PREGNANT!!!!!

I knew I was pregnant even before I’d taken the test. I hadn’t missed my period but it was due that day, a Friday, and I thought sod it, let’s pee on a stick (because let’s face it, it is an addiction for any woman trying to conceive).

I’d left the stick in the bathroom, went about my normal routine and wondered back upstairs. Scott was just out of the shower when I asked him to check how many lines.  “One” he told me.  I wasn’t so convinced so checked myself.  Lo and behold, there was a second, very feint, squint and you can see it line.  Scott didn’t believe me, that feint smudge wasn’t a line!  But I was sure.  I’d been there enough times to know.  The feelings that followed weren’t the normal, elated feelings a newly pregnant woman feels.  I sobbed. Terrified for what lay ahead.  The uncertainty, the emotional rollercoaster, the weeks of invasive checks and not knowing whether my body was planning on keeping this baby.  I didn’t know if I could go through it all again!

I contacted the wonderful consultants at Coventry straight away to seek their advice. They’d taken me off progesterone because it was messing up my cycle but, now I was pregnant, I wanted to try everything could to make this work.  They agreed and I started the pessaries at just over 4 weeks pregnant.  Previously I’d used them in the main front entrance but this was messy (and I didn’t want to prod and poke too much) so I took the trademan’s entrance, the back door.  Not the comfiest way of using them but it worked, they stayed put and there was less mess.  I’ll come onto the side effects later you’ll be pleased to know.

A week after finding out we were off work for the week. We’d planned to go away as it may be the last holiday we managed to get for a while with the possibility of starting IVF this year.  That all changed though.  My second miscarriage started when we were abroad, there was no way I would risk anything with this pregnancy.  We decided to have a few day trips out and just try and relax a bit.  I was exhausted with recent events at work and the pregnancy was taking its toll – I could nap anywhere!  By the Tuesday of that week, I was 5 ½ weeks pregnant and getting fed up of doing nothing.  We decided to have an overnighter somewhere so started looking a places.  But then history looked to be repeating itself.  I started spotting brown and cramping – exactly the same point as with other pregnancies.  I was terrified.  I tried to brush it off but I couldn’t.  It wasn’t fair – was I ever going to have a successful pregnancy?  My symptoms had also started to subside – all pointing to the inevitable – AGAIN!

We made an appointment at St Mary’s with the recurrent miscarriage team for the Monday we’d got back to work. They wanted to just provide emotional support and help with the practicalities of being pregnant again, like booking us in for additional scans.  Knowing you can’t see much earlier than 6 ½ weeks, we opted for a scan on the Thursday, when I was 6 weeks and 6 days pregnant.

I was terrified going for that scan. We nervously sat in the waiting room, trying to be positive.  But it was so hard.  We were called for the scan and taken into the room where The Wand awaited me.  At that point I broke down, unable to control my emotions and sobbed, almost having a panic attack.  The sonographer was wonderful.  She calmed me down, asked me all the relevant questions before the scan and switched off the secondary monitor.  As I lay there, I grabbed Scott’s hand and we didn’t look at her (it’s amazing how you are able to read them like a book when they are searching through your uterus).  Within a very short space of time she asked if we wanted to see our baby, heatbeat and all.  I broke down.  This wasn’t what we’d been expecting – we never get good news like this.  She spun the screen round and there it was – our little baby with its flickering heart! We couldn’t believe it!  Everything looked perfect and measuring right for my dates.  I’d never felt such happiness!  Resting, progesterone and a healthy diet were helping us – we were doing this!

We were booked in for a scan 2 weeks from the first – at that point I’d be almost 9 weeks pregnant. Over the days that followed I bled again – this time a gush of red.  I tried to tell myself that it was just because of the probing but deep down I was worried again.  My symptoms, however, came back with a vengeance.  I had terrible morning, noon and night sickness.  In the early part of the day I’d just feel queasy, like I was on a boat, but by the later part of the afternoon, it would turn into full on sickness, with me throwing up on occasion.  My particular favourite was trying to be discreetly sick during Glastonbury, whilst we had guests and throwing up with such force that it splashed back in my face! URGH!  They do say your dignity goes with pregnancy.

