Today is the last day of our first trimester.
We are one third of the way there. Did we ever think we’d get here?
It is hard for me to look back and think about the events that have got us to this point. I think of memories sometimes as snapshots, frozen moments. I don’t think memory really functions so we remember a continuum of events in a logical order. There are some moments that get frozen in the synapses, though, for me mostly static images or a few frames.
I remember as we first looked into IVF, I asked a friend who has been through many many many cycles with his wife, how they did it. He said we didn’t do eight cycles. We did one. Then we did one. Then we did one. I understand that now, because for us, that is how pregnancy has been so far. A day, then another day, a milestone, then another milestone.
So much of now is about looking forward. Often, for us, it is not very far forward. To look to forty weeks and birth seems a bit presumptuous at this point in time, as I look at the scan of my lovely fat haematoma, BASTARD. I have, however, found ever since we’ve known the sex of Gumby, the possibility of a baby at the end of this ordeal seems a lot more real, more concrete. I am so very glad of that.
Pre natal classes look forward, but pre natal classes would make me feel stupid just now. I don’t want to be amongst the smug pregnants, the happy glowers, naturally conceived, free of complications and worries. I don’t want to be surrounded by people looking that far forward. Because I know if anyone in that class disappears at 18 weeks and doesn’t come back because of a horrible tragedy, it’s pretty likely it would be me. I don’t want to be that person. As Claudia the counsellor said to me, we’ve already suffered a loss. The loss of a happy, worry-free pregnancy. That loss would seem to be writ larger sitting in a room full of other pregnant women. It is a loss I cannot really mourn right now, because each day, I have to do that day, I have to get through. I don’t want it smacked into my forehead like a frying pan. I think right now I would find sitting in those classes too hard, too confronting, until we have a real prognosis, not our current stasis.
But in some ways, I can look forward. Looking forward to 16 weeks, that seems do-able. Are we comfortable enough to shop online for nursery gear or car seats? Yeah not quite. Can I commit to the first purchase of baby clothes? Nope. But I can feel we’re getting closer to that time. I look forward to being closer to that kind of confidence.
So looking back. What moments brought us here?
- The look on my endocrinologist’s face when we said we’d been trying for 10 months to no avail, changed from the relaxed “ah don’t worry” back in March, to the “yes we need more tests” in September.
- The first visit with the gynaecologist as he handed over hub-in-boots’ results and I felt the bottom drop out of my stomach
- shortly afterwards, the walk back to the carpark at Royal North Shore, sobbing, and having to make the call to tell hub-in-boots about the capital L-O-W written on his report
- the same phone call, two weeks later, on the repeat test
- My vision going black around the edges during the Hy-CO-Sy test.
- the really loud episode of Bold and the Beautiful (talking about paternity suits) in reception as we waited for the first visit to our fertility specialist, while hub in boots ostentatiously read a brochure on “Male factor Infertility”
- The second visit to our fertility specialist, alone, with a huge list of questions, on my 40th birthday
- The first injection, with hub-in-boots coaching , and terrified, beside me
- The first egg collection and its related panic attack
- The first embryo transfer, giggling with relief as we geared up in our caps and gowns and slippers in an air lock room
- Ten days later the beers at the pub after a clinic visit and a failed first cycle, and the moment just a few hours later, sitting at a friend’s bbq when the doctor called, and we decided to start cycle two the very next morning
- The drama leading up to the trigger for the second egg collection, running into people we knew on our way to surgery, and the long marathons of Dexter box sets that weekend in couch recovery. Eating Twisties.
- Being out running my 5k, and receiving the call that all the embryos were still going on day 3
- running into the same people at embryo transfer, who had the same doctor on the same cycle and the appointment for transfer straight after ours
- The mixed feelings as they prepared the transfer and said that out of 12, two other embryos would make the grade to be frozen
- our friends in reception kissing me on the stomach to wish us gumby luck
- The sinking moment a few days later when I got called back to the clinic at no notice, as my progesterone levels had dropped
- The long weekend of ridiculous cramping at the end of the “two week wait”, popping panadol like smarties, watching what I ate, wondering was it another failed cycle
- The moment when I changed my mind, and realised the cramping was different and I felt weird, that this could be it
- The morning in the deli, waiting for the call after our pregnancy test, with me telling hub-in-boots ‘I’ll be surprised if it’s not positive’
- EVERYTHING about the day when we’d received the positive result. SO many great moments. Hub-in-boots’ complete over the top shock.
- Walking into my first ‘post positive test’ baby shop. Stunned. Standing looking at clothes, baths, cots, open mouthed, trying to digest the news.
- The worry before the first scan: is it ectopic? Blighted ovum? Missed miscarriage?
- The sight of the flickering heartbeat at a six weeks ultrasound. The measurement. The miracle. The staff we’d seen so often finally saying Congratulations.
- Finally seeing the hospital where I knew I wanted our baby to be born
- The relief on deciding on an obstetrician
- The moment on holidays when I started spotting and freaking out
- Three weeks later the sleepless night and then the first haemorrhage, and the drive to casualty, and the (TMI warning ) incredibly scary amount of blood
- Laying and sobbing in casualty
- The look on the doctor’s and hub-in-boots open mouthed faces, and then seeing the screen, knowing that Gumby was still alive, and I wasn’t going to get my scotch. Going from horror (about miscarriage, not the scotch) to seeing Gumby move its arms for the first time
- The feeling of being woken from a deep sleep by bleeding a week later with that sinking feeling all over again.
- The suspense just before the ultrasound after two more bleeds, not knowing if Gumby was still alive, then hearing the heartbeat
- Seeing Gumby moving and waving after two MORE bleeds, and hearing the heartbeat, and having my belly shaken to get Gumby to uncross its’ legs, as hub-in-boots sat beside me, legs in the EXACT same position
- Seeing that 1:21 odd of downs, feeling those odds just rip my stomach apart, then staring out the window in disbelief, trying to decide what to do
- Literally having my stomach ripped apart for the CVS test, and the “want to lay down and die” feeling after it. Looking at the ceiling. The clarity of knowing we’d made the right decision.
- Coming out of a deep sleep to receive the phone call with the all clear, and finally being able to call hub-in-boots with good news. : “We’re having a XXXX, and it does not have downs!”. The glass of Grant Burge sparkling that evening.
- All the contact with people who I’d lost touch with, or that I didn’t think would care, that care. All the quietly tucked away stories of difficulties I have heard, that now make me feel less alone in this.
- Waking up today, feeling ok, on the last day of the first trimester, after three blissfully non eventful days (touch wood), willing my way to Saturday and the second trimester. Looking forward to saying”we’re 13 weeks” tomorrow.
- All of the horrible horrible moments, in the midst of which ever-supportive hub-in-boots was still able to make me laugh
- the feeling of having grown a brain, a spinal cord, kidneys, legs and arms, fingers and toes, eyes and ears and a heart. The hope and warmth that comes as gumby gets bigger and keeps hitting the milestones.
THAT is how we got this far. THAT is the journey we’ve been on to here. And funnily enough, there’s very little of it I regret, to date. Sure, I wish our path to here had been easier. But this is our story. All we can do now is hope that this story, that Gumby, continues.
Happy second trimester, hub-in-boots. Thank you for your unbelievable love, care, good humour and support. Happy second trimester, Gumby. I’m glad we’ve got most of your important bits grown now, and you can get on with being a person. Happy second trimester, family and friends. I’m sorry for all the stress and worry, and thank you for the cooking and cleaning and shopping and worrying and supporting and visiting that you’ve done on our behalf recently.
Happy second trimester, BASTARD clot. Can you just fuck off and quietly absorb now? Ta.