35+2 weeks

Still here – still cooking! 🙂

I mentioned in my last post that my sister in law was due a baby at any time and I’m delighted to announce that she gave birth to a beautiful baby girl on Thursday last week! Mother and baby are both fine and my SIL did amazingly well – in and out of hospital in half a day and she delivered with only gas and air! We met our little niece the next day and she was perfect, 7lbs 2oz and looked so tiny! It was brilliant to meet her, but somehow it still doesn’t register that I have one of those in my tummy – I know how ridiculous that sounds, but it’s true. But lovely news all round for the family 🙂

On Thursday evening I had to go to the hospital as baby wasn’t moving as much as normal. They put me on the monitor and baby woke up straightaway, so they checked me for an hour and I was sent home. They asked me to go back the next day for another check, and they also brought forward my scan from next Monday to Friday, just so they could double check that all was ok. I’ve said it before but I’ll say it again – I cannot fault the NHS for how much they’ve taken care of me in this pregnancy, I really am so grateful.

I had the scan and all was well. Blood flows to baby were good and he/she is weighing in at 5lbs 6oz at exactly 35 weeks 🙂 I saw the consultant afterwards and she was happy with baby’s growth, so I’m seeing her on Monday for my usual appt with her. It was a pretty stressful couple of days, but I’m so relieved that all was ok.

Today my husband and I went to an NHS antenatal class with about 10 other couples. I’ve always been so nervous throughout my pregnancy that I’ve never dared to sign up for any classes, so I did this at the very last minute and was lucky enough to get a place. The midwife running the class was brilliant – very honest and straightforward – and she talked us through the stages of labour, pain relief, when labour changes and interventions are needed, postnatal care and breast feeding. It was a really useful session as to be honest I’ve pretty much put my head in the sand when it comes to labour. My feeling is that I’d be so relieved to have got to that point that I’d just do whatever the midwife/doctors told me to do to get baby out safely – the thought of planning what music I’d have or what angle I want the bed tilted at just seemed ridiculous to me!! So it was good to get some facts and understanding about it all. 

37 weeks is my new milestone to reach now – 12 days to go. We’re due to move back into our house a week today, so I’m really hoping that we can do that before baby comes. None of this still seems real to be honest, but I’ll just keep plodding on and see how I go 🙂

X

12 week scan

Sorry for the late post, but I’m happy to report that my NHS 12 week scan went well! 

I was 11+5 days when I went, and I have to admit that I found the whole experience quite surreal. Having had 5 losses, I’m only used to going to the EPU (Early Pregnancy Unit) or Accident and Emergency area. These are both fairly tense and anxiety-inducing places, with either nervous new mothers anxiously awaiting their scans, or people who are really poorly waiting to be seen by a doctor. Either way, not nice. But on scan day I’d graduated to the actual Maternity area. Wowzers. I had a terrible nights sleep before the scan – I don’t know what it was, but I was the most nervous that I’d been throughout this whole pregnancy, even more than when I’d had the bleeding scares. Maybe because I was starting to believe that it might actually work, I don’t know, but I really was terrified.

I found it very odd to be sitting surrounded by obviously pregnant women, I almost felt a bit of a fraud somehow, as daft as that probably sounds. I’d never dreamed that I’d make it to my 12 week scan, yet here I was, with all the other pregnant women. Very very odd. I think I felt weird too because it was all new – I’m used to emergency scans and stress and all of that, but I’m not used to calm and normality.

We were called in and the sonographer explained what she would do, then started the scan. We saw the baby straightaway, and the heartbeat, but the baby was very still. This instantly freaked me out massively and I asked what was wrong. She said sometimes they were just still and all looked fine. I was obviously still panicking. Happily once she started moving the scanner around, baby started to wake up and was very quickly dancing and jumping around, so I started to breathe again. We saw all of its limbs and it measured two days ahead, so I was at exactly 12 weeks, and she said that all looked fine to her, which was a massive relief. She also said she couldn’t see any bleeding, as that’s still always on my mind after my 10 week scare.

