Thursday, 5 July 2018

Pregnant for the last time

"Just to say, you know, I've had quie a few operations now. I've got quite a lot of scar tissue. I'm sure it's on my notes and it'll all be fine, but I just thought I better say...".

"It will be fine!" the lovely Eastern European anaesthatist smiles. "Although it is true, with the scar tissue, it can be a bit, you say... dodgy."

I'd been in hospital for two days by the time I got a section ahead of schedule.

A few days before I was booked in to hospital, I picked up the phone to them because I was feeling pretty bad.  I'd become more and more swollen, put on a lot of weight, and slept increasingly badly. The final straw was when I threw up for no apparent reason.

I got told to go  for monitoring. Fairly quickly the staff discovered my blood pressure was much higher than it should be.

After being kept in for two nights with the wardmate from hell, who is worth her own blogpost, I had a section.

On 6am of the morning of my daughter's birth, I got up and began prep for theatre. I eventually got wheeled in, whereupon the anaesathtist pointed out I'd kept my bra on. So I had to take that off.

I got shifted onto the operating table, got drugged up, the screens went up and the operation began.

And went on and on.

I've tried to write down what I remember, but mainly it was a sense of everything moving extremely slowly, like being underwater. I also remember being silent as I was terrified as I was going to put the surgeon off his work,and terrified it was all going badly wrong.

One of the staff, on my side of the screen, began pushing down on my bump. The baby was taking a while to come out, the nurse said.

It's difficult to write about, to jot down in a few quick paragraphs, what felt like hours of being in theatre. I couldn't say how long it took now - much less time than it felt - just that there was a real sense that something was going wrong, and it was all taking too long.

More pushing down on my bump, and a sense of more frantic activity behind the screen. I summoned all my courage to ask what was happened and was told the baby was stuck in the scar tissue but the consultant was very good, although he was about to page for more help.

Finally, finally, I heard a faint cry. I was asked who I wanted to find out the sex from. Actually by that point I didn't care, but my husband told me we'd had a girl - who was soon plonked down unceremonionsly on my chest.

My daughter smiled at me. I have seldom been so relieved.

I was wheeled out and saw my bra hanging on a hook near the door. Bizarrely, I had the presence of mind to remember to ask my husband to pick it up on the way out.

Things felt very floaty and unreal in the recovery room. I was pleased to have my daughter but was also having difficulty processing it all, and wanted to cry.

 The surgeon came through. He looked like he'd just had a horrendous experience himself, and said I had a lot of scar tissue and it had been a really difficult section. I explained I'd had two ectopics and a previous section, and several rounds of IVF, and wasn't having any more children.

I remember feeling bad for being an awkward patient - not just for the consultant, but that I'd done something that carried far more risk to myself and my family than I'd ever intended.

Shortly afterwards, a nurse appeared to say the surgeon had nicked his hand during the operation, and it was standard procedure to run some tests on me. I said that was fine, and also - to try and give the surgeon a bit of peace of mind - that I'd been screened regularly during the IVF process.

Fuck knows what went on behind the screen.

I got up to the post surgery ward. I got told I'd lost a lot of blood. This didn't hit home properly until days later, when I discovered I'd lost nearly a two litres.

But for then, all I knew was that I was horribly clumsy. The midwives try to get you moving after a section and I was encouraged to take a shower. I managed to walk across the ward, shower, and tried to drop my pad in the bin on the way back. But my paper knickers fell off as I couldn't put them on properly over the catheter.

I started bleeding all over the floor and shouted at my husband for help. He was trying to fiddle about with the help button on my bed and fussing that The Girl was about to start crying. I ended up bawling at him to take the baby and go out into the corridor as I thought I was about to collapse; at any rate I was standing in a rapidly increasingly puddle of blood.

A nurse appeared  to untangle the paper knickers and catheter - she was quite grumpy as there was apparently a rule against husbands and babies in the corridor, and I got very muddled about the paper knickers and pads and I think gave her the impression I was going to use the hospital paper knickers until I got out. I was babbling away apologetically as she sat me on the bed.

So then I bled all over the bed and needed it to be changed. I issued another apologetic monologue.

Once I was in bed, and after my husband had gone home, I tried to sit up and pick up my baby for a feed. Bad move. I tried to swing my legs round, but kicked over the catheter bag.. Blood and pee everywhere, and I needed to call for help, and another change. More frantic apologising.

I was still trying to breastfeed at this point. All the way through this, the Girl would cry for a feed, and latch on. Very little would come out as my milk hadn't come in, and anyway I was massively dehydrated.

I really wanted to be able to feed her enough that she would sleep, so I could sleep. But it just wasn't going to happen.

