Saturday, February 28, 2015

Casual Silver Banshee cosplay

I've got several days of leave to take before the end of March so I've now got 3 or 4 day weeks for a while, which is great, and most importantly, allows me to nap on the sofa on Friday afternoons while I re-watch Smallville, which I'm sure most of you know I love.  Smallville is my go to telly series for when I'm ill or don't want to think, or have a lazy day planned, so I'm currently on season 10.  Today I watched:
Warrior (which had Lois in an Amazon Princess outfit which is glorious)
Persuasion, which had Lois gaining the values of a traditional 50s housewife, while still being quintessentially Lois
Conspiracy, which is really, really quite dark
and Escape, which has Lois and Clark on a romantic getaway, to the same place that Oliver and Chloe go to, not for romance, but for a dirty weekend.  It's also got the Silver Banshee, whom I love. Particularly, I love her costume, so I got to thinking what could a casual Banshee cosplay look like.

This is the traditional Silver Banshee costume:

Now because I like the aesthetic so much I would love to do a true to the comic version of this costume, but I'm not sure I'd ever have the confidence to wear something so form fitting.  I also have a thing for Marvel's Black Cat's costume (it must be the monochrome), and a while ago I saw a great casual cosplay on tumblr.

Long story short, I was inspired by Smallville's episode and the Black Cat costume to come up with a casual outfit for the Silver Banshee.
These are the rules I'm playing to:

  • It's con casual, not everyday casual.  So it's something that needs to be recogniseable to other comic fans.
  • The outfit must ape the banshee's costume enough to be recogniseable but must consist of ordinary clothes I would myself wear everyday.

I found these items online which I thought would work:

Bangle by Liquorish from ASOS - to be worn one on each wrist
Black scoop neck top from Dorothy Perkins
Monochrome Top from Asos collection
Skinny black lisbon jeans from Asos
Boots from this ebay seller - they are called Oxford Roma and come from China.  I'd rather people bought goods from a UK shop though.

At a con you'd want to do Silver Banshee makeup, then I think you'd be recogniseable. What do you all reckon?

Instead of the jeans you could do black tights and a black lycra mini skirt.  Instead of the tops I've chosen you could do a tight black vest, but then you'd need to sew on white panels to approximate the Banshee's vest.  This version would probably only work for summer.

Things I have learnt:
I hate clothes shopping, even virtually, and even when it's costume related.
I don't know the terms for enough types of garments to search effectively.
I'm probably not cut out for these sort of posts.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Supergirl telly show

I've just seen news that Calista Flockhart is going to be playing Cat Grant on the Supergirl telly show.
I don't think I like this.  I hated Ally McBeal.  Hopefully Flockhart has more range than I saw on that godawful show.  I don't know the other actresses thus far named for the show so have no opinions on them.

I can tell you that I listened to last week and episode 2, discussing the film, was delightful.

On a related note (ish), I found out that the Wondy film starts filming later this year.  Hurrah!  I think I want to start reinstating my Wonder Woman Wednesday/Super Sexy Saturday/Super Silly Sunday posts.  I just need to time to locate and blog all the images I've got saved on tumblr and twitter.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Pregnancy after stillbirth: 17 weeks 3 day

I was all out of talking and then lying in bed last night stuff hit me and I had an urge to get everything out.  Which is why I write,

I've switched bras.  I'm now in the ones I got fitted for in Feb last year, going from a 30 back to a 34 back.  This isn't because the top of my torso has got fatter, it's because my bump is pushing all my organs up so I'm wider around the ribcage,  I was a month ahead this time last year.

Have I mentioned how my bump is a different shape?  It's lower.  At night when I roll over in bed sometimes I need to support my bump, or it pulls at my pelvis/groin.  I didn't have to do that last time either.  Mind you, last time I ran my first ever (and likely only) 10k race at 4 weeks gone.  I'd been going to the gym regularly for the previous year or so and my torso muscles were so much stronger.  Now they so, so much weaker.  Even the pilates can't make them tough again, not with a 5 month gap between pregnancies.  Ah well, it doesn't bother me.

I've been pretty tired these last few days.  And continuously hungry today.  It must be having a growth spurt.  Hopefully I'll get regular movements soon, then I can stop fretting that it's died inbetween midwife appointments.

My current fear is that I'll develop, or that I have, gestational diabetes.  So I want to have more fruit in the house and eat less sugar, but sometimes I just want sugar!  It's nothing out of the ordinary, just an ordinary craving, but it worries me.  I was using the myfitnesspal app to log my food, I used it before falling with C, after losing him, and continued using it until a couple of weeks ago when I just got fed up.  I liked it because it reassured me that I was eating what was necessary, and not just eating junk food. After falling again I set it to maintain for the first tri, then to gain by half a pound a week for the second tri.  Now, without it, I don't think I'm overeating and I am listening to my body more, so that's good.

I feel like i'm repeating last year, month for month, in symptoms, but the gestational dates don't match.  It's eerie,

I have a physio appointment next week to look at my knee.  I'll explain more about that later.  Considering when I left the message to book the appointment I asked them to look at my records, they didn't and had no idea of my history.  So I had to explain.  Gaahh.  They are situated in the damn maternity unit, why can't they look up records???

Monday, February 23, 2015

Multiversity and DC's timelines

I had wanted this to be some sort of in depth exercise in comics journalism but I kind of stalled when doing a small bit of research.  So instead I'll just put out some unsupported conjecture.

A couple of weeks ago I wrote about DC's new publishing direction.  I get frustrated when fans don't understand the long lead in times for deciding creative direction and producing a comic.  When I read  the Multiversity guidebook last weekend (it's really rather good) I came across a story with Earth 8 and Earth 42.

Earth 8's logo:

Earth 42's inhabitants, named the Little League:

In the last panel they've been taken over, they weren't always red eyed monsters.

Now, the Little League most likely were developed from the chibi Justice League from the pre New 52 Superman/Batman series:

But, to get to the point of when this stuff is developed, I think Morrison's Multiversity concept was developed in 2012 or 2013.  i.e. about 2 years before it was first published.  I think this because there is a webcomic, now called JL8, but which was originally called Little League.

I first came across and reviewed this webcomic for New readers... in 2012.  I know this because that's when the review was published, and I didn't write reviews too far in advance back then.  The review states that were about 40 strips published at that point.  I remember seeing a post from the creator, Yale Stewart, saying that DC had contacted him telling him stop using the name Little League because, if my memory serves me right, his webcomic's use of the name was copyright infringement or some similar thing.  Apparently it was a legal letter and I got the impression it was pretty official and scary looking.  So he changed the name to JL8.  I reflected the name change in my post, but sadly I didn't note the date of when this happened.  That'll learn me.

So, go have a look through at the JL8 tumblr.  Notice the chibi style of the characters.

Now to my recollection the chibi Justice League were never named the Little League in the Superman/Batman issues they appeared in, or in the Halloween or Christmas issues they had an appearance in (It was one or t'other).

So, my point is that if DC sent a letter to the creator of JL8 in 2012 or 2013 saying he couldn't use the Little League name, that could mean that they were thinking about and planning out Morrison's Multiversity as far back as then.  The ideas could have been purely at concept stage, or they could be being drawn out and the Multiversity being created and nailed down.

(I wish I knew the date of the change, or could find the post that Yale Stewart, the creator put up announcing the name change).

Or it could mean that DC were looking to capitalise on the Chibi Justice League at some point but they weren't sure when or how.  I think this idea is unlikely though, as the New 52 was launched in August 2011 so I think they'd be mostly busy with that and not with very conceptual ideas that might never see light.  What would be the point?  If they were annoyed with the JL8/Little League series existing they could have filed a proper take down notice to the creator.  They didn't, they just said the name had to change,

Of course, this could just be wild conjecture from me, but I think it goes some way to demonstrate how far in advance DC plan their storytelling.  It's for sure not just a few months in advance.

This all feels a bit self indulgent, sorry,

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Pregnancy, stillbirth, I've written a lot...

So I guess I should say something.

I feel really exposed publishing all those pregnancy posts.  I am actually a really private person and I don't like discussing my feelings, certainly not face to face, although I can manage it online.

As I said in the first post, I published this stuff because people need to know that babies die, and that this goes on in the midst of the rest of life, and that somehow, the rest of life goes on, whether we want it to or not.  I still read comics.  I still piss about on twitter and tumblr.  I go to work.  I see some friends.  I eat and I shit and I sleep and I breathe.  My body forces me too.  Grief sits alongside all that.  Losing your baby... everything has changed and nothing has changed.  People need to understand that.  Just because I go on with normal everyday life does not mean I am normal, that I have forgotten, that I am not hurting.  I will continue to hurt and I will miss my son until my dying breath and I just have to learn how to deal with that.