She gave us two scan photos and we had to go and pay for them at a little machine in the waiting room. Again, just being a ‘normal’ couple with our scan photos really seemed odd to me. I’d watched those couples for years when I was in the EPU – wandering in and out, not panicking about it being bad news, just expecting to go in and have a perfect scan then go home – and now there we were. It was so surreal.

I then had to go and have blood tests for any chromosomal abnormalities with the baby. The nurse said that it only takes a day or two, so if I hadn’t heard anything by Monday then I was very low risk. Even though the scan had gone well, I was worried about these tests, so I still couldn’t really relax.

My little brother and his girlfriend surprised me and came to see us that day (they live in the north of England, where I’m from originally) and they actually turned up at the hospital, which was amazing! Seeing familiar faces after a morning like that was brilliant and really helped to put me at ease. 

The next day I called the hospital to see if my blood results were in and luckily they were and all came back very low risk! Hurray!!! This felt like the last step before I could finally relax a little and start to accept and believe that this is all actually happening. I can’t tell you how relieved I was/am. 

So here I am now, just plodding on and trying to tell myself that this is actually happening. I’m still spotting/bleeding a little every day, almost two weeks after my big bleed, but it’s very dark, old blood, and the midwife and doctor have told me that this is fine, I only need to worry if it is new blood. It has quite a way to travel to get out, so it might take a while before it is all done. I hate mornings at the moment, as that’s when the worst of it seems to come, but I just have to tell myself that it’s normal and just working its way out. But seeing blood – even when you know it’s old – is never a nice thing when you’re pregnant. 

As part of my reproductive immunology treatment I’m on steroids, but as I’m 12 weeks I’m now starting to wean off these. I’m only dropping down 5mg every four days, but the effects so far are exhausting!! I’m usually fairly tired during the day, which id just put down to being pregnant, but yesterday I almost fell asleep three times during the day, as well as having a bad headache for most of the afternoon. Meh. But again I’ve been told that this is normal, so I’m just trying to take it easy and plod on through it. I’m still taking my hydroxychloroquine, which I’m pleased about, so we’ll see how I get on.

I’m also speaking to the doctor this week as I’m having some stretchy pains/discomfort around my right hip/groin. I’m not sure if this is just normal stretching or anything else, so I thought it best to check. 

I’m seeing our specialist again next Thursday, when I should hopefully be 14 weeks, so I’m just hoping for no more dramas until then. It’s such a strange feeling living each day and hoping for no problems, I’m not feeling like I can really enjoy being pregnant, but I’m doing my best. My husband and I are telling friends now, but we definitely won’t be announcing anything on Facebook or other social media. I just can’t ever imagine feeling confident enough to do that, and I also know how much it hurts to see those announcements when you’re trying, so they’re definitely off the cards. I know that we’re both still scared, but we also want to try and enjoy what we have for now and try and enjoy this experience, so we just though ‘f**k it’, and are trying to relax and pretend that we’re like everyone else!

Thank you for everyone’s kind wishes and thoughts, I really appreciate it!

X

First scan 

The plan was that I’d have my first scan tomorrow at my NHS appointment, when I’d be 6 weeks and 4 days. I’ve been plodding along each day, patiently getting through the hours just hoping that I’d make it to the scan. Such is the life of anyone who’s had recurrent miscarriages.

On Sunday morning I had a little spot of light brown when I went to the loo. It looked like the very start of a period. It worried me, but I thought I’d see how the day went. It cleared up, but then just before bed I had a much darker wipe, not bright red period blood, but definitely not what you want to see when you’re pregnant. I wiped one more time – same again.

I showed my husband and we thought that it was all over. Id never had any bleeding in other pregnancies, only the start of a miscarriage which then continued on till all was gone. We hugged, cried and genuinely couldn’t believe that it was all over after such a strong start. I said I’d call the early pregnancy unit the next morning and see if they’d scan me to see what was going on.

