Wednesday, 9 December 2009


Its cross pollination day people so here is today's mystery post. See if you can work out who it is or go to the great list of pollinators over at Geohde's place.:

When I scheduled our ultrasound two weeks ago, I honestly had very little hope that we would actually arrive at this date and still be pregnant. I put the day on my calendar in pencil, so I could erase it, if need be.

Every day since the second line came up, I have expected red on the toilet paper whenever I wipe. Whenever I feel a cramp or twinge, I take a trip to the restroom and do a "spot check." I am always amazed when the tissue comes back clean. Despite my increasing symptoms and all-day nausea, I can't wrap my mind around the fact that I seem to be staying pregnant.

I have been pregnant nine times. And eight of those times has resulted in a loss. Granted, the one time that did work out, resulted in my wonderful little boy. However, I still have very little confidence in my body when it comes to pregnancy. I still don't equate a positive pee stick with a baby. My mind does not work that way. When my husband and I discuss this pregnancy, we pepper our conversations with "if" not "when" and actually, we talk very little about the baby itself. My husband asks how I am feeling, or if I have had any spotting, but he does not really talk about the baby. Neither do I. I talk about my pregnancy in terms of symptoms and logistics. I try to steer clear of emotions or hopes. I did this with Will, too. It wasn't until much later, probably after the anatomy scan, that I was really able to start placing any true emotion into the baby part. I felt like a fraud of a mother, and I feel that way now, too.

Against the odds, here we are. I am 7 weeks, 2 days pregnant and at 3:45 this afternoon, we will know if this little baby has a heartbeat or not. Though I know that this is the first of many, many hurdles, I do know that, statistically speaking, our chances for a loss would go down dramatically if we were to see a beating heart. My own heart flutters with hope.

Monday, 7 December 2009


As I have signed up to the witty Geohde's cross-pollination on Wednesday I think it is about time I pollinated the damn blog. The usual shit gets in the way of posting: laziness, dog tiredness, work etc etc etc. I also owe the wonderous and recently(ish) transmogrified Y-Yo Mama an award/ meme thing which may have to wait until later this week.

The pregnancy is now at just shy of 24 weeks - we are 6 scans down the line and all seems fine. There has been a slight rival scan maestro spat as to whether or not the babe had a slight pericardial effusion - to which the rival answers were respectively "no" and "yes but meaningless in the grand scheme" so to be honest perhaps we would have been better off with not being told at all. I'm not usually one for keeping stuff from the patient but given the upshot was "who cares" I sure wasted a lot of my time lying on my back craning round at blurry pictures of internal organs. And in other whinges - why do all appts take over 2 hours for anything at all? In other pregnancy related news I have shifted the nausea only for it to be replaced by reflux and constipation - joy of joys. Oh and I am hobbling about as I seem to also have some sort of sciatica. This is no doubt why the chorus from the ob community is get this done in your twenties ye foolish wenches. Huh, if bloody only. Explain to me why I have been contraception free since my late twenties and not till I was 42 could I manage this on my own then.

I have also sorted out cover for my maternity leave. I have had a jobshare for years and rather than muck it up we came up with a wheeze which hopefully will keep the place ticking over in my absence as I do twice as many hours as my colleague but also can be sold as development opportunity to one of our reports. I now have some confidence that my systems wont fall apart from 6 -7 months of neglect. We are a successful jobshare but, how shall I put this, we have complimentary skills and certain things just don't get done on her watch. She will however willingly do loads of difficult staff stuff for which I am eternally grateful. Even though occasionally I curse the fact that I occasionally get in and think what the *&%^ has she been bloody doing this week, I am happy to proselytise far and wide on the benefits of a jobshare in pretty much any job but in particular in professional ones where people get narky about part timers.

In exceedingly old news I got to see the HFF, and her bags of London swag, at the Cringe reading. Always good to see that bloggers do look human in the flesh. Not that I doubted HFF's existence but she could have been a boy biker from Bolton for all I knew (she isn't for any doubters amongst you).

Anyhoo. Do check back on the 9th for the cross-pollination extravaganza. Now back to failing to buy Yule gifts. Oh I wish I was one of those super witty gift givers who buys the oh so perfect items through the year and come December has nothing to do except source recherche wrapping. I blame living in foreign climes for years of my youth and also having non-religious/non-christian parents for my failures to buy into the British Christmas shopping experience.

Also why on earth are marron glacees so expensive - if anyone can confirm that making them yourself is a) viable and b) as tasty as the offerings from fancy French deli type place I will be eternally grateful.