The second reason for posting is that others with rainbow pregnancies, or wanting rainbows, are probably looking for similar experiences and evidence of how life continues with all this stuff happening too.  I know that's what  I wanted last year.  I didn't want specialist baby loss books.  I wanted to know how this rawness could fit alongside everyday activities.

I deliberately did not blog C's pregnancy, because there are hundreds of first pregnancy blogs out there and I had nothing to add.  I also wanted things kept private.  I still want things kept private. There are things I will never ever ever post on here.  But now, there is a need for people to talk about rainbow babies and to see how it fits with the rest of their lives.  I have not been able to find any blogs about this that are not exclusively about this, and so I want more. So there must be others who want more as well.  So maybe I can help.

Of course, writing like this, for others, gives me a more objective feel, it sets me outside of my situation, and that helps because then it hurts less, for a bit.

One thing this will not become is a campaigning blog.  My son is worth more than that and I will not have him reduced to a slogan or a movement.

So a few words on language.
Please do not ever refer to my son, or any other children, as 'a stillbirth'.  Say that he died.  Or say he 'was stillborn', or that he was born still.  Referring to him as 'a stillbirth' is dehumanising.  He is not an event, a thing which just happened to me and then left.  He is a person and he deserves to be recognised as such.

Also, the word stillbirth does not really convey what happened - people don't understand that it means the child died in utero.  By referring to him as 'a stillbirth' (a noun?) you are making the circumstances of his birth the important thing, and people can file it in their minds without really understanding.  By saying he was stillborn (a verb?) you make him the subject and you describe how he was born (except you don't really because children die at all sorts of stages, before and during labour, and after, quite regularly).  That's important.  But best of all, you should say he died and then say he was stillborn.

I thought quite carefully about how to title these posts.  I decided on pregnancy after stillbirth rather than pregnancy after loss, or rainbow pregnancy, or second pregnancy, because I wanted it to be absolutely clear.  I wanted there to be no confusion.  I want people to come across this and go 'oh, stillbirth, that means they died in utero, that means babies die before they are born'.  If I titled these posts pregnancy after loss people might think that he died at a few hours or a few days old.  Those situations are just as terrible, but they aren't my situation.

I'll just say something about miscarriage - I hate that word.  Everyone knows about first tri miscarriage, but very few know what it involves.  No one knows about second tri miscarriage.  You have to labour if your baby dies after 14 weeks.  If your baby dies and you deliver him or her at 23 weeks and 6 days, your baby is classed as a miscarriage.  If your baby dies and you deliver him or her at 24 weeks exactly, your baby is classed as being stillborn.

No one can tell me that the baby is less of a baby for being born a day earlier.

Miscarriage is a vastly misunderstood term and doesn't convey the horror of your baby dying.  As far as I'm concerned your baby is a baby as soon as you decide it is, whether that's 5 weeks, 15 weeks or 25 weeks.  'Miscarriage' seems to reduce them to being abstracts when really, if they die after 16 weeks you've probably already heard their heartbeat and felt them move.  And yet they are never legally classed as a person.  I realise the 24 week thing in the UK is linked to viability and also probably our abortion laws, and someone more sophisticated than me will have to come up with a solution, but it seems to me that the term miscarriage is a cruel one.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

The acclaim given to sign language interpreters

The Limping Chicken has today published a post titled 'Are Interpreters like #SignGuy, who sign during public emergencies, going viral for the right reasons?'.

The article goes on to discuss the hearing population's reactions to sign language interpreters they deem as particularly animated and amusing, and the reasons why the signing might be so expressive.  Please go read it.  There are linguistic reasons why some signing is bigger, more animated and larger than life, I guess.

I got to thinking whether hearing people would be so interested in a Deaf person's signing.  Would a Deaf person on telly get the same sort of social media fans, would they get a hashtag dedicated to them.  In my experience, hearing people, unless they are involved in the Deaf community and or learning BSL, have a special sort of admiration for Interpreters that they don't have interpreters or translators of other languages.  Part of this is the obvious beauty of BSL, when a language is visual it's easier to appreciate than a spoken language (or is that just me?).  But hearing people seem to have special credence and admiration for sign language terps, beyond the visual nature of it.

I think it's driven by the pretty low awareness people have of sign languages, so when they do pay attention they are impressed, and then they think a sign language is either really hard or really easy to learn, in a way they don't apply to spoken languages.  You'll see loads of people claiming that they can understand interpreters on the telly.  Unless you've studied the language you can't.  People don't do this with French or Japanese.

Then people seem to think that BSL Interpreters are performing a selfless act.  They think of the profession and skills as being really rewarding.  I used to volunteer in the local Deaf Centre's cafe.  I had someone tell me that must be really rewarding.  Erm, I served teas and coffee??  That's not rewarding.  I volunteered because it was a good break from my regular job and I really enjoyed the social side of it.  I liked chatting with the regulars.  I got far more from them than they got from me, not least because I can make really bad cups of tea and it took me months to remember the sign for kit-kat.

Some people can't see that interpreters get satisfaction from just doing a job well.  They don't see the intricacies of the job, or the difficulties, or the hard situations a terp might be places into.  They don't consider the pleasure in finding accurate interpretations for complex concepts.

So because of this they don't regard interpreting as a real job.  Yet when faced with an actual Deaf person who used BSL they'd be completely stuck and they wouldn't know what to do.  They'd feel awkward.  They wouldn't know how to speak to them.

I'm not quite sure where I'm going with this or how logical it is.  I think I'm just a bit put out that despite some peoples interest in BSL they wouldn't think to learn it or think of Deaf people as normal people.

Friday, February 20, 2015

Jason Momoa as Aquaman image released.. hnnggghhhhhh

Oh ye gods....
I don't think I can stand properly...
I have a weakness for superhero beefcake.  You may have noticed.  I've never seen Game of Thrones.  I have no idea what Momoa is like in that.  I don't really have much interest in seeing it either, not even to check Momoa out.  I'd rather just see him as Aquaman.

If we can get away from my loins for a moment or two let's talk about this image.
He's not blonde.  He's got light streaks, but he's not blonde.  I don't care. He's beardy.  That's a major plus in my book.

He looks fierce, and dangerous, and not to be messed with.  That's entirely right.   He's the king of a nation, a monarch who leads his people into war.  He should look tough.  The Atlanteans aren't a warrior nation like the Themscyrians (which I can never spell right), but they have a formidable army and unlike our real world cultures the King and Queen are at the frontline of all battles.  So they've reflected that, and that's great.

The trident looks nice.  Not a traditional design, but it's good.  The minimal armour is nicely designed.  The tattoos are a good touch too.   We don't normally see his highness with tattoos, but they suit Momoa and we all know the Man of Steel DC Universe is very different from the comics, so that's cool by me.  I don't care that it's not orange and green.

Now the phrasing.  I'm a sucker for impassioned slogans.  I like the choice of font and the way it's emblazoned over Momoa's body language, looking like he's going to rip you to shreds if you try and mess with him.  It's inspiring.  I first thought that the Seven referred to the Justice League.  As in he'll bring them together.  Somewhere online think it refers to the seven seas, but that's daft, because he's already monarch of the seas.   I think the slogan means that the studio is uniting the key seven League members, or that Arthur has a pivotal role to play in getting the League formed.  He was a founder member after all.

All in all, good work Movie studio people.  That image is cool as all heck.  Hnnnggghhh.

Pregnancy after stillbirth: 16 weeks 5 days

Had another midwife appointment today.  She found the heartbeat really quickly, and kept with it.  I'm so relieved.  It sounded like a galloping horse.

It's been a rough week.  Friday to Sunday was just bad.  Monday and Tuesday was OK, but I've had terrible shoulders and neck.  So stiff and inflamed.  I've worked out pillows to support me on the sofa in bed and on my office chair but it's not perfect.  I use my body length u shaped pillow when lying down on the sofa, my dream genii lite one in bed to support my back along with one between my legs and a v shaped one at work on my chair.

