I was planning to write every day but realised this is not a good idea with a very busy job! I want to share what’s going on with this 4th IVF cycle, but also wanted to talk about some of the issues that I have come up against and see if anyone else has any tips/feels the same.
Although I wasn’t too affected emotionally by my first two cycles, it seems the last one has really hit me and it seems that a lot of people around me don’t really understand the enormity of the situation. It may be my own fault that I have reacted well previously, so friends and family are slightly confused my be this time or it might be the fact that it seems very early miscarriage doesn’t warrant much of a reaction.
The term ‘chemical miscarriage’ means a pregnancy loss before the pregnancy can be seen on a scan – so can only be identified chemically by blood or urine test. This usually occurs from 4 – 6 weeks pregnant and often happens when a positive test is seen and either slowly or very quickly (as in my case) goes to negative before you’re able to have a scan. It’s a term that a lot of people are now campaigning about removing as it tends to play down the enormity of the experience of having one of these – the term ‘early miscarriage’ should certainly be put in place.
I’m not trying to play down or even try to compare this type of miscarriage with people losing babies much later. I have a number of friends who have attended their 12 week scans and realised the baby has passed away, and I’ve had a couple of friends who have lost babies very late in pregnancy. To be honest, having gone through my recent experience, I’m not quite sure how those friends have gotten through those times without just staying in bed and shutting out the world. This experience has given me a lot appreciation to those who have been through any miscarriage.
I think the problem this time for me, and I can only speak for my own feelings, is that we were officially pregnant for a week and a half. I know that’s not long and I know, especially in our situation, that you shouldn’t start to look to the future – but it’s human nature surely? This was the furthest we had ever got with a pregnancy. The others, as I previously explained, I had seen a very faint positive test, but this was massively different.
We got a positive that just kept getting darker and darker for a week and a half, and then it disappeared. I didn’t even start bleeding for another 4 days, so I could have gone on until ‘5 weeks’ pregnant without knowing and start bleeding. It was horrendous. However, I think it was the reactions of certain friends and family members that really got me. Stating things like ‘some people wouldn’t even know they’re pregnant at 5 weeks’ well I did as I’M DOING IVF. ‘This is your way of life now and you need to get used to these things happening’ – that doesn’t make it better. It’s not just the actual words that have hurt me and made me feel like I’m not allowed to be sad, or I’m pathetic in some way for being sad, it’s actually some of the people that have been there every step of the way with me, through all cycles, that have just treated this like nothing has happened, not checked in to see if I’m ok, and actually been actively horrible in some cases!!
Anyway, I have been surprised at my own reaction, but think it might be the fact that I dared to dream (thank you Izzy Judd for a great title) and that this was a compounded reaction to three failed attempts. I don’t expect people to understand, but I don’t expect their opinions either.
I think the term chemical pregnancy really undermines what happens to you and how someone should feel. You still see the positive test, you still go to bed that night thinking ‘oh my god I’m pregnant’. You still have to watch what you eat and what you do physically. You start to get some symptoms, like bigger boobs and feeling very tired. You still feel that inner elation and contentment that you are pregnant and a certain glow about the day. And then it goes away. It’s really screwed up.
I remember I just felt something had gone wrong, I ran to get more tests to check and everything was still positive and fine, but I just knew something wasn’t right. I cried at my desk at work thinking, oh god I won’t be able to deal with this if it all goes wrong. And it did. But I’m out the other side now.
I don’t want this to be all doom and gloom but I did want to write this. To anyone who is going through this right now – you do come out the other side. Your hormones calm down, the tears do dry, you do end up laughing about something even without just a brave face, and trust be you do enjoy a little tipple to help! We sent ourselves away for Easter – it was actually something that I had booked when I was pregnant to try to distract ourselves before our first scan (which was meant to be this week). However, we still enjoyed it. I enjoyed the fact I could now go in the hot tub on the beach, the pool and enjoy a prosecco here and wine with dinner!
In our room in the hotel there was this painting which initially made me angry, but then I thought how I would feel if it was there and I was pregnant. Maybe I’ll visit there again and it will be going right instead and I’ll be really happy to see the painting!