Third trimester

I’ll be 28 weeks on Sunday, and as some books/websites say 27 weeks is the start of the third trimester, and others say its 28 weeks I’m officially declaring myself as Third Trimester since I’m in the middle of the 2! It does seem a bit weird to me that there is this confusion as to when it starts. I asked my midwife (I say my midwife – I haven’t actually seen the same one twice yet in 5 appointments) at my last appointment, thinking that surely the NHS would have picked a week to go with, but she didn’t know.

Let’s just give that a minute to sink in.

The MIDWIFE couldn’t tell me the most basic information about being pregnant. She didn’t even say “hmm there’s a bit of debate as to whether its 27 or 28 weeks” she just looked at me blank-faced and said “ohhh hmmm when is that….hmm I’m not actually sure…..hmm I guess just take 40 weeks and divide it by 3”. Yeah, thanks lady.

So, what does the third trimester bring? Well, so far I haven’t had any extra hideous symptoms that can go with ‘phase 3’, but since I’m half-in-half-out I’m sure there’s some treats to come. Not that I’ll really give a shit if there are….I still can’t get my head around people that moan about this. It’s bloody marvellous and quite frankly a miracle and I count my lucky stars every day.

Mostly the third trimester has brought realisation, and then fear that:  a) I am properly pregnant and it’s here to stay, b) there will, in the rather near future be a baby and c) that I’m going to have to push that baby out my veejay. And that’s pretty terrifying!

I’m starting to have to think about my ‘birth plan’ and basically I have 2 choices – I either go to the Dr led hospitaly, no frills but drugs on tap place or I go to the midwife led, birthing pools and whale music but no drugs place. Personally I’m not sure why the hell I can’t have birthing pools, whale music with a doctor and some drugs on the side but apparently I can’t. It’s one or the other. But since the midwife can’t tell me when the freakin third trimester starts I’m thinking probably not the best thing to trust these people to deal with the whole thing on their own.

Also, having spoken to a few people who have given birth in the last few weeks they all say the same – take the drugs, for God’s sake take the drugs!!

Livin on a Prayer

“Woahhhhhhh we’re half way there, WAAAAOOOHHHHHHH HOOOO livin on a prayer!”

This is my way of saying, I’ve hit 20 weeks! Half way. Would you Adam and Eve it?*

I’m actually in a state of disbelief that I’ve got this far. 20 weeks. I’m now officially out of the danger zone and into the ‘holy crap I’m pregnant’ zone. Last Saturday DH and I went for a private scan just to check out how the little monkey was getting on.

Wow. There has been an awful lot of growing going on. The private clinic (I say ‘clinic’ it was actually a weird little room with an ultrasound machine in it, but it did the job) used a 4D scanner so we were able to see the baby actually moving around. The last time we saw a 4D scan was at 11 weeks, just before the wedding and frankly it looked like a Nik Nak. But this time…..there’s an actual baby in there! He/she was wriggling around so much, constantly moving and rubbing its eyes, sucking its fingers. It was just incredible. I wish I could have one of those machines at home, I’d be watching all day. After about 10 minutes or so of us ohhing and ahhing monkey had obviously had enough of putting on a show, turned round and showed us its bum and wouldn’t turn back again. Ha! We get the message!

“Take my hand, we’ll make it I swear, WAAAAOOOHHHHHHH HOOOO livin on a prayer!”

Well this week, we feel less like we’re ‘livin on a prayer’ and a lot more like we’re going to make it. The scan has made us feel so much more confident in the pregnancy, and to add to that I’m now feeling movement every day which is such a reassurance.

We’ve started planning things. We’ve talked about names, and not even in a whisper but right out loud.

We’re going to have a baby.

This hit me yesterday when stood in my kitchen and I sobbed happy, happy tears. The whole time I’ve been pregnant I haven’t let myself go and properly cried or been overly happy about it because I’ve always been waiting for it to end. Enough now. It’s time to enjoy this.

 

* Sorry, not sure what’s wrong with me I’m a bit hyper today but really no excuse for going all mockney on you, on top of a Bon Jovi reference. For my non-British readers ‘mockney’ is the use of cockney phrases/accent when you’re really not a cockney. Whilst I do have a saaaaaafff (south!) east London accent, I’m definitely not a cockney!

