A game of snakes and ladders

A game of snakes and ladders

My wonderful husband has been typing away this evening as he wanted to share his side of the story.  Here it is:

“So this is the first blog I’ve ever written, so apologies if I’ve not followed the secret rules of blogging, but the events of the last few days have forced me to follow in my lovely wife’s footsteps and document IVF thoughts and feelings from a man’s perspective, which may help to give others faith and encouragement who unfortunately end up in the same horrible situation as my wife and I. For details of our journey up to this point, please see my wife’s blogs.

Over the last 6 months or so, I’ve watched my wife eloquently and passionately share our IVF journey from a safe distance, but have been touched by the response she has had from both people we know and people we don’t. It seems blogging has not only helped her, but has also helped others around us share and relate to us and help others who are about to embark on the same journey.

I wasn’t sure about my wife’s decision to be public about our journey, but left her to it as I know it was what she felt was the right thing to do.

Having lost a baby at 4 weeks due to miscarriage in a previous marriage, I thought I knew the pain and hurt a miscarriage could bring, but considered the chances of this happening again extremely low, as lightening doesn’t strike twice, right? I also thought this experience would, should the worst happen during the high risk 12 weeks, help me deal with it, not thinking we would be unlucky enough to lose our baby after this time….. but I was wrong on all counts.

Sadly we lost our baby at 12 weeks, 2 days and I will never forgot the cry of fear and disappointment that awoke me from my wife on the Sunday morning, when she realised what was happening. Only the day before, had we started to believe we were out of the woods, that this was really happening, and we could start to prepare and begin baby shopping, and it was such a special moment I’d be waiting for for such a long time.

Unfortunately this excitement and peace was dashed only hours later as my wife started to bleed heavily during the night. It’s a horrible moment, when you realise you are powerless to stop it and you can’t believe it’s quite happening. At first you are awash with feelings of disbelief, that you are having a terrible dream and are desperately trying to wake yourself up. This is then replaced by denial, as you Google the symptoms and find lots of other mothers who have gone through the same exact experience, and their baby is fine….but deep deep down, you know the worst is happening.

At this point, I knew I had to get my wife to hospital so we rushed to A&E, hoping that they would be able to do something to prevent this. Unfortunately this was not the case, as they could offer us little except supervision. As this was the weekend, they could not even offer us a scan till the Monday, to determine if our baby was alive and this just compounded the situation even further. In the end it wasn’t needed though, as my wife passed our baby, after I had been asked to leave (to return later during visiting hours), whilst I was praying with all my heart in my local church.

In the 12 weeks we shared with our baby, I couldn’t believe we were actually pregnant, didn’t want to believe it in fear of getting hurt, finally allowed myself to believe and then found myself broken hearted, not believing it was all over.

Although initially you confront the pain of loss of your baby, you soon start to think about all you have given and committed emotionally to get to this point, and feel utter dejection and question how you can possibly go through it all again? It suddenly dawns on you, that the weeks your baby is growing is only part of an IVF pregnancy, as the process to get to this point extends an IVF pregnancy back months to the very beginning.

For us, the past 7 months have been hard, obviously hard for my wife who has had to physically go through the IVF process for the first time, but also hard for me as I tried to support and help her, but inevitably said or did the wrong thing. There have been many ups, downs and stressful situations, resulting in a single life that lasted a mere 12 weeks.

The only analogy I can come up with, is it’s a bit like playing Snakes and Ladders when you are a child. You start off by rolling the die and making your way along the board, only to encounter ladders as you jump forward to the next stage, or snakes that knock you back a bit. This time though, for us it was like landing on the biggest of all snakes, whose tongue is on 97 and tail on 21. At the time you can’t believe it, and even start to argue that the snake is actually on 98, as that is where most of its head is, but you feel sick at the thought of going all the way back down the board, with all those many pitfalls of snakes to get past again in order to get you back where you were, only then perhaps to fall again at number 97. But this is the game, the challenge and what good would it do to not throw the die again and put the board back in its box?

You also start to question why God would allow this to happen, I know I did as a relatively new Christian, in a church where much of the congregation was reading my wife’s blog and praying for us. I can understand this would be enough to deter some people from religion or even perhaps reaffirm those who don’t believe in a God, but this only prolongs the pain and anguish for yourself.

Despite the pain and obvious negatives of this experience, as a Christian you are encouraged to think long term and believe that this happened for a reason. Now I know it is easier said than done, but when you start to ask yourself what possible good could come from this, then many positives start to appear.

The first and obvious one that people say it that something must have been wrong with the baby, so the body terminates the pregnancy. Yes this may be the case and it’s hard to prove either way, but as I’ve prayed for a healthy baby and Mother, then this could have been God’s answer to my prayer.

My wife also experienced no complications, so I’m thankful that we can have a second chance and begin the process again soon. We knew all along that the odds on a successful baby first time were low, and entered this process knowing and accepting that it could take a number of goes.

We also got pregnant on our first IVF cycle, but unfortunately didn’t have any frozen embryos left in the bank, meaning that it is highly unlikely we would have been able to have any more children, without paying for private IVF which is something we probably couldn’t have afforded to do. Now, with the clinic having our records from cycle 1, they can hopefully stimulate more mature eggs, allowing perhaps a few to be frozen, giving us the chance for future siblings.

We had also just returned from a week away and were in the comfort of our own home, when the bleed started and again this was a blessing, as a few days before we were in the depths of Cornwall, with no idea where the nearest hospital was, we had two dogs with us who would have probably panicked and damaged the cottage somehow if left alone for goodness knows how many hours, and we had no family or friends nearby for support. I would also have not been able to drive due to holiday drinkies, so am grateful that we didn’t have to deal with the extra stresses and strains this would have brought.

There are many other smaller positives I could comment on, but feel these are significant only to us, but what I’m trying to say is giving up and putting the game away is not the right thing to do.  Whatever your religious beliefs, I encourage you to consider the positives and blessings, rather than fixating on the loss, or even consider the other worse case scenarios that could have occurred. It’s a horrible experience I wouldn’t wish on anyone, but don’t give up.

I like to think as this as just a set back! Our baby is still alive and living in both my wife and I for a little longer, as it waits for its next body to grow.”


4 thoughts on “A game of snakes and ladders

  1. Thank you for sharing your post, I hope you found it helpful to write and put your thoughts down. I am so sorry life is so unfair at times. I can only imagine how bitter it must be to go through this, just as you thought things were at a safe point. I can’t believe the hospital didn’t let you stay to be with your wife outside of visiting hours seeing as what she was going through. I am glad you have faith to give you strength to get through this. Although I haven’t been to church for many many years, I do believe in God and I believe last year he gave me the strength to get through my loss. I wish I knew why it was not my time. At times I have questioned why he allows so many women to go through this, especially those whose journey is so hard in the first place. But I also know it is not my place to question, and that is what faith is about, believing he has a bigger better plan for us and that our time of happiness will come, even if it is not when we want or expect it. You are amazing for being able to look at the positives so soon. In retrospect I know I am a lot stronger and resilient a person having gone through my loss, and I now also can empathise so much more with others going through this, which I couldn’t in the same way when I hadn’t experienced it. I still wouldn’t wish this on anyone of course. I wish you all the luck in the world for a successful next try, when you are ready for that step.

    Liked by 2 people

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s