Saturday, 30 June 2012

Slowly getting there

In a way the past couple of weeks have been harder than directly after IVFgate.

I am crying a lot in short sharp bursts. 

The smallest thing sets me off:

  • Someone asking how I am
  • Seeing how my twin's pregnancy bump has grown in two weeks since I last saw her (OK that can't be described as a smallest thing)
  • Telling someone the name of my new niece
  • Finding my stash of vitamins for pregnancy and breastfeeding, bought on offer when I was six weeks pregnant and confident I'd need them for many many months to come
  • In an art gallery, can't remember what got me going there
  • Stubbing my toes (admittedly that'd probably make me cry at any point).
On the plus side the tears go quickly. I can be in the kitchen at work crying over split milk (literally) one moment then back at my desk laughing at my colleague's hand cream the next.

Really. 



I confided in the husband as I wetted his shoulder (from both eyes and nose, which is nice) one night that I thought I might be at bit hormonal.

His response of "No shit?!" confirmed my fears.

I think I am slowly getting back on a more even keel.

I certainly hope so because it'd be nice to wear mascara again one day.



Wednesday, 27 June 2012

Evacuation part two

It is all done.

The same doctor did the second evacuation as the first and she was so apologetic about not getting everything out first time I think I can be pretty confident she rectified that this time.

The pain isn't so bad and the bleeding very light.

So that is it, officially unpregnant again.

Meh.



Saturday, 23 June 2012

Golden Dribbles

I have an inconveniently shy bladder.  I have never been one of those girls who will got to the toilet in a club with a gaggle of girls.  If I know anyone in any of the other stalls my bladder clams up, and god forbid if someone tries to chat across the partition when I attempt to wee.

Whilst I am sure you are fascinated by my peeing habits you may wonder why I am sharing my toileting habits like a new mother on Facebook. Trust me it is relevant.


My bladder is particularly reluctant to perform when I am given a pot by a doctor and asked to fill it, or requested to empty my bladder before a scan. When I had to give a sample for the pregnancy test at the Early Pregnancy Unit it took many long minutes and resulted in an embarrassingly small amount just because I knew they were the other side of the door waiting. When I was subsequently scanned the doctor commented how full my bladder was. 


Treacherous body part.


So when I went back to the clinic after a week to see if the last remaining bit of tissue and blood had worked its way out of I suspected that once again I would be asked to fill a pot of piss. The receptionist didn't ask, but as I waited I realised that I did actually need to nip to the loo.


Trust me, this is going to get relevant soon.


I trotted off and saw a bunch of sample pots in the toilet. Suddenly one of the most cunning plans I have EVER concocted came to me. 


Chances were I would be asked at some point during the appointment to fill a pot, I needed the loo right then and no one was timing me, so why not do a quick sample now when the pressure is off and pop it in my bag so that when I am asked I can go to the cubical pretend to piss but the wee is already done.


I won't lie I had been inspired by many past Olympic Athletes. (See, only a month off being topical - see this post is golden, as is ... well never mind.)

I go into the appointment and go through the normal history stuff when the Doctor asks for a sample. "Yessss" my little internal monologue thinks and my internal fist does a little victory jab "one nil to Liz, take that bladder."


I get up and grab my bag.


"Oh you can leave that here, I'll wait in the room"


Shit.

I have two choices: produce the sample now and 'fess up, or lie.

My over-active imagination quickly projects how she will interpret the truth.  Maybe she'll think the whole pregnancy was a fake and that I milked pregnant women for my previous samples (OK so I didn't think this through as she had the back up of my scans, but I was panicking). A worse by-product of the truth occurred to me, what if she thinks I am the kind of woman who carries round a pot of piss all the time?

So still clinging on to my bag and I said, "Oh I need to take this because it has some ... *glances around feverishly* pads in it."

I went to the loo, made the switch, gave the nurse the pot and strolled casually back into the doctors room to be scanned by a woman who probably thinks that I don't trust her not to steal my purse whilst I go to the toilet.

Little wonder she still found tissue and blood and booked me in for a second evacuation.

I didn't even ask whether the test was still positive.



