Sunday, 23 August 2009

It's been a while...

Well the last time I was here was shortly before my 8 week scan to check the viability of the pregnancy.

I am pleased to report all was well, there was a nice strong heartbeat and a little baby that according to my husband looked like a dog. We went straight to see both sets of parents and shared our news. Unlike the last time, it was met with positivity and lots of excitement!!

Things progressed well, I met my midwife who took more blood than I thought any person had flowing around them, did all the standard tests and booked me in for my 12 week nuchal translucency scan to assess the risk of down syndrome.

The 4 weeks passed quickly and before we knew it we were back in hospital having the 12 week scan and yet more blood taken, surely soon I will look like a prune? Despite the miserable sonographer we had an amazing time seeing our baby, now named Stewie for the duration of my pregnancy. Stewie had a good wriggle around on the screen, laying still just long enough for the picture to be taken. We ordered one each for ourselves and both sets of parents and set off feeling very pleased with ourselves for managing to grow a healthy baby this time, sparking the affectionate nickname of grobag!

The feeling was short-lived. 5 days later I developed strong abdominal cramps. They felt very similar to the urinary tract infection I suffered with during my previous doctor so I visited the out of hours doctor who, having made me wait in the swine flu infested waiting room for half an hour, instantly started discussing miscarriage! It was not the response I had expected and as is to be expected in any pregnancy much less one following a miscarriage, we were instantly terrified we were going to lose Stewie, this time in a much more dramatic style than Lumpy.

I was referred to the hospital for an emergency scan the next day. We visited the antenatal clinic at the hospital and were pushed from pillar to post trying to find where the scan was booked, finally ending up in the gynaelogical assessment unit. Over an hour and a half later we were called in, the details we had given the doctor the previous night were completely ignored and we were asked everything again and then sent to wait some more.

We finally got scanned, and straight away we saw Stewie on the screen doing what can only be described as a headstand waving his arms about as if to steady himself. Instantly reassured we thought the cramp was nothing until the sonographer identified an area of bleeding from my placenta. I was sent home and told to perhaps expect some bleeding.

After nearly 3 weeks we presumed the bleeding wouldn't happen. Then after a busy weekend I visited the toilet to find the sight every expectant mother dreads. Thinking finding bleeding is the worst possible scenario, I discovered having to inform my husband of said discovery is the worst possible scenario! I called NHS Direct and unsatisfied with their prognosis of go home and rest, we went to A&E. They were fantastic and saw me within minutes. All dressed up in my gown with my canula in my arm I was poked and prodded by a doctor who could have been no older than 12!! He told me I had to go back to the dreaded gynae assesment unit the next day.

Following another long wait we recieved very little reassurance from them and were told to go home and wait for 5 days before they would scan me! The very long 5 days passed and I finally went for my 4th scan!! I spent a very restless night dreading getting there to find Stewie asleep. The law of sod of course intervened and as I dreaded, Stewie was fast asleep and completely immobile as I was scanned, the only reassurance was a very visible heartbeat and the occasional waft of the arm as if Stewie was telling us to leave him alone and let him sleep. The sonographer was very thorough and took lots of measurments which showed his growth to be perfect for our stage of pregnancy.

So finally I am writing this at 16+4, hoping for a stress free remainder of my pregnancy. No more late night hospital visits, DEFINATELY no more trips to the dreaded gynae assessment unit and nothing but scheduled check ups and scans!

On the brightside we now have a record of Stewie's growth with an 8 week, 12 week and 16 week scan picture. We are lined up for a 20 week scan so I just need to work on the consultant for 4 weekly scans from there until birth to keep the pattern up. Something tells me it may be a resounding no!!

Sunday, 21 June 2009

4 days and counting

My prognosis of a busy few weeks to take our minds off the mind numbingly slow wait were of course optimistic. Over the last few weeks we have done not a lot and I have been suffering with every single part of that not a lot. It has been a slow few weeks made even slower and longer by terrible nausea that is inescapable. For the first week or so a glass of something fizzy and something bland, croissant, toast etc did the job and saw off the waves of nausea for a few hour. For a while breakfast foods became my staple diet and I didn't care, it worked.

All good things come to an end. Now I am trying one remedy after the other, each as ineffective as the last at trying to control the by now overwhelming queasiness. It has finally been decided the only way of coping is a bland light meal, something cold and wet, be it an ice lolly, ice cubes, water or fruit juice and an early night.

This constant nausea is made worse by a mild case of emetophobia. A condition who's sufferers have a fear of sick. This began to plague me in my late teen years and has become worse of late. At first is presented itself as merely a concern that my husband would be sick. This escalated to my fear of him and other people being sick, accompanied by hot flushes, a raised heart rate, and trouble breathing. This has now morphed to include a fear of myself being sick, something I realised recently when I noted I have not been sick for over 9 years!

A fear of vomiting and morning sickness do not go hand in hand and so far I have succesfully fought off the nausea, if today is anything to go by, this may not continue much longer!

I have also been sleeping as though I have been on a 4 day drinking session. I tend to go to bed, but not sleep, at around 10pm, read or watch my now favourite series, Sex and the City, and then finally sleep only to wake about 14 hours later ready to go back to bed. It is a good job I don't have a job at the moment, I am sure I would be sacked for sitting down gulping air to fight back nausea and then falling asleep at 10am!

Due to our 'history' we were promised an early scan in our next pregnancy. However, we now live 350 miles away from the early pregnancy unit that promised the early scan. I had heard bad things about our now local EPU so I rang with much trepidation hoping they would take pity.

After being bounced from one hospital to another I found the right person and played the part of the new mother to be and explained everything that happened to us with Lumpy. Fortunately she took pity and made an exception to their 'no self referral' rule due to our history and the obscene wait to register at our local doctors surgery. As a result I have a scan booked for Thursday 25th June when I will be exactly 8 weeks pregnant.

4 days and counting.

It has been a long journey to this point, one which makes the seemingly short wait until the scan endless. At the back of my mind I have all the normal concerns of a young mother to be. These are amplified by our past experiences. Yet somehow under it all I have a calm positive attitude. Yes I am terrified of it being bad news. Yes every twinge and pain fills me with dread. Yes I visit the toilet 10 times a day to ensure there is no bleeding. But somehow I know it will all be ok.

The overwhelming feeling that it will all be ok brings with it a new set of challenges. So deep set it my conviction that this is going to be a healthy pregnancy, it scares me. What if things don't go right? What if they say there is no baby or worse a baby that is hanging on but won't make it? I can't go through that pain again, a pain that will be made worse by my all encompassing belief that it was all ok. I want to be negative so I am prepared for the worst.

So the next 4 days will pass by in a schizophrenic blur of negativity, positivity and downright fear.

Keep your fingers crossed for me!

Monday, 8 June 2009

The one we have all been waiting for...

In the immortal words of Julie Andrews, I'll start at the very beginning, it's a very good place to start...

My last message was one of hope, optimism and holidays so thats where I will begin.

We packed up, inevitably, way too much stuff. I performed the rare routine of cleaning our house from top to bottom before leaving in order to leave the house in a viewable state if a viewing was arranged for while we were away and off we went.

My sudden onset of positive mental attitude that month and glowing reviews on my Baby Expert lifeline had pursuaded me to part with my hard earned cash and I bought some ovulation predictor tests, determined to do all we possibly could in order to maximise our chances of conceiving that month. I had been taking them for days with no positive result. Then out of nowhere the morning we were packing up to leave I got a darker, but still not positive, line. That was enough for me and we had spent the previous few days practising our baby dance so I knew we were well on our way to fulfilling our conscious part of the process.

I had already decided even if ovulation wasn't complete before we went away I was going to leave the sticks at home and enjoy our holiday without having to not drink and not wee for a certain amount of hours each day just to test, not easy when you are swimming!

After getting stuck in what felt like the longest queue ever we pulled up outside our apartment, unloaded the car, hired some bikes and settled in to our much needed holiday. We had an action packed week of indulgence, swimming, cycling and baby making planned.

