A thing but not a thing

And so, as you might reasonably have expected, and as I might have slightly given away in my last post, given how contrarily these things go, the fact that I was so convinced it wasn’t going to work meant that when, on the morning we were going away for the weekend, and I did a precautionary First Response test, it showed the faintest of faint – but still very definitely there – lines.

Or, as I put it to B when I walked back into the bedroom “Well I’m not ‘Not Pregnant’.” But I wasn’t going to get too excited. It was early. It could be a chemical pregnancy. It wasn’t a thing until it was a thing.

But then, when I did another test 48 hours later, that line was definitely darker. And 48 hours after that, the blood test confirmed that, that day at least, I was pregnant. Because that was how I thought of it. That’s how I’ve continued to think about it. On those fertility forums I despise, I’ve seen women talk about being “PUPO” – Pregnant Until Proven Otherwise, but after the miscarriage, after everything we’ve been through, I feel quite the opposite. I feel like “that day I know I was definitely pregnant but until the next blood test / scan, I can’t assume I still am.”

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It’s been a while…

And not for any good reason. It’s been a while because, as you could probably guess from the last post, having a miscarriage in a pandemic was a pretty shitty thing to happen and even six months after the event, it wasn’t something I really wanted to dwell on or revisit. But equally, it feels — as I think I’ve said before — that all of this should be documented — for you, for me, for completeness. So here I am, ironically about nine months after the miscarriage, finally writing it down.

I’m not going to sugarcoat it, it was really fucking grim. I took the same pills that a friend of mine who had accidentally got pregnant was prescribed when she wanted to terminate her pregnancy. She already has two children and she described the pain of those pills as being “worse than my second labour”.

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The hierarchy of shitness…

While I’m obviously writing and posting these posts many months on, at the time, I scribbled notes on my phone about my feelings. At night when I couldn’t sleep and B was asleep beside me, I typed my hopes, fears and dreams into that little illuminated screen. Some of those notes have made it into these posts. Here are two, in their unedited entirety…

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Secrets and lies…

I once wrote during my first ever two week wait that “nothing means anything” – it was basically about the idea that you couldn’t deduce anything from a single symptom, that a headache, no headache, bleeding, absence of bleeding, cramps, absence of cramps — all of it seemed as likely to be an indicator that you were pregnant as you weren’t. Never had that felt more true.

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What do I do now…?

Working women often talk about how they feel that whatever they’re doing is wrong. They feel permanently guilty that they’re not doing “enough” for either their children or their careers. Finding out that I was pregnant catapulted me into a host of similar dilemmas. Did I carry on exercising as I had been? Or stop entirely? Should I contact my old clinic and ask them to prescribe more of the progesterone injections, the clexane blood thinners, the whatever the fuck else they throw at the women who manage to get pregnant on a wing and a prayer and want to stay pregnant? Or just carry on taking the Pregnacare Max that I’ve been taking for years as if it were a multivitamin?

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The little things that trip you up…

When you read about people doing IVF (and let’s be honest, you do, don’t you? Because you’re here, and I know I’m awesome and all that but I’m guessing this isn’t the ONLY IVF blog you’re reading) or see women having IVF depicted in the media — in books, films or TV programmes, there are these classic tropes aren’t there?

You know what I mean. The woman who grits her teeth when a friend announces a pregnancy. Or wells with tears when Continue reading

The Plan…

I rather feel like I’ve bigged up this Plan so I hope you’re not disappointed by it. Basically, The Plan came about when I went to see my consultant to have the post-unsuccessful IVF debrief — or the “what the fuck went wrong chat” as I’m pretty sure I’ve seen it called on other blogs.

Anyway, I sat in front of my consultant and said, “So, we had one grade 1 embryo and it failed to implant. And I understand that there may be many reasons for this, but what can we do minimise the likelihood of these being reasons why the same thing doesn’t happen again?”

And that was when she told me about Continue reading

So it turns out I was right…

… in that I’m not pregnant.

It shouldn’t really be that much of a surprise – who gets pregnant on their first round of IVF with one embryo? Well obviously some people do but not me. And while the logical part of my brain had committed to at least three, maybe more, cycles, there was a sliver of me thinking, “It could be me, I could be one of the lucky ones…”

And now, I’m going to sound like a complete dick, but I’m going to say it anyway. I don’t really know how to fail at stuff. I’ve passed every exam Continue reading

The transfer…

I realised that in my last post I rather glossed over that crucially important point when they actually put the one good embryo inside me. Which, rather like my not spending much time thinking about the actual donor, is a little bit weird when you think about it. But then I think my reactions to so many parts of this process are weird — they definitely seem weird to other people.

Various friends asked if I wanted them to come with me for the embryo transfer. I didn’t. Continue reading

It would be a miracle…

When you think about, it would be a total miracle. I mean, I know science has done everything possible to optimise the chances – I’ve been given hormones to optimise the development of my eggs; my thyroid function has been checked and tweaked; the – one assumes – weakest eggs will have been weeded out by the freezing and defrosting process; I’ve not just got any old sperm but sperm that has been rigorously – I hope – health-checked; and nobody’s left it to chance that this sperm will fertilise the eggs, Continue reading