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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Tempting fate…

You know I’m not superstitious. But perhaps inevitably I can’t help being with this. Given everything that’s gone before, I don’t know how I couldn’t be. How I could ever be someone who would assume it would all be fine. Despite all the scans that told me otherwise.

Because we’d had that six week scan, and then our clinic offered us an early scan at eight weeks, and then because we wanted to do the Harmony test (a blood test that looks for three different chromosomal abnormalities and can be done from ten weeks onwards. It’s sometimes offered on the NHS but if it is, it’s usually at a later stage) we booked a private package that combined a 10-week scan, the Harmony test and a 12-week scan. And all of them were fine. In all of them, the measurements were what they should be. The things they were meant to be able to see, they could see. Everything looked normal.

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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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Not my first rodeo…

I don’t really know how to talk about the next bit because, without wishing to sound overly dramatic, I don’t know what the legal implications are of writing about my clinic and what they did or didn’t do, without giving them a chance to respond to what I’m saying. And I know I’m anonymous and I know I haven’t named them but I’m still wary. So I’m going to try to use quite broad brushstrokes.

I’d felt that there had been communication issues between us and the clinic for a while. Questions going unanswered, inexplicable delays and a lack of a sense of urgency, me having to request tests that I thought they should have already organised, information not being passed on. But I’d kind of sucked it up because everything up to this point hadn’t really been about me, it had been about our donor. I didn’t feel as if I could force issues because maybe there were other things at play. Maybe the delays were down to the donor (which I was totally fine with). Maybe the lack of information was a privacy issue. Maybe, maybe, maybe…

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Happening, but not happening…

But once bitten, twice shy and all that. We said yes to the agency, we signed paperwork, we paid sums of money for treatment, but I felt very detached from it all. I just didn’t really engage with it. It was all taking ages, there were tests for her, tests for me, tests for B – the tests went on and on, the weeks and months went by. The process of getting our donor to the point where she could actually donate, that we’d been told would take three months, dragged on and on — if this were a film or TV programme, this is the point at which you’d see the leaves on the trees changing colour from autumn to winter to spring to denote the passing of time.

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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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When you’re making other plans…

It was John Lennon who apparently said that “Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans” and Woody Allen’s credited with saying “If you want to make God laugh, tell him about your plans” — even though my suspicion is that Jewish grandmothers have been saying it for millennia. Undoubtedly there’s a bunch of other quotes from various wise civilisations that say pretty much the same thing. The bottom line is that you can do everything in your power to create a certain outcome, but it turns out that “everything in your power” is pretty much the square root of fuck all.

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The best/weirdest summer ever…

And then, of course, there was the global pandemic.

I almost don’t even know where to start with that. Except that it made me think a few things. Firstly I was SO grateful that we had made the decision to use donor eggs before all this started. As the world ground to a halt and IVF clinics shut down, my heart broke for all the women who had planned an IVF cycle with their own eggs, but had no idea when that would ever be possible again.

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