Of course the best laid plans blah blah blah. The worlds worst cold had other ideas!! I woke up on Saturday morning, the first full day of our holiday completely bunged up and with a sore throat that bore an uncanny resemblance to the tonsilitus that has plagued me since childhood. Off I was marched to the medical centre to be told the fatal words, lots of rest and no swimming. That didn't fit in too well with our plans. My miscarriage induced neurosis doesn't allow me to take anything that is not allowed during pregnancy when we are past ovulation in case this was our month so I struggled through remedy free for as long as I could.

2 days and lots of whining later I was force fed lemsip capsules and taken for a swim. The plunging head first into water did the trick and cleared me long enough to enjoy a meal and bikeride before I became a petri dish of germs once again.

The penultimate day of our holiday was spent in the utter bliss of the private spa. Although I was booked in for a facial I opted for Hopi Ear Candles instead in the vain hope they would clear my ears enough for me to be able to hear, it worked, for about 10 minutes until I needed to blow my nose again and I was once again cast into the world of fuzzy noise. I wandered in and out of sauna's, jacuzzi's, turkish baths and swimming pools all the while worrying that I might have a tiny bean growing inside me that would not be as fond of the humidity as me.

Finally it was time to go home, our immaculate house returned to its usual chaotic self and the packing process begun.

I had long since decided that if the evil Aunt Flo didn't make her appearance I would wait until the day we were finally moved to take a test for two reasons, first and foremost that my husband is a worrier and wouldn't allow me to lift a single box should I be pregnant and also because the longer I could hold off testing the less time I would have to wait until I would be able to go for an early scan. The less time I had to wait means the less time I have to worry.

However my horrendous now 10 day old cold put paid to that plan and at a mere 9 days past ovulation I decided I would test the following day for no other reason than a big fat positive would give me good reason to live with my awful cold. A big fat negative would make me be more patient and another negative test a few days later would see me overdose on lemsip and decongestants.

I went to the shops and bough 4 first response tests, renowned for identifying pregnancy much earlier than most other tests. There I was again, back to my expensive habit.

The next morning I woke at 2am desperate for a wee, I forced myself back to sleep and at 5 decided to give it up and wee. Out came the first response and my orange (the colour of fertility) cup. I peed in the cup dipped the stick and closed my eyes for a minute to wait for the test to season. The next few minutes were spent moving the test around in the light to try and see if the line that was appearing was a figment of my imagination or was actually there.

I went downstairs, stick in hand, and tried to take a photo of the test to see if the line was visable on film. After a few sleepy attempts at focusing the camera I returned to the bathroom to dip a cheap superdrug test for a second opinion. Again a line appeared cementing what I had somehow known all month.

I am pregnant!

I returned to bed unable to sleep, I rolled around calculating due dates, how far gone I would be at my friends wedding, at our holiday in December and how many days early the baby would need to be for it to be born on my birthday (7 days). At this point miscarriage did not enter my mind. I am hoping that was a sign that I have no reason to worry.

About 20 minutes after I returned to bed, clearly disturbed, up he got to go to the loo. I held my breath waiting for his response. I heard some shuffling around followed my silence. My heart fell, had the line disappeared, had he not seen the tests next to the sink? Preparing myself to go and check he shouted, are these lines dark enough?? Recalling the words of wisdom so often spoken on Baby Expert I replied, a line is a line!! I am not sure if my cold was better that day or if I didn't care but it certainly didn't bother me as much.

Over the next few days I used up my stash of tests so lovingly collected over the previous few months. 5 cheap superdrug tests and all 4 of my first response tests took me step by step, line by line to Friday, the day she was due to haunt me and the benchmark I had set in my mind. Out came the big guns, the one we all look for, the ultimate confirmation. The clearblue digital. There were the words everyone woman trying to concieve wants to see.

Pregnant 2-3 weeks (weeks for illustration purpose only)

It was about this time panic set in, what if it goes wrong again? What if I don't have a bleed this time and go to my scan thinking everything is fine? What if they won't let me have an early scan?

All of the fears I was expecting finally started to haunt me and still do. While my instinctive positive feeling helps keep me calm and the new additions of morning sickness, sore back and sensitive nipples are reassuring, nothing can combat the built in barrier a miscarriage will cause you to put up.

This time in my last pregnancy I had ordered a baby book, started talking names and chosen a buggy. Now I am a little older, a little wiser and a little more cautious. I have not told anyone and will keep it that way until after we have seen that precious heartbeat on screen and have been told that everything is ok. Until then I will reserve 25% of my emotions for my pessimism, if I expect things to go wrong it will be less of a shock if it does.

I am now 5 weeks and 4 days pregnant. I have got a long 2 weeks and 3 days to go until my scan, given to me against normal policy, obviously my desperation translates over the phone!

Until then I have plenty of things to keep me busy, a hen do this weekend, job hunting and interviews, catching up with old friends and family since our move back to our 'home', (strangely I have never felt as far from home as I do now), and bringing our current home into this century!

Despite my reservations and concerns, nothing can take away from our excitement. Maybe, just maybe, life is back on track. After the horrible year we have had things have got nowhere to go from here but up. Lets hope our little Stewie is the first rung on the ladder back to our perfect life!

Wednesday, 6 May 2009


The end is drawing near. We began the heart-renching closing down sale a little under 2 weeks ago expecting a long drawn out process of clearing the remaining stock. The increasing tourism trade, bargain hunting regulars and some drunk Irish golfers have made the sale a lot shorter and more painful than we imagined.

It's hard to know whats worse;
-Being treated like a bargain bin and watching the painstakingly folded cashmere sweaters being tossed around and haggled over for less than 70% their value,
-Having tourists say its a shame we will be closing with being so handy,
-Being told by our regulars what a fantastic job we were doing and how at any other time in the world's ecomony we would have a thriving business.

The answer is D, all of the above.

We have had some friendly competition with another local golf shop since we opened, made friendly only by my Husbands extention of an olive branch to end the bitter feud held with the previous owners. Our specialties were different, we had a more varied range, theirs was prodominantly top end. We offered the service of professional golfers and the full perks that came with that, they relied on customers with a 'more money than sense' attitude to golf brands and little technical knowledge of golf.

What is truly painful is that we know we offered a better service, better prices and a better location. However we are not bankrolled by misguided parents. We are going to go under and lose everything while we have been infinately more sucessful than them and they continue to plod along losing money along the way.

We have been faced with many opportunities to stick out our bottom lips and cry at the top of our lungs, IT'S NOT FAIR! But we won't. We will close with dignity, we will offer better customer service until the last item is sold and we will lock the doors for the last time with tears in our eyes and lead in our hearts knowing that the only consolation to this is that we know we did nothing wrong.

Everything that went wrong was outside of our control. The recession was not our fault. The debilitating tram works that have made Edinburgh's city centre uninhabitable are not our fault. The banks unwillingness to lend money to struggling small businesses is not our fault and the lack of money coming into our till every day is not our fault!

We have no choice but to move on and look to the future and hope we have the opportunity again some day to have the success that was so cruely taken from us.

The last 2 years have been the best and most trying of our lives. A little over 2 years ago we moved to Edinburgh to follow what was then the perfect job for my Husband, combining every aspect of his working history in one job. 24 days later we got engaged which began my obsession and a saving/spending spree like no other. 8 months later and we bought and moved into our first home. 6 months after that sparked the beginning of our business, a theory at first which quickly snowballed into signing contracts and ordering stock, before we knew it we were company directors and owners of a shop. 6 months after that came out long awaited wedding and honeymoon, during which the first bank failure began the trend that would be the beginning of the end for our fledgling company. 3 and a bit months later came 2 pink lines quickly followed by the loss that would change us forever. Jump forward 3 months and here we are winding up our business on the back of the 2 most stressful, exhilirating and devastating years we could ever have imagined.

Optimism is what's needed. Positive Mental Attitude or PMA as us 'trying to conceive girls' like to refer to it as, something you need in abundace during the trials and tribulations that come with TTC.

