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Personal Perspective

 |  Parenting, Personal

This is an odd entry in that Karl regularly chimes in (quoted). However, given that what I’m about to discuss affected us both, I’m sure you can understand.

If you’d asked me this time last year my opinions on ‘mommy bloggers’ and ‘mommy blogging’ I’m sure I’d have given you a cynical retort about the standards of these bloggers and where they could, quite frankly, stick their views. I’d have been firmly with the childless 20-somethings, stuck in the mindset of “I know best”, trying to impart my wisdom on things that seem obvious to anyone with half an education. Funny how 12 months changes things, though.

On the 13th of October last year I woke up, stumbled into the bathroom and chucked my guts up. I went back to bed, assuming food poisoning, but within a few hours had a very faintly positive pregnancy test in my hand and my mum on the way with something a little more accurate. Karl came home for a change of clothes on the way to a prior work engagement, I told him, he swore, I cried. It wasn’t the best evening of my life… waiting for the one person I desperately needed to hug me more than any other to decide whether or not he could cope with what I’d just told him.

(Karl: I did indeed swear, but it was more down to the stress of racing home from work to eat, shave and shower, then dress smart and race right back in under 30 minutes due to an open evening. I was a tad shocked, very unprepared, and quite unsure of how I’d make a good father figure!)

I don’t think either of us were prepared for that day, but it was honestly a piece of cake compared to what followed. The couple of weeks after that I was in and out of the doctors being plied with various pills and vitamins to try and keep the morning sickness (later realised as hyperemesis gravidarum) at bay. I missed most days off work, and by Friday 31st of October I was quite badly dehydrated, hadn’t kept food down in around 48 hours, was throwing up blood, and had lost nearly 20kg in weight. I was taken into hospital, hooked up to a drip and had blood taken by the bucketload.

I was kept in overnight and promised a scan on the Saturday. By the time I was finally called for the scan, it had honestly felt like I’d been hanging around for months. My mouth was dry, I’d not eaten in over 3 days and although the drip was supposedly sorting my fluids out I couldn’t recall a time when I felt shittier. The scan revealed that I was actually pregnant with twins. Twins. That’s two potential babies sucking every last ounce of strength out of me. However, neither had a heartbeat. They’d stopped growing at about 8 weeks. I cried a little, although they were tears of relief. Relief only for myself, because I didn’t want to have to go through 9 months of what the previous 2-3 weeks had thrown at me. Selfish relief.

(Karl: We both did, to be fair. It’s still a bit of a point I ponder in my more introspective moments – Never saw them, but they did exist for a while. Odd feeling, and one I do tend to mark in my own way.)

They gave me options for how to proceed. I could wait for nature to take it’s course, take pills to help things along, or have a D&C. I opted for the D&C. I just wanted everything sorted, I wanted to be back to normal… seeing Karl without that worried look in his eyes (Karl: worried I was. You didn’t see the state of Jem. Not a good time.), sitting on the Internet playing with my code, back at work with my colleagues, playing with my animals. Sunday came, 4 days without food, nil by mouth for the surgery. I remember chatting with the theatre nurse about twins running in the family. I remember the anaesthetist talking me through what was going to happen as I drifted to sleep, and then it was all over.

(Karl: During this time I was sat with my mother in the hospital canteen, talking about life and being very open about everything, including everything she went through with me in hospital all those times. It was quite a revealing time. Thank god for parents – I really felt at times like I was coming apart, so tired I couldn’t recall half the driving I was doing, and so on. I don’t think I’d have coped otherwise, especially not with getting the house ready for Jem’s return.)

I wasn’t actually going to write about this. Up until now, only a few very close friends and family had been made aware of what went on, the rest told of tummy bugs and viruses. Yet, as I get closer to my due date — 8 weeks to go — I can’t help but feel that not only did my experience have a massive impact on how I dealt with this pregnancy (which, as you may know, has not been without its own set of issues) but also made me realise that no amount of education, no amount of smart-alec Internet debates, no amount of thinking you know best can prepare you for what life is going to throw at you. Each step you take shapes your next, not what you think you know.

Jem Turner jem@jemjabella.co.uk +44(0)7521056376

50 comments so far

  1. Melissa said:

    Interesting read. Everything I thought I knew about anything was completely thrown out the window once I found out I was pregnant last year and then going through the miscarriage months later. Earlier that year, I never would have expected to experience such a physical and emotional rollercoaster. It's funny how quickly your life and your views can change.

