The only thing harder, more exhausting, more emotional and more draining than being a mum, is *not* being one, when you so desperately want to be.

Right now, sitting here with my beautiful baby girl tucked up in one arm, I feel like the luckiest girl ever. After 2.5 years of ‘trying’, facing infertility, three miscarriages in almost as many months, ignorant and offensive attitudes from people with no idea, invasive investigations and tests, I now have my snorty, sicky, noisy, frowny, partially bald, funny, cute two-month old daughter (who is currently making sleep noises that alternate between snoring and what can only be described as sleep-singing…?!).

Last Mothers Day was a completely different story. As a keen/regular/slightly obsessive runner, I was delighted to be offered a last minute place by a running club friend for a half marathon the next day. I took it, partly because I’m an idiot (I’d surprisingly barely run in the weeks before), partly because it’s my favourite distance and it’s one of the biggest HM’s in the country and it surely had to be great, but mainly to distract myself from what was set to be a confusingly sad day after our recent recurrent pregnancy losses.

I spent much of the course randomly bursting into tears, and it wasn’t as flat as everyone made out (and it was perilously cold), but the feeling I got from crossing this particular finish line was different from any other race I’d done: firstly… it was the most miserable finishing straight I’d ever seen (huge race, yet no atmosphere!); secondly, my legs were in a worse condition than ever before – felt like I’d been attacked with a bat (the price of thinking, “Oh, it’s only a half marathon!”); and, thirdly, and most importantly, I felt like I’d ended the race as a different person. I’m always more bouncy than a kangaroo on a trampoline at the end of each race, adrenalin pours through me with the pressure of a fire hydrant (which is why I do really love running) but this elation was different.

I felt as though I had drawn a line under the last 5 months: it wasn’t that I would forget it or ignore it, but I was ready to move on. I actually, truly felt ready to ‘try’ again, not replace what had been lost but to try for something new.

Our miscarriages had been so close together that it felt like one giant, bottomless pit that we just couldn’t get out of, that we’d claw our way to the top, bloody and battered, but then be kicked in the face by Life again, and hurtle to the bottom like the proverbial sack of shit that we felt like.

But that day, I felt positive for the first time in a long time, like a black, suffocating hood had been taken off my head and I could actually breathe.

Ready. Positive? I guess so.

Just two days later was the date my next pregnancy was dated from, the pregnancy which which led to my baby girl. I do like coincidences. 🙂

I started this blog not long before Mothers Day last year. It was a way of being totally anonymous which would let me vent my feelings without worrying about the listeners’ reactions, to scream how I felt, however offensive or upsetting that might be, and to help me process everything. I got all that (to this day, only two real life friends have read this), yet what I realised very quickly is that I wasn’t alone.

So many millions of women around the world, tens of thousands in my country, thousands in my city and, as it turned out, far more than I ever suspected right under my nose, are facing the same agonising journey as I was. We would all have given anything to be a mum, but still weren’t, for reasons extending far further than just pregnancy loss.

In the end, I was super lucky: that’s all it was; luck.

It’s hard because as I was saying to the husband, now I have what I have, I’d go through it again to get this beautiful little poppet. But you can’t ever guarantee that the end will be what you want it to be. As I say, we were lucky. Looking back, I wouldn’t change my past; if there was a giant pick ‘n’ mix for life, I couldn’t handpick what I have at the moment any better. I have met some incredible mums along the way, three of whom are my rock, who ‘get’ where I’ve come from despite not seeing this side for themselves. And I’ve met mums who know it all too well, and we have that knowing nod and smile to each other.

It’s a horrendous cliche (ugh, I hate cliches) but what a difference a year makes.

And no matter how hard it gets, how tired I am, how drained I may be, being a mum will never be as exhausting, as emotionally torrid, as utterly soul-destroying as not being a mum, when it’s all you ever want. I won’t forget how it felt.

I will never forget.

To all those who have found Mothers Day hard to navigate, for whatever reason, I’m sending you love. xx

The ‘W’ word and a little bit of luck.

Our dog is the most amazing little ginger thing I have ever met.  He’s a rescue dog, full of optimism, gratitude and boundless energy, almost like he knows he got a second chance and is living life to the full. I’ve always been an animal person; cats, dogs, hamsters, horses, elephants, giraffes, gerbils, guinea pigs, manatees – I love them all. But this dog? He gets me; senses my mood as I walk through the door, seems to understand what I’m saying without actually comprehending a word, and he’s the only one that can make me feel like the most loved person ever, even when I’ve been a bitch to every person I know that day and therefore am spiralling into a cycle of self-loathing.