I also had what, at the time, I thought was a stupid drip needle pinned in my arm. It had three or four coloured tubes in it. At the time looked to me like a little girl's bracelet, and it was incredibly annoying as I kept hitting the Girl with it when I was trying to feed, making the crying worse, and making me feel worse.

I asked if it could be taken out. The head nurse gave me A Look and refused. It was only later I realised it was there in case I needed an emergency blood transfusion.

Eventually, I had a couple of feeding attemps where the room got dark and my arms got weak as I held my daughter. My gut instinct punched through all the fuzz, and told me firmly it I couldn't keep going without putting her at risk of being dropped.

Not wanting to fall over or do something terrible like causing a scene again, I buzzed and asked for a bottle. One of the auxiliaries, who I will be forever grateful to,  fed my daugther while I watched, and then we both slept.


I know the previous paragraphs don't make a lot of sense, now - I should have not forced myself up to shower, or at the very least asked for help. I shouldn't have tried to lever myself around the bed to feed, and I should have thrown in the towel with the breastfeeding and formula much earlier.. But I was really reeling from blood loss, was on morphine and just couldn't think for myself.

It wasn't entirely plain sailing from there, but 12 weeks on the Girl is thriving and is mostly breastfed, and I'm fitter than I've ever been. I'm beyond grateful to the staff. who looked after us.

I sometimes get asked if we'd have another one, by people who don't know the backstory. No, no, never. I'm beyond lucky having two, and I'm done.

Monday, 23 April 2018

Jusqu à la fin

I stopped blogging a few monhs back out of paranoia and the fear of jinxing things. I had a largely uneventful pregnancy up until 38 weeks - my placenta shifted back into place, the UTI cleared up - and I was worried that if I stuck up a post saying everything was fine, that I'd curse myself into having some sort of massive drama.

As it happened, I did have a, not massive, but medium to largish sized drama at the end - pre-eclampsia, a very messy delivery, and some complications afterwards. It's worth a post in itself.

Most importantly, I ended up with a beautiful little girl as a result.

While I still worry that Something Bad will happen, she's perfect to us. She's a little over a week old, has been feeding well, smiles gently at us and is incredibly dainty. At least until she farts.

The Boy's taken it all reasonably well - we're giving him plenty of one on one time, as well as spending a lot of family time together, all four of us.

The cat is pretty hacked off, but harder to placate.

As well as being head over heels in love with the Girl, I'm also relieved. I've either had fertility issues hanging over my head or been confronting them since my first ectopic, 17 years ago.

I'd hung on to some of my meds from the last round, and last week I threw them all in the bin, disposed of my sharps boxes, and e-mailed our outcome form to the clinic. It was a good feeling.

At the last midwife appointment I was asked if I needed contraception, then the midwife interrupted herself and said "No, I guess not for the moment, eh?"

I cheerily told her no, I wasn't going to need any ever. For the first time, the no tubes thing felt like a positive rather than a negative.

Thursday, 14 December 2017

One foot in front of the other

I'm 22 weeks pregnant now. It feels like I'm slowly, slowly getting there; I can feel movement, I'm definitely into my maternity clothes, I've sent the paperwork off for maternity leave and I've started clearing the spare room.

There are a couple of things niggling at me though.

The first is the scar tissue and scans. I've had to have two extra scans as I've been chopped up quite a lot, and it's more difficult for the sonographers to see what's happening.

I'm fine with the extra scans, but at the last one I got told that the placenta was sitting over my last CS scar and that I "shouldn't worry about it" but that I was having an extra scan with the consultant in 3 weeks.

In the absence of any solid information, I went and dug around on Google. From what I can gatherr, depending on how bad it is, the placenta might move out the way, or I might have to have a more complicated section with a longer recovery time, or I might need a hysterectomy, or I might end up with damage to my bladder.

All of that is, literally, liveable with - but I wish I'd asked the sonographer a bit more at the last scan.

The second thing is the urinary tract infections. I tested positive for one in October, and then got put on antibiotics that made me barf.

After a week of throwing up, I handed in another pee sample. I heard nothing so assumed I was fine.

At my next midwife appointment, a third pee sample came up positive. It then turned out that the middle test had been positive too - once the midwife went back and found it in her notes.

I'm now on a second lot of antibacs that don't make me barf. Rather alarmingly, they can cause heart defects if I keep taking them past 28 weeks; if I'd known I would have stuck with the puking.

A consultant who I've never seen has decided that after I finish my current meds, I'm getting put on a third kind of low dose antibiotics for the rest of the pregnancy, and will be tested at every appointment for UTIs (but I already was getting tested at every appointment!).

I'm feeling a bit, if you'll excuse the pun, pissed off with the whole thing.

