On the fifth day of Christmas a Clearblue gave to to me…

… Two blue lines.

So it would appear I am pregnant. That the short time I have spent taking the metformin and the vitamin D, paying meticulous attention to my diet and trying to be serene (ha!) has paid off. Or maybe I just got “lucky”, as the doctor described my previous conception. When I wrote this post less than a month ago, I wasn’t pregnant, but thought that maybe if I committed my fertility limbo to words on this blog, the law of Sod would make it so, and lo, it did. So as predicted, I feel a fool – although of course very glad to feel like one! I won’t be counting my chickens too soon, though, because let’s face it, the eggs weren’t behaving themselves impeccably. I know that I am a jammy beggar to be pregnant so soon after a diagnosis of PCOS, but pregnant I am.

I should be excited but mostly I am just terrified. Instead of talking about due dates and folic acid (that reminds me, best dust off the Pregnacare from last time) there is something else I need to talk about, and that is why? Why am I telling you I’m pregnant now? I’m barely 5 weeks – why am I “risking” sharing the information that I am pregnant with anyone and everyone, before I know that everything is ok?

Well, firstly, no one ever knows that anything is ok. You can have a textbook pregnancy and still you never know what’s really going on in there. That isn’t to say that there’s usually anything wrong. Happily, there isn’t. Happily, once you get to around the 12 week mark, generally the risk of miscarriage reduces, unless there are extenuating circumstances that mean the pregnancy may fail at a later stage (various syndromes and growth factors). But mostly, who made up that rule? Who said that couples should keep pregnancy to themselves for the first few weeks until they know they’re “out of the woods”? I know it’s based around the idea that, if the worst should happen, you don’t have to awkwardly explain to people that you’re no longer pregnant, causing them embarrassment and reliving it all yourself. But why should this be the case? Why should there be so much stigma around miscarriage that pregnancy “should” be hidden away until the risk of miscarriage is lesser?

Those of you who followed my Twitter on my old locked account will probably remember miscarriage-gate. I live tweeted my miscarriage, from the day I started to bleed, to the day I went to A&E to be told to “go to the EPU if it gets worse”, to the day the miscarriage was confirmed, to waking up after my ERPC, hazy from general anaesthetic and loss. I tweeted and I had immediate support. People expressed sympathy. People shared their own experiences with miscarriage. People offered an ear, night and day, if I wanted to talk. It felt like I had unlocked the door to a secret club – albeit one no one wants to be in – but one where there was the opportunity to talk about what no one ‘in real life’ wanted to hear.

Pregnancy is, by nature, an exciting thing. It is the possibility of a new life. Of change. Of families growing and completing. When you tell someone you are pregnant, most people congratulate you and tell you how pleased they are for you. They ask all the usual questions. When are you due? Are you getting morning sickness? Will you find out the sex? When you have a baby, again, people are quick to extend their congratulations, generous gifts and well wishes. But when you lose a baby? You receive short-lived sympathy, platitudes of “oh well there’s always next time” and the expectation that you will just get on with it. And that’s fine. But no one wants to talk about it after that. People want to brush it under the carpet, forget it happened and focus on the future. Perhaps they assume that’s what you want to do. I think mostly it makes them feel uncomfortable. They don’t know what to say so they don’t say anything.

I’m not saying I don’t think it’s great that I’m pregnant. I do. This is the best thing that’s happened to me all year, with the various family deaths, a diagnosis of an illness that was affecting my fertility and of course my own miscarriage. I am really pleased and amazed that I am pregnant again, but perhaps understandably, I don’t have on the rose-tinted spectacles that come with pregnancy that isn’t preceded by loss.

