Abortion and the grey space

We hear this word used in everyday life – abortion. We can all formulate an idea of what abortion is….someone choosing to end the life of their baby. But this isn’t a wholly accurate or fair description and is certainly not what medical professionals use the word ‘abortion’ for.

According to Wikipedia, the term ‘abortion’ can be defined as:

“The ending of a pregnancy by removing a fetus or embryo from the womb before it can survive on its own.”

The unintentional expulsion of an embryo or fetus before the 24th week of gestation is called a ‘spontaneous abortion’. This is the clinical term that is used by medical practitioners in their notes to describe what most lay people would understand to be ‘miscarriage’.

The intentional expulsion of an embryo or fetus is called an induced abortion. Reasons for intentionally inducing abortion are either therapeutic or elective:

  • Therapeutic abortion is performed to save the life of the pregnant woman; prevent harm to the woman’s physical or mental health; where indications are that the child will have a significantly increased chance of premature morbidity or mortality or otherwise disabled.
  • Elective abortion is voluntary when it is performed at the request of the woman for non-medical reasons.

And then there are the methods of abortion, including medical abortion and surgical abortion:  Medical abortion (sometimes also called chemical abortion) is induced by drugs or pharmaceuticals.  Where as surgical abortion includes procedures such as vacuum aspiration, Dilation and Curettage (D&C), Dilation & Evacuation (D&E) and hysterotomy.

The use of methotrexate to terminate my pregnancy of unknown location or ‘ectopic’ pregnancy is described as a medical abortion and can also be described as therapeutic abortion. Clinically, I did not miscarry.  Although I am sure I had started the process of miscarrying before I took the methotrexate, and would consider it to be a spontaneous abortion – or – miscarriage – or – early pregnancy loss. However you want to ice it, in my medical notes it will be described using the word abortion.

For those who are not aware that this is actually a clinical term it can come as quite a shock to see those words on their medical records.  For example, here is a link to a news article: “Mom to be shocked when miscarriage called ‘abortion’ in medical records” that shows how easy it is mis-perceive the term abortion.

But definitions of abortion vary across and within countries as well as among different institutions. Language used to refer to abortion often also reflects societal and political opinions and not only scientific knowledge. Popular use of the word abortion implies a deliberate pregnancy termination, whereas a miscarriage is used to refer to spontaneous fetal loss when the fetus is not viable (i.e. not yet unable to survive independently outside the womb).

Paul Freeling and Linda Gask* explain the problem well:

“As children many of us learnt the old rhyme “Sticks and stones may break my bones but words can never hurt me”. As we grew older we discovered that the adage was untrue. For most of us whose profession involved interacting with other people it became obvious that clumsy or inapposite use of language could cause pain. An attempt to avoid such pain has provoked…to suggest that distress in women who have miscarried would be reduced if changes were made in the language used by professional carers…the word “abortion” should be avoided because the lay public interprets it as applying to a termination of pregnancy.”

And then there is the grey space in between all of this. This is where in the US definitions and clinical descriptions are all important for insurance companies.

I recently read about a lady who fell right in between this grey space….

At a 13 week scan several doctors told her that her baby had a heartbeat, but the organs were not inside its body, the hands and feet are curled, one limb was missing, the neck was not right. Overall, the baby was unlikely to survive and should be removed as soon as possible before it could cause serious health issues. By definition, in Ohio, this situation was considered by the insurance company as an optional abortion because there was still a heartbeat, therefore, they would not cover the cost of the $10000 operation at the hospital. Planned Parenthood would be able to perform the surgery at a cost of $800.

Eventually, after the doctors re-worded the case, the insurance company agreed to cover the costs. But it came at a cost. You should read the whole article to fully appreciate what this poor woman went through: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/tamara-mann/heartbeat-involuntary-miscarriage-and-voluntary-abortion-in-ohio_b_2050888.html

This blog post is not about pro-life or pro-choice. It is merely a brief peek into the complexities of the use and definition of the term ‘abortion’.

For me personally, the insurance company did not initially cover the cost of my methotrexate treatment because it was being used as an abortion drug. Eventually we managed to claim the cost back directly via our European insurance provider.

I don’t have a solution to propose, I just know that abortion – whether it is spontaneous, elective, optional, surgical, medical – is a confusing grey mess of an area in the US.

