I’ve been keeping a secret for the past month or so. Until very early Monday morning I was pregnant. I kept it secret for exactly this reason: because last time I shared too early and then I lost the baby. This time I kept it to just myself and Bear, and I still lost the baby, so I guess there’s no right way to do this.
I said last time that I would continue to share my experiences because I understood many others would have either been through it themselves, or just wouldn’t get it and had questions. I still believe that and although there are certain things I would never discuss with the internet, miscarriage isn’t one of them. It might hurt but even today I felt I had helped someone by letting them in (in that case it was the trainee Doctor performing my scan).
Here are some (partly edited) entries I wrote hoping I could share them once Bear and I had made our big happy reveal. As that will never happen, I may as well share my thoughts anyway. Many women feel stupid to have got so excited.. maybe I’m feeling a little bit that way, I was so sure. But that doesn’t matter now either, so it’s just a bit of my history. You’re welcome to ask questions in the comments below. Try to be careful though, I will forgive you for being blunt, but it will be harder to forgive meanness.
23rd December 2012: So I’m Pregnant.. Again.
I do not sound excited, but I am. I think I’m just holding back after losing Pascal.
I found out yesterday, calmly, and having been pretty sure for about a week beforehand. I don’t know how I knew but I knew. I then had a weird few hours of whether to tell Bear immediately, wait for a few days when we’d be properly alone, or whether I could keep it to myself for the first three months. If it didn’t work out again then maybe it would be kinder on him.
But I am hopeful, and it does feel different. I’m not sure how but it does. I feel calm, I feel ready, and I don’t feel guilty. Boxing Day will still be hard as I remember the child that never was; but the future comes with new things and this pregnancy is one of them.
I also feel far calmer about all the stuff to remember. Things to eat, things not to eat, what to do, what not to do. I am rather pleased that I will just be allowed to fly to Corfu and back in the summer. I will be pretty big, but it’s one day at a time.
There is one decision I’ve made though – we won’t be telling our parents, or anyone else, for a long time. I told Bear by a kind of letter and he didn’t need to down whisky this time so I think we’re good. But I cannot tell parents right now, or anyone else, I just don’t feel quite right. I’ve also been trying to figure out what creative way we can tell them when the time comes. Haven’t found much decent inspiration so far but I’ve got time.
That will be my motto for a while: I’ve got time.
27th December 2012: Monster Hormones.
I know it’s all too easy to blame hormones but its either that or I’ve become a monster b*tch in the last 24 hours. I was feeling so happy and calm; Bear has been loving and kind and looked after me without smothering me.
But unfortunately for him the monster is temperamental and spontaneous in the worse of ways.
For example, I asked for a scoop of ice cream, he said to go and order then, I felt snubbed, glared at him and went off ice cream immediately, which made Bear worry, and me get annoyed, then to try to combat the irrationality said I’d have one scoop. I also had an argument with my sister, and shouldn’t have snapped. I did later try and apologise but I’m not sure she took it.
I did not want to be one of those pregnant women. I’m going to try and chill out.
I will try to keep the monster at bay.
But just in case – beware!
2nd January 2013: OUCH!
My boobs are hurting. Yes boobs, get over it, I’m talking about my boobs, because basically pregnant women suffer and we deserve at some point to say so. It’s f***ing painful to do anything and while the bra used to help, apparently we’re past the point and they just feel like melons that have been used in a 6-year-old’s football match.
Of course, what cheers me up is the fact that I am basically growing water-(milk-)pistols which I can aim at Bear when he’s being mean. (Had to be said for one particular person to giggle at!)
Also it is both good, and annoying ironic, that I lost over two stone and likely to gain a lot of that back by carrying muppet-baby here around – and looking at their Dad – they’re going to be a big’un. Of course there’s a chance that I won’t gain weight and that’s confusing me quite a lot. I know I’m not supposed to be dieting, but actually the foods and “diet” that is supposed to be good for the bump are healthy anyway, with very little fat, and it’s a myth that you’re supposed to eat for two. So if I lost weight by walking and eating better, will I continue to lose weight without meaning too just by doing good pregnant women things which happen to be walking and eating better.. especially if bump is eating whatever I keep down anyway?
I am hoping I can find some weights to tone up arms and legs a bit more. That way those exercises won’t harm the bump at all, and I’ll strengthen my muscles for when I’m carrying a little cabbage-patch kid around with me all day.