I also sit on my exercise ball which helps get my pelvis into a better position and vastly reduces my pelvis pain.  My pelvic girdle pain is likely to get worse the further along I get so I need to do what I can to relieve it now.  My osteopath checked my pubic bone and that's not separating yet so that's good.  I'm sure I've heard my hips clicking and grinding though.  That's pretty rough.  Walking makes my pubic bone and pelvic girdle area hurt, which is shitty, to say the least.  I'll just need to make sure I get the bus more often.

As for movements, they are there, not very often, but they are there.  They aren't as definite as they were at 14 + 4/5/6 when I first felt them, but they are there.  They'll get stronger.

I slept for 12 hours last night.  I've also been hungrier the last couple of days so I figure it's going through a growth spurt.  I remember this with C.  I've checked photos from last time and I'm about the same now as I was at roughly 22 weeks.  I don't feel very big though.  I'm still half convinced it's just fat from too many pies.

Having said I slept for 12 hours, over the last few weeks I have been less tired, so I guess it's that second tri energy boost that I thought was a myth.  I haven't been nauseous for a few weeks either.  That's nice.  Can't quite believe I'm nearly 17 weeks.. that's almost halfway there.. every day everything is fine is a good day.

I also think that I've started warming up.  I haven't been *really* cold in about a week or so, and I don't think the weather has changed that much.

Today is a better day.  Or at least it is since my appointment.  This morning I was super anxious.  I had to go into town and couldn't face going to familiar places to do some food shopping, so went and had lunch instead which distracted me.  I think it will be like this every time before an appointment, which is one reason why I hate having appointments.  I need them, I need to go, but I hate the build up beforehand.

I told my midwife about some weird stomach pains I've had - just two, on different days and lasting for no more than a minute.  She said it's nothing to worry about. Could be gas, could be my body just being pregnant.  I said I didn't want to ring up the midwives because at this stage, if there's something wrong they can't do anything and I'd rather not know.  I kind of just want to bury my head in the sand until 21/22 weeks when they can do something.  I feel so guilty about this, like it will lead to this rainbow dying.  If I got bleeding or sustained, repeated cramping or pain that lasted more than half an hour, I would ring the midwives, but if it's less than that I want to ignore it.  My midwife said that attitude is fine.  It's not a wrong way to behave or think.  So I feel less reprehensible now.

This is so damn hard.  I still hate seeing newborns, or babies that are about the age C would have been.  A woman at work brought her new baby (maybe 4 months?) in last week,  Thankfully I was in a meeting so didn't have to see her, but it nearly broke me anyway.  I cannot believe that no one told me she would be coming in.  Just because I am pregnant again does not mean I am OK.  It does not make C's death any easier.  Having a rainbow gives me a reason to live.  It does not mean my son is less important, or that things are less painful.  I cannot believe I have to write this out and that people don't automatically know it.  Thankfully my immediate team at work are really understanding and are happy to shield me from things when they can.  I will be forever grateful for that.  But it doesn't stop it hurting.

Pregnancy after stillbirth – 15 weeks 3 days

We got a heartbeat at the midwife today.  I’m so relieved.  I thought it had died over the weekend.

In other news, pelvic girdle pain is an absolute shit.

Pregnancy after stillbirth: 15 weeks 2 days

I've had lots of changes in the last week.  My legs have been really uncomfortable in the evenings - itching and restless (in fact I'm itchy all over), but previously when I've laid down in bed they've felt better really quickly.  Then about 5 days ago they weren't improving.  So I slept with a pillow between my knees.  It was blissful.  I have no idea why it helps but it does.

The a couple of nights later I kept waking up with sore hips and a sore back.  At 15 weeks it's really too darn early for this stuff!  I got out my amazing U shaped pillow of wonders but it's not really helping this time.  I might try shopping for another sort of pregnancy pillow.

I've been less tired the last couple of weeks, or week, I think.  This might signal the mythical second tri energy boost I heard so much about last time.  I've certainly been less nasueous this last week.

At pilates I feel like my muscles haven't been used for weeks.  This is daft, because I walk for 50 minutes to get to the damn class.  My pelvis has also shifted again.  Bah.  I'm seeing the osteopath on Thursday so she should fix that.

I can no longer sleep on my stomach. Haven't been able to for a couple of weeks.  I'm getting the heartbeat checked tomorrow at the midwife appointment and I will talk to her about movements, because if they can't get the heartbeat and I'm not feeling movements I will panic.

I also have a counselling asessesment tomorrow which I am not looking forward to.  I know it's a good thing to do but I don't really want counselling.  I want CBT, if anything.  Bleurgh.

Pregnancy after stillbirth: 14 weeks 0 days

OK. So I'm at 14 weeks.  This means that whatever happens I am going to be delivering an actual baby.  If the baby dies tomorrow, I go through a full labour.  I guess I could end up having a c-section, but that would only happen towards the end of the pregnancy if we ran into preventable problems.  However, if this baby dies in utero I'll be labouring.  That's fine. I want to labour.

I'm in a flap about movements. You can start feeling movements from 14 weeks with your second.  I felt C at about 16/17 weeks.  Now, I'm focusing a lot of my attention on my belly trying to understand what I'm feeling.

It feels different to how it did a few weeks ago. I know when I've got gas in my organs because that's high up. I feel like my uterus area is fuller, and that there is something going on there, but it's not distinct. I remember with C I knew it was him because I could just feel something moving. I don't have that sensation yet, my uterus area just feels different to how it did a couple of weeks ago.

The 12 week scan confirmed my placenta was at the front, but they did say it could move around.  They said that with C, it didn't.  People say that if your placenta is at the front you'll likely feel movement later, but my placenta was at the front with C and I still felt him early.


Preganacy after stillbirth: 13 weeks 5 days

I'm getting confused with dates.  I keep thinking I'm further ahead than I am, or that I'm at 37 weeks.  Clearly I'm not at 37 weeks, but my head can't seem to grasp the actual date.  Each Friday, as the week rolls into the next one, I am certain of the date, by Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday I am lost again, time just rolls on and everything is a blur.  I could be at any stage.

I have begun to rub my belly, even though the bump is all stomach and other organs.  My uterus has expanded above my pubic bone, yes, but 98% of the bump is just me.  I'm intrigued by how my growing belly feels, but also I desperately want to be rubbing it feeling the baby.  I have quite a way to go until that happens.  With C, I don't think I started rubbing my belly until the third trimester.  I found myself doing it unconsciously.  I guess it instinctively soothes us and the baby when they are big enough to be moving round and really changing our shape.

Which brings me onto movements.  Some women can feel their second children move from 14 weeks.  I am desperate to feel this one move.  And scared, because when they start moving they can stop.

I have been paying such close attention to my womb area this last-nearly-week.  On Monday it felt tight a couple of times.  Not like cramping or contractions, but kind of full, and full of pressure.  And it wasn't my bladder.  I have been very aware of any bubble sensations in my abdomen, but they have all been so high up my torso, its definitely not happening in my uterus.

On one occasion where I think I've felt a bubble in my womb area, I don't know if it's wishful thinking or plain old run of the mill pregnancy gas.  With C I was pretty sure that what I was feeling was movements, and that was at 16-17 weeks.  So I expect that I'll def be feeling movements at 16 weeks with this one, but hopefully I'll start feeling something next week.  Just a little nudge here and there to tell me they are doing OK, that they are still around.

Pregnancy after stillbirth: 13 weeks 1 day

So, I typed up the care plan post yesterday, Today is about reflecting on where I am.  Messy mostly.

When I lie down I can feel my stomach much higher than it was a few weeks ago.  I can't pull my navel in as far as I could a few weeks ago.  I can feel my uterus above my pubic bone - it's quite solid.  I could first feel this about a week ago.  It's larger now. I'm clumsier than I was - that could well be stress.  I got a few shooting pains down my bum/leg earlier today.  That reminded me of the sciatica I had with C, but much later on.  My chin hairs are growing much more quickly.  My head hair is thick.  I woke up with lower back aches, that hasn't happened in a while.  My linea nigra hasn't much changed.  My stretch marks have faded a hell of a lot after the last nearly 8 months.  I'm quite sad about that.  I liked them all purple and fresh, they had a beauty to them.

In the city today I went a bit funny.  I just started feeling off colour - like I needed to sit down, then like I needed to eat something.  I got a bit sad and shaky.  I put this down to hormones.  I went and got lunch and felt emotional, in waves.  Then I had a massage, which although it's a deep tissue massage and therefore painful, I also find quite meditative and relaxing.

