And along comes the next behind the screen post, on the this blog’s fifth Birthday! How crazy is that?! A big thanks for all your support and particularly you lovely readers that have been here since the start. Five years of The Lovely Drawer sounds totally crazy but even crazier is writing what this post is really about.
We’re so happy to let you all know that we’re pregnant and there’s a little mini Muncey on the way, who’s 13 weeks old today. I’ve not been quite myself for the last three months, in fact I feel a bit like I’ve been in hibernation, almost constantly feeling grim, over tired and very anxious to boot. Some of you may remember that last July I had a miscarriage which really rocked our world and not in a good way. I was pretty open about it here so you can see why waiting for that 12 week scan has felt like an uncomfortable eternity!
Things started with despair. I felt ‘off’ for all of Christmas break, already feeling groggy with slight nausea but nothing too crazy. I put it down to eating more over Christmas, the usual but in early January my usual cycle end came and went with no period in sight. I was feeling increasingly ‘pregnant’ having something to go by from the last time. I was sure I was but we were both desperately trying not to get too excited incase it was a false alarm. I told Nick I’d hold out until the following Saturday to do a test but on the Thursday morning I woke up and got what I thought was my period.
I told Nick and whilst my heart sank, I was also just so confused. I was sure I was pregnant, how could I have been so wrong? As the day went on I heard a friend’s voice ringing in my ears that so many early miscarriages go un noted as people just think it’s a late period. I could barely bring myself to think of it but feeling very pragmatic I realised that if that was what was happening then I needed to know in order to have it on record with the hospital, if nothing else. The NHS only investigate any issues after three miscarriages in a row so I didn’t want anything to go under the radar, even if ignorance sounded much more appealing.
I found myself buying a pregnancy test and trying not to think about what I was actually doing. It was strange to be praying to God asking that I wasn’t pregnant. I put them in the cupboard and left them there for most of the day but finally mustered the courage to take the tests, both of them and got the speediest positive results I have experienced. I looked at those very definite lines wide eyed and in despair. I felt numb and unable to fathom going through it all again. I knew that God would give us what we needed to sustain us through to the other side but I felt so tired, so lacking in any energy to do it all again. Every part of me thought I was miscarrying. There really was no shred of hope in my mind at that stage.
I told Nick I thought what I thought wad happening and that we needed to go to the walk in clinic. He had to process the news that I was pregnant as well as losing the baby all at the same time. It was one of those cliché film style journeys to the hospital, with rain lashing down all around us and we barely spoke the whole way. A nurse asked me to come through for my blood pressure, heart rate and temperature and asked, ‘how are you today?’, which always seems like a strange question in these kind of hospital situations. Is any one in a walk in clinic having a good day? She told us I couldn’t be healthier, in fact she literally wouldn’t stop going on about how my blood pressure etc was the healthiest she’d seen in a long time, leaving me wondering if that was it and she was telling me to go home after a speedy once over with no reference to the possible dying baby in my uterus.
Thankfully that wasn’t it and I was shown into the doctors room shortly after. He tried to put my mind at ease saying spotting is common for women in early pregnancy without any adverse effects. I wasn’t really listening. His words washed off me like water, so reminiscent of what he’d said the last time. At this point in the day the scan unit was closed until the following day so he said I’d have to come back. He told me the embryo might not even be in the womb yet, or we might see it but it be too young to yet have a heart beat as according to my dates I wasn’t quite six weeks. Everything he said didn’t sound like a conclusive outcome that would bring us any peace but I agreed to book it in anyway.
It was a strange evening, having found out we were pregnant and yet everything was up in the air, all in the same day. I still wasn’t hopeful at all but knew we just had to go through the motions and start the process. The next morning we arrived back in that same early pregnancy unit we remembered so well from last time. The only saving grace was that the waiting room had had a sparkly makeover that made it feel a little less like deja vu. When we were called through we realised it was the same lady we’d had last time, the same lady that had said the word ‘concerned’ in the initial scan. She recognised us both immediately, clearly remembering our last meeting. She was so kind and tried to put us both at ease. She did the usual internal and I just waited, unable to look at the screen. To our total shock she said, ‘there it is and there’s the heartbeat’. We literally couldn’t piece together what she’d just said. We weren’t expecting to see anything conclusive let alone a heartbeat! She explained that I had a hematoma, a blood clot within the outer tissues which is apparently fairly common and nothing to worry about. She showed us it all on the scan and printed out our first picture telling us it looked like an engagement ring. As we left I couldn’t hold back all the tears, happy tears and that whirlpool of pent up emotion I had been trying to stifle. We were so thankful to God for creating this new life and just couldn’t believe how gracious he’d been. Being the classy couple we are we celebrated with a Five Guys burger and chips, while I sobbed over all of my food in the best way possible. I’m sure I was a sight to behold.
We were booked back in two weeks later by the kind lady who knew we’d be worrying after our last miscarriage. While I was sensitive to anything and everything my body did and even the wait seemed excruciating, the 8 week scan came and all was fine again. This time I could instantly see the heartbeat without even being told and we felt so lucky to see these little moments of our baby growing, still so small. People don’t usually get to see anything before 12 weeks. Of course as soon as we left the room I sobbed my way back to Five Guys for a celebratory burger and chips: take two, predictable.
