Tuesday, 28 February 2012

Hoping for Spring

Even though there are little signs of spring everywhere, I still feel like we're in the middle of winter.  Everything you read on miscarriage says that you're more fertile straight afterwards.  It sounds like it kicks your body into action.  Only with me that doesn't seem to be happening.  I actually dread to think how much money we've spent on ovulation kits and fertility monitor sticks over the past 18 months or so and every day the reading is 'low fertility'.  It's like a kick in the stomach every single day and I keep wondering how long we can keep going with it.
I have recently got a tattoo on my back with the word 'tikvah'.  It's the Hebrew word for 'hope' the meaning of which originates from the idea of things being bound together by a cord or rope which endures when being stretched or teseted.  The concept of this sort of hope is trust being placed in an unbreakable promise.  The idea of hope in the Bible is to wait expectantly, with confidence and this is what we're trying hard to do.  I have to be honest through, and this is getting harder and harder for us.  We truly believe we will have a baby but we've been waiting for a very long time now and I can see the age gap between Sam and another baby getting bigger and bigger.  Our original plan was to have our children very close together - this isn't going to happen now and we can see that Sam is desperate for a sibling as we are.

As spring is approaching, though, I am seeing little signs of new life everywhere and my garden is starting to come back to life.  These signs are giving me tiny streaks of hope.  I desperately hope that we will get our sign of new life very soon...

Saturday, 25 February 2012

Not the end of the story...

Not one of my posts but just had to share this!

http://www.ucb.co.uk/index.cfm?itemid=88 (UCB word for today 27/2/12)

'Satan's plan was to infect Adam with the virus of sin before his first son was born; that way he could get all the rest of us. And it almost worked. Cain, Adam's first son, murdered his brother Abel. But God wasn't finished. 'Adam knew his wife again, and she bore a son and named him Seth, "For God has appointed another seed for me instead of Abel.' 'For everything you've loved or lost, God has something else. For everything that's been stolen from you, God has something else. Your 'seed' is your future, and God has another one in mind for you. The situation you are in right now is not the end of the story; God wants to write a new chapter. The devil knew God had a plan for you; that's why he tried so hard to wipe you out. He doesn't want you to live long enough to fulfil it. But the fact that you're still here and able to read this says he failed, and that God's not through with you! Notice the word 'appointed.' There's an appointment on God's calendar with your name on it. 'God has appointed another [future] for me.' There's something good just over the horizon - something for your life, your marriage, your family, your career, your ministry. God has an appointed task for you to accomplish, and appointed blessings for you to enjoy. He has called you with an 'eternal purpose' and He will bring it to pass.'

What a great thought!.....

Thursday, 23 February 2012

A few people have spoken to me about this week's episode of 'One Born Every Minute' as there was a lady who was pregnant following stillbirth.  I used to love 'One Born Every Minute' - it was one of the highlights of my week, sad I know!  Now, even the name of the show upsets me, let alone the content, so I have to admit I haven't been ale to bring myself to watch the episode.  I have, however, found a video of the lady in question talking about her stillbirth and I wanted to share it. https://lifebegins.channel4.com/explore/birth/video/sarah-s-talks-about-her-stillborn-son I think it's great that the show are covering this issue.  In previous series' they've always had an episode based in the NICU but it shows a very small part of the story and, as much as I loved the show, it is often a hard watch for people who don't have normal experiences.  I don't want stillbirth to be a taboo subject.  Like Sarah in the video I want the opportunity to talk about Emilie as much as possible.  My friends are really patient with me and let me talk about her birth when they talk about their birth experiences. They know that I love her, she will always be my daughter and although the days surrounding her birth were the most traumatic of my life, I would never trade the time I spent with her.  I got to give birth to her naturally.  Sam was born my c-section and I didn't get to hold him - he was resuscitated and whisked away to NICU straight away so chances are, as a result of my complications, this will be the only chance I have to give birth naturally and hold my baby.  I will not stop talking about that incase it makes people uncomfortable or upset.  The opportunity to give birth to her was so special and I will always treasure that experience, knowing I did the best for her I possibly could.  Thank you 'One Born Every Minute' for highlighting this.....

