Wednesday, May 30, 2007

In hospital

You won't be too surprised to hear that. We went to the specialist hospital this morning, the scan showed the same, though clearer and easier to say goodbye, somehow, I've had the ERPC, and multiple assurances that there would be analyses. I'm staying in overnight and Mr. Spouse is coming back for me in the morning.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Not good

Although there wasn't much more blood, and the cervix was closed, the portable scanner showed a poorly shaped embryo and they couldn't find a heartbeat. Another scan on the good machine tomorrow but basically, we are battening down the hatches and thinking about our options.


More blood, different colour. My nice doctor friend is over for lunch so after we eat she is taking me to A&E. Just don't want this to happen in public.

No scan today

I just rang the hospital and the nurse said that given how little blood, and that it's brown, it's extremely likely my cervix is closed, though I can come in, or go to my local A&E, to have it checked, but they won't scan me today since I have one booked for Friday. I don't think they are that full up but it actually saves me a decision - I was wimping out of going to potentially bad news on my own, and now I'll still be going with my mum holding my hand.

It is 90 minutes either to drive (and it's not a very straightforward journey) or on two trains and a bus so given the choice between sitting with my feet up mocking my students' exam answers/watching trashy TV, and taking a long and stressful journey, I am fairly happy to have the decision made for me, and to do the latter. Hopefully Sprout will thank me for it.

Monday, May 28, 2007

Where would I be without something to panic about?

I dashed to the loo before an out of town meeting on Friday morning when I discovered the tiniest bit, ever, of light beige mucus in my knickers. This was after a tiring day and a fairly sleepless night, and at the start of a long journey via the city where Mr. Spouse works to my mother's for the weekend. We had promised ourselves a weekend of R&R but I think there was too much of the second R and not enough of the first as I had a larger, but very light beige, bit each morning, once after, erm, straining, and again this morning when it was gloopier and a bit browner. Apart from the first bit whatever there is seems to be mixed with, erm, how to say this, externally introduced mucus. Logically I know that

a) it is brown, in fact most of it is beige, so there is not a lot of blood and whatever is producing it has stopped bleeding

b) apart from the first day, it was all post-activity and perhaps now is the time to lay off

c) it is very very common to have even some red blood and for it not to be a bad sign

d) it could actually be something external to my cervix

e) all the other symptoms are the same, including the nausea (which, though not worse, seems to be more frequent), and although I have a few cramps if I look at each one objectively it is no worse than any I've had so far this pregnancy. I am also a little confused about the cramping as I've had a couple of wicked bouts of indigestion (sorry, mother, it's not your cooking, I just don't seem to be able to do meat at the moment), and bowel cramps can be easy to confuse with other pelvic cramps.

I'm 9w3d today. You will understand where I'm coming from when I tell you that at exactly 10w in my first pregnancy I had something similar (though quite a bit heavier) and although they pronounced my cervix closed, a scan showed only an empty sac. I know it won't be exactly that way this time, but I've always thought that was actually the first warning of a full bleed, and that it was just taking my body some time (in that case, about 4 weeks) to decide to bleed properly.

I tried to ring the Early Pregnancy Unit at the women's hospital as soon as we got home from my mum's this afternoon but, being a bank holiday today, they were closed and I got the emergency number. I imagine that about 25% of their emergencies, statistically, are miscarriages or threatened miscarriages, though, so they should know what they are talking about. She repeated point a) above, told me to take it easy - "no heavy shopping or hoovering" were her words. I'm taking that to mean I shouldn't have gone to the outlet village yesterday, and that confining myself to home for the next 24h, at least, would not be a bad idea. If I have any red blood, I am to go to A&E locally, but like the other hospital, I can't see them being able to scan me before tomorrow, and in fact, probably not even then given their usual timetable. I have my next scan on Friday, but I will also ring the EPU tomorrow and see whether they think an earlier scan would be possible.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Eating for 1.01

Having noticed my trousers get a little tighter, and being unable to escape the fact that I had been, basically, sitting on the sofa and eating for the past couple of weeks, I promised myself that if I made it past the 8w scan I'd weigh myself. I have put on half a stone (3kg for the imperially challenged) - about 3lb of which I reckon is evenly distributed between my boobs.