    I was just wondering today how much longer you had left. 8 weeks? Wow. I still have over 3 months and am already becoming nervous and feeling like I'm running out of time to get things sorted. I can't even begin to imagine how you're feeling right now.

  2. Jem said:

    Exactly the same – running out of time to get things sorted!

    Karl and I are desperate to move before the baby arrives because of the issues with this flat, but every time we find somewhere it's either a) gone before we even view it, or b) gone as we make our minds up.

    Although I have clothes, blankets and other little bits now there's still plenty to get… nappies, bedding, nursing bras, etc etc. I don't think I'll ever be ready at this rate.

  3. Angela said:

    Granted, I have yet to successfully be pregnant (I've had a couple of very early miscarriages myself), I firmly believe in the idea that your never ready for a child until it's staring you in the face. But maybe that's just me :P.

    I don't know how you held out your story for so long, well, I do, kind of. When things like that happen for me I always feel like online in some form is the only place I can turn for stuff like that outside of Bill.

    I'm glad things turned around for you both though, you definitely deserve it :).

  4. Searia said:

    Your words really touched my heart, Jem. I am due next month on the 22nd and everyday I have to look at my stomach, feel the baby and say "Wow. I'm a mom." It's like the shock of it all has never actually passed. I agree with what Angela said, you won't actually be "ready" for the child until you're holding your baby in your arms. The same applies for me.

    I know how stressful this time is, it's been a hell-ride for me too. I'm just NOW starting to get everything that I need (bassinet, bottles, diapers, etc). Like you, I held in my story until about a month ago and it was killing me. Not having anyone to share your feelings with is murder and I'm glad and feel honored that you did decide to share with us.

    If you need any help or just want someone to complain with, please feel free to contact or message me anytime. I wish you the best with your future bundle of joy! :D

  5. Trialia said:

    *hugs*

    I think the general thing about hating "mommy bloggers" is when you come across the ones who don't put any thought into their postings beyond "omg precious made his first poopy!" kind of stuff. Which really isn't fun to read for the childfree, as I'm sure you know. You, though, and people like you who actually think about it and write things that are interesting, don't make me want to scream so much. I actually read this post, which is more than I'd usually do for posts that discuss pregnancy and childbirth (I really don't like most kids and the societal pressure to have them, I'll be honest). I respect you for the way you go about it. Please, keep flying the flag for the sane mommy-bloggers.

  6. Amelie said:

    I remember when I read about this last year. I remember being at a restaurant with the family in law, being bored while waiting for food and then looking at the net on my phone (height of rudeness, I know…) and seeing Karl's message. I had to excuse myself for the rest of the meal as I felt so unbelievably sick at that moment. I felt so horrible for you, so helpless, but at the same time glad that it was over for you and you'd be back to normal.

    I was glad to read you were pregnant again and hoped it would go better for you; glad it did in terms of the healthy baby. Shame about the sickness etc. though :P

    Here's to the last 8 weeks of freedom, eh? ;)

  7. Rhys said:

    ***hugs***

    Due to my distinct lack of a uterus, I feel like I can't comment. I will say this:-

    "Each step you take shapes your next, not what you think you know."

    If I can get something tattoes on my body, it will probably be that phrase.

    Be strong Jem :)

  8. Sarah said:

    Oh Jem, I'm so sorry to hear about your first pregnancy. You've really been through the mill, eh? You haven't had the easiest time by the sound of it. Hopefully when this little one arrives you'll feel better. Not long now. :)

  9. Jenn said:

    I feel for you. I had a miscarriage at 2 months. It was very hard to deal with. I hope you can get over this and learn from it all. It took me months. My husband at the time took it harder then I did. It's very hard. I wish you the best.

    *hugs*

  10. Aisling said:

    You are intense.

    That's really the only thing I can really think of to say. You are intense, and one of those people who really can take anything the world throws at them, and I really look up to you in that respect.

  11. Vera said:

    I wish I could say something intelligent, but I just can't. So I guess I'll just subscribe to what Ash said: intense. I hope everything will go well in the remaining 8 weeks, you really had enough scares by now.

  12. Sarah said:

    I am so sorry to hear of your miscarriage, Jem. I cannot imagine what you went through, but I'm glad your current pregnancy is going well despite the sickness and such. Not long now, you'll soon have the little one in your arms.