* Freeling, P. & Gask, L., Changing terminology is no substitute for good consultations skills BMJ 1998; 317 doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmj.317.7165.1028 (Published 17 October 1998)

NaBloPoMo November 2015

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6 weeks post methotrexate treatment

It’s been 6 weeks since I was treated with methotrexate to terminate my ‘ectopic’ pregnancy.  The first few weeks involved dealing with miscarriage bleeding and pain.  Pains that made me worry about ending up with a burst fallopian tube.  Pains that I had never experienced before.  Then there was the emotional pain that accompanied it;  sadness and grief over the failure of what could have been.  Finally, at what would have been my 13th week of pregnancy my hCG levels are below 5 and I am officially out of any danger.

Progression of my hCG levels over time

Progression of my hCG levels over time

But although I am grateful I have had zero complications (i.e. no tube ruptures or not needing a D&C) it hasn’t been the easiest of rides.

4 weeks ago I fell ill with what seemed to be the usual cold/cough that one catches in September time.    Methotrexate can lower the number of white blood cells, which increases the chance of getting an infection and being able to fight it off effectively.  I haven’t been able to shake off this cough completely and it got worse over the last four days of my work travels to Germany.  I think my cough has gotten worse because my stress levels increased due to the nervousness of the upcoming conference, and my poor sleep due to flying/time zone changes.  Basically, I haven’t been good to my body.  I had to avoid my multi-vitamins until my hCG levels were below 5 because the Folic acid in them can interfere with the effectiveness of methotrexate.  So I have been dosing up on Vit C, but I have been missing out on all the other immune boosting vitamins and minerals.

The morning of the beginning of the conference and the day I was presenting was when I felt my worst.  I had to run out of the conference during the key note speech because I was about to puke up my guts from all the coughing.  I wasn’t sure I was going to be able to close the day with my presentation….which I was already stressing about because it was in front of my about 100 of my peers and various other important people I need to make an impression with. Fortunately, I managed to survive  and my presentation went down well – I had lots of excellent feedback.  But the stress of it all was just making my cough worse.

On the evening before my flight back to the US I took some nytol/night nurse at 8pm and was immediately fast asleep.  I woke up at 1005 AM and realised I had slept through my alarm.  I was supposed to already be at the airport by now, my flight was leaving at 1215 PM!  I had been in a deep sleep for 14 hours! Aghhhh!!!! Panic!!!! It is not like me to sleep for long, I am not the kind of person who likes to lie in.  So there I was hacking my guts up and had a temperature running.  But I needed to get home!  So I threw everything into my suitcase – higgledy piggledy- checked out of the hotel and ran to the train station.  1 hr after waking up and freaking out I was standing at the airport check-in desk with 10 minutes to close!  I made it, but I was lucky to catch the train that I did, 3 minutes later I would still be in Germany right now!

I felt awful for the poor German teenage girl sat next to me on the flight (it was a completely full flight) because I was coughing every other minute the entire way.  Cough medicine, flu medicine, cough sweets, water – everything I tried, just could not stop me.  I felt like I had done 1000 sit ups!  My abdomen was aching and my throat shredded.

So here I am, finally tucked up in bed, at home, with magazines (thank you Chris :-)) and hot tea, relaxing.  I may be my worst enemy when it comes to being ill, but I will say that I totally blame the methotrexate.  My white blood cell count was already below the normal level before I took the shot – so I can imagine it was severely lowered afterwards.  I could have wrapped myself up in a cotton wool ball – but I would have been bored as hell and probably missed out on our epic holiday.  So, yes, I kind of did this to myself…but today I am FINALLY chilling out.

(Who wants to bet I have caught something else from the last few days to add on top of my cough?)

I am excited about next week though because the only meeting I have in my diary is our doctors follow up appointment.  Being out of office for three weeks does have its advantages!  Fingers crossed I wake up tomorrow feeling better and I can start everything -work, life, infertility – all afresh 🙂

Who is Dib Dab?

On my last day in the office before our road trip a friend and colleague gave me a small gift and note.  The gift was a small stuffed toy cat with two different coloured eyes.  I am not an expert in kids toys and I have seen these cats around and but I still have no clue behind their story!  But anyway, this gesture was incredibly sweet and I welled up with tears at that very moment.

This isn’t the first gift we have received since receiving the sad news of our non-viable pregnancy….

