In the middle…

Last year when I got pregnant naturally and accidentally, I felt a sense of almost guilt about being such a cliché. Woman stops trying to get pregnant, gets pregnant, here’s the Hollywood ending (that I always secretly hated and resented when I heard it in others’ stories.)

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Talking and telling…

Now that I’m at the point where, despite what I thought was clever dressing to conceal my bump, I am very obviously, it appears, pregnant, I am confronted by yet another issue. How much do I say about our baby’s origins?

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What happens next…

It’s hard to know what this blog – which has been all about trying to get pregnant – should be about now I’m actually pregnant. And I suppose that sentence alone is something that speaks volumes. I didn’t start this as a blog about trying to get pregnant. When I started it, it was a blog about freezing my eggs. And when, later, I came back to it, I thought it was going to be a blog about being a solo mother. But life has other plans. And so I suppose now it’s a blog about being pregnant with a donor egg after trying to get pregnant for so long.

And part of that means coming to terms with the idea that we’re going to have a baby. We’re going to become parents and everything is going to change. And I know that that was obviously the goal all along. But at some point that goal became getting pregnant and staying pregnant. And if that had happened early on, I feel like the getting pregnant and the reality of actually having a baby would have been so closely linked in chronology that I wouldn’t have the feeling that I have now, which is – weirdly – that I’m not ready for this.

When we were away, B said to me “our next summer holiday is going to be completely different” and I just hadn’t really thought about it. Just like I hadn’t thought about the fact that we were going to need to get a car that would be practical with a baby seat. And it started to dawn on me that we probably wouldn’t be going to the concerts we’d bought tickets for next year. And I know that – to a certain extent – not thinking about all that had been a self-protection mechanism to shield me from disappointment if/when it didn’t work out again. But even taking that into consideration, the disjunct feels odd.

I think it feels particularly discomforting because this is something that I’ve wanted for so long and now that it’s actually happening, rather than being totally bloody thrilled, as I should be, all I’m thinking about is the stuff that being pregnant and having a small child is going to stop me doing: I can’t ski this winter, I’ve had to get rid of my pride-and-joy sports car, I’m going to have to share B with someone who he’s probably going to love more than me, it’s going to be a long time before I can just lie by a pool and read a book on holiday… etc etc

And, when I think about it, I know that on the scales of life and happiness, this sort of negative weighting is kind of inevitable. Because these are my known knowns. I know what I’m going to lose, what I don’t know, and what I hope will balance that (to some extent at least) is what I’m going to gain. I can’t possibly know that – and to be honest, even if I could, I’m not sure I’d really dare to dream about it after all this time, it would feel like tempting fate.

And so I’m here, juggling fear, excitement, anticipation and all the rest of it. So in some ways, pretty much like most of the last eight years really…

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Here we go again…

Then there was the day, about a week into our holiday when I started to bleed. Proper red blood. This wasn’t the euphemistic “spotting”, the flash of brown or pink on loo paper that I’d had previously, resolutely decided was normal, and tried to ignore. This was bright red blood, the type you get when you cut your finger, and it was dripping into the loo.

“Well there you go, that’s that,” I thought to myself. “At least it’s better to have a proper miscarriage rather than a missed one.” I WhatsApped my friend Q… “You know when you said you bled and it was fine, what was the bleeding like?” And I tried to feel reassured when she told me about inserting progesterone pessaries into the blood thinking it was absolutely pointless. Because it turned out it wasn’t pointless as she now has a one-year-old son from that pregnancy.

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A thing but not a thing

And so, as you might reasonably have expected, and as I might have slightly given away in my last post, given how contrarily these things go, the fact that I was so convinced it wasn’t going to work meant that when, on the morning we were going away for the weekend, and I did a precautionary First Response test, it showed the faintest of faint – but still very definitely there – lines.

Or, as I put it to B when I walked back into the bedroom “Well I’m not ‘Not Pregnant’.” But I wasn’t going to get too excited. It was early. It could be a chemical pregnancy. It wasn’t a thing until it was a thing.

But then, when I did another test 48 hours later, that line was definitely darker. And 48 hours after that, the blood test confirmed that, that day at least, I was pregnant. Because that was how I thought of it. That’s how I’ve continued to think about it. On those fertility forums I despise, I’ve seen women talk about being “PUPO” – Pregnant Until Proven Otherwise, but after the miscarriage, after everything we’ve been through, I feel quite the opposite. I feel like “that day I know I was definitely pregnant but until the next blood test / scan, I can’t assume I still am.”

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The worst clubs in the world…

You know that plan to wait until 10 weeks for a scan? Yeah well on the day I woke up and my boobs didn’t hurt like they did before, I caved. Despite finding forums full of women saying the exact same thing had happened to them and they’d had healthy babies, I became utterly convinced that I had had a silent, or missed, miscarriage, where the foetus stops growing but you don’t bleed. I spent the morning in tears, suddenly realising quite how much I wanted everything to be ok. Knowing B was right when he told me that getting upset when we didn’t know if there was anything to get upset about was counterproductive. Knowing he was also right when he said that if this doesn’t work out we’re not in any different place than we were in before, and yet still knowing that for all our backup plans, this was the plan I wanted to work.

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The hierarchy of shitness…

While I’m obviously writing and posting these posts many months on, at the time, I scribbled notes on my phone about my feelings. At night when I couldn’t sleep and B was asleep beside me, I typed my hopes, fears and dreams into that little illuminated screen. Some of those notes have made it into these posts. Here are two, in their unedited entirety…

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Secrets and lies…

I once wrote during my first ever two week wait that “nothing means anything” – it was basically about the idea that you couldn’t deduce anything from a single symptom, that a headache, no headache, bleeding, absence of bleeding, cramps, absence of cramps — all of it seemed as likely to be an indicator that you were pregnant as you weren’t. Never had that felt more true.

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What do I do now…?

Working women often talk about how they feel that whatever they’re doing is wrong. They feel permanently guilty that they’re not doing “enough” for either their children or their careers. Finding out that I was pregnant catapulted me into a host of similar dilemmas. Did I carry on exercising as I had been? Or stop entirely? Should I contact my old clinic and ask them to prescribe more of the progesterone injections, the clexane blood thinners, the whatever the fuck else they throw at the women who manage to get pregnant on a wing and a prayer and want to stay pregnant? Or just carry on taking the Pregnacare Max that I’ve been taking for years as if it were a multivitamin?

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The result….

I know we all try to manage our own expectations but I think it was the point when I was writing about embryo grading that I convinced myself that I wasn’t pregnant. It just seemed so hugely, utterly improbable when I was writing it down in black and white. And I know the odds mean nothing if you’re the one it happens to but still…

I’d already decided that I was going to do a home pregnancy test before the blood test. Continue reading