Today is cycle day 4, flo is still plaguing me but is showing signs of being less forceful than usual. The few days of spotting I experience before full flow took hold took my last cycle to a more normal 27 days. It has been considerably lighter with fewer clots and almost no cramping. Completely unheard of since the loss of our baby.

I am hoping all of this is pointing to a more 'normal' menstrual cycle, and in turn, body. Which also poses the question, is my body now ready to recieve a fertilised egg and hold onto it this time?

Since we have had a successful closing down sale and we now have 2 and a half weeks between our official closing down date and our official moving date, we have taken this opportunity to book a much needed holiday. 7 days of rest and relaxation in the exotic location of Penrith. Whinfell Forest Centre Parcs to be exact.

Something tells me that the combination of my 'back to normal body', no stress for the first time in 2 years, and a week of relaxation and romantacism at the most fertile time of my cycle may produce positive results.

I was begining to wonder if we would benefit from taking a more controlled approach to TTC and begin to use ovulation predictors, basal body temperature measurements and observation of my cervical mucus as a way to predict my more fertile time in order to better our chances. However I don't think basal body thermometers and ovulation sticks really fit the bill for a relaxing week away so that idea is going out of the window. For this month anyway.

Following a slight mishap which resulted in my Husband and I in different restaurants about a mile apart this evening (we agreed to meet in Frankies, I ended up in Frankie and Bennies, him in Frankensteins) we discussed this month, the busy times that lay ahead in moving house at the end of the month etc. and our chances for conception. Before I had managed to share my above opinion on our improved chances he announced he had a 'good feeling' for this month. Smiles all round and my furious 20 minute dash across the city forgotten we enjoyed an obscene amount of food and settled into the evening together full of optimism!!

Sunday, 3 May 2009


I read something recently that said, "As soon as you find out you are pregnant you start worrying and worry until the day you die." I would argue you start worrying from the day you start trying for a baby. I have a whole list of things I worry about. Some of them even make me wonder why I am trying for a baby.

I am sat here on Sunday evening having got up some time around midday. I got out of my pajama's around 1pm to go to the supermarket to buy some dinner. I made a roast and since then have only left the sofa to go to the toilet. I am on my second film and have a nice warm lap having spent a day on my laptop (Congratulations by the way NN, I am so happy for you).

My friends Sunday will have been decidely different. An early morning start would begin in a flurry of soggy weetabix, mushy banana and milk splattered into the furthest reaches of the room. The cleaning up process takes double the amount of time the meal took, all the while trying to keep a breakfast fuelled toddler happy while they take it in turns to have a world record breaking shower. After that it's off to the in laws to be silently judged on every apsect of your parenting skills before forcing an overtired baby into their carseat to get home tired and stressed. While I wander to bed whenever I like, they will be into bed early ready for it all to start again tomorrow.

Our recent holidays have consisted of trips across America, good food and too much wine in Italy, a week by the pool in Tenerife and action packed weekends in New York and Paris. When you have children, luxury morphes from 5 star breaks in Hawaii to a cottage in Wales. If you are lucky you may get a hot-tub on some moulding B&Q decking outside the babies room!!

Nights out with our friends used to be frequent, alcohol fuelled late nights. Now they are over before they have started. First the phone call to check the baby has settled, regular 15 minute check ups and finally home by 9 to let the babysitter go home. Not a drop of alcohol is consumed, who wants to be hung over when they are woken up at stupid o clock?

Its enough to make me wonder why I am trying with every ounce of my being to become a mum.

The answer lies in the look in a mothers eyes when they hold their baby for the first time. The overwhelming love you feel as you feed your tiny baby and know that act is sustaining them and nurturing their tiny bodies. The carnal need to protect that tiny person that is a part of you. The happiness you feel as they crawl for the first time, the inexplicable sense of pride when their first tooth makes an appearance, they pull themselves up for the first time and take those long awaited first steps!

I had the fortune to be a nanny for a little boy for a year. I saw those first landmarks, I felt the pride as he bumshuffled his way towards me, I felt the surge of love when I saw his face light up as I entered a room and when he said my name for the first time. Keeping him safe, happy and healthy was my job but I still felt a huge sense of acheivement and an overwhelming need to protect him. It scares me that I felt that strongly for this little boy who was not mine. If I felt like that for him then how will I feel for my own? That feeling amplified must make you feel like your heart is going to explode!!

My fears start with trying for a baby, having now been trying for 4 months since losing our first little angel, my irrational fears of not being able to get pregnant are starting to resurface. When I do get pregnant there will be the inevitable fear of losing the baby again! Then come fears about giving birth. Will I cope with the pain? Will I bond with my baby? Is the baby putting enough weight on? Is he eating enough? Is he eating too much? Shall I breast feed or bottle feed? Should I use disposible or reusuable nappies? When should I wean him? How long do I have to sterilise everything? When can I give him cows milk? Why is potty training taking so long? Which playgroup should I put him in? What school's catchment area are we in? What GCSE's should he take? How do I tell him I hate his first girlfriend? What should the mother of the groom wear? Is she holding the baby right? Before you know it you are silently judging your new daughter in law on her parenting skills when they come round for Sunday Lunch!

It occurs to me my biggest fear is inadequacy! I am scared of getting that much coveted baby and then wanting my old life back. I am terrified of making decisions that impact negatively on our or our babies lives. I am frightened that all those time I have judged people on their choices are going to come back and bite me in the backside! I want more than anything to be a Mum but I am frightened of failing!

But I know I won't fail, I know I will be a great Mum. My years as a nanny have taught me that children are resilient and parenthood is a learning curve that all people go through and most succeed with! I am lucky to have a head start on a lot of things but I am not arrogant enough to think I have all the answers! I have an amazing family to support me, friends who have already made the journey and an amazing husband who I can't wait to learn with!

Friday, 1 May 2009

Another month bites the dust

Well here she is again. The unwelcome guest, the visitor who outstays her welcome, the oh so ugly notification that, yet again, I am not pregnant. Another month goes by wasted. Or so I think, I am currently in the transition day that has become a fixture in my menstrual cycle that plays games with my head. One day there is bleeding, the next there isn't and then just when I start to think it may be good news, bam there she is to shatter my illusions. I have that joy to look forward to tomorrow.

I have been taking contraception for as long as I can remember, a side effect of a mis-spent youth and meeting my husband at the tender age of 16. First it was the pill, various different types until I found one that agreed with me. Then the move onto the injection until an ill-informed, hostile University Nurse bullied me into an implant. 2 years and a bucket load of evening primrose oil to combat breast pain later and I was back to the pill until our trying to conceive journey began. During this time I was fortunate enough not to have periods and despite a few pregnancy scares (oh the irony) it suited me well.

Obviously anyone trying for a baby doesn't want to see those telltale signs of spotting but after being bleed free for almost 8 years it is a real shock to the system to have them return. Along with it some subtle changes from the periods of old.

You see I was the text book, our biology teacher could have been describing me during lessons on the reproductive system and menstruation. Perfect 28 day cycles with a predictibility down to knowing what time of day she would appear. I was regular down to the point where my swimming teacher didn't even ask for a note any more, her register looked like this... 1st-tick, 8th-tick, 15th-tick, 22nd-red cross, 29th-tick etc.

8 years of (apparently unneccessary) hormones and a miscarriage later and my periods are a different kettle of fish. They start with a day of spotting, then a day of nothing and wondering if it was a sign of pregnancy. Quickly followed by a gush of bright red blood and the inevitable upset that ensues. 5 of the most painful, horrendous, disgusting, messy days known to man come next. Then after a few days of trying to pursuade my husband I am no longer a freak of nature that can bleed for days on end and not die, ovulation occurs a whole 4 days earlier than the text books tells me it should. Then comes a fairly normal 14 day luteal phase before the whole thing starts again. Throw into this some delightfully named 'extra wet cervial mucus', hot flushes, headaches and periods of unexplained clumsiness and you have my month in a nutshell.