The Club

I started this post 2 weeks ago and have been so busy with work and annoying things breaking (guttering, boiler, washing machine – the joys!) that I didn’t have time to finish it off and post it…..

Whilst last week was physically challenging with the occurrence of lightening cooch, this week has been emotionally challenging. On Sunday I went to my friend’s baby shower. It’s been a long time since I’ve been to one, and the last few I did go to reduced me to crying in the loos and sobbing on the sofa when I got home. I hadn’t really thought too much about it but before leaving I felt really anxious all of a sudden…was I really ready to be a room with all those mothers?

It turns out, I was not! I’ve always been quite a gobby person and whilst not over confident, and can be shy in many situations, I usually feel fairly comfortable…and able to fake it if not. But at the baby shower I just felt like I wanted the ground to swallow me up. All those mothers clucking away, making flippant comments about having babies. Whilst the comments and conversations did not cut as deeply as they would have done a few months ago, they still made me flinch. I had forgotten how much fertiles take it all for granted and all I could think of was my lovely twitter/blog friends that are still in the trenches of IF. I just sat there dumbstruck, not joining in, hardly talking. I just wanted out of there. I got home and cried on my sofa.

Then on Tuesday I started a pregnancy yoga class. I got lost on the way there, and was late and so again I was not really thinking about what the actual class would entail. I walked into a room of about 15 pregnant women deep breathing, and felt I’d had the breath knocked out of me. I was by far the ‘least pregnant’ of all these women and I just felt so out of place, like I didn’t belong there.

The teacher talked a lot about ‘your baby’ and breathing techniques/positions for birth…which makes perfect sense for a pregnancy yoga class. I don’t know why I hadn’t realised it would be like that, I guess I just thought it would be like a normal class but without postures that could be dangerous. Then for the last 15 mins of the class a former member of the group came in with her baby and talked about her ‘birth story’!! What the holy fuck?!

I guess I’ve just spent so long trying to get into this club that now I’m in it I feel like a fraud and that any day now someone is going to notice and revoke my membership in a hideous and bloody way. I feel like I need stay on the fringes and not get too used to being here.

——————————————–

So, now it’s a few weeks on and I went again to the pregnancy yoga class, which was a little less scary as I knew what to expect, and I felt less out of place. Maybe this is due to the huge amount my belly has grown! I’m feeling less nervous and more calm. I’m smiling more. I’m starting to allow myself to think about the future – the good version.

I think there are a few reasons for this, firstly being that I’m now 18 weeks and heading out of the Danger zone with each day. I know it could still go wrong, but in my mind if I can make it past 20 weeks it’s more likely that this pregnancy will not be like my sister’s. I have been reassured in the last few weeks with a midwife appointment and an obstetrician appointment, during both of which we heard a lovely strong heartbeat. I’m in love with that noise.

I was sent to see the obstetrician because of my sister’s history but after an hour and half waiting to see him he seemed rather puzzled as to why I was there….he kept saying “but you haven’t had any miscarriages, so I’m not sure what the risk factor is”. No mate, I haven’t had any miscarriages. But I’ve also never been pregnant so we’ve really got no idea what’s going to happen here do we, and after years and years of TTC and 4 rounds of failed IVF lets just keep an eye on it eh?!! Anyway, he’s sending me for bloods, I don’t think either of us are sure why but at least it keeps us all busy!

The final reassurance I’ve had is I think I’ve started to feel some movement…I’m not totally sure but every few days I get a funny bubbly feeling and I don’t think its wind. I like it. I want lots more please.

Finally, on Saturday I’ve got a private scan booked to see the little monkey, before having the NHS one at 20 weeks. At the moment I’m feeling calm about it and looking forward to it…I’m sure I’ll be a crazy mess of worry by Friday though!

The Danger Zone

Somehow, I’m now 15 and a half weeks pregnant. This has gone both ridiculously quickly and torturously slowly. Sunday started my 15th week with scary dull stabby pains in my left ovary area, accompanied by even scarier very sharp shooting pains down into my ..a-hem…well, clitoris/urethra (a sensation DH has since named ‘lightening cooch’).

