Monday, May 29, 2006

Not a good day

It is a bank holiday, but we don't get the May bank holidays. Mr Spouse does, so he is at home, not working, while I am at home working. And I have got my period. I am not going to be a mother before I am 40; this was my last chance.

Saturday, May 27, 2006


For once I'm not entirely sure I would be happy if I was pregnant this month. It is possible, and my good friend A got pregnant with her daughter without skipping a cycle after a much later miscarriage; and another friend in pre-pregnancy-test-in-everyone's-drawer days "thinks" she had a miscarriage at 5 weeks the month before her daughter was born. But I am wondering if I need a rest. This did not stop us from trying, however.

And of course I'm not sure I'll be happy if I'm not, because I will worry I'm broken again, that was a fluke, we are not going to get pregnant. But I imagine I'll know by tomorrow, or Monday at the latest. An ovulation stick (actually my cheat's version, the sticks from the mega expensive Clearblue monitor, which are themselves cheaper than normal ovulation thingys) suggested my period will be due tomorrow; and a (proper, pricey, non-cheapo internet job) test was negative yesterday (I couldn't resist, OK? I'm addicted to peeing on sticks. If I had waited perhaps I would have been too late to do it...). I have no real clue symptoms-wise as, unlike DoctorMama even my 10-week pregnancy seems to have made my uterus cramp before every period.

Next steps are the gynae appointment in 2 weeks' time at which I think we will ask for referral to the nearer, less snazzy clinic, and I think they will see us in about a month, before which time we may well have some of the tests either repeated or done for the first time through the local hospital. I think there will be more clotting tests than have been done, and I'm going to ask that the ones that were done before could be repeated (apart from the genetic ones, which aren't going to vary). There will also be chromosomal tests for both of us, and I imagine a proper ultrasound of my uterus. If we find there is anything they can't or won't do, but that is done at the further, more snazzy clinic, we'll get it done privately.

Incidentally, does anyone have a recommendation for a free invisible counter? was doing me very well but seems to have been broken for the last week or more.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Yes, I do really want to have children, really, I do

I was away with Brownies last night, the only leader for our group - and one girl with a chest infection and asthma kept me awake coughing (I was awake longer than she was!) for almost the whole night. While sitting on her bed at 3am surfing on my PDA I was desperately longing for someone else to take a shift...

Other news from the Spousehold (and I promise not to use that again): we went to the open evening from the private (charity) adoption agency and both of us came away feeling more positive: they did not, like the local authority, seem to totally rule us out because of Mr. Spouse’s age - both of our ages would be taken into account, I am plenty young to be approved for under-5s, and although we might lose out in a “competition” for a child or children because of our age, we could also have something to give that others could not – I suspect my experience would help, but if we were willing to take a sibling group, that would also help a lot.

Under 5s are definitely around, and if you take two siblings at once, it has the advantage that a) they will have each other (with my family’s emphasis on biological kinship, this would be a positive thing, too) and b) the younger one will definitely be quite young, and the older one could be fairly young too as not everyone will take siblings. And Mr. Spouse, after hearing about the adoption process (which sounds a lot like our very intensive marriage preparation weekend, but more drawn out) and that one would have to go through some of it again for a second adoption, seemed to also become more positive about the idea of going for siblings. He is the one feeling the clock ticking on adoption, and doesn’t want to do the whole process once aged Old and then again aged Old Plus 3; he is an only child, sees no problem with having just the one, but is open to the idea of more than one.

I was predictably moist-eyed over Children Who Wait and Be My Parent; these were old issues, but one not so old that I can’t help wondering if one pair would still be in there if we started the process later this year, and also one set was very appealing in a car-crash kind of way, to be honest; six lovely sisters, from the same town where my mother used to do home tuition for children who had been excluded from school, and who my mother no doubt would be able to identify at least by reputation, as it’s one of those kinds of towns.

Mr. Spouse is very keen for me to cancel the IVF open evening. I haven’t yet, unfortunately the one we have booked is the day before my next gynae appointment or I would wait for that to make a decision. The next one we are away, I have cancelled one already, but I guess if we decided to go for it we could just book a (moderately expensive) initial appointment rather than go to the (free) open day, but not have to wait. He is more convinced it would be pointless, I wonder about balanced translocations and PGS. But the former is very rare and the latter doesn’t seem to lower the miscarriage rate to a major degree.

A bit of a long post, but we are going to see the gynae in a couple of weeks’ time, before she’ll refer me to the recurrent miscarriage clinic. I probably have the choice of clinics, one of which seems to have more of an emphasis on clotting problems, as they do more tests, and which is further away, but which does not believe in NK cells, and one of which is closer and is doing a clinical trial on NK cells, but I might not be eligible for the trial anyway being a little overweight and it involving steroids. So that’s a dilemma… the first one has a very good reputation, but the word on the street (or rather, on the babydust-infested but UK-system-oriented message boards) is that the second is pretty friendly and welcoming, too.

Saturday, May 13, 2006

It's four a.m...

and I can't sleep...

I started helping with Brownies in January, it's on a Friday night, and it's fun. But I'm not sure I can carry on, not with that group. There are a number of issues, some convenience (the Friday thing, which is starting to irritate Mr Spouse), some personal (not relevant here), but one crucially relevant: the baby.

I am pretty certain it's this miscarriage which has brought back feelings of the previous one, and feelings of NigelandDelia. I know it has for Mr Spouse too. This was the first week I saw little S, one of the leader's babies, after this miscarriage, and the first time I really clicked that she is very close in age to what they should have been. Perhaps because there is a month or two difference, but as she gets older this will be less and less significant. I know this is going to continue. If it wasn't for this, I think I would have asked to change groups anyway, but I'm just happy I managed to hold it together in the meeting, and that Mr Spouse found me a quiet bench on our way out to dinner for my meltdown.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Where we are at...