Herein lies the problem. When did I stop being me? When did I turn into this neurotic mess who won't drink a glass of wine for 2 weeks every month 'just in case'? When did I become unable to start a sentence without the words, "I read something on babyexpert today..."? When did I change from wife, friend and colleague to the crazy baby lady? When, and possibly the biggest when, did I start looking at prices and offers on the Mothercare website when I am not even pregnant???


I ZB do solemnly declare that I am not longer going to be crazy baby lady, I will not obsess over Baby Expert, Mothercare or Mama's and Papa's websites. I will not look sadly into the bathroom cupboard at the pregnancy tests. I will not swear at the television when an advert for pregnancy tests comes on. I will not huff and scowl at pregnant women in public and I will try to hold a conversation that does not contain the words 'baby, pregnant, pushchair, extra wet cervical mucus, ovulation or 2 week wait'!!!

Until next month....

Sunday, 12 April 2009

Sisterhood award

I just want to say a huge thank you to someone who has been a constant source of support to me for nominating me for the Sisterhood Award. I am supposed to post a picture and nominate some other bloggers for the award however I am not techinically minded enough to post a picture on here and I have only read one other blog so I am nominating her in return.

I had read of her heartbreaking story but it was not until I read her blog that I realised what a traumatic time she has been through. She is truly a remarkable person, despite her personal suffering she has been an ever present source of support and comfort for other people struggling with their own loss. I know of no-one more deserving of recognition for her never ending strength and compassion so this is my technophobic tribute to her.

Thank you.

Wednesday, 8 April 2009

What's next?

For most women 'that time of the month' is a minor inconvenience, a source of discomfort but the perfect opportunity to lay claim to the sofa, remote and duvet and of course the perfect excuse to eat your own body weight in chocolate.

For women trying for a baby it is an unwelcome reminder that yet again the month has passed by unsuccessfully, I once read something that summed it up perfectly, "Aunt Flo is like my Mother in Law, arrives uninvited and stays too long."

For women who have suffered a miscarriage, periods have a much more sinister conotation. As it arrived most unwelcome yesterday morning, cruelly waiting until after I had POAS to rear her ugly head, I was forcibly reminded of how the short walk from my hospital bed to the toilet saw me fill an entire sanitary towel!

By now I should be 17 weeks, I have an unhealthy addiction to reading baby books, baby development websites and a masochistic habit of checking in on the 'Due in September 2009' forum. All of these tell me that my baby should be dreaming and sucking his/her thumb by now, I should start to feel fluttering movements and I should have a recognisable bump.

Instead I have nausea, stomach cramps, backache and granny pants! Every unpleasant trip to the toilet is a dark reminder that I am not nearing the half way stage of my pregnancy but instead nearing my 6th month since starting out on this journey.

During my reading I often come across the phrase, "If this is your second pregnancy..." It makes me wonder, would my next pregnancy be my first or second? I am loathe to pass off the loss of my baby and discount it as not a real pregnancy. I had sore breasts, I had nausea, I had scans and worst of all I had a heartwrenching operation to remove the remaining product of it. If the above expression refers only to complete pregnancies I resent the implication that my very real pregnancy 'doesn't count'!

However being realistic I understand that a miscarriage at 9 weeks would occur long before I would be expected to feel my babies movements and I can't expect to feel movement earlier as a result of it being my second pregnancy. Nor can I expect my labour to be shorter and less likely to go over my due date because it's not my first pregnancy. I wish the expressions used would be a little clearer and more sympathetic to the fact that a lot of women are in fact in their second and sometimes third or fourth pregnancy but never had the priveledge of having a baby to show for it.

At times like this I am all too aware that for something as common as miscarriage, affecting as many as 1 in 4 pregnancies, there is shockingly little support and advice out there. Out of the two big baby books I have, there is one chapter on miscarriage, providing next to no information.

Although friends and family have tried to support us as much as possible it has been very obvious that they are uncomfortable discussing it and don't really know what to say. For me Baby Expert, and in particular the members of the 'Trying to Concieve after Miscarriage' forum, have been a huge source of support to me. Discussing how I am feeling and reading other people's stories has helped me tremendously. I only wish I had the skills and insight to write a book on miscarriage to help other people in my situation and help them know they are not alone!!

Last week brought with it the devastating news that the banks will not support our bid to save our business and we are to become the latest in an ever increasing list of lives claimed by the reccession. The result of which is the loss of our business and livelihood, the inability to meet our mortgage payments and the unavoidable move from the city we love to migrate back home to the gun crime capital of Europe!

I guess I should thank our lucky stars that circumstances mean we have a house empty and waiting for us to move into. My ever talented Husband has such a strong CV that mere days after the banks rejection dropped into our mailbox he has an interview for a promising, well paid and perfect job. The same cannot be said for my sad excuse for a CV but a little creative elaboration and the combination of my skills and experience have led me to something I think I would be perfect for. Even better my search has yielded an opening in that field. Watch this space.

The silver lining to all of this is the move closer to our friends and family, I have long felt isolated living 300 miles away from everyone I know and love. My phone will heave a sigh of relief when it is finally relieved of its duty of phoning my Mum 2 or 3 times a day.

It will be a challenge for the first few weeks, especially being surrounded by the pregnant people I know 'back home' but despite my jealousy I am genuinly happy for them and I am looking forward to being around more than I was for the other children in our friendship group.

As each month passes I am more and more aware of the expectation our nearest and dearest are placing on us. Regular oh so subtle questions are becoming the norm now, some less subtle than others. I am hoping being closer to home will mean these are less frequent as I see people more often and conversations are less condensed.

As my Husband will bear witness to, I have never been the most level headed of people, my moods can be erratic and unpredictable. I have found this to be more pronounced recently and the unpredictability of our situation causes me to swing violently from surges of positivity to pits of hopelessness. When feeling positive I look forward to the days when we are home near friends and family, have a stable life with good jobs, a nice home and a baby on the way. When in the lowest of my moods it feels as though the world is against us and I wonder what on earth can go wrong next??

Sunday, 5 April 2009

Is the whole world pregnant?

I am sure its a phenomemon you have all experienced at one time or another. Something becomes so important to you that it is all you think about, you live and breath it. It becomes so all encompassing that suddenly everywhere you go it appears to follow you. Last year my source of obsession was my wedding, it was all I talked about to my darling Husband who was either amazingly patient or amazing at turning my inane, seating related whittling into white noise.

The days after my wedding were surprisingly empty, I had nothing to plan, nothing to research, thank goodness for my amazing honeymoon or I cannot guarantee I wouldn't have fallen into a pit of depression but even there I was followed. When ever in the history of holidays have I seen not one but two weddings? Post wedding blues as it is affectionally known. When something consumes you in the way my wedding planning did it is hard to live without when it is over so abruptly.

The same can be said for trying for a baby, the eventual pregnancy and in 1 in 4 unfortunate cases, miscarriage. From the day I stopped taking my pill, the wedding shaped void in my life was filled with baby planning. Although the act of making a baby seems fairly straight forward, any baby book will tell you it is anything but. I was shocked to find that a healthy, fertile couple who do everything right at all the right times have a shockingly low 20% chance of being successful each month. With this statistic in mind it suddenly becomes apparent why fertility experts recommend trying for a full year before consulting medical professionals.

Again with the 20% statistic in mind it becomes surprising that I fell pregnant so quickly. Despite how it ended, I still feel blessed to be apparently quite fertile. This brings with it however a new series of challenges and in particular one question...

Why am I not pregnant again already?

In my head things would go the same as last time. The first full month for my system to settle down, the first time post pill, this time post miscarriage. The second month would, of course, bring with it the joys of pregnancy and I would be able to put the miscarriage behind me and move on to the terrifying journey ahead that pregnancy after a miscarriage will undoubtably be.

