Just a f*cked up cycle

So after my earlier excitement, it appears that my period has arrived on CD25 which is three days earlier than my last cycle and five days earlier than the one before that which essentially means that rather than being pregnant, my cycle is still completely screwed following my last miscarriage in December. I’m so hugely pissed off. I had such high hopes for this cycle and I could have coped with a BFN but not with a screwed up, don’t even know if I actually ovulated, cycle.

Implantation bleeding?

Apologies for TMI in this post. Today is CD25 and 9DPO. Earlier today I had a small amount of pink blood tinged vaginal discharge. My initial thought was “well that’s this cycle done, I’m obviously not pregnant” followed by, “how really frustrating that my cycle isn’t consistent yet, I’m not due my period until Friday”. However, so far I haven’t had any more bleeding which has now got me questioning (hoping) that it was implantation bleeding. I haven’t had this with my three previous pregnancies but I usually wear dark coloured underwear so it’s possible I’ve missed it in the past. I’m going to try (probably unsuccessfully) to not become an obsessive symptom spotter over the next few days but I really hope that AF stays away and I get a BFP at the end of the week.

Recurrent miscarriage clinic – First appointment

In good news, we’ve officially been released from follow-up with the molar pregnancy screening service. I will need further follow up following any subsequent pregnancies (regardless of the outcome) but for now that testing is done and we can focus on trying to get pregnant again.

Yesterday I had my first appointment with a recurrent miscarriage specialist. I was really lucky as the consultant who I saw is a friend of a friend so I knew that I was going to be properly looked after. She works at a small local hospital about 30 mins from our home. Whist it felt strange driving past the huge town hospital to get there, it was lovely to be in a new environment. It felt like a new start and on the drive there I couldn’t get the “We’re off to see the wizard” song out of my head which I feel can only be a good sign (yes I’m willing to look for positive signs in everything).

The appointment itself was fairly uneventful. They took my weight, height, blood pressure, medical and family history and discussed my pregnancies to date. I don’t think I learnt anything new (I’m blaming you guys because I’ve learnt so much from you already just by reading your posts) but it was great to hear what I thought being repeated.

She arranged for me to have the following blood tests and booked a follow up appointment for seven weeks time but said to let her know if we conceive before then as she would want to book an early scan. She also recommended taking low dose aspirin if I do conceive because whilst she doesn’t know if it will help, it won’t do any harm and might be useful if I have a clotting issue.

The tests that were ordered are (this is so I don’t forget what I’ve had done):
FBC (full blood count)
LA (Lupus Anticoagulant)
aCL ( anticardiolipin antibodies)
Thrombophilia screen
TSH (thyroid stimulating hormone)

At this stage she doesn’t propose doing any more detailed testing and said that the boy wouldn’t need any tests at this stage. I think I was a little disappointed that we aren’t going to learn more. I seem to read about people who’ve had full semen analysis and know their egg quality and AMH level but this might be more likely to be tested for IVF rather than recurrent miscarriage?? At this stage my main focus is just getting pregnant again. I’m feeling positive that the chances of having a successful pregnancy are higher than the chances of another miscarriage so I’m keen to see if we can have a ‘happy number 4′.

Today is CD 21 so we’ve done everything we can this month now it’s just a waiting game to see if we caught the eggie. Fingers crossed by the end of this month I’ll see a BFP.

When parents question whether their children were worth having

The boy and I are at the age when the majority of our friendship group have children or are pregnant and I’ve noticed recently that a lot of them seem to be questioning whether having their children was really worth giving up their social lives, stifling their careers, the endless sleepless nights etc.

A few weeks ago a friend told me that if they could go back they would have waited until they were older before having a baby (they’re 33 and their baby is 14 months). Today another friend put on Facebook a link to an article about babies “Are they really worth it?” which essentially concluded that you make the most of having a baby but your old life is ruined forever (the analogy being that a baby is like winning the lottery but losing a leg).