One friend sent me a guardian angel – Angela, to put in my purse…she has been with me ever since and holds a special place with me.

We received an anonymous ‘donation’ of twelve big Cadbury’s chocolate bars (finally discovered it was from my parents!).  We have scoffed a total of three bars between us so far.  I have hidden all but one of them from Chris when I left for Germany to make sure there was some when I got back!

We also received a wonderful box of chocolate biscuits (cookies) from two friends shipped fresh all the way from the UK that spelled out ‘We love you’…they were incredibly crumbly and delicious, they didn’t last long!

A friend and colleague of Chris’s scoured the internet to surprise me with 6 Cadbury’s (UK) Crunchie bars after I had posted on facebook my cravings for one and my inability to find them in our local vicinity!

A lovely blogging friend sent me some haribo (my favourite sweets in the world!), digestive biscuits and a figurine of hope.  Hope is something I need reminding of a lot and was just what I needed particularly at that very moment in time.

We also received countless cards, letters, messages and hugs from friends and family across the world.

We were not alone in our sadness, friends and family went out of their way to show us they were with us.  It has been incredible.

So what has this all got to do with a stuffed toy cat?  Well I took that stuffed toy cat with us on our road trip, and we named him Dib Dab.  Dib Dab came with us everywhere we went…up a mountain, through the desert, amongst the hoo doos, in the camper van, in the museums & restaurants – everywhere.

Dib Dab was just a small representation of our friends and family at this time of healing.

Thank you for your kindness, love and thank you for just being there.

Dib Dab ended up having quite a bit of fun 🙂

...at Mesa Verde

…at Mesa Verde

...at the puebloan ruins

…at the puebloan ruins

...at antelope canyon

…at antelope canyon

...at Bryce canyon

…at Bryce canyon

...at Zion National Park

…at Zion National Park

IMG_3997

…In Santa Fe

...at the petroglyph national park

…at the petroglyph national park

...on a petrified log

…on a petrified log

...in the Petrified Forest

…in the Petrified Forest

...in my back pack

…in my back pack

...on the Grand Canyon Train

…on the Grand Canyon Train

A small reminder that I have absolutely no control over this

It has been 6 days since I have thought deeply about our recent loss, but today I have thought about it a lot.  The past six days have been truly wonderful (we are currently on a 15 day road trip in the South West of USA); Chris and I have hardly talked about what the future holds for us as prospective parents trying to conceive.  No baby talk.  No IVF talk.  Who knew we had so much other stuff to talk about!

All was well and good in the mind of Dani, until I received a phone call when I was at the top of the North Rim of the Grand Canyon, from my clinic, reminding me that I am supposed to be taking weekly beta blood tests until my hCG levels are below 5.  I was a little peeved about this call.  I was annoyed because the day after my last blood test (Monday 27th Sep about 12 days ago) no one called with my  test results, I waited until the day after, still no call.  I had every good intention to call them to check what my results were, but my week got so busy at work that I never made the call, and they never called me.  So, on Friday 2nd Oct, I flew out West, in holiday mode, thinking that I must be in the clear, otherwise the clinic would be harassing me on the phone by that point – and so I thought nothing more of it.  Until that moment in the Grand Canyon.  Now in their defence, they could have called me at any point on my holiday and I wouldn’t have received a message from them due to lack of connectivity to the ‘real world’.  Never-the-less I was still slightly annoyed.  I told the nurse that it would be a bit tricky for me to come in the next day for a beta blood test because I was currently in Arizona and wasn’t planning to be back until next week.  So I asked her if my beta level had dropped sufficiently that it wasn’t urgent for me to take a test.  She told me levels were at 49 (finally, I found out my result, until that point I had no clue).  She said she would message the doctor who was overseeing my methotrexate treatment, to let him know I was away.  She thought it wouldn’t be a problem.  I have heard nothing more from the clinic – so I assume all is good with the world, they are not seriously worried….but again….my access to signal is poor to terrible, so who knows?!

Receiving this call briefly reminded me where I was just over a week ago and I felt a bit sad again.  But that was a brief moment….and the holiday fun continued.

That was, until yesterday.