Wednesday, 20 June 2012

That Angst Post I Promised You

Despite the morning sickness and numerous positive pregnancy tests I found it very hard to believe I was pregnant. Not because I thought I would miscarry, I didn't at all - I was pretty confident that I was going to go full term once I've seen the heartbeat at six weeks - but I couldn't equate how I felt with an actual baby.

I think that made IVFgate a bit easier.

I don't feel like I lost a child in the same way I might if I had seen a recognisable baby at the ultra-sound.

But I have lost so much.

I couldn't tell you without checking what the due date would have been for any of my previous IVF's. This one, when I really did have a due date, means the 21st December will be ingrained forever.

I let myself look forward. For the first time in years I truly imagined the future and some of those thoughts stayed with me. Even after IVFgate I found I'd programmed the thoughts in to my brain deep.

Things like:

"Finally I won't have a Christmas wondering if I'll have a baby by next Christmas."

"Baby born in the year of the dragon, like me!"

"That's a nice name .. shall we use it?"

"Hello baby ... hello baby" (to my stomach).

"And when I have my 12 week scan I'll ring my Grandad first..."

"I  can't wait to feel the first kick."

"I wonder how long I'll be able to wear these trousers for."

"All the relatives will breathe a sign of relief that I don't have to watch my twin sister go through a pregnancy whilst I wait barrenly."

"Can I take all of 2013 off as maternity leave?"

"It'll be great for the little one to have cousins so close in age." (The husband's brother's first baby was born last week, the womb mate is due in October.)

"We've got a great excuse for staying at home this Christmas."

I can't forget these thoughts. They pop into my head at the strangest moments and I have to quickly remind myself that everything has changed.

I don't always cry.



Friday, 15 June 2012

Dragging out the miscarriage

I had to go to the walk-in early pregnancy unit. I went clutching a referral to see the doctor who ballsed-up performed my original evacuation.

The receptionist asked if I was pregnant. I said I wasn’t but needed to see the named doctor.

“This is the early pregnancy unit”

“I know, I had a miscarriage.” I whispered conscious of the growing queue behind me.

“WHAT?”

“A MISCARRIAGE” I yelled back (I didn’t think he’d get the meaning of IVFgate - even miscarriage seemed a tad beyond him).

He hurriedly asked me to sit down.

Another receptionist called me. “You need to do a pregnancy test”.

“I’m not pregnant,” I replied as evenly as I could.

“But this is the early ...”

“I know” I cut her off “I had a miscarriage”.

Miscarriages are common. Complications are unfortunately all too frequent. You would have thought they’d have learnt by now how to deal with us. They haven't.

I did the test.

Still a faint positive. It means nothing.

It is still hard not to feel a glimmer of hope when you hear that, even though I know it is remnants of something long gone.

I sat waiting amongst anxiously hopeful couples clutching each other's hands waiting for their 12 week scans. On the very day when I should have been having my 12 week scan. When I finally saw the doctor she confirmed that whilst my womb of doom (Kylie, I am totally using that term) was mostly full of blood clots there was still a small amount of “tissue” remaining, about 1cm by 1.5cm big.

I can wait for it to pass naturally or have another scrape. As it isn’t troubling me at the moment I’ve opted to wait another week and a half and then see where we go from there, which will be six weeks since no heartbeat was discovered (or a heartbeat was not discovered). I've now been miscarrying for the same amount of time that I knew I was pregnant.

Whilst I wait, the antibiotics (and sanitary towels) keep me safe. 



Wednesday, 13 June 2012

What's in a name?


The husband got off the phone. "I hadn't spoken to him since ... you know."

In the last post I referred to "recent events."

The doctor called it a 'missed miscarriage'.

The leaflet I was given refers to 'early embryonic demise'.

When we were on holiday we talked about "um ... *cough* ...things". Until we had a conversation about what exactly to call "things".

Regardless it being factually incorrect in this instance I hate the word miscarriage. It implies that we are at fault. We miss-carried like Hilary Clinton miss-spoke. I was carrying perfectly well, so well in fact that despite the embryo's heart beat stopping I kept carrying until the two were forcibly removed from my womb, and even now tissue lingers.

'Loss' is another term often used.  Again, however, there was no losing involved I knew exactly where they were. Although I suppose I lost a version of the future that I was getting quite attached to.