Talking of dignity, so I mentioned the side effects of the twice daily bum bullets….I’ll explain a little more. For some reason, the bullets, give you incredible wind…..like tornado style.  Not only that but morning bum bullets have a tendency to want to exit quite quickly after being inserted.  By that I mean that they decide “I know, now is a good time for a bout of the screaming sh!ts”….but you can’t go – you have to hold said explosion in for about 30 minutes at least.  Needless to say, it’s not pretty!

So 2 weeks later, at nearly 9 weeks, I’m sent for a second scan, just to check everything is progressing well. Again, I’ve got horrific anxiety.  My heart is pounding and I burst into tears as soon as I’m called.  Part of me believes everything is OK – why else would I have horrific sickness and extreme exhaustion!  I’ve been throwing up too and consuming my bodyweight in wotsits to stave off the sickness!  I still can’t face anything sweet and the thought of a cup of tea makes me wretch!  Thankfully there’s been no further bleeding but I worry about missed miscarriages…. that horrendous anxiety just doesn’t go.

I’m called into the room with a very full bladder but told straight off to go pee. Hallelujah!  When I come back in the room I see the secondary screen in switched on for us to see the scan – we turn it off. The sonographer inserts the probe and immediately tells me everything is OK with baby!  I can’t quite believe it.  This is the furthest we’ve got and it feels wonderful.  She tells Scott to switch the screen on so we can watch the scan.  Wow, it looks like a real baby now!  Everything is so clear and perfect!  I can’t stop crying!  This is such a huge step for us but still we’re not out of the woods.  Every milestone is important and I’m still as terrified as we were at the start.  Statistically, now we’ve seen a perfect baby and heartbeat there is a 99% chance everything will be OK – I still worry about that 1% though!

At 11 weeks we go for another scan. I’ve already been for my first antenatal appointment, allowing myself to believe it was OK to start getting things in order now.  Again, at the scan I’m terrified and cry.  We go through the same process….turn off the second screen, don’t look at the sonographer and pray all is OK. This time we avoid the wand and it’s a tummy scan – we’ve never got to the point where I’ve had one of these! Again she senses my anxiety and immediately tells me baby is fine.  We switch on the second screen and see the heartbeat and the little one moving around.  We are both completely blown away – our baby is moving around….it’s real!  They tell me that the intestine is slightly protruding into the cord but apparently this should right itself so this is going to be monitored (apparently this is normal…).  Although we are almost out of the danger zone, we still can’t bring ourselves to get too excited.

Finally, the day we thought we’d never see, our dating scan. I can’t believe we are at this point.  Still I’m terrified!  It can still go wrong.  It’s the same process with the scan….I get called in, I cry and start panicking, they turn off the screen and we hold our breath!  Immediately we’re told “baby is fine”!  Indeed baby was fine – lay relaxing, legs crossed waving at us.  One chilled little monster!  The scan took a little longer than it should as our little one decided not to co-operate!  All measurements were fine and the intestine looked to be where it should be.  After 30 minutes watching our baby, we were sent to see the consultant.  Due to my previous miscarriages, I get extra care, which has been fantastic.  I see a specialist who deals with ladies that have had previous losses – she’s amazing!  Instantly she puts my mind at ease and arranging for extra scans.  By this point I’ve finished my progesterone supplements but they’ve almost been like a comfort blanket to me so I ask her if I can carry them on.  Without hesitation she writes a prescription and tells me that if it helps give me peace of mind, it isn’t going to cause me any issues! I’m back in 4 weeks for an additional scan for reassurance!  So finally, after 4 hours, we’re on the way to Mothercare to finally allow ourselves to get excited and see what is on offer (and how expensive it all is)!

