All the goodnews in blogland recently has been making me weepy. Of course it would probably make me weepy in a different way if I wasn't experiencing some good news myself but I'm sure we all understand how that goes.
I can't believe I'm part of the gang. Pregnant I can do but second trimester? Am I really going to be one of those bloggers that gets a happy ending?
Everyone I started out with has a baby now. I stopped reading, many stopped posting and I gradually removed them one by one from my links. Same happened to my second batch. Then I slowly came across a group of women who seemed to be in the same shit state as me - endless failed treatments, multiple losses, failing ovaries and advancing years. I love these women - I didn't even unsubscribe when some of them became pregnant before me! But not everyone gets a happy ending or even a happy beginning. My Christmas wish is that at least all of us will.
Today is my due date for my first IVF. That means My Reality is dealing with a similar date around this time. I wish I was having my babies today and I wish we had never plunged the depths of despair that we have this year. But how can I complain? I have got a happy beginning, if not yet a happy ending. I get to approach Christmas for the first time in three years with hope and happiness.
I'm not sure what I'm trying to say, just wish I had a magic wand, that's all.
I picked this up recently for the first time in four years. I remembered it to be an enjoyable and exciting read, and if I ever had any cause to question it before, it didn't stick in my memory.
Now, coming to it with a new pair of eyes, I put to you the thesis that it is part fiction, part comedy, heavy on rhetoric and completely unsuitable for those that don't have "normal" conceptions, pregnancies and births.
Take this gem for starters:
"A positive test [after IVF] doesn't necessarily mean a pregnancy." (No further explanation.)
"A fetal heartbeat appears between 10-20 weeks of pregnancy."
And my favourite:
"As remarkable as modern medical science is, when it comes to pregnancy diagnosis, it still sometimes takes a back seat to a woman's intuition. Neither tests nor doctors are infallible. You know your own body - at least externally - better than your doctor does. "
Oh please can I go and spread this piece of wisdom around TTC boards????
Other gaffs: Missed miscarriages are very uncommon (in most cases the baby has died several days or weeks before the woman has any sign there is anything wrong), second trimester miscarriage is caused by something wrong with the mother, not the foetus (most commonly caused by chromosomal problems), an ectopic pregnancy will not give a positive on a HPT (HCG will always rise when implantation starts - if this happens outside the uterus it may stop rising once it reaches a certain level but it this will happen long after you have had a positive HPT) and poor nutrition after the first trimester will harm the baby (the baby takes what it needs from the mother's body so it will generally only be the mother that suffers).
I only flicked through most of the book so there may be more. I did look up induction as I was induced on my first pregnancy and had to laugh when they warned that labour after induction may be "unpleasant". I wonder if they'd consider having your legs sawn off without anaesthetic "unpleasant". Or if they generally consider labour to be pleasant.
I'm not one to take the softly, softly approach. I like to know how things are going to be so I can prepare properly. This book takes the "don't worry, sure everything will be just fine" approach and while it is conversational and informative in the areas in which the authors have their own expertise, there is a lot of padding and fluff that may not wash with anyone that has had a bad experience.
What is the difference between me and a 15 year old?
We both have an identical risk of having a baby with Down Syndrome or other chromosomal abnormalities. Woohoo - I won at something!!!! F*** you statistics, I knew I'd get you in the end! And let's not forget the fact that you said I only had a 30-40% chance of getting to this stage of pregnancy. Premature ovarian failure??? Advanced maternal age??? Look who's laughing now?!?
Ok, ok, victory dance over. Normal service resumed. I know how common late miscarriage and stillbirth is, especially amongst us lucky infertiles. And I have never had an easy pregnancy, not even on my successful one. We nearly lost our darling son, a threatened miscarriage where we were given odds of 50-50. In my naivety, I took the midwife's word for it. I now know that a heavy bleed followed by a small-for-dates foetus is almost always followed by bad news. Then there was the eroding cervix at 25 weeks, not to mention the fun and games of a 42 week induction. But we made it so we know it can be done.
Speaking of miracles, DS has taken over the housework! He comes home from school, inspects the stairs and announces that he thinks they need a hoover. Whatever you say, boss. He's going through a real "helping" phase - all I have to say is "I have a job for you" and he jumps to attention. He is going to change the baby's nappies and the baby will sleep on the bottom bunk of his bunk beds and he will look after it. Up until this pregnancy he wanted a brother but now he is adamant that he wants a sister. He thinks the video looks like a boy but is still hoping for a girl. DH thinks boy too. I don't really mind, there are so many good things about both. Hell, I don't care if this baby is a hermaphrodite with two heads as long as it doesn't die.