This was understandably scary but after lots of googling/tweeting I’d tried to calm myself into realising that there’s  a lot of growing going on in there, and some of its bound to hurt a bit. The ovary pain had stopped by Monday but I still had ‘lightening cooch’ and thought it might be a urinary infection so went to the GP on Tuesday morning. The GP dipped a stick in my wee (I could fill a bath with sticks that have been dipped in my wee…although probably wouldn’t use my bath) and said I didn’t have a urinary infection as far as he could see but he’d send it off for culture. When I pressed him a bit on what exactly was causing lightening cooch then he was vague, made me lie down and pressed my tummy, said ‘hmmm’ a lot and gave me no answer.

So feeling slightly panicky, I drove home….hitting a parked car on the way. Awesome. It wasn’t exactly a ‘car crash’ as I was going about 5 miles an hour but I still managed to crunch their bumper and cause a general faff that these things cause. Ugh.

I got home and attempted to find a midwife to talk to. I haven’t yet had my first midwife appointment (its next week) so I called the hospital where I had my ‘booking in’ appointment. The receptionist told me that if I was really worried I should go to A&E as I was ‘too pregnant’ to go to the EPU. Helpful. With a rather wobbly voice I told her I actually just wanted to speak to someone. She gave me a number for a midwife assessment line. Perfect you might think. I called them and they said they only treat people who are over 20 weeks, but told me everything was ‘probably ok’.

Brilliant. So basically if you’re between 12 and 20 weeks you’re on your own – it’s A&E or nothing. And I didn’t think I was having a miscarriage right at that time, I was pretty sure it wasn’t the time to go and sit in A&E for 5 hours to have a Dr that knows very little about antenatal medicine prod me. But…I just wanted someone to say “ohhh lightening cooch, yes pregnant women get this all the time” or “hmmmm lightening cooch, never heard of that, could be worrying you should definitely go to A&E now”.

But they didn’t. So I sat on my sofa and sobbed. Then I called my mum and sobbed. By the time DH called me to see how it went at the Drs I was pretty much hysterical. He left work and came home. Bless him, I’m such a crazy person. Although, in my defence he worries probably more than me, so think him leaving work was as much due to his hysteria as mine.

Now you might think that this is all rather an over reaction to a few cramps and some shooting pains, and I should just stop bloody moaning because, I’m pregnant so what else really matters? And you’d probably be right. But right now I consider myself to be in ‘The Danger Zone’.* For most people, once they get past the 12 week mark they can relax. They’re obviously still nervous but the grip of fear and constant knicker-watch has lessened.

For me, hitting 15 weeks has ramped up my paranoia. Of course I was worried before, and hitting my second trimester was certainly a great feeling. But up until then I had, apart from the odd wobble, been relatively calm. But now I’m in the danger zone – my sister lost 5 babies between 16 and 20 weeks. At the time I was absolutely devastated for her, but now being 15 weeks pregnant I have so much more a realisation of just how horrific this would have been for her than my care-free early 20’s self did. And I’m so incredibly scared it will happen to me.

That’s not to say that I’m not still happy and excited and ever so slowly starting to think about this actually working out. I’ve even noticed DH and I starting to say ‘when’ rather than ‘if’. It’s just any sign of something slightly amiss sets off the dark thoughts and blind panic.

I’m hoping very much that my sister and I just have very different types of fertility issues – she could literally pick the right day of the month to have sex on and she would get pregnant, every time. Since it’s taken me 3.5 years, 4 rounds of IVF and a miracle conception to get this far, it’s got to be ok now….doesn’t it?

 

* Weeeelll-coooooomme tooooo the danger zone  …have been singing this all day. Now you are. You’re welcome. If you’re not, you’re too young to be reading my blog.Tom+Cruise+Top+Gun

One week

Today is one week until my wedding – ONE WEEK!! I am, of course, ridiculously excited. We booked the wedding a year ago. After 11 years together and 4 years of engagement we’d been putting off the wedding due to infertility, but after our second failed IVF cycle in September last year we just knew we couldn’t wait any longer. Even though it was a totally impractical time to have a wedding – we’d either soon need the money for further IVF rounds or a baby, we just wanted to be married.

Two more failed cycles and a freak natural pregnancy later and the big day is almost here: I’m so close to my wildest dreams coming true. On my wedding day I will be 11 and a half weeks pregnant and we will announce our pregnancy to our friends and family at the drinks reception after the marriage ceremony.