I woke up yesterday with period pains.  I thought uh oh, I’m not really prepared for my period to happen just yet!  BUT my period showed itself within an hour of me thinking, hmmm my period feels like it is coming.  That in itself is unusual, I normally get a few days advance warning of pains and twinges.  I have previously read online that a period following a miscarriage can be painful and heavier than normal (I don’t really know what normal is supposed to be anyway!!!).

Initially, I was excited because this meant that I would have one normal cycle, then the next cycle have the dreaded HSG test (again :-S), then the third cycle start the Birth Control Pills for next IVF cycle, all before Christmas! Then when I actually thought about it and counted the number of days since I stopped spotting from the miscarriage – it was 16 days since the heavier spotting, and only 13 days since zero blood.  So the question I had on my mind was – is this actually my period? – or am I still miscarrying?  Everywhere I have read, they say 20 days from end of spotting or hCG below 5, minimum.

And then…..last night I woke up from sharp pains, although they dissipated quickly, just a few hours later, I passed a clot the size of half my hand, I have never experienced this with any period before.  But like I said, I have no clue what is normal.  And because I have missed my beta test this week, I don’t really know if my hCG levels are back down to 0, so I cannot say for sure this is my period.  All day today has been very heavy and very clotty, I felt like I was miscarrying all over again.

I feel sad, all over again.  The hormones probably have a part to play, but the sadness has washed over me.  Just as I was on my way up.

I’m simply tired of being sad for us.

I have missed blogging over the last week, I have missed reading all the other lovely blogs, I need to hear the good news stories, I need to hear inspiration; I feel like I’ve missed out on some therapy of the mind and soul.  Despite my respite from the rest of the world and the wonderful distractions from Mother Nature.  But I am writing this today as we drive to Santa Fe – I just couldn’t wait.  Chris is probably cursing me right now as we head into Santa Fe getting lost because, as the chief navigator, I am distracted with writing my thoughts.

Please, please let this be an exceptionally heavy period and not a continuation of the miscarriage.

Infertility is teaching me that I have absolutely no control over any of this – my body, my mind. And so although I tell myself it is pointless trying to wish things to be right, I just can’t sweep the sadness aside for today.  Hopefully tomorrow will be another day, another day on the path to slow healing.

The healing power of Stockholm and my Nobel Prize

As I return from my work travels in Stockholm, I have some down time to reflect upon our recent failed first round of IVF.  I say ‘failed’…it’s actually quite difficult to say with any confidence that it was actually the IVF that failed us.  It is possible I suffered an ectopic pregnancy, but the doctors were unable to confirm it, although they treated me for it with methotrexate to terminate the pregnancy to be on the safe side.  Something was growing, they just could see it.  If my pregnancy was truly ectopic, then it wasn’t the IVF that caused the demise of my pregnancy….the IVF treatment managed to get me pregnant, but my body decided it wasn’t going to succeed; my body simply decided that this wasn’t my time to join the pudding club.

Or it could all simply be described as just terrible bad luck.  Sometimes, there is just no reason known to man why Mother Nature can be so cruel.

Of course, it is natural to blame oneself.  There are several potential causal links to an increased risk of ectopic pregnancy: tubal damage, smoking, age, IVF – all of these increase the risk: approximately 1-2% of pregnancies are ectopic.  But mostly there is just the plain and simple element of unfortunate luck.  You can find on the web doctors who speculate that the risks are higher with IVF because either:

  • a) With a 3-day transfer, the embryo that would ordinarily be in Fallopian tube at this stage, seeks out the more fluffy warm tubes because that is where it thinks it should be, then gets completely lost and doesn’t ask for directions.
  • Or b) the doctor who performs the embryo transfer procedure places the embryos too high up in the uterus; or they are transferred too quickly and end up in the wrong place.

However, my doctor explained to me that statistically speaking, the risk of ectopic pregnancy doubles with IVF because generally there are two embryos being transferred and so that risk doubles from 1% to 2%.    This makes a whole lot of sense to me.  I was just unlucky.

I am thinking through all of this right now because I need to take away something positive from this failed cycle.  I’ve got to get my cup half full again….and so the positive could be that we just needed that extra help from ICSI or the hormones, and I was just one of the really unlucky ones to not stay pregnant this time.  Next time might just be our time.  There is still no reason why it shouldn’t be.

I was feeling a little sorry for myself in my last post.  But the last couple of days have been an improvement, and it is starting to look like our path is finally beginning to flatten out, allowing us to take a breather.

