After the dismal 8w scan I spent another week in miserable half denial. I had made up my mind that I would request another scan and then decide my management options from there. I went to the GP to request another beta HCG test but she said there would be no point doing it as the scan would be more informative. She said if it made me feel better, to have the additional scan and stay on the meds until then. During that week one of the clinic counsellors called me and I explained my predicament and that I had not taken myself off my medications. She helped me to arrange a repeat scan for that Friday (9 weeks). On that day I met a good friend for lunch and then went for the scan afterwards. As I sat in the waiting room a couple returned to the reception desk and I could tell from the conversation that they had just had a successful 8w scan. I felt a pain for me, but in my head I wished them well, while simultaneously wishing that it could have been me.
9w repeat scan
This scan followed much the same process as the scan of the previous week. I had a different doctor though, a woman. She was very nice and completely understood why I wanted this extra scan and said that they often did these repeat scans in hope that the outcome would be different. I could see for myself once the image appeared on screen, that things had disimproved from the previous week even with remaining on the medications. The doctor pointed out that the sac had shrunken a bit more and was in a lower postion in the uterus, it was even harder to make out what was inside, compared to the relatively clear scan of the previous week. She said she could see where the placenta was starting to detach. This scan, though beyond tragic, was the finality and closure I needed. I could see there was absolutely no hope for this pregnancy, no way back. I knew now I could stop my medications with a clear conscience. I got dressed and met the doctor in an adjacent room. She went through the management options again- await natural miscarriage, take medication to bring it on or have a d&c. She explained that the d&c would be done in the main hospital and that generally no testing of ‘products of conception’ would be done in this case. She said that as everything was quite small, I could chance allowing nature to take its course. I agreed to try this. She prescribed some strong anti-inflammatories (Ponstan) and painkillers (Tylex) in case I needed them. She also told me to make a scan appointment for 10-14 days to check that the miscarriage was complete. Before I left she gave me a hug and I told her and the nurse also present that I would probably go home and have a glass of wine.
Before I went home I bought a couple of items for our upcoming holiday. This was the May bank holiday weekend and for once the weather was nice. I spent time with my husband sorting out our garden for the summer and it was quite therapeutic. We did some shopping the next day and generally had quiet time. I had that wine.
I wondered how long it would take for the miscarriage to start and how it would manifest itself.
(warning: miscarriage description)
Late on the bank holiday afternoon (Monday) I started feeling some minor cramps and noticed a bit of spotting. As the day went on the cramps got stronger and I took some painkillers, more red bleeding started, not especially heavy. The cramps got even stronger again later and I could not really take more medication so made a hot water bottle as I was quite uncomfortable. After a time I felt I had passed something so I went to check. Aside from more red blood, some small clots and masses of surplus lumps of Crinone, there was one other small orangey coloured but clear fluid-filled bubble with a thread like attachment and a bright red clot. I assumed this was the sac. It was tiny, maybe grape sized. I picked it up, wrapped it in tissue and put it into a container. However, by next day it had deflated. After this I only had some red bleeding, some clotting and lesser cramps, progressing as the week went on to more brown coloured discharge. None of this was heavy, I didn’t soak pads.
(end miscarriage description)
I rang the GP on the Tuesday morning and requested a sick note for the rest of the week. There was no way I felt I could work through this. I was surprised how quickly it happened, given that I had been told it could take a few weeks. I guess when I gave my body permission to let go, it simply did. My emotions were very variable for the week. At one stage I listened to the lyrics of Katie Melua’s song ‘I cried for You’ and they really hit home and I could not stop crying that day, some of the words are reproduced below.
You’re beautiful, so silently/It lies beneath a shade of blue/It struck me so violently/When I looked at you.
But others pass/They never pause/To feel that magic in your hand/To me you’re like a wild rose/They never understand why..
I cried for you/When the sky cried for you/And when you went I became a hopeless drifter/But this life was not for you/Though I learned from you/That beauty need only be a whisper.
I’ll cross the sea for a different world/With your treasure/ A secret for me to hold.
In many years they may forget/This love of ours or that we met/They may not know how much you meant to me.
Without you now I see/How fragile the world can be/And I know you’ve gone away/But in my heart you’ll always stay.
The thing is I had a connection to this little one, I had a visualisation of myself waving to him/her and she/he waving back to me from in utero. A mischievous wave too. A little character. I imagine our little angel Hope is with my Mum now but that makes me sad too, a double loss.
To help with grieving we decided to do two things. Both my husband and I attended an infertility support group, which was very helpful. It was nice to meet others who are in the same position and struggling and to share our experiences. There were men there too which was great for my husband. We will also attend a miscarriage support meeting in early June. I have good support in real life from 3 colleagues, two who have experienced miscarriage and the other a stillbirth. There is grief and pain and I know there will be more to come as we process this. Our holiday in late May will give us some much needed space and time to reflect.
I have great support on Twitter also, many ladies there who have been through miscarriage and even if they haven’t been, who are there with support and friendship. I even received a lovely teddy for comfort thanks to two special ladies there.
I returned for a repeat scan last week to check that the miscarriage was complete. The same lady doctor did this scan. It confirmed that all pregnancy tissue had passed and that the uterus was empty. However, a small pool of blood remained pooled at the cervix. The doctor said that this would pass itself without intervention and possibly as clots. She recommended that I have a further repeat scan after my holiday to make sure all was clear so I booked this for 5th June. I also have to book a review meeting to discuss the failed cycle/pregnancy, which I might do for the same week.
In terms of next steps, my husband has already been for his sperm DNA fragmentation test at the new clinic and was happy to see that his months of supplements have increased his count more and that the sperm fragmentation at 5% was considered normal. I had a phone consultation on the 21st May with the new clinic to schedule my own tests after a suitable interval, ie after a natural period. The new consultant saw positives in the fact that a positive test and pregnancy had occurred even if it had ended in miscarriage. We both had a nutritional consultation and are making changes to our diet. In my case I am drastically reducing dairy and wheat and eating more protein foods. We already have a high vegetable intake and will add more fruit. I plan to start a course of fertility hypnotherapy in early June and am thinking of doing a session of Mayan womb massage. I will also resume my yoga class. I’ve ordered some more books and relaxation cds to help. I also want to lose some weight and get a bit fitter and healthier. I have about a stone of weight on since last summer after 3 cycles so am not feeling very comfortable right now.
I finally started a fitness DVD in the last couple of days and I think the activity has helped that last bit of dark clotting/blood to pass, hopefully the spotting will soon end, now that just over 2 weeks have passed since the miscarriage.
I will start packing for my holiday tomorrow- actually knowing me, I will probably pack on the morning of departure…
We are still working on our garden, planting flowers and maintaining shrubs and finding solace in it. 2 plants are very sickly though, they are ones that my late Mum had bought for me and I had transplanted to this house from my previous one. Despite surviving 2 harsh winters, I think the wet summer last year finished them. It seemed a little cruel to lose these particular plants right now but my husband is valiantly trying to save them. I know one is definitely lost. I want to plant snowdrops later in the year, they flower like little beacons of hope in the depths of winter. They seem appropriate.
But as we take these tentative steps forward I know that I will carry our little Hope with me always, sometimes I get moments of deep sadness when I think of the lost future and lost possibilities for our little one and rage against the unfairness of it all. I hope I can recover the strength and optimism to move forward and give our new cycle and treatment our absolute best shot.