Saturday, 18 February 2012

Choose Joy

I stumbled across an amazing blog this week. The link is here: http://gitzengirl.blogspot.com/2008/11/define-joy.html
It was actually by pure accident I stumbled across the blog. I followed a link from another stillbirth blog where the writer was questioning God's will in allowing such things to happen - she was searching for answers and she'd linked to the above blog. The author is a lady called Sara. She had an autoimmune disease called Ankylosing Spondylitis and she died the day before Emilie did as a result of the disease. In her 'about me' section of her blog she says: "My life is a difficult balancing act, but I am not being flippant when I tell you that I have a good life. I have a home, friends, love and support. I have that cute dog I've talked about at length and I have the time to really be there for people when they need me. This is not the life I imagined for myself, but it's the life I've been blessed with and I won't take a moment of it for granted." What an amazingly brave thing to say! There is too much on her blog for me to talk about but I have been really touched by it and am so sad that I can't let her know what an impact her words have had on me this week. She talks alot on her blog about the issue of 'free will' and inspite of her excruciatingly painful illness her faith doesn't seem to waver at all. She says "I think free will allowed two people to fall in love and have a child, and their genetics combined to create me. And in those genetics was a disease called Ankylosing Spondylitis. Just like others may have heart disease or diabetes or a myriad of other illnesses... it's just luck of the draw. But I think God, after allowing that free will, then helps us to see that we can make beautiful choices out of difficult situations. He may lead me to the best ways to cope, He may lead me to comfort, He may lead me to serve by helping others... but choosing to follow His lead is my choice through free will as well".
This is something that I have been thinking about alot at the moment. I am reading a book called 'God on Mute' by Peter Grieg which talks about the issue of unanswered prayer. I thought the book might make me angry, but it doesn't. I'm finding it really comforting and faith building. When Emilie first died, I couldn't see how anything good could come out of the situation. I was hurt and angry - infact that doesn't come close - I don't think there are words to describe how I felt. Even now, I feel pain each morning when I wake up and each night when I go to sleep. It's unimaginable. But 5 months on I can see God working through the situation. I might not always be able to hear him or feel his presence but somehow I know he's there. Although some friendships have struggled since Emilie died with people not knowing what to say or do, most friendships have been cemented and I feel a real sense of belonging and community which I have never felt this strongly. I have been forced to work out what is important in my life and, although my life is unrecognisable from before Emilie died, I wouldn't change it. I like the way my life is panning out (taking the dead babies issues out of the equation, of course!) and I honestly don't think I'd go back to how my life was before she died. I can't wait to meet her and tell her that she truly changed our lives for the better. Last week a lady spoke to me telling me that when she'd had a miscarriage she found it really hard to verbalise her feelings and that my blog is helping her to do that. I've had many friends suffer miscarriage in the past and one friend who went through a neonatal death and then a stillbirth but I've never known what to say or what to do. Now I can see ways to support people and want to be able to do so. I can think of ways that I can use this experience to help other women......
So I guess what I'm saying is that 5 months on, I can see good things coming out of the situation but that doesn't mean it doesn't still hurt.

I realise now as well that joy is a very different thing to happiness. You can be joy filled without feeling happy or elated. I am not happy that Emilie or my other baby died. I am not happy that I've been forced to restructure my life and put career choices, hopes and dreams on hold and I'm not happy that Sam tells me every day that he misses Emilie and wants to know, rather forlornly, why he doesn't have a baby brother or sister. BUT I am filled with joy when I think of meeting Emilie again; I am filled with joy at the thought of having another baby and finally being able to give Sam that sibling; I'm filled with joy at the thought of being able to help and support other women when the time's right. I'm trying hard not to focus on how bad things seem but instead want to think of ways to turn things around so that I can say 'this is what you threw at me - and look what I've done with it!!' On a bad day I might feel less able to do this but thankfully the really bad days are getting less and I'm able to look forward a bit more.