I am still fairly nauseous but the vomiting has stopped. I've even put on a pound. I have a tiny little bump, only visible when naked. I can feel the little one swishing about in there so I think it is still alive. I know I have been very celebratory today but most of the time I am filled with caution. Just taking things one day at a time.
I cried in the waiting room beforehand. I hadn't thought much about the scan in the lead-up to it and when hit with the reality of the possibility of another lifeless three month old foetus, I crumbled. But today was our day. Heart is beating, baby is growing and everything is the right size and in the right place. And then, the icing on the cake - the nuchal fold measured 1.2mm. We have to wait until Wed for the blood test results but based on the scan, we were told the risk should be in the thousands. The nuchal fold test gives an assessment of the risk that the baby has Down syndrome and other chromosomal abnormalities. We had both braced ourselves for this as we expect that if it can happen, it will happen to us. All we wanted from this scan was a live baby, anything else was only ever going to be a bonus.
And now that we have been properly introduced, I don't just want a baby, I want this baby. I just can't believe how lucky we are. Part of me is still very, very angry that it has taken so much of our lives to get this far but.......oh.......just look at that video.......what was I saying???
Tomorrow is 11w5d. It is the day that last year's baby died. For no reason.
I have been wondering what the pro-life movement (or to call a spade a spade, the anti-abortion movement) makes of people like me. I continue to create embryos, despite the fact that they are almost certain to die. It is not my intention to kill them, but if I know that my body has a predisposition to kill babies, then does that make me somewhat compliant in their deaths?
Obviously this is not a personal view. Nor is the idea that IVF destroys life. IVF doesn't destroy life, it creates it. It creates a life that would not have existed if it wasn't for IVF. So I suppose in the same vein, I am desperately trying to create life whilst doing everything in my power not to let my biological flaws get in the way.
While we're on the subject, I don't believe that life begins at conception. Viable life begins at implantation - a fertilised egg only has about a 25% chance of implanting in the uterine lining, so how can it be seen as anything other than potential life? For all those who want to save "leftover embryos" (if only - how many of us are lucky enough to have anything to freeze???), how do you propose giving each and every one of them life when medical science can only give a 25% chance of success to couples desperate for a child?
Next scan is on Monday. Finding it hard to believe I will ever get that far.
Cramps Friday night. Nausea Sat and Sun but no vomiting. Very little nausea Mon and Tues. Meltdown. Too chicken to call obs for scan, just not ready for another miscarriage. Wed - an early vomit and hunger-related nausea. Thurs - nausea back to psychologically comfortable level. No better birthday present. Well, that and the fantastic camera and lens I got from my wonderful friends and family.
I wasn't going to mention this but then I read Artblog's post about her situation and the fact that nobody talks about it and decided to confess.
In the grand scheme of things, I am the most grateful, overjoyed pregnant woman in the world. I can't believe that our baby is still alive, the tightness in my chest has subsided and my anger and bitterness has been sidelined. But it hasn't been all celebrations in our house in the last few weeks. Mostly, but not all.
Up until last week, I just had 24 hour nausea to deal with. It was horrible but I knew I probably wasn't going to vomit most of the time so I was able to do a few normal things during the day (I work from home). In the last few days, the safety net has been taken away and I am vomiting regularly. I thought this might relieve the nausea intermittently but it doesn't. I have tried the wristbands, ginger, crackers, eating small amounts regularly but nothing makes a difference. I constantly feel like I'm just about to throw up and sometimes even make my way to the loo voluntarily, just to get it over with. Everything makes me want to puke - every smell, taste, crap programme on the telly, that bloody alarm on my phone that signals yet another injection, my Pavlovian response is textbook. I remember Beth talking about the weepukes a while back. While I'm still a long way from what Beth went through, I have succumbed to the weekpukes.
People say that it will all be worth it in the end and there's the rub. Sure it will be worth it if I give birth to a live baby next May, I would live this day every day from now until then (but please no) if I got a baby in return. But it could all be for nothing once again. Statistics certainly seem to think so. And while I'll endure any amount of injections and procedures, will raise the money for as many cycles as it takes, I'm pretty sure I couldn't go through this over and over again for nothing. Maybe I've finally met my match.