There is no doubt about it, 2020 was a rough year. For many of us! The covid-19 outbreak has shocked us to the core, and while I never expected high changes when the clock struck midnight to arrive into 2021, I am hopeful of a better year.
That being said I couldn’t mark the turn of a new year without thinking about my favourite moment of 2020. There were some incredible highs even in the toughest of times, and one of those times was our baby girl being born. She really has slotted into the family like I never thought possible.
After trying for a few years and the sky gaining three of the brightest stars, we didn’t need to wait anymore. Our baby girl joined my husband and I and our two boys, and we couldn’t be happier. That was my moment. The 3rd of March 2020. Before the lockdown and schools shutting, before all of the craziness. For a few weeks it was normal. While it hasn’t been the first year of her life I expected or planned, it has certainly still been one to remember. I have made a video of our year if you fancy taking a look at some of the other memorable moments.
Here’s to 2021 and whatever it has planned for us.
There is no easy way to discuss this, because I genuinely think that people will feel different. But I have also found that it is still a subject that isn’t discussed enough, so I wanted to share how I have been feeling about it all. I guess pregnancy after loss was always going to be a rollercoaster of emotions. Some happy, positive and feelings of being overjoyed. Sometimes feeling like you are in a dark place of fear and anxiety. I don’t think the conflict of emotion will go away until there is a baby in our arms.
Loss isn’t easy to navigate
Going through an ectopic pregnancy and the two miscarriages changed me as a person, in ways I can’t begin to describe in words. I am not the happy, care-free individual I once was. I am so much more aware of hidden stories and things people go through behind closed doors, because I have been there. I break far more easily and probably rely on my husband way too much to build me back up again. However, while I wish we never had to go through what we did, I also want to take some positives from it. I’m so much more grateful for the things I do have in my life. I am much more aware of emotions, and I guess, to give myself a little credit, I am a far stronger person today than I ever was.
Today, as it stands today, 30 weeks pregnant, and I wanted to talk about the conflict of emotions that I have been feeling since being pregnant and to reach this stage, when my other pregnancies haven’t been so fortunate. To say that it hasn’t been easy will be an understatement. I have a conflict of emotion on a daily basis from feeling happy and excited to feeling anxious and worried from one minute to the next.
Those early days can often be hard
Back in the early days of pregnancy I had a huge fear every time I went to the bathroom. It was an expectation to find something was wrong. That history was going to repeat itself. I also felt hideous with pregnancy symptoms, albeit not as tough as some people have, and I felt conflicted to moan about those symptoms because I felt like I had to be this positive and happy person to be pregnant all of the time.
Being pregnant was a dream, it was something myself and my husband wanted for so long. So to moan about something that you have wanted felt so morally wrong. Had I have not been through the miscarriages, would I think twice about complaining of sickness or tiredness? Definitely not as I certainly didn’t when I was pregnant with my son.
It can often be easier to just talk, so I decided to discuss it openly through a video. This went live on YouTube and IGTV a few months ago.
Let’s hope that if you find yourself in this situation of being pregnant after loss that the worry you feel. So that the fear, and the anxiety will feel more normalised. It’s totally normal to feel down and out.
Back in 2015 the thought of baby loss hadn’t crossed my mind. I wasn’t aware of an ectopic pregnancy or what it was, and had minimal knowledge on miscarriage and loss. I’d had a baby that went to term, and all was well. But we knew we wanted to add to our family and as little as a year after Logan was born we thought we would try once more. My plan was to have children close in age. I wanted the nappy years and the lack of sleep to be a consistent period of my life. Hoping that I wouldn’t get used to a normal routine only to be thrown back into sleep deprivation once more. That was my plan, but the reality was somewhat different.
It took a while to conceive
It took a while to conceive, but eventually in september 2015 I got a positive pregnancy test and I was overjoyed. But the truth of the matter is that something didn’t feel right from the start of the journey. I don’t know whether I had a feeling, but it didn’t feel right. I can’t explain it.
However, for about two weeks things seemed to progress, but I didn’t seem to have many symptoms. In fact I felt fine, but I just put that down to the early stages and it not being that far along enough to start having the signs.
When I started to worry
My first worry was spotting and bleeding, and at this point I didn’t know what I was supposed to do. I managed to get in touch with my GP and attended an appointment that day. They referred me to the early pregnancy unit, a place I never knew existed. A department that unfortunately I have attended more times than I would like. I headed to the hospital, and the procedure of the early pregnancy unit began to take full force. It started with blood tests, and a discussion about how I was feeling. There was no heavy bleed, just spotting, and the first HCG results came back as a positive sign.
I went back a few days later only for my results not to rise as much as they should have, and they advised the devastating news that in this case I was miscarrying. I had no idea what to expect. It just feels like a blur to look back on.
The irony of this time of year is that during baby loss awareness week, which is between the 9-15th October, this was happening. It was the 15th October 2015 that I put on social media that we were miscarrying.
Not the end of the story
However, that sin’t the end of this story. I was still having my HCG levels monitored and fate the 15th I went back and there was a slight rise in the levels, something the staff could not explain. They had told me i was miscarrying, so how was that possible? I went in for a scan and they described it as a pregnancy of unknown location. That It was either over, and the hormone levels hadn’t dropped, or it was something else.
I was due back in on the 18th October 2015, a Sunday, for another HCG blood test, but the night before I felt terrible. It was in pain on my left side, and I had no idea why. I assumed it was an after effect of the miscarriage, or the last element of it. I’d struggled all night with the pain, thinking that there was no point talking to the doctors because I was there the next day anyway. I didn’t class myself as an emergency, and I certainly didn’t listen to my body. Something I do regret now.
Not knowing it was an ectopic pregnancy
I went into hospital, the pain was unbearable by this point, and they could see that the colour had drained from my face. I was rushed down for a scan, and they focused on the area causing me pain, my left side, and there it was. A pregnancy. In my left fallopian tube. This is what was called an ectopic pregnancy, and what I didn’t realise, is that it can be life threatening. That day I was booked in for emergency surgery to remove the pregnancy and that was the end of it.
Ectopic pregnancy was something I knew nothing about, but pain in your abdomen, shoulder tip pain, miscarriage signs like spotting and cramps, and also fainting can all be signs that it is an ectopic pregnancy.
There is nothing that could have done, nothing I could have done differently. It is just one of them things. During the surgery my left fallopian tube was removed. Had I have listened to my body at the time, then perhaps I would have had a different outcome. Who knows!
Four years on
This pregnancy four years ago was the start of the journey to conceiving, and further losses. It is a monumental time in my life where I was changed irreversibly. I still think about it, the grief never goes away, but you do learn to deal with it and move forward with your life. After all, I had my husband and two boys to think about.
The one thing that raising awareness for ectopic pregnancy can do is to help others feel less alone, and maybe sharing my story with you will help you to feel less alone. It is also good to raise awareness so that more people will feel comfortable in asking for help and reassurance should they need it.