So why has my plan not worked? I left you at the end of my last entry with a promise of an update on my Sunday POAS ritual. Unfortunately I don't have an answer. The test was a big fat negative followed closely by some blood stained cervical mucus. This can mean one of two things, either the evil Aunt Flo is on her way to town shockingly early in my cycle or I am again experiencing implantation bleeding. Every fibre of my being prays it is the latter although I am inclined to join my cyber friends in hiding behind the sofa hoping the personified Aunt Flo doesn't find me. This ritual of claiming to being in hiding is one that is jokingly used to hide the desperation that the month hasn't yet again gone by baby free.

One well meaning friend upon learning of our loss shared her friend's story who had been through the same ordeal, something people frequently do. Everyone has a cheery miscarriage story to share. Her story ended with, "It only took her 6 months after the miscarriage to get pregnant again." My first thought was, ONLY 6 months??? How is that a positive, how is 6 months an amount of time that can be described as ONLY?? I am like the spoilt brat in Willy Wonka, "I don't care how, I want it NOW!"

As I said when something becomes so all encompassing you suddenly feel as though it's following you. I have joked that I am being stalked by pregnancy but the truth is I am a victim of my own obsession. When babies weren't on my mind and the only things in my subconcious were bouquets, tiaras and wedding breakfasts I didn't notice adverts for pregnancy tests. Pregnant women passed me by unnoticed. The family planning section in Boots was tiny and never strayed into my path whilst I was buying shoe inserts for bridesmaids.

However since I have allowed the entire trying for a baby, pregnancy and baby world into my life it is suddenly everywhere I go. If I go out to buy dinner I will get stuck behind a bus advertising pregnacare prenatal vitimins before stopping at a crossing to allow a pregnant woman across the road. As I park in the supermarket the only available space will be for expectant mothers or parent and child. As I collect a trolley I will have to navigate my way around the woman with her newborn baby in the inevitable quinny buggy/carseat combo. The few toiletries I need will be located directly above the pregnancy tests and as I pick up some new socks I will have to walk past the new baby clothes.

The very worst of all are the days when a teen mum drags out her 4 unwanted children who are not wearing shoes and have dirt on their faces and tatty clothes. They run wild as their Mum alternates between ignoring them and screaming at them. Why does it come so easily to her? She doesn't deserve them!!

As I leave the supermarket there again is the woman with the tiny baby, this time joined by her heavily pregnant friend, getting on the pregnacare bus!

I return home to recover from the ordeal of the day, turn on my favourite cooking program. Shocker, 2 of the presenters are, yes you guessed it, pregnant! All of this leaves me to pose the question.

Is the whole world pregnant??

Thursday, 2 April 2009

Trying again...

35 days after I had my uterus 'evacuated' Aunt Flo made a reappearance and so restarting the whole process that had got us here in the first place. It was time to have 'the chat'. Not the embarassasing birds and bees chat that I had somehow managed to avoid from my childhood but the one where we decided if it was time to put ourselves back through the same anguish, terror and unparalleled joy that counting those 2 lines would hold.

As I have previously mentioned the recession had taken a firm grip of our business and we were now buckling under the pressure. By this point it came down to the banks and the promise that they would be helping out small business during the hard times. Unfortunately we had already been turned down once by our own bank and were now grasping at straws by approaching a new bank. Surely no one is going to take on a new company that made a loss in its first year and who's first transaction would be taking out a £50,000 loan?

We were in a perilous financial situation and owed my Father in Law more money than I care to mention, of course he took this to mean he has complete control of our lives and this means dictating no more children. Our heads knew this was sensible but my heart could not bear the thought of giving up on what we had been through so much for. Every time I thought about not trying anymore I felt like everything we had been through had been for nothing. I had been through the worst time in my life and would have nothing to show for it!

Another thing you need to know about me other than my addiction to POAS is that if someone tells me not to do something you can pretty much predict I will do the opposite. A fact my Father in Law doesn't seem to understand.

The new baby ban made me want it more than ever. I decided this was a decision my Husband and I should make on our own and one that my Father in Law has zero say in. We discussed and WE decided it would be for the best if we waited until we knew what would be happening with our business before we tried again. It was a difficult decision but ultimately the right one.

A few days later and after a brief biology lesson I explained why I couldn't get pregnant this early in my cycle and successfully seduced him. As you may remember in the cycle during which I got pregnant I had a suspicion I ovulated early, something proved to be correct by my otherwise immaculate conception. It turned out this was not an anomoly caused by messed up hormones as history repeated itself and again I found myself ovulating on day 10 of my cycle. I contacted my Husband unsure of his reaction since I had assured him nothing would come of our earlier dalliance.

Later on that evening I recieved a Guiness fuelled message explaining his desperation to have a baby. Who cares about not having money, living with parents and having a handy-me-down buggy. We love each other, had come through the trials and tribulations of recent months stronger and happier than before and we need nothing else.

Baby making was back on the menu!

Today I am at 9 days past ovulation and have plans to indulge in my favourite past time of POAS on Sunday morning when we can eagerly await the results and celebrate/commiserate together.

I'll keep you updated...

At least you know you can get pregnant!

I heard someone calling ny name and although it felt as though I was dreaming it, I felt a tube being pulled out of my throat. It felt like it was bulbous at the end as the last little bit was pulled out as I became more aware of where I was and why I was so disorientated. Feeling the odd sense of guilt of when I am caught sleeping in late, I tried to wake myself so as not to get caught napping. As I came around I remembered the last words I had uttered, I groaned, "Oh no the last thing I said was about tequila. And now the first thing I have said is about tequila!" Feeling very much like an alcoholic who has nothing else to talk about I began to take stock of what was going on around me.

In October 2005 I became aware of a pulsing sound that seemed to eminate from my right ear. Numerous MRI's a CT scan and a punctured eardrum later I was diagnosed with a bone pressing on the blood vessel in my inner ear restricting blood flow and causing the 'whoosing noise' I can hear, essentially I can hear my pulse. Having lived with that for 4 years has made me constantly aware of how fast my heartbeat is and I suddenly realised that my heart was beating a lot faster than normal. Recalling my limited medical knowledge gained from House and Scrubs I decided an elevated heartbeat was a problem and called over the nurse, first explaining my pulsatile tinnitus and then that my heartbeat was high, by this point even higher from my unneccessary stress. In my head I was being articulate and reasonable but I am now fairly convinced I was slurring my words and ranting like a complete fruitcake. No wonder she took the heart monitor off my finger and gave me a glass of water to shut me up!!

After asking everyone who walked past if I could see my Husband yet they moved me into a ward and told me he was on his way. While I waited they checked how much I had bled, obviously to them the heavy bleeding I experienced was to be expected, to me it was an alarming amount and I experienced an unpleasant sensation of feeling the blood coming out. Across the room I could hear a young lady who judging from what they were saying, the tests they did, blood pressure etc, had had the same proceedure as me. No one came to sit by her side that day and as I heard her sob through the curtain I felt the overwhelming urge to go and hold her and tell her I know what she is going through and she is not alone.

I got distracted from my noble quest however by the arrival of my Husband looking very fetching in green scrubs with the word 'large' printed on his bottom. I have never been so pleased to see someone in my life. I knew he was distressed by the canula still in my hand and the nurses concern at how low my blood pressure was but all of that didn't stop him from stealing my sandwich! 1 and a half devil sandwiches, a rich tea biscuit and a whole jug of water later, my blood pressure was back to normal and I could go home.

As he half supported me, half carried me to the car he explained that he had rang my Mum when I came round and I explained my Mum's rather hilarious reaction to anaesthetic which caused our neighbours to check with my Dad that she was ok 3 days after an op when she was still drowsy and slurring her words, all the time convinced, like me, that she was holding an illuminating conversation!

We arrived home and I set myself up on the sofa with pillows and a duvet, where I would remain for the next 3 days, moving only to the toilet or to bed. Being the amazing husband he is, he made me the best dinner a girl could ever want after being on nil-by-mouth for 12 hours, a prawn cocktail flavoured wotsit sandwich. Yum.