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So we’re now at the 16 weeks mark.  Yesterday we heard the heartbeat for the first time.  I never thought anything could leave me speechless and so emotional.  Despite having seen our baby wriggling around on the screen numerous times, this somehow made it more real – there was a little heart inside me, fluttering away.  The most unbelievable feeling in the world!  I spent the whole day in a complete daze….!

We saw our baby again today, I’ll never tired of seeing it – what a wonderful feeling!

Our little family will (hopefully) be complete in 6 months and we couldn’t be happier.  From being that couple with unexplained infertility, we’re now parents-to-be!

Postcode lottery

So it appears I have now become a victim of the so called NHS postcode lottery. I couldn’t be more angry and frustrated about it!

So as any wannabe parents will tell you, you do your best to get the right start for your babies. For us that meant relocating to Cheshire.  We’re near family, we have top class schools on our doorstep and the great outdoors. We want the best start we can give our family. But this it seems, might be our downfall and potentially wreck our chances of becoming parents. I’ll explain….

Before we moved, little did I know that we would be entitled to 3 rounds of IVF should we need it. When we moved and talk of IVF was apparent I of course did my research. Turns out that I could still get 3 rounds. Phew!! But of course, with us there’s a twist, another dagger in the heart let’s call it! 

So last week I’d been keeping an eye on posts in the St Marys IVF Facebook group. Women were talking about delays and moving their NHS funded treatment over to CARE manchester. I did some research and for us they are a better service. Not only do you get the bog standard IVF, you also get a test thrown in that significantly reduces the risk of miscarriage. Of course I wanted to join that party! So I wrote to my local CCG (the people who control the pennies) and asked to move. Unfortunately the move was not an option for us as they don’t have a contract with that company. Urgh, typical. But wait, there’s more….the email ended with “unfortunately our rules have recently changed regarding funded treatments so now you will only receive one”. What the actual f*ck! We’d gone from a position recommended by the Health ministers to a shitty position in no time. What makes it even more annoying is that the decision to reduce was decided the day after my referral was completed. Great. Fantastic! So now, not only have I had to battle doctors and the NHS just to get to the position we are at today, I’m now having to fight the people that make the decisions. 

It’s hard fighting so many battles, really hard! It exhausts you. It makes you feel like everyone is against us. 

It’s like someone up there really doesn’t want us to become parents!

They’re finally listening!!

2 years ago this month I had my first miscarriage.  12 months later on the exact day i had the first miscarriage my second should have been born and this April my third was due.  What do I have to show for it….no baby in arms but a courage and strength I never knew I had.  And I’ve had many battles, tried to open many doors but had them shut on me – we’ve felt like no-one has listened to us but we’ve not given up.  And for once, April, the month I’ve come to dread has brought us some good news, some positivity and I feel like now we are getting somewhere!

So after over 2/12 years of being on this journey, enduring 3 miscarriages and countless tests and heartache, someone is listening!  I’ll fill you in…..

So since our trip to Coventry for private Killer Cell testing, I have been undecided about whether to have a repeat of the test (my results had come back normal).  I’d emailed the clinic to ask to speak to a consultant and was patiently awaiting a response – no-one replied.  A few weeks later I emailed them again and I got a telephone consultation with Prof Quenby (she’s like the queen of all things fertility so I was extremely pleased to have someone else to speak to, another perspective on our situation).

So I come to speaking with Prof Quenby, armed with my questions:

  1. Do I really need the test again?  What are the chances of the results changing drastically?
  2. Why am I not ovulating at the moment?  Temperature charting shows I’m annovulatory – should I be worried?
  3. What do I need to do next?  No-one is listening!

So I set off on my questions – no, another test isn’t necessary as I was super normal rather than borderline; progesterone supplements they prescribed might be affecting my cycle so stop them.  I didn’t really need to ask question 3, they answered it within question 2….and here is how!

When we discussed my questionable ovulation status, I mentioned that in the past I’d been tested and my AMH levels (basically, my egg count) was low for my age.  How low?  Well 3.6 I seem to recall.  I told Prof Quenby that everyone I’d mentioned that to in the past wasn’t that interested, they were so focused on the miscarriages that they’d ignored it – even the fertility specialist!  Anyway, as soon as I mention the number and my age she says those golden words….

