Thursday, June 23, 2011

How to retrain the brain. Seriously, how?

The internet should and must be avoided at all costs, except for blog reading.

We lost our baby at 16.4 weeks last September and I am now three weeks pregnant, the first time I have been pregnant since that horrible time.

I cannot begin to list the emotions racing through my heart and head at this point.
Lurching. That’s a good word. I am lurching all over the place, from a diluted type of joy and happiness that doesn’t last long once the anxiety and palpable fear takes hold.

And it takes hold 98% of the time, both in my conscious and sub-conscious.
Everybody tells me I will be ok this time and I have to believe it will all be fine, and that’s great. But that’s exactly what everyone else told me last year. I even believed it.

And look how that turned out.

You can’t know, you can never know for 100% sure that things will turn out well, not well or in between.

I get that, but I really do need to know this time and it’s not fair that I can’t.
Coupled with all of these emotions is another feeling, or rather, a distinct lack of feeling. I don’t feel overly pregnant. I know that’s perfectly normal, but it does not help mitigate the anxiety!

When you go through IVF, you are keenly aware of times, dates and places. You know when the embryo went in, you know exactly when you can get a blood test and you are in permanent count-down mode.

As soon as I was able, I tested – both at home and at the path lab. And as soon as I was able, I knew. We knew. Most people at work knew.

So when most other women are blissfully ignorant of the tiny being forming inside them – happily consuming vast quantities of coffee, wine and soft cheese (bitches!) - I am trudging drearily to the kettle with my decaffeinated tea bag in hand.

I know, I shouldn’t whinge...I am drinking decaf tea and shunning leftovers for a bloody good reason. A bloody fantastic, happy reason.

Back to the internet. I started reading the What To Expect book a little and had some awful flashing back at the part about testing for abnormalities, Down Syndrome etc. I read and re-read the lines that said abnormal results were extremely rare, or complications were almost unheard of in most women and mentally crossed my fingers.

At work I have been distracted these past few days with internet sites that show foetal development week by week.

On one I read today, was this: Do not panic if you do not have pregnancy symptoms, although you should contact your care provider if you suddenly lose your pregnancy symptoms.

That sentence is two things: written by someone of Irish persuasion and THE VERY DEFINITION OF AMBIGUITY!

Read it again. If you can make sense of it, please comment below.

I shall now stop time-wasting internettery and keep counting down until our first scan on July 11.

After then, no doubt the count-down will be until our 12-week nuchal scan, and after then, a new count-down will take its place, and so on. Little milestones along the way.

I can’t get too far ahead but that doesn’t mitigate the anxiety in between each one!

And the whole time I feel scared that the stress will harm my baby and worried that I am somehow sending it a biochemical message that I am ungrateful because I am spending far too much time freaking out as opposed to enjoying this wonderful news and enjoying the fact that it is there and growing.

For the first time since we found out, I actually felt tingles of warm excitement as I was going off to sleep last night, about how cool this was going to be. The first time.

It has been like I cannot allow myself to fully let this great news wash over me completely. I’ve got glad wrap over bits of me that I need to protect and keep dry.

I’ve used duct tape and plastic bags to waterproof my heart. Which is stupid, because this is good, it’s great, it’s amazing. Why wouldn’t I want this all over me, drowning me?

Simple. Because it might not last. It might not last. And no one can tell me that it will or it won’t.

But I have to accept that and just hope for the best.

So far I have been too focused on the stress and the fear and telling people “hopefully everything will be alright this time” to stop and respect how incredibly lucky we are.

Lucky for now, at least.

I told our little boy’s day care lady and another mum this week. Instantly both of them put their hands up to their faces and sort of held their breath while twisting their faces into a worried sympathy.

No congratulations, no real broad smiles.

It must be said that these two women were also there last year when I collapsed in tears while picking up my son, as it was just after we had the awful news confirmed.

They no doubt had that raw memory in mind. As I do.

My mobile rang at work today. It was a nurse from the fertility clinic following up on the transfer.

“I am pregnant,” I told her.

“Oh, that’s wonderful! You needed that good news, especially after...well, you’ve had a hard life, my dear,” she said, no doubt casting a glance at my file, sitting open on the desk in front of her.

We have to hope for the best. What is the alternative?


  1. Of course there is no alternative but to hope. As you know and I have discovered that to be a mother is to place yourself in the most vulnerable position imaginable. The loss or threat of loss is unimaginable. And get you've been there. There are no guarantees but mercifully lightning dies not often strike in the same place twice. I wish I could reassure you with blind faith but you won't believe it. To get this darling gift in your arms is massively risky. But is there any alternative. The outcome is like none other. Be brave bec. One day at a time. One step at a time. The odds are in your favor. Be strong for this new potential. There is no other way but through. You may as well try to enjoy it. And have a coffee! As my dr Mac baby said... Plenty of babies in brazil! Am upholding your cause to the universe. Xx

  2. Oh and it would seem that to have all pregnancy symptoms and to suddenly have them stop is of much greater concern than not having them to begin with. Mine hit with an increasing force around 7 weeks!

  3. My baby loved coffee. I even had to send mum to get one once with the miswife's blessing to wake her up for the fetal heart monitor. I drank two to three a day! And she's well and feisty!

  4. Crossing fingers for you! Looking forward to know your progress :) You are so brave. I hope you get extra courage and strength for your little one.