The Follow Up

Tuesday was a day of mixed emotions. I was quite nervous about what the specialist would say at my follow up appointment, post-hysteroscopy. But I didn’t really have any need to be nervous, I couldn’t think of any reason why the outcome would be bad.

I turned up to the appointment, and nervously entered the doctor’s office when it was my turn. I was by myself this time, and I was hoping like mad that everything would be ok since Karl wasn’t there for added support.

The specialist started by showing me the pictures from the surgery. Pretty fascinating stuff, it felt like I was looking at an alien landscape (but pink). He showed me the retained product, told me that it was attached to the front wall of my uterus and that they got it all out. YAY!!!! I was very happy about that. He said the rest of the uterus looked good and healthy.

He did say that he found a couple of spots near my cervix that could have been endometriosis. The biopsy showed that it wasn’t (double yay), it wasn’t serious enough to prevent me from falling pregnant previously, and he wasn’t concerned about it. He said it could even be just something unique to me, maybe even from when I was developing in my mother’s womb.

The next stage? Wait one cycle, then move on with life. Try again when we feel ready and send him notification when we get another positive (I might just wait until we have a successful 12 week gestation!). I was happy to know that he was considerate of the distance I have to travel to see him, and that he was confident in the care of my usual GP with future pregnancies. That’s the kind of specialist I am happy to use – not in it for the work / money / possible treatment from IVF kickbacks. Gold star for him 🙂

I’m still feeling emotional at times, and going from past experience I know it’s not going to go away any time soon. My triggers are everywhere, and each day has the potential to go well or go pear-shaped. One moment at a time is the plan of action, and being kind enough to myself to let myself have bad days, despite how awesome I was feeling previously. Today is good, and with tomorrow there are endless possibilities.

So what am I going to do with myself for the next month? I’m going to enjoy myself (or at least try). I’m going to spend some time with my husband, and I’m going to give my cat cuddles as much as possible (the pup gets jealous and sometimes squeezes the cat away from affection! Such a rascal…). I’m going to jump on a trampoline, I’m going to hang upside down from the bars at work, I’m going to eat ice cream, I’m going to do gymnastics where possible, I’m going to go rock climbing, and – last but not least – I’m going to go for a swim!

Here’s to moving forward, moment by moment.

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Monday

It’s been a rough few days.

I decided that it would be good to have a weekend free from socialising, just quiet, not doing much. I think it was definitely what I needed, but at the same time I really didn’t want to go through it.

Friday was a good day, looking back, the surgery went well. I didn’t sleep well on Friday night, but I suppose I can put that down to eating a lot on Friday afternoon, and the anaesthetic & painkillers filtering their way out of my body.

 

Saturday was when the sadness hit. And I wasn’t expecting it. I was feeling so positive about just moving on and feeling better on Friday, that the way I felt on Saturday almost blindsided me. At first it manifested itself in just quietness, observing life. It was quiet but at the same time it was so full of talk. There was so much thought going on inside my head it was exhausting. I’m not sure what my husband thought of it, but he was doing well in dealing with me and my silence, however I seemed. I did some reading and journaling later in the afternoon after we went for a drive in the hills, and it did help to some degree. After we watched a movie we went to bed, but I couldn’t sleep. I felt so anxious, I was feeling uncomfortable all over and I was still so tired, but yet I couldn’t seem to find rest. That’s when the tears came. I’m not sure how long I cried for but it felt like my whole face was swollen. The sadness was unrelenting and it felt like there was nothing I could do but succumb to it. I just sat there on the bed crying with my husband slowly but surely wrapping himself around me in the dark. I think it was about 11pm when I decided that I had probably stopped crying enough to go to sleep. It was an effort to get my mind to stop ticking but eventually I drifted off.

I still felt so sensitive on Sunday morning. Better, but, I don’t know. Sensitive. There seems to be no other word for it. I helped my husband with a few things but I was still uncomfortable from the surgery. I had been having cramps occasionally since Friday (not that I was bleeding much, barely even spotting, which was a massive surprise considering what the doctors & nurses were telling me), and I was also still quite tired. Darn this whole recovery process!

Monday – today – arrives, and the floodgates open. It took it’s sweet time, and I decided that I should stay home. I didn’t want to be at work with a potentially overwhelming crime scene happening in my pants. I only had 2 people to train today, and they were flexible enough to reschedule. I’m staying home to watch movies and eat and rest. I’m still tired and emotional too – not helped by the movies I chose to watch!

