Catherine is a new mummy and blogger/writer of what to expect when you weren't expecting - a pregnancy and baby manual from the least prepared.
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The road to finding out I was pregnant was decidedly bumpy with several pit stops. Yet somehow it all blurs into one whenever I think about it. I’ve had many a moment when I felt like I was unable to comprehend it all and therefore felt like a failure. Luckily, during these moments my mother holds my hand and kindly explains that what I have been through is borderline traumatic and most women would be found rocking in a corner by now.
As I have previously mentioned, my treatment for PCOS continued, my weight stayed the same and things were looking bleak. I returned to the GP with one last attempt at begging him to do something to help me out, my periods had now stopped and I was experiencing abdominal and pelvic pain. Not to mention I was becoming increasingly anxious about every day things, driving to work was awful and whilst falling asleep I would picture myself toppling down the stairs to my death, usually naked. I was really struggling. I’m sure you spotted just then when I said my periods had stopped and thought AH HA, why didn’t the silly cow take a test? I did take a test, as soon as I skipped the first period I whipped out the ol’ Clearblue and the words not pregnant looked back at me. I wasn’t with child.
Besides, at each appointment with the GP, he happily put everything I was experiencing down to PCOS. No period? PCOS. Abdominal pain? PCOS. Weight issues? PCOS. Mental instability? PCOS. The list goes on.
One thing was happening however, the GP was starting to listen to me, or so I thought. The harsh reality is that he never listened to me. Otherwise he may have suggested I do a blood test and none of this would have happened. I’d also have bugger all to write about -so swings and roundabouts. Anyway, it seemed like he was listening to me. He prescribed me Metformin to try and bring my periods back, gave me some sleepy loony pills and referred me to a consultant at the hospital who would tell me why my ovaries were rebelling.
I booked my appointment at the hospital and the nearest one wasn’t until January, I had three months to wait. And three months I did wait. I waited so very patiently for all that time, that any further symptoms were put down to polycystic ovaries and mostly ignored. There was one particular symptom though that desperately unnerved me, not too long before I was due at the hospital I started to feel a funny pulsating feeling on the left side of my lower abdomen, right at the bottom. It didn’t happen all the time but it certainly was peculiar, this fluttering bothered me so much that at my next appointment with Dr. Denial I brought it up. His explaination? PCOS. Apparently, one can grow a cyst so large that it creates its own vascular system and what I was feeling was the blood pumping round it. Such a large cyst that it’s now taking up a baby sized amount of space as it snores in its pram next to me…
So I think you hopefully have the gist. How did I not notice? PCOS, and a slightly crap GP.
The day of my hospital appointment arrived and I was incredibly nervous yet excited. I was finally going to find out what on earth was going on and get fixed! Hurrah. The appointment occurred two hours after it’s scheduled time in true NHS fashion and was actually rather disappointing. Turns out, my GP hadn’t ever really written notes about my experiences and therefore the consultant was forced to get me to start from the beginning and waste a serious amount of time. One thing she did want from me was a blood test, to check many things but mostly my hormone levels. See if this cyst issue was presenting itself clearly in my blood. So my mum and I scooted over to the blood lady, she took three vials of the stuff and we went home, feeling slightly deflated but at least we were on the right track.
A day passed and I found myself sitting at work, typing away and my phone rang. Odd number, I didn’t answer it. If it was important they’d leave me a voicemail. They left me a voicemail – multitasking my way through I checked this message. Phone half to my ear a lady explained that she was calling from the John Radcliffe Hospital, Oxford on the behalf of my consultant and she needed to discuss my blood test. It wasn’t urgent, but could I give her a call back.
CANCER. That was it, I definitely had cancer, and I was going to die so fat that no one would be able to lift the coffin and I’d have to be brought in on one of those things they use for lifting boxes in a warehouse. But it wasn’t urgent? Cancer is pretty urgent right?
I called the number and the lovely lady answered the phone.