Time to catch a breather before heading off on to the foggy path called infertility.

Time to catch a breather before heading off on to the foggy path called infertility.

I have been kept mentally busy with work, socialising and networking with my colleagues, so I have had little time to think emotionally about the failed round of treatment.  Physically, the pain has dissipated, the bleeding continues (seriously, where does it all come from?!!?), but it is a very small amount that it has barely bothered me.  I still feel exhausted, but jet lag most likely lays claim to the cause of that.  I miss my pre-natal multi-vitamins, I really hope to be allowed to take them again soon.  They help keep my bowels in shape and my energy up.

And I will grow back my positivity because over the next 3 months as we have a plan to get us to our next IVF cycle (hopefully if I get the all clear from my repeat HSG!!).  In short – we have our 2 week, 2000 miles, road trip starting from Las Vegas, visiting various amazing places like Grand Canyon, Zion national park, Bryce Canyon, Monument Valley, Santa Fe, Albuquerque, Petrified Forest, Painted Desert, Hoover Dam and a whole lot more.  I have another 3 work trips to Europe to fit in – Munich, Berlin and Brussels/Mons (I haven’t been to Berlin yet so that is exciting!).  We have a consult with our doctor scheduled for late October to discuss the plan for the next cycle.  I need to find some time to fit in a HSG once my period returns (seriously NOT looking forward to that).  I am hoping my body is going to play nice and we can get an IVF cycle in just before Christmas.  It’s also Chris’s Birthday soon and I want to organise a small party for him.  And amongst all that we are going to try and fit in a weekend away to Shenandoah National Park to see the beautiful colours of autumn.  No time for stopping over the next 3 months!!

Stockholm has done me a lot of good (despite the jet lag), I’m feeling mentally refreshed and excited to be moving forward.  However, I was very disappointed to discover that my invitation to pick up my Nobel Prize must have got lost in the post.

No Nobel Prize for me.....But it was beautiful!

No Nobel Prize for me…..But it was beautiful!

But I did get a chance to scope out the building they award them in, the museum my name would be listed in, and the best restaurants to celebrate at….May be someday I’ll be back 😉 bahahahahaha – Keep dreaming Dani!

The Nobel Museum, Stockholm

The Nobel Museum, Stockholm – Something to reach high for 🙂

Is the pain in my mind?

I have had a very specific pain around my right ovary for the past four days. The pain worsened in the evenings, I slept it off after getting to sleep with the aid of the pain killers and my sheer exhaustion.  It felt like something was pushing inside, wanting to pass.  The acetaminophen & codeine-3 was barely hitting this very specific pain.

Late last night I considering going to the Emergency Room.  I knew that my doctor had said I shouldn’t travel to Europe if I was having pain.  Well I was in pain, the drugs weren’t stopping it, but I wasn’t doubled over with the pain, I was getting waves of pain, increasing intensity and then becoming dull but it was in this one particular spot.  I couldn’t ‘touch’ the pain, when I pushed down it didn’t hurt more or less.  Was I being stubborn or just simply stupid for ignoring this?  I read stories of women whose fallopian tubes had ruptured weeks after taking the methotrexate.  Surely this was a very rare event, it can’t be happening to me?  I cried a lot in my indecisiveness.  Chris even cried with me because he didn’t know how to help me – it was my decision to make whether or not to go to A&E – he felt helpless.  I didn’t want to go to hospital to spend a fortune for me to be sent home again – or worse – they wouldn’t be able see anything again on the ultrasound and end up opening me up. Chris asked me a very good question – was the pain in my mind?  Was I making it out to be worse than it was because I didn’t want to travel to Europe?  It was a harrowing question to think about.  It was definitely a possibility.  The mind can play cruel tricks.  But I eventually decided that in the morning if I still had that specific pain we would call my clinic or go to ER.  That was my line.

I woke up this morning PAIN FREE!!!! It was an amazing relief.  I was exhausted and felt like I had been out on the town all night, waking up with a hangover.  Oh how I wish that were the case!  But I felt free.  That was for about 3 hours….then the heavy bleeding and passing of clots continued along with all that type of associated pain.  But this pain I could deal with compared to the specific pain I was having the past four days.  Such a relief.