“I am referring you for IVF”

I was so shocked I just sobbed, uncontrollable sobbing!  Someone was listening to me and someone wanted to help us!  I couldn’t thank this wonderful woman enough!  I felt like the cost, pain and illness I’d suffered having the test in Coventry was now worth it! We were going to get somewhere and they had to help us now.

Within a week of that phone call I’m sat in the doctors, armed with my notes, test results and the referral, asking the doctor to process the request (it has to officially come from my doctor – another pointless hurdle).  I’m used to having to fight the doctors but since we’ve moved and I’ve changed doctors, I’ve been completely supported throughout.  I expected a fight – she agreed straight away and processed the request.  Again, tears streamed, we were getting there!  There was some glimmer of hope!  I expected to have to jump through hoops, request funding, basically fight for this but no, all it needed was a letter to the hospital and we were on the list!  WOW!

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So we’re now a few more days on and I’ve come home to a letter allowing me to book my appointment.  OMG the NHS seem to have pulled their socks up now! I get the choice of two clinics, St Mary’s in Manchester and the Hewitt Clinic in Knutsford….I was told this earlier in the week and have been trying to research to find the best clinic.  St Mary’s seems the obvious choice, close to work, I know staff there, they have my history but I’ve heard negative reviews.  But then I can’t find anything about Knutsford – maybe I’m not looking hard enough and subconsciously I’m drawing myself to St Mary’s!  So after quizzing a few people, I’m going with St Mary’s!  Why not, I was born there, I’d love our baby to be born there too!

I never in a million years thought I’d get to this point.  If I’d just sat back and waited, we could be waiting for an eternity to get pregnant again – maybe it would have never happen naturally!

I’d love to say this will lead to the end of our journey and that little bundle of cuteness but I’m realistic!  IVF has around a 30% success rate for women of my age and the longer we have to wait, the lower that figure gets!  But the odds are better than going it alone at the moment and whilst I’m realistic, my positivity is trying to peep through, telling me this will work and we will succeed!

And if nothing else, we can help other couples going through this journey by sharing our experiences (I’m convinced that him upstairs has said “you know what, she quite likes this blogging so lets launch another challenge at her and see what she’s got to say about it”!)

Due Date

“One for sorrow, two for joy, three for a girl….”

Magpies….I hate them! I’m superstitious when it comes to magpies. Today I’ve seen 3, twice. Could it be that the baby I lost in September is giving me a little sign that she was a girl? I totally believe in the bad luck element of magpies. Each time I’m pregnant I see one….one for sorrow. I hate it. I blame them for what happens each time. Stupid magpies!

Its been a tough week.  Mother’s Day and my due date in the same week. Double dose of shit!  Mother’s Day was tough, but also lovely.  We went to our friends baby’s dedication.  We were seeing a few friends, folks we’d not seen for ages and of course plenty of babies. With it being Mothering Sunday, the service was about mums….cue tears, and lots of them!  I knew it would happen but not to this extent. I was fortunate to be sat by a wonderful, newly pregnant friend who was unbelievably kind and lovely to me. Everyone was. During the service they gave cards and a book out to the mums and expectant mums. Again, more tears From me. Two wonderful ladies spotted how upset I was and their motherly instinct kicked in and they handed me their card and book. Their kindness really was overwhelming. The hugs and little knowing shoulder squeezes made me realise that you’re never alone with your grief.  I was so thankful for spending the day with wonderful people who allowed me to let the tears flow (and of course I got to cuddle the cutest little monkey)!

The rest of the week was a bit of a strange week. Work was a distraction but dealing with an upsetting issue with a member of staff made me break. It made me realise that there are people much worse off than us. But it allowed me to take time out from my sorrow, to look at someone else’s misfortune, and be sad for them!