Monday, 14 September 2009

There has been a lot happening

I am a shit poster. People I read mange posts every day, every other day, every week, every month. I barely manage every quarter. Oh well. I was rubbish at keeping up my juvenile diaries too which is probably a relief given they tended to be pretty uninteresting. I went for endless lists of books I had read rather than tortured analysis of who liked who best. Thats why I love the idea of Cringe - the book of hideously embarrassing juvenilia in which the great HFF has a piece (clearly her current writing is nothing like that stuff).

As an aside I also have a super bad habit of saving up posts of a lot of my favourite bloggers so I can think of something worthy to say and then never having enough time to comment. How do all those daily posters manage to find time in the day to comment absolutely bloody everywhere as well as having real lives?

So what are my excuses?

Indolence. A character trait I think I am stuck with. I am fine with tons of deadlines but if there isn't a court order hanging over my head and it can be put off it will be. This is why I am a litigator rather than any other sort of lawyer.

The need to keep up with the increasing no of people I read who post all the time. This comes under the husbandly rubric of "you need to get a bloody life in the real world". Thing is he doesn't deal with the people I do at the school gate. That is a whole post in itself but you wouldn't have thought it was quite so difficult to get past good morning. And work people aren't much use the rest of the week. (Work takes up time too and is unfortunately totally unbloggable for as they say "legal reasons".)

7 weeks of school holidays - thankfully over. London is a fabulous place with kids but boy can you spend a fortune in money and patience going to the Science Museum, the Zoo etc etc.

A number of weeks taken up for the husband by my seriously ill alcoholic FIL. That would be the high functioning alcoholic who managed to disguise from his sons that he had left himself with a bare 10% of his liver. FIL has never ever been my favourite person. In fact less said about him the better as it is not my story to tell suffice it to say throughout the husband's life he has been not nice.

Another pregnancy - currently at 14 weeks. This time though I decided I couldn't face the serial hell of inconclusive/ ok but not great scans ending in disappointment so I waited until 12w to have my first scan. All went well and all looks fine. Even the trisomy risk is pretty good for my age (between 1 in 850 or 1 in 1100 depending on the fancy research scan place vs NHS even though they should both be running the same system). Actually fancy scan place have been doing research trying to predict pre-e at the 12w scan from blood flow patterns and blood tests and on that I'm looking pretty good at the moment although no guarantees given I have had it before and the lupus pre-disposes. The booking in with the midwife took about 8 hours as each gory detail of the previous 5 pregnancies was recorded for posterity by me on paper and then repeated for her to put on the computer (although to be fair whilst child 1 was on the lots of reasons for intervention side pg wise child 2 was trouble free) . The high risk boxes were all ticked and off I shot to the consultants. Always a joy when they first thing the high risk consultant says is "oh I remember you". Never sure that that is a good thing. Didn't stop me having to give consultant no 2 (never knowingly under-consultanted my appts - 3 is the norm no 3 wasn't there as as per usual I was booked into the wrong clinic) and the snotty medical student the whole history a-bloody-gain.

Despite all things looking good so far I am still indulging in head in sand behaviour about this whole thing and have told precisely no family at all yet. Can't imagine I will be able to get away with that for much longer.

Anyway as with my diaries I have sent my self a "could do better" report card and a mental note that must try harder.

Sunday, 3 May 2009

It is done

It was done on Tuesday. By a very severe Croatian who it turned out was the head of the dept which surprised me as I didn't think grand surgeons stooped to such things as ERPCs. Anyway after the slight debacle of the junior research fellow totally failing to get the difilucan stick in in the morning - she fumbled for 10 mins and tried three speculums/ae(?) before giving up and getting in a consultant who took 1 min - I was quite pleased to get the big gun. It only took about 15 minutes and there were only two painful things: the cannula (I'm still bruised) and the pressure of the scanner on my tummy. The lignocaine injections didn't hurt and I felt nothing except the speculum. All a bit of an anti-climax really. The sac was beginning to collapse so I suppose even my body would not have hung on to this pregnancy much longer. I am so glad I decided to go this route though as I have had very little cramping and less bleeding than a period. I only had one evening of gushing and mega clots ( this resulted in instructions to go back if it happened again which it hasn't) so really no comparison in the blood and gore stakes to expectant management and really I have had enough of these now to want the least worst option. On balance this has been all things considered a breeze at least physically.