Despite the reassurance from two scans early on, it’s still been hard not to expect the worst, knowing all too well that the first 12 weeks are just so fragile. There’s been a lot of prayer and caution. Nick and I haven’t really talked a lot about it aside from praying and daily chit chat about how sick I feel. Everyone kept on telling me how reassuring it was that I felt dreadful and I knew they were right and that I’d probably be worried to stop feeling that way especially as I stopped feeling sick a week before miscarrying last time, but it hasn’t made day to day life any easier. That nausea really kicked in the week after my first scan at six weeks and became increasingly bad until the peak or shall we say the ‘low point’ of week nine and ten. That combined with the ‘knock me in the face’ tiredness has meant that I haven’t been able to be the most productive since the new year began. As someone who is pretty hard on myself, I’ve found it pretty hard but I’ve had to just trust the limitations God had put over me for this time and accept that I could only keep things ticking over at the bare minimum. Morning sickness certainly wasn’t reserved for the mornings in fact there was barely a point in the day where I felt even vaguely normal and I’ve never napped so much in my life! Come 4pm I felt like I had no choice but to crawl into bed and catch some zzzz ’s before dinner. Workshops have been the toughest thing with seven since being preggers. I think I managed to put on a brave face and fool people into thinking I was right as rain, when really I was a little worried about opening my mouth to speak, unsure of what might come forth from the depths of my stomach. It’s frustrating as I love teaching but it has been quite a challenge.
And craving’s you say? Well it was more that I went off the majority of things I can eat! Suddenly I really appreciated how healthy my tastes are usually. I wished I felt like cooked veggies, kale, mackerel and even sweet potato (how is it possible to go off that gem?) In fact sweet things in general freaked me out for a while and instead I craved salt like a crazy lady. Nick would laugh as I literally ground sea salt into the palm of my hand and threw it back into my mouth. I’ve basically only felt like salty chips for the entire time. I could entertain the idea of meat ,cheese, beetroot juice and raw carrots pretty well but really all I wanted was salty chips 24-7. Thankfully I managed to find a pack of frozen chips in our local Tesco that were just oil and potatoes, no gluten which is surprisingly uncommon. Absolute life saver! The whole experience has been very weird as I’d genuinely never felt like food less and yet my body was constantly telling me I was hungry. I’ve never been a big snacker, usually just having three decent meals a day but I’ve had to be really vigilant in packing my snacks wherever I go because as soon as I felt hungry I’d feel even more sick with it! I’ve had a lot of baths, a lot of early nights and generally been a bit of a bore but I guess that’s the price one must pay in order to grow a human. It’s no small thing when put like that.
It’s been tough and hard to be joyful at times particularly with the worry still looming. Each day that crept by was one step closer to the 12 week scan but also increasingly more painful if the baby didn’t make it. We had our 12 week scan on Monday and boy were we nervous. To make things worse I’d swapped the appointment day months ago and despite receiving an official letter to say they’d changed it they told me they had no record of it on checking in. This meant an hour wait while they tried to find a spot to squeeze me in., an hour in silence with just the news replaying the awkward Oscar moment over and over again. The scan was the most tense 20 minutes and I’m pretty sure I only took a handful of breathes the whole way through. I was clutching Nick’s hand so tight as we looked at the screen. I could immediately see our baby but the lady doing the scan didn’t say anything about the heart beat and I couldn’t really tell so I was just waiting for her to tell us that for the entire appointment. I could see it looked like a little baby and it had undoubtedly grown but was it alive???!!! The lady kept on shaking the scanning devise which sent me into a spin , thinking she was trying to see if it was alive. I could see it moving but wasn’t sure if that was it being tossed around with the fluid. She literally just listed the body parts she saw, ‘head, back, abdomen, two legs, two arms etc’ and measured it. It got to the end of the appointment and she said I was actually twelve weeks and five days and I’d need to book my 20 week scan and pay for the photos outside. I was thinking that must mean everything’s ok. I got out to the desk and had to check with Nick if he thought it was all ok. I was just being over sensitive although I’ve had too many experiences with a lacking bedside manner from the medical profession. Whatever happened to putting people at ease?
At first I wasn’t sure what I was feeling. I just burst into tears (reoccurring theme) as we walked out. I think all the pent up anxiety and tension from the appointment just hit me square in the face and I let out a mixture of fear and relief all in one big panda-eyed outburst. It was only when we got home and we let all those lovely people know, who had been thinking and praying for us that I cried with joy, thanking God for his grace and answering so many prayers. We are pregnant! 13 weeks today and there really was a little baby in there and it’s been growing all this time.
We are so in awe! The irony of finding out we were pregnant in January as well, the month that our little Zion would have been born is bizarre and yet so often how God works. It hasn’t taken away the sting of losing our first baby and it frustrates me when people said I would feel much better when I just got pregnant again. It doesn’t change the fact we lost a particular baby and that one will always be the first. We will have two children come September and my parents will have three grandchildren, it’s just that one won’t be present. Despite the truth that this baby growing inside me doesn’t heal the past, it does give cause to praise God and a reminder of how he hears in both the hard times and the good times and he creates the miracle that is life. It’s something I know in my head but its amazing to see first hand. Here’s to that energy and sense of wellbeing they say comes in the second trimester.