I feel like I’ve done so much thinking over the past few days. Still nothing really makes sense (and I apologise if this post doesn’t really make sense either). Oh well, such is grief. I feel like I’m on a never ending roundabout. Both in life and in my head. When we try again, I’m just going to have to go through another 12 week wait. The first 2 weeks are waiting for ovulation. The next 2 weeks are waiting to see if I’m pregnant. Then the 8 weeks that follow are just hoping like mad that this pregnancy is actually going to last. So far my track record isn’t that good. How long do we keep going around in circles for? How many times am I going to have to go through this before we decide that enough is enough? How broken am I going to become through this? Will my sadness ever go away? Will I ever be truly happy again? Will my life without children be enough? For goodness sake, I’m supposed to have an 8 month old and be 18 weeks pregnant with my second child. This is not how life is supposed to be. I’m a happy person and it’s very hard to be happy right now! I know I have so much but it seems so hard to be focusing on anything but what I don’t have. I feel so overwhelmed by the future and I’m tired of the old mantra “take one day at a time”. But when things feel this awful it’s really more like “take one breath at a time”. Sometimes a day seems like too big a chunk of time to get through. And I know that I will meet my babies one day – but when a day seems like too big a chunk of time, “one day” way off in the future seems so freaking unbearable.

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I’m slowly chipping my way through the book of Job. His brutal honesty is refreshing. I could honestly be saying the things he said. I feel like I have no hope, no prospect, my patience is at it’s limit, and I am definitely not feeling strong. I am feeling wilted and beaten.

Round 3

So. Today has finally come. The day of the hysteroscopy.

Yesterday I was starting to feel a bit nervous, but thankfully I slept ok. The good thing with this being the third procedure, is I feel like I’m learning more each time and preparing better and better. I kept my water intake up as much as possible as late as I could into the night. The last thing I wanted was to have the canula put in my wrist again because the veins in my hand were too flat. Apparently the last time I could eat or drink was 6 hours before my admission time. If that was the case, I was going to drink as much as I could right at the last minute. 600ml of water, at 3am. Man, was that ever a mission!

So I managed to not eat or drink anything again (yay! I was super hungry), and we made it to the hospital perfectly on time. The nurse took me in, I saw the anaesthetist, then before I knew it we were walking into the theatre. Cue nervous tears (as usual – so annoying!). But thankfully the team was really good. The anaesthetist made a few jokes which was a nice distraction, and even better – the canula went in first time in the back of my hand! Yay! Before I knew it I was saying goodnight, then waking up in recovery.

I woke up comfortably, feeling a little unwell with a reasonable amount of cramping and pain. The nurses were really good, I told them how I felt and they gave me what I needed. I had a lemonade ice block first to help bring my blood sugar back up and it was awesome. I hadn’t had an ice block in years so it was really great as a treat. Soon after that I had my sandwiches and they let me get dressed. Before I knew it my sister-in-law had arrived to get me and we were on our way.

I’m so happy this is over now. I know that the whole journey is far from over, but I’m just so glad today is done. Time to move on I think, and hopefully my doctor agrees when I see him next week!

How to remember

I often think of how I’m a mother of two, that we just have yet to meet. We met on ultrasound, and of course in person but not in the way you conventionally meet someone. I ‘met’ them in the sense that I knew they were there (at least for a short while), I gave them love, did my best to eat well and look after myself, and I presume they ‘met’ me in the sense of “yay Mum’s given me all my required nutrients today and I’m cosy and warm, ready to grow.”

When we had our first miscarriage, I felt like I needed something to remember it by. You hear of people getting tattoos, but I’m not a tattoo person. I think there are some great ones out there but I am just so indecisive – what would I get? And then I just had this feeling that getting something like that is something that I might move past and then regret getting it. So, after some thinking, I made a decision. Before I found out I was pregnant, I was in London at my best friend’s wedding. I bought a necklace to wear to the wedding, and I thought that it would be quite appropriate in a few ways.

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For one thing, it is about the same size my baby was when it died. It also reminded me of a blastocyst, the bunch of cells that develop not long after fertilisation. And it also reminded me of a disco ball! Maybe it seems odd, but before I had confirmation of the pregnancy, we did a lot of dancing at my friend’s wedding. Not disco dancing, but just lots of dancing. With those few factors I felt it was a good choice to remember my baby by.