I have read that scar tissue can cause bacteria in pee but the midwife says she's never heard that. Which is entirely understandable. But then, she hadn't heard that the benefits of cranberry juice were now considered dubious either.

If the two high dose antibotics don't clear out the infection I'm not sure why the low dose one will help.

The only time I've felt remotely like I had a UTI was when I was on the barfy antibiotics.

My husband was full of good advice telling me to trust the medical staff, until I pointed out that if I'd done that in the past I would almost have certainly got a worse outcome from my last ectopic.

it's deeply unfair that assertive middle class women get better treatment. But it's in my best interests, physically and mentally, to read up on things, ask questions and not neccessarily accept everything at face value.

Anyway, I've got another couple of weeks in limbo before I can see a consultant and, hopefully, get some answers to all of this.

Sunday, 1 October 2017

111 weeks (or it feels like it!)

I feel a bit bad for not using blogger more. To be honest, I've got to the point that I'm really worried about jinxing things, and I only talk about the pregnancy with my husband and one or two others who I know are going to be ok, now with one exception (see below). Developments have been:

Scan - I had an 11 week scan today, a private one. It just seemed like the wait between the clinic scan at 8 week and the NHS one at 13 was way too long, and I had a particular panic at around 9.5 weeks, which was when my last pregnancy ended, although I didn't know it at the time.

The good thing was, the scan was fine. All looked good, measured up well, no cause for concern.

The bad thing was, I was so wound up I burst into tears as soon as I got into the scan room. This was partly because there seemed to be a large number of people in the room before us, who got out and started loudly congratulating each other on the baby's gender, and could they start texting their other relatives, and so on.

On reflection, I get a bit overwhelmed with the idea that people might do scans for fun, more or less, and actually enjoy this pregnancy business. Rather than bad luck conditioning them to expect the worse.

The ugly - the sonographer was nice and very calming. The external scan didn't work (the external scans NEVER work out), so I had to have a dildocam. Afterwards when I was sitting in the car I felt a bit weird down below, like I had a bit of tissue in a sensitive place. After a bit of investigation it turned out the condom cover of the dildocam had come off. My husband nearly crashed the car laughing...

After, the scan, I thought it was time to bite the bullet and tell my Mum. To be honest I argued with my husband about this first as I would, in many ways, have felt happier telling her when any new baby was, like, 10.

My mum likes to fuss, is quite hyperactive and in your face, and last time tried to gatecrash the hospital when I was in theatre, after we'd dutifully kept her updated of my long, ultimately failed induction and labour.

She did not in any way take it on board at all when I said later on that I did not want her turning up when I was on the operating table, and that she should have waited until we'd told her we were ready.

I discovered later that she'd been speculating to my sister about whether or not I'd have another IVF round, because IVF was "very dangerous". This will be something she read in one of her middle market, right wing, woman hating tabloids.

I told her just before we got to her house to pick up the Boy, and warned her not to let the Boy know. She started asking about the pregnancy when the Boy was out the room, and I answered briefly but changed the subject.

After a couple of minutes she demanded to know "When's your due date?".

I could, thankfully, truthfully say I didn't know. I've been too worried to look it up and delibarately asked the midwife not to tell me.

She looked slightly taken aback and then I got her onto something else. Until we left.

"Drive very very carefully!" she told my husband, "40 miles an hour, that's the speed! Well done!"

I'm not sure why she was congratulating my husband as his main contribution, apart from emotional support and hard cash, was having a wank in a jar over 2 years ago. Ho hum.

Anyway, I'm still not feeling entirely relaxed about the pregnancy - I don't think I'll ever get to that point. But it does feel as if we've gotten over some hurdles today.

Hopefully, eventually, I will unclench enough to be able to plan beyond my next scan.

Thursday, 31 August 2017

Hello again, EPU

At the start of the week I began spotting brown stuff. I very firmly told myself that this happened during every single pregnancy I had whatever the outcome, so it was just something that happened to me, and I wasn't going to freak out. No sirrreee. No freaking out here.

Until the next day when I started bleeding and phoned the Eearly Pregnany Unit in such a panic I could barely speak. I calmed down enough to explain my history and what was wrong, and got told to come in for a scan the next day.

My husband immediately rescheduled his work to come in with me.

I then had to go to a meeting at the Boy's new school. When I say "had", I could have cancelled it and spent the time fretting. But I'd have had to have explained to the Boy why we weren't going, reschedule with the school, and go out and drop the Boy at his childminder anyway or cancel him. And whatever I was going to do was going to involve speaking to people, so it just seemed easier to stick with plan A.

So I pulled myself together and ended up having to make small talk with one of the other parents who I don't know, which I suppose at least forced me not to sit around the house being mad.