Not sure, really...

My theoretical return to work (in fact, return to my desk in my study at home, looking at work files rather than blogs) coincided with a major rush and panic on a grant application, fraught with inter-country politics, and due yesterday. We got it in, but not without a long-suffering research administrator working long hours and an international collaborator taking his ball home.
I did actually go into the office yesterday but reserved the right to come over all feeble and work at home today. Which I am doing.

Colleagues that I have told have been sympathetic - I felt like a bit of a wimp when I had to tell one very nice man that my miscarriage was at just over 5 weeks - his partner had two, one at 12 and one at 16, I think between their two children (she was told to lie in bed for a month with the next pregnancy, but this was 20 years ago!). But he said this was the worst time they'd been through, even including the death of two elderly parents in the last couple of years. I also told another colleague, who I didn't know at the time of the first miscarriage, about both of them. I think this may change the dynamic between us a bit - she comes across as someone who really doesn't want kids, and almost resents talk of them, although she is generally a lovely person.

New feelings have been raised, oddly by the pregnancy as well as by the miscarriage. When I found out I was pregnant, we had these two upcoming information evenings booked; I actually felt sad that I might not now need to adopt, but we had decided to go to both anyway "just in case". At my lowest point, when I knew I was miscarrying, I sobbed to Mr Spouse that I would never have a baby and he said "yes you will, it just might not come from your tummy". And that made me feel sad too - so I'm not sure what I want.

I guess I might want one or more children that are lovely little clones of me and Mr Spouse and who are gloriously bright and musical and calm and well-adjusted (all the good parts of both of us and none of our faults, of course, and guaranteed no developmental issues), as well as one or more children who are slightly more problematic, but who were "chosen" for us, or vice versa, in a very human sense.

I had an email from a friend in the US who had been told "well, you know, if you adopt you are guaranteed to get a baby" (by an adoption counsellor, so although the counsellor may be stretching the truth a little, she is probably not completely making it up). Perhaps this is true in the USA, if you wait long enough. Here, it is not, although most people give up rather than being given up on; and it is not very likely that one would get a newborn, although that is not too crucial for us, personally I'd like to go for an older baby or toddler and Mr Spouse is starting to come round to that idea, too, I think.

I have also been reading other US blogs where people seem to be going for IVF and adoption at the same time; another thing that wouldn't happen here. IVF seems a bit pointless at this stage, unless it turns out we have a balanced translocation or something like that, but I don't want to give up on pregnancy without knowing if there is something treatable we can find that might be causing the miscarriages. And I don't think we could have those investigations, and pursue adoption, either.

Anyway, I'm going to go and have some lunch, and go into town and do a little shopping. I am aware that I am at risk of getting depressed, especially when I catch myself afraid of going into town, partly because of the people, and partly because I think someone will spot me and say "you aren't sick". And that means I really, really need to get out of the house and get a little exercise.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

When a friend has a miscarriage

I just found this and thought it was quite good - I've seen other similar things in the past, although they are good to find, I'm not sure how one would give these to ones friends and family. Hello, people, you know I've had a miscarriage but really, you aren't being that sensitive, here's something to teach you how.

Did you know...

it is possible to have your bladder too full for an ultrasound? I was sent away to pee before my scan this afternoon. And I was very mean and didn't tell the Scan Man that there was no more loo roll after me.

Saw the GP this morning (declining the receptionist's suggestion of a telephone consultation yesterday, when I would have been on the train. No, I don't feel like discussing my miscarriage in a crowded train carriage. Funny, that) and he said that, although it was up to me, he would really recommend having an ultrasound. I guess part of me still had a tiny bit of hope, but I knew it was pointless thinking like that and that knowing I was going to have the scan would just get my hopes up. But fortunately I got an appointment for this afternoon and managed to take my mind off it by doing some gardening (at least my tomato plants are growing). The GP also seemed surprised that the pregnancy test I did yesterday would have been negative already, but it didn't surprise me, as I stopped feeling pregnant at the weekend.

So having drunk loads, and walked to the hospital, and waited half an hour (I was early, they were late), I found out there was nothing in there - which is better than the worst that could have happened i.e. that I would need to have an EPRC.

I'm still feeling pretty exhausted, sleeping a lot, and the GP says if I need to be signed off next week just to call; I have a grant application a nervous student needs to submit by Wednesday but I have sorted it out so I can do it from home if necessary, I think. I would dearly love to reduce my workload long-term but don't really see how - the parts of my job that are flexible are those that I like, and those that get me long-term promotion prospects. We have a moderately generous holiday allowance but it's not huge, and I already take it all as it's almost exactly the same as Mr Spouse's, and he always tries to take as much as he can.

Last time I came home from the hospital after my miscarriage to find a book on pregnancy had arrived from Amazon. This time I have had several items of nicely snug clothing arrive, due to some rather delayed mail-order and Ebay purchases which came while we were away. For our anniversary on Monday Mr Spouse and I chose a selection of possible cotton items for ourselves from the Boden catalogue and ordered them for each other without looking at the checkout page, if you have any idea what I mean. So I now have a nice new blue dress to wear to a wedding in a week's time.

I don't feel good. But I don't feel dead, either. I'll ring the gynae tomorrow to arrange a referral to the recurrent miscarriage people. I don't know where they do their standard referral to, but there are two clinics within a couple of hours of here, and if it's the same place they send IVF people to, I'm going to ask for it to be somewhere else, as it's a 2 hour drive.