When the next pregnancy rolled around, and then we lost it, I had that feeling again. How would we remember our number 2? I didn’t feel like my “disco ball” was appropriate any more, I felt like our second baby was missing out. I discussed it with my husband after finding a few necklaces I liked, who obviously stored it in his mind for later.

Fast forward to last night. Every second Thursday I have a massive day at work, and I get home super late. When I got home I saw something on the bench. It was a card with a little box. I knew exactly what it was, which of course set off the emotions right away! I opened the card and read it. He even wrote a little poem, or at least attempted to, which made it really sweet and funny. I opened the box, and I saw a lovely silver necklace. He did really well in choosing it, it was one of the first designs I had looked at and had actually forgotten all about. Needless to say I was super happy and felt really special. He remembered my feelings and knew how important it was to me. One loop for each baby 🙂

Gold star goes to my husband 🙂

One for the friends.

Today has been a day for going through emails. My endless abyss of emails! I’ve read some great articles today, and this one I am quoting from was definitely one I can resonate with. It was an article about what to do when you’ve had a “crappy workout”. Number 2 on the list was this:

Lean on a friend who has earned the right to see you at your most vulnerable” (Neghar Fonooni.)

Sometimes I really feel like I’m almost obliged to tell people what’s happened, even though I know I’m not. I hate lying to people (is saying something incorrect to protect your privacy a lie? Moral question of the day…), but I know that not everyone needs to know what’s happened with the miscarriages, or that we were / are trying to start a family.

But this quote highlights the most important thing we all need to remember. We generally have lots of friends, but there are the ones who have been with you through thick and thin, they have earned the right to see you at your worst. When you’re teary, snotty, and a blithering mess who can’t mentally function properly. They are the ones who can know, because they know what to say, what to do, and what kind of chocolate or DVD’s to bring you. Hell they even know if you need man sized tissues or not.

Here’s to the besties who have our backs in all this crap. High five 🙂

 

Changes

My mother-in-law mentioned something today with regards to our puppies that stuck with me.
It was something along the lines of “our family situation has changed…” meaning, we were less inclined to use a certain room in their house, because it was a room to be kept tidy. Let’s face it, the puppies are anything but tidy!

The comment stuck with me because our family situation has changed, so much, but yet from the “outside” it’s still very much the same.

Karl and I are parents to two babies. One we saw it’s heartbeat, the other we didn’t. That is as good as it has got for us. For us, they were images on a screen. The images, the positive pregnancy tests, and my short-lived symptoms were as good as it got for us. We never saw them any bigger than my fingernail, never got to feel the first flutters and kicks, never got to go shopping and set up their bedrooms. In a way it seems like we have been robbed of something. There’s a vacancy in our lives that won’t even be filled by successfully birthing future babies. Sometimes it seems like they weren’t even real, but the grief alone proves otherwise.

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From the outside we are still Hannah and Karl, ‘parents’ of Smudge the cat and Penny the pup. There is no sign that anything could have gone wrong. We haven’t told so many people, so why would anything be different?

Things won’t ever be the same.

A good day

So, if the title doesn’t give it away, today is a good day. Not just because it’s Friday and it’s my short working day either!

Even though this grief process is a struggle, there are still so many good days. It feels like the storm in my mind has died down, and there’s been a break in the clouds, and the wind has reduced to a pleasant cool breeze. It’s important to recognise these days, enjoy them. Maybe even celebrate them. Sometimes they feel rare, and sometimes there are a few good days in a row.

It’s nice to be able to function like a “normal” human. Not that we grievers are abnormal, but on those bad days I’m sure you understand how it feels to be disconnected, frustrated and stuck. It seems like other people don’t have that problem. In reality they’re probably just wearing masks like the rest of us! As I always say: “define normal”. Currently, grief is my normal, and it normal to grieve.
But back to my point – it’s nice to feel happy and upbeat. Yes, the thoughts of my babies are always there, yes I’m thinking about the procedure next week, but some how it’s not consuming me as it frequently does. I seem to be able to shake the feelings, like water off a duck’s back, instead of having to air myself out for days on end like a Kormorant.

So today, now that I’ve fed my belly, I’m going to attempt some Pilates with a friend, stock up for Valentines day breakfast and go home to get ready for the weekend. It’s a bit of a boring.day but it’s good. I’m happy 🙂

One breath at a time.