Thursday, 3 February 2011

The Pregnancy Closet

There was that moment again, that instant where most people feel excitement and joy and I just felt, scared, nervous.  The only difference this time when I wee'd on that stick was the added shock that it had happened so quickly.  We had agreed to set limits this time, boundaries so it didn't become too central a purpose in our lives for too long.  It was decided that if we weren't successfully pregnant by the end of 2011, my thirty second birthday then we would draw a line under the story and move on with our family as it is.  Which by the way we were and are both more then satisfied with.  This time limit was set for a number of reasons.  Part of which was that having enjoyed a larger age gap between our first two children and all the benefits the five and a half years bought we both  liked the idea of a closer age difference between Max and a younger sibling and not wanting the gap between Molly and her youngest brother or sister to be too great, also my age although I know I am by no means old many of my friends having not started having their children until my age or even older and there are many benefits to being an older parent I just felt having started my family in my early twenties why put my ageing body through it much later. Lastly and probably the most significantly not wanting to go through the years and loss' we did waiting for Max.  If I'm honest I expected maybe one or two loss' and maybe to take a while to fall which I accepted as what must be and why we started trying so early however within two weeks of taking the leap there I was in a friends new kitchen staring blankly at those windows on the test and those two little lines!

The Doctor I saw was very supportive and did not question my request to be referred to the Early Pregnancy Assessment Unit (EPAU) for early scans she set it up straight away for me.  The midwife even called me the afternoon I'd been to see the Doctor to set up an appointment and support even though the pregnancy was so new.  Gratitude at the support overcoming the sneaky suspicion that their going beyond was not only as a result of my miscarriage history but of the circumstances of Max's birth too.

We managed to put it from our minds, not think about it for most of the two weeks we had to wait for my first appointment with the EPAU.  The fact we had chosen not to tell any but my closest friend  and her husband ( who also happens to be Simon's close friend) helped as it wasn't a topic for conversation in front of others or more importantly Molly.  I was quite pleased with how relaxed I was managing to stay. Until the Sunday morning before my scan, after enjoying a mooch round the local bootsale with the aforementioned friends  we were queueing for a hotdog or bacon stick when I felt my heart sink.  I had felt myself begin to bleed,  I then had to whilst trying not to let Molly know or to seem alarmist communicate to Simon what was going on and make my way to the disgusting plastic sheds they pass off as public toilets to sort my self out and assess the severity of the bleed.  Knowing there was nothing I could do that would change what was happening and although aware that it was not enough of a loss for it to be over holding little hope of any other outcome.

We spent the next three days in a state of anxious waiting.  All the the time expecting the bleeding to progress, worsen, a pain to start, new to this scenario as almost all my previous loss had resulted in surgical removal (ERPC) Torn between the urge to curl up in a ball in bed and wait for the scan on the Wednesday which would undoubtedly confirm my fears, (obviously not a viable option with energetic seven year old with a busy social life and a demanding one year old to attend to) and the instinct to distract myself with shopping and friends and well life.  As is my usual I chose the latter and as the days passed the bleeding slowed to nothing and a glimmer of hope returned with a very positive result on another pregnancy test I couldn't help but take, the right hormones were still present.

Finally the day arrived after a disturbed nights sleep.  Molly was collected by a friend ready to be deposited at school.  Max coming along for the ride, although my only confidant so tuned into my needs and without being asked had arranged care of her own children so as she could meet me there and look after Max for me allowing me to focus on what was going on with out worrying about Max and of course so I was not alone if what I truly expected was to be the truth.  Simon and I had already discussed and decided that as this was the path we had chosen and his boss was not aware yet he would stay at work until a real need arised ie, more surgery etc.
Then....... I could not believe it........ there it was, a little tiny bean with that unmistakable blink blink blink of a beating heart!

So there I was, so far so good, all was well and we were at the start of another two week waiting game for another scan, I was wiped out, sick, stressed but hopeful.

Big questions had been raised however by the wonderful midwives on the EPAU, decisions had to now be made.  To Screen or not to screen?????
It would never be a question of anything more then knowledge for us as a family to take that wonder away, my fear that as we no longer can live in the "it'll never happen to us mentality" that the pregnancy and birth might be tainted by a constant worry of what might be. Meeting both my babies was so magical, precious moments and that last thing I want is to miss that with this child as I'd instinctively be looking for ' features' the bonding moments of that first cuddle ruined by guilt.

What ever the result of any tests there would be no further choice we would make. Given a diagnosis of Down's or anything else for that matter of course we would continue with the pregnancy to not would be like us choosing between Molly and Max and saying that she is more important or valued then he which is in no way the truth.  Both my babies add equal value and purpose to my life I could never choose between them.  I have to emphasise that I in no way judge anyone else facing this choice, it must be a gut wrenching decision no one would take lightly and will always be with them.  Statistics do disturb me of positive D/S diagnosis there is a 95% termination rate.  I truly believe that that if people were more aware of the joys and triumphs and achievements as well as the undeniable challenges this statistic would be lower.  I do still believe in choice and repeat I do not judge nor envy anyone who makes that choice informed.  We find ourselves blessed to have the most 'informed' of choices No choice.

So our dilemma, to go through the risk of miscarriage and the stress of testing just to know for knowings sake? An attempt to preserve a moment of meeting untainted by the question?  I don't think so.  We toyed with the idea of not finding out the sex, introducing a bigger question for the moment of birth?  Then we realised it didn't really matter we will fall in love and adore and feel the magic of meeting our child whatever they bring with them and knowing that has helped me to know that I all being well will enjoy this pregnancy with out fear (other then that of any expectant mum) and look forward to the excitement and pride that comes along with the discomfort of late pregnancy.  NO SCREENING xxxxxxxx

That decision being made the weeks between the first and second scan didn't drag too much.  I couldn't help but be fearful, painfully aware as I lay on the couch of every twitch on the sonographers expression, sure I saw a grimace but then she turned the screen and there was the little bean with the flashing blink blink blink of a heart beat again. So far so good now to wait another two weeks.

Ten hours later however and I was spotting again. Could I not even have a couple of days to be excited with no worry?

The following weeks were filled with terror again as I became so ill with a bug which hit us all in the family over a 4 day period. On top of more spotting and horrible morning sickness.  At the next scan however all was perfectly well with the little wriggling bean and I dared to look forward to two weeks on and finally sharing our exciting news with our friends and family and most importantly Molly moo.

I think I have caught up with myself now and have already posted on the experience of our twelve week scan.  Molly was thrilled to find out she was going to be a big sister twice over and we have been showered with love support and excitement from all angles of our family and friends.

I have to add that we were not strong and at twenty weeks we found out which flavour baby we are expecting....... I won't post it publicly here incase there is anyone reading who would like a surprise in June but if you know me personally and would like to hear pink or blue then message me and I'll be happy to share, if you don't have any other means to contact me then comment on this post and we'll find a way to communicate xx

baby number three at 20 weeks :-)