I haven't been so weepy this time which is intriguing. I managed the whole of Tuesday without a tear. Even though the scary Doctor tried hard to make me miserable with his "at your age" speeches. He did redeem himself at the end with a couple of good lucks and hoping not to see me except in happier circumstances. Anyhow, it doesn't mean the whole business doesn't make me feel like shit though. I have been horrible this weekend for instance - snapping - OK shouting - at the kids for such crimes as accidentally beheading my new geraniums and failing to let me rinse their hair in the bath. I have always had problems with flying off the handle and being miserable and tired (I've had to work both the last two Saturdays) certainly doesn't help in the you need to count to 5 and not shout stakes.

I'm not sure what to do next. I really don't want to be in this position again. I suppose given we have got lucky twice its possible it will happen again. I'm not sure there is anything one can do with elderly eggs except just hope that chance gives us a better one is around next time if there is one. I have had a bunch of auto-immune bloods done by my rheumatologist who responded to my email late one Sunday night and had blood forms waiting for me the next morning so we will see what they show probably not much if anything. I still am conflicted given that:
a) we only ever wanted two and we have two gorgeous kids who probably don't get enough of the best of us as it is
b) I'm being a pretty rubbish parent of the two we have at times and doubt I will get any better/less tired as I get older
c) 42 was my cut off age
d) no more invasive treatment definitely
e) the husband really doesn't want to go here again.
Anyhoo, prepared to be bored with me going over this same old ground ad nauseam.

I promised some bucket and spade shots so here they are. First here is the slightly ludicrous Victorian pile we were staying in. Allegedly it belonged to a lady in waiting to Queen Victoria who was a big fan of the Isle of Wight. It was too big particularly as work called back the other family we were with earlier than expected but it was 10 mins walk from the beach and had a garden big enough for football and frisbee so satisfied most needs.

Here is the daughter on the beach - a back shot as the husband is somewhat chary of photos on the web:

Here is the son - he is the one on the right with the curls. He and his mate sat for hours like this throwing pebbles at the wall after we told then not to hurl them at each other:

Sandcastle. Decorative elements by moi. Damn - too big for Blogger. Here my skills fail me sandcastle has to wait.

And to finish my wisteria - well actually next door's wisteria which by chance is almost totally in our garden - which is finally coming into full bloom as this represents most of my Bank Holiday activities in the garden :

Well other than this which is the early stages of the new bread/pizza oven created by the husband. He makes the most excellent bread already so I am a bit nervous it will take months to perfect the technique in a wood fired oven but as he also has the good sense to go out and buy Nutella for a sad wife to eat with fresh baked bread in front of The Wire I am happy to indulge him:

Have a good week people.

Friday, 24 April 2009

Oh well

Here we go again - yet another missed miscarriage. Not that unsurprising given the slow progress at the last one but still a big blow.

I have now hit that 3 m/c jackpot for referral to the recurrent miscarriage unit - oh joy. I know I said we were done but I am going to take the referral anyway as I want to know as much as I can as to why this keeps happening. I know that at the most likely reason is the elderly eggs but still given I already have an auto-immune disease (lupus) its possible that there could be something testable going on.

So yesterday morning was spent at super calming full of ancient Greek pots private scan place - 2 scans to confirm the blindingly obvious to everyone from the first 30 seconds - little growth and no heartbeat is a pretty big clue. Followed by super expensive delicious banana, cardamon and chocolate muffin and a flat white in glamour cafe to ease the pain. Walk in the sun through central London to the EPU at massive teaching hospital to be scanned again and then given the "options". I can't face expectant management so the ERPC under local will be on Tuesday next week. Now I just have to try and organise the genetic testing which for obscure reasons isn't standard and getting my APS status checked before the procedure. I usually test negative for APS but occasionally positive and I just want to rule it out for this one.

I do find it so very very frustrating that for most of my thirties my body refused to get it together so that A could meet B and create C when the eggs were in order without huge amounts of money and drugs and then works it out for my 40s when only dodgy eggs are left. Oh and that my body is still behaving to all intents and purposes as if I was still pregnant.

Anyway there we are. Thank you all so much for your support. I am going to use the weekend to work out how to put photos on and regale you with traditional British seaside bucket and spade shots. At least the holiday - which was lovely - was not ruined by this hideous process.

Thursday, 9 April 2009

Phew - kinda.....

I have been told by the very Germanic dr at the fancy scan joint to be cautiously optimistic so I am trying it out for size. Not sure it fits yet.

So the good from this morning:

1. heartbeat - absolutely definitely - saw it myself;
2. fetal pole, yolk sac, amniotic sac - yes, yes, yes;
3. gestational sac - yup;
4. ovaries fine;
5. pouch of douglas (who? what?) - fine.