I’ve also been questioning plans a lot recently too, which is very natural given the changes happening. Trying to move closer to where Bear works I think is important because gaining a large part of 2 hours a day back would be awesome for me, baby and Bear. It would also help the budget as petrol money wouldn’t take up so much. I’m really not sure what it means for me though. I’m desperate to keep my studio space, and I think I might be able to continue with art stuff to make a bit of extra money when baby comes. But if we’re further away that means bye bye to college probably and art space..
It’s a difficult one. May need to start looking at finance sheet a little more in detail.. see what’s possible.
Until then.. ouch… ouch ouch… OUCH!
3rd January 2012: Pregnancy is expensive!
So as these posts are now public because most people know I’m pregnant I can mention certain normal things that most people won’t have noticed but were big things for Bear and I.
The main one of these is food. There’s a lot out there about what you should and shouldn’t eat (and what you should burn at the stake as it screams curses at your unborn child), and some of it is useful. On the other hand, what actually became very frustrating is none of this was ever put together into an actual meal or recipe suggestion. It’s like I am meant to see a conveyor belt of fish, but not certain fish, egg, but not runny egg, bananas, green vegetables, starch, rice cake, bananas, mango, bananas.. you get the point. Of course, this only works if you can keep it down.
Bear and I ended up looking through the Hairy Dieter’s recipe book, which although is meant for losing weight is really great in that it has a lot of vegetable-heavy low-fatty foods. We went through dish by dish, picked things that we knew had good vegetables in, and left out things we knew weren’t a good idea. This gave us some beautiful suggestions for tasty, healthy meals. We also decided that in order to save time and hopefully money we would cook in bulk.
We picked seven recipes and for the first week would cook 8 portions each night. To stop everything tasting like leftovers for 3 weeks I didn’t cook them all the way, but left about 10 minutes at the end, before wrapping them up and storing them in the freezer. That way I could finish cooking them when we wanted to eat. Easy.
However, the price of it all wasn’t a fun thing to watch. When we were both living in Dundee we could feed ourselves for a month on £60. Yes it wasn’t amazing food all the time, but the trick was bulk buying and cooking, and being clever with the food you could get. It probably wasn’t the healthiest stuff either but it fed us on a budget, and we still got fruit and vegetables pretty regularly.
Our bill for a month’s food this time was £110. Not bad but still far more than I was hoping. It was partly due to the meat content, trying to find cheap meat in a supermarket on New Year’s Day was always going to be difficult.
After this month I think we will really be looking at cheaper options, which will probably mean more vegetarian food. Being lactose intolerant doesn’t help either.
Overall we are eating tasty food. We’re also being healthy. You never know Bear may even lose some weight. We’ll see, but man I wish someone would start suggesting cheap pregnancy recipes. Until then I’ll have to make some up myself. Watch this space!
7th January 2013: Baby Consumerism
Bear and I have been keeping our pregnancy quiet from basically everyone. Two wonderful people in our house knew because it was one of the reasons to step back from meals with the house. Bear’s boss also knows because Andy felt like he was lying to his boss when he was asked about holiday leave this year, but actually his boss is great and was fine about it as well as being able to keep it to himself.
One of the things we’ve been thinking about while it’s just us is baby stuff: particularly how shops tend to try to suggest you NEED a ton of stuff we don’t actually need (otherwise you’re a bad parent/neglectful/crazy/etc). I don’t want to buy a ton of plastic badly made rubbish that will be useful for about 30 seconds but will then just broken, damaged, and throw away or just left taking up space. This consumerism-driven baby market says that every mother-to-be must buy literally everything that adverts tell you *might* make things easier, quicker, cleaner, healthier. Most of the time they don’t, and recently we’ve seen it all go full circle as products start to suggest they have taken on the more “natural” approach. All this means is that they have gone back to some of the ways mothers did things before consumerism told them they were doing it wrong.
I plan to breast feed, and yes a breast-pump and a few bottles might be useful. However, I’m pretty sure I don’t need a deluxe, compartmentalised, designer, vintage-inspired bag for the bottles. I also plan to carry my baby most of the time, so I don’t want a sleek, aerodynamic, designer, fold-away pushchair. My child does not need an outfit for every day of the year. They will not need 30 teddies of different sizes. They will not need anything much and the number of department stores, designers and adverts telling me otherwise do just want my money.
The baby will not remember any of this stuf; I might and yes it will always be hard to get rid of stuff, but rather than drowning in it eventually, I would rather cut it off at the source: simply asking people not to get us said stuff unless we’ve asked.