When you feel like your entire life is focused on trying to get pregnant and sustain a successful pregnancy it is really hard to hear people who have a baby with no effort at all questioning whether it was worth it. Almost questioning why you’re bothering and implying they would swap their life with yours.

I’m not naive. I don’t imagine that having a baby is all giggles and sleepy cuddles. I know there will be difficult times when I struggle with the lack of sleep and loss of independence. In fact one of my biggest worries is getting post natal depression. I’m conscious that recurrent miscarriage can greatly increase the risk of mental health issues post pregnancy. But when I think about what I’ve been through so far and I’m still no closer to having a baby, I need parents who’ve made it to the other side to remind me why I’m doing this and to make me feel like the months of un-romantic sex, weeks of praying that each pregnancy would last, pain of miscarriage and surgery and months of mourning, is going to be worth it in the end.

I hope that if I am able to have a baby that I will feel differently to my friends. They miss their old lives because they have nothing but fond memories, whereas I find that being able to go to a pub on a Wednesday is simply a reminder that my life isn’t where I want it to be. I have had a good time focusing on my career, taking expensive holidays and going for impromptu dinners and drinks but now feel like I’m done with that and I’m ready for the next step. But what if I’m wrong? If they are right and this part of my life is as good as it gets, why am I going through all this pain and heartache just to get a baby which those who have one seem to resent and would trade to get their old lives back?

Trying, trying and trying some more to conceive

This is our first month of TTC since I last got a BFP in October (which ended in our third miscarriage in December). Whilst that might not seem very long, I was very keen to try again and hated the months of waiting for the molar pregnancy testing to be complete. Through this whole process I’ve come to realise that I like to be seriously proactive (or should that be a control freak??). I need to know what the plan is and what I can do to increase our chances. Having a plan helps me feel more in control.

As it is our first month back TTC I decided that we would take a relaxed approach. I realise now that I was just deluding myself. To achieve this ‘relaxation’ I decided that I wouldn’t use OPKs and would simply have sex when we felt like it and try to have a more concentrated effort around my ‘fertile window’. The problem with this is that after having screwed up hormones for months, I don’t really know when that window is. This means that the ‘My Days’ app has identified an almost two week window for TTC and because I’m a bit of a control freak and paranoid about missing ovulation, I don’t feel content to limit sex to every 2-3 days during this time. This means that we have had sex five times in the last six days and I have mentally scheduled ‘sexy time’ every day until Monday! My poor husband. If we’re not successful this month I think he’s going to be forcing me to get the OPKs out next month!

Because I’m super relaxed about this cycle (ha!) I am now finding myself becoming paranoid about ruining the boy’s sperm quality (and thus our chances this month) by having sex too regularly. The problem is Dr Google won’t give me a consistent answer. When TTC can you have too much sex? If yes, how much is too much and what can you do to increase your chances of getting a BFP? Any ideas ladies? Despite it apparently being nothing but an old wives tale, I already spend 30 mins post sex with a pillow propping my bottom up ‘soaking’ as my husband calls it to try to give the sperm a helping hand in the right direction. So I’ll pretty much try anything which could improve our chances of seeing a BFP!

Actually excited to be TTC – CD3

I don’t know why I hadn’t realised it already (after all, AFs arrival is a pretty obvious sign of a new cycle) but its only just sunk in that we are back to TTC. It feels like ages since we did this last (it was October). But today we are officially CD3.

I feel really lucky that we are able to start trying again so quickly. I was expecting to be banned from trying for months due to the molar pregnancy but thankfully it was only a partial mole and the hospital have said that if my next test is clear they’ll sign me off to try again. We’re actually jumping the gun a bit as my next test isn’t until Thursday but I’m convinced it will be clear and I don’t want to miss another month so I’m going to pretend that we’ve already got this month’s all clear. After all what are the chances we’ll actually conceive this month?

So I’ve stocked up on another supply of conception support vitamins and after the boy’s birthday party this weekend I’ll be cutting right back on the wine again. Fingers crossed we are able to conceive again quickly and that this one will stick (or more importantly keep growing as after needing three D&Cs, i don’t think sticking is our problem).