I wanted to finish with something else from Sara's blog, and with one of her illustrations. What an amazing women she was!
"Joy: the unwavering trust that God knows what He’s doing and has blessed me with the opportunity to be a part of it… not despite what’s happening in my life but because of it. When everything earthly feels heavy He gives me an internal lightness that can’t be touched." http://gitzengirl.blogspot.com/2008/11/define-joy.html

Monday, 13 February 2012

Meant to Be?

I'm feeling pretty fed up. And impatient! Is it really possible to run out of patience? I categorically think the answer is 'yes'. I've said before, but so much of the past two years I've been waiting and I have no waiting left in me. Why do these things take such time? I've stopped bleeding and am starting to feel a bit more human but pregnancy tests are still reading positive. Surely that must be one of the cruelest parts of the whole ordeal? You spend months on end wanting for a positive test and now I just want it to read negative so that I can move on. I know my levels are coming down dramatically but until they're gone my body can't move on. I just struggle to comprehend what an unbelievably cruel situation this is.

I bumped into an old colleague this morning. I hadn't seen her for a while and last time she'd seen me I was heavily pregnant so naturally the questions started rolling. I told her what had happened and I could tell by her response that she was horrified. She then asked if I'd try again at which point I explained that 'actually I had a miscarriage last week'. Her immediate response, without batting an eyelid was 'oh, well it's obviously not meant to be, is it?'. What a thing to say!! Anyone who knows me will know the response didn't go down well and I retorted with a snappy 'I certainly hope it is meant to be' and explained that we want a baby more than she could imagine. It got me thinking, though... One of the things I'm struggling with at the moment is how many unplanned and unwanted pregnancies there are that don't end in miscarriage or stillbirth and here we are, desperate for another baby, and it's seemingly impossible for us to have one. Do those parents deserve their babies any less than we do? Or are their babies meant to be and mine aren't? I just don't know anymore. There's a part of me that feels having a baby is like a lottery system, there's no certain outcomes and no sure chance of having a baby at the end of it. But then there's a bigger part of me that is clinging to the fact that Emilie and our other baby WERE meant to be, they both had purposes and their lives weren't in vain, no matter how short they were. There is a part of me that hopes some of their purpose was to make me a stronger person, to make me reassess what is important & prioritise my life differently and to increase my capacity for hope. There is a part of me that is desperately hoping there is a little person waiting for us who exceeds every expectation we could have ever imagined. I just hope we don't have to wait much longer for them-this month would be nice ;) .

Friday, 10 February 2012

They Think It's All Over

It's over. The bleeding and cramping have stopped and I'm left feeling pretty empty. I'm getting confused and keep finding myself talking about the baby I've just lost as Emilie. When I found out I was pregnant I knew it was a different baby. I accepted that and was even happy with the fact that I felt it was a little boy. But now my head is all over the place & I'm struggling to differentiate between the two. I guess losing 2 babies in 4 1/2 months isn't a usual situation - especially when one was virtually full term.
Inspite of all this, though, I'm determined not to be defeated. I don't want to be defined by this - I don't want it to be what people think of when they hear my name, or if they do think of it I want it to be because of how I've dealt with it. I feel emotionally and physically exhausted but I want to come through this fighting and to have an amazing story to tell at the end of it-I'm not willing to let this be the end.