Hopefully…..

Tomorrow I have booked a ‘reassurance scan’ at a private clinic to check that all is ok. And I’m terrified. Absolutely terrified. We had a scan at 5 weeks and all was fine. We had a scan at 7 weeks and all was fine but…..our plan is so perfect. Our wedding day would be such a fairy tale dream….how can it go right? After so many disappointments and failures it seems so unreal that this could be our happy ending. I’ve been feeling less and less nauseated this week and I’m so scared its because something is wrong – my boobs hurt less too. I’m hoping this is just my symptoms lessening as my first trimester comes to an end but….ugh. Scared. It would just be so so crushingly awful for it to go wrong now, 5 days before our wedding day. I honestly don’t know how I’d cope.

I was speaking to a wonderful twitter friend recently about our fears – she is 30 odd weeks pregnant and still has the fear – and she said we’re traumatised. And we are. After so much pain and hurt and it all just turning to shit every time it’s so hard to believe it can work out. That I could get the fairy tale.

In the words of Julia Roberts in one of my all time favourite films*: “The bad stuff is easier to believe.”

 

*Pretty Woman, obvs. If you can’t quote the entire script of this film, you probably shouldn’t be reading my blog.

That girl

I’ll start with the headliner – I’m 6 weeks pregnant. If you want to skip this post, go ahead…been there many times.

For those of that are ok to read about it, this is the story of how I found out I’m that girl.

Since my last (forth) failed IVF cycle in May I’ve been attempting to ‘forget about it all’ and have a summer of fun in the lead up to our wedding in October. As you can tell from my last post this hasn’t really been going that well. I did fill my summer with fun things but the pain was still very intense and I was filled with an all-consuming sense of dread that this was never going to happen for me.

We continued ‘trying’, albeit half heartedly – not testing for ovulation just DTD around the time I usually ovulate. Last month it fell on a Monday, I was knackered and told DH I really couldn’t be bothered and what was the freakin point anyway? It was hardly likely to be lucky cycle number 42. But DH convinced me we should….oh the romance!

Day 32 of my cycle came around and still no AF. I quite often have cycles of 31 days but I checked my tracking sheet (yes, I’m an obsessive infertile) and noticed that I’ve never got to day 32 and there is always spotting for days before if I have a 31 day cycle and I hadn’t had any spotting at all. So despite it being ridiculously unlikely it was still on my mind…that little voice that says ‘maybe’ can never be crushed despite so many disappointments. So I decided to do a test so I could stop thinking about it and just get on with making dinner for the three 14 year old dance students I had staying with me.

I peed on the stick, and then cleaned the bathroom a bit (14 year old girls are messy) and my eyes swept past the test and I saw 2 lines. 2 LINES. I’ve never seen 2 lines, not even a hint of second one. My first thought was ‘there must be something wrong with this test’. I was shaking but I just couldn’t believe this could be right. I rushed out and bought 3 more tests of different brands.

By the time I got home one of the students was having a shower and then dinner was ready so I couldn’t retest. DH came home I didn’t say anything, still sure it couldn’t be right. I sat through the longest dinner of my life and then rushed to the bathroom and did 3 tests – all said the same. The digital test said 2-3 weeks. I went downstairs and told DH and he sobbed his little heart out once he’d got over the sheer disbelief.

The next day I called the GP to book an appointment – I was cheerfully told that I didn’t need to see the GP, I just needed ‘decide where I want to have my baby’ and call the hospital. What the hell?!! Fucking fertiles. I don’t have a baby, I have maybe. Its the strongest ‘maybe’ I’ve had so far but its still a maybe. I insisted on seeing the GP, who also talked about ‘my baby’ willy nilly and refused to give me an early scan.

Then on Tuesday (a week after finding out) I had some brown spotting. It wasn’t much so I tried not to panic – I know how common it is. Wednesday morning brought more so I phoned the local midwife who told me to go to my nearest early pregnancy unit, which really freaked me out because if the professional is worried its bad news right? As I was at work I went to St Thomas’ EPU, DH met me there and my mum insisted on getting on the train from Kent to be there too. After a very anxious 3 hour wait for a scan we went in. It was too early to see much but there was a sack and yolk in the right place and all looked as it should. DH and I cried, like alot. The nurse looked at us like we were mad, although surely she sees this all the time?! But then she did ask me if I’d ever had an internal exam …look at my notes lady- 4 rounds of IVF – I’ve had more dates with dildo-cam than you’ve had hot dinners!

