Saturday, 27 February 2010

too much, and not enough.

i know too much, and not enough.

i know that i'm not guaranteed a free pass next time. just because i've lost one baby, that doesn't protect me from losing another. statistics don't work like that.

i know that even if i get to 40 weeks of pregnancy with everything ok, it's still not guaranteed that i will get to take home a living baby.

i know how fragile life can be. i know how much of a miracle it is, that any single one of us lives.

i know that i will never be able to blindly assume that everything will be ok again.

i know that my husband will not believe that any baby we conceive is real until we get to take it home. alive. this, from the man who said we had to buy a new and safer car for the baby within weeks of finding out i was pregnant, that bought one when i was just ten weeks pregnant. that makes me so indescribably sad.

i know that every month i don't get pregnant, my chance of walking through this hell again increases, just a little.

i know that it doesn't matter if your birth plan comes true if you get a healthy living child at the end of it. that if you planned a natural birth and get a section, but it saves your baby's life and means you get to take home a living child, then that's cause for celebration. not despair that your dream of a perfect birth was taken away.

i know that it's possible (not likely, but possible) that right now, any child we conceive is guaranteed to die. it's possible that because of our combination of genes, we might not be able to conceive a child who will live without some kind of treatment. and i know that if that's the case, we may have to lose another two children - babies we might see living on a scan who go on to die - before our losses are investigated.

i don't know whether i will be strong enough to keep trying if that is what happens.

i don't know whether i will ever be the girl who's the first to ask to hold a newborn (or, indeed, any baby) again.

i don't know if i will ever be able to look at a pregnant woman without my heart breaking, just a little. without wondering if she knows that her heart could still be broken.

i don't know whether i will ever be able to ask a pregnant woman about her pregnancy, about her plans for her baby, about whether she can feel the baby move, again.

i don't know if i will be able to see my best friend before the summer. i don't know if i will be able to sit and talk to her, knowing that by this stage of her pregnancy, she will be feeling her baby moving around inside her. i don't know if i will be able to sit with her, knowing that. not knowing whether i will ever experience that myself.

i don't know if holding someone else's child will ever be a pleasant, uncomplicated experience again.

i don't know whether a loss at before 12 weeks would hurt less. or whether it would hurt more, on top of a wound that may never really heal.

i don't know why our baby died. i might never know.

i don't know whether i am capable of giving birth to a child who is destined to survive.

i don't know whether i will ever get to take a baby home.

i don't know whether i will ever stop crying for the baby i lost.

i don't know whether i want to.

Thursday, 25 February 2010

three months ago today.



all i want is a baby of my own.



it's so simple for so many people. why not me?



why do i have this sense of dread? this belief that it will never happen?



i hope, so badly, that i am not right.


---


400 posts.


i can't believe it's come to this.

Tuesday, 23 February 2010

Someone from reception came into my office, the one where I'm still hiding, this morning.

She asked if anyone had any sweets.

Because the girl from HR who did my maternity interview was there. With her first child (the sweets were to bribe the first child into the building).

And her baby.

One of the girls in the office got up, found some sweets for her. Said she would be through to see them all soon. Sat back down.

My stomach turned hollow.

No one said anything to me. Everyone just chatted.

It wasn't long before it was just me and one other girl sitting at our desks. I told her I wasn't sure about going along to see this girl. That I was normally OK with babies, more so than with pregnant people. But that I was scared.

She told me it was OK not to go along. That if it was her, she wouldn't. She told me not to cry, else she would start. In a nice way.

In the end I wrote her a note. Told her that I couldn't face seeing her this time, but that I was glad everything had gone well. That I would look forward to seeing her and the baby next time they came in.

I passed it on.

Then I went into the ladies to have a cry.

---

After that, I was OK, actually.

The girl who passed on the note told me that when she had done so, HR lady had said that she wasn't sure whether to come along and see me or not. It helped, to know that she understands how hard this is for me. Even just a little.

I still kind of wish I'd gone along. But it's too early for tormenting myself with babies in work.

All I can say is that I can't imagine how hard it must be for those who have lost babies who have workplaces full of pregnant people, or visiting babies. This girl is the only one to have a baby in our workplace for years. One day was hard enough. I can't imagine how distressing, how exhausting it must be to cope with more regularly.

