Friday, 21 September 2012

Week 4 - Accepting anxiety

I’m trying to put my hospital hiccup behind me and focus on being a calm and centered incubator now I’ve got a baby on board. It’s hard as I’m still having the occasional cramp and I have a pang of fear everytime I see the bruise on my arm from where my drip was. But, I’m hoping that both the bruise, and my anxiety, will pass in time.
I’ve realised my anxiety is caused by the fear of having a miscarriage as it’s something I’ve never experienced. I know I’m over-exaggerating and catastrophising, which is made all the worse given I’ve got a Graduate Diploma in Psychology. I really should know better! But when it comes to matters of the heart, the mind is not always rational.
I’ve decided the best way for me to approach this is not to think of it as a miscarriage at all. Instead, if it does happen, I’m going to think of it as the baby breaking up with me. I’ve been through enough break-ups to know what to expect so that lessens the fear. I know I’ll be disappointed and upset. I know I’ll cry and will probably do so for a few days. I know I will feel a pang in my heart and go through a grieving process. I know that after time, another relationship will come along.
I told my husband that I constantly thought he was going to break up with me until he proposed. Even when he was proposing and started with “Sit down because I need to speak to you,” I thought he was breaking up with me. We got engaged after dating for 8 months and I think that’s the same time I’ll be worried about Peanut – basically until I have a screaming baby in my arms!
Clinically, I am prone to anxiety attacks. A counsellor once told me I worry about worrying. It doesn’t seem normal and I’ve spent a lot of time working on it. But this whole experience has sent me into unchartered territory so I guess when faced with a total lack of control, this is my go-to position. But don’t worry, I will go and see my counsellor for some extra help too.
On the bright side, the anxiety is making me appreciate every symptom I notice. I’m already experiencing mild nausea, sore breasts and feeling fat and am bloated. I’m constantly eating, and even though it’s only small amounts, it feels like a lot more food than usual. But eating more keeps the nausea manageable so I shove more rice crackers into my mouth. I try not to worry about how much I’m eating but it’s hard when you have to sit at work with the top of your pants undone because they’re cutting off your circulation! I’m trying not to go too crazy with buying things already but I have invested in a packet of those pregnancy extender belts!
My friends who have experienced a miscarriage tell me they knew it was happening because they didn’t “feel pregnant” anymore. So every time my boob aches, my stomach cramps or a wave of nausea hits, I’m trying to celebrate it as evidence that Peanut is growing and is still there!

Monday, 17 September 2012

5 hours of terror

There is no image that could adequately depict the pure hell and terror I experienced yesterday. The fact is I wouldn't want something on here that would depict that. On the whole, I try to share happy and heart-lifting thoughts. Not ones that make you shiver to the core.

It all started on Saturday afternoon when I felt cramping on my right side. I had been sitting down for most of the day and thought it was just my jeans being a bit restrictive. I Googled cramping and found out it was a common early pregnancy sign but it could also indicate an etopic pregnancy. I suddenly became a bit concerned.

I called my friend Chris who is 14 weeks pregnant with her third and explained the symptoms to her. She said it sounded like the cramps she experiences when she's feeling constipated and gassy. I did feel a bit of gassy and thought the cramping was similar to the severe cramping I use to experience when I first got my period. So I thought it was all ok,took some pain killers and went to bed.

In the morning, I woke up feeling better but still uncomfortable. The pain shifted during the day and came in waves with the severe pain on my right side. I went for walk in the afternoon and took it very easy. The pain continued but it wasn't too bad.

When I got back from my walk things started to ramp up. I was in alot of pain and was doubling over everytime a stabbing pain hit. I again turned to Google and re-read what I had read the night before. It said any cramping should be investigated by a doctor straight away. I still wasn't convinced it was something major but I also wan't prepared to take a risk.

I called the health advisory hotline and explained my symptoms. She said I needed to go to hospital and if the pain got worse to call an ambulance. That was all I needed to know. I grabbed my jacket and my husband and I ran out the door.

As I sat in the car on the way to hospital I was trying to keep calm. I was hoping I wasn't experiencing the worse and sending silent prayers to my grandfathers to keep a watch over my peanut. We missed the turn off to the hospital which sent a sudden spike to my anxiety level. 

My husband dropped me off at the entrance while he went to find a park. After waiting for what seemed like a lifetime, it was finally my turn. I gave the triage nurse all my symptoms and hoped I would be seen straight away. I didn't fancy waiting in the waiting room with everyone else, especially the man that was asleep, or possibly passed out on the floor.

