11 Weeks Pregnant : Sunday 17/6/17
The Harmony results are in… and it’s all clear!
I full-on ugly cried when I found out: as in, it’s a good job I was too freaked out to put on any mascara that morning, because that would’ve been a WASTE, seriously. The clinic had told us the results would likely come in between 4 and 5pm and would be sent to us by email, so we’d spent that hour sitting in the office, me crouched on the floor in panic mode (When I’m really scared, I have to get low, for some reason – I’m like, GET LOW! GET LOW! There’s still a black mark on the carpet in that room from where my mascara melted into it last November, when I first found out that my pregnancy might be ectopic, and it took Terry AND my parents to peel me off the floor. Ah, memories!), Terry at his desk, endlessly refreshing his email, waiting for a message that felt like it would never arrive.
Then, at around 4:45pm, it did. I was right in the middle of a panicked speech about how I just COULD NOT STAND EVEN ONE MORE SECOND OF THIS, when Terry looked up from his screen and said, “Well, you don’t have to: it’s fine!” Of course, I assumed he was lying until I looked at the email myself: low risk for absolutely everything. Lowest possible risk, in fact – I have a less than 1 in 10,000 chance of any of the genetic conditions they test for, which is a huge relief, and allows me to strike one more thing off my Things To Worry About list. It’s still a pretty long list, of course, and I feel like as soon as I strike one item off it, another pops up to take its place (I’d worried all day about getting these results, and, as soon as I knew they were OK, I immediately switched to worrying about the fact that I hadn’t had any nausea that day…), but still: this was a pretty big hurdle to get over, so although the test was eye-wateringly expensive, and the wait for the results almost unbearable, I’m really glad we did it: money well spent, I think.
So, I’m 11 weeks today. This morning Terry called his brother, Niko, to tell him the news, and he’s just off to tell some of his other siblings now. Deciding when to tell people has been a tough one, really: when I first got pregnant, I couldn’t wait to share the news, because I knew everyone would be so excited for us, but it’s a little more complicated now with Terry’s mum being so ill. I know they all still WILL be excited for us, obviously, it’s just difficult timing, and I can’t help but wish we were telling them under happier circumstances.
If it was up to me, I’d probably have waited until after the 12 week scan – I still can’t shake the fear of something going horribly wrong before then, and I feel like, under the circumstances, it would be even harder to have to break that news to everyone when they’re already dealing with so much. Terry really wanted to get it out in the open, though, and I can’t deny that it’ll be easier not to have to lie to people all the time. I’ve been finding social gatherings really, really difficult right now due to the constant nausea and exhaustion: I’m doing my best, but I’ve been really struggling (especially as so many get-togethers revolve heavily around food), and I know people will have noticed that I’m just not my usual self, so in some ways it’ll be a relief to be able to tell them why, and to stop having to make up excuses for why I’m not eating this or doing that. I’m just so worried about getting everyone’s hopes up, though, and then having them crashing back down again a week later, if everything doesn’t go well at the next scan…
Eleven Weeks, 1 Day: Sunday, June 18th
OK, if I ever, EVER utter the words, “I’m worried that the nausea has stopped,” again, I want someone to reach through the screen and slap me, OK?
I spent most of yesterday evening sitting huddled over a plastic basin in my parents garden, absolutely convinced I was about to throw up. Honestly, I’d have preferred to have been huddled over the toilet, as that’s my preferred vomitin’ place, but the sickness struck when I was too far away from it to trust myself not to throw up all the way down the hall, so a plastic basin was produced (actually, first of all a salad bowl was produced, which was just all kinds of wrong, really: I mean, can you even imagine the family dinners we’d have in the future with THAT sitting on the table in front of us?), and I assumed the “No one touch me, speak to me, or otherwise acknowledge me,” position for the next twenty minutes or so or hell.
Of course, my parents and Terry kept gamely insisting that it was totes fine if I threw up in the garden, but while I may be a drama queen, I’m not enough of one to want to vomit in front of an audience (It was a warm summer night, so we were all sitting outdoors), so, once the nausea started to recede a little, I got up and made my way to the bathroom, where I spent another 20 minutes battling waves of nausea and wondering why the hell I’d done this to myself.
I wasn’t sick. Honestly, by the end of that 40-odd minutes, though, I was actually starting to wish I would be, just to put an end to it, and that’s not like me at. Still, I eventually started feeling a bit better, and returned to the bosom of my family just in time to catch them discussing my pot belly, so that was nice. Ahem.
Anyway, today is Terry’s birthday. I got him a baby. (Also a SMEG toaster, but, let’s be honest, that bad boy is mostly for ME.) (The baby is also for me, obviously, but I’m going to get YEARS worth of mileage out of this, and you better believe I’ll be milking it for all it’s worth. Like, “Oh, you bought me that trench coat I wanted for my birthday, this year, Terry? That’s nice: I grew you a live human! Inside my body! BEAT THAT, SUCKER.” Seriously, if all of my future presents don’t have red soles, or come in a little blue box, I will not be happy.)
In other news, I’m getting more and more worried about the 12 week scan. We’ll be seeing some of Terry’s family today for his birthday, and I know they’ll want to congratulate us, but I’m just so scared that it’s all going to have been for nothing, and that, in a week’s time, all our hopes will come crashing back down. Mostly I feel like we’re just constantly lurching from one source of anxiety to the next right now, and it’s so, so hard to deal with. I also feel like I can’t really consider myself “pregnant” (no matter how hard the morning sickness tries to convince me I am…) until we’ve had this next scan, so when people start to congratulate us, or talk about the future, I feel like a giant fraud, almost as if I’m lying to them, and don’t deserve any of their good wishes. Terry tells me I’m being silly, and that the risk of miscarriage is now very low, but it’s hard to shake the worry – roll on Thursday…
12 Weeks 2 Days – Saturday, June 24th
I should just be crossing the 12 week mark today, but – hallelujah! – the scan I had last week put me at 12 weeks exactly on Thursday, so I got to skip two whole days: baby is clearly an over-achiever already.