---

There is a coda to this story, in which my colleagues are nicer. I was alone in a different office later this morning, and the colleague who provided the sweets came in and asked if I was OK, offered me a hug. She told me that the girl from reception had called immediately she got back to her own desk, berating herself for not being more sensitive to me. Not sure whether to apologise or not.

So. Sometimes even when people seem to be insensitive, they realise a little later and feel bad. Which is kind of comforting.

Monday, 22 February 2010

lugging heavy bags around my manager's office, last week
i remembered lugging heavy boxes around my office, back before we knew the baby had died
and that temp telling me i shouldn't move them, i should let someone else do it
(i should be looking after my baby)
and i wondered. if that was why i miscarried
if it was my own fault


but there was a growth on the baby
they saw it on the scan with no heartbeat
(a probable marker of a chromosomal abnormality)


how could moving boxes cause that?


yet still. i wonder if i should be blaming myself.

---

i've been pretty antisocial since going back to work. i have my fill of people, of words, while i'm at work. i've not been commenting or writing here or supporting those who have helped support me, and i feel really bad about that.

so i just wanted to say that i'm still here. i'm still thinking of you all.

i'm coping as well as can be expected. which is to say that i'm exhausted and emotional and not dealing with things as well as i believe i should.

but i'm still getting up and going to work and doing as much as i can be expected to do.

what else can i do?

---

i just wish i could stop obsessing. about everything.

Thursday, 18 February 2010

i am falling further and further behind.

i'm still here. and i'm coping, but only just.

i've got the whole day to myself tomorrow. maybe i'll be able to catch up then.

Tuesday, 16 February 2010

Thaw Blogsplash

I'm going to be taking part in the Thaw Blogsplash on 1st March. Thaw is the latest novel by Fiona Robyn and the blogsplash will mean that 1000 blogs (hopefully!) post the start of Fiona's new novel on the same day.

I loved her book The Letters so I'm looking forward to this.

If you want to join in you can do so here. Fiona's hoping to get 1000 blogs taking part and there's still space for more.....

Monday, 15 February 2010

warning

for anyone out there who has lost a baby - and particularly those who have had to make the nightmarish decision to terminate on medical grounds - you really might want to avoid the book Handle With Care by Jodi Picoult.

it was a little like poking at an open wound for me, but i did finish it.

for anyone else, i also saw the twist coming within the first 100 pages, and because i saw it coming so early, it had no emotional punch at all. I was left thinking 'meh'.

i was a little disappointed that a book that should have been so powerful... just wasn't.

Saturday, 13 February 2010

I put my husband's mobile phone through the washing machine.

He never keeps it in his pocket, but somehow it ended up there.

I started to unload the washing machine. I took out some stuff and it was just there. He hadn't even noticed it was missing. It was flashing up 'Insert SIM'; the camera's flash was stuck on. Lighting up the inside of the machine.

He was OK about it. Said it was just one of those things. It wasn't my job to check his pockets, he should do that himself.

Me? I got the rice out straight away, emptied it into a bowl as D took the phone apart. It's sitting in the bowl of rice now, waiting for us to see if it's going to recover. Time will tell, I suppose.

After that, I told him I was sorry, again. He said it was OK. Yes, honestly. Again.

Then I went through to our bedroom, grabbed a pillow, and started to cry. Hysterically.

I felt so stupid. I felt like it proved that I should never be trusted. Who would trust me with a baby? I put my husband's phone through the washing machine. What kind of idiot does that?

And - I felt (still feel) like I killed the phone. Like it didn't understand what had happened. Its flash was stuck on, white light lighting up the drum of the machine. Saying 'insert SIM'.

Like it was my fault.

Like I hurt it without meaning to.

---

It's possible that this wasn't entirely to do with the phone.

---

I cried hysterically for nearly an hour.

D didn't realise at first. He was hoovering, so he didn't hear. He didn't realise what was going on until he finished and I wasn't there. He came to find me, and held me and murmured soothingly to me. Sat with me until I could manage to breathe normally again.

I told him after a while, when I could just about speak, that I realised my reaction was completely out of proportion to the possible death of a mobile phone.

---

My doctor said on Thursday that she had thought it was a little early for me to go back to work.

I'm starting to think that maybe she was right.

---

I'm back now, though. So I'll just warn TPTB that I am still pretty much an emotional wreck and hope for the best.

Thursday, 11 February 2010

It's February?

It can't be February.

