Our latest diary which will follow our journey through the pregnancy of our 13th child is now created.
The pregnancy reaches its 12 week milestone today. Whilst we announced it almost a month ago I have still, for some reason, been reluctant to officially begin this diary.
With eight previous miscarriages we spend the first few months of any pregnancy tentatively stepping through the days, as if walking on emotional eggshells. The joy of expecting again is often marred by the knowledge that a positive pregnancy test does not necessarily mean that we will be holding our new baby nine months down the line. And so a battle between heart and head ensues; the heart wanting to burst with joy, eager to plan and organise, whilst the head is reluctant to join in, preferring instead to focus on the one-day-at-a-time.
I found out I was pregnant a few days after missing my period. I was due to be taking several flights within a few days and, the morning before, thought I ought to test.
I could hear Mike in the lobby on the other side of the bathroom door. I opened the door and, hissed his name so as not to gain attention from the nosey children nearby. He turned to look at me and I held up the test. Then he laughed and hugged me.
Wanting reassurance that all was progressing as it should be, we booked a private scan at around eight weeks. Everything looked perfect, with baby measuring precisely as it should for its dates, and possessing a strong, regular and healthy heartbeat.
Only two weeks later, at a time we ought to have been relaxing and feeling a great deal more positive, I began to lightly bleed. It was everso light – quite minimal in fact – yet it was enough to feel the invisible hand gripping my throat and the light-headedness that followed. No, no, no! It wasn’t supposed to happen like this!
Shaking, I grabbed the phone and called the hospital where we had arranged our previous scan. It was Saturday lunchtime and the chances of being seen were slim, I knew, but I still thought it was worth a try. I called and asked if there was any way at all we might be squeezed in. The consultant was familiar with us; we had arranged our scans privately there for the last few pregnancies. The receptionist put me on hold to speak with the consultant, then returned to tell us that he could see us at 2pm.
We had set off within the hour, driving in silence and wondering what the outcome would be. Many messages of support were coming through and whilst I knew that they meant nothing but reassurance, stories shared of women who had suffered bleeds but still went on to have healthy babies didn’t reassure me. All my head retorted was that: ‘I have had bleeding in ten of my pregnancies and lost eight of them.’ Whilst grateful that they had taken their time to share, the ugly truth of how I felt (which I am not proud to admit to), was that no other experiences mattered when we had so many unwanted, soul-destroying experiences of our own to draw on. I felt like we were being sucked into a vacuum, a current swirling around us and nowhere for us to go except wherever we were to be taken. With so many losses behind us and so many scenarios surrounding them you would think it might be something we’d somehow become used to. Yet, the thing about loss is that you never get over it and it’s not something that makes you stronger the more you experience it. If anything, it makes you more fragile. More afraid.
We had arrived early and after a short wait, were ushered into the consultant’s office. The scan began and it took a moment or two for my eyes to focus properly. For a few seconds I struggled to see any heartbeat at all and then, to my relief, it finally appeared, flashing away clearly and rhythmically. The consultant checked thoroughly and concluded that there was no bleeding in or around the womb at all. The baby was still fine; looking more like a baby and blissfully ignorant that there would be anything wrong as it lay cocooned in its own comfortable little world within. To say we were relieved would be the supreme understatement.
As I said, we have finally reached the 12 week milestone. There has thankfully been no more bleeding. The nausea is easing and I’m waiting for the mid-pregnancy glow to begin. It is way overdue, given that I don’t seem to have experienced it with any of my pregnancies.
I tried registering with the community midwife through my GP’s surgery, only to be told that they no longer have a midwife there. Could they tell me where to go? No, they didn’t know. Well, what should I do then? There is a number, but they were not sure what it was. That helps then.
We have instead made our own arrangements for an independent midwife to carry out my ante-natal care. I still need to somehow inform the hospital that I am pregnant. There is an online form which I could complete, but it needs my NHS number which I need to visit my surgery for with ID in order to receive it. Then I need to make my own referral to the hospital’s ante-natal clinic. Why did they change this, I asked? Cutbacks? No, they said. They just like to change things sometimes. Why not just pass me some pee-sticks and a sphyg and I’ll do my own ante-natal? It might be easier.
We have the nuchal scan booked for Saturday. My booking in appointment is scheduled for next week. And I absolutely must get my referral to the hospital ante-natal unit done this week too, no question about it. Actually, I’ll get ready to do that now. I’ll update again next week. See you then!
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