As most of you will know I have not been well for some time (since about the middle of January) and it has been affecting my everyday life quite a bit. I have had lots of random symptoms although I won’t go into graphic detail about each one. I have now had my diagnosis and here is my tale.
I guess I really have to start this story just over 15 years ago. A completely different and much younger version of Hazel was married to John. We decided to try for a baby. With hindsight I can now see that this was an attempt to patch up an already failing marriage but the problem with hindsight is that it comes too late usually! After trying for over a year there was nothing much happening on the baby front so I was referred by my Doctor to a fertility specialist at Glasgow Victoria Infirmary. Lots of blood tests, internals, laparoscopy and a course of Clomid fertility drugs later there was still no baby. I won’t go into much further detail but one separation, a divorce and then a serious episode of Depression for me later, I emerged a much stronger and more determined woman.
So I threw myself into my career as I now believed that I was unable to have children so focused on something else in life. Again summarizing here, I met a lovely man, spent many years going out and then living together and then eventually we married. I had always been upfront with Jarlath about my fertility issues as I didn’t want to be involved with someone else that desperately wanted a baby which I could not give them. Luckily Jarlath was of the same mindset as me and was not that bothered about procreating. So now we skip ahead again to 2008.
Our opportunity to move to America came and we decided to take it and for me to take a career break to set up our new life over here. As you can see from my blog it has been going very well so far.
I had always been taking a pill for my bad skin (I am very prone to Acne) and to control my hormones which helps to prevent me getting depressive episodes. One side effect of this pill is that it is also a contraceptive pill although I didn’t believe I needed that. So with my new less stressed and more natural lifestyle I wanted to stop taking this pill as I wanted to see how my body reacted without pumping it full of hormones every day. We discussed this together as we knew that we would no longer we taking any contraceptive protection if I stopped this but thought that with my history while there was a risk it was so improbable that it wouldn’t make much difference. We also discussed the fact that if I did happen to get pregnant that it would be lovely to have a baby especially after spending time around the lovely babies Ciara and Cate at Thanksgiving. So after our Thanksgiving trip at the end of November 2009 I stopped taking my pill.
During December and the early part of January I could feel that my hormones were up and down but I had expected this while my body got rid of the remnants of the pill. My period came on time at the end of December and my skin did not break out into the bad acne I had previously suffered from, so all was apparently going well! Then in mid January I started to feel really unwell. I had various symptoms the main ones being Nausea all the time and extreme tiredness. I also had another bleed in the middle of January so again put it all down to Hormones and just tried to get on with life until it passed.
Mid February came around and I still was not feeling well and we thought enough is enough, I must have a viral infection or the like so dragged myself along to the doctors to have a check up and some blood tests. The Doctor examined me and sent me for some blood and urine tests. She also asked to do a pregnancy test as she wanted to do an abdominal X Ray to rule out any problems down there (as I was having some Bowel “issues”) and it is standard procedure in a woman of child bearing age (even one stretching the limit like me). We also talked about having an electro cardio gram to pinpoint the cause of my heart murmur to rule out any issues with this. I still wasn’t feeling better but felt positive that we were now taking some action to get me better.
Then came the phone call from the Doctor. Seemingly all my blood tests came back normal apart from one………I am sure you have guessed which one! She cheerfully informed me that I was in fact pregnant. I was in Giant supermarket at the time doing some grocery shopping and I remember just stopping dead and having to put my basket down to take a moment. It was the most unbelievable news I could possibly have received. I think shock took over for some time but I managed to hold myself together and pick up the phone to speak to Jarlath. At that time he was travelling in San Francisco with one of his sales Team, Lisa. So I called him and said was he on his own but he was in the car with Lisa, so not wanting to tell him when someone else could hear I asked him to call me back to discuss my doctors results. Well he must have been worried but didn’t get the opportunity to call me back for at least another hour when Lisa had to go into the stationery shop to make some photocopies for their meeting. I was of course jumping around at the other end of the phone willing him to call me. Eventually he called and I gave him the incredible news but he initially didn’t believe me and thought that I was joking, I think his words were “you’re kidding me” over and over again. Not the best way to break the news but I had to share it with someone and couldn’t wait another three days for him to get home. The poor man then had to pick himself up off the ground and continue on his trip with Lisa and into a business meeting with a client without letting on that he had just received the most life changing news ever! I bet Lisa wondered what was going on unless Jar is such a good actor that she couldn’t tell a thing.