I was admitted straight away and had to tell my story again to another nurse. She took my blood pressure and a few other vital signs before putting me into a bed. I had great difficultly putting on my hospital gown and after a few minutes, my husband finally figured out how to do it. We were laughing at our incompetence which helped lighten the mood.

The doctor and nurse came in and said they would take blood and urine and put in a drip. They were concerned it could be an etopic pregnancy or appendicitis so would need to cover all bases. The doctor asked me if I was ok with needles and I said so so. She told me to think of a happy place so I thought of a wonderful place where you could be pregnant and eat smoked salmon, pate, blue cheese and ham and drink all the red wine you like. Funnily I didn't really feel the needle go in.

After they had all left, I finally broke down. I had been so brave up until then but the reality of the situation suddenly hit. The thought of loosing my peanut was too much to bare. The thought of ending up in emergency surgery was too much to bare. As I sobbed, my husband could only hold my hand and rub my back. Seeing the look of concern on his face broke my heart. The nurse came back in and saw me crying. She said "Try not to worry, you don't have any bleeding so that's a really good sign." I tried to hang onto that. 

I was moved to a quieter area with a more comfortable bed. My husband and I were both starving as we had run out before we had had dinner. It was very cruel to see a guy walk into the bed opposite us with a bag of Hungry Jacks. It was even more cruel to have to smell the fries. I told my husband he could go and get something to eat but he didn't want to leave my side. 

We were waiting to see the sonographer to have the ultra-sound. I questioned whether we should call my parents or not as I know they would be concerned. Just as we made the choice to call them I was summoned for my scan. 

I was placed in a wheelchair, had my drip attached, and was pushed down the hallway. I got onto the table and the sonographer put the blue goop on my belly. I was thinking it would be like the movies where they say "Now this will be a little bit cold" but it was nice and warm so I thought the movies must get it wrong. Or we must just be ahead of America and realised it helps to make it warm!

She was looking for my uterus and my appendix. After what seemed like an age of being pushed and prodded, she said she would need to do an internal scan. I had had one of these before but they're not nice. They take a probe, put a condom on it and you have to guide it inside your vagina. It then feels like a cyclone in your abdomen with this probe being turned every which way.

In the end, she said she couldn't find anything abnormal. She showed us the scan of the baby's sack. It was just a black hole but it was inside the uterus - exactly where it was meant to be. It was the first time we had seen the black ball that will become our baby.

She asked me how far along I was and I said 5 weeks. It was meant to be 5 weeks on Tuesday so technically I was 4 weeks and 5 days but thought it was close enough to 5. I kept being asked if I had had the pregnancy confirmed by a blood test. I was realising the common factor was the shock everyone  had when I told them how far along I was. Clearly, it was abnormal for someone to know they were pregnant at this early stage, let alone have it confirmed by a blood test.

She asked me if I knew what the hormone level of the blood test was and I said 82. I have no idea why I remembered that number but I knew it was correct. She told me that normally a positive test was over 1,000 so, for a moment, I thought everyone had got it wrong and I wasn't pregnant. I was all of a sudden in a state of total confusion.

I was taken back to my room where we had to wait for the doctor. We decided to call my parents even though my husband really didn't want to. They were concerned but doing ok. 

The doctor soon appeared to say everything was normal. While they couldn't find my appendix, they didn't think it was a problem as I would have been in much more pain and the pain would have been in a different area. She said my pregnancy level was now over 1,000 so I felt better knowing for sure I was pregnant. She said as soon as the urine tests came back I could go.

At this stage it was 10pm. We had been there for 4 hours, were exhausted and starving. We both just slumped hoping the results would come back soon. After nearly an hour, the doctor came back to say everything was fine and I could go. She gave us a letter for my doctor and told me to go in tomorrow if I was feeling constant pain.

As I walked out of the hospital I was in a state of shock. I had hoped that everything would turn out ok but part of me must have thought the worse would still happen. My parents called as we drove home and it was good to speak to them. I felt like they thought I had over-reacted but I didn't care. When you know you're pregnant you will do anything in your power to protect the little life growing inside of you. The situation could have so easily gone the other way so I'm glad I listened to my intuition. 

On the bright side, we know there is a baby there. We know it is where it is meant to be. And we know it is 4 weeks and 2 days old. We also know that we can handle a crisis and be supportive of each other and I think as parenting looms, we will no doubt face our fair share of crisis. 

