New Blog


I’m acutely aware that, since my situation has changed, the things I want to write about are not really appropriate for this blog, so I’ve started a new one:

The way I’m making sense of baby

Whilst I sincerely hope that my happy ending gives hope to others, I am well aware that those who have found my story whilst searching for hope and help probably won’t want to hear about the new chapter in my life.

I will still keep track of new research into RMC and write about it as and when I become aware of it. I am so grateful to the mumsnet forum members who first alerted me to the existence of the Implantation Clinic team at Coventry (, without which I honestly believe I would never have been able to carry my baby to (almost) term.

Wishing everyone still trying all the very best, and thank you for reading.


Emergency bathroom midwifery ***Birth described***

For the birthday boy!

The way I'm making sense of miscarriage

I have written before about how difficult I have sometimes found it to be around pregnant women and babies. Emotions swing between jealousy, self-hatred (I never used to be such a nasty b*tch) and sadness for what I’ve lost. Self preservation has a lot to do with it, I’m sure. That and the abject humiliation of having to leave a 2 year old’s birthday party because you can’t stop crying (got the t-shirt).

The reality is that you’re going to have to face pregnant women (and all their worries and complaints about their aches and pains) at some point; whether at work or out and about, they’re everywhere (are they breeding?!). You can either get on with it, or let in ruin your day. I’ve opted for a nice balance of both.

I knew that my sister and her husband wanted a second child, and I knew that they were…

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My Marvel ***C-Section birth described – honestly, some of this is a bit grim. You have been warned***

I was supposed to be writing something like “I’m 35 weeks pregnant and I’m uncomfortable,” etc. But I’m not writing that. Instead, I’m going to write about the amazing, terrifying, emotional week that we’ve had, and introduce you to my brave boy.

I’d been having continued bleeds and a couple more hospital stays in the past couple of weeks, and they had become so routine (bleed, go in to the labour ward, get checked, stop bleeding, be put in bed and monitored for 48 hours) that it really wasn’t worth blogging about. Then, on Monday 11th May, I started spotting again. It was very annoying, and I was almost tempted not to go in to hospital. My husband had been out rock climbing and I’d had a lovely evening reading a baby book (a really big step for me in the ‘things I wasn’t ready to do in case I jinxed things’ stakes – other things included washing appropriate tops suitable for breast feeding and buying any nursing bras, or any bottles etc… more on that failure of planning later). Game of Thrones was about to start. I didn’t want to go into hospital again, certainly not for such a little bit of spotting. But we knew we had to err on the side of caution, so we went. 

On the monitor, baby was doing fine. The spotting was really minimal. There was some discussion about whether I needed another anti-D injection, and a blood test to check (the guidelines seem to have been changed in the past couple of weeks. Just to keep everyone on their toes). Finally, at around 23:30, I was taken up to the ward an given a bed. I was annoyed; I’d forgotten my ear plugs and my long pillow. I wanted to go home and come back in the morning for more monitoring. It was only a little tiny bit of spotting.

Oh. My. God. Staying in was The. Best. Decision. Ever. EVER.

I woke up at about 03:00, and had a bit more spotting with a couple of clots. Not too much, but I told the midwife on duty and then went back to bed. Then at about 04:30 I felt that I had had another bleed. A big one, this time. I pressed my call button and when the midwife arrived I tried to get up and felt something gush. She helped me to the bathroom where I discovered that I had passed a blood clot or *something* that was easily the size of a human kidney. It didn’t hurt, but it certainly couldn’t qualify as ‘normal’, by anyone’s standards.

I’m so glad they made me stay in. It would have been really traumatic if that had happened at home, or in the car. *Shudder*

I was put in a wheelchair and taken down to the observation area where they have private rooms with lots of machines in them. I couldn’t sleep, I was bleeding heavily by then. I was cannulated (after two failed goes by the junior doctor, the midwife sorted it out), and put on the monitor. The baby was doing fine; not distressed in the slightest, which was great. What they hadn’t told me is that I had started very tiny contractions, ones I couldn’t feel yet. By about 05:30 I was feeling period pain like cramps. I phoned my husband to let him know that he should probably think about coming in. We agreed that he should get a bit more sleep and come in at about 07:30 ish. Something was happening, but it wasn’t happening immanently, and we needed our rest for if something should happen later. I phoned him back at about 07:20 to see where he was. Something was definitely happening by 07:20.

My husband arrived at 07:30, and I was definitely having contractions. I’d gone from a 2-3/10 on the pain scale (noticeable and a bit uncomfortable) to a 5-6/10, which is pretty much when you have to stop talking during the contraction until it passes. The consultant came in to see us, and said that it was time to deliver the baby, probably by c-section, because of the continued bleeding. When? In about an hour. Alrighty then.

The plan was this: Get me prepped for theatre: epidural on board, husband in scrubs, etc. Then they’d have a look to see what was going on (too risky to do in where I was in case there was a catastrophic bleed), and decide whether I could have a go at a natural delivery, or whether it would be too dangerous. If natural, I’d go to a delivery suite, if not, they’d increase the anaesthetic and do the section there and then. 

I had always been worried about the idea of getting an epidural (big needle etc.), but, actually, the worst part was the local anaesthetic going in. It was all just a bit of odd pressure after that. On the table, they sprayed me with an aerosol of cold water to see how the numbness was taking. Epidurals are weird. You can feel things, but just not the pain of them. So pushing, tugging, movement etc. can be felt, but there’s no accompanying pain sensation. It really is rather odd. Your brain knows what’s going on, and that it should hurt, but then nothing happens, and your brain doesn’t quite know what to do with itself.

