After every storm comes a…

I tested early, about three days before my next period. I had woken up feeling off colour and I just felt different. We had been trying for a baby for six months now.

I was excited as I knew I had to be pregnant. I got an internet cheapie test out the bathroom cabinet and took the test. I left it by the sink and toddled off to occupy myself for fifteen minutes. I knew I didn’t have to wait that long but I wanted to wait – maybe as though waiting longer might make it a positive?

I was home alone and taking deep breaths. I returned to the bathroom and fixed my eyes upon the test. Two little lines, one neutral, one green – it was positive. I WAS pregnant!

But wait…maybe it’s wrong? I need to go get my proper test, the First Response one, the 99% accurate one, the one which cost me a tenner.

Yes, we TTC women are armed with pregnancy tests, hidden away from our partners but they are there – in the knicker draw, in a shoebox at the back of a wardrobe, hidden in a sports bag inside a zip compartment.

I took the dog out for a long walk. I remember feeling like I was walking on air, taking notice of everything in my view – the trees, the birdsong and moving clouds. I was soaking the feeling up. I was feeling like I had won the lottery. I wanted to savour every second.

It lasted about an hour until the anxiety kicked in. I placed a hand on my tummy – there was life in there, a new life. A precious delicate life, my second chance. I started to walk a little slower – I have to be careful from now on, I told myself. I can’t lose this one.

Green-eyed monster

Even before I became pregnant, the first time round, I always found it difficult to deal with pregnancy news. I put it down to my body clock and its underlying need for a child. I always knew I would have children one day but hearing the news of friends and family announcing their ‘new additions’ always turned me into a bit of a green-eyed monster.

I denied myself the opportunity to announce my pregnancy when I knew we were high risk. It was an odd feeling walking the streets ‘pregnant’, sitting at work ‘pregnant’ and speaking to friends ‘pregnant’ – I mean it’s a big deal, but I was cautious as I didn’t know which way it would go.

After the TFMR, I remember the pregnancy announcements at work. Five in fact. All around the same due date as mine. I became a bit obsessed – picturing them in their scans, all receiving the good news, “Everything looks fine”.Their twenty-week appointments, “It’s a boy!”. I’m not sure why but only assume it’s so I could live some sort of pregnancy even though mine had vanished.

I had the pleasure of witnessing their conversations of hospital appointments, sicknesses and ailments, baby names – bumps growing month by month. I actually managed to completely avoid one lady for the whole duration, as she got married the same time as me, and the pregnancy was too much of a reminder of how I had been robbed.

It was one of the hardest things to deal with, completely selfish and of course, I wished nothing negative on these women. After all, I’ve learnt pregnancy is a blessing and precious. Who knows what these women had gone through to get their baby.

TTC like a madwoman!

We decided to wait around two months before TTC again. Midwives advise to wait till after your first period, but that’s purely for dating purposes. Though it’s important to ask yourself if you feel emotionally ready too.

My first period came in August sometime, around six weeks after TFMR – it was quite tricky to tell as I was bleeding (very lightly) for around that time (due to the TFMR).  Although a painful reminder, I was definitely no longer pregnant and the baby was gone, it marked a new beginning – to try again.

I was like a woman possessed. I’ve always been pretty determined when it came to a challenge and this to me was in mother natures control, so I had to try to give her a helping hand.

The Babycentre TTC forum was a great help and I signed up to the train each month. I had my ‘cycles’ app from last time so I could see when my fertile windows were. I was taking my conception vitamins and eating pineapples cores (yuk!) and generally trying to be healthy.

I was going to get pregnant in the first month for sure. Why wouldn’t I? I did the first time round.

Nope. Month after month still no pregnancy…it did get me down. I started to panic – what if the TFMR had damaged me in some way? Maybe an infection went unnoticed?? Maybe that was my only chance – my one chance?

Everything plays round and round in your mind – all negative. But I kept going as it was the only way.

Six months later, I had my first sign – nausea upon waking. It was before my period was due, but I grabbed my internet cheapie pregnancy test and waited…tick tock, tick tock – there she blows. My little positive line 🙂

(I believe the Sperm Meets Egg Plan worked for me).

Being thrown a lifeline

This came via a TFMR forum on Baby Centre. I also joined the ARC forum (Antenatal Results and Choices) and they offer further, professional support if needed.

The TFMR forum helped me to start thinking about the future. I really didn’t know how I would have overcome the whole thing without it. I found comfort in reading other people’s stories, who shared their experiences, and really opened up – I remember thinking, ‘That happened to me’, and ‘That’s how I feel’.

It’s an awful thing for anyone to go through but through this forum, I found a sense of salvation – I still do today. There’s a real strength in the group of genuine kindness and optimism, even for those women who have been through multiple miscarriages and TFMRs.

Like me, I found many women wanted to TTC (Try to conceive) again straight away. It seemed to be a common feeling, that when you lose a baby, you do want to be pregnant again – not to replace the baby but I guess it’s part of the healing process – to get back to that time in your life when you were having your baby. To convince yourself, yes it was a horrible tragedy, but the whole thing was some sort of ‘blip’ in your path to becoming a mother.

On the forum, each month, there would be a ‘cycle train’, e.g. The October Train, and any members of the forum, TTC that month, would request a ticket (it would be the date for their next period) and if they were lucky to get pregnant, it would be turned green, or red, if Aunt Flo showed her face.

Heartbreaking it is for those women who try month after month, year after year, and not conceive, the train was there for support as well as a motivator – it was such an amazing feeling to see those ladies get their BFP (big fat positives) after so much heartbreak.

For anyone reading this after a TFMR, I really encourage you to join a forum. You can anonymously post your story, your experiences and feelings, and you will see the overwhelming kindness and warmth you will receive from fellow women. It really will lift you up and kick start you, whether on your road to recovery or trying again.