In my head, I feel a bit relaxed after the dating scan.  But also worried.  Just worried in a different way now.  Worried about different things.  I started telling people at work after the scan, and they are all really happy for us, but it makes me feel really uneasy being this open.  Like I'm going to have to tell them soon that I am no longer pregnant and this one has died.  I also got a few stories of other people's losses, and that makes me unbearably sad, that so many of us have to lose our children, whether it's in the first stage or the last stage.

I told someone who doesn't know my history too - another lady in my pilates class.  That got awkward, but I think I handled it well. She thought it was my first pregnancy, as you would, and said I didn't look too excited, so I said I am very high risk, then as the conversation developed I said something about how I'm tired all the way through my pregnancies, so she knows it's not my first, but she clearly doesn't think I got as far as I did.  Which is fine, I don't know if I really want to tell her, because it's an awful thing to put on someone.

She did come up to me at the end and apologise for being insensitive, which she wasn't being at all, she was reacting to pregnancy news with joy and happiness, which is entirely right and it's how people should react.  I am honestly glad that people are excited for us, we should be happy too, but it's so hard.  I think I reassured her that she shouldn't feel bad, I hope I did.  She did nothing wrong.

Telling people makes me feel queasy.  Gods know how I'm going to cope with the women in the pregnancy pilates class.... if they ask if it's my first I won't lie, but that's an awful thing to tell a pregnant woman, especially first time mothers.  But they need to know babies die and they need to know what they can do to stop it.  I think I'll have to follow it up with the correct movement advice.  Ye gods, this is an awful position to be in.

Pregnancy after stillbirth: 13 weeks 0 days - the care plan

We had our 12 week dating scan and our first meeting with the consultant (this pregnancy), so I wanted to write up how the meeting went in the hope that it will help some others.  Reading other people's accounts would certainly have helped me.

Remember that we had no known cause for C's death and our care plan reflects this.  If you lost your baby to a genetic disorder (inherited or random), or if you had an infection, or placental problems, or an incompetent cervix, your care plan will likely be very different.  Also remember that I was 34 when I fell this time and I had a vaginal delivery with C.  If I were older, or younger, or had a cesarean, this care plan would look different.

We had the dating scan first, the sonologist was lovely, warm and friendly. I actually thought she was a nurse at first, because she had that smiling manner that I don't associate with doctors.

She let us see the screen from the start, pointed out the heartbeat, facial bones, arms, legs, etc. She measured the nuchal fold, it's in normal parameters. She confirmed it has a stomach. She let us watch it for a while. She said everything was absolutely fine, as normal.

She said the movement was normal and as she'd expect,  She dated us at 12 + 6 which matches up with the dates given at the 10 week scan and puts us a few days ahead of where I thought I was.  The dating scan can never be 100% accurate, different sonologists can measure slightly differently and it depends on what position the baby is in as to how accurate the measurements are.  The dating scan is to give a baseline to work out your due date and to make sure you are not wildly differing from the date of your last monthly period.
Then we met the consultant.  Throughout all this we were in the regular antenatal/sonology department, and there are tons and tons of pictures of new babies on the walls, and it was horrible. On the plus side, it seemed liked most women there were getting called into see consultants so I guess it was high risk Thursday. That made me feel slightly better - that we weren't the only ones in trouble I mean.

Then we saw the consultant, he had another doctor with him, one of his team, she was OK. Good enough. The consultant briefly discussed what we agreed upon at the last meeting, e.g. more scans and I could labour or a c-section. He checked my file and said all was normal. I can't really remember the exact details of this part because he then said something about did we have any questions and I pulled out my A4 sheet and said, oh yes I have a lot of questions. So the rest of this post is my write up of what he said.

General questions:
Who do we ring at each stage if we think there is a problem? - Pre 22 weeks, ring the midwife. 22 weeks plus, ring the delivery suite.  No one can do anything to help the baby if it's under 22 weeks gestation.  So now it's just a waiting game.  I feel a bit relieved by this, like the pressure is off.

Is it worth taking aspirin? - Current research is that aspirin doesn’t do any harm, but there’s not much evidence to say it has a positive effect. For that reason he doesn’t prescribe them. I had no placental or umbilical cord problems so there is no need for me to take them.

Am I at lower risk of pre-eclampsia, placental problems and an incompetent cervix? Yes to all. Well, I didn't ask about the cervix because I felt a bit silly and was having trouble getting my words out. I'm def lower risk for placental problems and pre-eclampsia though.

Perma thrush results - Remember how a few posts ago I was whinging about my unidentifiable muff itching?  4 GP prescriptions for thrush and one swab later and it's still there. So the consultant and his doc checked the swab results and confirmed everything came back normal. The doc checked me and couldn’t see anything,  She thinks it is the scar healing (I got a second degree tear in labour). She ignored me saying it itched in my last few weeks of pregnancy and before I even got pregnant first time. So I don't think it's the scar healing, but I also think it's just something I have to put up with. So long as it's not an infection I can cope.

Can I have a test to see if I am immune to Toxoplasmosis? - This is not available on the NHS. I suspect this means our NHS trust doesn't offer it. Anyway, 50% of people who grew up with cats are immune to toxoplasmosis. If blood tests show women have the virus, this does not mean it will infect the baby, if it does infect the baby there is no way to tell what effect it will have, if any at all. So they don't offer the tests as they can unnecessarily women.  I'm happy with this, I think I'm fairly low risk and I always wash my hands after being around cats.

I was going to ask 'what does the consultant do?, 'what is he responsible for as opposed to the midwife? and 'what are the warning signs or problems in pregnancy?', but I decided not to. I know who to call if I'm having problems and I know I'll only see the consultant after scans.  I'll be thinking every little twinge is something going wrong so I'm best off just calling the midwife.

I am also going to pluck up the courage to read bits of the hated What to Expect book again.  This book is great, if your pregnancy is low risk, remains low risk and you get a live healthy baby.  If it all goes wrong without any warning it's too late to read the ENTIRELY SEPARATE section on problems in pregnancy. This section should be incorporated into the rest of the book, because how many expectant parents will anticipate they might need this section.

Scans and appointments:
What will they check for at each appointment? Heart rate, amniotic fluid levels, growth (every 2 weeks - any more often than that and it’s not reliable), blood flow through the umbilical cord at 20 weeks and from 28 weeks, organs etc at the 20 week anomaly scan. CTG monitoring will be used when I come in for emergency scans - where they measure heart rate against movement.

Will we meet the consultant after each scan? - We will meet him or one of his team. he can't guarantee to be working every time we have a scan.

Are the scans going to be doppler scans? Yes.

Will the scans check for growth, heart rate and blood flow? Yes

I want scans at 20, 24, 28, 32, 34, 36 weeks. What if I want more scans later on? Scans are now arranged for 20, 24, 28, 32, 35, 37 weeks. I can ask for more if I want them later on, but there’s no point having them more frequently than fortnightly as they can’t tell much if they are more often.

Are there any risks to ultrasounds? Not as far as they know.

We decided against a 16 week scan, as the Early Pregnancy Unit sonologist confirmed they can’t pick up all problems at 16 weeks, these are picked up at 20 weeks, and if they do pick up a problem there is nothing we can do. So I don't want a 16 week scan - I'll have weekly heartbeat checks by the midwife from 14 and a half weeks and that will do me.

Third trimester:
How do steroid injections to develop the lungs work? When do I need to take them? What are the risks? Steroid injections won’t be given later than 35 weeks if I intend to labour. If I decide on a c-section they can be given up to 37 weeks.

Can I meet the midwives before delivery -The consultant will check if this is possible at the 35 week scan as the rotas will be arranged then. This has not been requested before but he doesn't see why it can't be arranged, provided the right midwives are around.

What is current movement advice? Consultants say if there’s any change ring them - they follow RCOG guidelines. I told them community midwives and delivery suite say 12 movements a day is normal and expected and if that's wrong (it is) they they need to get the community midwives to stop giving out that advice. I said if I'd known the guidance was to worry when movement changed I'd have gone in the day before, or the day before that. The consultant said he'd speak to the head midwife about changing the advice.