God bless the NHS, I called at 8.30am and was booked in for a scan at 1.50pm. You really can’t get better than that. I went to the loo and no blood. Even when I’m on my period it takes a while for my body to warm up on a morning, so I figured it would come once I was up and about. Late morning, nothing. Early afternoon, nothing. A little spark of hope lit up in me – maybe things were ok, maybe it was just a one off. I didn’t dare say this to my husband, but I dared to have a little bit of hope.

We got to the hospital and into the scan room. The sonographer was absolutely lovely, I’d seen her before with previous losses but she clearly didn’t remember, so I told her what had happened and that we weren’t expecting good news. I think it’s kinder to tell a sonographer this – just so they know that you won’t absolutely lose it if it’s bad news. She turned the screen away and started looking.

I felt pretty calm as she was looking – just waiting for the inevitable sad face and empty screen. But she scanned a bit more and said that everything was looking exactly as it should for 6 weeks. 

What?! 

She asked if we wanted to look. I figured it must be ok if she’s saying this – no sonographer would want you to see a scan of your failed pregnancy – so I said yes. She turned the screen and there it was – gestational sac, yolk sac, teeny pole and a good strong heartbeat. I honestly couldn’t (and still can’t) believe what I was seeing.

I instantly panicked about the size, as my two non-chemical losses had heartbeats, but they were waaaaay too small for their age. She said it was really too small to measure, but that she knew that it was exactly where it should be at this stage. Her exact words were ‘textbook’. F**k me, I’ve never had a pregnancy of mine described as ‘textbook’ in. My. Life.

She checked my ovaries etc and couldn’t see any bleeding anywhere, all looked fine. She showed us the sac a few more times just so we could see the heartbeat. I was tempted to video it but didn’t dare in case I tempted fate. Moments like that will always stay in your mind whatever happens anyway. I had thought that there may be two in there, but definitely just one, which is absolutely fine with me.

She kindly offered to scan me again at 9 weeks, so I have some reassurance before the 12 week scan. We were really grateful for that, she was so lovely. The thought of even getting to 7 weeks is a bloody lifetime away right now, but hey, I’ll take as many scans as I can get!

We left the scan feeling a bit dazed to be honest. My mind was racing – was it too small? Was she just being kind and didn’t want to scare me? Should I have got proper measurements? She did try and measure it, but said that at this stage it’s just too tiny to get anything accurate. Even though she said all looked great, my mind just could not accept the good news. My husband seemed much happier – probably because he sensibly accepts the opinion of someone who does this day in day out – not some over-googled nutter like me!!! We got an ice cream to celebrate and had a nice country walk and I started to relax a little. 

I had a little more dark discharge just before bed, but I half expected that after the internal scan. Given that I’ve practically barricaded up my lady bits since I found out I was pregnant (my poor husband!) it really has been a no-go area, so I’m not surprised that it got a bit of a shock from the delightful scan wand! But today things seem to have cleared up, so I’m really hoping that’s the end of it. My midwife had said that I can double up on my progesterone, so I’ll give that a try. We all know that that won’t stop it if something isn’t working, but it certainly can’t hurt to try it.

I’m seeing the NHS doc tomorrow, but I’m not going to ask for a scan. I need time to let things try and develop and don’t want to keep prodding away at it! My next scan is on Wed 7th Oct, when I’d be 7.5 weeks. As you’d expect, I’m absolutely petrified about this one. It’s with my private miscarriage specialist, who’s brilliant but very direct and to the point, so I can’t imagine it being nice if he has to deliver bad news. 

I looked back on both of my non-chemical pregnancies, and at 6 weeks I’d never seen a heartbeat on either of them. One of them I didn’t see anything at all until 8 weeks and another one there was no heartbeat until 8 weeks, but the baby was way too small. I know this, but I still can’t accept that things look good right now. I honestly just can’t imagine that this little baby inside of me will keep growing and I’ll have good news next week. I just cant imagine it. I’m sure it’s normal, but I’m just constantly expecting bad news. I still don’t really have many symptoms – slightly sore boobs, bit tired, bit hungry, that’s it. I’m wishing for an onslaught of symptoms, just so I know that something is happening, but I think the steroids and the hydroxychloroquine seem to be keeping things at bay. Ah well. 

