So, my daughter is in bed and my son is currently throwing a plastic egg in the air and catching it. 5 minutes and he’ll also be in bed. Quiet.
Sometimes I think how different our lives were before children and I feel guilty that some days I’m just waiting for them to go to bed so I get some peace! You see, 7 years ago, I was starting to think I would never carry a child, much less 2 with only 22 months between them!
So there I was, legs akimbo, heart pounding. This was our 4th pregnancy (number 5 for me). So far we’d lost 3 at around 6 weeks. Now, here we were, 8 weeks along and having an early scan…
It was there, a little blob.
The wow moment lasted a millisecond.
We were told that It wasn’t as big as It should be and that the heart rate was about 1 beat per second. We were to wait a week for the next scan and, by that point, it should have either improved or died. Of course we knew that they expected the latter. A week went by, there was minimal growth and the heart rate hadn’t changed. As shocked as we were, it didn’t reassure us of anything other than that life is cruel. We were to wait a week and a half this time. We knew we were just waiting for It to die. And, even though I was quite firm with anyone who tried to reassure me, deep down I was holding on to this slight glimmer of hope. Maybe we would get there and they would give us back our wow moment. We deserved that. Nearly two years of trying, countless tests – some painful and invasive- 3 miscarriages, scheduling sex for the right days, laying with my legs in the air to let gravity do it’s thing. I had done everything I was meant to. I’d quit smoking before we even began to try, before we knew there was a problem, refusing to smoke even a day with another life growing inside of me. We deserved this, some good news.
I covered my face and cried as they told us the bad news. I wanted to scream and shout.
We were to return in a week for an ERPC.
That week dragged by, my partner in London working, family trying to occupy me. My sister came to the confirmation scan, this time I was shown It. There It was, that little blob, but there was no flash of a heartbeat.
My little pot belly was a painful reminder of what was in there. No one else would have noticed it but people close to us did. My partner came back for the ERPC, the sadness on his face when he looked at my belly. I gave consent for them to incinerate It. And that was that.
Lucky for us, my consultant was suddenly all systems go! It’s like the solution had suddenly been made obvious. Immunomodulation – an unlicensed treatment which aims to lower the immune system, thicken the lining of the womb and thin the blood. Turns out my immune system doesn’t like foreign DNA, treats it like a threat and does it’s best to expel it. So the next time we got pregnant I was given pills, pessaries and syringes. The worst bit was injecting myself in the belly/leg every day, the further along I got the thinner my blood and the more things hurt. I vividly remember, once or twice, piercing my skin and pulling it straight back out again, sobbing, saying that I couldn’t do it. My tummy covered in bruises, my leg too sensitive to bother with. My partner reassuring me that I could do it and that he would do it for me if I wanted. Of course I did it in the end, I had to. The pain of the needle followed by the cringe worthy sting of the heparin when it goes into your skin. Horrid. But worth every single tear, every last pain and stinging, every inch of steroid acne that covered my face, back and chest, the nauseating fear, every single second.
13 weeks was the stop date for the treatment. By then everything should be fine. Waiting for that scan was so scary, possibly the most nerve racking thing we had ever done. The moment she turned the screen around to show us was so surreal, we got our wow moment! There he was, two arms, two legs and the fastest heartbeat I had ever seen!
One hell of a whirlwind later we did it all over again and it worked again!
I thank my lucky stars that we had an amazing doctor and consultant who didn’t give up on us. I am thankful for the secretary who spoke to me so often she knew my voice. The staff who saw me so often they knew my name. The nurse who taught me how to inject myself. We were so lucky to have such a great network of people, professional and personal. Our family and friends were amazing.
But most of all we had each other. We were a team, we supported one another through it all and for that I am proud.