In other good news I’ve also finally got a referral to the recurrent miscarriage clinic and the consultant is not the rubbish one I was seeing about the molar pregnancy but a new one who is the recurrent miscarriage specialist for our whole area. I really hope I get to meet her and not a junior doctor working her service. Will find out at the end of next month but in the meantime I’ll be following Barren Betty’s lead and writing a huge list of questions in preparation for the appointment.

Chris and Gwyneth – Another miscarriage divorce story

I awoke this morning to news that Chris Martin and Gwyneth Paltrow are getting divorced. Sad news for them and their children but I hope that it will bring them happiness in the long run. What surprised me is how many articles which I read mentioned Gwyneth’s miscarriage as a catalyst for their divorce. It seems to me that they’ve had a whole catalogue of pressures on their relationship. Could it really be the miscarriage which pushed things too far? And for myself it leaves me wondering if my desire to keep trying for a baby is ultimately going to lead to the end of my marriage?

The statistics don’t look great. Apparently statistics show that more than 40 percent of first marriages and nearly 70 percent of first live-in relationships fail to reach the 15-year mark. Adding the trauma of recurrent miscarriage can make staying together even harder. I currently feel like our miscarriage experiences have brought my husband and I closer together. We’re going through something which others ( unless they’ve been through it too) can’t really understand so we feel a bit ‘us against the world’. But what if we end up suffering a fourth/fifth/tenth miscarriage? What if one of us decides it’s time to stop trying when the other isn’t prepared to give up? What if my husband realises that I’m the problem and that he can have the family he desires easily with another woman?

The statistics aren’t on our side. Compared with couples who’ve had successful pregnancies, those who’ve had a miscarriage are 22 percent more likely to break up, and those who’ve experienced a stillbirth were 40 percent more likely to do so, according to a recent study. The reasons for this are varied but one of the most widely cited reasons for splitting is an apparent disconnect between the way men and women grieve. If I man hides his emotions this can be perceived by his traumatised wife as being uncaring or that he is ‘over it’ already when she can’t imagine ever feeling ‘normal’ again. On top of that, there can be a tremendous amount of guilt with both parties alternating from blaming themselves to blaming the other. These feelings can lead to anger, sadness and ultimately withdrawal and the relationship may be unable to survive.

We’ve already experienced three traumatic miscarriages in less than two years of marriage and I’ve already experienced many of the emotions I’ve described above. In a bid to keep our marriage strong I’ve tried to find tips for staying together during this trying time and I’ve set out below some of the things I’ve learnt:

1) Keep talking – Too often, people hide their feelings from each other. I’ve found myself holding back for fear of bringing my husband down with my sadness and immediately after our last miscarriage I refused to talk about it simply assuming that my husband knew how I felt. This lead to a huge row with lots of tears when he ultimately failed to guess exactly when I wanted him to say and do. My advice is to talk each other and talk to other people who know what you’re going through (either in person or like me via a blog). Just don’t expect anyone to know what’s inside if you don’t share.

2) Take your time – Grieving takes time, and there are no deadlines, despite what you may hear or the pressure you may feel. I initially felt proud of myself for ‘getting over’ my miscarriages and each time retuning to work within a couple of days (or within 24 hours after my second miscarriage). But ultimately this was not healthy and more than a year later I still have moments where I re-live the horror of my first 12 week scan when we discovered our longed for baby had died. Just remember that there will be good days and bad days, and there is nothing wrong with having a bad day even after you thought you were ‘over it’.

3) Care for each other (and show it) – My husband and I have very different grieving styles but I know that he is hurting and as his wife I want to be there for him to help him through this. It has made a huge difference for me to realise there is no ‘right way’ to get through this. Ultimately my husband is the most important person in my life and I regularly remind myself that whilst losing our babies is really though, losing my husband would be unbearable. Whilst we can’t control whether our next pregnancy fails, we can do everything in our power to ensure our relationship survives.