When I lost the previous pregnancy, I was lucky that my family and in-laws were very supportive. But when the immediate aftermath was over, it was never mentioned again. They were excited when the pregnancy still existed; had the due date in their diaries and my lovely mum in-law had even started buying things in preparation. When I saw them again after the loss, it was as though nothing had happened. Family friends didn’t even acknowledge the loss, even in passing. It was hard. I felt that perhaps I had something to be ashamed of. Why were they all acting as though nothing had happened? I was endlessly glad of the support I had on Twitter, but my head at that time felt like a very lonely and confused place. Everyone had been so excited and interested, and now? Nothing. It was strange.

So that it why I am telling the world I’m pregnant. Because if I lose it, I don’t want to be alone. I don’t want to be ashamed. I want to empower myself and other women not to feel the loneliness and stigma that pregnancy loss is associated with. I want to REMEMBER. I don’t want to live in the past, and I’m not; I have dealt with what happened, but I want to be prepared for it to happen again, because as I mentioned earlier, no one ever really knows if it will all be ok. I want to be delighted it it all goes smoothly and I end up with a live birth at the end of it, but I don’t want to feel that I am owed anything or that I deserve a happy ending. I don’t, any more than the other ladies I know who are struggling with (in)fertility issues. Miscarriage, and pregnancy it seems, are (for the most part) totally random occurrences. They do not discriminate. I know that I am lucky to be pregnant again with the challenge of PCOS but it is mostly because I was lucky enough to become AWARE of my illness and the fertility challenges associated with it.

In the meantime I am going to try not to count the days and weeks, to obsessively check my knickers for blood, not to panic over every little niggle and cramp. I will continue to eat healthily and take care of myself, and to try not to “overdo it” (as my Granny puts it; she has already threatened to put me over her knee if I do!). Mostly I will remember to be thankful for my beautiful baby boy and to try to summon some hope from somewhere that one day next year, I might end up with another beautiful baby, and our family will be complete. But I won’t take anything for granted.

16 thoughts on “On the fifth day of Christmas a Clearblue gave to to me…

  1. Keeping my fingers crossed for an easy, uneventful pregnancy resulting in an adorable little crotch-dropping appearing in roughly 8 months time.

    I know what you mean re: telling people… told people straight away with #2 and most were somewhat shocked we “risked” it as if telling people would somehow jinx things. Of course the reality was that as a HG sufferer there would be no point keeping it to myself as by 6 weeks I’m blowing chunks 24/7.

    NOT telling people with my first also meant having to both share the news of my pregnancy and of my loss at the same time which actually felt worse I think.

    Anyway, I’ll stop waffling now.. :D

    • The “jinxing” thing is so strange, isn’t it?! Do people actually believe that fate has a spreadsheet and it’s recording when we tell people we’re pregnant, and if it’s too soon it strikes us out and puts a big MISCARRIAGE stamp next to our names?! So weird.

      “NOT telling people with my first also meant having to both share the news of my pregnancy and of my loss at the same time which actually felt worse I think.”

      This is so, so spot-on,

  2. Keeping my fingers crossed for you. I told some people when I was pregnant the first time but didn’t tell many – just enough that I’d have a little bit of a support network if all went wrong. I don’t know what I’d do the second time around.

    • Thank you. I do think it is important to tell people so that you do have support if things go wrong. I don’t understand the taboo. I don’t suppose I thought about it much before I actually miscarried but I would never have given it a second thought if someone wanted to share their news at 5 weeks or whatever. Since miscarrying I REALLY don’t understand what people’s issue is when others share news of their pregnancies earlier than 12 weeks.

  3. Congratulations on your pregnancy. Having miscarried 4 times I totally understand what you’re saying about people don’t mention your loss again after offering their condolences other than the odd comments “do you know why it’s happened” and “oh well you can try again” or even worse ”well at least you already have one child”. People who haven’t experienced a miscarriage don’t understand these comments are hurtful. That you loved that baby from the moment you saw those little lines on the test. They certainly don’t understand that for every loss it brings more grief. Grief that is stronger and more consuming than the previous loss. For me reading stories like yours gives me hope because despite your illness you have those glorious little blue lines again. I hope I too will see these again very soon. I wish you all the luck in the world, from the bottom of my heart, that this pregnancy is a healthy successful one. Thank you for sharing your story xx

    • Thank you so much for your comment. My Dad was terrible with the “well at least you only have one child” comments. I guess he just didn’t understand the pain of the loss and how much my life was affected by my failed plans to conceive again/my miscarriage, in terms of my career plans, marriage and even my parenting of my son. I know that people are well-meaning, but I guess they don’t know what to say/what is appropriate to say when they haven’t been through similar or witnessed someone close to them go through similar.

