Thursday, 11 February 2010

The long-awaited update (it's good news)

Yesterday I had my booking appointment with the midwife who will hopefully see me through this pregnancy and beyond.

I'm so sorry I haven't updated the blog with my news. The excuses I cite are a combination of taking time out from writing to focus on being well and getting used to the amazing change of being pregnant after four years of infertility heartache, and also a fair dollop of sheer superstition.

I honestly felt if I shared my news, I would jinx it. It's totally irrational and very unfair on those of you who've been commenting and asking for updates, but it was how I felt and it was very strong.

Only now as I approach the 11-week mark am I starting to feel more confident about actually taking home a baby at the end of this. I have gone through the past two and a half months battling a daily, sometimes hourly, terror of miscarriage. I don't think it will ever fully abate until I give birth, but it is starting to lessen as the weeks progress and my body changes.

I got the news on December 29 following a blood test at the fertility clinic. But if I'm totally honest, I already knew the IVF had worked. I took a pregnancy test on Christmas Day - stupid, foolish and potentially distressing, I know, but I couldn't resist it. I figured starting my fourth Christmas Day with a negative test surely couldn't be any more heartbreaking than the previous three had been.

It was a very, very faint positive. But it's the first time in my life I've had any sort of line in the right box, so it was momentous. Hubby was downstairs when I did it and my voice cracked into a barely audible rasp as I croaked for him to come and look.

I then did what I always do: started obsessively reading about pregnancy testing after IVF online, and convinced myself that it was a false positive caused by leftover HCG hormone in my system from the trigger injection I'd administered some 12 days previously. The general consensus seemed to be to wait until 14 days had elapsed and test again. This I duly did on the morning of December 27, and the positive line was darker. And I really started to hope.

It was still with a thudding heart and knocking knees that I answered my mobile on the afternoon of the 29th, knowing the person calling was a nurse from the clinic and that she had my results. I was stood at work in a glorified stationery cupboard, hiding away as I knew I'd cry either way. To hear the nurse say that not only was it a positive, but a strong one, was just indescribable.

Relief, joy, gratitude - it was a far cry from how I'd felt the night after the embryo was transferred back into my womb. That evening found me crying hysterically because I was sure I'd ejected said embryo during a particularly strenuous visit to the toilet (what can I say, the IVF drugs had bunged me up).

No, my embryo didn't fall out my bum but dug itself in and managed to find a snug home inside me, where I have for so many years longed for a baby to be. I had another moment of drama when I had a very light bleed on New Year's Eve. At that point I was just over four weeks pregnant and became convinced I was going to miscarry on just about the worst night of the year for such a thing to happen. But I was lucky, the bleeding stopped and the clinic, during my weepy phone call to them, said such things are common at around the four and eight-week mark, when periods would have been expected.

I started to feel a lot better, and properly pregnant, when my seven-week scan showed a strong heartbeat and a growing embryo, in the right place (as ectopic pregnancy had been a big fear). And while I am far from reassured, after everything we've been through, that things will be all right (I don't think I'll feel 100% content until I'm holding my baby in my arms), the changes in my body and the symptoms I've experienced have grown my confidence little by little.

I want to - and will, if you want me to - write more about how I am feeling and what it's like being pregnant after all this time and all those tears. But I'm going to leave this entry here for two reasons, the first being because I just wanted to give regular readers a long-awaited and much-deserved update.

The second reason is more complicated. This blog has been about my infertility struggles, and I'm unsure of the protocol of how to proceed. I'd like to keep writing about my experiences through pregnancy and beyond, but I am very aware that my outcome will be bittersweet for people who have not been so lucky.

I have suffered myself - many times over - that heady mix of elation for someone you genuinely like and feel a connection with finally having the success she has yearned for, combined with the inevitable and unavoidable feelings of desperation about your own situation. And to be honest, sometimes I have chosen not to read on.

What I don't want to do is inflict a pregnancy blog on a community of readers who don't want it. I couldn't bear it if I thought I was causing anyone struggling with a similar situation to my own pain. I know how badly it can hurt. So I would really appreciate comments on whether you think I should continue with the blog or leave it here, with a happy ending infertility-wise, but without an ongoing commentary on pregnancy, that longed-for condition which has, at times over the past four years, seemed almost mythical to me in terms of how hard it was for me to achieve.

Finally, for now - thank you from the bottom of my heart to everyone who has asked how I am doing, wondered about my outcome or spared a fleeting thought to wish me well. I appreciate every comment and every thought more than you can know.