So here I am waiting for my flight to Europe.  After connecting flight #1 I have discovered that flying whilst still miscarrying is not the greatest idea I’ve ever had.  I could feel I was about to pass something, then of course there was turbulence and the seat belt sign came on.  The flight attendant barked at a little old lady to sit back down!  So I sat there in my seat hoping I would not leak everywhere (sorry – I know this is probably way too much information!!!).  20 minutes later I couldn’t sit still anymore, so I got up despite the turbulence and dashed to the toilet.  I sat on the toilet thinking how ridiculous this whole situation was and sobbed.  I am so glad I didn’t wear mascara today, in fact, mascara has not been part of my make-up regime for several weeks now.  I thought about all the things I would shout at the flight attendant if she gave me grief about getting up from my seat! Fortunately she was too busy to bark at me.

I just have a 9hr flight to London, followed by 2hr flight to Stockholm to survive this mess!  Wish me luck!!!

10 days of eughhh

It’s been 10 days since I started to miscarry and I am just exhausted from all the emotions and the physical madness that is going on with my body.

My 7 day post-methotrexate injection hCG blood test went very well today.  My levels have almost exactly halved since monday, from 2696 to 1358, and dropped 58% overall since the injection was administered.  This bodes well for successful treatment. I am even allowed to travel to Stockholm – as long as I am not having any pain.  I am not going to hide it, I have been suffering with pain for past two evenings now (weird how it is mostly in the evening).  Last night I struggled to sleep because of it.  The 500mg extra strength acetaminophen doesn’t seem to cut the mustard, but the acetaminophen with codeine #3 I was prescribed for pain relief after my egg retrieval seems to work a bit better.

My favourite nurse drew my blood today, she asked how I was doing.  I just replied ‘eughhh’.  She understood and nothing more was said.

Here are two photos of my cat Diesel….sympathising with my ‘eughhh’ feeling.  Chris managed to take these beauties yesterday evening in an impromptu photo shoot…..

Chris captured Diesel in  beautiful way yesterday evening

Chris captured Diesel in beautiful way yesterday evening

Chris captured Diesel in  beautiful way yesterday evening

Chris captured Diesel in beautiful way yesterday evening

What would we do without our fur babies to keep us sane?

The party and the door mat

The party!

My hCG levels reduced from 3200 to 2696 – that’s about a 15% decrease!!!  Time to party!! I’m heading out of the danger ectopic rupture zone!!

When I went in for my blood test, the nurse today asked me if I had taken a pregnancy test.  I said no.  She said ‘Oh’.  I said I have had about 10 blood draws in the last 2 weeks.  She said ‘Oh’.  Yeh – Oh.  Read your notes, love!

Then later this afternoon when a different nurse gave me my results and the good news, she passed me to the appointments desk to book my next beta hCG blood test.  The lady asked why they kept making me come in for betas.  I didn’t know how to answer that, and a moment passed and she said ‘Oh are they watching you levels fall? Oh I am sorry about that’.  Yeh – Oh.

But anyway, despite all that!  It is good news.  I returned to work today, it was good to be back thinking about other things in life.  I’m still hoping to be able to travel to Stockholm on Sunday!

Watch this space for a 3 month plan of attack!!!!

The door mat.

Whew!…my doormat took a bruising today from all those medical bills that miraculously landed on it!!! What timing!!!  The good thing about my clinic is that they take a few months to process all the claims, so we have a delay in paying all our bills, the bad news is that they all tend to come at once.  Ouchie.  I logged into my insurance….and I have a lot of claims to process, each ultrasound comes as one individual bill.  Each blood draw comes in two separate bills – one from the clinic, one from the lab.  Considering how many of those I have had over the last few months, let’s just say my doormat is going to get a beating from all those bills* 🙂

*OK so in the US I actually have a post box on the side of my house, they don’t post letters through doors like they do in the UK, so really I am talking more about a metaphorical door mat.

When you see your doctor’s number appear on your phone….

When you see your doctor’s phone number appear on your screen….in that instant your brain racks in an instant through all the possible reasons she is calling…you pause, take a breath and answer nervously.

This is what happened this morning at 9AM. My doctor tells me she is reconsidering her position, she wanted me to come in sooner for a beta blood test, in fact right this instant if I could make it. Luckily, I’ve taken the day off work and I decided to get up and get ready with Chris rather than laze around in my PJs. So I was out of the house in less than 3 minutes, making the 25 minute car journey to my clinic. All I could think is what if my hCG levels aren’t falling? What will this mean? Am in danger? Have I made the wrong decision.

