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!