Impending Miscarriage

A year ago today I attended a fireworks event with my family. In a few weeks my first ever round of IVF was due to start after suffering with secondary infertility for two years. As I watched the explosions light up in the sky and my little boy’s face gleam with amazement I caught myself wondering, “where will I be a year from here?” That memory has stuck with me throughout the trauma of my first round of IVF (resulting in OHSS and the failure of my embryos to thaw months later) and my second round.

Now I find myself at this year mark in a state of sadness I never thought I could feel. I thought I had already felt it all.

My second round of IVF was a success. It went extremely well. I set myself little goalposts, ‘if I can just avoid OHSS then at least I know that IVF is a possibility for us again’. I had a burselin trigger shot and avoided OHSS. ‘If I can get a fresh transfer it will give me a chance’. I got a fresh transfer and the news that the embryo was hatching and therefore the best quality. ‘If I could have some frozen embryos I will not put as much pressure on this’. I got five frozen embryos. ‘If I can just get pregnant at least it shows that my body can actually do it’ I got pregnant.

The following day I had some brown blood. The nurses assured me it was fine and booked me in for my seven week scan. The bargains continued. I made it to my seven week scan and there was a beautiful tiny little being in my womb with a heartbeat. The nurse said she could see no reasoning for any bleeding and I was discharged from the hospital clinic.

This week is week 9. I had been suffering from severe sickness which I took as a positive sign but one trip to the toilet I nearly fell over in shock when I saw a bright red bleed in my knickers with a clot. A visit to A&E that evening could only reassure me that my HCG levels were high and that I had not had enough blood for a miscarriage. I was to attend the EPU clinic the following day for a scan. Those 24 hours were torturous but when we visited the nurse showed us our babies’ heartbeat and reassured us all was fine. I had never felt relief like it and we told our tiny baby off for putting us through such a scare. There was a tiny pocket of blood which she said I may pass or my body will absorb.

Fast forward two more days, I felt a huge blood clot pass whilst getting my son ready for a trip to the doctor. Fortunately my parents were there. I ran to the bathroom and I just passed so much blood. It was on the floor, it was up my legs and all around the toilet. My mum who is usually the most level headed person, walked in and clasped a hand to her mouth. Yesterday we went back to the EPU unit.

The baby is still alive but my cervix is partially open and there are a lot of clots around my cervix. I was told the words “we can not predict what will happen but miscarriages are common and your body will either keep this pregnancy or it will fail”.

I wanted to scream at them. Did they not know how hard we had battled to get here? How can I just go home and just not know?! They told me to go to A&E if it gets worse and if I have severe cramps. I am passing old blood and it has calmed down but now I feel like I am in a special kind of hell where I am just waiting. Waiting for my body to kill my baby. My baby is alive in there and my body is forcing it out.

My husband seems cross at my inability to function much. I didn’t want to be back here but I am. He is cross that I am grieving something that has not happened yet. But I know it will. There can not be any hope here. I feel so angry at the world. Angry at my stupid sickness which has not gone away. Angry that life has been so cruel, why does it have to put this on us too? I feel like my husband is despairing of me whilst trying to deal with his own grief. We are in debt now and we can not afford anymore. So the end, whenever is comes, is the end.

Tonight I can not take my son to the fireworks as I have been ordered to take it easy. Instead I will just hear them outside and grieve for the year of sadness we have endured. I just hope that by next year we would have come to terms with this somehow.

 

 

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Tonsillectomy- tick !

Apparently there is nothing quite like a tonsillectomy to remind you that the old biological clock is ticking. I was admitted into hospital on Saturday morning and greeted by a nurse in a car decorated apron complete with a yellow soft monkey waving at me from her breast pocket. She took me to the paediatric ward which handily had a few boxes of toys if we were to get bored during the wait.

I felt like the oldest person in the hospital waiting in bed for my surgery. Before me was a sweet 6 year old girl clinging to her mum’s side and a 9 year old boy who did not seem to have much care for what was going on. When I was taken down, I of course cried as the nurse held my hand and they gave me anaesthetic. For a control freak the whole nature of going under and surrendering myself to the will of the surgeon and a knife goes against every fibre in my being. When I came round I was in a world of pain, and five days later I have not quite left it. Today is the first day I have managed to get up and dressed and so much as turn on my computer. I bet those kids have bounced back quicker than I have.

The procedure went well and I was back home the same day and now I am not to work and rest for two weeks. Oh and eat lots of toast and crisps! Not oodles of ice cream and lollies that I had stocked for but painful, uncomfortable food just to contribute to the pain scale. Needless to say I am bad company at the moment. On top of that I did not realise how much pre schoolers and husbands talk. I am literally a sounding board with no off switch.