    Life can throw such awful things at a person, lets hope it is all good from here on. <3

  13. Macca said:

    Good luck. I hate you sometimes but you deserve happiness with new baby and hope you both do well. My mum started telling me some things recently that really shocked me. We're all the same in the end. Everyone goes through UTTER CRAP all the time. But we get over it. C'est la vie.

    I was thinking, I wanted to send you something as I did for my new 'niece' Imogen (2mo premature but doing OK) so if you want, throw me your address (or the new one, when you move).

  14. Mumblies said:

    Jem, I hate to tell you this…but I really don't think that anyone is really 'ready' for when their babies arrive.
    I know I certainly never was.
    Despite all that you and Karl have been through, you have both remained strong and determined. I have the utmost faith in both of you and your ability to cope with whatever life throws at you.

    Impending Parenthood does throw the majority of us into a bit of blind panic, all those 'will it be ok' type questions run rampant through your head…doubts arise and we all wonder if things will be as we expect them to be.

    You have each other, you have love and you have trust. This really is ALL you need, the bits and pieces will follow through once baby arrives. We all learn day by day how to deal with it all and we all make the best of the situation that we can, you and Karl will be no different there.

    My Nan used to have a saying, and I think it fits all situations to a T, it is this…. "This too will pass"
    Despite your panic and worries, you WILL be fine, you have support from both sides of your respective families and you are both sound, sensible loving parents to be. Try to forget the hassles of moving for a while and just enjoy (As Amelie said) your last few weeks of freedom before the baby arrives and it's just you and Karl and the pussums :)

  15. Diana said:

    Hugs. Thank you for writing this. I'm sad to hear what happened during your first pregnancy.

    I think once you get a chance to take a good breath, you will see that everything will be fine. From what I know, you are a good person and obviously capable of a lot. Your baby is lucky to have you.

  16. Claire said:

    Much love to you and Karl, I'm so sorry to hear of the trauma surrounding your first pregnancy, but glad that you felt you were now able to share. Sharing/writing has always had a very healing effect for me, I hope it has the same benefit for you now, too.

    All the best over the next few months – one thing I find myself repeating is "It'll all find a way to work out right in the end… because it has to" – no matter what life throws at us, we all find a way of managing – even if it's nothing like we expected or even planned.

    Your previous experience was no doubt terribly painful, but I'm sure it's prepared you and made you both stronger (as parents) in its own way. Your impending baby is lucky to have a mum and dad like you and Karl and I wish Baby a safe arrival.

    Much love x

  17. Tanya said:

    First of all, I'm so sorry for your loss Jem and Karl.

    On a happier note, good luck with your final 8 weeks Jem – I'm only two weeks behind you and we are far from ready too. But I agree with your Mum, I don't think anyone is really 'ready' for when their babies arrive. I hope you start your maternity leave soon which will give you more time to prepare (mine doesn't start until 10 days before my due date, which I really regret now).

  18. Kris said:

    Well, having known for a while and not really being sympathetic I'm not sure what to put, but I know that both you and Karl will be awesome parents, growing up you were always an awesome big sister to me, you still are and being the ungrateful younger brother that I am I never thanked you for it.

    You have probably been a lot of help to me over the years but I just haven't realised it, and I would like to thank you Jem and I hope that some day I can be there for you too like you are there for me.

    P.S I do love you even though sometimes I don't tell you.

  19. Chans said:

    Jem, Karl I'm really sorry for your loss. I'm really at a loss of words at this point, I just don't know what to say, because nothing I say can make up for the loss you both had to go through.

    I just want to wish you luck with the last 8 weeks Jem, not long now until both of you can hold your little one in your arms!

  20. Melissa said:

    I've always known you were an exceptionally strong person, Jem… and you've always inspired me. I know I can't begin to fathom how much it took for you and Karl to talk about this on the webs, but the both of you inspire me all the more for it.

    What you said at the end of this entry really struck a chord in me (about how absolutely nothing can prepare you) and I hope to keep that bit of advice to the forefront in my mind, especially whenever I end up having kids. I think that is actually probably the best advice that can be given to anyone, applied to any life struggle.