Now, I am trying really, really hard not to beat myself up about that - I know that much of it is fluid and blood - but I also know that not exercising, and eating too much sweet stuff, is not good for me or the embryo. So, despite being told not to obsess, I have decided to fill in my online food diary for a week or two. It is not good news. I am eating far more than I need to maintain my weight and I am eating too much sugar, not enough protein, and I'm barely making my 5-a-day some days. I know I should not worry about this, and I also realise I am struggling with nausea, but it is hard not to. I'm trying to concentrate on increasing the amount of protein, and eating slightly less sweet stuff to ward off the nausea.

It is very hard to get to the point of not thinking about my weight, after more than three years of mainly thinking about it. Before I lost weight, I was adamant I was fine - it took a failed glucose tolerance test to wake me up, which is partly why I'm now worried, though at the weight I am now I don't have any problems with glucose, I am very worried about gestational diabetes. But I am also catching myself thinking "I don't want to be a huge fat mother". I actually am not that worried about being a huge fat pregnant woman, partly because I can't quite believe I can get that far.

I had mad ideas of carrying on running while pregnant, and although I am almost certainly not going to go there (boobs hurt too much, and I'm exhausted - took a 2 hour nap today - even leaving my foot aside, so unless they magically stopped hurting in my second trimester, it would be a no go) I still feel idle. I'm not a very sporty person, just fairly active, and I don't like being inactive, but I am still a little scared of being too active.

Friday, May 18, 2007

Big grins all round...

Getting your stuff ready to go for a scan, if it's 90 minutes away, is a fine art. First there are knickers you don't mind losing, then enough books (and lightweight enough) to read when you're both dying to pee, and potentially going mad waiting for a decision to be made. Then there's "do I take overnight stuff". I took my contact lens case and toothbrush, as years of travelling experience leads me to have two sponge bags ready packed at all times - the mini one, with the lens and tooth stuff, and the big one, with the soap/shampoo/hairbrush etc.

But in the event my pessimism was not needed. As you can see, all were happy, including the nice doctor (the one I've seen twice before, and Mr. Spouse once, when we were there in January. She was crying that time, in sympathy with us.
Me: I wish they'd wear name badges, so I'd have better chance of remembering her name.
Him: She was.
Me: So what's her name then?
Him: I forget.
We were too busy looking happy, I think.

Anyway we saw and (pretty much immediately) heard the heartbeat, saw a vague shape of embryo, which measures 7w2d but the doctor says not to worry as there's a large margin of error. It measured 11.1mm and clearly just 0.1mm off would be easy to do, but would make at least a couple of days' difference. I reckon I am 7w5 to 7w6 by when I ovulated so I will try not to fret about that. I did give in to temptation and look up my official due date, which should have been December 29th, so I reckon this would be a January delivery, realistically. And we now have about a 90% chance of having one, by my guesstimation.

The radiographer (50-ish, male - I didn't know they made male radiographers) referred to it as a foetus and we were also later directed to the fetal (sic - despite this being the UK) medicine centre so although I think it is technically still an embryo, that also makes it seem a bit more real. The fetal medicine centre visit was to book in for a nuchal translucency scan and combined blood test thingy. We feel that if there is to be not-so-good news, we would like to know sooner, even if we are pretty sure we won't want to do an invasive test, or terminate except in the case of an abnormality incompatible with life (and we also discussed this case). I had been ruminating on this for a few days and it all came out in an incomprehensible rush (rather like the tax information Mr. Spouse was trying to send me to sleep with last night) but I think we are now on the same page. I think we always were, actually. It is partly personal conviction, partly history - at the moment we feel like we would rather have a baby, and child, with some problems than no baby, or child, at all.

So this afternoon we went to the seaside! In fact, to a gorgeous Victorian town which, local legend has it, was visited briefly by Napoleon, and on which he modelled Paris' main streets. Well, that's what they say. For more information, read the hilarious Lancashire, Where Women Die of Love. We had a slightly substandard pub lunch, and then wandered around the continental market, clearly laid on specifically for us, and enjoyed the fine weather, ditto.

Then home, where I have just come off the phone to my mum - who on being told the news, squealed for about five minutes. She is going to come to my next scan (1st June) as Mr. Spouse is getting to the stage where he will have to take unpaid days off to come with me. She was clearly delighted, not only at the news and the invitation to hold my hand, but also at the chance to get out of something her fellow retirees had signed her up for that she didn't fancy. I swear, she's busier than me. She again bent my ear about my brother's parenting skills (or lack thereof - I better measure up to her idealisation of me, is all I can say!), but seemed a bit more positive about them than recently (long story).