Over the next few days we struggled to come to terms with what had happened, moods ranging from inexplicable bouts of feeling very positive and jokes about things hurting my uterus, to struggling to get out of the bed in the morning. Soon after the operation I thought about what had been said during my scans and became concerned about the 6cm cyst that had been found on my ovary. Along with my Husbands fears at my surprising lack of bleeding since the day I left the hospital I visited a friendly GP who referred me for a scan and put my mind at rest about the bleeding.

A few days past and my hand and wrist became painful along the site where the canula and anaesthetic had been administered. My first port of call was the day surgery unit where the operation had been performed, they recommended me to my doctor who told me I would have to wait a week for an appointment. Perhaps I was being self-centred and unreasonable but I felt after everything my body had been through in the last few weeks it was not too much to ask to be seen relatively soon. I discovered a minor injury unit that held a drop in clinic at my local hospital. By the next day my hand had become unbearably painful so I went along only for them to book me an appointment at my GP that evening. How does that work? A doctor can't see me unless the hospital tells them to??

As I arrived at the doctors surgery, only 10 days after having had the erpc, I soon realised how they had 'found' an appointment for me. I had been booked in during the maternity clinic. I sat there surrounded, 2 heavily pregnant women opposite me and one either side. Just for good measure a lady sat behind me with her newborn baby. As I waited for my appointment I grew more and more distressed, feeling the now common feeling of jealousy that surrounded me whenever I saw a pregnant woman or small baby.

Having come across some pretty unpleasant people during my short lived pregnancy and eventual miscarriage I was under the misguided impression that they couldn't get any worse. That was until I met the GP that day. Struggling to understand the English I was saying to him he frowned as I explained my problem. He took a second to prod around at my already painful wrist and then dealt the final blow. "There is nothing wrong with you, take some paracetomal if it hurts." 7 weeks on and I still have pain and an unexplained lump in my wrist, I cannot face returning to be treated like a waste of their time. I heard lumpy wrists are attractive anyway!

At this point my Husband and I had only told our parents and siblings of the loss of our baby. The next week would host a series of challenges for us. First my young cousin came to stay, she is 15 and keen for us to produce a baby/toy for her and asks on a regular basis when we are going to have children. Her Mum had given me permission to tell her if we wanted to but I was still finding it hard to talk about it out loud without breaking down so I decided I didn't want to upset her like that. Instead I steeled myself to field questions about babies. I am not sure if she sensed it was a sensitive subject or she had been pre-warned but no mention was made and we enjoyed a few days of fun, irritating teen style.

The next test came a few days later. We visited home for the first time since losing the baby and I was fully prepared to have people ask the dreaded question that holds no right answer. "How are you?" If I answer honestly and explain that I feel as though a piece of me has been removed, then I will make people feel uncomfortable. If I lie and say I am fine, they won't believe me and worry about me bottling it all up. After visiting my Parents, Brother, Aunt, Parents In Law and Brother in Law, I had got the answer down to a fine art. First a shrug, then a big sigh and finally muttering, "I am ok, I have no choice." Worked every time.

That night we had an event I had been looking forward to for a long time. A friend of mine works for the Children's Trust and had planned a wedding themed ball. Finally a long awaited opportunity to wear my wedding dress again. There had been a time during my pregnancy when my humoungous baby breasts had threatened my chances of fitting into my beautiful dress. It fit with not a millimetre to spare!! This was the first opportunity we had to see our friends for a long time and we were finally enjoying ourselves!

Of course as you may have realised by now, anything good in my life tends to be short lived. Half way through the evening the question we were dreading reared it's ugly head. "Are you planning on having children soon?" Seizing the opportunity my Husband poured out his heart to his best friend telling him all about the baby and what had happened. By doing this he inadvertently forced me into a position where I had to tell his friends wife so she heard it from me and not through the gossip grapevine. Following her to the loo I explained everything, immediately feeling guilty for worrying her, at 27 weeks pregnant she didn't need to hear about a dead baby!

There it started, the well-meaning phrase that would soon become the bain of my life.... "Oh well, at least you know you can have children..."

Yes, yes, you are right, being 9 week pregnant, finding out my baby had died in my uterus and having to have it scraped out of me, thats the consolation prize!!! I don't think so.

Wednesday, 1 April 2009


My husband and I got married on 13th September 2008, prior to this we had discussed our options for trying for a baby. We had come to the conclusion that living 300 miles away from friends and family was not the ideal situation to bring a baby into the world. Our business was doing well and we were expecting to be in a position to pay someone to run it for us and move closer to home within the next year or 2. Satisfied with our decision we got married and went on honeymoon baby free.

2 weeks after returning from honeymoon we were away again, this time a business trip to Munich for the Europe Golf Trade Show. As we embarked on the ferry from hell from Newcastle to Amsterdam we settled into our shoebox/cabin and I realised I had forgotten my pill. The trip was only 3 days long and a busy 3 days at that so we decided abstinance was the answer.

Upon our return home I hastily resumed the daily ritual before bed of popping the little yellow pill, so small it required no water, no fuss, no babies!

Happy with our new married status, sucessful business and child-free lives we settled into a film the next night and were rudely interrupted by the ringing of the phone. Pausing the sky plus my husband answered predicting the content of the call to be football related as was usually the case. He greeted the caller with the standard taunt, considered rude unless between best friends who happen to support rival teams. As he let of a huge cheer and a round of congratulations I correctly made the presumption of yet another announcement. We are expecting our 2nd baby. Congratulations.

The announcement took me by surprise, not the pregnancy, that had long been awaited and expected. No, it was my reaction that surprised me. As my husband cheerfully completed the conversation with all the right questions, how far along etc. I slowly climbed the stairs, entered the bedroom, climbed into bed and pulled the duvet over my head just enough so he couldn't see the tears.

My husband being my husband, he knew exactly what the problem was, he knew all the right words to say, knew how long to hold me for, muttering words of support and knew exactly when to leave me to wallow in self pity.

The next day feeling very silly for not being excited for my friend and for my unexpected reaction I carried on with my normal routine of getting out of bed ridiculously late, skipping breakfast and moving straight onto lunch before settling into my favourite UKTV Food programs and usual internet haunts; Facebook being my second port of call behind You and Your Wedding, a habit I had struggled to break since our recent nuptials. Checking status updates and chuckling at such offering as, "I wonder if the Queen ever pulls the duvet up to her chin and say's, "Look Phillip, I'm a stamp!"?" is one of my favourite unemployed hobbies. On this particular day I was puzzled to find my husband's status set to, "David is thinking..." Of course being the nosy and habitually bored person that I am I immediately messaged him asking what he was thinking of, expecting a far less intriguing response than, "I'll tell you when I have finished thinking".

Later that night feeling like a child waiting for Christmas, I decided after a whole 10 seconds of holding off to ask the question that had been bugging me all day. "Have you finished yet??" As calmly as someone who has spent the day contemplating life can be he babbled out a whole heap of crazy about getting old, apparently the impending big 3 0 was causing more concern than the jokes let on. The upshot of all of this was the decision that nearing 30, having a semi successful business, by now the reccession is taking hold, a home and a happy marriage is the ideal situation for trying for a baby, after all who can guarantee instant success?

So started the next stage in our life, trying for a baby. Who knew what joy and heartache it could bring.

On that day I took the first step neccessary for this to be successful, I ditched the pill, cast aside into the depths of a small linen box in my bedroom reserved for any piece of crap I find lying around that I don't need but don't want to throw away. There they reside alongside keys for windows that no longer exist, a little teddy of who's origin I am not entirely sure, screws for furniture long ago dumped and decomposing on the rubbish heap, and now, a 5 month supply of cerazette.

The next day I took the trip I had dreaded making for the last 10 years of being 'sexually active' (Juno is right, what exactly does that mean?) the long walk of shame in Boot's from the 'family planning' section to the till where the nosy assistant trys her hardest to not stare at the multipack of First Response home pregnancy tests. That day though, the tables were turned. I didn't marvel at the insensitivity of the expression 'family planning', as if the teens lurking hoping to sneak one into their bag when no one is looking have 'planned' this. This time I took my time to peruse the different brands, the vastly varying prices and even took time to work out which was better value per 'stick'. I carefully chose, picked up some folic acid and went to pay, being careful to flash my wedding ring at all times, conscious that I am frequently mistaken for someone younger than my tender 23 years.

