Monday, 24 December 2012

Pregnancy is not for the faint-hearted!

Yesterday was a pretty tough day so I’ve needed the past 24 hours to process it before sharing. In a nutshell, I went to the bathroom to find the same black stains on my underwear I had when I miscarried. For the past few days I had suspected I may be pregnant as I had the same symptoms, at the exact same times, I had in my first pregnancy. Anxiety and panic took over and I was convinced I had had a chemical pregnancy. I thought it was terribly ironic given I had only posted about chemical pregnancies a few days ago.

I tried to calm down by telling myself I had no idea what was happening. I came out of the bathroom convinced I was ok, but burst into tears as soon as I saw my husband. I fell into the chair and felt for him as he asked me what was wrong. I was sobbing so much I couldn’t speak. After a while, and through sobs and gasps of air, I told him I thought I had another miscarriage.
I had to explain to him what a chemical pregnancy was. Sometimes, I really wish he would just read my blog! I told him that I thought this baby making process might be the end of me, given I had had two miscarriages in 11 weeks. It all just seemed too much.

I called my Mother and told her I thought I had another miscarriage. She told me it sounded like the same spotting she had when she was pregnant with my older brother and that everything turned out fine. She also said that to me when I told her about the spotting before the miscarriage and that did not turn out fine. But, she also said “You are looking at this through the filter of what happened last time,” and she was entirely correct. But, how could I not?

I spent the next two hours glued to my Ipad researching chemical pregnancies and implantation bleeds as I thought it could be that – it seemed a more positive way to view it. Basically, an implantation bleed happens as the fertilised egg attaches itself to the uterine lining. It happens 6 to 12 days post ovulation and I would be right in that timeframe. It also comes with cramping and I definitely had that too. I was confused as to what was happening so decided to take a pregnancy test – it was negative.

This didn’t confirm things either way for though.  A pregnancy test picks up the level of human chorionic gonadotropin (HCG) hormone in your system but the hormone can’t be detected until the fertilised egg attaches itself and spreads the hormone through the blood system. It would probably be a few days before any hormone level showed. I decided to go for a walk to calm my mind.

My younger brother came for dinner on a mission from my Mother to calm me down. My husband had told me to chill out too. While I appreciate their thoughts, telling someone to chill out when they’re in a heightened state of anxiety, does not help. If I could chill out and relax I wouldn’t be freaking out!  

My brother said “I know I am useless at these matters but I always try to take a positive view on life.” On the whole, so do I, however there is only so much positivity one can muster. I know people mean well when they say be positive, and think how much worse things could be, but I think there are two problems with that:
1 – If you spend too much time telling yourself that other people have it much worse, as a way to feel better, you run the risk of minimising the impact your experience has on your life, increase the risk that you don’t deal with what’s happened, and don’t let yourself feel what you are actually feeling.
2 – It takes an enormous out of energy to be positive and there is nothing positive about black stains on your underwear!

Clearly, my over-reaction was nothing more than the anxiety and fear that are remnants of the miscarriage. It was a good indication that I need to do more work on releasing that, and will endeavour to take my good friend’s advice to Google relaxation breathing exercises.

The thing I realised, and I know this is based on my experience, is pregnancy is not for the faint-hearted. It is without a doubt the scariest, most nail-biting experience of my life and I’ve done a lot of scary things. Each month you try to conceive, you run the gauntlet of expectations, hope and faith only to have those rewarded with a positive pregnancy test or shattered when your periods arrive. You then have to suck it up to get yourself ready for the next month and that’s without adding fertility medication, IVF or other such things to the equation.

Sometimes I wonder if it’s worth all the effort, but I know that’s just the human tendency we all have to give up when things get hard. When I lost 35 kilos I had those moments constantly but I didn’t give up. When I was working full-time and studying part-time I had those moments but I didn’t give up. When I went on date after horrible date thinking I would never find the right man, I didn’t give up. Clearly, I’m not a quitter!

So 24 hours later I’ve calmed down, reassessed and shifted focus. I know I am not going to give up on this. I know it’s going to be hard, just like other things I’ve achieved and I know there will be times where I’ll be knocked down and I will have to get back up again. And I will do that because I am committed to achieving my dream. But clearly, I need some more weapons in my arsenal to cope with the journey so I’m off to check out breathing exercises on You Tube! 

Image by Salvatore Vuono
Courtesy of www.freedigitalphotos.net

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