"Edited to Add"....

This started as a pregnancy blog when I fell pregnant in May 2009 after four years of finding a donor, doing all the counselling / paperwork / tests and trying.

And now, thanks to a 4WD which skidded onto our side of the road, killing our baby daughter at 34w and injuring me, my partner and two of my stepdaughters on 27 December 2009, it has turned into something else. We didn't want this something else, but apparently it is all we've got to go on with.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Adzuki Bean

Once upon a time, on that other planet I lived on before our baby died, I was an ordinary pregnant lady who had a little bit of an obsession for red bean buns.   I loved them so much that I had long conversations with El Prima about why I loved them so much, and why Haloumi demanded that I eat them on a regular basis.  I googled "red bean bun" so that I could discover their principal ingredients.  Because if I wasn't eating them, I wanted to be reading about them.  And I discovered that the red bean paste is made from beans called (by some cultures at least) "adzuki beans".  El Prima and I mused, if we ever had another haloumi cheese after this particular Haloumi Cheese was born, maybe we'd nickname him/her "Adzuki Bean" in utero. 

That thought just floated, until our accident happened, and Haloumi died and was born - and was suddenly a real particular baby girl we named Z, rather than a Haloumi mystery baby-bump.  Well, she was still a mystery baby - but one whose face we'd kissed, and who we had given a name.  One of the few things we liked to think we knew about her was that she liked red bean bun and wanted me to eat it all the time.  So the idea that she had somehow 'picked' the nickname Adzuki Bean for her sibling became very tender to us.  

All of this is a long round-a-bout way of saying - we saw a heartbeat this morning - we've seen the Adzuki Bean!  The whole 5.5mm of him or her!  A copy of the picture is posted on the page I've just set up, specifically named "Adzuki Bean".  Our usual IVF doctor was away, so it was a doctor we'd never met before who started by asking, "Is this your first?"  (Cue a deep sigh from me, and a joint internal eye-roll, before El Prima launched into the answer) But once we'd told her, she was very sympathetic, and as soon as she started the scan was immediately saying, "Everything looks fine".  At first, I couldn't see anything in the sac, and didn't really believe her, thinking we might only see empty sacs and blighted ovums.  But she insisted, and there, indeed, was a tiny little adzuki bean, a promising little blob, with its own thumping heartbeat. 

It is strange to be back in pregnancy territory, with the same symptoms as with Haloumi, but with a body and a self altered by grief and motherhood.  It is hard to believe that pregnancy could possibly work along a similar timeframe, or work in the same way as it did before.  But while we'll always live with the chasm between 'before' and 'after', we're no longer in the wild woods of griefland.  (Where are we then?  Maybe we've found that grief has its own village, not all that far from where we lived before, and that as it turns out, many of the people we love have been a resident of that village at some time or other.)  All the possibilities bundled into a pregnancy - I now know how many of those can break your heart.  But this is the thing with possibility, you can't pick and choose.  All we can do is recognise that we're at the mercy of all kinds of good and hard possibilities, and we'll experience whatever we get as open heartedly as we can.

There's such a long long way to go, but stick with us, Adzuki Bean, this could be so much fun!

Monday, September 19, 2011

Taking it slow

Thank you so much for all the whooping and dancing on our behalves - each little comment I got through my email made me think - Ooh, maybe this really might be happening after all!

I've been on a blog moratorium while I finished writing a presentation for work - it is so hard to focus when my brain is going around in little circles like an excited puppy: "Hmm - I wonder if I'm still pregnant?  What about now?  .... Now?"

Something about this feels real though - definitely feeling nauseous and super-full-body tired. I walked out of the train station the other day and could smell someone's dinner (fish), and then someone else's perfume.  Smells are distinct, separate, detailed.  It feels just like the early days of being pregnant with Haloumi.  Which is a lovely feeling, but also scary.  It's as though there's been a pregnant part of me that's been on-hold for the last 20 months, and I've just gone straight back to 'pregnant normal'.  A part of me wants to leap straight into that certainty that things will work out, that we can start planning, while another a part of me has trouble imagining that this could end up with a living child.