We tried out a few new names.

The husband suggested IVFgate. I wasn't convinced, it sounded a bit too light-hearted for what we've been through, but then making light of things helps me through difficult times and it is a hell of a lot better than 'dead babies'. (Babygate was also suggested but that has more of a health and safety vibe than we were looking for).

I was rooting for The Death Womb, but even the husband felt that was a little too dark (and whilst arguing against it took the opportunity to remove all sharp objects out of my reach).

So IVFgate it has become.



Monday, 11 June 2012

It Was Never Gonna Be Straightforward


There is no question that I will try to get pregnant again, with three embryos chilling out in the freezer (do you see what I did there?!) it would seem wasteful in the extreme not to. I am not sure when though - recent events are still too raw to want to try again just now. However, for maybe the first time since I started trying to have a kid I feel like I have the luxury of time.

Things may change but at the moment I don't think I will go through egg collection again.  Four times is enough, if none of the three little ice cubes make it into the real world I think I will concede defeat in the baby making department. So whilst I am just a few weeks shy of 36 my remaining eggs will be that of a 35 year old's.

Forever.

Whilst they lie in suspended animation my biological clock can also stop ticking quite so loudly.

Unfortunately, this more relaxed attitude doesn't mean I am free of Doctors.  The worry is that my diseased womb lining will make another bid for uterus domination and grow back preventing any kind of implantation. So I went back to my clinic to sort out a course of drugs to keep me regular (period-wise rather than bowels).

The plan is for two weeks in every five I take progesterone, I stop, I bleed, I wait a couple of weeks and repeat until I am ready for another frozen transfer.

The only question my Doctor and I had when I saw her was whether my womb lining was thick enough after the evacuation now, or whether to wait a week before I start this month's progesterone.

Fucking idiots that we are.

You'd have thought by now that I'd have learnt, but my natural optimism always wins through.

We forgot my womb-lining does like to confound expectations.

The scan didn't show the thin post-operative lining that was expected.

It seems not everything had been evacuated two weeks ago when it should have been.  The question that remains now is whether I need another operation or just time to shed the last of my tenacious  lining.

So now I have to go back to hospital again whilst the consultant decides the best course of action.

As a "belt and braces" approach, I have been prescribed some antibiotics just to ensure that an infection doesn't start. Strong antibiotics. One of which comes with a very stern warning not to mix with alcohol.

Oh well, the holiday was fun, I guess I am back on the wagon again.



Friday, 8 June 2012

And I'm back

The holiday was exactly what I needed.

We went to Italy.

From a standing start of not having drunk alcohol for most of this year I plunged headlong into vats of red wine. Always intending not to drink tomorrow, but as we know tomorrow never comes, and neither did any abstinence on my part.

I made a point of eating previously forbidden foods -  cured meat, soft cheeses, shellfish ...



I loved almost everything about Turin. It is a town where there is an ice-cream shop on every corner. Where you are as likely to see two middle aged businessmen or stick-thin, smartly-dressed elderly ladies tucking into an ice cream on the street as a child.

There is, perhaps, an over reliance on white jeans. Which has convinced me that - despite the ice-cream - Italians clearly don't have cellulite, eat messily or have periods. Other than the jeans aberration sartorially they are clearly superior to us Brits.  Inspired by the couple below I spent a while trying to convince the husband that, in our dotage, we should dress alike.


He wasn't convinced.

And, whilst it might well be a concern for the Italians, the declining birth rate in the country meant that I wasn't subjected to as many pregnant women as I would have been in London, which was a relief. As was not waking up to bouts of morning sickness. Whilst I welcomed morning sickness before, after it was just a cruel taunt.  However that doesn't mean I forgot the events leading up to the holiday, it would have been difficult to forget even if I didn't bleed and cramp throughout our time away. We had time to talk about our plans for the rewritten future - we didn't talk about what should have been but about our choices now. I am not sure we reached many definite conclusions but at least we have worked through a number of different scenarios and agree on the different outcomes.

I am afraid there will be more angst-ridden posts as I work through how I feel about it all. I find writing these things down help - why else would I have started a blog? But for now I'll leave you with proof that despite leaving the country we didn't have a completely bunting-free break: