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.
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.”
You know that plan to wait until 10 weeks for a scan? Yeah well on the day I woke up and my boobs didn’t hurt like they did before, I caved. Despite finding forums full of women saying the exact same thing had happened to them and they’d had healthy babies, I became utterly convinced that I had had a silent, or missed, miscarriage, where the foetus stops growing but you don’t bleed. I spent the morning in tears, suddenly realising quite how much I wanted everything to be ok. Knowing B was right when he told me that getting upset when we didn’t know if there was anything to get upset about was counterproductive. Knowing he was also right when he said that if this doesn’t work out we’re not in any different place than we were in before, and yet still knowing that for all our backup plans, this was the plan I wanted to work.
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…
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.
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?
I know we all try to manage our own expectations but I think it was the point when I was writing about embryo grading that I convinced myself that I wasn’t pregnant. It just seemed so hugely, utterly improbable when I was writing it down in black and white. And I know the odds mean nothing if you’re the one it happens to but still…
I’d already decided that I was going to do a home pregnancy test before the blood test. Continue reading
I’m sure it can’t just be me that thinks like this, but I do so often think about the lives I could have been living if luck or decisions had gone another way. If the morning after pill hadn’t worked when I was 19… If I’d gone on to marry S… If I’d got pregnant with my first IVF cycle – all these parallel lives that I’m not living, but so nearly did.
And I’ve never had such an acute sense of that as I do right now. Because (and I said this wasn’t going to be a dating blog, and it’s not, but this is kind of relevant to all the pregnancy stuff) I’ve met someone. Continue reading
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
… 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