That was the hardest part of the meeting - telling them I think their advice is shoddy and implying that my son could have been saved if they gave out correct advice. I feel awful.  Not because I feel bad for how they'd take it, but because it brings up all sorts of awful memories and emotions for me, mostly retaining to it being my fault C died.  The fact was every. single. midwife, I saw, whether that was the community midwives at my regular antenatal appointments, the 2 that delivered the ante-natal classes, and the midwives on the delivery suite who I rang when I was concerned about movements earlier in the pregnancy said:

If you are worried about changes in movement, ring us, but we only expect you to feel 12 movements a day.
This advice was given out even when it was raised that I usually felt more 60, or 80 movements, so if it dropped to 12 wasn't that a problem.  I was told no.
I'm not holding any one midwife to account here - I adore my regular midwife, she was great.  I'm sure the full midwifery team was giving out this advice with a clear conscience and that they believed it to be right.  I'm angry at the training they are given and I am angry that the consultant team gives out different advice, because by the time you see the consultant team it's too bloody late.

Can I have test for group b strep test at 35 weeks? I think they said the blood test is not available on the NHS, again I suspect this means is not available from this NHS trust. However if I go to the GP and ask for a vaginal swab to be taken at 35 weeks because I am itching, they will test for Group B Strep and everything else as standard, as I am pregnant.

What other tests are available? None that are recommended. The diabetes test at 28 weeks is always done for women in my position.

I want the heartrate to be monitored, can I move around while this happens? They can monitor with a battery operated thing, or use something plugged into the wall which will give me some freedom of movement.

How are they going to monitor me and the baby? The baby’s heartrate will be monitored throughout labour by the above described machines.

They want to induce me between 37 and 38 weeks. I want to be induced at bang on 37 weeks. They will use the scans to determine the health and size of the baby and work out when is best to deliver. I confirmed I want to labour, not have a c-section.

I also wanted to ask these questions but decided they would be best off being brought up closer to the time:
What are the warning signs or problems in labour?
Will I have a machine to measure both heartbeats and antibiotics to stop any infections?
When is the earliest I can deliver - I want 36 to 37 weeks. Talk me through the risks and complications.
Will the consultant be there at labour?
Who else will be there at labour, what can I expect, labour wise? I mean for duration, pain relief, tearing etc.

After care
I will also ask these questions closer to the time:
Can the consultant paediatrician to do initial checks, can I have daily home visits by the midwife for the first 10 days
What are the after birth checks?
Can I have blood cultures/swabs taken at birth to test for infections?

I'm happy with my care plan. It's as thorough as it can be.  I'm happy for people to ask questions although I will not tolerate anything rude, judgmental or abusive.

Pregnancy after stillbirth: 12 weeks 1 day

I realised that the first sentence or so of what I type here will show up on twitter when the post is linked there...

So perhaps my first words in these posts shouldn't be about the state of my nipples?  Since you asked, they've stopped being painful a few days ago.  Thankfully.  It's damn cold here at the moment.

I'm quite amazed I've got to 12 weeks.  I have my dating scan tomorrow and our first meeting with the consultant to talk about our care plan.  It's really scary.  I'm going to have to tell people at work tomorrow as well. I feel like the 12 week scan is safe (hah).  But I'm showing. People will be noticing and I need to be open about it as otherwise no one will know what to say.  I can't bear that awkwardness and I hate secrets.  I've been running through possible ways to introduce it and what text to write in my head.. it's hard and upsetting and I don't think people will know just how stressful this whole thing is.

I saw another new midwife on Monday, I didn't like her.  She was very clinical, not at all warm.  She said I should look at the post mortem report to see when C died because it would be 'interesting'.  Fuck off.  She asked me about his movements too, and I felt like she was judging me.  I did not enjoy that appointment.  She had a student midwife with her so I took great pains to explain certain things about what happened, how we reacted and about how I followed the medical advice and guidance and movements to the letter, and it was wrong.  As I was doing this I felt like the main midwife was talking over me.  She offered to try and find the heartbeat and I think I froze into terror.  I want them to try at 14 weeks, knowing that may still be too early.  When they try, if they can't find one, I think I might break.

I got my swab results back - they tested for general infections, STIs and thrush.  I have none of them.  So the good news is I don't have an infection which will kill this baby.  The bad news is I still itch - unidentifiable muff rot as I put it.  I'll speak to the consultant about it tomorrow.

We went swimming on Sunday.  I kind of enjoyed it.  When we left I noticed my pelvis and hips were on the wonk. I later found out this is because I was doing breast stroke and you shouldn't do the leg part of breast stroke in pregnancy, because everything down there is so loose and flexible.  So that's me told.  I'll do normal leg kicks next time.

I think I might put up my care plan on here after the appointment.  I think it might be helpful to some people?  I hope they date me as closer to 13 weeks tomorrow.  I think they might date me as 12+6.  Fine by me.  The later they date me the sooner this baby comes out.  25 weeks to go.

Pregnancy after stillbirth: 11 weeks 1 day

I'm hacked off and emotional and have had a terrible few days. Long rant about thrush coming up.

At the end of my pregnancy with C (late May) I mentioned to the midwife that my bits had started itching. She said it was probably thrush and told me to go get canestan, which I did. It didn't help (but I may not have used it for long enough). I then noticed the itching again a couple of weeks after I had C, so mentioned it to my GP at my post natal check up, she prescribed the oral canestan assuring me that if it was thrush this would kill it.  It didn't work.

I saw another doctor (who was bloody awful) who checked me, didn't think it was thrush and prescribed me E45 moisturising cream and wash. This didn't work.

I saw another doctor (much better) she checked me, thought it was probably thrush, but maybe not. The itching is on the outside, not the inside. She prescribed me mild canestan cream to take for a week to break the itch/scratch cycle and said to come back if it didn't work. It worked for about 3 days, but as soon as I stopped the cream it kept itching.

I went to see another doctor, who didn't check me, because I couldn't face it, told me it was probably thrush, prescribed me stronger canestan cream (that is safe to take while pregnant) to break the itch/scratch cycle and said to come back if it didn't work. I was blissfully itch free whilst using the cream. the day after I stopped it came back.

I booked a Dr's appointment today to get a referral to a gynaecologist after a friend told me that perma thrush exists. I got there to find the nurse had changed the appointment to see her, not the doctor, as thrush isn't a Dr's job, queue me telling her I'm pregnant and she being interested and excited and me having to explain my history as I didn't like the way the conversation was going.  She checked me, said the discharge looked like thrush but the red area doesn't and took a swab. She told me that stopping the creams can make it itch more as your body reacts to not having the cream.

She referred me back to reception for a Dr's appt there and then.  I saw the Dr (a good one), said I have my 12 week scan and consultant appointment next week and will be seeing my obstetric gynaecologist consultant then and she said he can probably treat it.  If she were to make a referral it could take weeks. So I see the consultant next week, hope he'll check out my bits and if not I ring my GP again and she'll refer me through to another gynaecologist.

I'm fed up. I'm fed up of itching, I'm fed up of Drs telling me different things, I'm concerned that it's not thrush and it's some other horrible disease.  I don't think I can manage holding another funeral.  I hate this I hate this I hate this.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Pregnancy after stillbirth: 11 weeks and 0 days

My nipples are still sore but are easing. I'm ridiculously hungry. I have dinner at 7ish then need toast or something at 10 before I go to bed.
My hips hurt. I wake up in the middle of the night and one of my hips will ache horriby. My pelvic floor is awful (despite doing weekly pilates since mid July) and my legs are tingling due to bad circulation.  I need to mention this to my midwife when I see her next week. I need to remember to talk about my physical stuff.
The 10 week scan was magic and left me happy. :) They move at 10 weeks. Properly move.

Pregnancy after stillbirth: 10 weeks and 3 days

I had the 10 weeks scan and it was delightful :).  The baby now has limbs and was moving around like a very active thing. For the first time I actually feel happy and like I've got a real baby. J  Because I've gone past the 10 week mark I also feel like I don't have to worry about miscarriage, because there's only a 1% ish chance of miscarrying now, which is about the same chances of having a stillbirth, and that 1% stillbirth risk is a chance I'm very prepared to take.  Clearly, or we wouldn't have tried.

Physically, I had cramps the day before the scan, that scared the shit out of me.  But I think it was a combination of ligaments stretching, needing a crap and the chair I was sitting on.  I had no bleeding. The doctor who scanned me was wonderful.  She talked to me about the what future scans will show, what they can do or not do, where we'd got for scans and she was frank and honest about the fact that the baby might still die and that there's not a lot they can do about that.  This sounds gloomy, but what I want and need is honesty.  People telling me that things will definitely be OK are talking horseshit.

I had very much showing now.  I can still wear baggy stuff, maternity clothes aren't quite right yet, but I look pregnant.  Thankfully no one has asked me whether I am or not, and I don't really want to tell people till I've had the 12 week scan, but I feel comfortable with being pregnant now.  I really believe it.

