Musings and Snoozes

“Write what should not be forgotten”

on June 2, 2019

My therapist asked me last week how I was feeling about my latest miscarriage. Well actually, what she was specifically asking was whether I was dealing with it or if I was feeling emotionally detached from it all. The fact that she was even asking the question at all tells you that it was the latter. Which isn’t to say I wasn’t upset – I was, I am – I’d howled at three in the morning, and gotten angry at the gods and the seeming injustice of it all. But they were fleeting moments, gone almost as quickly as they’d snuck up on me, leaving me as emotionally empty as the hole I felt physically. We talked about why this might be – was I protecting myself, was I in denial, had my emotions just shut down? But in the end I realised it was none of those things, it was simply because I hadn’t yet put pen to paper and written down the words. With everything swirling around in my head, not to mention the practical aspects of hospital appointments and what felt like a hundred blood tests every other day, I didn’t have any chance to stop, to reflect, and to make sense of anything. Once I started writing, I knew I could start recovering again. So here I am.

When I had my first miscarriage, I remember discovering the 1 in 4 statistic and finding some comfort in it. If 1 in 4 pregnancies ended in miscarriage then this was quite normal and likely nothing to worry about. I’d be lying if I said that now, after 4 pregnancies and 4 miscarriages, I was still quite as comforted. If anything I’m just incredibly frustrated. Upset and sad too of course, but honestly, more than anything I’m just so frustrated to repeatedly get to the same point each time, only for the same outcome to occur. This time round I was determined to just take each day as it came, to enjoy the feeling of knowing I was pregnant, and to stay hopeful. And I’m glad I did – I don’t want to spend every pregnancy being convinced it’ll all go wrong and being pessimistic. Cautious yes, and carefully hopeful, but not miserable. And actually this one was going fine for a bit – I had all the usual symptoms, and just like before, I knew I was pregnant well before I could take a pregnancy test – the nausea, the weariness, the sore boobs, and the odd copper taste in my mouth. But then came the moment I’d been dreading. What had started off as light spotting suddenly because much more and I knew almost instantly what had happened. I can’t describe exactly what the feeling is, it’s just an inevitability, a resignation of what’s to come. While there are a hundred different reasons for bleeding in early pregnancy, and I will always try my hardest to hope that it might be nothing to worry about, ultimately I know my body well enough to understand what’s happening. And just like before, I knew when there was no longer a hooman growing inside me.

But this time has been different in many ways. For one, it’s been 3 and a half weeks now and I’m still bleeding. I’m also still showing a positive on every test I take, despite having had an ultrasound to show that there is no pregnancy tissue left whatsoever. I’ve had scares of eptopic pregnancy and threats of a ruptured fallopian tube, but ultimately nothing that is showing up on any of my scans and therefore slightly baffling my doctors. But on the plus side, I’ve at least had the opportunity to have scans, I’ve been seen and so well looked after by the Early Pregnancy Unit, and my GP has been incredibly supportive. It’s opened up discussions that previously haven’t been had, and consequently I’ve been referred to a clinic specialising in recurrent miscarriage. I cannot explain what a relief this is! I’d previously been referred to the hospital’s Fertility Clinic, who were great in that they did a whole bunch of tests, and we ruled out anything terrible, but at the same time, being a fertility specialist, they don’t really have anywhere to go after the tests all come back normal. Their inevitable next step is IVF, but getting pregnant isn’t my problem, keeping hold of the little peanut is the issue! So while I’m not pinning all my hopes on finding a magical answer at the Recurrent Miscarriage Clinic, I am at least looking forward to hopefully having a specialist who doesn’t say things like “well at least you know you can get pregnant”, and expecting that to be reassuring.

At some point we will have to make the decision around how many times we continue to try, at what point it becomes too much for both my body and our emotions to cope with. This time round has by far been the worst physically – my body identifies the process as trauma, and so has triggered one of the worst Lupus flare ups I’ve had for a long time. I feel like I’ve slept almost constantly for the last three weeks, and only now am I beginning to wake up in the morning at a normal time and not in a whole world of pain. In a strange way I’m quietly grateful for it though – without the physical symptoms, I’d have probably gone straight back to work and ended up in a bit of a mess. Being forced to rest and made to take care of myself has been what my body and mind have both needed, and ultimately I’ll be better for it in the end.

Right now, all I can focus on is just getting to the end of this miscarriage and fully recovering from the Lupus flare. I’m trying not to let thoughts of further pregnancies and subsequent complications take over my mind, hard as that may be. I don’t have much control over what will happen, my body will ultimately do whatever it feels it needs to, but I can at least deal with the here and now. I can grieve for the loss of what could have been and what this peanut might have grown into, and I can do what my body needs me to do and get plenty of rest. Anything further than tomorrow doesn’t need thinking about right now – as Hagrid wisely said “What’s comin’ will come, an’ we’ll meet it when it does.

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