It’s our 3 year wedding anniversary tomorrow, so we’re going out for dinner to celebrate. We’re taking each day at a time and enjoying any happy milestones that we have. Whatever happens, it’s amazing that my husband got to see the heartbeat yesterday. He didn’t see it in my previous pregnancies, as I had to attend some scans without him, so I’m so pleased that he’s at least got to see that. I’ve managed the three week wait to get to my first scan, so waiting a week is perfectly doable now. I’m just praying that there’s no more bleeding, I really am. 

I’ll let you know how I get on – please keep your fingers crossed for me!

X

One last hurrah!

Well, it’s been an interesting couple of weeks and i’m starting to feel a bit better after the absolute nightmare which has been two miscarriages in the last two months. My husband and I have made a few decisions, and these are:

– We will definitely try the hydroxychloroquine when we’re back from holiday in July. I’m nervous about adding even more drugs to my already massive list, but we figure that if this is the last thing which we have left to try, then we should give it a go. We don’t want to always wonder what might have been if we don’t, so I will start taking them when we’re back, then I have to take them for 6 weeks before we can try again, so we should be good to go around the end of August. If anyone is interested, here is our specialist with a woman whom he treated with hydroxychloroquine after 20 miscarriages and she now has a baby!

Hydroxychloroquine success story

It’s interesting that he said he’d treated 10-15 women with it, with a 70% success rate. Let’s hope that it works for me!

– Im going to talk to a counsellor to make sense of the last couple of months and just help to get some positivity back again. I feel much better than I did, but so many losses has made me quite negative and thats not how I want to be. Ive seen a counsellor before and found it really helpful, so I’m sure that it will again.

– We won’t go ahead with IVF on the NHS. This is a pretty big decision to have made, but it is a lot of tests, waiting, drugs and stress, when ultimately falling pregnant isn’t my problem. The NHS don’t offer PGS, so we won’t know anymore than we do now really. I will have my blood tests done, so I can see how my levels are compared to when I last had them done two years ago, but I think the actual IVF would be better used on someone else.

– We WILL go ahead with surrogacy if the hydroxychloroquine doesn’t work! This is HUGE news – wahooooo!!! I met with our potential surrogate last week and she said that she is happy to go ahead with it!!! I wont write too much here, as I plan to tell her about my blog when I see her again on Wednesday this week and want to see how she feels about me writing about it all, but the fact that she is happy to go ahead is INCREDIBLE!!! It’s all happened so quickly and at exactly the right time, I still can’t quite believe it!

So there we are – a pretty amazing new option has opened up!! It’s not the path that I thought we would be following, but I guess sometimes the universe puts something in your place and you just have to be open to taking it! Obviously it would be amazing if the hydroxychloroquine worked, but I have to be realistic after five miscarriages and what the doctor said, so it is brilliant to know that someone else could help us if it doesn’t. We’ve only spoken to close family, and their reactions have been lovely. There have been a lot of questions about how it works (Is it our baby? Will it look like us? Is it related to the surrogate?) as we expected, but overall everyone is just so happy that we might finally be able to have a baby somehow! There are lots of legal and financial bits to arrange with surrogacy, but right now we are just happy that we have some good news finally and we will work through all the other stuff as we need to.

I went out with a friend on Friday and it was so lovely to get dressed up, have dinner, share a bottle of prosecco and just talk and laugh like normal again! I so needed it and felt so much better for just doing something fun finally! We are going on holiday in a couple of weeks and I can’t wait to just relax, laugh, enjoy the sun and be with friends – it will be brill!!

There have been several women who have got their BFP recently, including my BFF at New Chances New Hope  and also the lovely Pregnant Physicist – congratulations ladies! I’m so hoping for happy, healthy, uneventful pregnancies for both of you!!

Here’s to a happy few weeks of chilling out for me, then it all starts again with the new drugs!!!