So back to today. My due date. My heart ached from waking up. I kept just crying.  I couldn’t control the tears. They just fell, heavy!  I didn’t want to face anyone today, I just wanted to clean.  It’s my distraction, bizarrely. It felt like I was nesting, how I should be if I was fat and ready to pop. I scrubbed and scrubbed!  Scott is wonderful when I’m like this.  He knew I needed to just get on with something and cry when I needed to. He was ever the prankster, trying to make me laugh. Headstands, daft yoga poses and being a general clown!  It helps! And the hugs help. Just the silent, knowing hugs that make me think it’s all going to be ok and we’re here for each other.  He also decorated our bedroom so he’s not too bad is he?!

As much as I feel I’m coping with everything, I’m still thinking time isn’t on my side. I feel at a stalemate with the NHS. I’m playing a waiting game – no more appointments until I’m pregnant. I’m waiting for the appointment with my colleague. I’ve got so much I need to talk to him about. I want to explore why I don’t get pregnant easily. The consultants I’ve seen so far  don’t seem to be too interested in this but the clock is ticking. Faster than other’s with my low egg count.

I’ve thought a lot about grief recently. The Rio Ferdinand programme brought it to the forefront of my mind. I feel I’m dealing with my grief well.  Everyone deals with grief differently. There’s no textbook response! The blog and being open about it all helps. I’ve thought a lot too about loss.  Part of me feels I’m not so much grieving our losses, more the not having. We want a baby more than anything. That’s what we grieve each day, the opportunity to smash parenthood.

So for now my focus is getting fit and healthy to be the best oven for our little bun. I run twice a week and Bootcamp twice a week. It gives me a focus. I’m ready to take on the NHS soon too. I’m building my list of things to speak to them about. I’m possibly the worlds most annoying patient. I research everything and go armed with my own diagnosis and expect them to prove me wrong….I’m a nightmare!

But for tonight, I’m wallowing, eating curry, chocolate and generally trying to just keep strong. If this journey has taught me anything, it’s that I have strength I didn’t know I had. That our marriage is a solid base of strength that will get us through anything. And my family and friends are awesome! ❤

Urgh!

We got the results back from my biopsy at Coventry. My killer cells were at a normal level. “That’s great” I hear you all say. Then why did it hit me like a sledge hammer and make me sob for 2 hours in work. Part of me wanted some evidence that something was wrong with me, that there was a reason for all this heartache and some explanation that I could say “see I told you something was wrong”. A high result would have given me something I could potentially have fixed. 


Another reason I was so upset was that I’d made a promise that if it came back normal I would return for the repeat test they’d suggested. If it was high I was going to decline it and await the treatment when I got pregnant but being normal, I was forced to face the prospect of going back. Of going through that horrendous pain again and of another fortnight with an infection. I didn’t want to do that. I’ve had so much prodding and poking this last 6 months to last me a lifetime! My poor husband is suffering with all that I’m going through. He watches me battle through but when I break, I break hard. Id got myself so worked up about everything the other day I had a panic attack. I’d been warned by my Reiki lady that there was some trapped emotion waiting to come out but this flooded out on a level neither of us expected. 

Since visiting Coventry I’ve been prescribed progesterone pessaries (actually, mini bullets) to use at certain points in my cycle. In the past I’d been on a trial that was either progesterone or placebo and felt rotten, making me sure I was on the drug. I’m feeling rotten again. The first day I just wanted to sleep. Thankfully we were on the train back from London so I could. And then the nausea started. Constant morning / afternoon / evening sickness. Nothing stops it. It’s controlling everything at the moment. I can’t go to the gym (not so bad), I can’t drink, I can’t do anything but lay feeling sorry for myself. It’s such a cruel irony that the one medication you take whilst hoping you are pregnant gives you all the symptoms of being pregnant. It sucks balls! And they’re messy! Like mini wax bullets you put in either “exit” (don’t eat them kids). Of course I chose the normal route of administration and not the messy route. But what comes with that is oil slick wee. You know when an oil tanker capsizes and the sea has that glisten. Yep, that’s my loo habits. It’s messy. 

I need to remember though it’s hopefully fixing something for me. What exactly I don’t know but we will see. 

At the moment I’m in limbo land. We’ve had all the tests St Marys routinely do. We’re at the point now where they’ve left it in our hands to just get pregnant and come back. Easier said than done. I’m not convinced they’ve done everything they can so I’m being naughty and calling in some work favours. I’m fortunate to work with people researching miscarriages. Let’s see if they can help, what harm can it do? 

Numbers

I sat down and had a think about numbers relating to our journey so far….slightly eye watering thinking about it, no wonder sometimes it gets you down.  I’m hoping we’ll soon get to change the last number….

928 days since we started trying to conceive

32 monthly cycles

3 pregnancies

3 abdominal scans

14 internal scans

9 blood tests

1 internal swab test

2 Anti-D injections

4 misoprostol tablets (internally)

5 specialist consultants

312 internal progesterone tablets

860 folic acid

70 high dose folic acid

72 Baby Aspirin

365 co-enzyme Q10

365 Vitamin D

1 case of sepsis

3 days in hospital

1 operation (D&C)

4 cannula’s

12 IV drips of antibiotics

12 IV drips of paracetamol

12 IV drips of saline

3 courses of antibiotics

540 pounds spent on private testing

1 biopsy

1 3D scan

1 hysteroscopy

1 UTI

12 sessions of acupuncture

1 session of Reiki

1 session of reflexology

0 live births

 

 

Coventry

As part of my fertility testing, we’d opted to take a trip to Coventry to see a specialist to have private testing on my uterine Natural Killer Cells. We all have these cells in our body, they are our little soldiers, fighting off the germs. Our uterus has them too. They help the little embryo implant but if your uterus has too many, it can do the reverse. It can abort the pregnancy as it’s seen as an invading parasite. So that’s what’s being tested, to see whether my levels are too high for my pregnancies to continue.

I’m given the pack detailing the research they do at Coventry and explaining the procedure. I need to wait until I ovulate, contact Coventry and visit for the test a week later. All sounds easy….

So Monday was the appointment.  A 3 hour journey and we’re there….over an hour early.  Thankfully the lovely Prof takes us in early and talks through the process.  We’re told that they will take a biopsy, run some tests and get a figure.  However, the uterus regenerates every month (up to a cm each cycle) so the result I get this month, might be different to next month  so I’m advised that a second appointment is a good idea (not sure I signed up to this).  I agree that any extra tissue they take can be used for research.

We head back to the waiting room and wait for the next part, the test.  The waiting room has a diverse mix of people.  There’s a young couple, a same sex couple, an older couple and a mum and daughter.  Fertility issues aren’t selective,they touch diverse range of people.

A familiar sight….


I’m called in for the test.  The doctor explains that I’m going to have an internal scan (yippee the probe) to check whether my lining is thick enough for testing (eh, no-one mentioned it might not be thick enough).  I’m scanned and she shows me my lining and explains what she can see.  It’s 7mm thick so we’re game on. I’m left in stirrups and they get the usual tools to have a look around.  She shows me the long, thin cotton wool bud that will take the biopsy.  She tells me I might feel a little pain but she’ll count back from 10 and it will be over in no time.

She lied.

It wasn’t just a little pain. It was horrific. Any probing that goes into your cervix means cramping. Painful cramping. It also took more than 10 seconds. A lot more. My body had gone from 0-60 in terms of pain in a second. It was unbearable. Complete agony and I wanted it to stop. But it felt like it went on forever. And she didn’t start counting until a few seconds after she’d started!

When she finally finished, the pain didn’t stop.  I lay for a few minutes willing the pain away, worrying that I’d faint if I got up too quick.  I couldn’t do this again. I didn’t want to go through this again.

The journey back felt like an eternity.  I just wanted my bed. The pain was still there and all I wanted to do way cry.  Cry at the pain, cry at the frustration of having to go back.  I’d had enough now.  Since September I’d had some procedure, some process or test and I was fed up now. I’d not had a month where we could just focus on trying for a baby. We’d had numerous tests, been told we couldn’t try to conceive in the run up to it and it was getting frustrating now.  For me, Coventry and this test, almost marked the end of the testing, for now. I’d done what I thought I needed to do and now I was being told this wasn’t the case, I needed to go through it again. I needed another month off trying and I wasn’t in control.  I felt anger and frustration at the goal posts being changed on us!

I’d made up my mind the next day.  I’m going to wait for my results to come back before I decide on having another test.  If the result comes back high, they’ll need to treat me. If it’s low, I’ll go for the test again to see if it’s changed.

So I’ll find out in 4 weeks what the craic is.  Until then I’m on high dose folic acid and progesterone from day 21 of my cycle (the Prof is a massive believer that progesterone at implantation helps support a healthy pregnancy).

So for now I’ve decided to help myself out with my health and wellbeing.  I’ve started Reiki and reflexology (both wow) and cutting out sugar and dairy (the latter my reflexologist told me would help).  I’ll blog about the therapies next time once I’ve had a second experience of them….

 

Coronation Street

It’s taken me over a week to pluck up the courage to watch the Michelle and Steve miscarriage storyline. Scott often questions why I put myself through things that make me upset. But sometimes you have to, it’s all part of the healing process. You need a good cry to reset the system almost! 

Of course I understand the grief of miscarriage full stop. I understand the torment of “what have I done wrong”. I now know that the answer is nothing, it’s not something women do that causes this tragedy. It’s just life. And that’s what’s really shit! Seeing what must have been a truly accurate account of a late miscarriage from two fantastic actors really is eye opening. Having both been through this experience, it really shows in the raw emotion in the scenes. Michelle’s anger at the situation sums it all up, Steve’s complete helplessness. It’s what happens. It’s how people feel going through this. It must be. 

During our journey I’ve spent hours online reading real life stories of women going through this. Chemical pregnancies, early miscarriages, late miscarriages and stillbirths. I’ve read stories about women feeling the same as Michelle, the questions about how to address people when they ask how many children she has.  They portrayed everything as people say it is.

As difficult as this subject is. As hard as it is to talk about it, women need to talk. The silence needs to be broken and any feeling shame and secrecy about these issues needs to disappear. Talking helps the heeling process. 

Bravo to Coronation Street for raising awareness of a very tricky topic. It was handled tactfully and informatively. 

Now I just need to sort out my blotchy, swollen eyes before the hubby comes home and wonders what the hell has happened. 

💜💜💜

D-Day

Monday was the day we’d been fighting for this last 12 months. It was the day I’d get my initial blood test results to try to determine why I was having recurrent miscarriages. It was also fanny cam day!

My appointment was 1.30. I’d spent the morning walking round work with a sample of urine in my bag, praying it wouldn’t break and leak.  The irony is that I couldn’t be pregnant for the test so they needed to check I wasn’t, hence my first morning pee spending the day with me.

For once, the appointment was relatively on time. I was ushered to a room full of nurses, space age looking kit and stirrups. I swear the colour on Scotts face drained. There were 2 nurses, a student nurse and the consultant I’d not yet met. She explained the procedure which would involve a speculum (yuk) being inserted and a small camera being put inside my uterus to have a mooch around. She was going to take pictures and if she needed to and remove anything problematic. Now I know why I was told to take pain killers. She also explained that she would do a 3D scan too to check the shape of my uterus, given I’d been given a number of different diagnoses.

But first to the results. She went through each of them and explained the results and what They meant. They tested my clotting, diabetes, hormone levels, and even vitamin D (she was surprised at my vitamin D levels, for a Mancunian who doesn’t see much sun; they were very high)!  Everything came back normal with nothing to worry about. I suppose I should have been glad of this but deep down I wanted them to find something small that they could fix. Frustration led to tears but the lovely consultant explained that it was the best result she could have wanted. My “unexplained” miscarriages meant that she had a whole range of potential solutions she could rattle through.

Next came fanny cam. I undressed and gowned up for the procedure. I’m tagged (God, how many women have tried to escape when they’ve seen the probe?) and take up the position on the bed, legs akimbo. Behind me I can hear a microwave. Is someone cooking lunch? Eh?  Apparently it’s my wheat pack which I may need for the pain. GULP!

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Fanny Cam

The consultant starts the procedure. It’s not too bad at first although the constant stream of water she’s firing up there makes me feel like I’m not in control of my bladder (that explains why they hung a bag under me when I lay down…the bag was later full of water that had gushed from me….gross). She’s showing me on the screen what she can see. Then she goes into my cervix and bam, there’s the pain. Like the worst cramps ever. I grin and bear it whilst she’s having a mooch around. I really wanted to look at the screen more but I couldn’t focus on anything else. Thankfully the procedure doesn’t take long and she’s seen all she needs to. She’s happy that everything looks healthy and thankfully doesn’t need to trim anything out (remember the bacon? yep, no bacon there to trim).

Next up is the 3D internal scan…..a posh version of the wand. She explains that the wand vibrates (a vibrating wand, am I in the wrong place?).  She lubes up and inserts the wand (still thinking I’m in the wrong place). And then the vibrating starts. Not much but it takes me all my concentration not to fart in her face. Oh good lord…..hold it in, hold it in…..DO NOT FART IN THE DOCTORS FACE KERRY!

During the examination she takes snaps of my insides and is deep in concentration. When she’s done I’m told to get dressed and she’ll discuss the “what next”.

As expected there is an abnormality of my uterus. I have a heart shaped uterus, known as a bicornuate uterus. She’s not concerned about this and doesn’t see it as something the would be causing my miscarriages. She explains that everything else was normal so now to our next step…..

Whilst we’ve been on this journey, one test keeps getting mentioned on all the forums….Natural Killer Cells. It’s the one test I was certain I wanted, irrespective of how much it cost!  These infection killing cells are present in everyone but if too many are present in the uterus, it can harm rather than protect the foetus, causing miscarriage (it can even prevent pregnancy). My consultant explains that I’m to contact a specialist in Coventry and arrange for testing privately. If they find that I have a higher NK count, I can be put on steroids (used in cancer treatment bizarrely) to hopefully fix the problem and protect our baby.

So I’m sent off to Coventry, literally, and she doesn’t want to see me again until im pregnant.

So the next step is up to us…..

37

So I’ve hit 37. Urgh! If you’d have asked me at 17 what life would be like at 37 I would have told you the stock answer. Married, happily, mum to 2 (one at secondary school, just, one a few years younger) and with a career I love with a house I love. 


Fast forward to now, 2017. Happily married (of course with our struggles), an awesome new house to make home but we’re missing those 2 little kids you’re expected to have at this point. 

But of course it’s different nowadays. Women focus on their careers before they look to marriage and kids. Are we doing something wrong though? Should we be getting babies out of the way early? It’s a bit of a conundrum that we’re in nowadays!! If you’d have asked 23 year old me about starting a family, I definitely wasn’t in the right place! It wouldn’t have been fair on a child. I would have broken too. And I’d not met my husband so of course it  wasn’t on the cards!

However, hitting 37, now with 3 miscarriages behind us, I can’t help thinking we’ve left it too late. The professionals tell you that, the books tell you that but when you have friends that have had babies in their late 30s, into their 40’s, you believe. You need to believe. You need that focus. You’re told it’s too late but really, is it. 

It’s that focus that keeps us going. Admittedly I do feel old at times, you could have asked me at 21 and I would have said the same (oh to be 21 again, I miss wrinkle free skin)! But I know we’ll get there. I believe in the NHS (sometimes, foolishly I think) and I believe in the power of prayers from our lovely friends. 

So here we go. My 37th year….lets bloody smash this one and let’s hope Baby B will be with us in no time. Miracles are happening all around us….let’s have them a little closer to home now. 

Ps I’m 38 this year….not many people can say that 5 days after their birthday. God that’s shite!!!!
Happy New Year to you all. May your journeys be pain free 💜