Today is the first day since Tuesday that I haven’t spotted so I’m hoping I’m done with that. I’m trying to be as zen as possible about the whole thing. My boobs hurt. I feel sick in the mornings. I’ve got to try and trust my body, no matter how much of an a-hole it’s been in the past. If it does go wrong I’ll have plenty of time to be sad and feel like shit. Although it is quite worrying that the longer I’m pregnant, the closer I get to my wedding day leaving less time to recover from a miscarriage. It really is ridiculous timing …my hen-do, the wedding, the honeymoon…but if this little miracle sticks around I couldn’t give a shit. And if nothing else, it proves that my body CAN get pregnant, something I was very much doubting.

So for now at least, I’m that girl. The girl that everyone tells you about, who takes a break from IVF then gets pregnant – I’m like an urban myth. And of course I’ve already been told by my mum and MIL that its because I ‘relaxed’ and ‘focused on something else’. Except I wasn’t at all relaxed. I was miserable and stressed and having a baby still filled so much of my thoughts. Also, I totally stopped all of the good stuff – healthy eating, no drinking (wine was becoming one of my 5-a-day), mediation, positive thinking etc etc. My mum is convinced its because I started taking these vitamins my aunt had taken after numerous miscarriages that, she believes, helped her to go on to have a baby….I’m still sceptical (although I’m taking them religiously!!) but if nothing else my hormonal acne has totally cleared up for the first time in 3 years, so if you’re interested this is the company, but be warned – it ain’t cheap: http://www.foresight-preconception.org.uk/Default.aspx

Keep everything crossed for me people.

Summer of fun

I was going to start by saying I’ve been a bad blogger as haven’t blogged for ages and what’s the point of having a blog if you never write anything….but then Barren Betty got there first and said all that earlier this week. Yeah, thanks for stealing my thunder BB.

Sooo anyway…where have I been? I’ve been bloody busy doing a million things that’s where! Organising bits and pieces for the wedding, booking a honeymoon (Sri Lanka- eeek!) and, well, getting drunk a fair bit too.

Last time I left you on a cliff-hanger (well, more like on the side of a low ledge) as I had my WTF appointment the next day. And as predicted it was more of “we don’t know why it didn’t work, you should try again, it should work at some point!” Well ‘should’ is all well and good but so far it just doesn’t and it’s all getting rather expensive, not to mention fucking heartbreakingly awful. Basically, we’ve tried every trick they have, so we should just repeat…but honestly, after 4 failures how can it work? Surely it’s just that they don’t know what the problem is, not that there’s not a problem?

DH and I have decided to give the whole IVF gig a rest for the year. We’re getting married in October and going on honeymoon over Christmas so we’re just going to ‘forget about it’ (yeah, right) for the rest of the year and see where we are and how we feel in the New Year.

Instead we’re going to have a ‘summer of fun’. We’re going to drink, we’re going to eat, we’re going to visit loads of places we say we’re going to but never do. We’re going to get our lives back again. And I have to say I’m rather excited about it.

And yes, I still get miserable, and yes I have days where the pain just stabs me in the heart and the god-awful realisation that this really, really might never happen kicks me in the tits, but I’m determined to enjoy this year.

So far we’ve been doing pretty well – we’ve been for a walk along Regents canal….

Little Venice

Little Venice

Although IF is still never far from our minds – this was DH’s wish on a ‘before I die’ chalk board by the canal:

before I die

We walked up to the top of Primrose Hill before going for a lovely Greek dinner at Lemonia (where John Torode from Masterchef was having lunch too!)

Primrose Hill

Primrose Hill

 

There have also been rather a lot of cocktails…..some up high….

View from the Shard

View from the Shard loos!

And some in posh hotels with lovely Twitter girls…

cocktails

And this is pretty much my plan for the summer…drinking cocktails and having fun (and definitely not being heartbroken and empty)! Fuck you IF. Fuck you.