Buying the 4 First Response tests that day was the beginning of a long and beautiful friendship between myself and peeing on a stick or POAS as it would soon be known as. As it turned out buying first response was my first and very expensive mistake. Believe me when you pee on as many sticks as I do, buy cheap ones or better still get some out of the garden, they are about as much use and satisfy the craving just as well!

I had my prenatal vitamins, I had sticks, all I needed now was a replacement for my You and Your Wedding obsession. As I had 'real world' friends on there and our 'trying for a baby' status was under wraps I decided the Baby section of YAYW would not be the most discreet place but YAYW's sister site Baby Expert would do fabulously! I joined under a new pseudonym totally unrelated to YAYW's lame attempts at hiding my identity and started posting.

That lasted a whole 10 seconds before I was frustrated and bored. Used to the fast pace and ever changing fraternity of YAYW's infamous General Chat, Trying to Concieve was slow and possibly the most clicky environment I had ever had the misfortune to be ignored in. I posted an introduction to myself and a friendly heads up to Boot's First Response BOGOF offer. 20 minutes and 0 replys later I gave in and logged off feeling as if my 'trying for a baby' wasn't as much fun as I expected.

Of course, lack of entertainment for the day and my enthusiasm for my new venture found me back on Baby Expert, or BE as it is known to its avid users, to find that later in the day more people come on, which of course means... more people to ignore me! Unperturbed I followed closely the ritual of the leaders of the pack picking and choosing their topics, their topic of choice of course instantly becoming the new hot topic while newbies like me go ignored. Sticking around and watching held one advantage, learning the new abbreviations that would soon become my second language in which I am as fluent as English.
"I POAS, an FR and CBD but then AF got me so I started a new cycle on my CBFM, I OV on CD 15 and we plan to BD on CD 12, 14 and then wait until 12 DPO to POAS, I need lots of PMA for a H&H 9 months after my mmc, my EDD will be 11th Sept." Er excuse me???

It didn't take long to be initiated into the TTC gang and my post count soon mounted. AF, aunt flo or the dreaded menses got me on 31st October, the first cycle began. I was very excited that using my limited secondary school biology I was expecting to ovulate on day 14 of my cycle which coincidentally was my Husband's 30th birthday. We all know what that means. A weekend away with my in laws...

As we checked into the lodge the in laws had kindly booked for the famed '90th' we ran around like children trying to 'Bags I' the best room, after all it was his 30th. Unfortunately, the Mother in Law could play the trump card, you see it was also her 60th, a complete and utter coincidence that my Husband should be born EXACTLY 9 months after his parents wedding anniversary and also on his Mothers 30th birthday, something I would later learn meant absolutely nothing, 9 months is an over simplified and innacurate term for the length of a pregnancy. Satisfied with our second choice of room we examined the Bang and Olufsen television then rang the other party comers to find out how long we had until their arrival. Don't you know I am ovulating...

Deed done and convinced pregnancy was just hours away, I prepared for the arrival of my parents and brother in law and his wife in the best way possible, getting very drunk.

Of course life doesn't work like that and 35 days after she last plagued me good old Aunt Flo was back rearing her ugly head and making my use of all but one First Response, a rather expensive waste of time and first morning urine.

9 days on and still very unwordly in the trying to concieve stakes I bombarded my cyber friends and google with questions of early ovulation wondering if I was interpreting the signs wrong. I decided my inexperience and first month baby free meant I was obviously not yet learned enough to start predicting such events as unpredictable as ovulation and resolved myself to seduce my husband at all possible opportunities.

Whenever has life gone as planned? 2 days later, during what I was led to believe was my most fertile time a charming bug took hold of my Husband, without giving too much information lets just say it involved a broken bathroom cupboard and me on my hands and knees cleaning the kitchen floor. Being the bad, self involved person I am my first thought was not for my poor Husband looking like death but for the missed opportunity.

Christmas was soon upon us and along with it came the much awaited visit of my adored parents. We laughed, we raced each other on Mario Kart, we played on the new Wii Fit and I cooked a meal big enough for 20 people which of course got polished off by the 4 of us.

As has been the same since the invention of the calender, a week later and New Years Eve was upon us. Not my favourite time of year. The only one I have ever ventured out on was the turn of 2000, aged 14 I got horribly drunk on vodka and sunny delight (I kid you not) and my only memory of the night was being caught by my boss kissing behind his restaurant to be sent home to my parents party where I got caught by my Father kissing a family friends son, a full year my junior. Since then my reluctance to repeat the debacle and my refusal to spend £8 per drink has always left me feeling slightly lame when friends plan out the biggest night of the year while my Husband and I plan a nice meal, some champagne and a film before watching fireworks and being in bed at an unfashionable half 12. This year though being in Edinburgh and having free street party tickets due to the location of our business we decided to brave it and have a night out. Cue 7pm when we decided we couldn't be bothered and went shopping to buy something nice for dinner and a bottle of tequila to see in the new year.

By the end of the evening there we were in the spare room watching TV while I wish my friend Happy Birthday over MSN. We discussed our trying for a baby status, she has been trying long term and has fertility problems. I explained that a stomach bug was our fertility problem that month and we discussed our favourite mutual thing, POAS while I squinted with one eye, the only way I can focus following a large tequila intake.

The next morning, slightly hung over and regretting the final shot of tequila washed down with a bellini that stopped being bellini and became peach juice stained champagne around 10pm, the mood took me to POAS. Judging my aim to be a little off I grabbed a plastic cup from the kitchen and shuffled nonchantly up the stairs, wrongly presuming he wouldn't know what I was up to. I peed in the cup, dunked the stick, replaced the cap and returned to my hang over discarding the used superdrug cheapy home pregnancy test as an expensive habit. Once done I turned to throw it in the bin and with shock counted the lines. It was a pretty easy job, 1 not pregnant, 2 pregnant. I can count to 2 quite easily but for some reason decided my Husband should take a shot, after all he didn't drink as much as me and wouldn't be seeing double like me.

1... 2. 1... 2. 1... 2. There are definately 2 lines there.

Disbelieving and feeling slightly wobbly I calmly took a photo and posted it on my lifeline, Baby Expert, only to find a long list of "Wow what a strong line" "Congrats, thats a definate BFP" and "Have a happy and healthy 9 months" staring back at me as instant confirmation.

I am pregnant.

Ever the optomist my husband decided he needed confirmation and since I had just peed on the only stick in the house we went on a hunt for a clearblue digital. For anyone who ever decides they need a home pregnancy test on new years day in Edinburgh, save yourself the petrol, the holy grail would have been easier to find.

After the longest day EVER the 2nd finally came around and I woke to find him shaking a box over my head containing not one but two clearblue digital tests. I did my thing and waited eagerly for the result. The magic word appeared quite soon... PREGNANT... but still the wait sign was flashing, next came up the most disheartening phrase, 2-3 weeks. Is that it? 2-3 weeks, thats nothing, how are we going to wait the next 10 weeks to tell everyone, how are we going to wait the next 38 weeks to meet our baby? Then I realised, thats since conception, since my last menstrual period, a phrase I would hear too often over the next few weeks, I was nearly 5 weeks pregnant, a much more managable number.

Floating on air off I headed to take my friend to buy paper for her wedding invites, I felt like I was keeping the best secret in the world. My Husband sent me frequent loving and tender messages during my day out and I couldn't help but smile to myself. As if she was sensing my new found motherhood my friend asked me out of the blue, "Are you pregnant?" Shocked and speachless at the blunt and intuitive question I blustered a frantic "No!!!" but then to cover my tracks admitted we were 'trying' but didn't want people to know, hence my confused reaction. She seemed happy with my response and we enjoyed the rest of our shopping trip.

