Here we go again…

Then there was the day, about a week into our holiday when I started to bleed. Proper red blood. This wasn’t the euphemistic “spotting”, the flash of brown or pink on loo paper that I’d had previously, resolutely decided was normal, and tried to ignore. This was bright red blood, the type you get when you cut your finger, and it was dripping into the loo.

“Well there you go, that’s that,” I thought to myself. “At least it’s better to have a proper miscarriage rather than a missed one.” I WhatsApped my friend Q… “You know when you said you bled and it was fine, what was the bleeding like?” And I tried to feel reassured when she told me about inserting progesterone pessaries into the blood thinking it was absolutely pointless. Because it turned out it wasn’t pointless as she now has a one-year-old son from that pregnancy.

I emailed the nice nurse from my clinic and asked her what I should do, knowing full well that there wasn’t anything I could do to change the outcome but hoping for a professional to tell me that it might be OK after all. No, there weren’t clots in it; no, it wasn’t soaking through a pad; it was probably only a few hours that it lasted; yes, I thought I probably could find somewhere to have a scan.

And so three days later in a small building on the outskirts of a French town, I was giving a very kind radiologist my potted fertility history. In French. Because what you really need when you’re anxious and stressed is to talk about your medical history in a foreign language where you don’t have the vocabulary for anything relevant. “Er, progesteRONNNE….?” “Les oeufs? Oh not oeufs, ovocytes.”

She seemed unperturbed by it all and again this is something that Jennie Agg has written about — the fact that you walk into these appointments assuming you’re going to get bad news, but invariably the people that you see appear to be working on the assumption that it’s going to be fine. And it’s really disconcerting and discombobulating. It feels like standing on a beach with a bunch of people who are drinking pina coladas and enjoying the sunshine, while you’re the only one who can see a tsunami heading for the shore. Or something.

Only it turns out it wasn’t a tsunami, it was just a big wave and you were over-reacting. Because that scan confirmed that at 6 weeks and 3 days, the foetus measured what it should measure. That although at that stage it was too small to hear the heartbeat, you could see the heart beating. It was fine. I think both of us were too dumbstruck with relief to react. I’m not sure if I even smiled when she told us.

(A small, but important, epilogue to this tale — and an insight into how fucked up the private healthcare market is in the UK — is what happened when we came to pay the bill. I hadn’t asked how much it was going to be when I booked it, it didn’t matter, we’ve spent so much already what’s another 100, 200 euros? I’d paid £100 for a private scan last year, so I knew roughly what ballpark we were talking. No, we didn’t have insurance. Cash or card? Kind of depends how much it is. She pushed the paperwork over. 36 euros. 36. THIRTY-SIX. We paid cash. No, we didn’t need a receipt for the insurance company back home, we were paying for ourselves. If it hadn’t been a 45 minute drive from where we were staying, I’d probably have gone back every day.)

9 thoughts on “Here we go again…

  1. That’s wonderful news. I’m so glad it’s ok.
    Thank you for doing this blog – it really helps when I’m feeling alone in all this.
    How are you finding the progesterone support? I’m about to begin my first round of IVF at 43 (frozen eggs and known donor sperm but may move to donor eggs like you did) and I am really nervous about the drugs. Hormones always make me so sick.

    • Good luck – I hope it goes well for you. Always here for a chat about any aspect of it. Re hormones, I have to say I was quite lucky, I found progesterone made my boobs hurt quite a lot but apart from that I was OK. How are you taking it? In the past I’ve used pessaries and suppositories (Cyclogest) which I didn’t love as they’re messy and can also cause bleeding as they may irritate the cervix which isn’t serious but is disconcerting. I’ve used Prontogest which is an injection into the muscle and normally needs to go into your arse which makes it hard – but not impossible – to do on yourself. My “favourite” if you can have a favourite form of progesterone, was Lubion, a subcutaneous injection that you can do yourself into your belly. But I think it’s quite expensive so I’m not sure how many clinics offer it. Best of luck with your cycle. Keep me posted x

      • Thanks – that’s good to know – will ask about that. I’ve been offered a choice of cyclogest or ustrogen. Not sure which one to go for.
        Even though it is my first cycle, I feel like I have been on this road for years, so it is reassuring when someone else has had a bit of a journey too, and great that you are having success.
        Mini life story:
        I froze 10 eggs at 35. Pregnant naturally at 39 in a relationship – miscarried. Single and just turned 41, started IVF with donor sperm. So sick on progynova had to abandon the cycle. Good friend offered to be a sperm donor. Pandemic hit. He then froze his sperm (takes ages because of quarantine etc.). Turned 42, started new relationship. Quite serious, tried naturally. Got pregnant after almost a year – early miscarriage. He was an alcoholic who didn’t drink, i.e. recovering (didn’t know this initially), then he started again. We split up. Now I feel somewhat back to square one but at least have moved things forward somewhat with the donor sperm.
        I always assume other people’s lives must be more simple!
        Thanks for the well wishes. I am so pleased you are pregnant and have a lovely partner after a long road yourself x

  2. Hey Alice,
    Started the cycle on Saturday. It was a failed thaw. Deeply disappointing. However, reading this blog keeps my spirits up as you never gave up and are doing so well now.
    Looking forward to your next post 🙂

  3. Pingback: Tempting fate… | Egged On

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