I'm just going to remind Mr. Spouse that he said he'd cook something for me, as I need to eat but can't face the kitchen...

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Do you have any children?

I've been asked this twice so far this week. The first time was by one of my Brownies - they seem to have just cottoned on to the fact that I am an adult with an independent life (though she did also ask me if I was a student...) and keep asking me if I'm married, "is that a wedding ring", etc. When I said no, she asked "why not?"

I was a bit flustered, and didn't know what to say - to an adult you can just say "it hasn't happened for us" or even (though it's been three years) "give us a chance, we've only just got married", but neither of those will work for a child. Thankfully the other leader saw I was a bit flustered and told her "She's got lots of students" which then meant I could explain that the students kept me really busy, and then of course explain what students were and what I do, and then have an argument with her about whether I would know her cousin, who probably isn't at my institution (there is another, more vocational, university in town too).

The second time was yesterday when I was attempting to find out if my foot was broken. The shower head fell off the wall onto my left foot on Sunday morning and after the swelling went down a bit yesterday morning, it was still very painful (except if I sit on the sofa and elevate it, which is nice), and had a lump in a place where I don't think there should be a lump, and where there isn't one on the other foot. I can't really walk any distance (especially not in shoes) and I can't drive.

Note that I haven't told my GP practice that I'm pregnant yet - I was planning to book in with them next week, if the scan is OK on Friday. The nurse practicioner at the GP practice said that as A&E have a 48 hour cutoff, I should head over there, where in a miraculous five minutes I was seen by a doctor who said "I haven't got X-ray eyes" and since the foot is a long way from the uterus and the dose is low, I should be OK. The radiographer, however, said that she personally would not have an X-ray in the first trimester, and that there were risks, and I told her I'd had miscarriages before (I didn't mention how many); she asked if I had children. When I said no, she replied "Hang on to this one". Which seemed unnecessarily dramatic.

The upshot was that the doctor refused to do anything, and said he couldn't feel a lump. Now I know he probably sees more broken bones in a week than I have, er, hot dinners, but I couldn't help feeling that someone who is an actual broken bone specialist might have been able to find some way round this. I got the impression that if I had pushed them to treat it as if it was broken, they might have put it in plaster. But I've also been told by friends that when they cracked something in their foot, they were just told to strap it up. Mr. Spouse asked if they could ultrasound my foot, but even in my ignorant state I don't think that would work. I am now paranoid that I'm making my foot worse by walking on it, even if it's just round the house. Anyway, assuming all goes well on Friday, we're going to ask about the risks. Unless of course it is magically better by then.

Friday, May 11, 2007


Not much more to say, really. My boobs still feel sore, though slightly less so, but I feel much, much sicker. I need to eat approximately every two hours, though I haven't thrown up yet. One good thing about pregnancy is you can eat as much dried fruit as you want (if you are like me, and love dried fruit) and you don't get the runs (if you are like me, and dried fruit normally gives you the runs). I seem to feel sicker in the afternoons - in the mornings I'm just starving.

I went to yoga today for the first time in three weeks. I am not sure how good an idea this was, since the time before that was about three months previously. Normally I go to yoga every single week, and have been doing so for about six or seven years, with the occasional gap. I have been feeling a little bloated, and some of the bending over postures were a bit uncomfortable. If I was paranoid (me?) I would have worried it was pressing on my uterus but I know it's still well-protected in there. Happily nothing involved lying on my boobs for long periods of time. But I am wondering about saying something to my teacher. She just does it voluntarily, and is very nice, but I don't really want her altering things in an obvious way ("Dr Spouse, you shouldn't do this one").

I've also booked in to have a reflexology session on Tuesday, on the advice of perceval - thanks - I didn't want to go back to my acupuncturist even though I think she's a good therapist, because she is so bossy about meals. I'm supposed to eat rice for breakfast, according to her. Not going to happen.

I think I feel OK about waiting another week for a scan, though I'm starting to get nervous again, and I'm only sleeping well about half the time. I tried to put a couple of drops of lavender on the pillow, and it ended up smelling like an aromatherapist's boudoir.

Work continues to ignore me, or vice versa, or something. It's exam marking season, which is another good excuse not to go near the office, and to watch back-to-back episodes of trash (yes, it really helps me mark exam scripts accurately. Honest). Currently it's season 1 of The O.C. which I have on DVD. I ordered season 6 of Gilmore Girls ages ago from ebay and it hasn't arrived yet (in fact, the vendor sent me another copy, which also hasn't arrived) and I was originally thinking "don't watch too much of The O.C., you might want it post-miscarriage" but now I'm keping Gilmore Girls for that. But I'm also bidding on things from ebay which I might wear to a black tie do scheduled for when I'm 12 weeks, which, at this rate I won't feel like going to if I miscarry before then. Since it seems unlikely I'll be doing that on my own.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007


That's the ones I'm wearing, not a comment on life. They are white. I feel I am becoming more calm...

I had a bit of a panic on Monday and a rather stressful day yesterday - well, a stressful couple of hours in the morning - I felt I should ring Personnel and tell them I needed to have my ante-natal appointments counted as such, not sick leave. They initially wanted me to tell my department but that is not going to happen, so after lunch I rang back and they suggested I ask for annual leave and then they can be recoded later. The only difficulty is going to be getting several days' annual leave during term time, but I think I will be vague and only say that I am actually not just working but away from the office, if pressed. As I've said, I don't want to give my boss the chance to open his mouth just yet.

Continuing to use a visualisation/encouragement technique, this week I am urging Sprout to grow villi and limb buds, and shape its cranium correctly. I've also decided for the sake of my sleep and state of mind I need to do some exercise so I'm going to yoga on Friday and went for a 30 minute walk at lunchtime today.

Monday, May 07, 2007

That article

In case you're interested, it's here. A more recent article from a different clinic gives the predictive power of seeing a heartbeat at slightly lower - 82% - but I'm not clear whether they are all idiopathic recurrent miscarriers, or whether they include some with clotting disorders, and likewise it's not clear from the abstract whether they are using "heartrate over X" or just "presence of heartbeat" as the diagnostic factor. Perhaps someone with a subscription (Thalia?) can enlighten.

(Later - I really shouldn't have carried on reading as I just found another article saying the predicitive power is only 71% in over-40s. Excuse me while I go and sit in a hole).


Traditionally, of course, one does not tell many people in the first trimester that one is pregnant. We have avoided telling people for previous pregnancies - with the first one, I think realising there was a risk of miscarriage, and not wanting people to come back to us at about 20 weeks and ask how it was going. I think we were probably right to do that. With the next two confirmed pregnancies we were obviously more scared of something going wrong, and then it did, so we felt justified.

This time, so many people know that something has been wrong that we are slightly revising our policy. I have told two online communities (including the one that we met through) on the grounds that, I would be telling them if something went wrong, and we would like their thoughts and prayers before that happened. We have also told two of our adoption referees on the grounds that they are probably wondering what's going on with the adoption anyway, and we think we'll tell my mother, and the other two referees, after the 8 week scan, which ever way it goes.

But thinking about the treatment that the clinic is giving me - basically, TLC and ultrasound - and the fact that if recurrent miscarriers aren't getting treatment, it can be the case that no-one except their partner can support them - I wonder if keeping quiet is really the best policy. Perhaps having an aware support system is something that could actually help one's chances?

I'm w
ondering when is going to be the best time to tell my boss - he only knows I've been ill, not what with, so he doesn't know how scary this pregnancy is. And he can't keep his mouth shut, and I know he'll want to start planning for any potential absence, and I don't want him to do that until I'm 14 weeks (which would coincide with the end of term, which would be bad from his point of view as all helpful parties tend to disperse). But I don't know how much longer I can be regularly irregular in my physical attendance at work, without anyone noticing. And selfishly, if he knew I was pregnant and wanting to nap every afternoon, I might get a lower exam marking load.

Friday, May 04, 2007


Gestation sac, on abdominal scan, yolk sac and - wait for it - HEARTBEAT - on TV scan.

Okay, that’s the basics, you can skip the rest of the post now. But in detail:

Didn’t sleep much last night, so I got up and read, watched TV, and messed around on my (dying) desktop computer – this is posted from my laptop – Mr. Spouse is coming home with an external hard drive tonight in a rescue attempt. We got the train there and on the way I started drinking my mandated water, after a hot chocolate. Mistake. Hobbling down the road from the train station, and the same problem as about this time last year (post miscarriage no, er, two? three?). Hugely overfull bladder, immense pain in the waiting room, wondering how all these other ladies could actually sit there. I went and emptied a bit out three times and was still told to go and let some more out by the sonographer (aged 12). I think I must have a larger bladder than most people – I could actually hardly tell it was full at the point when it was just right. Note for future occasions.