It's still November. I'm still pregnant. Nothing is wrong. The baby is still squirming around, safe and well. I just can't can't feel it yet. I'm not supposed to feel it yet. It's a little too early. I'll have my next scan in December. We'll find out whether it's a boy or a girl. I don't want to but it's important to D.

---

Being back at work is really hard. Tuesday was OK. I didn't really do much. Saw my line manager, got logged in. Read and deleted most of my emails.

Wednesday was harder. I went to see a couple of my managers. Catch up with what I've missed. But it was really hard. Being out of the office I'm sitting in at the minute. Walking round the building. Unsure of who I might bump into. (I don't mind if people come in while I'm sitting at my desk. But I don't want to bump into them in corridors. Unsuspecting. I realise that makes no sense. I could expect to bump into people in corridors, not to have people come into the office. But my head works the other way round.)

---

The realisation that it is now February has been sneaking up on me all week. Don't get me wrong; of course I knew. Christmas happened already. D's birthday. I remember them. I was sick on Christmas Day. D drank way too much the night before his birthday, walked home in the snow.

But I didn't know. It's not February. It's November. My baby is still where it's supposed to be. Growing inside me. Moving around. Waiting to be born.

Isn't it?

That thing in the scan room? That really happened?



.... oh.


---

Today was hardest. I snuck out of my office, called D. Told him it was hard. That it was February. It didn't come as a surprise to him. He's been at work all this time. It was a comfort, to know he was there. Listening, even when there are no words. Nothing to make it better.

My line manager looked at me funny in a meeting. Asked if I was OK. It was just a small meeting. Me and the other managers at my level, girls I get on with really well. She asked me to stay for a minute at the end. I cried, trying to explain how hard it is. Realising that it's February.

---

I went to see my doctor again today. I told her that I thought I'd started to process it. That I understood, now, that my baby had died. But apparently part of me didn't, not really. Part of me thought that the last three months (not even three months. another two weeks before it's three months) were just a particularly shitty dream.

Going back to work is like waking up and finding out that this shitty, shitty dream was true.

Clichés are clichés for a reason, I guess.

Wednesday, 10 February 2010

the first thing i did when i left work yesterday was call D, my husband. tell him it was weird and difficult, but that it had gone ok. that i'd see him when he got home.

when he got home, he came over and gave me a kiss, like he always does, but he didn't really do anything else. nothing to acknowledge it had been a difficult day for me.

i was a bit hurt. kinda.

but then he suggested we go out for tea. which we very rarely do. and we did. we went and got fish and chips by the coast.

celebrated that first step.

and i know he's proud of me. he may not come over and fuss me and be all cheerlead-y. but he shows it in different ways.

all i'm taking is tiny steps. but i'm doing it. and he knows it's hard, and he's proud.

---

today, work was harder. i went to see some of my managers. it meant walking around the building. stepping way, way out of my comfort zone. (and who knew that just walking around my fairly small building could one day be out of my comfort zone?)

but i did it.

half a day, then i don't have to go back til monday.

i can do this.

Tuesday, 9 February 2010

today was ok. it wasn't as hard getting out of bed as i thought it might be. i didn't resent it as much as i expected.

it was harder walking into my building than i thought it would be, but still, it wasn't too bad.

i'd arranged to go and see my line manager before i did anything else. that helped, to be able to go and tell someone who understood that it was really, really weird. to walk into the building, to be sitting in her office again, when the last time i did so it was to do my New and Expectant Mother Risk Assessment.

i had arranged to sit in a different office too - i'm usually based in reception, and most people who come in or out of the building look into our office and usually make eye contact with me. that would be way too exhausting, so i'm sitting in a different office where there is a spare desk and people who support me. that has really helped too.

i bought a coffee on the way in too as suggested by caholmes; i didn't need it in the event, but it did kinda feel like a shield, just in case, and it helped. also, coffee=good any day.

all i really did was get logged in and read through my emails (265 unread - which didn't seem like many for being off 2.5 months) and fill in my flexi form. everyone has been good about letting me build up gently. tomorrow i'll put out feelers; a few things have moved around in the meantime, a few things are preparing to change. i'll try and get to grips with it all.

---

it felt surreal, being in work. everyone was fine, people were glad to see me, and everything. but it felt very surreal. i was very aware of not being pregnant, in a way i haven't really been since the initial aftermath. i felt very aware of how i should be six months pregnant. not returning to work after two and a half months off sick.

it felt almost like i was dreaming.

