Blood

Monday was the start….well not officially the start but the main tests I had been mithering for for so long!  The blood tests!

We arrive at St Marys at 10am…well technically I’m already there, working 5 floors up so I manage to sneak off for tests during the working day. Scott has been hiding in a coffee shop, any bloody excuse. Given our appointment is one of the first, it’s always frustrating when the clinic is running late. How?  As we’re sat there a sign is placed on the reception letting us know the clinic is running an hour late! An hour! And the appointment is supposed to be hour long!

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Finally were called in and seen by a lovely junior doctor.  She talks through our history, the usual questions. “How many have you had?”, “when were they?”, “How many weeks were you?”, “was there a heartbeat?”, “how’s your cycle?”. I’ve become a robot answering the questions, I know what information they’re looking for and elaborate where I know they need more information.  For once, I talk about our experiences in depth and I manage to do so without crying for the first time. That’s a fist pump moment if ever I heard of one!  I honestly believe that venting everything on my blogs has really helped me come to terms with everything, it’s been cathartic!

The doctor explains I need an abdominal scan and blood tests as a start. I tell her I’ve had the scan (remember, my probe). She checks the results and starts to explain about my uterus issue. I’m well read on the subject but she tells us that I will need further investigation on this area.  They want to do a hysteroscopy to take a look and see if there is a septum. In simple terms, they’re going to pop a camera up my chuff to have a mooch around and see if there is something resembling a flap of skin down the centre of the uterus, almost dividing it. If they do find one, they will snip it out (I’m likening it to trimming fat off bacon – ouch)!  Septum’s can potentially cause miscarriages, especially during the later stages of pregnancy. Hopefully, I’m minus this problem.

So im told I need to have blood tests. Now this is the bit I’m excited about!! The doctor goes onto her computer and clicks a whole host of boxes….wow I’m getting the full shebang!  She reels off a few of the tests, some I’ve had before but no harm in repeating them I guess.

So up until this point we’ve been on a strict “no trying” regime (if I got pregnant before the tests, I’d be turfed off the waiting list). Of course, with me knocking at 37’s door, I’m still conscious of that tick tick ticking!  I ask the doctor whether now I’ve had my bloods we’re good to go. After consulting the consultant, we’re given the go ahead!  And if we are lucky enough that I fall pregnant, I’d be closely monitored).  Of course, we won’t technically be trying, just hoping nature, a concoction of vitamins and your prayers make it happen without much effort! The doctor even spoke to our favourite nurse (remember, the one from the trial) and she tells us she will be in touch as soon as the bloods are back – it’s expected in 2-3 weeks but our appointment won’t be for another 8 weeks!

So off I toddle to another blood room. This one is mainly filled with heavily pregnant women. But it doesn’t affect me like it normally does. I feel completely in control of the situation. I know we are doing the absolute best we can do to make it work for us. Of course with the help of all our lovely friends, family and even strangers with kind words!

The phlembotomist (I sound clever don’t I….well she’s technically just a vampire taking my blood) starts to print the labels off for my blood bottles – 9 in total! Thankfully just one needle! But 9 of them little buggers! Here’s hoping they get the testing right first time, I’d rather not be drained for a second time.

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So now for the waiting…..part of me prays they find something, obviously something they can fix but part wants everything to be fine….!

Grief

Grief was always black and white to me. It involved crying….a lot. Ugly, snot covered crying. I didn’t think grief could manifest in other ways, not for me anyway.

Of course we all experience grief in our life. From being a young age your parents protect you from it but as you get older, the world shows you how cruel it can be and throughout your life you are exposed to episodes that you grieve over.

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My harshest memory of all consuming grief was when my beloved Aunty died from cancer. She was too young. She was fit, healthy and the most beautiful person you would meet. The grief consumed me for months….perhaps years. Crying at the simplest things….a song on the radio, a saying that reminded me of her, losing something that reminded me of her. It was there, it was part of my life for a long time. And it was my version of grief….the tears that made your eyes look like you’d been punched, the red nose and the headache from too much crying. I understood that grief. I knew what it was. I knew in time it would go away and I could think about her without bursting into tears.

During and after the first two miscarriages, that familiar grief was upon me in bucket loads. I knew what it was, how it was in my life and that, although it didn’t feel like it then, one day it would shrink into the background and only rear its ugly head occasionally. I cried…a lot. We both cried.  It’s hard to explain to people when you’re grieving over someone you haven’t met.  People don’t understand it.  Of course when a relative dies, people share that grief, you’re united in that common feeling of loss and sadness.  But when you lose a baby, describing that grief to an outsider is difficult. “But you were so early on, it wasn’t really a baby”.  From the moment you get those two lines, that’s your baby, that’s now your life.  You don’t have to see it, or feel it, it’s your flesh and blood, your future. Gone.

I still cry occasionally when I think about my babies but it doesn’t consume me like it did then. Of course anniversaries get me. The anniversary of the losses and the due dates. I still grieve and will probably do so for the rest of my life. But it doesn’t consume me anymore.

But after the third miscarriage, I didn’t get the bog standard version of grief. I got the angry version. I was angry at the world. I hated everything. I felt filled with complete rage and I couldn’t control it. It consumed me. I was angry at people for no reason. Angry that they didn’t know what I was going through, angry that they posted pictures of their normal pregnancies and their healthy babies, even though they didn’t know what was going on with us. Angry at people for not talking to me about their pregnancies. Angry at them for talking about their pregnancies. I felt irrational, but most of all I had this all consuming anger. I didn’t understand it, I couldn’t control it. I thought I was getting on fine with the third miscarriage. I felt like I just got on with it. But the anger was there and I couldn’t control it.  I didn’t like this version of me!

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Of course the holiday helped, massively. It took our minds off things. We could be the couple celebrating 2 years of marriage without a care in the world rather than the couple mourning 3 lost babies. I only snapped once, complete meltdown. That grief that had evaded me this time, hit me like a shovel.

It was that point Scott mentioned counselling. I’d not thought about it. We’d been offered it each time, but it felt like they were just ticking a box giving us the leaflet. I’d talked to a lot to people I knew about our losses but there comes a time when you don’t want to be the person that just talks about it all the time. But I didn’t want to talk to a stranger. How could they help, how on earth could they begin to imagine what we’d been through if they hadn’t been through it themselves? It made me cross just thinking about it. Of course they would empathise, were only human and that’s what we do, but how could they begin to understand it?

And that is how the blog was born….

People have asked me how I feel spilling everything for everyone to read. I feel like I’m no longer hiding behind it. I feel like it’s not the thing that defines me. I feel if I can help one person going through the same, then it’s been worth it. I feel like I can openly talk about it without fear of upsetting people. I feel like my grief isn’t a negative, like it’s helped me to express myself in a way I wouldn’t have thought possible before. I feel like I’ve developed a new love for writing.

I feel like me again!