On the way home I began to feel some odd cramps in my tummy that came and went, hoping they would go away I dropped her off home and drove to pick my husband up from his male-bonding snooker session. Feeling apprehensive and frightened of what I might find I went to the toilet. Realising my fears I found a pool of bright red blood soaked all through my underwear and onto my jeans. Unsure what to do I summoned my Husband into a corridor and whispered what I had discovered into his ear. Taking charge he excused himself and ushered me to the car then drove me straight to A&E.

Upon arrival I gave my details, explained what had happened and found myself moments later having blood taken and being wheeled to the ward where I would spend the next terrifying 5 hours waiting to be seen by a consultant. After hours of waiting I recieved a rather unsatisfactory observation and was sent home with another appoitment booked in 3 days time to take yet more blood.

3 long days passed and off we went again to Edinburgh Royal Infirmary, this time the early pregnancy unit where someone took blood and tried to put my mind at rest that lots of women experience early bleeding, known as implantation bleeding. A few hours later I rang for the results of my hormone tests. The pregnancy hormone in my blood had risen satisfactorally from 600 to 1600. Just to be sure I was expected back 48 hours later for another test. Again a significant rise was found from 1600 to 3800.

Our minds completely at rest we headed home to visit family with the intention of telling my parents in law about our pregnancy and asking for advice on whether to tell my Husbands very sick Granddad. Their negative response to the pregnancy was not unexpected but upsetting none the less and we decided not to tell his Granddad.

Upon our return home we visited the early pregnancy unit again, a week after my most recent bloods, for a scan. By this point I was a little over 6 weeks and feeling very confident due to my newly developed symptoms, morning sickness, sore breasts and dizziness to name the most pleasant...

As I lay waiting for the scan I marvelled at how little the room looked like the bright spacious scanning rooms you see on TV, no jauntily angled bed with a shiny new machine here, just a dark room with what looked like a large TV on a stand in the corner and a primary school style chair for my Husband to sit on and hold my hand.

The sonographer performed the scan, noted a cyst on my right ovary and showed us the yolk sac. A few quiet tense moments later and the sonographer allowed me to relieve my busting bladder and performed an internal scan, something I had been warned might happen at only 6 weeks. A few ominously quiet minutes later and I was sent to clean up and then taken to another room for a 'chat'. The sonographer explained that they would have expected the pregnancy to be further along and my HCG hormone results suggest they should be seeing more. There was a 'slight' chance something was wrong and could we come back in 2 weeks so they can measure the growth from this scan.

I remained stoic until we returned home when I climbed into bed and broke down. My ever strong Husband reiterated the 'slightness' of her concerns and told me to be strong. Lumpy will be fine he assured me using our new name for our tiny baby.

2 slow and agonising weeks passed, each day becoming slightly more positive as no more bleeding occured. Finally the day of reckoning and we arrived at the scan to find the 'evil nurse' who had taken blood so humourlessly 2 weeks previously, chaperoning. Again after a few tense moments I was asked to empty my bladder for an internal scan, by then I should be 8 weeks and there should be no need for an internal scan, my heart dropped. The sonographer called someone for a second opinion before whisking us off to the 'bad news room' as it had now become. We were told to go home and expect the worst, in the event that I didn't miscarry in the next week another scan appointment was made.

I joked after the event that my Husband was 'ugly crying' a term my aunt first used to describe someone who gets so emotional they can no longer restrain themselves and sobs uncontrollably. Looking at him made me struggle to hold it together so the next few hours were spent alternating between sitting in silence avoiding looking at each other and sobbing holding each other. Needing a sounding board I found the strength to post on baby expert what had happened and recieved some warm, heartfelt condolences that would later become a huge source of support but at the time were too painful to read.

The next day was one of mixed emotions, although still in shock and very emotional, I tried to enjoy my 24th birthday as much as I could. I did my hair and make up, a rarity for me but neccessary on this day to draw attention away from my puffy bloodshot eyes. We enjoyed a subdued lunch at our favourite place in Scotland before returning home and sharing a birthday cake with the children I looked after for over a year. I dreaded seeing the little boy I had cared for since his Mother returned to work only 4 months after giving birth but his cheeky smile and limitless affection helped my mood.

I became very worried about my Husband over the coming week. He was clearly struggling, not only with the current situation of not knowing, am I pregnant, am I not? Will the baby survive or will it die? If I go to the toilet will there be blood everywhere or will I dodge the bullet once more? But also he was in turmoil with the seemingly hopeless situation the poor financial climate had rendered our business into. Not knowing how to help him I felt helpless and a bad wife adding to the never ending list of problems I was facing.

We had discussed our options. If the scan returned bad news whether to end the pregnancy medically or wait it out but also we discussed what we would do if the scan revealed a baby undersized, unhealthy, unviable but alive non the less. We decided we would request a termination to end the uncertainty and move on. We were faced with tough decisions and a long agonizing wait.

Finally the day arrived and we went with a heavy heart to the scan, back in the same room with the demon sonographer and her 'second opinion pal' standing by they delievered the verdict of a missed miscarriage. The baby had stopped growing and had most probably died at 6 weeks, I had been carrying a dead baby in my uterus for 3 weeks.

Moved into a new bad news room we were bombarded with information and leaflets, all telling me things Google had already done so, we had come armed with a decision. We would like medical intervention, a evacuation of retained product of conception or erpc. We were explained what would happen and taken through forms and then left to wait for a doctor to sign off on the operation that would take place the next day.

As we waited the open door yeilded an unusual but not unfamiliar noise. As my Husband looked in puzzlement at the door I explained that it was the sound of a babies heartbeat as an apparently healthy scan was taking place in the room opposite us. I suddenly felt a huge sense of guilt that my body had not done its job properly and had failed to keep my Husband's baby safe and have never provided him with the joy of hearing his baby's hearbeat.

Forms and blood tests complete and appointment booked we took the long drive home, knowing we had to make the return journey early tomorrow, the last journey our baby Lumpy would ever take. As I prepared for the operation the following day I thought about what was about to happen and the reality of it all finally sunk in. As I lay in bed being held I explained my worrys and fears and drifted into a restless sleep.

Awaken early I got my things together and climbed into the car feeling slightly like someone heading towards impending doom. A long wait in the most characterless waiting room lay ahead, punctuated by occasional jaunts into various rooms to meet consultants and anaesthetists and to have my blood pressure taken and to have tablets designed to dilate my cervix shoved unceremoniously into the furthest reaches of my vagina.

A little while later and I was summoned to don a backless robe which showed off more skin than I care to share, paper knickers and a rather attractive paper hat. I looked somewhat like Victoria Wood in dinnerladies. Grateful of having my own slippers and my Husband's dressing gown which makes me feel inexplicably safe, I entered a new waiting room with only one occupant. I sat down nervously knowing the inevitable question would follow... "What are you in here for??"

As I mumbled whilst holding back tears she nodded knowingly then proceeded to share her stories of every person she has ever known who had lost a baby, as if thats what I needed to hear! Luckily she was moved out of the room pretty quickly although I soon felt lonely and frightened and almost wished she was back. Of course I spoke too soon and there she was again, just in enough time to finish her story about when she lost twins!

I was mercifully saved by the nurse who double checked my details and took me into a room with lots of machines that bleeped and the highest bed I have ever seen. The friendly anaesthatist who I met earlier was there, still displaying the shortest trousers known to man. As he fumbled away with my right hand I explained my veins get a little camera shy and suggested he try the left hand which is more yeilding. Of course he ignored me and prodded and poked until he had hurt me sufficiently to move onto my left hand where he immediately found the vein and successfully inserted the canula that would cause me so many problems over the coming weeks.

A cocktail of drugs was then introduced to my hand in the most painful way imaginable and my irrational fear that I would not be completely to sleep became more troublesome than it seemed in the waiting room. Someone who sounded far away said I should be feeling woozy by now and I looked up at the light to watch it move from side to side. As I went under I said, "OOOH it's like drinking tequila."

More to come....