Today I helped organise a bake sale in aid of special care baby charity Bliss. I've spent the past week baking like mad-move over Mary Berry-and last night we had a constant stream of friends dropping off donated baked goods! People always ask what they can do & I love being able to say 'here's something'! I have to admit, that inspite of Sam's prematurity, I possibly wouldn't have had the get up & go to do something like this but what happened with Emilie has spurred me into action. It's also given me a focus over the past few weeks & I've thoroughly enjoyed preparing for it! We raised £750-amazing! Already that's something good to come out of this situation,  

Wednesday, 8 February 2012


I woke up during the night with an overwhelming sense of despondency and disorientation. I say 'woke up' but I think I have to be sleeping before I can wake up, and I know I haven't really slept properly in 4 1/2 months - let alone in the past week. When I woke up, I couldn't work out what day it was, what was happening in my life or how long it had been since anything had happened. It all feels like someone else's nightmare that I've inadvertently found myself being a part of.
I'm trying to draw comfort from the fact that everyone says I'll be more fertile after having had a miscarriage but I feel like I'm back in a state of limbo waiting to get pregnant and until I am my life is on hold. I had a plan and this really wasn't a part of it. There's a sense of not knowing who I am anymore, the carpet has been pulled from under my feet and I need to try & work out what my life looks like now but it bears no resemblance to how I'd planned it. I only took 3 months off after having Sam before embarking on business planning, meetings and training to start my own childcare business and 7 months after he was born I opened my business. I'd worked solidly since then up until I was 23 weeks pregnant with Emilie and needed to finish to rest. That's who I am and what I want to do and now I feel like everything is on hold while I wait for a baby. I'm not used to having this level of uncertainty or being as out of control as this.
I really don't understand why things like this happen and at the moment I'm struggling to see how any good can come out of this situation. I am clinging to the fact that when I finally have my baby I can look back on this stage in my life as being a journey of growth-a season where we could do nothing but hope and trust but just a season none the less. Some of the best support I've had since Emilie died is from women who've also lost children; who've been through stillbirth, neonatal death, infant death and even the death of an adult child. There is real comfort in knowing we are not the first (or last) people to experience this and I really appreciate women, for whom I know things are still very painful, using what has happened to them to help me. I really hope that when all of this is over I can use what has happened for good and to give support to other women who have experienced the loss of a child.
2 Corinthians 1:4 (NLT)
4He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us.

Monday, 6 February 2012

Time to Move on?

Well it's official-I've had a miscarriage. My scan confirmed that my uterus is empty-my baby is gone. The only thing left behind is a large area of clotting which carries a risk of infection so I've been put on a course of anti biotics. I feel completely deflated. Even though I knew my baby had gone, hearing those words were still painful. I truly believed Dr B when she told me 'sorry'-I know she is desperate for us too.
From here we need to wait until I've finished these anti biotics and passed the blood clot. I'll need a D & C if I can't pass it myself and I don't think I can bear that-I just want this whole ordeal over and done with, I want to move forwards. We've been told we can start trying again as soon as I've finished the antibiotics. From a dating point of view there's no point in waiting and, as you're more fertile after having a miscarriage, there's every chance we could conceive naturally. This is what we desperately want but if it doesn't happen I am going to see my fertility consultant in 2 months time to be prescribed progesterone and start my clomid. There's a big risk of twin pregnancies with clomid and due to my clotting problems this could be really dangerous for me and for our babies so we really want (need) to conceive naturally. The only shred of hope I have left is that we'll conceive this cycle without intervention. I have an amazing medical team around me but they can't do anything until I am pregnant - I'm not on their radar until then - and for some reason this really hurts me.
I saw a blog site yesterday called 'knocked up, knocked down' and this is totally how I feel. What must it be like to get pregnant & have no doubt that you'll have a baby at the end of it?
I have no idea why my prayers haven't been answered but I do trust that this will happen for us. It's just a case of when....

