When I got back from hospital just over 2 weeks ago, one of the very first things I did (after changing back into PJs and getting under a duvet on the sofa), was get my laptop out and just type and type all the stuff that was in my brain.
What I did type, was not very PG and probably just a bit MUCH for posting: A) Because if you’re reading this, you’re probably my friend and I wouldn’t want to gross you out and B) If I read it back in a few weeks, I will probably be put off trying to get pregnant again for life. Therefore and thereby, I’m planning to engage in a bit of heavy duty cutting and editing…
“In the last few weeks, I’ve been blogging in my drafts folder all about the early stages of pregnancy; taking 19 pregnancy tests and still not believing it; seeing our baby’s heartbeat on an early scan; feeling sick and nauseous and just FAT and then making it to that wonderful 12 week mark. Except it’s not that wonderful. For me, 12 weeks and 2 days pregnant was a very, very bad day.
When I started this blog, I vowed to myself to ‘keep it real’. To say it how it is and so that includes the good bits and the bad bits, the highs and the lows. So, here goes:
For the last week of my pregnancy, I knew something was wrong. Maybe mother’s intuition or a doom and gloom outlook. Who knows. Since Elvis and Ellie were deposited inside me, I talked to them constantly – and moreso when I found out on the 7 week scan there was just one definite baby with a heartbeat. But that last week when I placed my hand on my tummy to talk to her, it didn’t feel quite right. It felt like there wasn’t anyone on the other end. I didn’t feel nauseous, my lady lumps didn’t hurt, I didn’t feel the need to troff constantly on carbs. The smell of alcohol wasn’t making me want to vom. Actually, I just couldn’t ‘feel’ my baby’s presence. I know that sounds weird but I just thought she wasn’t there anymore. I told myself this was because we were on holiday and I was concentrating on other things so wasn’t quite as in tune with my pregnancy. Therefore I wasn’t obsessed with food, sore bits and feeling her there. Also, I told myself it was because I was entering the 2nd trimester, so my pregnancy symptoms were calming down.
Bear with me as this isn’t nice – but one night on holiday I had a vivid dream that the baby was gushing out of me. Then I woke up and found all was OK and I was very relieved. According to google, miscarriage dreams are quite common in pregnancy. I realise that this is all sounding like we had a horrible holiday – but we actually had a lovely, gorgeous time – but the whole week, this ‘feeling’ was just niggling away at me. I think I was also quite worried because I’d had that tiniest amount of brown spotting the Friday before we went on holiday.
We got back from Cornwall on the Friday night after a horrendous 10.5 hour journey. On the Saturday, we spent a delicious day looking at prams and cots and choosing which ones we might like to buy. I think it was the first day I really enjoyed being pregnant with my husband and I thought that I’d just been daft and it was actually really going to happen. We were going to have a baby.
Saturday night we got into bed and went to sleep. I woke up about 1am with a tummy ache. Husband woke up too – worried. But the pain passed. Then at 2am I woke up again with an even worse stomach ache – followed by my biggest fear. Red blood. A lot of it. (And it pretty much was like my dream). We went straight to A and E.
A and E was EMPTY – at 3am on a Saturday night. This is unheard of in our area and also we’ve all watched Casualty. It’s normally full of drunks and fighting youths (sorry to stereotype).So thankfully we got seen to straight away. Within 5 minutes. The staff who saw to us in A and E were just fantastic and put me straight into a private room. The doctor was lovely and sensitive and caring. At this point, she found my cervix was closed so there was a slight glimmer of hope as the bleeding had also died down and my stomach wasn’t hurting at this point.
They quickly got me a bed on the Women’s Health Unit and we went up there. My bleed had settled down a lot now and although I didn’t sleep a wink, I was able to rest a little. Husband was asked to leave about 5am and given the visiting hours for 3pm next day. The doctor came to see me around 9ish (he was great) and said we would monitor the bleed on the Sunday and scan Monday. At this point, he seemed to think it could go one way or the other. However, when he left, shortly after, contraction like cramping started. Codeine and a big dose of paracetamol didn’t even touch it. Then I started bleeding heavily. I asked for more and stronger painkillers, they prescribed Tramadol. I asked nurses for more maternity pads, cardboard bedpans, wipes and a new gown (mine was soaked in mine and my baby’s blood). No medical staff came to see me to tell me my situation had now changed and I was potentially losing our baby. But I knew that already and I also knew that any hope of the baby still being alive was gone. A nurse said she’d phone my husband and tell him to come back. She didn’t. So at 1.10(ish)pm on Sunday 12th July, I passed the baby alone in the hospital bathroom.”