X

14 days past ovulation – already stressing out…

After my last pregnancy last month, I decided that never again would I use Clearblue Digital tests. The ‘1-2 weeks’, ‘2-3 weeks’ ‘3+ weeks’ indicator is a brilliant idea, but I just found it so stressful as you never really know whether you’re ‘just’ 1-2 weeks, or ‘almost’ 2-3 weeks etc……so my weapon of choice is now First Response.

I did my First Response test at 12 days past ovulation and got a pretty good positive line, then decided to wait a day and test again at 14 days past ovulation, just to see if there was any progression. I know that anyone reading this who has had miscarriages will understand this logic – as mental as it might sound!

So I did my test this morning. I felt sick with nerves before I did the test, as I was just so scared that the line wouldn’t be there, or would be lighter, who bloody knows?! I still can’t believe that this is all happening weeks after a miscarriage, but there we are. I did the test and I think that it’s not much darker, but it is definitely stronger – if that makes sense?! The 12dpo test line was a bit more grainy, but today’s is a more definite line. I’ve never used FR before, so I have no idea if this is good or not, but I sent a pic to my BFF and she assures me that there is definite progression, so I’m bloody hoping that this is right!

Here’s a pic – I know we all love looking at pee sticks!!!

photo copy

I was panicking at first as the line came up – ‘did it come up as quickly as the last one?’, ‘is it dark enough?’, ‘it should be darker’ – just panic, panic, panic really. My common sense head tells me that my period wouldn’t even be due until Saturday/Sunday, so to get a good line this early is probably a great sign, but after so many losses my brain just really feels scrambled 😦

I’ve calmed down now and am trying to just appreciate what I have for now, which is all that I can do really. I have an early scan booked with the specialist in a couple of weeks (if I make it that far) and it just feels like a bloody lifetime away. I think i’ll test again on Saturday, but right now I just feel too drained to even think about it. I’ll see how I feel. I’m also having my intralipid treatment tomorrow, so I’m hoping that that will help me out a bit more, we’ll see. I’ll get some pics and share them in case anyone is interested in how it is done.

We also went to see the NHS specialist yesterday and found out that we are eligible for referral, we would just need some blood tests in a couple of months and then we go from there. I felt like a total phoney being there knowing that i’m pregnant, but with my track record I need to keep my options open! Hopefully we won’t need it, but good to be in the system just in case.

I just have to keep taking this one day at a time don’t I? I’m just so hopeful that this one works out, the thought of another loss is just too much to handle right now. Please send good thoughts my way ladies – and thank you so much for all your kind words already!

X

Letrozole round three

So today we were back at the specialists to discuss the miscarriage and how we move forward. There’s quite a lot of info, so i’ll try and keep it brief….

– The doctor was really helpful and honest in his approach, and made some interesting points. He said that he sees four groups of women with recurrent miscarriage – one group who have multiple chemical pregnancies (i.e. losses at 4-5 weeks), one group who have multiple losses at 6-9 weeks, one group who have multiple losses at 9-16 weeks and one group who have a mixture of all/some of these. He said that the ones with the lowest success rate, and therefore the most difficult ones to treat, are the women with multiple chemical pregnancies or multiple losses between 9-16 weeks. I’ve had two chemical pregnancies and two losses at 6-9 weeks, so he feels confident that I can be helped and still have a good chance of things working out.

In terms of this miscarriage, he said that it is most likely (but he can’t be certain) that it was caused by chromosome problems within the embryo, rather than problems with my immune system rejecting it. This is because of how early the miscarriage was. He was really honest and said that he can’t be certain of this, but in his experience this is usually the case. All of the reading which I have done would agree with this, but I really appreciated his honesty. So he is happy for us to try again.

Next up – the scan. I started taking letrozole on day 2 of my period as usual, but I had no idea how I would respond to it straight after a miscarriage. Also, I am currently weaning off my steroids, because if you take them for more than three weeks straight you can’t just stop taking them, so I’m lowering the dose by 5mg every four days. The doctor said that steroids aren’t good for ovulation, so by the time it came to the scan I was pretty sure that it wouldn’t be good news.