So at 11pm we finally got home. Exhausted but glad. We both hoped that that would be our one little hiccup through this pregnancy but I made a mental note to keep praying to my grandfathers to keep their watchful eye over peanut!

Sunday, 16 September 2012

The two week wait

28 August 2012 - Day 1 PO
My cycle is still settling down after coming off the pill so today is either ovulating day or Day 1 Post Ovulation (PO). I’m going to take an average of the cycle length I’ve had so far and declare today as Day 1 PO.

After I got ridiculously excited last time and tested, I’m trying to be more sensible this time. I’ve made a deal with myself. My period is due on 11th September. If it hasn’t come by the 14th September I’ll test. So while I know it’s more than the normal 14 days, I figure pregnancy tests are expensive and I shouldn’t waste them! I only have 18 days to go. I’m not convinced I can wait that long but I’ll try.

29 August 2012 – Day 2 PO
I’m feeling pretty positive. I wouldn’t go so far as to say I’ve had a premonition, but I do believe that we did the best we could this time around. We were relaxed, we laughed and we didn’t take it too seriously. We even found a far more comfortable sex position which has made the process so much more enjoyable. So overall, I’m feeling pretty hopeful.

30 August 2012 – Day 3 PO
I went to yoga tonight and at the start of the session we’re asked to set an intention for our practice. Mine is to create a welcoming home for my baby. As I do the session, I consciously think about having a baby tucked up in there. I think about how the movements I’m doing will help create a loving and peaceful environment. I think about how to nurture my body. I finish the session in a deep state of relaxation and nearly fall asleep!

31 August 2012 – Day 4 PO
I leave work early today. I’m going to help a friend unpack as she had to move into a new place after her husband became violent. It has been a really terrible situation and I think of her bravery every time I verge on going over the “boo hoo, poor me, I’m not pregnant yet” cliff. I think about her often to help keep  the events of my life in perspective.

1 September 2012 – Day 5 PO
I went to help my friend and one of our jobs was to go through her boxes of baby clothes. We sort out what can be sold and what can be donated. She tells me to take whatever I like. So I come home with a baby bath full of muslins, bibs, socks, jackets, sleeping bags, singlets , jeans and rattles. I show my husband each item and he just smiles. As I put them away into the draws, I say a silent prayer that there will be an occasion to use them.

2 September 2012 – Day 6 PO
Today is a busy day running around doing everything I didn’t get a chance to do yesterday.  I feel pretty good, although a little bit tiered. I sit down to read Practical Parenting magazine and I come across an article that explains all the gross things that can happen to you when you’re pregnant. It prompts me to write about it on my blog. I go to bed feeling like there’s a slight twinge in my breast – I try not to get too excited.

3 September 2012 – Day 7 PO
I feel tiered today and my appetite is crazy - I’m constantly hungry! I’m not sure if it’s a result of being bored at work. There isn’t much happening as we all wait to hear if we have jobs or not. I’ve still got a slight twinge in my breast and a creamy cervical mucous (cm). I think that’s a bit strange and wonder if it’s too soon to see symptoms.

I’ve also decided that I need to reduce my coffee intake. I normally have two cups a day so I’m no where near a crazy coffee consumer. But the more I read about coffee impacting your fertility, the more I think I should cut down. Mind you, I’m not prepared to give it up. I’ve already given up alcohol and, if I’m going to have to cut out soft cheese and smoked salmon when I ‘m pregnant, I’m not about to abandon coffee. My new mantra is to try and have half a cup in the morning and another half in the afternoon. It’s tricky to make myself put the cup down when I’m half way through but I manage it.

4 September 2012 – Day 8 PO
My appetite is crazy again today. I’m still bored but this is different as I need to have my lunch at 10:30am. This is about 1.5 hours earlier than normal. But I wolf it down and it seems to hit the spot for a while.

I still have some dull pain in my breast and my cm is still hanging around. I Google pregnancy signs and get a little excited to see that the increase in cm is one of them. But I try to keep calm. We still have a long way to go!

5 September 2012 – Day 9 PO
I feel like I’m going in slow motion today. It normally takes me 1 hour to get ready but today it was 1.25hours. On the way to work, everything became uncomfortable. My bra was sticking into me. There was a join on my shirt sleeve that was rubbing me and I kept moving between being hot and cold. Now as I write this I have an itchy back! It all seems very weird.

I check my Facebook and read my niece’s status – she’s currently 6 months pregnant. She says she is watching tv while the baby is listening to Mozart through the headphones. I think that’s a great idea.