It was decided that there was no way a natural delivery would be possible, and so the c-section was done. It was all over really quickly and my husband, who we had asked to be the one to tell me what kind of baby it was, told me it was a boy. I heard him crying (the baby, not the husband), and our son was wrapped in a towel and placed at my shoulder. He was still covered in the vernix stuff that full term babies have usually lost by the time you meet them. Moments later, he was taken away to the neonatal unit and I was being asked to make decisions about whether he could have formula or not. (I’m all for breast feeding, but, seriously, who’d say ‘No, I insist that you starve my baby until I can express some milk!’.)

Since he was born, my husband and I have learned a lot about the care of neonatal babies. It’s been a learning curve and it’s different to what I thought (which was that it was pretty much down to size as to how well they do). I’ll write more about our preemie adventures another time. Mostly because visiting the neonatal unit every day for a week is tiring and I need to prepare tomorrow’s lunch (express some milk) before bed. Suffice it to say that we’ve had a rollercoaster of a week with some scary and amazing times. Can’t wait to get him home.

When getting a good kicking feels like a good thing

It’s funny, I never thought I’d get this far; 18 weeks. Having been obliged to ditch my regular wardrobe a week after returning to work after the Christmas holidays, I’ve had to start making maternity style choices. This is exciting (I’ve been a bit of a wardrobe raider, which is great fun. Since almost all of my friends have already had their children, they’re very happy to have someone take those bulky bags of pre-loved clothes away!). It has also been somewhat frustrating (I want to exercise outdoors but all the maternity joggers that I can find are jersey style cloth meaning I’ll get cold and wet if I try it).

Speaking of exercise, the pregnancy recommendations are a mine field of don’t get too hot, don’t get too cold, don’t get thirsty, don’t exercise ‘on empty’, don’t lie on your back, don’t lie on your front, don’t do anything you can fall off, or over, or up. All very sensible. Believe me when I say that I don’t want to take any risks; I’m not complaining about the advice to keep safe, but the fact is that all of these safety instructions seem to add up to don’t exercise, and the advice (and I do want to take it) is definitely do exercise. As it is, I can no longer put my outdoor exercise trousers on, so it’s a moot point. I’ve been going swimming instead.

There is one thing that I am really enjoying, and that’s feeling the baby move. Its, quite simply, magical. I am not writing this to be smug (although I’m aware that I probably am being a little bit smug). I’m writing it for the record so that when I’m being woken up because I’m being kicked in the ribs or the bladder I can read this and remember how I feel about it now.

So, I’m doing well and getting my head round the idea that this might actually happen this time. I’m the subject of school gossip, in the nicest possible way. My class gave me a round of applause! People are congratulating me without being told I’m pregnant by me.

20 week scan next week – the anxiety is beginning to creep in… have I relaxed too much, got too confident? Fingers and toes crossed for the next milestone, and in the meantime, I’m enjoying getting a good kicking.

All the good things

It occurs to me that I have presented quite a sad, miserable side of myself to the blogosphere. While its true that I have had quite a few sad events a disappointments to contend with, there’s also a hell of a lot in my life that I really like. This post celebrates some of them. Sorry if you’ve joined me today for a gynaecological tear fest… I expect there will be another one along soon enough!

So, in no particular order of likiness:

Happy #1

Work. I know! Who would think that was something to be happy about, right? Well, I am lucky enough to have a vocation rather than just a job. I teach Philosophy and Ethics to fantastic students at a brilliant school. I spend my days discussing really interesting ideas, and, because it’s with kids, the discussions are new, original and fresh every time. Yes, sometimes I have to rush my lunch and do marking at the weekend, but I can honestly say that its a really rewarding job that gives me something to get up in the morning for.

Happy #2

Swimming and bootcamp. Its good to exercise, and its even better to exercise outdoors. Fresh air, a great group of people, challenge and camaraderie. It means I keep strong, get some feel good endorphins pumping, get my vitamin D naturally, participate in challenges to push myself and give me focus. And not feel too bad about eating cake from time to time.

Happy #3

Cats. Mad cat lady? Perhaps. I unashamedly love my kitty cats. One is sweet and aloof, the other is boisterous and a bit dim, but they are always pleased to see me (I do realise that its because I provide food).

Happy #4

Husband. What can I say? He’s unfailingly understanding and supportive; a true friend and soul mate. Lesser men would not have been able to endure the challenges we have faced together. I couldn’t have done it without him (to be fair, I wouldn’t have needed to, but that’s not the point!).

Happy #5

Family. I’ve got a really brilliant family. None of that ‘keeping up appearances’ b*llsh*t; they’re supportive, straightforward and loving. I know of so many people who have chosen to hide their fertility issues from their families for various reasons, and that makes me feel so sad for them. I know I can be true to myself with my family, and it really means a lot to me.

Happy #6

Friends. I’ve got some really amazing people in my life who support me and whom I support. I socialise, laugh, write, sing, chat and work out with a diverse and brilliant bunch of people. I love them all for all the different ways they enrich my life.

There are so many things in life to be happy about, and when you’re feeling really down and in the thick of it its easy to lose sight of that. Sometimes, when I go back and read my blog posts, the sadness comes through and its quite raw. This post is one to come back and read when I need cheering up. Here’s to accentuating the positives!