So, that was the ‘short story’ and two weeks on, we’re beginning the process of moving on. The physical pain didn’t last too long. It was a fairly ‘clean’ miscarriage. The scan I had on the Monday showed there was no tissue (or as they call it in medical terms ‘the products of conception’…) left to pass. So I was allowed home from the hospital on the Monday with codeine and paracetamol to rest at home instead. The physical pain lasted a further two to three days. The emotional pain, however has been a little trickier to deal with.
It hit me walking back into our house when I came home from hospital how empty I felt. I was really conscious of the fact it was just the two of us (as well as our array of animals) rather than the threesome we had been for the last couple of months. Then the sadness hit. Sadness that I have never ever felt before.
The intense sadness, of an all consuming nature, lasted for just over a week. The type where you find it hard to function. It hits hardest first thing in a morning when you wake up and remember. The type of sadness where you decide that drinking wine at 2pm on a Thursday to numb the pain is totally acceptable, even though it tastes like arse because your body is still running amok with crazy hormones (I only did this once – no-one needs an alcohol problem on top of a fertility problem…). There were also quite a few child like declarations of ‘It’s just not fair’ coming from my mouth and a lot of feeling like the last year has just been an entire waste of time.
However, the intensity of the sadness has been less, well, intense this last week. I think that’s partly because we have ‘A Plan’.
- We’ve planned how we’re going to remember our baby. Naming her really helped. I think I’ve blogged before how both Husband and I had vivid dreams that the baby was a girl. So we’ve gone with that and stuck with the name Ellie. We didn’t realise this before but Ellie means ‘bright, shining one’ which is just lovely. We’re ordered something pretty and lasting for our garden. Also, when I feel ready I’m going to put all the bits and bobs to do with this pregnancy into a memory box. Not quite there yet though.
- I’ve spoken to the Fertility Clinic, been to counselling, booked an appointment with the Fertility doctor, spoken to the Embryologist, just been a general pain in the arse really. But having a plan and knowing if we can be doing anything now matters to me. We have to wait 3 months (3 cycles) before we get another go at IVF. This takes us right to November really. That time is good, as I know I couldn’t just jump back on the whole jabbing myself rollercoaster right now. And it avoids the whole ringing the clinic every month shenanigans that we had before the last cycle. This gives us time to get fit and healthy and eat correctly and get our heads back into ‘IVF mode’. So, I’m back on the brazil nuts and lettuce leaves.
- On a similar note, we have 3 months to ‘do what we want’. All those things I couldn’t do, like have the odd glass (bottle) of wine, eat blue cheese and runny eggs, go in hot tubs, ride rollercoasters (I hate rollercoasters but I could if I wanted to) etc etc. we need to do now. None of this makes up for the loss of our baby but if we want to do anything that we can’t do during IVF or whilst pregnant, we do it now basically…
- I’ve restarted acupuncture. This should help realign my body after the miscarriage and also help with any emotional feelings of anxiety etc.
- I’ve decided to run a 10k for the Miscarriage Association. Firstly, because running is just such a fab outlet. I put the world to rights in my head when I run and find it very therapeutic. Secondly, because I feel miserable with so much extra flubber on me and need it off ASAP and Thirdly, because they are just a fantastic charity. My main example being: the night before I lost the baby, having more than an inkling that I was miscarrying, I laid in my hospital bed at stupid o’clock, unable to sleep and I read through the information on their website about what to expect when one miscarries. I also read about what to do afterwards which was invaluable and what really stuck out in my head was requesting information from the hospital about what will happen to the remains of the baby. (Sorry if no-one wants to read this). But I know if I hadn’t have read that, it probably wouldn’t have entered my head to even ask – and that information certainly wasn’t volunteered to me. If I hadn’t read that, I doubt I would have pushed the doctors and nurses for answers about the tests they would perform (just for major abnormalities really), whether they could determine the gender (no, they can’t – or won’t do that), if they could find out the age of the baby when she died (no, they don’t do that) and what happens to the baby after she’s tested (she will be cremated). It probably is common sense to most people to ask those questions, but my head wasn’t quite all there. And my husband (quite rightly so) certainly wanted to know all the answers to these questions as unfortunately the doctors only saw me in non-visiting hours when he wasn’t there to ask. So I’m glad I was able to give him those answers too. Since I got out of hospital, I have been on their website daily, reading other people’s stories and it makes me feel less alone. I know they also have a phone support line, forum etc. too which I haven’t used but if I didn’t have free counselling offered through the Fertility Clinic – I may have done.
And having a plan is great but other people have also been fabulous too. I’m glad we did tell people we were pregnant before 12 weeks. Because it’s those people who knew we were pregnant that supported us when we suddenly weren’t. The amount of love we have received has been such a comfort in a horrible time. But this is not the end of the story. It’s just the end of the chapter. I don’t know why we’re on this journey but we are. I don’t know how long it will take and how it will end. But our hope is definitely still there – even if it is a bit chipped.