I have lost so much blood now, probably about 3 times the amount of my heaviest period…let’s not even count the number of vials of blood I’ve given to the nurse for various tests!

My doctor popped her head in whilst my nurse was drawing my blood. She just wanted to check on me and assure me she thinks this is a miscarriage but she wants to do her due diligence and be certain. I understand her worry and appreciate their observation of me. But what a roller coaster.

I’m going to mention now just how much I dislike forums and some facebook groups. I joined a couple last week relating to ectopic pregnancy, one was for those who were misdiagnosed and one for those who were suffering/suffered ectopic. In this latter group there was a lady who was going through almost exactly the same as me, except one week behind. I commented with my story because everyone who had commented thus far was singing doom and gloom. I explained what my doc had said yesterday, and then one women replied to my comment “that’s what happened to me, I too was passing huge clots, they thought I was miscarrying, but actually it was ectopic”. Oh for craps sake, way to freak out a girl!!!

So now I wait….please….please hCG be lowering. I’m tired of this 😒

The saddest thing

The saddest thing about today is that we feel a relief with our miscarriage.  It’s a bit of an oxymoron really.  I am sure it is going to hit me soon, but for now I am feeling a huge weight of my shoulder, I feel 5 times lighter.

I had my blood drawn this morning by a super nice nurse, and I returned to my clinic this afternoon for the results and ultrasound.  It didn’t start off great.  My doctor said my hCG had risen again to 2600 from 1300 4 days ago.  Yikes.  I told her about my bleeding the past two days and how at 2AM I was up passing clots the size of golf balls and had been bleeding for the rest of today.

The two doctors spent an age checking every inch of my tubes, ovaries and uterus.  The ‘junior’ doctor kept pointing to something and saying that she thought it was ectopic, they even switched on the colour flow on the ultrasound to see my blood pumping around, looking for the signs of the tell-tale ‘ectopic donut’ where blood flows around the pregnancy.  But my doctor said no, that was definitely not ectopic, and she has seen lots of ectopics in her career (she this out loud!!).  Especially now my hCG levels are much higher they really would expect to see something by now.  I am very appreciative of the amount of time they took to look,  particularly in comparison to the on-call doctor and other senior doctor at the weekend who spent 1/8 of the time hunting.  My doctor said with an ectopic pregnancy I wouldn’t get bleeding with such large clots so she thinks it is very unlikely I am ectopic.  I am SO GLAD I listened to my gut instinct and said NO to taking the methotrexate.

So the conclusion?  It takes a few days for hCG levels to drop after a miscarriage begins therefore I will return on Monday next week for another blood test to check they are dropping and this is in fact a miscarriage.  I have got a sick note for the rest of the week off work, so now for a bit of chilling out and eating lots of chocolate (seriously I have eaten a lot of chocolate already today).

I’m not completely in the clear just yet, we need to see my hCG levels drop and I need to pass whatever it is that has been growing in me causing my hCG levels to rise (prob. the placenta).  The ‘junior’ doctor is on call this weekend, she said ‘don’t call me!!!’  she really meant “I hope you don’t need to call me!!!”…bless, she is lovely in her very quiet way.

My doctor reckons 6-8 weeks before I get a normal period returning, then we wait a natural cycle, start the Birth Control Pills and then can start a new round of IVF again or do a Frozen Embryo Transfer (FET) – whatever we want 🙂  This will put us at Christmas time :-s

Miscarriage is a terrible, sad, painful and hurtful experience.  At 2AM last night when the big clots were passing I felt lonely and slightly terrified, I tried to sleep through the waves of pain but it was impossible, I finally fell asleep again at 5.30AM.  I don’t know how long the physical pain will last, but I know that the psychological pain will last a whole lot longer.

For anyone who is reading this and currently experiencing a miscarriage right now, my heart truly breaks with you too – may be you have found this web page already, but I thought it was very useful: Coping with Miscarriage  http://carikay11.hubpages.com/hub/miscarriagerecovery .  Knowing that miscarriage is so common (1 in 4 pregnancies end in miscarriage) makes this even harder, because I think about how many of my friends and family have silently been affected.  I am so sorry you had to go through this – because this truly sucks X