But I was wrong! I have THREE follicles ready to go – one at 20mm, 21mm and 22mm! And my lining is great at 13mm too! Wowzers! Even the doctor was amazed at this, and my husband and I just couldn’t believe it! The doctor said its the best response we could have hoped for. Last month, on the same dose, I had two eggs at just under 20mm and a lining of 10mm, so this is a big improvement. The doctor said that the body is a funny thing and all the hormones flying around can often make you react differently, but i’ll take that!

So, I have the Ovitrelle injection tonight, then we get busy, then just wait! Usually, I would start my steroids after ovulation, and continue them until its time to test, but this month I will be reducing my steroids down, then if I get a positive test, I start them again. I was a bit worried about this, as its going against the ideal plan, but I had an intralipid infusion when I fell pregnant, and the effects of that last for about 4-6 weeks, so that will hopefully help calm down my Natural Killer Cells if I do fall pregnant, until I can start my steroids again.

I know that right now I should be bouncing off the walls with happiness after such a good response, but really I just feel tired and kind of flat. The doctor said that with three eggs there is a higher chance of multiples, which we would both love, but my brain just can’t fathom that it would work and that I would fall pregnant again. I think this is probably normal – just my brain’s way of protecting me from any more disappointment/hurt after the miscarriage.

It’s so difficult, because you hear all the stories about women who have a miscarriage, then go straight on to have 27 kids afterwards (maybe not, but you know what I mean!), but it’s never happened to me before, so I just can’t imagine it happening now. I know that I have all the treatment I need, and my body is obviously doing its best to get ready for another pregnancy, but I think my tired little heart just can’t muster the excitement – it’s just been let down too many times. My husband and I laughed for a minute about having twins, but instantly we both composed ourselves and kind of brushed it off – like we couldn’t get too excited because we knew it wouldn’t really happen for us. This made me really sad, that both of us are just so used to bad news and have no more excitement left in us.

So we’ll see. A couple more days of trying and then we wait. I feel ok generally – I’m not negative, I’m just not anything really. I have an appt to see another NHS doctor about IVF in a couple of weeks, so we’ll see how that goes. Just another option to try I guess.

X

Planning ahead….

After our third loss, we were told by the NHS that we’d be eligible for IVF, but not until June 2015. We were told this in October last year – after my laparoscopy and hysteroscopy – and at the time it felt like yeeeeeaaars away! So we decided to see the private specialist and forgot all about it.

Now that it’s March already (seriously, how do the cycles go so slowly but life whizzes by so fast?!), it popped into my head to look into this avenue after all. In an ideal world, we’d keep trying with the treatment that I’m on now and before then i’d fall pregnant and manage to stay pregnant. But, given our luck so far, I don’t see any harm in looking into a Plan B! So I called up and got an appointment to see the NHS specialist at the end of May. We will then get some tests and be referred for IVF.

Our problem so far hasn’t been falling pregnant, but staying pregnant, so IVF never really seemed like a necessary option. We’ve fallen pregnant relatively easily in the past, but this might not be the case this time around, so I think it’s worth getting the wheels in motion just in case. I will need to check what the deal is with carrying on my reproductive immunology treatment whilst I have IVF, but i’m sure it will be fine as my clinic does offer IVF, so it can absolutely be done. I know that IVF is a big old process, and nothing is guaranteed, but I feel better knowing that we’ve started the ball rolling on this. I’m still hoping that we won’t need it, but a back up plan is always good.

To anyone who has PCOS and is taking clomid – I’ve just finished my first round of letrozole and am happy to report that I had no side effects – no anger, tears, shouting, screaming – it was brilliant! I had three rounds of clomid last year and basically wanted to punch anything that moved, but this was much better! I’m having an ovulation scan on Monday to see if it’s worked, so i’ll let you know, but so far i’m really happy with how it went side effects-wise.

Fingers crossed that we get a few good eggs and can manage to get our timings right for trying!

X