And the very much less good:

Measuring at least a week behind where I thought I should be so I've another 14 days of angst before I know anything for definite (unless I know sooner for bad reasons). Would have liked to go back sooner but Easter has meant they are totally chocabloc for the week after.

Self justification of being positive - the CRL is ok for just about 6w - although the sac is a bit small; my periods have been a bit shonky - varying by 4 days in length; I could have ovulated late I suppose which could account for another few days, or implanted late. Dr Google is being monumentally unhelpful as usual although I have ascertained that the sac is definitely over 5mm bigger than the CRL which is a allegedly a good thing.

Trouble is I have been here before. I hate uncertainty.

We are off to the Isle of Wight tomorrow - so sand castles and ice creams for us - hopefully the weather will be clement but have top to toe rain gear if not. Have a good break people.

Wednesday, 8 April 2009

F*ck - scan tomorrow

Have decided deep gloom is best preparation.

Good signs:
- getting up to pee in the night;
- nausea;
- dizziness;
- much more tired than normal;
- sleeping terribly;
- digestion weird;
- need for endless peppermint tea.
Bad signs:
- no throwing up like the previous times;
- able to clean teeth mostly without retching;
- boobs not much different - although I think the fact I'm still feeding the boy at night won't help on this one. Oh and feeding has become painful which I think might need to be in the good sign box.

None of the above is worth shit however as I have been in the every symptom under the sun but no viable pregnancy camp before. Nothing I can do about it anyway. If this goes tits up though I am done. As in use contraception done. At least I think so.

Good thing we get tomorrow afternoon off as it is Maundy Thursday (a rare civil servant perk). Given the location of the scan unit my credit card may take a bashing.

Think of me.

Monday, 23 March 2009

Reviving the dead

Gosh its been a long time. No excuses really - 3 hectic weeks in Canada /the US followed by a grim 4 months at work , then Christmas, then a new job and too many blogs on my Reader that I feel compelled to read first before writing anything myself. Comments have been the only thing I have done for months.

And truth be told for quite a lot of the last few months I have been miserable. That low level pernicious not quite proper depression which is the result of two kids, two parents with jobs, too little sleep and generally feeling sorry for oneself and one's lot. Not a happy bunny even though on paper the two gorgeous kids, one lovely husband, nice house, good job etc are all exactly as I would have ordered. For reasons which are unclear I have been feeling better since the weather got better so perhaps it was all just seasonal affective disorder combined with pre-menstrual quasi-psychosis? Anyway I have been miserable and vile. My kids think I am shouty - sadly they are not wrong. My fuse has been infinitesimally short. Disputes over clothes for school - oh how I wish her school did not think uniform stifled the little darlings' creativity - turning in to shouting matches between a 41 yr old and a 5 yr old with the 41 yr old being quite frankly the least mature of the two. Whilst it is charming in a way to see how some personality traits work their way down to the next generation perhaps stubborn and argumentative were not the greatest things to have picked up from me.

Anyhoo - I have lots of stuff on the miserable months that I would quite like to get out in writing but I have something rather more pressing on my mind at present. Much to my surprise we managed to get me pregnant again without the services of our clinic or indeed any other medical professional. Unfortunately for me given my advancing years (there are only a few days before I am 42) and my track record of 4 pregnancies but only 2 live births the chances of this progressing inexorably towards the end of November and the arrival of a further child are very slim. I am 4w 5d now. I have booked a viability scan for 7w 1d and am assuming that either I won't need it or it will tell me that my week away at Easter will be grim. I have a great track record for miscarriages on holidays - May Bank holiday and a week in Sicily for m/c no 1 and Christmas at my parents for m/c no 2. I know that I should be indulging in positive thinking but I am now in a knicker checking, boob pressing frenzy and will be until this is proved as a keeper or not.

This turn of events, which was met by choruses of "oh fuck, what have we done?" from both of us and long silences from himself, is not what we had planned. After "did it by ourselves" pregnancy no 1 in 2007 and its demise I had finally got round to a point of acceptance that it was not going to happen again (because come on we had approx 10 years of unprotected sex and nada) and we were going to be a family of 4. It had taken a good long time. I also had a mental line in the sand of conception pre 42 and after that no more, definitively too old. Oh how the fates laughed - this pregnancy has as you will see snuck under my mental wire by a week. Bastard fates. Now I assume they will play with me for a few weeks and then laugh in my face. OK that really is being too gloom and doom but maybe it will cocoon me from the grief that will follow if this does go tits up.

Now - that wasn't too difficult. Not sure what was keeping me from posting before. Thanks must go to Hairy Farmer Family whose email prompted me into updating (although I haven't quite mastered links or photos).