    I think you guys are going to be awesome parents, your strength of character alone proves that. Thank you so much for sharing this story… <3

  21. Hev said:

    Why are you worried, Jem? You are going to make wonderful parents. That child is going to have wonderful parents & be very lucky. Every future parent is worried, if they weren't then I would honestly be worried about them. I know I don't have any children of my own by blood, but I am responsible for a nine-year-old little girl that swears that I am her mom. You will do just fine, Jem. I promise.

  22. Erin said:

    I'm so sorry to hear of your earlier loss. =( How devastating to have to deal with.

    I'm so very glad that this pregnancy is going well for you and the baby so far. Eight weeks to go! Karl, sproglet, and yourself will continue to be in my thoughts. Best wishes, hun.

  23. Ann said:

    FWIW, my respect and admiration for you both just soared.

    That kid is going to be very lucky – call me corny but if I'm looking up to you and I don't even know you, then your child is going to have some awesome parents.

  24. Clem said:

    I agree with what other people are saying. I really admire you for being such a strong and brave person. I remember reading about your hospital visits last year, and it sounded horrible enough without having to deal with the emotional trauma of a miscarriage.

    I'm sure you will be amazing parents. I agree with Ann that your baby is lucky. Not everyone has good parents, after all. :)

  25. Vixx said:

    What words are there to say? There aren't any, really. I cried that day you emailed me – it brought everything about my first miscarriage (suspected twins (the doc now thinks one was 'behind' the other in the scan, and I lost a lump of 'fetal matter' – nice terminology – three months after I had passed the first baby in hospital), lost at 10 weeks, a missed miscarriage not known until my 12 week scan) and all I could think was that nothing – NOTHING – prepares you for the pain of a m/c. It's like … well, it's indescribable. It's all consuming. Sadly, all too many women know how it feels.

    I still mark her/their due date (16 Aug) every year, and have a dried yellow rose from a bouquet of flowers I was sent from work when they found out I lost her/them. It's in the living room and I look it at every day. I'm not remotely sentimental about some things, but I keep the rose as a reminder of what I lost, but also of how loved she/they were whilst they were here. Hmm – it looks stupid written there like that, but honestly – I look at it often and pause to remember.

    Of course, I have S now. Having him doesn't change what I lost, but it does make it easier. I physically can't have any more children, so S is my all. I like to think that someone somewhere planned it that way so that he would forever be my one, perfect, gorgeous, wonderful little boy. :) These shitty things happen for a reason – isn't that what they tell us?

    V xx

  26. Anthony said:

    As hectic as life in general may seem at the moment, once that baby pops out, everything will fall into place. When my sister got pregnant, we didn't know what to do… You just need to keep your head held high and stay positive. You have your mom, Karl and I'm sure others (not to mention your loyal Internet following if you ever need anything) to help you through this. In the long run you will be thinking to yourself "why did I react this way?". None of this is going to matter when you hold your baby in your arms for the first time. You can only do so much so try not to work yourself too much. Having a baby isn't a piece of cake and it's a huge deal, however, your life will change for the better. Good luck!

  27. Meggan said:

    Jem, thank you for sharing this. What an awful emotional roller-coaster. Miscarriages are far more common than most people realize, and it's so devastating yet so swept under the rug. Thank you for speaking out.

    Best of luck to you with the rest of your pregnancy and the new baby! I think everything will come together as you get closer to the end. Thinking about you. :)

  28. Jem said:

    Thank you all for the words of support. I appreciate it's often difficult to know what to say to someone when you learn of something like this, so I am grateful to those of you who managed to articulate so well your kindness.

    With regards to pending sproglet… I am not worried nor anxious about his/her arrival. Worried is probably the last word I would use. I know that I will make a good parent, and I know that Karl will make a good parent. I know that we share values, and each understand and believe in the same things with regards to raising a child. All that is left is for me to finish baking the little bundle and pop him/her out safe and sound.

  29. Lilian said:

    Thank you for sharing this. As a childless twenty-something year old, I can't understand your loss but I sense it all the same. I do feel especially happy now for the good times ahead of you and Karl. Take care :)

  30. Theresa said:

    I don't know what past experience you have with children but when the baby comes, do not stress the crying. It's hard to do, very hard. If there is nothing wrong with him/her, they are fed, changed and maybe just fussy because of a belly ache or because they are tired, don't worry.
    If you need any help, any advice, anything, you know my email now, just let me know. I have been through child asthma, broken eardrums, broken legs, colic induced crying, and then some.
    Everyday is still a learning experience for me and everyday will be a learning experience for you. You will want to cry, you will be emotional. There is no doubt about that. Hormones can do ridiculous things to people.
    I must say, it is a true relief to see the very personal side of you. I'm so used to you talking shit, that I forget sometimes that there's always that emotional side. ;)

  31. Yvonne said:

    Oh Jem. I'm not sure if you've read any of my private entries before, but I have been through the same. Twice. I want to thank you for being so brave to post your experience. I don't have a problem with posting mine… unfortunately, culturally, my mother thinks it's a crying shame if my relatives found out. And I do have family floating around my site sometimes.

