The Fault in Our Stars

So Saturday was a sliding doors experience, but not in the way I’d envisaged.
Instead I found myself taking the boys to their usual Saturday morning swimming lesson, and chatting to another Mum there about school, and moving into the next stage of our parenting journeys (her youngest is Toby’s age, so she’s a little ahead of me).  Something that I know wouldn’t have happened if I’d had a newborn baby in a sling.

Then at lunch time I dropped Chris at work, and on my way back home had an even bigger sliding doors moment, when I stopped at a red light at a pedestrian crossing and saw one a guy I recognised from The Infusion Bay (where I have my IVIg).  I sat opposite him at my last treatment.  He crossed in front of my car- in his electric wheelchair, while I waited, behind the wheel of my car, with full use of my limbs.
I got home and the boys started to play this really involved game of make believe that mostly involved spreading their toys across the entire living room floor to make “the sea” (also making it pretty much impossible to cross the room without potentially breaking a bone) so I picked up one of my library books…
Don’t worry, I’m not going to give away any spoilers.  But I’m not kidding when I say, that aside from breaking to feed/water/clean my children and tuck them into their beds, I could not tear my eyes away from the pages of this thing until I finished it that evening.  I laughed, and cried and would probably have turned back to the first page and read it right through immediately after finishing had I not vowed to return it to the library because someone else had reserved it.
A book about cancer, when you have just lost someone to cancer, and have other people you love battling cancer, may not sound like an ideal read, but this book is different.  It’s not even a book about cancer.  It’s a book about people, and they just so happen to have cancer.  And that is what makes it different.  It is also what gave me my biggest ‘sliding doors’ moment of the day.
I wasn’t sure how I felt about the outcome of my molar pregnancy, or it’s due date, right up until I felt it on Saturday and here it is…an emotion you’d probably never expect to hear in relation to miscarriage: relieved.
Molar pregnancy is a form of gestational trophoblastic tumour, you don’t need to understand the first two words to appreciate the impact of the last one.
The letter I received in November, informing me of my histology results told me there was a 1 in 10 chance that remaining tissue in my uterus would become cancerous and potentially spread to other parts of my body, requiring chemotherapy.  1 in 10 is of course still 9 in 10 it wouldn’t, and that’s what I kept telling myself.  But that same day I took a photo of my hair, my ridiculously unruly, curly-but-not-in-a-good-way hair that I normally hate, just in case I was about to lose it.
But I didn’t, did I?  There was no remaining tissue, my HCG levels fell steadily, I didn’t need any follow up treatment, my hair remains long and a source of constant annoyance.
I’ve always known how lucky that makes me, but on Saturday, after reading The Fault in our Stars, I actually really felt it.
There are a lot of brilliant quotes I could take from that book, but “The world is not a wish-granting factory” has to be my absolute favourite.  I am thinking of getting it tattooed somewhere on myself as a reminder, so that when I  start to feel like “It’s not fair” I can look at it and tell myself to STFU.
Life owes us nothing.  We owe it to ourselves to make the most of the life we get. (My words, not John Green’s!)

The Due Date

Tomorrow is D-Day.  The due date of the baby we were having, but aren’t anymore.
The early scan we had at 7 weeks put us back a little, giving us a due date of 17th May, but by dates our baby would have been due on the 10th May- tomorrow.
Of course, in reality s/he would have come whenever s/he wanted, but if previous pregnancies are anything to go by (and I’m aware they’re not a guarantee!) then I tend to pop my babies out in the 38th week, so chances are we would have a brand new baby already.
I’m not sure how I feel about that, to be honest.  Nor am I sure how I’m supposed to feel about that, or what to do about it, even if I could figure out what my feelings are on it all.
Which makes this a somewhat pointless blog post.  But I just wanted to acknowledge the significance of tomorrow, and the fact that it actually happened in the first place.
In August I peed on a stick, and found out I was pregnant…the same day I was diagnosed with Guillain-Barre Syndrome.  And here’s the proof, sat atop a copy of Juno magazine, which Chris had brought me to read in the hospital:


In September, there was an actual baby inside of me, with a heart beat of around 148bpm:
And then I was scanned again at what should have been 10 weeks and there wasn’t.
Later of course we found out that the pregnancy had been ‘doomed’ from the start, as it was a Molar Pregnancy, meaning there was an extra set of chromosomes and our baby was incompatible with life.
Does that make the whole thing better, or worse?  Should it make me feel better?  Or worse?  I don’t know.  I am still sending urine samples to Sheffield Centre for Trophoblastic Disease to monitor my HCG levels and ensure there isn’t any molar tissue left in my uterus, so I have to say I’m inclined to say that the Molar aspect is scant comfort if any.
This isn’t my first rodeo of course, having had two previous miscarriages, but I have never been in this position before, as with each of those, I was already (heavily) pregnant again by the time the “Would have been due dates” rolled around.
You never forget them though.  It’s so weird.  My first pregnancy I worked out I would have been due on October 21st 2009…but it wasn’t to be.  By the time October came though, I was waddling around with an almost full-term baby inside me, who turned out to be Toby.  So although I remember recognising the day quietly to myself, it wasn’t with sadness as I was focused on the baby I was carrying, whose life wouldn’t have been possible if I hadn’t miscarried.
Likewise, my 3rd pregnancy had a due date of 20th July 2011, although as it was a twin pregnancy, it likely would have been moved forward anyway.  Again, it wasn’t to be, although by the time the summer came, I was pregnant with Rudy and again, felt thankful for how things had worked out.
This time, the due-date is almost upon me, and not only am I not pregnant for a change, but I’m not even planning to be.  Which makes this a very different situation to the other two, and probably explains my whirlwind of thoughts and emotions on the issue.
I haven’t really reached out to talk to anyone about my experiences, if I’m honest (well, apart from the handful of you reading this I guess!) but if anyone out there stumbles across this and does want some support then The Miscarriage Association is a good place to try.  And for those affected by Molar Pregnancy, you can click here to visit the Molar Pregnancy UK site.
As for me, I have a feeling that tomorrow will be a bit of a Sliding Doors experience (you know, that 90’s film with Gwyneth Paltrow?) as I go about my normal day-to-day life with Chris and the boys, acutely aware of what might have been instead.