When I got home the bleeding had stopped. But I'd had sporadic bleeding with both ectopics.

The morning of the scan, after my husband got up, the Boy brought one of his teddies and lay next to me to have a chat. It's part ot our morning routine.

I got up, went into the shower, and came out to discover that when my husband was getting the Boy dressed, he'd discovered a big angry looking rash all over his body.

We couldn't send him into school in case whatever it was turned out to be infectious, so my husband got a doctor's appointment. I had thought we could drive me and him and the Boy could sit in the car, except the only appointment he could get was exactly the same time as my scan. Fuck.

There was no time to organise anyone else tto come with me, so for the second time in 24 hours, I put on my big girl pants and went to the scan myself. Although to be honest I was shit scared of something awful going wrong and then being in such a state I couldn't drive back.

I managed to hold it together for the check in and in the scan room.

The sonographer did an external scan and told me she could see something in my uterus - which made me relax a little bit.

I was delighted, after we switched to an internal scan, when she said she could see a tiny embryo in the right place with a heartbeat. I'll take that, thankyou.

There seems to be some blood in my uterus that might make an appearance, but if I do bleed any more I need to go and get checked again rather than assume it's ok  (like I am going to be assuming things are ok after four losses rather than, say, calling up the EPU in such a state I can barely squeak out my name).

So I'm well aware that I've got six weeks more before I can relax a bit. But on the plus side, it is less than two weeks until my scan at the clinic, then we'll probably pay for a ten week scan. This is about as far ahead as I'm willing to think at the moment.

But my husband's birthday turned out ok in the end - although we never did find out what the Boy's rash was.

Wednesday, 23 August 2017

On the four week wait

Apologies for the delay in updating.

The clinic was good, I had a score of 350.

I'm now on the wait between the blood test and the first scan.

I'm finding the experience of the missed miscarriage the last time is making this one quite nerve wracking, to put it mildly.

Last time, I made a conscious decision not to be neurotic and try and enjoy the pregnancy. I made myself go out and try on maternity clothes not long after getting the result, and made some plans for holidays. I told myself it was ludicrous to worry about tempting fate by doing these things.

I did get all paranoid at around 6 weeks and got an extra blood test, which was fine and I felt silly for being so worried

I then was sick for the next 8 weeks or so, sore boobs, all the rest of it. No reason to suspect anything was wrong.

The nausea tailed off a fortnight or so towards my 12 week scan and I thought that was normal. The spotting I'd had for a few weeks stopped too.

I did feel very upset in the run up to the scan, but that could have been either subconsciously knowing or just that I don't like medical appointments.

Either way, it was still horrible finding out I'd had a missed miscarriage a fortnight before the scan.

At the moment, I worry that I'm not feeling sick or tired enough. I also generally get spotting in early pregnancy, which hasn't showed up either (I know, I know, it is weird to worry about not spotting, particularly how much angst it's given me before).

It's three weeks until my first eight week scan at the clinic, and every day feels like an eternity.

If I can just get to the eight week scan then I'm going to book a couple of reassurance scans. But at the moment I know there's nothing I can do but wait.

Sunday, 13 August 2017

Madwoman in the attic

I kind of thought I was through having drama on 2ww but, I was wrong.

I tested on Wednesday,  and Thursday last week. All negative.

I had a big argument with my husband about whether we should do another round, slept in the spare room and considered going away for a couple of days.

Another BFN on Friday. I was 8dp5dt so, when the test was negative, I decided I was done. Apart from anything else, I felt really period-y and ill, and was having bad cramps. And I'd never had a pregnancy, whether it turned out ok or not, that hadn't shown up by that point.

I stopped meds halfway through the day, drank wine and cried. I made up with my husband and, we agreed if it was something I really had to do, we'd have another go in January.

Then I started being sick in the early evening, and was up half the night with diarrhea and vomiting.

Saturday morning, I had one last test. I thought I might as well use it and... very faint positive. Which my husband saw.

So I started taking all my meds again.

The stomach bug lasted 24 hours, and my husband got it too.

Frustratingly, I seem to be able to spot lines on the two tests we've done today when my husband can't. He didn't see this morning's one at all. I've waved tonight's one in his face as I'm typing this and he can see it this time, but couldn't a few minutes ago.

I don't have any symptoms, but I don't know how much that has to do with the stomach bug. If it's fucked things up, or my half day of abandoning the cycle has, or whether I would have just have ejected much of the meds from my body fairly quickly anyway.

I don't know if I'm having an actual pregnancy, a chemical one, or if this is going to be the start of getting 48 hour blood tests, or what. Or if I am hallucinating pink lines on pee sticks, or if my husband needs his eyes tested.

Blood test tomorrow.