Thursday, December 24, 2009

I'm dreaming of a not so shite Christmas

I have been extremely crap when it comes to blogging, answering comments and leaving comments on other peoples' blogs lately, so you will have to forgive me. Recovering from pregnancy loss in the run up to Christmas ain't easy. Although the whole process of having to go through the motions of getting ready for the festive season is a bit of a distraction, I still feel fairly crap about it all. But I would do anything to distract from cleaning my house right now, so I thought I might as well come on here and blog.

So, the year that was 2009:

January - Rang in the new year full of optimism. I believe my phrase was "this has to be our year". Never going to say that again

February - Still not pregnant, but not trying again all that long, so have to be patient.

March - Am told I am going to be made redundant in May. Go on holidays to UK for a week, try SMEP, doesn't work. All that drunken sex for nothing. How bad.

April - This month marks the three year anniversary of us starting to try to conceive. John turns 43. We celebrate our fourth wedding anniversary. Not pregnant.

May - Finish up at work. I turn 40 at the end of the month and have a big party.

June - Ten days holiday in Northern Italy. Fab time. Weather in Ireland turns Mediterranean.

July - Post holiday false alarm on the pregnancy front. Shit.

August - In typical Irish summer fashion, the weather has gone to crap and it is lashing rain every day. I do my first job interview in five years. The role ends up being filled internally, but am told I interviewed well. Considering I was strung out on mood altering fertility drugs at the time, I'm taking that as a good thing. Begin counselling to try and get our heads around where we are going on the baby making front.

September - Weather picks up. I decide to come off clomid after over a year of consecutive cycles on the Satan sweets.

October - Feeling better for being off clomid. Not pregnant though.

November - Another job interview. Again am told that I didn't get the job but interviewed well. John gets struck down with man flu. I take advantage of his weakened state and jump his bones. Results in me getting pregnant. Afraid to hope, but I still feel more relaxed about this pregnancy than any other before.

December - After a week of on and off abdominal pain, I go into maternity hospital for emergency scan at six weeks gestation. Diagnosed with ectopic pregnancy and have surgery. Fifth pregnancy loss and fourth round of surgery since we started ttc. Blurgh.

So that's the year in review. Wishing you all as peaceful and relaxing Christmas as possible, here's to the new decade. And I'm not going to stick my neck out and say this will be our year. Maybe it will, maybe it won't.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Ghosts of Christmases past

The grief of pregnancy loss can be devastating any time of the year, but it is particularly amplified at Christmas. Christmas is a time for families, particularly those of young children. A number of times this week on various fora I have read the comment "Christmas is really all about the children in your life". Well the only children in our life are our nieces and nephews, whom we don't get to see all that often, and whom we won't be spending Christmas with. So if you have no kids near you, who is it all about?

This year I am opting out of Christmas as much as I can. I have spent the last three Christmases putting on a brave face, cooking dinner and entertaining parents or in laws. Three years ago we were reeling from the loss of our first baby, the following year we had chalked up three more pregnancy losses, one of which had an unfulfilled due date of December 21st, and last year my period arrived on Christmas Eve. Spectacular timing. This year, I can't quite believe that we have once again been side swiped by the bereavement that is pregnancy loss.

So this year, as far as Christmas is concerned, enough is enough. The in laws are going to John's brother's house and we are having Christmas day to ourselves. Us and the cats and nobody else. I have decided not to send Christmas cards. I don't know if it is etiquette elsewhere in the world, but in Ireland in the Christmas following a family bereavement one is not expected to send Christmas cards. So I'm opting out. And I'm hoping any family and friends with babies will think before they address the obligitary cutesy baby photo card to us.

I have done almost all of my gift buying over the internet. A little voice in my head told me two weeks ago to do this just in case things went wrong and I couldn't face the shops nearer the time. Well yay for pessimism, the negative thinking fairy got it in one. Because I'm not at work at the moment I haven't had to listen to the non stop Santa talk from my work colleagues. And I've had no work parties to attend. So really the only things I have done towards Christmas so far are a little internet shopping and the baking of a Christmas cake for my mother in law. Tonight we are putting up the tree, and apart from a bit of gift wrapping, that will be it from me.

Christmas has never felt so surreal. It's like it has been cancelled but the rest of the world haven't copped on to the fact yet.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Neighbours.......everybody needs good neighbours

I'm still gobsmacked at an exchange between us and our neighbour six doors down on Monday night. A bit of background first of all. We've been living in the same cul de sac for almost four years now. Our neighbours own a large boxer dog. Their gate at the side of their house is not high enough to contain the dog, and she regularly jumps over it and gets out to run around the estate. Loose dogs running around is a bugbear of mine, particularly when you have to pick your steps over the dog shit when you are trying to get out for a walk. As well as that, the dog has ran in front of my car and twice nearly caused me to crash. We have said it to them a number of times that the dog is running around loose, and asked them to keep her in.

The first few times it happened I went around there with the approach "you might not have realised, but your dog has gotten out of your garden". In other words, politely and softly softly saying "keep your dog in your garden". We are not the only ones who have an issue with her. Our next door neighbour has a young son and they used to be afraid to walk by the house when the dog was out because she is so big. The last time she ran in front of my car, early in September, I knocked on their door and gave the neighbour an earful. Her attitude was very much "Ah sure what can I do, my husband isn't home and he's the only one who can get her in". I told her I nearly crashed my car because of the dog, and if she wasn't careful somebody is going to get hurt one of these days.

Anyway the other night John was calling the cats in. We always make sure to get them into the house around nightfall, partly for their own safety and partly because we are mindful that our neighbours do not need to be kept awake by cats yowling all night. When you live in close proximity to your neighbours and you keep pets you have to show some consideration for people around you. Anyway Tigger comes running up the driveway when John calls him, and out of nowhere the neighbour's boxer dog comes running behind him and makes a lunge for him (Tigger that is, not John). Given what we had been through in the past week, John was in overprotective mode. After giving the dog a swift boot up the arse, he went down and knocked on their owners' door and gave them an earful. They said the dog had only just got out that minute, and they basically got very thick with John over it so he walked away.

Five minutes later there came a knock on our door and I went out to answer it. It was the neighbour. This was the exchange.

Neighbour "Did your husband just come knocking on our door"
Me "Yes, your dog was out again and he attacked our cat"
Neighbour "What do you expect, that's what dogs and cats do"
Me "But it's illegal to let your dog run around loose"
Neighbour "We didn't let her out, she got out on her own. She had only just gotten out"
Me "Well she is out running around the whole time" (she is out very regularly)
Neighbour (shouting loudly) "No she's not, this is the first time this has happened since you said it to me last" (absolute horseshit)
Me "Bullshit, I have seen her out loads of times since"
Neighbour "No you have not, she has not been out"
Me (blood pressure sky high at this point and totally losing it) "Look we have just lost a baby and we don't need this kind of stress right now"
Neighbour "Well you shouldn't have come knocking on our door then" and she storms off.

Fucking bitch. I won't be braking the next time the dog runs in front of my car.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Once more through the mill

There's something about the combination of pregnancy and Christmas that always seems to conspire to bite us in the arse, and I was really hoping that wouldn't prove to be the case this time around. Unfortunately, it was not meant to turn out that way.

Events took a dramatic turn on Tuesday morning. I had been suffering with abdominal pain and cramping for a few days, along with a small amount of bleeding the previous week. The pain seemed to be getting worse on Monday, and I was not due to go in to the hospital for a scan until December 16th. I went for my weekly blood test on Tuesday morning, and on my napro nurse's advice I phoned the hospital to request an emergency scan. At this point I have to say a big thank you to my bloggy buddy Fran for raising my awareness of the potential danger of ectopic pregnancy.

So off we went into Limerick, and no pregnancy sac could be located in the uterine cavity. They did however see something measuring 2 cm in the vicinity of my left ovary, pretty much indicating an ectopic pregnancy. I was given some battering by the dildo cam which left me in quite a lot of pain on my left side, and if that wasn't enough violation for one morning, the registrar then came along and gave me another internal. Next time I am definitely coming back as a man. Shortly afterwards I was given a shot of pethadene for the pain, which did sweet FA really, and I was dispatched by ambulance to the regional hospital.

Luckily a private room came free just as I arrived, and our health insurance was adequate to cover it. On Wednesday afternoon I was operated on, and sure enough there was an ectopic pregnancy on my left tube. They managed to save the tube, but only on our insistance. The fact that we really had to stand our ground over this issue we both found quite upsetting, but they respected our wishes in the end and did everything they could to save it. It means that I run a risk of 10% of having the same issue recur again in the same tube, but the thoughts of risking losing one tube now and possibly the other one sometime down the line if God forbid it happened on the other side was too much to contemplate for us. The medics' response to this dilemma seemed a little cavalier for our liking at first, we were told "well you always have the option of IVF if you should lose both tubes". Cause it's just that easy, right?

I had pretty excruciating referred pain under my ribs and in my neck and shoulders after the surgery, which was laparoscopic, so I needed pretty heavy pain relief in order to breath, which was quite frightening. So Wednesday night's sleep was very much broken. Yesterday my belly was bloated up like a balloon, so they wrote me up for peppermint oil capsules. I don't know if this had a direct knock on effect, but I ended up with a severe case of the squirts. Like up to the toilet 8 times last night. Yuck.

Anyway they let me out this morning with a prescription for strong painkillers and antibiotics if needed. I'm still kind on in shock about the whole thing. I think it will take a while for the reality of the last few days to sink in. I was really hoping and praying that life would not be so cruel to us this time, but I'm afraid that's the way it goes sometimes. Shitty things happen to nice people and there's not a lot any of us can do about it.