Of course, I then had to find myself an Obstetrician/Gynecologist (OB/GYN) to give me a check up and guide me through my pregnancy. Luckily my lovely family doctor recommended one which is local to me and to the hospital that is closest to our house (which I later found out is the same one my friend Vicky actually uses). So I was duly booked in for an initial appointment right after our holiday and a sonogram/ultrasound to determine that everything was alright at this stage and to guess at a due date.
In typical Keating fashion, the above was of course not even the main part of the drama. We both visited the OB/GYN and got all the usual blood , urine, weight and height tests and then waited for the sonogram. At this stage we were guessing that I could only be 4 or 6 weeks pregnant as you count from your last period and as I had had two bleeds in January I could count from either of those. So up came the picture on the Ultrasound screen and ‘Oh My God’ I think we both nearly passed out because there on the screen was an itty bitty baby shaped thing complete with a heartbeat. Those of you in the know will have realized that I could not possibly be only 4 or 6 weeks in this case and the nurse/technician confirmed that I was in fact at least 10 weeks pregnant by her calculation. You could have knocked me down with a feather as not only was I now definitely pregnant I was already a quarter of the way through my pregnancy!
Of course, now all the guilt started to creep in about every glass of wine or bottle of beer or vodka cocktail I had drank since the middle of December (when I must have conceived) and there was a lot with Christmas, New Year and a couple of girls nights out in January (remember my Facebook status about never drinking vodka again, well that hangover was actually acute morning sickness and has lasted for the last 6 weeks!). I suppose I can’t turn the clock back so what is done is done and I just need to hope that there is no lasting damage done.
So here is my surprise diagnosis.
I cannot believe the nausea and tiredness that I have suffered and have to offer an apology to any pregnant woman that I have managed in the past that I have been less than sympathetic to. It takes one’s own experience of something like this to realize what it feels like and I will certainly be more sympathetic in the future to anyone in the same situation.
My other thoughts are that I am glad I didn’t know I was pregnant when I had the two bleeds during January as we will never know what those were about and not knowing I was pregnant at the time I wasn’t worried about them but would have been beside myself with worry if I had known.
I know a few people from the UK will need to be resuscitated about now – Fay (the April Fool is on you now!) and Big John Nicoletti are probably lying in a heap on the floor at the moment.
So lots to look forward to and lots to plan and think about. While I believe myself to be a good Auntie and fairly confident about looking after children it is different when it is only for a weekend. I could make lots of mistakes and then just hand the kids back at the end for their own parents to teach them everything else. I am clueless about pregnancy, childbirth and the details of child rearing but I am sure I will keep myself occupied with lots of books on the subject – some recommendations would be gratefully appreciated.
So at the moment life just goes on. I am still incredibly tired and at times nauseas although I am keeping the sickness at bay by eating constantly. Not put on any weight yet after 12 weeks and still have a fairly flat stomach. In some ways I can’t wait to show as that will start to make it more real to me and give me something visible to focus on and talk to – yes, yes I may be locked up in a comfy, fitted, white jacket!
I am still doing my dog walking and the 6 miles a day I seem to be averaging will keep me nice and fit until I become too bulky to manage it any more – and the money can go towards all the gear we will now need to purchase for Junior.
I am also trying to pick up the speed on the knitting needles and have started to knit a baby blanket. My mother used to always knit baby blankets and shawls for friends and families while I tended to stick to easier smaller items like cardigans, bootees and mittens. When I was over for my Mothers funeral we cleared some personal items out of her flat and I brought over her old patterns for baby blankets and shawls just for prosperity keepsake. Now I am having a baby of my own it is sad that I won’t get one of my Mothers beautifully knitted blankets but I have decided to try and pick up the tradition myself and I am challenging myself with using her patterns to knit my own. The blanket is already coming along nicely with a couple of false starts with some new stitches. Hopefully, it will work out and I will post some photos in a future blog.
I have so many questions on pregnancy that I really don’t know where to start, luckily, my sister in law, Alison has had two children and she had them at a later age like me as well so I am sure I will be relying on her heavily for lots of advice. Of course, any random advice you guys can give me is also appreciated. I am also hoping that Alison will come over and visit during the summer, probably in July to help me set up the nursery. While I am aware that I need a crib and the bigger items, it is all the small things that I will need that I don’t know where to start and you get so much crap these days that you don’t really need, that it will be great to get an “experts” opinion of what is actually useful and what is just trash – like the baby wipe portable heater to ensure your babies wipes are warm to the touch at all times!!!
Well not really sure what else to write at the moment as my brain is twirling around at 100 miles per hour. Due my 12 week scan this week and Nuchal testing for the risk of Downs Syndrome and Cerebral Palsy (high risk at my age). Will blog about how that goes in next installment.
Let the fun begin!! Xx