We could only see the sac on the abdominal, and at first she wasn’t even sure it was that, and I have a hazy pre-bladder-emptying recollection of her saying “do you want a vaginal scan?” but she can’t have given me the choice, can she? Anyway, after asking if I wanted Mr. Spouse to go out (well, he has actually seen it all, you know?) she got to work and saw the gestational sac and yolk sac pretty much immediately and then said “oh, that might be a heartbeat”. I was thinking, oh dear, it won’t be clear, it’s going to be inconclusive. But then she found it, and we saw it for about 30 seconds. She tried to take a few measurements but it was all too small, although she reckoned it was about right for exactly 6 weeks, so I’m not that worried.

She also found what she thought was a small fibroid – hmm, okay, a new problem to worry about. She said it’s tiny and right at the top of the uterus so nothing to worry about but they’ll keep an eye on it. It is clearly not the cause of the previous miscarriages but I’ll make sure they look at it next time (Next time! Yes! Another scan – never thought I’d get to this one, let alone another one).

Anyway, over the hallway to the clinic, where most of my blood test results were back from last week, although the first thing she said was that the clotting screen takes four to five weeks.

Me: Erm, isn’t that a bit late for this pregnancy?

Her: (looking embarrassed) Well, yes, it would only really help us in subsequent pregnancies. But we can give you aspirin now, it won’t do you any harm.

Me: Yes! Please! Give me drugs! Now!

I’m not anaemic (so off the blocking-up iron) and last week’s HcG was appropriate for 5 weeks (they only repeat it if the scan isn’t viable), so no new blood tests.

So, in a stunned haze, I sleep-bought some sandals, a sugar fix to eat on the train, and came home where I slept for an hour and a half.

My breasts are not as painful today and my temperature seems to have come down (but the gynae said my temperature was high enough that I may have had a bit of a virus) – ordinarily this would panic me but all was, apparently, well with Sprout*. I have read that this now gives me an 80% chance of not miscarrying, but I just read a paper from our clinic saying that, although the danger point is about 7 weeks, if you have seen a heartbeat at any point then only about 3% of pregnancies miscarry. And that’s in idiopathic recurrent miscarriers. So adjusting for age, I am starting to feel a little confident. Just a little, you realise.

My skivy-itis seems to be working so I am going to continue my policy of minimal work, much time at home and no vigorous exercise. Even Mr. Spouse (who laughs at my normal working hours) agreed it might be helping.

Now I need to pee again.

*Brussels, geddit?

Wednesday, May 02, 2007


Our third wedding anniversary was yesterday. It was actually a nice day - I didn't think too much about last year, when I had just miscarried. Maybe this past-blindness is what is enabling me to carry on getting pregnant and not just giving up on the whole thing? Anyway it was sunny and we were both "working" at home so we went out to lunch, and then went and bought me a new printer to fit into my new workstation, and to go with my new monitor. Most of the afternoon was spent setting it up. Very productive, I'm sure.

Officially I need a new workstation in the living room so we can have another spare bed in my ex-study, now just a sewing room. We're doing it now because the window is about to be replaced and the poor joiner needs to be able to get to the window. Unofficially, well, whether our child or children come from the NHS or the Social Services, they need a place to sleep, and if it is Social Services, the social worker needs to see that place.

Still much the same, otherwise, slightly more progresterone symptoms (very very sore boobs - I swear I've gone up 2 cup sizes - though apparently that could be it for a while, or they could even shrink again, very warm, cramps still there though less sore) though other symptoms are the same or slightly less (sense of smell still heightened, but slightly less nausea), though I did a sneaky test and got a very dark second line, this morning, so that's not worrying me. I'm actually beginning to believe I might get my 6-week scan. Of course, this could be because this pregnancy is going to be like no 1, and I was wrong about having turned into someone who miscarries on their own, but I can't help thinking something might be going on in there and all my exhortations to "fold your neural tube, build a nice sac" might have been listened to.

Still obsessing and worrying and still finding it hard to sleep, because of the obsessing and worrying, but I managed a full day at the office, and have a half day tomorrow. And I got some new knickers (together with my new "secret support" vests) and put on a white pair this evening.