It's now four sleeps until the scan.  I've titled this post 'taking it slow', but I think that is an aspiration rather than a description.  It is so difficult not to tilt forward and start planning or worrying about the future of this pregnancy.  I dreamt last night that I had another baby girl - fairer than Z, with a squished up newborn face.  She was alive, and I was trying to put a cloth nappy on her, but using ordinary sized safety pins.  We were locked in a room with someone with a machine-gun, I was contemplating whether we might be able to hide behind the couch so that we wouldn't be killed.  I though perhaps if I could hide her she'd be safe.  Maybe this is my unconscious brain's clunky metaphor for pregnancy after loss, or maybe I'm just really scared.  I also dreamt that we took her to the pub, where a band was playing - no idea what that means. 

It's a reminder too of all the dreams I had of Haloumi.  Despite me being convinced during waking hours that I was having a boy, in every dream I had she was a girl.  And my dreaming brain was right.   It had a 50-50 chance of being accurate I guess.  Just like trying to conceive, pregnancy is such a huge exercise in uncertainty - but with such a clear timetable of 'successful outcomes' that it feels even more difficult to just take one day at a time.  But we're here now, in this queasy, uncertain spot, and I certainly prefer this kind of uncertainty to the other uncertainty that follows a BFN. 


Thursday, September 8, 2011

Well, be careful of those home pregnancy testing kits...

Because sometimes they are WRONG!!

Blood test showed HCG 539.    And then the nurse told me two completely improbable dates - 23 September for a scan to confirm a heartbeat, and 16 May 2012 as an estimated due date.  I very nearly said, "Ha ha, as if!" but that would have been rude.  And also showing very little faith in this tenacious little embryo's persistence.  Oh, it is so so lovely to be proven wrong in my sad scared little theories that everyone but me was allowed to get pregnant. 

Who knows what path lies ahead for this pregnancy, but we haven't gotten this far since Monday 1 June 2009, when I stood with a positive test in hand, staring at the wall - Haloumi's entry point into our lives. 

16 May 2012.  The day before my little brother's birthday.  Yikes.  But right now, 10 September 2011 is enough to deal with. 

Thanks so much for all your love & encouragement.  You rock too! xxxx h

ps so glad other people could see the elephant too.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011


Not even a shadow of a second line.  Official blood test is tomorrow, so I really should hold off on the gnashing of teeth until then. 

And this... ?

This is the rock I found for Z's little garden.  I went rock-selecting last week at a landscape gardening supplies place, and as I wandered around the piles of slate and mountains of gravel I liked this one because I saw it as a little elephant shape - trunk down to the left, and feet standing strong. 

It's about a foot and a bit long, and maybe a foot tall.  Just big and round enough to hug, but too heavy to hold in your arms.  Woo hoo - so I can freak the neighbours out by hugging the rock in my front yard on a regular basis.  We're getting it engraved with Z's name and her birth/death date. 

Tuesday, September 6, 2011


The lab promised to send me a letter telling me whether any of the other 8 embryos made it to blastocyst stage in order to be frozen.  When it hadn't arrived after a week, I was worried that perhaps none of them had survived long enough to freeze.  So yesterday, I made the call, and asked the nurses to tell me - two six-day embryos frozen!  Whatever else happens with this cycle, I'm taking that as excellent news.  Lovely procrastinating little embryos.

As for this one - the one transferred last week?  I have a blood test Friday to see if it is planning to stick around.  Now that it is only two days away, I can feel a magnetic force pulling me forward in time - I just want to skip ahead, to get that phone call from the lab.  But only if it is good news!  As for peeing on a stick - we'll see how far my patience lasts.  If I tested tomorrow, that would be 15 dpo, so there'd be a decent chance it would be accurate.  Meanwhile, I'm trying to breathe in the sunshine.