Of course what dangerously comes with recovery and thinking time is a LOT of dangerous thinking. I am slightly spiralling again but I am clinging on. At the moment our lives feel a bit like a round in the boxing ring, drag ourselves back up and then back in again. My mum assures me this is just the thing they call life. It sucks. It is hard and it isn’t fair. My problem is that everyone else around me just seems to be sailing on by in the fast line giving us sympathetic glances as they go.
It does not help matters that our clinic rang us today to organise a debrief of our failed IVF and to schedule our frozen transfer. As much as I could bark with my mangled throat I told them that firstly we had had our debrief and that our frozen embryos all died during the thaw. She was about 4 months out of date. We are so stuck with our clinic choice. It is based in London and is supposed to have good rates however it isn’t the easiest to get to and you do feel a bit like a number with them. Contacting them on the phone literally takes hours and appointments are frequently over run. We do have a closer clinic but it is more expensive and the success rates are a lot lower.
We have decided that in August we will begin again. And until then I will recover from this and get myself fit for the boxing ring. They have a plan to try and avoid a repeat of OHSS so I guess we should just roll with it and stop stressing about what may or may not happen.
My husband has recovered well from meningitis. He is not fully back to normal or back full time at work yet but he is heading in the right direction which is good. When he was so ill it opened my eyes a lot to what he does for us and what we would ever do without him. We are so busy trying to better our lives and striving forward that quite often we do not stand still just to hold on tight to what we have. I wish I was better at reminding myself that on days like these. Gosh I told you I was bad company.

Just keep swimming

Sometimes in life the shit really hits the pan. Following the heartbreak of IVF and before my dreaded tonsillectomy in June and subsequent round of IVF we booked a much needed holiday. I can’t tell you how much this holiday has kept us going this year. We needed the break and my little boy was so excited to get onto a plane. But of course life likes to deliver the odd curveball every now and then just to remind you that no, you are not in charge.

Two days ago my husband contracted Meningitis and landed himself in hospital. It has been a scary time. He had a headache all day on Tuesday and by the time he went to bed it was completely debilitating. He could not open his eyes, was hallucinating and being sick. I called the non emergency line straight away who sent for an ambulance. Waiting for the ambulance was awful as we both did not know what was happening to him. He was scared and I held his hand as he pretty much said his goodbyes. Fast forward a few days, a CT scan and a lumber puncture we find out that he has viral meningitis and we had to cancel our holiday. He is on the mend and hopefully will be returning home from hospital today. The NHS, despite their obvious understaffing and over crowding issues, were a godsend and acted quickly and I can never be thankful enough.

So instead of packing our last little bits for our holiday to Greece tomorrow I have been unpacking and spending the day on the phone trying in vain to reclaim a bit of money. I had to ring my son’s school and tell them that he will no longer be absent and I have had to tell him that we are no longer going.

I know life doesn’t go to plan but I feel so bloody resentful right now. One of my friends had her baby yesterday and I had originally been relieved I would have been out of the country during that announcement. Why is it that those around us seem to be doing just fine and our life is just one big fairground ride?

I hate to be so pessimistic and to my husband I am strong and upbeat. I can’t drag him down with my thinking as he is just so low right now. To my son everything is fine but on here I can just lay my soul bare a bit and feel sorry for myself.

2 Years Ago

A photo surfaced on Facebook yesterday of my son, husband and I at the beach. It was one of those rare warm spring days and we had taken a spontaneous trip to the seaside. The photo was a snapshot of contentedness and right there and then life was ticking all the right boxes for us. I was squinting in the sunshine at the camera with my 18month baby in my arms and at the time we had started trying for another. We had even embarrassingly looked at double buggies! I would never expect that two years on and two IVF treatments later we would still be trying.

That carefree girl in the sunshine has gone now. And that’s ok. I have learnt an awful lot. I thought that infertility would never be a part of me. I thought that it was a sad thing but I under estimated what a profound impact it had on every aspect on a person’s life. Society expects a woman to reproduce and in turn you expect it too. It is something that not everyone can control and that is infuriating and wrongly humiliating at times. You can not run from it and it is not as simple as accepting what you have and moving on. It is not as simple as adopting or even IVF. The choice of having a child is something every woman is taught they have and to not have that makes you feel inferior somehow. It is a private fight that is endured every day from every angle. An office announcement, a baby shower, a Facebook post and even a trip to the supermarket is a constant reminder. It is so bloody hard and so often misunderstood.

The girl in the picture has a lot to learn and if I could whisper softly in her ear I would. I would tell her to hold on tight and to cling on to everything she has as, at times, she will come close to losing it all. For now I am just fixing us and that is quite nice. We are taking a breather and reminding ourselves that there is a life after this. It is just different to what we had planned. I am adapting that tick list of mine!

 

 

BFN

The problem with rollercoasters are, more often than not, you disembark at the bottom regardless.

BFN. Of course it was. I knew it. My husband knew it. We warned our parents not to put any hope into it. So then, why does it hurt so bloody much? Last night we put our son to bed. He was very sweet and gave us extra cuddles and kisses, almost as if he too knew what was coming.

