The Number 2

cake 2It has been a funny old day.

Started pretty normal. Got up, dropped son at nursery, went to work.

After lunch, my husband and I returned to that darkened room.  The confirmation scan.  Scan number 2.  The one to officially tell us that our Little Pea (our pregnancy number 2) has definitely departed this world.

It was surprisingly ok.  We had already gone through the processes of accepting what had happened so there were no shocks.  The midwife showed us pictures of my ovaries and the little follicles getting ready to pop and release eggs.  There was one on the right side which was larger than the rest.  The potential of new life about to reach maturity.  I wondered if that follicle could be the beginning of our next child.

We left the darkened room and came out into a day which had started gloomy but which was due to get brighter.

The focus shifted.  The sun was shining.

Our son is going to be 2 tomorrow.

In fact 2 years ago today I went into labour; 16 hours of work in order to bring our boy into the world.

I don’t care what the weather is like tomorrow.  Because for me, tomorrow is going to be a sunny day.

Suffering, endurance, hope and love.

Yesterday I took a test.  Of course these things are never black and white.  The test revealed a very faint line.  I have taken this to mean that there are still pregnancy hormones in my system but they are receding.  Because if there was still something viable there, then the line would be stronger, right?

You see I had started to allow my brain to have theories.  Theories of vanishing twin syndrome or that I had passed a fibroid rather than my Little Pea.  But when my hope gets the better of me like this, when it becomes a twisted version of reality, I am only building myself up for a fall.  And I fall hard. And the task of getting back up again becomes far-reached.

So the test gave me some clue that this has really happened. My HGC levels are diminishing because my pregnancy has ended.   But I wish that there had been no line at all.  I wish that certainty could be mine.

Of course, that is also a lie.  Because what I really wish is that I still had my Little Pea growing inside of me.  That I could look forward to 3rd January 2018 and the birth of our second child.

So I am back to the reality of the situation.  A faint line, not a certain line shows something is up.  So I will re-test tomorrow morning and if I still get that faint line, then I will go to my scan on Thursday for the start of closure.

But that doesn’t mean the end of hope for me.  I can still hope for another child.  I can still hope to conceive and have a successful pregnancy, bearing a healthy child.

At the weekend, we went up to Lindisfarne.  A chance to reconnect as a family.  It was glorious weather and my little boy was excited to go in the sea.  On Sunday we went to church and my ears pricked up at these words (Romans 5, if you are interested):

“Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.”

Now, I am a little on the fence when it comes to church.  I don’t necessarily believe that following an organised religion is the be all and end all to being a good person.  But I do believe that there are some very wise words in the Bible.  And in the holy books and teachings of other religions too.  Wise words can have a universal application, so whether you are religious or not, maybe these words will have relevance.

For me, these words rang true.  My sufferings in life have brought me endurance.  And it has built my character. And my character is what gives me hope.  And hope doesn’t need to be shameful or embarrassing, no matter how unrealistic it might be.  Because love helps nurture hope. And when you nurture hope, sometimes it grows strong enough to become a reality.

So that must be something.  I can have my hope.  Maybe not in that faint line.  But in the future.  I am allowed to hope for another child.  And through love, I might just have that as a reality.

Tears

The tears leak out of me, without permission.

When I realise what’s going on and I am powerless to change it.

The cruelest thing over the past few days has been the fact my brain keeps tricking me into thinking that I am still carrying a child.  My stomach is still swollen and every now and again my breasts ache.

I am tired and drained but that amount of blood loss will account for that.  Combined with a sleepless toddler and the itch of hay fever, my eyes are heavy.

Just as I start believing that my heart is beginning to lift, like a wave, the energy drains from me.  I can’t really believe that this has happened to us.

My sweet little boy deserves a little brother or sister for life-long companionship.  My husband, such a wonderful father, has so much to give our family.

But we’ve got to get back into our stride.  As a family of three for now.  I need to get back to work.  We need to move on with hope in our hearts.  Reality calls.

I could take a test.  I could take a test that would bring closure.  But what if my hormones are still adjusting?  What if it comes back positive and that gives my brain another justification for believing in the impossible?  And if it comes back negative, am I ready for that confirmation? Am I ready for closure?

I’ve always been one for believing in the unbelievable.  Suspending judgement.  But this seems a step too far.

Little Pea

It starts slowly. A little suggestion that something has changed. A pink smear that nags at me, making me start to wonder.

But this has happened before. Only last time it was a trickle that turned into a torrent. My heart broke a million times over and I believed that my existence would end with me. I wept and mauled at unmade bedsheets. It was devastating. It was unspeakable.

Someone told me, ‘Nevermind, these things happen.’ My mind screamed in pain.

I slept. So much sleep. I couldn’t keep my eyes open in the car as we tried to get away from it all. But always a reminder. Multiple times a day, always a reminder.

I sat on a swing over a lake and pretended a smile. For a while, it felt like I had stopped existing.

Then reality snaps back and it was work and making tea and watching television to try to escape again.

My mum was losing her mum. She was tired and bruised. She took me into her arms and smothered me in a blanket of pure love. She told me to go back. Ask questions.

So that’s what we did.

On the Monday we sat in a darkened room and witnessed a miracle. A tiny heartbeat. Our lentil baby squirming away and looking distinctly owl-like.

Two years on and our lentil has grown into a beautiful and gregarious little boy. He is smart and funny and inquisitive. Right now, he is mainly obsessed with cars. The more, the better.

He embodies our hope.

But hope is so inconsistent. It waivers, it pounds, it sits quietly, it jumps and screams.

I have a natural inclination towards hope. Prayer even.

I have prayed for lots of people. I prayed for my brother when he got ill. I prayed for my sister when she was faced with an impossible decision. I pray for my parents all the time. I pray for victims of tragedies and their loved ones. I pray for people I know and people I don’t. There are not many times in my life when I pray for myself.

Last week, I prayed as I tidied up my son’s cars. Maybe I should have stopped and prayed harder.

But that wouldn’t have changed anything at that point. Because I was too late. It had already happened weeks ago. I just didn’t know that then.

I breezily told colleagues I was having a few issues but it had happened before and I wasn’t worried. Only I was worried. In fact, the closer it got to ‘reassurance’, the more panicked I became.

So we found ourselves sitting in a darkened room again. Only this time, everything was very quiet. Seconds of time stretched out into minutes as measurements were taken.

Little Pea had gone a month ago. A whole month.