I’m thinking of the classical music that’s on my Ipod that I can play to the baby. I’ve been doing a lot of reading that says it’s good for babies to hear sounds once they are born that they heard in the womb. I’m also thinking I have some meditations I might play too. I might be able to soothe the little soul into submission when they’re causing me grief!  I’ll start their love of music with some Vivaldi and maybe a few classics like Van Morrison and U2. There will not be ANY One Direction going on!

I’m having some strange pains on the left-hand side of my stomach. It’s not stabbing pains – more like rolling pains. I’m due to go to the chiropractor tomorrow so I don’t know if they’re back-related or not. It’s actually more likely to be caused from my stockings being too tight! 

6 September 2012 – Day 10 PO
I’m officially over half way into my wait and on the down hill stretch. Given my periods are due in 5 days, I could technically test at this point. But I continue to resist the temptation.
We are still in a holding pattern at work so I get onto Google and check out some maternity wear shops. I’m amazed at how expensive the clothes are. There really is a captive market given you only wear them for such a short time. It furthers my resolve to do my maternity shopping at the thrift shops, Ebay and Target!

7 September 2012 – Day 11 PO
I had a conversation with my husband today about who we would tell as soon as I’m pregnant. I don’t know if I’m being over cautious or realistic, but I said to him I only want to tell people I would need to be there for me if I something happens. He agreed with me and the list is now set in stone. I’m not sure when we’ll need to activate it but at least it’s good to go for when we do.

8 September 2012 – Day 12 PO
I’ve felt bloated and crampy for most of the day. It feels exactly the same as when my periods come so it looks like I’m not pregnant. However, tonight I start to pee and I can’t stop. I’m confused at these different signs. I don’t normally get urinary tract infections but this feels like one. I know the constant peeing is a sign of early pregnancy but the cramps are persisting too. I figure it’s my periods and stop worrying about.

9 September 2012 – Day 13 PO
The peeing seems to have settled down today but the bloating continues. I jump onto Google and discover the bloating and cramping is a sign of early pregnancy and is normally misinterpreted as a period. My heart stops a beat for a second. In that moment, I do believe I am pregnant. There’s just something that feels different but I tell myself to calm down. I get up and start cooking dinner so I can take my mind off it. I also realise I am self-diagnosing from the internet but who doesn’t?

10 September 2012 – Day 14 PO
I succumb to temptation and take a pregnancy test. I leave the test on the bench as I get in the shower so I don’t have to stare at it for 3 minutes waiting to see what it says. I get out, pick it up and see one strong pink line. I look to the left and see a faint, but definitely there second line.
I gasp and pick up the directions. It says two lines means positive and the lines don’t have to be the same. It looks positive.

My husband comes in and I hand it to him. He looks at it and says “One and a half lines. What does that mean?” I say “No, it’s two lines.” He says “Lets not get too excited.” I’m already in tears.

He gets in the shower and I try to go about my normal routine which is very difficult given the test results. My brain is in over-drive about what I do about it. In the 5 minutes my husband is in the shower, I decide I’ll go to the doctors today. I’ve read other stories about women taking two, three, four tests but I figure it’s just simpler to go and find out one way or the other.

My husband gets out of the shower and says “You know how I said not to get excited? Well I’m already excited.” I just hugged him and said “Whatever happens it will be ok.” We embrace both wondering if this is the day that will change our lives forever.

I call the doctor but I can’t get in until 1:30 pm. It will be a long wait until then but I’m glad I can at least get in today. I sit at work, have conversations with people and engage in discussion. But all I can think about is the pregnancy test, wrapped in plastic bag, sitting in my hand bag with two lines on it. I keep checking to make sure the two lines are still there. At last check they are and the faint one has become much stronger. We now have two pink lines! I’ve got butterflies in my stomach!

I go to the doctor who sends me off for a blood test. He tells me he should have the results back by 2pm tomorrow. The nurse looks at the test request and asks “Are you pregnant?” I reply “I’m not sure, that’s what we’re testing for.” We then start a conversation about this being my first potential pregnancy and how she loved being a mother and having her “babies”. I told her the story about my husband saying not to get excited, and then being excited. She said it gave her goosebumps!

I asked her what time the results would be back and she said she would put a rush on them to get them to the doctor by midday tomorrow. I walked out, with a bandaged arm, thinking this would be the longest 24 hours of my life. I went home and couldn’t help myself – I did another test. And there, again, were two pink lines! I smiled.

