Well here we are again. Each time different but somehow also the same. Different patterns of bleeding, different activities I’m doing when I start bleeding and know it’s over. But the same sense of terror, panic and utter helplessness as I watch the blood and hope drain from me.
This time we’re in church. Just as the service starts, John turns to me and asks “Any spotting today?” “No,” I answer. “That’s good at least,” he replies. Ten minutes later I’m on the loo. Bleeding. I have to go tell him that his peace of mind, which he’s enjoyed for all of 10 minutes, is over.
But this time maybe it’s OK? After all, this is the 4th or 5th time I’ve spotted since embryo transfer. Perhaps it’ll just be the same again? So I sit there during the service and tell God how scared I am.
The bleeding doesn’t stop. It’s still not a large amount, but definetly more than before and now I’m cramping too. From previous experience, this is a sure sign of miscarriage for me.
We go home. We cry. We hug. Then John looks after Toby all afternoon because someone has to, and he copes by being busy. I cope by being unconscious, and sleep all afternoon.
The evening is filled with more crying and declaring how incredibly grateful we are once again for Toby, who increasingly seems like a complete miracle of nature. Then we watch funny TV and slip back into the sweet relief of the unconscious.
Today I have done my excercise class as normal. No one here knows I’m having a miscarriage as I lunge and punch from a much angrier place than normal. It feels good to stretch and breathe.
Then I head to the clinic to collect the drugs I no longer need, for an appointment booked in a more hopeful time, just a few days ago but yet feels like a memory from a different life. A parallel universe, perhaps, where a hopeful Laura believes that maybe this time she’ll get as far as her 7 week scan on 6th Dec.
The nurse is sympathetic. She doesn’t know what to say. They can’t tell me it’s definitely over as I’m still only 5 weeks and 2 days. I need to wait until 6 weeks before a scan can confirm it, and that falls on Saturday when the EPAC clinic at the RUH is closed. So, I am asked to keep taking the drugs until I get a negative test result, or until EPAC can confirm the lack of a viable pregnancy. Whichever comes first. I know from experience the test stays positive for a few weeks.
The only thing harder than seeing “Not pregnant” is seeing “Pregnant” when you know you aren’t.
The nurse tried to give me hope. “I see people bleeding through pregnancy all the time, as a midwife. It’s very common….Let’s hope you don’t need to come off the steroids.” But when I emphasise the cramping too, and how I think that means it’s over, I get a sad nod and sympathetic head tilt. Followed by more talk of hope. So I tell her that hope hurts and she can tell from my face that I mean it. I know she was just trying to help, but I didn’t want to hear it. It’s already affected me – made me think maybe… Just maybe…
I could do without that.
So I pay for the drugs, because any we don’t use this time will be deducted from the cost of the next cycle. The last cycle.
And I take myself to a coffee shop, because Toby is at nursery and I want to write a blog post to process this all.
If you’re one of the many people who has asked how they can help, thank you. I don’t really know what you can do for us. We’re not incapacitated enough to warrant a meal rota, and Toby has nursery and classes and our usual routine all week. Time ticks on, and as much as it is a cliché, it is a good healer. I’m seeing a councellor next week, which was prebooked before embryo transfer, as I am wise sometimes. Eventually I’ll put it in a box until next time. I’ll look outside of myself and see the needs and pain of others, and feel it more deeply than before because I’ve been there, in my own way. And I’ll pick myself up and do something about it.
I want to leave you with this amazing article I found online last night. I could have written it (if I were that good at writes). The things she says about looking back at photographs taken during times of pregnancy… The feelings of worry about missing her child’s childhood… The things said by others without knowing the pain within… all of it. It’s a brilliant window into this infertility journey. I implore you to read it:
Finally, here is my “pregnant” photo of happy times this weekend. With our little miracle.