I took the test upstairs and my husband and I sat on the bathroom floor. We covered the test with tissue and looked at each other for 2 whole minutes. There was not much to say. He asked what he to expect to see and I told him we were looking for a big fat cross. And then he lifted up the tissue. At first he was confused and I think for a split second he thought it was positive until I took it out his hand and told him otherwise. The evening just dissolved in to a helpless pit of tears. I thought I was stronger than this. The problem with the 2ww is that even though you shouldn’t you allow yourself hope. So although I knew the odds were against us I allowed myself just a little glimpse into the light and imagined what it would be like to see those two lines. I allowed myself to cuddle my son and tell myself his little sibling was inside and what a proud brother he would be. I imagined the announcement to our friends and family. And just like that it has gone.

Today we went for breakfast with my parents and I just didn’t have the energy to put a front on. My best friend is coming over later with her two older children so I am glad that they can just distract him from my misery.

I want so desperately to pull myself together but I just can’t. I have moments where my pep talks work and others when they fail.

I tried to find hope and answers on Google but all I can find are happy endings. Or blogs where people have poured their hearts out about the grief but when I click several years later they have their smiley three kids in front of them. I find myself almost angry- how dare they be all sad when it all worked out ok in the end. Which of course I am aware is utterly ridiculous. Who knows, maybe I will be one of those one day. Hope is a killer.

In some ways the psychic I saw was right. She told me in the Spring my freeze will thaw. I clung to that and hoped that it meant that I would be pregnant. But now I think it has ended. I know I need to stop obsessing, that I need to focus on this beautiful family I have before I tear it to shreds. My journey can not be just about striving for number two anymore. It can be there but it can’t be all I focus on. So in that way, my big freeze will thaw. I have to carry on somehow.

 

Pick yourself up, dust yourself off and….

About a year ago I read a blog, I forget whose it was now, but it was a lady who went through 7 rounds of IVF to get her two children. She stated that every time she started her IVF she entered the boxing ring. If it failed, she dusted herself off and she went back in again. At the time I thought- now that is a good attitude- I am having some of that ! And that’s what I thought I would do. The thing is, this lady was an awful lot stronger than me. It is only now I think she was made of some serious stuff and hats off to her.

The thing is, I can’t carry on like this. Yesterday I snottily wrote an awfully depressing post which I think is better that it never sees the light of day. Today I do want to pick myself up. I don’t want to spiral. Maybe I do have a choice. Maybe I can allow myself to grieve but I think I can get up now. I did half- heartedly write a list (I love a list) of what is positive in my life and what I need to do next.

  • I have one beautiful cheeky and healthy boy.
  • I am married to a kind man who understands the struggle and would do anything to make me happy
  • I live in a beautiful area in a house that we have so many plans for
  • I have friends that I can cry on the phone to and be that shoulder of support.
  • I have my health or so I hope.
  • I am 33. I still have a couple of years hope. You never know.

So this is what I must tell myself. And here is what I must do:

  • Join the gym that I have always wanted to go to. Not to make myself fit for a baby but to help mentally and this is something that I can control. I can’t control making a baby. I thought I could but it turns out I can’t.
  • We are buying a flat to do up and to rent. This will be a project I will try and do if I can around my little boy.
  • Speak to the IVF doctor and find out what went wrong. Is it worth doing again or do we draw a line under it?
  • Write.  Just write, it is and always has been my therapy.
  • Cry when I need to. But not too much.
  • Have fun. Book a holiday, plan some trips. I can’t face a year of void. IVF was everything. That was what I pushed myself forward for but now its gone I feel empty.
  • Salute the frigging magpie and move on. It is not an omen its a bloody bird.

I have entered the boxing ring. I will dust myself off and pick myself up. I don’t think I can go back in there for a while but I can do this. People have been through so much worse. We’ve got this.

 

Our firsts and lasts

Today I cried in Sainsburys. I needed to buy my son some new shoes and I picked up the wrong size. That’s all it took.

I will never be able to put a little child in a tiny size 5 again.

I will never feel the warmth of a tiny baby in my arms whilst I nurse them to sleep.

I will never moan about the broken nights sleep, slowly losing sanity of what a tiny human needs in order to settle them back to sleep.

I will never watch and feel pride as my baby takes his first steps again.

They will, of course, be replaced with new firsts. His first day at school, his first visit from the tooth fairy, his first girlfriend. But will they always feel so bittersweet? Am I a terrible person for feeling pride as he grows, yet feel a sadness for what we are all missing. He will not have anyone that will feel his grief as much as him when we die. I can’t bear for him to be alone.

I am so lucky to have him. He is, quite clearly, our little miracle. But I am so scared of loving him too much. I want to cling to him but I know I will need to at some point, stand back and let him grow.

I feel that I am grieving and I have lost every ounce of hope that we ever had. IVF was our shining light on the horizon and whilst I was never naive enough to think it would work first time, I did not feel that we would endure OHSS and all our embryos dying before transfer. Five long months and we have nothing to show for it. There’s not much that they can do for poor egg quality so this is it.

How do I move on from this bleak place? I so want to be happy again and this has sucked the life out of us all. I want to be the person I was two years ago but that person has long gone.