(god. if only i was.)

---

one of my colleagues has been off work since her husband suddenly died in october (strangely enough, only a few days before i told people in work about the baby). she returned last week (phased return also).

i went along to see her before i left at lunchtime. we didn't talk about our respective bereavements; i think both of us are a bit scared that if one of us shows even the slightest sign of weakness, we will both end up in tears. but she said something that really resonated with me.

she said that everything feels different, even though it's really the same.

and god, yes, she's right. everything does feel different. and it's weird, knowing that it's us who have changed.
lying in bed last night, i remembered. again. the look on the woman's face as she told me there was no heartbeat.

i wonder, sometimes, if i'll ever remember without a profound sense of shock.

---

eating breakfast as i type. it wasn't as hard to get out of bed as i'd expected. not as scary.

not happy to return to work, not sad. just finding it hard to believe that the last three months or so haven't been a horrendous nightmare.

thank you all for your support and kindness. it is helping, knowing that you are all thinking of me.

Monday, 8 February 2010

i go back to work tomorrow morning. just three half days this week.

i'm not as scared as i thought i was going to be, but if anyone is out there, it would be really good if you could keep me in your thoughts.

it's been a weird few days. tears and crap and drunken revelations. i'm kind of glad that none of that will be going on for the next few days.

Saturday, 6 February 2010

a few days ago i got an email. from someone i hadn't heard from since we found out that the baby died.

i wasn't sure if she had heard. i'd asked someone to let a group of people know, and this first person was part of that group. so i emailed back, saying '...you did hear that i lost the baby?'

she hadn't.

and that was crappy, but i hadn't heard from her, and i would expect to hear from her (she replied immediately she got the message saying what had happened, she's that kind of person, so i would have found it very hard to believe she had known and not got in touch). so at least she knows now.

and she said she'd like to meet up. to see me, just so she can make sure i'm ok.

and that will be nice. i want to see her. but for the first time, reading her email, i actually visualised what should be going on now. wedging myself behind the steering wheel. gossiping with my friends. gasping when it kicks. stepping back from people trying to grab my bump.

when i went into work yesterday, i was talking to one of my managers. and i said that it's going to be really hard going back. because this should be the time when i'm handing stuff over. when i'm planning for being off. instead, i'm going back to work. without any promise of a future pregnancy. without any promise that a future pregnancy will actually end in, you know, a baby.

it made me sad, is all.

---

i woke up with a sore throat and a headache. i took paracetamol and my swiss herbal drops. i didn't have to worry about them damaging my baby.

that's not right.

Friday, 5 February 2010

the last thing the midwife asked me to do was to put the books and the internet aside. to know that we have a plan in place, to look after me and D. to stop obsessing.

i'm not obsessing anywhere near as much as i was at first. but i am spending a lot of time on the internet.

one of my first instincts, when we found out what had happened, was to clear out the rubbish. to throw away everything we don't need or want or love.

i haven't done so yet. we're half way through improving this place. at the minute, the internal doors are being replaced and the paint is being stri.pped from the door frames. we're having to move all our things around to stop them being covered by dust and paint fragments.

but the guy who's doing it isn't back now until monday.

i want to take the opportunity to have a clear out before i start to go back to work. and i think i need to back away from the internet. just a bit.

when you get to the stage when you're on as much as i have been recently, it's time to have a bit of a break.

i have a few draft posts ready, though, and i think i might set them up to post over the weekend. not sure yet. we'll see.

Thursday, 4 February 2010

i never realised before how exhausting grief is.

it's one of the reasons i'm scared of returning to work.

my house is in uproar (we are having some work done) and there are things everywhere. and in my grief and misery i haven't been keeping on top of any of the admin of our lives.

and i'm so tired.

i could sleep ten hours a night - normally eight is plenty - and still be tired.

i wonder if i will ever feel efficient again.

---

work was OK. i got a bit emotional when talking to two of the people there, but i was OK. and that's difficult to accept, but i think i'll be ok going back.

a couple of people told me i looked un-stressed.

if that's true, i wouldn't recommend a pregnancy loss as a method of de-stressing.
So. I'm going back to work next Tuesday.

They are being really good about the whole thing. I'm not being thrown straight back into full time. I'm building up gradually. They are bending over backwards to make sure it's as easy as possible.

But I'm terrified. More scared than I can explain.

I am sad. More truly sad than I have ever been in my life. More sad than I ever could have believed. Before.

I don't want to return to normality.

Don't get me wrong; I know that this is part of what I need to go through. The last really major step I need to take for me to continue to heal.

But I don't want to go back.

The last day I was in that building working, I thought I was pregnant. I thought I had a baby inside me that I was starting to feel moving around. I thought that I only had four or five months before my maternity leave started.

I thought that I was going to have to hand over that meeting I support. Discuss with my manager how my responsibilities would be covered while I was off. Decide on going back full time or part time.

Two days before I went to that midwife's appointment, I got my projection of the pay I would get while I was off on maternity leave. Better in some ways than I expected; worse in others. I wondered about asking for a projection of how much pay I would get if I dropped a day a week, or two days a week, when I went back. After the baby was born. Thought we should really start looking into childcare. It was a long way in the future, but I've heard how fast time goes when you have a newborn.

One day before I went to that midwife's appointment I had an appointment with HR. Specifically, with the pregnant girl in HR (she has since had her baby; all was well). We talked about how it all worked - maternity leave, my rights, what I might need - and we gossiped about being pregnant. I felt calm. Happy. Like I was part of a club.

Turned out I am. It's just the club for the mothers of dead babies. Not the mothers of live ones.

I have to go back. I have to walk into the building. Face the people I work with. Try not to wonder what they are thinking when they look at me.

I have to face the fact that maybe I'll never get as far as going off on maternity leave.

I have to face the fact that for some people, me losing this baby will have been a seven day wonder. That my seven days expired a long, long time ago. To them.

This is going to be a minefield.

---

On the bus yesterday, I went past one of the houses nearby that always has a huge display of Christmas lights. Huge Santas, huge snowmen. Enough lights so that you could see the house from 30,000 feet, I'm sure. And I noticed that they had all gone, and for a millisecond, I wondered why.

We found out that the baby died a full month before Christmas. We have put up a Christmas tree, bought Christmas presents when it was the last thing I wanted to do. Visited family for Christmas. Cried on New Year's Eve. Taken down the Christmas tree, weeks after twelfth night. Gone out for D's birthday.

Gone to a ceremony for the baby (and other people's babies) arranged by the hospital.

And yet, part of me still can't believe all that has happened. Part of me is still sitting in the doctor's surgery with D on 25th November, waiting for the midwife to call us through for our 16 week appointment. Part of me can't accept the truth.

---

I'm calling into work this morning. Just to be back in the building, have a cuppa before I go back properly. Wish me luck...

Wednesday, 3 February 2010

i laughed and i cried and i struggled to keep talking.

but we've come up with a plan that will hopefully get me through, next time.

and she knows how i'm feeling and how terrified i am and that i don't expect the next one to stick either, and how differently D and i will have to deal with this.

and i'm sure at one point that she had a tear in her eye.

---

she asked if i really thought i was already strong enough to risk going through all this again.

i explained that i didn't have any choice.

and i think she understood.

---

i haven't told any medical professionals yet that i'm convinced we'll never manage to get pregnant a second time. that i'm convinced the first time was just a fluke. that we've already had our one in a billion shot at getting spe.rm and egg to meet.

i just hope that i'm wrong.

---

all through your teenage years you're conditioned to think that getting pregnant is the worst possible thing that can happen.

why does no one ever tell you about this possibility?
we're going to see the midwife this afternoon. she has offered us an appointment to discuss what extra care we will need in any subsequent pregnancy. extra appointments, extra scans. so i don't spend the (please-please-god-i-don't-believe-in-you-but-i-am-still-begging) 36 weeks panicking so much i make myself ill.

i've written a list of things to ask (about extra scans; about testing in pregnancy; about going back into the scan room). i'm taking along the book i found, pages tagged and questions prepared (about my expectation that something will go wrong; about everything, really).

and i was standing in my kitchen just now, stirring my porridge and thinking about what this meeting is going to be like. thinking about what i am going to ask and what i am going to say, and how i planned to show D all the lists and things but how i never got round to it last night, because i was exhausted and sad.

and then. it suddenly hit me. yet again.

my baby died.

my baby died?


there are so many things about those three words i find hard to believe.