      I’m so glad this post has given you a bit of hope. I had kind of given up on hope a bit before I got the positive test, but there is a glimmer there now, and I wish the same for you for the future. Hopefully it’s not too far off xx

  4. I think the 12 weeks before you tell thing is historical – in my day (I had my first baby in 1977), you could only have a pregnancy test via your doctor, and then only when you had missed 2 periods. This meant that you were more or less 12 weeks before you had confirmation yourself. This time period seems to have stuck as a milestone point.

    • Ah, yes, that makes absolute sense. I know that there were historically “less” early miscarriages before the availability of over-the-counter pregnancy tests but that was because they were mistaken for late periods or such by women not knowing they were pregnant.

      I think these days we’re definitely spoilt with scientific/medical advancement/availability. I think it’s both a blessing and a curse! Regardless, though, I think it is important that miscarriage is talked about. Our society still deems it so taboo. I am grateful that I have people I can talk to about it :)

  5. Congratulations. Seems we track the same path this year. Infertile, I conceived in February, lost in April, and now have another wee present cooking for Xmas. I however have not told anyone yet because I don’t want a repeat of the broadcasting that certain people did to inappropriate people and the hurtful comments when I lost it.

    Let’s hope these ones stick.

    Best wishes

    • How awful that you had hurtful comments made :( People can be very tactless when it comes to pregnancy loss.

      Good luck with the remainder of this pregnancy, I hope everything works out for you this time xx

  6. Congratulations and wishing you a very boring uneventful 9 months.

    Having had 5 miscarriages I always tell people early when I’m pregnant as the support if all goes wrong is welcomed

    • Thank you :)

      I’m sorry for your losses, I can’t imagine what it’s like to go through it twice let alone 5 times. It’s great that you feel you can share your pregnancies so that in the event of miscarriage you have support; I feel scared that I will miscarry again but the support I have already been shown by friends online and ‘in real life’ is immense, I don’t feel scared of being alone which is lovely, really.


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  9. Can totally relate to all of your Blogs, I have PCOS too, and yes I am SO grateful for my healthy son, and SO grateful that my second round of IVF/ICSI has been, so far, successful. But yes you have to make ‘light’ of it sometimes, I’ve made light of feeling crap during this pregnancy but it doesn’t mean I am not grateful, people do judge but they have no idea unless they have gone through it themselves, and the comments (and even texting you pictures of their own baby scans!) can be insensitive but they don’t get it, they don’t understand, so judge away! I do feel my son is ‘labelled’ even his teacher once said ‘oh well he is an only child isn’t he’ – f’ing bitch! I won’t tell you what a certain family member said, much worse! I have been on a hell of a journey as you have, but would I do it all again, hell yes! I’m doing this for my son as much as me because it’s wonderful having a sister and/or brother and if things do go wrong then I guess I have to deal with it, but am remaining hopeful for my family to be complete in 2014. Sending you hope x x

    • Absolutely. Sometimes I feel guilty that my capability as a parent is reduced while I spend time in hospital then at home recovering, unable to do the things we normally do. Hell, I felt guilty for going under GA for my second ERPC in case I died and Caspar was left without a mother. So in a way, sometimes I feel I am being inherently selfish, but my overriding feeling is that I want a sibling for HIM more than anyone else. I could do without the tiny baby months, they weren’t my favourite, I just want him to have a pal to grow up with! All the best to you too, I hope we both get what we want this year xx

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