… 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.