that i was pregnant. (i've wanted a baby as long as i can remember. even when i was a kid, holding my baby sister or my baby cousins. i always assumed i would have a baby in my 20s. and yet, time has passed. i've held so many babies along the way. people have asked if i'm broody. (stock answer was 'never at the same time as D', which made people back off while making it clear that we would have babies when the time was right.) people have seen me holding newborns, confident when they were nervous. i've seen the questions crossing face after face. wondered when it would be my turn.

and then it was. finally. my turn. my baby. i looked forward to being off on maternity leave with three others. to meeting up for coffee. to comparing stories. techniques. experiences.

and then my hopes and dreams were shattered.)

that i was pregnant. (that i didn't have proper morning sickness, just queasiness. that i read that morning sickness was associated with better pregnancy outcomes. that i worried that i didn't feel sicker. that we sat in that room, nervous as hell. expecting to find out it was all a cruel joke. expecting there to be no baby, or a dead baby. i was scared shi.tless the night before that we were going to find out there had been a missed miscarriage. the irony would raise a smile if there were smiles to be had.

that there was a baby. that we watched its tiny heart beating. that we watched it turning somersaults on the screen. that i told myself it didn't matter that we didn't get a decent picture. it was so active, it must be ok.

that it must be my baby. we joked about that. that it couldn't keep still. the irony there being that less than two weeks later, it stopped and never moved again. or that in the last ten weeks i've sat stiller than i ever have done before, and let the world keep turning without doing anything to help.)

that i was pregnant. (that we were expecting a baby. that D and i joked about him being the fun parent and me being the strict one, and how unfair that was. that we planned to get the spare room replastered, to transform it into a beautiful room for our baby. that after so many years of holding other people's babies, of having to give them back - that after so many years of longing, i was going to get to hold my own baby. to give my parents their first grandchild, to give my sisters their first niece or nephew. that i was going to breastfeed. that i was going to go part time, because we couldn't afford for me to give up work entirely, but that really - i would love to be able to. that i was worried, already, about what school he or she would go to. about whether she or he would get bullied at secondary, like i did and my parents did. about what i would do about that. that i wondered whether he or she would be musical, or whether i would push her or him to be without meaning to. whether our child would like decent music, or whether they would rebel by going to raves instead of rock concert.

whether D would let me raise our child as vegetarian. whether it would inherit our love of pizza. chinese food. mashed potatoes. his nose or mine. his ability to sit and do nothing, or my compulsion to be constantly on the move, doing something.

that i feel guilty that even though i didn't feel properly sick, just queasy, that i didn't take the time to relax and enjoy my pregnancy. that that was the only time i got to spend with that child, that i will ever get to spend with that child, and i didn't take the time to just sit and enjoy it.)

did all that really happen? did i really wonder about all those things?

today the grief feels heavy. the weight of a life unlived.

but that time, lived inside my body, was a full life for our first child.

i hope our second child gets to live. to see the world.

i hope there is a second child for us.

Tuesday, 2 February 2010

candlelight

i was brought up catholic. i'm not any more. but it always surprises me how many people around me are catholic.

i'm not catholic any more. but i still light candles.

whenever we're away from home and go into a church or cathedral, i find the candles. i light one and i pray for the dead and for the living. i pray, even though i don't believe any more there is anyone to pray to. it's almost genetic. something i just can't fight.

if i'm honest, i'm not convinced i want to.

i've not lit candles at home for a long long time. i went through the obligatory candle phase at university, and during the years of denial where i worked in a university and hung out exclusively with students. but since i got a place of my own it's just not been something i've done.

but since we lost the baby, i've been lighting candles. the evenings i feel particularly low, i light a black candle. i'm aware of it burning as i go about my evening.

it helps.

---

yesterday, in York, we went into the Minster. i lit a candle and thought of the baby. thought about all of those out there who have lost their children. there are too, too many of us.

Monday, 1 February 2010

Today I went to York for the day. I caught the train in the morning and met my mum and dad there. We had lunch and tea and coffee and wandered the streets, visiting shops. Spending time together.

I've been catching trains on my own since I was seventeen and started to go to university open days. (Wow, that's just about half my life ago.) I've always been confident. I've never been bothered about getting on a train alone.

Today, though. Today it was really hard.

I've not been further than five miles away from D since this happened. It was really hard getting on the train. Travelling a hundred miles away.

I did it. It was hard. But I did it.

Things that used to be second nature to me, that I never even thought twice about - they're not as simple any more.

It really is hard to realise that I'm not the same me I've always been.