Buoyant. I feel buoyant.  I haven't felt happy in so long, and even though it's not permeating my soul happiness, I'm glad I can feel this.  I miss C with every fibre of my being and I am easily tipped over to the beginnings of tears and lumps in my throat, but I am also happy for this baby.

Gods I hope this one lives (how stark is that).  I'm not expecting it to though.  I'm expecting it carry it until it dies and then to labour again.  But while I'm carrying it I can be happy about it and love it.

Pregnancy after stillbirth: 9 weeks 4 days

I'm definitely showing.  I can still pass as just a bit fat, but a lot of my clothes are def too tight.  It's a tiny bump but it's there.  I'm back to wearing fat green jeans again and my lycra skirt.  Classy.  Not really suitable for work.  I don't like things resting on my belly now.  Since it is actually my stomach there it's quite uncomfortable.

Bought a fat dress yesterday which will be quite unflattering but should hide the burgeoning belly for another couple of weeks.  Also went into Mothercare to buy some maternity trousers.  It was a horrible horrible experience.  Don't do it, just don't.

I don't think I'm ever going to get properly sore boobs.  No problem there.  Nipples are sensistive enough as it is.
I woke up properly hungry this morning.  Really seriously hungry.  Also thirsty but don't like water.  I'll keep drinking squash.  It's one way to get liquids into me.

I realised why I'm not getting cramps - this is a second pregnancy and everything is already stretched.  It's easier for it to expand.

Pilates is hard.  The legs up into tabletop positions are hard, the head and legs up are nigh on impossible.

I want to look in the What to Expect book to compare my symptoms but I hate looking in it because it's so bloody optimistic and cheery.  Eff you What to Expect.

Seeing the new midwife on Monday.  I'm scared. I think she'll think it's my fault.  She'll be secretly blaming me.

Eff this shit.

Pregancy after stillbirth: 9 weeks 0 days

I've not been sleeping well.  I've felt OK over the Christmas period (it's the 30th December today) but that's because we're in a new albeit safe environment and I feel like I've run away from my shit life.  I have had lots of Thoughts going through my head, usually from about midnight to 2am, and more nightmares.  I won't detail these - some things needs to remain personal - but it has led me to realise that I need to write something to get this stuff out of my head.

So, where to start.  Howabout my fears around when this clump of cells/blob/foetus becomes an actual real baby.  How do I express my terror about losing it before it's a real baby. I know what to do when it's an actual baby and it dies.  You go through labour, you hold it, you cry, you hold a funeral.  Everyone is very sad until the point when they're not and it's just me and my boyfriend left feeling empty and dead and despairing.

But you only go through labour from about 14 weeks.  Before that I guess it's something like a mini labour?  I dunno. Your cervix has to open and you bleed and pass clots and from about 9 weeks you could see the pregnancy sac and if you look really close you could see the foetus and oh my god this is the most horrifying thing I can imagine.  What would I do?  Would I look at it?  I don't think I could function if I didn't, because I deal with stuff by looking at them, analysing them and understanding them, but if I did look at it and understand it was my baby in the toilet or in the sanitary towel or my knickers or whatever I think I'd start clawing at my face and I'd go irrecoverably mad.

Then if we make it to 14 weeks and it dies after that what would it look like?  It would be tiny. Before 24 weeks they have transluscent skin.  Could I bear seeing my baby that is not a real baby?  When they are really small and you cremate them you don't get ashes.  How the fuck am I meant to hold another funeral?  Will anyone else care?  Is it that one is a tragedy but two is careless? And we're supposed to just get over it, because we've already done it and we know how these things go.

Better for us to get to 24 weeks and then it dies because then I can cope, then I can understand, then I know what I'm looking for.

When am I supposed to start bonding with it?  The 8 week scan showed that it has grown so I'm fairly certain that we'll get to 12 weeks OK.  Will it look like a real baby at the 10 week scan?  By 12 weeks they are real babies, swimming around.  Do I start bonding with it then?  Is it a real baby then?  How can it be a real baby if I don't need to labour to get it out?

I don't have anyone I can speak to in real life about this.  I can't speak to my boyfriend because he can't think about this stuff, and as much as the medical profession is geared around caring for me, it needs to care for him too.  This affects him - he is - will be - a father again.  This doesn't just happen passively around him, he is involved and key to the whole process.  My friends will get upset if I talk to them about it, so I sit here throwing everything down and hoping it will clear my head.  Maybe it is.  Perhaps it is bringing everything to the surface instead and I'll be a whimpering wreck by the time I'm finished writing this.

Or maybe I'll move on to writing about the physical stuff and pack the mental stuff away as over and done with and then not deal with it until it bobs up to the surface again.

So physical stuff - my nipples have been getting more sore over the last week, but my boobs aren't sore.  Not like I remember them being with C.  They felt like they were on fire.  I'm not showing yet although my clothes are tighter.  I suspect this is a mixture of mince pies adding to my reasonably substantial middle and the fact that I'm too early.  When I lie down I feel my belly is raised, and have felt that way for a week or so, but that might be wishful thinking.  I don't have any scales here so I don't know how much weight I've put on, but I do know I haven't been overeating.  I have been eating rich, fatty, sugary stuff, but I haven't been overeating.  Nausea isn't a constant, but I did wake up yesterday, have a shower, felt very hungry and then dry heaved once before I legged it downstairs for a fruit salad breakfast.  We went out for cooked breakfast half an hour later and while waiting for it to arrive I had to eat a fruesli bar, I was that hungry.  Mind you, my lunch consisted of a hot chocolate and a fruit scone so I guess it balances out. I feel tired a lot, but I think that is more being around other people, not sleeping well and emotions, rather than pregnancy per se.

I was wondering if this physical stuff would be interesting for anyone to read (when I publish it in about 3 or 4 weeks time), but I've decided it is useful for me to write down for me.  These days are dragging.  I need to mark them somehow.  We came down on Christmas Eve and I've just not been busy, so I've had time to think, all day, every day.  At least work keeps me busy.  The first two or three days I was barely thinking about pregnancy and babies, except for at night, but then my head started going all over the place and I was getting hung up on dates and scans and weeks and everything.  I had to keep reminding myself I wasn't past 12 weeks yet.  I've now decided to think about just the day I am at.  Today I am 9 weeks 0 days.  Tomorrow I will focus on being one more day along.  The day after I shall focus on that day.

One more note about physical stuff - I keep scaring myself thinking I've got cramps, but as they don't last long and go once I've visited the toilet I'm pretty certain it's just my bowels and not my uterus.  Thanks be to everything that I don't have the severe cramps I had with C.  If I did I think I'd be laying in bed going nuts.

And now, I feel lighter.  Jubilant almost.  It's good to write.

Edited to add: here is a link to the Miscarriage Association's webpage giving info on the likelihood of miscarriage throughout the first trimester.  This particular piece of text gives me hope:
"Research has shown that if you see a heartbeat at 6 weeks of pregnancy, the chances of the pregnancy continuing are 78%.
A heartbeat at 8 weeks increases the chance of a continuing pregnancy to 98% and at 10 weeks that goes up to 99.4%.
So things could still go wrong and sadly sometimes do, but as long as there is a heartbeat, the risk of miscarriage decreases as the weeks go by."

It's in the 'There's  a heartbeat.. I'm still bleeding' section.
Also, I hate the term miscarriage.  It's horrible.

Pregnancy after stillbirth 7 weeks 6 days

My boobs have grown and my clothes aren't fitting round my middle.  I don't know if my thickening waist is down to fat because it's December or if it's because I'm showing.  IIRC, those early days can be confused for just being a bit fat.

Pregnancy after stillbirth: 7 weeks 5 days

Ugh Christmas is confusing.  I'm grieving C - making it feel like I have nothing to celebrate, yet I also have a tiny tiny bun in my oven that I desperately want to celebrate but I am so fearful of doing so.

On the physical side of things, my pelvis has gone wonky again so I'm booked in to see the osteopath in the new year.  I suspect my pelvis was on the wonk before I ever got pregnant, but being pregnant in such quick succession has made it worse.  I'll get it fixed.  So long as it is OK for labour I don't care what I have to do between now and then.

I still don't have sore boobs.  Nausea is coming and going.  I was talking about when I started wearing maternity clothes last time.  A friend said I was very visibly pregnant at 15 weeks, but wasn't in maternity clothes every day then.  I really really want to start swelling and be in maternity clothes soon, because then I think people will recognise me as a mother again.  Although then I'll have to start the explanations and remind people that this is filled with terror.

I just want life to stop being so damn hard.

Pregnancy after stillbirth: 7 weeks 2 days

I'm struggling with what to write here.  I don't want to discuss the really personal stuff as some things need to remain private.  I could just do informative stuff, but that would feel really dry and I need these sorts of spaces to be honest with myself, honest with my readers and honest with my feelings.  I need to be able to write down and explain my emotions and thoughts, even if my understanding is only true for that one moment that I am writing things.  And of course, I want these blogs to be useful to anyone else going through the same thing, because it's hard, it's so, so hard.

The hospital is offering us fortnightly reassurance scans until 12 weeks.  Everything is fine, but they want to give us the opportunity to put our minds at rest.

I started getting nauseous last week, at 6 weeks 2 days.  With C, I got nauseous once for about 3 hours.  This time I've had a few days of feeling sick, but I haven't been sick.  My hips ache and I've got a few twinges, but nothing like the severe cramps I had with C.  If I got those cramps now I'd be convinced I'd be miscarrying.  With what I know now, my doctor really should have referred me to the early pregnancy unit last time.

I spent the weekend away with family and ate a lot and now I feel fat and like people will look at me and just know that I'm pregnant. But that's daft.  I can't be showing at 7 and a bit weeks.  I think I'll start showing in January, just when I'm back to work and am about 10 weeks gone.

When C was born I realised the capacity of the heart to just grow and grow.  I never would have thought I'd suddenly have more space for all that love.  The love is there but it's inextricably mixed with grief and that will never go away as I will never stop missing and mourning my boy.  I was wondering how my heart would grow again for this new child.  I thought maybe my feelings would for C would be pushed aside or reduced somehow.  I realised this weekend that is not true.  My heart is growing for this new baby, it's not doubled in size as I'm still cautious and I'm still worried and I can't quite see it as a baby yet, but I now know it has the capacity to grow.  There is a tiny flickering of warmth and love in there and it will grow, regardless of what happens.  I also know, now, that this new baby doesn't detract from what I feel for C and will never do.

I have two children, one living (for now).

Pregnancy after stillbirth 5 weeks 6 days

I have been getting daily groinal twinges for the last week, I’m sure of it.  My appetite ramped up this morning.  Last night I had horrific nightmares, I think about this baby dying, but also about C, I think.  I’m very relieved I can’t remember the details.  I don’t have any sore boobs yet, which worries me.

Tomorrow is the 6 week scan and I am trying not to be terrified.  Saw my midwife earlier today. I adore her, she’s wonderful.  She helped.  She just lets me talk and responds to my worries.

Pregnancy after stillbirth: 5 weeks and 3 days

I keep thinking I should write something this week.  That I should log what I'm feeling in my body and my emotional state, but as I sit down to write this I've got Jurassic Park on the telly and I'm not sure what to put in here.  I'm alone in the house, which suits me fine, I like time to myself and I could quite easily just forget about all the bad stuff I've been feeling, and there's a lot of that.

I told another friend today, she's been there for me a lot this summer.  She got teary.  She said something really good too, that she was happy but it felt bittersweet.  That felt right.

I went to the hospital today for some cryotherapy for a toe wart.  I'm going there next week for an early 6 week scan.  It felt horrible walking around the hospital today, knowing that I'll be going next week to the maternity department, waiting to see if the fetus has a heartbeat, or if it's too early to tell, in which case we'll be going back the week after for another scan.

I'm kind of hoping we have twins, but I know that if the scan reveals we have twins there's a 30/40% chance one will die before 12 weeks.  In which case they get asorbed by the remaining twin.
It's not easy being pregnant after loss.  I'm a mix of subdued (very subdued) happy and absolute blind terror, which I try to bury at every possible moment.

Physically, I have been getting a few more twinges, but no full on cramps yet.  I woke up with a headache this morning, similar to the ones I had last time.  I think they started around this time when I had C.  I'm tired but that could be emotional stuff.  I'm not starving hungry yet.  It won't feel real until I see the fetus on the screen.

I'm fretting about telling people. I don't know when to tell, or who to tell, or how long I should hide it for.  I don't entirely trust people to react the way I want or to be supportive.  What does supportive even mean?  I can't really explain. It's too painful.  What isn't supportive is expecting us to celebrate Christmas.  I'm quite tempted to just stay in bed all day on the accursed 25th December.

I'm doing this as a diary as a record for myself and as a record for this baby, to prove that they exist and they are not just in my imagination.  I'm quite happy to accept that I'm pregnant (or will be in a few weeks) but I cannot fully accept that this baby will come out living and breathing and crying.  So I need this record to prove that it's true.

Pregnancy after stillbirth: 4 weeks and 5 days

I'm just about coming to accept that I'm pregnant.  Not because of the tests I've done, but because my period hasn't arrived.  I trust my body more than I trust the tests.  Ironic really, because I think it's my body that failed me last time...

I feel like I might be capable of feeling excitement about this pregnancy, but I keep reminding myself that it's so early and I could easily miscarry before 12 weeks.  1 in 4 or 1 in 5 pregnancies end in miscarriages in the first trimester.  Logical me says there's no reason why I should be special and get past the 12 week mark.  Emotional me is convinced I'll get to 37 weeks again and then the baby will die.

I'm not feeling quite so resentful, angry or hurt when I see pregnant woman or babies around.  Christmas isn't quite so painful as it was.

Pregnancy after stillbirth: 4 weeks and 1 day

I'm not even 5 weeks in and I've got indigestion..
I'm remembering the itchy and swollen legs..
I wish I could really remember what the baby's movement feels like but I feel my brain is refusing to let me recall the details....
I'm panicking about what to do.. when I will show, how I will tell people..

I went to see the midwife for my check in appointment on Monday. That was scary.  Fear has set in.
I think I might need to ask about getting CBT sessions - my brain is doing lots of scary repetitive thoughts which I really don't like.

I told my immediate team, because they were there for the last pregnancy and they came to C's funeral, and they could see the fear on my face when I came back from the midwife appointment.

Had a horrible few minutes in a work meeting today when people were asking each other what their kids' names were, but nobody asked me.  They know what happened, they know I have a son, but really I can't blame them for not asking, if the thought to ask occurred to anyone they would have no idea if it would be OK to ask or not.  We just hide death in this country.  We don't know what to do or say or how to react and it's bullshit.

Had a moment of feeling incredibly sick earlier today, but I think that was just hunger.  I doubt I'll get morning sickness, I didn't last time, but since I know so many women who had morning sickness I somehow feel like if I get sick it will mean everything is OK.

I have an early pregnancy scan booked for the 6 week mark.  Just to check there is a fetus there, and that it has a heartbeat.

Pregnancy after stillbirth: finding out.

So I did a pregnancy test and I got a pale second line.  For those of you who haven't tried for kids, a second line of any shade on most pregnancy tests means a positive result.  It was difficult to see it, but it was there.  I tested again the next day and the line was still there, a bit darker perhaps.

I knew that when I got pregnant again I would want to blog about it.  I need a way to get my thoughts out and I knew that I needed an audience that wasn't my fellow Sands members.  I go between furious and uneasy and baffled when I think that I didn't know babies could die in utero without any warning and I want more people to know that this happens.  It's important.  We all know about the dangers of the first trimester but no one talks about the death of babies in the second and third trimester.

If I want people to know about this then I need to write about it, not on a specialist child loss blog, but on my regular blog, where people follow me for my comics thoughts and other guff.  I want other bereaved parents to find these writings, to find them useful, and I want parents whose children are all living to know about this, and I want the childless to know about it too.

I write this on the second day of knowing I am pregnant.  I have no idea how I will cope with people knowing about this pregnancy, I found the pressures of being pregnant the first time bad, this time I expect it will be nearly unbearable.  If you are reading this then I have taken the decision to publish my posts, but I am probably in the second trimester now, that mythical 'safe' stage.

I don't know how I feel about being pregnant again. I'm not excited. I'm pleased, I guess.  I don't feel positive, or negative, yet.  I'm calmer than I was in the days before testing.  I had a panic earlier today as I had to tell my masseuse, thankfully she didn't say congratulations, she just said OK and let me talk/cry.  Right now I don't have a child, I have a clump of cells with the potential to be a child.  I might believe that I have two children when I have a scan (assuming there is something there and I haven't had a missed miscarriage).