Thursday’s scan was both terrifying and amazing, at the same time. I was, naturally, an absolute wreck beforehand, with my anxiety only kept in check by the fact that I was absolutely desperate to pee the whole time – seriously, that whole, “drink a pint of water an hour before the scan, and then don’t empty your bladder until afterwards,” thing would be a really effective form of torture, if anyone needs one. By the time the scan was over, I’d have agreed to absolutely anything, just to be allowed to go to the bathroom…)
Luckily, though, the scan itself was totally undramatic. Our favourite sonographer, Julie, had seen my name on the appointments list, and had made sure the scan was allocated to her, which was so lovely of her – she seemed almost as happy as us when the baby immediately appeared on the screen, waving its little fists around, and even seeming to wave to us at one point. Terry and I were absolutely amazed by how active it was – it seems incredible to me that something could be moving around like that inside me, without me being able to feel it – and how much detail we could see on the screen. We could clearly see the spine, legs and arms, and we could even see each of the tiny fingers and toes – truly amazing.
Because I’ve already had the Harmony test, they didn’t do the nuchal fold test or take any blood from me, which is a relief, as it means I now have a solid two months ahead of me without any medical tests looming on the horizon (or, at least, I really hope not…). I’d assumed that, after this scan, it would all start to feel a bit more “real” but… not really. I still feel a bit like I’m just making it all up or something, which is crazy, I know, but nevertheless true.
When we left the hospital, we popped in to see Terry’s mum and my parents to show them the scan photos, then started the process of telling our remaining family members and friends. We’d decided not to do a big announcement or anything like that – partly because I’m still so scared of something going wrong, but also because I think I’d just find it all a bit awkward/embarrassing, really. (Also, we’d had one quite negative reaction earlier in the week, which I hadn’t anticipated, and which really upset me, so although I couldn’t really imagine that happening again, I was a little worried about it…) Happily, though, everyone was really happy and excited for us, which was lovely, and a nice way to finish off the scan day.
I do feel a little bit like we’re tempting fate by telling everyone, though. I’m planning to announce it on the blog next week, and I’m actually really nervous about it: it feels horribly like foreshadowing to me, but at the same time, now that everyone in “real” life knows, there doesn’t seem much point in continuing to hide it from the internet, especially as it’s becoming increasingly difficult for me to keep the blog going right now – a lot of my clothes just aren’t comfortable any more, so outfit posts are tricky, and I don’t seem to have the energy for much else. Also, if something did go wrong at this stage, it’s not like I’d be able to hide it, and just continue on as if nothing had happened, so we figured I may as well be open about it.
In other news, we’re still waiting on test results for Terry’s mum. We’d hoped to get some kind of definitive answer on whether the cancer has spread, and how the doctors want to treat it, this week, but yesterday we were told that we won’t find out until Monday. She has an appointment with the consultant on Monday afternoon, which Terry and his sister, Lila, will attend with her, and, needless to say, we’re all very anxious about it – it’s been almost a month now since these tests started, and the wait is really unbearable: luckily, Terry’s mum is a very strong person, and has been managing to stay as positive as possible, under the circumstances, but wow, it’s hard. It’s just really, really hard, and I feel totally helpless in the face of it all. Let’s just hope next week brings some better news…
12 Weeks, 4 Days – Monday, June 26
Today the big announcement went up on the blog (and on Facebook, for the remaining friends etc who didn’t know yet), and wow, I was so blown away by the reaction – everyone was SO lovely, and our friend Linsey came right round with some flowers, which helped get the day off to a good start.
Of course, once the post was up, I started feeling oddly guilty about it, almost as if I’d somehow tricked people into being happy for me, when I know perfectly well that something is going to go wrong. (Actually, I felt like that even before it went live – I woke up at 4:30am and went into such a panic I ended up picking up my phone and un-scheduling it…) I know it’s stupid to feel like this, but I just can’t shake the feeling that now that everyone knows, something is bound to go wrong, and it’ll be just unbearable. And, I mean, I know it would be unbearable even if NO ONE else knew, but.. I don’t know, I just feel like a fraud for some reason. I know how crazy that sounds, trust me.
Continuing with the ”Amber’s a Big Ol’ Fraud” theme, today I also took delivery of an H&M order, containing my first ever maternity clothes. It’s just a couple of pairs of leggings and tank tops to wear around the house, and it feels absurdly early even for that, but I’m just so uncomfortable in jeans etc right now – not because of the “bump” really, but because of the bloating/nausea, which means I can’t stand the sensation of anything around my middle – and the Bella Bands I ordered from Shopbop aren’t all that comfortable either, really, so needs must. Again, I feel like buying maternity clothes at 12 weeks seems just ridiculous, and fate-tempty, though: I wonder if I’ll ever get past this?
Anyway, as I write this, Terry’s getting ready to head to the hospital with his mum to find out the results of her CT scan last week: we’ve been worried sick about this all weekend, which makes my anxiety over maternity clothes and OMGTEMPTINGFATE all fade into insignificance, really. Looks like we have another anxious wait ahead of us…
[Edited to add: Unfortunately, we didn’t get the results we were hoping from at Terry’s mum’s appointment, and the bad news we got instead completely overshadowed everything else. I didn’t really feel like updating this diary after that, so my next post will be a “real time” one this Thursday, when I’ll (hopefully) be coming to the end of week 13…]