Sunday, 5 February 2012

Feeling It

I'm really feeling the effects of what's happened now. I'm so tired, so drained and so low. I'm wondering how it's possible to lose 2 babies in the space of 4 months-especially when one of them should have survived and should be here now, a happy and healthy 4 month old.
Everything hurts; I feel like I've been mugged and all I can do is lie down and feel it. I'm wondering though if this is something I need to do? After Emilie died I didn't rest. We went
out and did something together, or with Sam, nearly every day. Anything to mask the pain. Now I'm too tired. In the past I've suffered from CFS(ME) and every time I get ill a wave of fear washes over me that it'll return. I'm determined not to let that happen and am trying to make the most of being forced to rest and letting people do things for me-something I'm not very good at!
I'm trying to see this whole situation as a blip and move forwards. I have my appointment with Dr B tomorrow to see if everything has cleared from my uterus. I think it has. I feel that this in itself is God looking after me. I don't think I could lie there again and be told that my baby is dead inside me but I'm certain I passed him myself. I'm actually feeling ok about tomorrow and am quite hope filled for Dr B giving us the go ahead to try again. I know that she is also desperate for us to have a healthy baby. She used the word 'blip' herself on Tuesday and it's a word that keeps popping into my mind. Please God, let this just be a blip so that we're not held back too much on moving forward...

Thursday, 2 February 2012

Platitudes and Happy Endings?

Why do people think that the fact that we got pregnant quickly is a comfort? This is the one thing that most people are saying. As my husband said, 'it's still another 2 months and another dead baby'.
I sometimes think that people genuinely don't know what to say and as a result end up saying things that aren't of any comfort or support at all or can actually be quite insulting.
I'm trying to cling onto any hope I have left-and there isn't much. Alot of people are talking to us about this being a story and that this isn't the end of our story. I'm focusing on the future and thinking about what an amazing end our story will have-what an amazing testimony this will be when we finally have our baby - and finally complete our family - and what a potential comfort our story will be to people who are going through similar things. But at the moment we're in the middle of our story and it's an incredibly painful place to be. Every minute of every day hurts. I'm watching my dreams being flushed away again and I don't know how much more I can take.
A friend emailed me and spoke about the story of Job. He's a 'good man' in the Bible and the story goes that Satan approaches God and asks for permission to test Job thinking that the only reason he serves God is because his life is near perfect. God agrees to this (I still don't know why-but then why has God agreed to let this happen to us?) and Job loses everything; his home, his business, his family. As if this isn't enough he is then covered in painful sores. But he never turns his back on God, even though his wife tells him to. He carries on serving and worshipping him even though he's in terrible pain. And the story goes on... At the end of the book (chapter 42) Job is fully restored. God gives him 3 more daughters and 7 more sons, sheep, camels, oxen, donkeys-more than he had ever had in his early life. The story ends 'Job lived on another hundred and forty years, living to see his children and grandchildren--four generations of them! Then he died--an old man, a full life.' (MSG-Job 42:16-17)
Please God, give us our happy ending - give us out chapter 42.

Wednesday, 1 February 2012

The (Not Very) Calm Before the Storm

So I'm waiting. I've been waiting for 2 years now; waiting for test results, waiting for appointments, waiting for ovulation, waiting for my (ridiculously long & irregular 50 + days) cycle to move on, waiting for blue lines, pink lines & digital 'pregnant' signs, waiting for scans, waiting for babies. And now I'm waiting for the inevitable. My baby is under the recommended size for intervention. This recommendation is in place to ensure that potentially viable pregnancies aren't unnecessarily terminated. I hate that word - termination. It implies a choice, but there's no choice here. In my case, although my baby is tiny, I know that a heart beat was there and then it wasn't. I know my baby is dead. I also understand that this procedure is in place for my own well being. I don't want to be questioning what may or may not have happened if I'd have waited. I have my scan on Monday. They will either tell me a miracle has taken place, tell me I need surgery to remove my baby, or tell me that my body has cleared it.
I am still not having cramps and bleeding is still sporadic. I know that this is the calm before the storm but the waiting is wearing me down. I know that God has come through for me before but I have nothing left. If you pray then please pray for a miracle. Or pray that my body will have cleared it. I can't face surgery and I certainly can't face any more waiting...