“Ah hello Catherine, thank you for calling me back. I needed to speak to you because the pregnancy hormone hCG has presented in your blood and we require a test from you.”
“I’m sorry, I don’t quite understand?”
“There’s a hormone that has shown up in your blood. We need you to buy a test and call us back with the results. Don’t worry too much, if it’s negative it means one thing and well if it’s positive that means another.”
I put the phone down and turned to my colleague next to me, she’d clearly heard the tone of the call and looked at me in rather a concerned way. I burst into tears. There was no way I could be pregnant! My GP had told me I was near enough infertile, I’d joked about adopting 400 dogs and living a life parent evening free. My fresh and carefully put together personal development plan for that year was sitting next to me on the desk waiting for my manager’s sign off. I WAS going to lose the weight and I DID have a huge cyst and no, this wasn’t real. Still in incredible denial at this point, I did a quick google, realised that cysts can show up as false positives on pregnancy tests and told myself to wait until the end of the day. Grab a test and go home. Luckily, my even more concerned at this point colleague shoved me in her car, took me to boots and forced me to buy a test and go home early. Dawdling as much as I could, I texted my boyfriend telling him I had finished early and was coming to see him.
Horizontal. Horizontal is the word I choose to use to describe my boyfriend. If he had sent me a text saying he was leaving work early and coming straight to mine because we needed a chat I would probably have wet myself and attempted to meet him midway on the central reservation of the dual carriageway to ensure we could discuss whatever it was as soon as possible. Luckily, this guy was half asleep after a night shift and just replied with an ‘okay, see you soon’.
Opening the back door to his flat, there he was, rubbing his eyes in his dressing gown looking super sleepy and rather bemused. I burst in. Immediately explaining everything that had happened and that I needed to take a test and that I could be pregnant but I also might not be and do we even have enough sex really and I’m on the pill so it’s all okay and obviously we have options so don’t freak out I will sort this. I don’t think I got so much as a blink in response, he hadn’t even listened. My only option was to bellow at him in a rather uncouth way “I MIGHT BE PREGNANT”, and then he sat up.
Another thing my boyfriend is really good at is not reacting precisely when one needs a response. So I scuttled into the bathroom, I peed on the first stick of this super high tech pregnancy kit and waited three minutes. It was inconclusive. Fab. I don’t think it quite needed the pressure jet I had supplied it with. Re-reading the instructions I saw that you can actually dip the test in the wee to produce a result. Innovative as I am, I slurped a few gallons of water and found myself one of those little GU pudding ramekins and had another go in that. Matt had woken up a little more by then and this time came with me into the loo and waited for three minutes next to the test whilst I drip dried with anticipation. Something flashed up, his face didn’t change. “Matt, what does it say”. Nothing. “Matthew what the hell does that thing in front of you say!”… he just kept staring. Panicking I launched myself off the loo and whilst in midair his little voice found its way out with “Pregnant, it says pregnant”. A further minute or so and it clarified that I was only 3 weeks gone. Fine.
We looked at each other, I had never seen his eyes look so big and his skin so pale. He was petrified, I grabbed him and pulled him as close as I could. It would be fine, we weren’t ready for a baby. We were allergic! And anyway the test said three weeks, three weeks is rectifiable. An abortion was entirely an option and most likely the route we would choose. We sat down together on the sofa and let it soak in. That’s when the funny fluttering started again… thinking back to a slightly happier time when I had joked “the baby’s kicking” referring to my pesky cysts my mind started reeling. Feeling my face go red I quickly and slyly googled ‘When do you start to feel a baby kick?’. And there it was.
‘Monitoring your baby’s movements. You’ll usually start feeling some movement between weeks 16 and 20 of your pregnancy, although it can sometimes be later than this. These movements may be felt as a kick, flutter, swish or roll’ said the NHS website. No, nonononono. I could not possibly be THAT pregnant, but those movements. They were so aptly described. I picked up the phone and called my Mummy.