    I am constantly triggered by things in daily life (not just the anniversaries of) that remind me of my pregnancies. It was a long time before I could move on. I found what helped me was a trip to Babies R Us. Giving myself the time to think about it and to purchase a rattle and outfit to symbolized each pregnancy. That gave me the starting point to heal.

    I am very much pro-choice still, however it was just a point in my life when I was not ready for a child.

    I want to extend my congrats, and I hope I will be just as happy when Dave and I eventually have a child together.

  32. Noellium said:

    "…but also made me realise that no amount of education, no amount of smart-alec Internet debates, no amount of thinking you know best can prepare you for what life is going to throw at you. Each step you take shapes your next, not what you think you know."

    I always found your blog to be informative, but this little quote really struck me. Great advice, great insight. :)

    On a related note, best of luck to you, Karl and your little sproglet. d-('-')o

  33. Barbi Carter said:

    wow jem i am crying here reading that …….i 2 weeks ago miscarried and did not know i was prego at all still had my pearid and everything crazii but i feel ur pain i fell like i should of knowned bc i have to healthy babys now i know that if i kew i could of had one more( i not ready for anymore ) but i crie every night on how i could of helped that ……. and its ture no matter what you know ur higher power will always thow you a curve ball ………. i am so sorry to hear it and you will be in my prays hun

    Ps. you know my spelling bad so if you want u can fix it and i used FF spell checker to the best it would let me

  34. Sarah said:

    I check your blog regularly and I've always had this significant respect and admiration toward you and your straightforward personality. However, this entry in specific has definitely confirmed to me that you can pull through anything at anytime because, simply, you're as strong as that.
    You probably know this already, but you are going to make an excellent parent if not the best. :)

    Thanks for the great deal of insight! Take good care.

  35. Aimee said:

    This was enlightening, and I'm so glad you put it down on "paper". Not that any of us really had to see it, but it's always nice to get it written down and out there.

    I'm so impressed with how well BOTH of you seem to be doing after all that stress. Kudos, really. As they say, what doesn't kill you makes you stronger. You might be Hercules by now, I should think.

  36. Christina said:

    I am absolutely horrified of children and pregnancy. Horrified. But I think you and Karl handled that situation a lot better than most people would have. It's true, though. No one is ready for a baby. You can read all the books you want on raising children, but childcare is not a class. There are no textbooks.

  37. Louise said:

    You are an amazing person and very strong to have made it through all this. I'm sure you will only get stronger from your future experiences.

    I would kneel down and worship you, but that would be kinda freaky. You'll soon have a little person looking up at you anyway. :P

  38. Courtney said:

    Wow, Jem, what an amazing and heartbreaking post. I know how you felt about the relief. You feel guilty about it, but sometimes it's just not supposed to be and you know it. I think you are an amazing person and I think that you're going to be an even more amazing mother and I look forward to hearing about your little one.

  39. Arwen said:

    Jem, your entry was thoroughly moving. I'm childfree and I plan on staying that way, but I understand where you're coming from when you say that those little events in our life can really change us.

    I, as well as everyone else who's commented, has total faith in you that you will be a good mommy. And that Karl will be a good daddy!

    Just don't become the stereotypical mommy blogger, please? :)

  40. Tayy said:

    Wow, I'm so sorry about last year =(
    You are very brave and you will be a fantastic mum for the one on the way. :( it's so devastating to find out when your child has died. I personally, am a medical miracle as I was born with my liver on the outside and have had 8 operations (7 to do with the liver – had to cover it with skin graphs and one was a spinal procedure to insert a harrington rod for my spone) and I was meant to die. A boy who was born with a diaphramatic hernia (I am a abdomal hernia patient) died from an heomarrage because he was delivered naturally. Life is full of sad things and I hope your child will have a happy and healthy time. Best wishes to you and Karl <3

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