I love how he runs on the spot when I get home, wagging like his life depends on it. I love his snake jaw when he yawns. I love the woofs and howls he does in his sleep and that heavy, snoring lump of his head, so freakin’ comforting, on my feet in the middle of the night. He was gentle when I was pregnant; he didn’t leave my side during my miscarriages. He knows me. He’s a pain in the ass, though, too, mainly for always, always managing to have some disastrous encounter with a wasp, grass seed or hedgehog (spine in the eye…seriously) when our bank account is already running low. Pollen is his greatest enemy, leaving him with sore paws and itchy skin, unless doped up to the max with evening primrose oil and antihistamines (which remind him to ‘avoid operating machinery or driving whilst taking this medication’); the amount we’ve forked out over the years for his allergies is something I will never attempt to add up. But my god, he is worth every penny.

My favourite thing about him is when we say the ‘W’ word. “Do you wanna go for a w-” is all that’s needed for him to drop whatever he is doing, eating or barking at, and rush to us. Sometimes, we don’t even need to get past the first three words before he’s there; bum to the floor, left paw raised, one ear sticking out to the side, the hesitant wag as he tries to suss out if you really, really mean what he’s so convinced you’re going to say, those brown eyes and that head tilt. I live for that. With the added ‘-alk’ added to that incredible ‘w’ word, it’s enough to send him tearing around the house, feet tapping on the wooden floor and, if he could talk, yelling THIS IS THE BEST DAY EVER! at the top of his little lungs. Best part of his, and my, day!

But there’s another ‘w’ word. One he hates. ‘Wait’. Ugh. I like to think my dog’s pretty clever, but ‘wait’ took us a LONG time to get. Sure, he knows what to do, knows he should stay put, but I can read his mind – waiting is boring, I hate this, why am I waiting? I just want the toy now, pleeeeease let me have it… I want it so much.

It’s like me. My dog is actually me. Except I’m not hanging around for a rubber sheep that grunts like a pig, a ball, cheese or teddy with ripped off face.  It’s the next cycle to start or ovulation to happen or blood results or for a cyst to resolve or, the latest, our recurrent pregnancy loss results.

Our latest wait has been for ‘just a fortnight more’, after a seven week wait prior to that. And as any person waiting for any sort of test result, ‘just a fortnight’ feels like the equivalent comment of ‘your birthday is only 3 months away!’ to a child or ‘wait for 30 seconds’ to my dog. Forever. And ever. And ever. And after two years of constant waiting, with only 3 weeks of ecstatic happiness, each day of nothing feels more and more like a kick in the teeth each time.

But nevertheless, we waited. Kept busy. Avoided meltdowns. I phoned exactly two weeks later to be told that it would be a further five days before one outstanding result would arrive. So again, The Wait takes over life – that uncomfortable time I’m becoming all too familiar with.  Itching to move forward but forced to stay put. It’s both my dog’s and my worst nightmare.

The five days are up. The results come in, but (there’s always a ‘but’) my consultant is away on compassionate leave and we’ll have to wait until her return, then wait for a letter to be sent out from her. It could’ve been another four days, it could be another week, could be two. Agh. And with no period in sight, there’s no reason for me to attend the clinic.

Of course, it’s absolutely no one’s fault. It’s just bad timing, bad luck, bad coincidence. So we prepare, once again, to find something, anything (probably in the form of something-new-on-Netflix addiction) to block out yet another wait. I’m my dog, sitting, desperately staring at the much-coveted toy and wondering why the hell can’t I just have it already?!

Life keeps throwing curve balls…but sometimes, just sometimes, I’m there, smashing it right back. *Cue trumpets, angels singing and light from above* TODAY ARRIVED, Aunt Flo! God bless her!!! Right on time (although not expected) so now I’m to be scanned tomorrow to see if injections can start up again. This means the big ‘w’ is over; we can get our results at the same time, albeit not from our own consultant. I’m not complaining.

What to hope for, though, I don’t know. Do we want them to find something wrong, in order that they might be able to treat me/him/us?  Or should I be relieved if nothing has been found? I guess that means we’re healthy, but at the same time, means that they can’t explain why I can’t seem to keep our babies safe inside. I’m trying to be like my dog with the ‘w-a-l-k’ word, boundless optimism, hope and expectation… I’m wishing with every part of my being that things work out. And soon. No more ‘w’… please. 

Less than 11 hours to ‘w’. Time to find that dog and cuddle those hours away.