The road to baby, a bumpy ride
Here I am again, on that familiar road. We are ‘trying’ again, for baby number 2.
This feels like a very sensitive subject to write about and as I’m very much writing this blog as and when it happens as opposed to past tense which is my ‘norm’, and it feels all the more emotional.
I feel it’s important for me to write this now and not in a few months or years’ time when hopefully I am pregnant, or we have welcomed our 2nd baby and can say those lovely words “our family is complete”. I have been here before; the feelings are oh-so familiar, but I am also aware that as soon as that stick shows 2 lines you very quickly divert from this road onto another one and as that new road comes with its own obstacles and potential speed bumps. You often don’t look backwards and think of those women still on the road to baby with potentially no slip-road insight.
I don’t want to forget those women this time round, like I did last time I got pregnant. I’m sure in part I feel this way as I am lucky enough to call myself ‘mum’ already and so many might never.
I know that when you are trying to get pregnant all you see is people getting pregnant around you, and often you don’t know their story, so it’s easy to assume it was an easy one and most likely those that didn’t have an easy journey don’t always say so. I’m not sure why that is, possibly embarrassment? I like to tell women; in case it allows them to feel less alone. But for a woman who doesn’t get pregnant easily it’s hard to hear those women say, “we got pregnant first time” or “we must be so fertile”.
In a bizarre twist of fate, 5 months ago that was me.
Let me go back to summer 2018, we decided the time was right to start ‘trying’, we had been in our house over a year. We’d paid off our debts, furnished the house and felt now was a good time. I came off contraception and like most people I was convinced it would happen quickly. The months passed and still nothing, getting pregnant was my new obsession and I had done my research meticulously. There wasn’t anything worth knowing about ovulation, cervical mucus and basal body temperatures that I didn’t know.
We’d of course made the mistake of telling everyone we were trying so every time we met friends and family, I’d feel them watching me intently to see if I ordered a glass of wine with my meal. I hated the pressure.
Ironically on the 6th month of trying (the month we actually didn’t really try, we had 2 weddings the following month and a holiday to South Africa both of which I really wanted to be able to drink at) so of course we got pregnant that month.
Josie arrived 9 months later after a smooth pregnancy and an amazing labour.
Fast forward a further 9 months and I was to my surprise pregnant again, this time with no trying at all. In fact, my husband wasn’t even convinced we had sex that month!
Unfortunately our little surprise baby wasn’t to be and 7 weeks later we miscarried.
I had always intended that number 2 would be a product of wild passion or at least that of spontaneous lovemaking and not military timing.
Having lost the last baby my need to be pregnant took me a bit by surprise and although it still felt very soon after having had Josie I just wanted back that which I had lost, and that was my baby.
Someone once said to me that you don’t truly get closure on a loss until you have another baby. That might seem a bit callous and I don’t mean you no longer think of the baby you’ve lost or feel sad. Just that it feels like the cycle has ended the way you had imagined…with a baby.
So, we were back to where we were 2 years ago. I am tracking my cycle, ovulation, taking my basal body temperature and the unfortunately the romance has taken a back seat to the task in hand.
It is such a lonely road trying to conceive and its surprising as it’s something millions of women are going through every day, you’d think it would feel less so? Is it because it’s such an internalised journey with so many unknowns and things left up to chance? It’s not like most other things in life where you work hard at something, usually the hard work pays off. In this case, sometimes it doesn’t and to hear women conceiving so easily or even unintentionally feels so cruel, it’s natural to feel jealousy. That’s not a feeling I have often but it’s so prevalent when you’re trying to have a baby it sometimes feels almost impossible to be happy for others even if they too might have had a tough journey.
Trying to conceive is a little like Groundhog Day, you basically repeat the same things at the same times of each month hoping for a different outcome…isn’t that the definition of insanity??!!! But with every period, comes a new slate, another chance, another possibility and with that a renewed sense of hope as I count forward in my calendar and start thinking about what it might be like to have a September baby instead of an August one and asking myself is this our month?
Having said that we were lucky enough to fall pregnant again in April and this time I’m not so naïve, I don’t just assume that miscarriage and baby loss is an awful experience meant for others but not me. I know all too well the statistics, that 1 in 4 pregnancies end in loss and I am consumed with every twinge I feel, or every sensation that feels like blood. But I am an eternal optimist and know that the odds are still in our favour, I know I can carry a healthy child and I guess you think “we’ve had our bad luck”.
Unfortunately, bad luck was to find us again. We lost our baby a day before 6 weeks. This time feels worse in some ways as now we feel doomed to repeat this fate forever and to ask the question “is there something more wrong that just bad luck”.
On the positive side which there is, in a bizarre twist we are pregnant again and had conceived straight after the loss, with who we now know will be hopefully our little rainbow baby due next year.
The road of navigating pregnancy after loss in many ways was and is worse than that of grief, as it’s the constant expectation of loss that feels more painful in some ways than the reality of loss and it has taken the shine of enjoying my pregnancy.
Looking back on this journey so far, which will hopefully end with two lovely people calling me mummy, I am definitely a stronger person, a better mother and more grateful for all that I have.
I plan to write more on surviving pregnancy after loss as it’s something that I feel needs to be talked about more.
But for now, to all those women desperately chasing a BFP and a healthy baby to hold in their arms I send you my love, and hope reading my story makes you feel more hopeful and less alone X