I need to share the messy real life…..and to be honest it’s all just f’cking hard at the moment. Motivation & energy levels are still really low (and now to make things even better I have a nasty cold too #woeisme), there are triggers everywhere (favourite TV show had a stillbirth & ended with a pregnancy announcement last night…resulting in me becoming a soggy puddle on the couch!). It’s hard to make plans for the future, when all your dreams have been dashed, when nothing really excites you. We’re both really struggling, which adds another level of difficulty to it all too – how do you support each other, and your marriage, when you can barely get through each day? Seeing the pain in his eyes, as he voices his bewilderment about feeling so low is really tough, I just want to make it all better, but I don’t know how to fix this.

It’s all so f’cking unfair. They say going through things like this makes you stronger….well I’d like to know where it is, as it’d be nice to have a bit more strength than just what’s required to get out of bed in the morning!

So that’s the raw messy truth of how I’m doing, let me ask – how are you doing today?

On this day.

{CW: Miscarriage}

A year ago today, 22 August 2016, we had one of, if not the, worst days of our lives. It was the day of our 7week scan. All the blood tests said I was still pregnant with our last embryo, the one out of the 4 we had pre-genetic screening on that was chromosomally normal. We’d not made it to the scan day with any of our previous pregnancies so we thought we had finally got lucky. The excitement and desire to see our babies heartbeat was high, even though I had some serious doubts due to symptom changes a week or so earlier.
I remember being incredibly nervous, sitting in the waiting room at the clinic, waiting for our specialist to call our name. I remember going into our appointment, getting myself up on the bed, with the ultrasound wand in place, watching the screen as the specialist moved it around trying to get a good view…..and still moving it around trying to find the foetal pole, a heart beat, anything to show a sign of life. I remember thinking, this is bad, its not supposed to look like this. And I remember Mr not having any idea of what was happening, til the specialist said “I’m sorry, there’s no heartbeat, its a blighted ovum”. I remember just going numb, staring at that screen, as my husband held my hand and started to cry. The specialist left us “I’ll give you a moment”. We held each other tight, he cried, I was numb, frozen, barely able to form thoughts let alone words. After I was dressed, and the specialist returned, he tried to explain. Bad luck basically. The worst luck ever. I remember the specialist looked like he was trying not to cry too, he said he’d been looking forward to our scan all day. It’s easy to feel like just a number in the process some of the time, but for that moment I knew the specialist genuinely cared.

We talked through options for how to manage the next steps, and he gave us time to think about the decision, letting us text in later what we wanted to do, so we didn’t have to actually have a conversation about it.

And then we went home. I remember holding hands the whole drive home, I just stared blankly in front of me, random thoughts floating through like “Why us? How will I survive this? Why aren’t I crying?” I remember sitting on the couch when we got home, still staring in front of me, Mr held me close, I didn’t want to be held or touched, but I knew at some level that for the future of our marriage, I couldn’t block him out at this point. He needed me too. I remember thinking a blighted ovum was super cruel, here we were in love with our baby, and it had never even been there. I felt like such a failure, betrayed by my own body.

Somehow we made it through the evening, I think I cried eventually. We somehow found a way to tell our family. The next day we drove out of town for the day, trying to escape our world for a moment, in the hope we’d find a way to breathe again. Somewhere in there we made the decision of what to do next – I wanted on a D&C, Mr thought I’d already had enough drugs & intervention so maybe we should let it happen naturally, but after the last time I didn’t want to go through that trauma again. I also, however bad this sounds, just wanted the drugs, wanted the general anaesthetic so I could escape this pain for just a bit. I also just wanted someone to look after me for a change with no expectations in return. Fortunately (as fortunate as one can be in this situation) we only had to wait a few days before the hospital had a space for us. What should have been a half day at the hospital ended up almost a full day there – thanks body for being more weird again. And a day or so later we went away out of town for a few nights, we just needed to leave our life for a little bit….except you can’t ever escape that pain.

While I remained numb for weeks after, it wasn’t a numbness that means no feeling, it was more a freezing of the emotion. It didn’t change, there was no ebb or flow, there was no escape, and no release or respite. Just so much heaviness, so much pain.

A year on, I still hold the memory of our baby close, I might not have got to hold them in my arms, but for a few weeks there I was pregnant, the pain is still strong, I miss our baby so much. I’m guessing over time the memories of the days themselves will fade, but our love for that wee embryo never will.

Dear Baby

{CW: Miscarriage}

A year ago I was pregnant. A year ago I wrote another entry in my journal to the baby I was carrying. I’ve decided I’ll share that entry with you here. I think it helps show, that no matter how early someone miscarries, that baby was real and loved.

Dear Baby,

5 weeks yesterday 🙂 Another week achieved. On Friday I figured you must be growing lots as I kept getting really really hungry. Then over the weekend I started really worrying about you. The few pregnancy symptoms I had (super smell, nausea & tiredness, oh and aches) seemed to disappear, which scared me! Made it hard for me to concentrate on studying thats for sure. I’ve had a bit of nausea today again, but the worry wobbles are still in full force 😦 tho I read in a pregnancy brochure today that most miscarriages are due to chromosomal abnormalities – and we know from testing that your chromosomes are normal, so surely you’re ok!

I keep trying to daydream about you to get rid of the worries – I wonder if you’ll have curly hair like your Daddy, or if you’ll get blonde hair since we both have siblings with blonde hair. I wonder if you’ll have my blue eyes or your Daddy’s hazel eyes. I sure hope you get your Daddy’s eyesight rather than min!

Waiting for Thursday when I get another blood test to check you’re doing what you should! And by then, your Daddy will be home and he’ll help me worry less.

Daddy sends you a hug too.
Lots of Love,
Mummy xo