11 September 2012 – Day 15 PO
I came into work this morning thinking how long it would be until 2pm. I was wishing the day away until I received a meeting invite for 2:15pm to 3pm. It was an important meeting to find out about what was happening with my job. I was mad - didn’t these people know I had an important call to make?  In that moment, I really wasn’t focussed on my job.

I called the doctor’s office and asked if there was another time I could call. They said call after your meeting and hopefully the doctor would be able to speak to you. I thanked them and hung up with a hhmmph! Impatience was getting the better of me so I called at 12:45pm to see if the results were in – they weren’t!

My husband and I had agreed that we would drive to the coast tonight to tell my parents if the test turns out positive. Needless to say, I went into this very important meeting with a lot of things on my mind!

I got out of the meeting and ran to the other side of the building to call the doctor. After a long wait I was finally put through to him. The result was positive – a baby is on the way! (Friends, please keep this to yourself).

Part of me was in shock, part of me was excited and part of me just wanted to run away.  I texted my husband to let him know and he was stunned too. Suddenly things became real – but in a surreal kind of way!

I called the obstetrician immediately to book in a scan.  I had already decided where I was going to go and who I wanted as I knew some doctors had long waiting lists. I was desperate to get to my first scan to see the little heartbeat to know someone was definitely in there. The test is booked for 2 weeks time when I’ll be 6 weeks pregnant.

We drove to the Coast to tell my parents and they knew something was up that minute we walked in. My Mum had some tears and my Dad was in stunned silence. My little brother was beside himself jumping up and down and my older brother was his reserved self.  I told my Mum I would tell one of my aunts so she had someone to talk to about it but everyone else was sworn to secrecy. This was particularly hard for my parents who were so keen to tell their Mother’s but given their frail state and age, I didn’t want to risk their reaction if something happens.

My final call was to my best friend to share the news with her. She’s also trying to fall pregnant at the moment and I hoped the news would buoy her in her attempts. She was so happy for us and I was able to provide her with some extra trips on the process that would hopefully help.
We drove home and fell into bed exhausted, happy, slightly scared and hopeful that everything will be ok.  

12 September 2012 – 4 weeks 1 day pregnant
The nausea started today. Everything now seems official. Here we go – stay tuned!

Monday, 10 September 2012

A pregnant pause

Hi dear readers,

Please don't fret. I haven't left you and run around. I am in the process of doing a daily diary for my two week wait. Come back next week to read all!

Sunday, 2 September 2012

Some observations

I'm now in the middle of the "post-trying wait." It's that no-man's land place you find yourself as you wait to find out if you're pregnant or not. It seems like I'm constantly waiting for something in this baby making process. I had to wait for my periods to return after coming off the pill. I have to wait to ovulate to have sex and I have to wait for my periods to come back to see the result. But, three months in, I've made some interesting observations.

1 - Sex takes a long time when you're trying to conceive. By the time you factor in fore play, doing the deed and sitting there with your legs up for 20 minutes, the whole process can be up to an hour. No wonder I feel so exhausted after a few days of trying!

2 - Every time you wait to see if you're pregnant, you spend that two weeks constantly analysing every single muscle ache, pain or twitch in your body to see if it's a sign you're pregnant. Yesterday I got a pimple. I never get pimples. I did the maths and thought well the egg would have implanted itself by now so maybe it's my first pregnancy pimple. My husband said, "I wouldn't get too excited over a pimple." I tried not to!

3 - Being relaxed and having fun with your partner makes so much of a difference. Last month I was so stressed that my cycle packed it in. This month I've been relaxed and just enjoyed the process. I haven't put too much pressure on myself. I haven't put too much pressure on my husband. I've simply enjoyed laughing with him and having a good time with it. It means I'm far less anxious about being in no-man's land than previous attempts.

4 - Gross things happen to you when you're pregnant. I read an article today that outlined all the gross things women can suffer. At the very least, they include itchiness, excessive passing of wind, wetting yourself, strange discharges and shooting out milk. It even said that milk can come out when you're having sex if your partner stimulates your breasts. Mental note - I need a protective visor for my husband!

5 - Patience is the key. I know, I've said it again and again and again. I am still trying not to think that at this point in time I could be nearly 3 weeks pregnant. I'm trying not to think about what stage of life the little grain would be at. I'm trying not to think about when I would have to take the pregnancy test to find out. I'm trying, but it's still a struggle. I'm trying to focus on sitting, breathing, relaxing and letting nature take its course. In the end, that's all we can do. But, the journey to enlightenment, and patience-dom continues!


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