I have only been pregnant once before, with my son, who I shall refer to as C.  I am 4ish weeks gone and I have the same symptoms as before - increased appetite, increased tiredness and twinges/cramps in my womb region.  Last time my cramps lasted for most of the first trimester but I was assured that it didn't mean anything was wrong.  We shall see this time.

Last time my pregnancy was pretty textbook and completely uncomplicated until one day I woke up and C had stopped moving and we went to the hospital and they told us there was no heartbeat. Later on we found out there was nothing to detect, there was nothing wrong and there was nothing we could have done.  Had we gone in the day before to get checked it is unlikely they would have picked anything up.  Babies die inside you for no reason - 1 in 200 in the UK.  If anyone tries to tell you that the longer they are in there the better you can tell them they are talking horseshit.  I was at 37 weeks and 3 days when C died.

I have been promised more care and checks this time but really, there is nothing they can do.  If there is nothing to detect there is nothing to treat.  It's pot luck whether this clump of cells will turn into a baby and will then live.  I have no idea if this can be any harder than the weeks of life after C's death, which I maintain are harder than the time I found out he died.  Weeks and hours and years and months will continue to be hard for the rest of my life. Another baby, should it live, will not replace him.  My boyfriend and I will simply have made a second human being, a brother or sister to C.

I have a new series of posts coming up

So I've started a new set of posts about something which is very difficult for me to write about.  I think it's important for me to write about, for me, and for others in the same situation as me.  But oh my gosh hitting the publish button is going to be terrifying.  These posts will probably go up later today.  Unless I get the fear.  I know I need to publish them, but. well, you'll see, and the you'll probably understand.  If you don't understand you have no empathy and I'm not interested in talking to you.

Friday, February 13, 2015

Photo-an-hour day

Every so often on twitter I see photographic challenges.  I suspect these are designed around the idea of getting nice shots, showing off your photographer, and I suppose improving your photography.  However I just like taking pictures of things, and recording my life, and jumping on bandwagons so when I decided to do it the pictures were obviously pretty bad, but since I did decide to do it I'm going to do a blog about them.  Lucky you!

I did this last Saturday.  I think I was spurred on by the idea that I'd be in all day and so would have my camera to hand.  I got up late, about 11am, and realised this meant I'd have less hours to forget to take the photos, which seemed like a good idea.

So. My first photo. Breakfast at 11.40am:
Or rather half a breakfast. I have no idea what was on the plate.  Possibly a cookie.  More likely toast with jam.  In the bowl is thick porridge with sultanas.  Getting up late means I'm much hungrier than when I get up at 7 or 8am for work, which is why I had the porridge and unidentifiable but eaten plate of stuff.  Usually I just have porridge.  The pills are a combination of vitamin pills and an antihistamine for a shitty dust mite allergy I developed about 8 years ago.

Second photo.  Our fully stocked fridge, 12.40pm:

We do 90% of our weekly food shop at the market and we get our vegetables from the organic veg stall.  It's more expensive than non organic stuff, but it's better for you.  I like shopping from the same people each week and I like now knowing what you can get.  We just buy whatever they've got and then I think about what to make with it.  This sometimes means we have a mix of assorted veg which don't really go, but we usually manage to use it all up.
The brussell sprouts got turned into bubble and squeak (brussells, cabbage, garlic, onion, butter to fry, bacon and potatoes, it was delicious).
The mushrooms eventually got used in a vegetarian bean chili.
The fennel, cucumber and celery get turned into a salad for my lunch (add balsamic vinegar and pepper, have with cheese and crackers or add to brown rice).
The red peppers can get put into a tomato and pepper sauce for pasta (always add sun dried tomatoes) or can go into the chili mentioned above.

Third photo.  Tea, 1.54 pm:
I had to work on Saturday and I think this tea was me reconciling myself to it and gearing up to make it happen.  My mug is wonderful.  You could almost say super.  Boom tish.  Sorry.

Fourth photo.  The en-warmening. 14.42pm:
I'm not very good at remembering to take photos on the hour. Oops.
OK, so this photo is all about the stuff that makes me warm.  I loathe winter.  I hate the cold and I'm too tight to turn our house into a sauna, so I wrap up from October to March.  In this picture is:
  • My amazing fire coloured fleece/knitted jumper
  • My ombre/dark fire fleece/knitted mittens, which are perfect for winter and keep me going.
  • My slippers, a couple of years old now but warm and fluffy.
  • The blanket we bought in Derbyshire over Christmas which quite often goes across my legs.
Fifth photo. Leisure activities, 15.58pm:
I'd been working for a couple of hours by this point but my boyfriend was having a much better Saturday.  He was making marmalade - that orange mess in the pan - and watching the birds.  You can probably just see the bird feeder through the windows.  1 minute before I took this photo the feeder was covered in blue tits, great tits, blackbirds and long tailed tits.
The blackbirds have worked out how to sit on the seed holder and get the food out, and they can eat 70% of the food in a day.

Sixth photo.  The work station.  16.48pm:
The book isn't part of the work.  That's the boyfriend's.  It's a collection of Edgar Allen Poe stories, non fiction and poetry and is apparently quite dire.  I appear to have switched mugs by this point, to a British Sea Power (a band) bee gone mug.  The pepper mill was there since my mid afternoon lunch, which started off as heinz chicken noodle soup.  I soon realised that was pretty rank, threw it out, and had noodles, frozen beans and cheese instead.  With pepper.

Seventh photo. Computing data, 17.31pm:
Twitter is what I would have liked to have been doing.  Looking up synonyms for combat is what I was actually doing.  For work.  Yes, I was still working at 5.30pm on Saturday.  It's a good thing I quite like my job.

Eighth photo.  Casual cosplay, 18.23pm:
I'd by this point finished work (hooray!) and had changed to go out for dinner. The blue top is a dress that I added the blue lantern patch to a few years ago for a Blue Lantern outfit for LSCC.  I put the green light cardigan because a) it's winter and the dress is sleeveless and I get chilly, and b) blue needs to be combined with green for hope to work.  Only DC Lantern fans are going to get that.

Ninth photo.  Starter.  7.30pm ish:
From now on times are approximate because I was too busy with dinner to tweet the photos at the time I took them.
We went to an vegetarian Indian restaurant called Namaste, which I hadn't been to for a couple of years,  It's really good.  This started is called Special Chat and it's a mixture of puri bread, potato, chick peas, bombay mix, onions, yogurt, tamarind sauce, pomegranetes and chat masala (I don't know what that is).  It's served at room temperature, which in February in England means cold.  It's nice, but I found it a bit much towards the end of the bowl.  I suspect it would be better when the weather is hot.

Tenth photo.  The main course, 8pm ish:
I'd been determined to get this since we'd decided on the restaurant.  It's called a dosa.  It's a massive pancake stuffed with spicy potatoes and peas, served with a runny dahl soup and a coconut chutney and it's delicious.
The thing in the background that looks like a pizza is an uttapam.  It has chillis and onions on it so really wasn't the sort of thing I liked.  It also had a dahl with it.
My boyfriend got the pav bhaji which is a vegetable curry served with rotis and was also delicious.
This restaurant is so damn good,

Eleventh photo.  The remnants of dessert.  9.30pm ish:
I forgot to take a picture of it before I ate it so here's a photo of the dessert's empty bowl.  It was ice cream with a gulab jamun (little doughnut in cardamom syrup).  I preferred the ice cream and syrup to the doughnut but it was all pretty good, and small, so you weren't overpowered by it.  There were also some nuts in it, I think.  My friend got the dish named Vegan Paradise, which is chopped up banana, cashew nuts, almonds and mango pulp.  That looked amazing.

Bonus photo: picture of the artwork on the walls.
One of the reasons this restaurant is so good is because they don't serve alcohol.  They allow you to bring your own wine and beer but you have to pay a corkage charge, which means people don't turn up and get wrecked.  The emphasis is on the food and creating dishes which suit the vegetables.

Twelfth photo.  Bedtime.  10.30pm ish:
I've been reading this book for a few weeks and it's not bad.  Some stories are fun and surprising, others are more dull.  I like reading fantasy anthologies, I find them a great way to get to know new writers.  So much of fantasy is turgid by the numbers crap I am dissuaded from just picking up a new title.  But this one is alright.

So that was my day.  I told you the photos would be terrible quality!  Did you notice what was missing from this day?  Comics, that's what.  Because I was working I didn't get to the shop.  I intended to go in today, but had to work late, so I determined to go in tomorrow.  I think I've got 2 or 3 weeks worth of stuff to pick up.