The truth of the matter is babies have survived with their mothers and simple cleanliness, warmth, and food for many, many years before shops started carrying lists of “must-have”s. I’m pretty sure Bear, myself and Little Bear will be just fine without all the gadgets and gifts – in fact we’ll be great!
Tuesday 15th January: Confirmation
So this is where some of this can get a little bit gory, but I will try to keep it to the medical detail.
I was 8 weeks and 4 days along. At this point there were facial features, ears, little webbed fingers. I want to say this before people jump to me simply losing a little ball of cells. If you go along that line I am just a big ball of cells.
I started bleeding at 10:30pm on Sunday night. I didn’t panic at first because it was very light and that can happen sometimes in pregnancy. I was also having low abdominal pain/pressure which was worse when lying down.
I was up and down to the bathroom (mainly just to move and check bleeding) every hour until about 3am. At this point bleeding had become much heavier and included blood clots. I was now worried and remembering similar moments from May.
I called my mother (also a GP) for advice, apologised for it being so late, explained, and she suggested we try and call an Early Pregnancy Clinic via our GP surgery. Instead, the surgery passed us onto Prime Care (out of hours service) who called an ambulance (needlessly but well-intentioned).
At this point I had passed a golf ball sized clot which we can now assume was the foetus. I don’t think I will ever get the memory of that out of my head. Something so small, but so precious. A handful of something we had already grown to love.
The ambulance appeared at 5:30am at which point we realised it had been snowing. For once we weren’t excited.
They checked blood pressure, did an ECG, and asked basic questions to make sure I was fully conscious and hadn’t lost too much blood. They suggested that we could go to A&E, get checked out and check if it really was a miscarriage.
At 7am we were in City Hospital A&E, I had peed in a little tube thing, explained a number of times that I was expecting the worst. Then came two exams which I won’t go into detail of because a. you don’t want to hear about my junk and b. because it was uncomfortable and awkward so I ignored as much as possible. The doctor suggested that my womb was closed and therefore, it was a “threatened miscarriage”. I couldn’t decide whether this amount of hope was a good thing or just cruel. I was in limbo.. again.
Lesson learned: bring a clot if you think it’s out of the ordinary – however disgusting that sounds – because it may have saved us 24 hours of s**t.
We were sent home, given a scan appointment, fell asleep, cried, slept, tried to stay positive, asked for prayer from a few people, explained to bosses why we weren’t at work, cried, slept.
This morning I slept as long as possible. Bear picked me up after working for a couple of hours, then quietly we drove to the hospital again. I think we were waning. I think we had given up on the hope. Mostly. It would’ve been amazing to hear a heartbeat, to see anything, to see her. But we were expecting nothing, expecting an awkward silence, expecting a sad apology and cliched explanation.
We sat for an hour in the waiting room. Then I was asked/informed that a trainee would be performing the scan but would be supervised and checked by a doctor in the room. I would never turn this down – I know too many medics and they need to see this to be the best they can be.
Having someone pressing on your tummy and feeling like you should just “lie back and think of England” is one way to protect yourself. I was sure I wasn’t going to hear anything. Bear was intently staring at the screen.
After a short time I was told that there was no pregnancy to see. There was no residual anything left. That explains the blood clot. That was my child. She says sorry, that if I need a moment that’s OK, that nurses can answer a huge number of questions if we have any. I ask whether my weight/obesity would have made a difference. She says it’s unlikely. She seems to be trying to make sure I don’t blame myself.
We wait for a nurse and she runs through procedure – taking a pregnancy test in 2 weeks, come in if you feel any pain or bleeding gets very heavy, that the womb closes up automatically – if it hadn’t I would’ve needed surgery. It’s all a bit of a blur and I’m a little ashamed at how much I tried to make Bear laugh at stupid little things.
Our appointment was followed with bad food, Harry Potter films, and a lot of thinking.
One positive is that because this is the second time I’ve miscarried they said to call if/when I ever become pregnant again. They will keep a closer watch, scan earlier, check up on me, etc. That was somewhat comforting. It’s all a bit of the blur. What I can’t get out of my head is that handful of love. That’s not going to leave me.
I was serious about questions: I find it far easier to speak about the basic facts of the things that happen. It’s when I start to focus on the meaning of those facts, the meaning to my life, that’s when it gets difficult to speak. If you have been through this, know someone who has and want to know without seeming rude, here is your chance.