Or, May’s Reproductive Disasters So Far:
1993 – Lose an ovary to a dermoid cyst the size of a grapefruit (I am 18). This is unbelievably painful and requires major surgery, not recommended.
1996 – Come off Pill, periods utterly vanish, am diagnosed with PCOS, go back on Pill and stay there for nine years.
March 2005 – Am, miraculously, happily, married to my childhood sweetheart.
October 2005 – With trembling lip and Spring in our hearts, H and I elect not to renew my Pill prescription. We did, really, know that the GP’s chirpy instruction to ‘go away and try by ourselves for a year’ was going to be a pointless waste of our time. But we did it anyway.
August 2006 – I finally get a period!
September 2006 – And I still have it!
Christmas 2006 – I’m still bleeding? What the fuck?
January 2007 – Am scanned. Uterus looks fine. I carry on bleeding.
March 2007 – HSG reveals Mysterious Things in the uterus. Am scheduled for a laparoscopy and D&C. Am allowed to go back on the pill to STOP the SODDING BLEEDING ALREADY.
July 2007 – Am operated on. Uterus full of polyps, abdomen full of scar-tissue from surgery at 18, mysterious possible fibroid or adenomyoma revealed to be, rather cutely, an arcuate uterus.
September 2007 – Stop taking the Pill again. Actually have a few random cycles all on my own, but no dice.
March 2008 – Start Clomid. Ovulate late, BFN.
May 2008 – Second Clomid cycle. BFP. Overjoyed, terrified, dancing in the streets etc. Promptly start bleeding. Much rushing to hospital. Diagnosed with anembryonic miscarriage on the 27th of May. D&E 3rd of June. Readmitted to hospital in agony 6th of June, with a post-operative infection. So that went well.
August/ September 2008 – Third Clomid cycle, amid frantic attempts to finish Masters dissertation, and then two-week-wait spent on holiday. Nada. Bah.
September 2008 – Consultant decides another HSG mught be a good idea, just in case, what with the infection and everything.
November 2008 – Finally have 2nd HSG. Radiologist not impressed with state of one and only tube. Spend month playing ‘please please talk to me’ phone tag with consultant. Fit in two DIY cycles between September and December. It’s nice to know the ovary is a) still there and b) still functioning, even if only intermittently.
December 2008 – Consultant thinks tube is fine, but wonders if I might have fibroids. For fuck’s sake, we’ve been through this (see March through July 2007), and it turned out to be an arcuate uterus and completely harmless. Nevertheless, must wait until clinic visit in February to discuss this further. As expected, a non-issue. Meanwhile, on with the next three Clomid cycles.
December 2008 – March 2009 – Interminable Clomid cycle, do not ovulate, freak out quite a bit, Provera.
March – May 2009 – Ditto. Seriously. This sucks
May – July 2009 – 100 mg Clomid cycle. DITTO. Arse. No, wait. Ovulate on day 44. I am assuming this had nothing to do with the Clomid.
August 2009 – Fine. If conventional allopathic medicine isn’t going to play ball, I’ll do acupuncture. So there.
August 2009 – Possible chemical pregnancy. This puts me in a total funk.
October 2009 – Totally natural pregnancy, conceived (astonishingly) by having sex with own husband in own bed, miscarried the day after seeing a positive home pregnancy test. And then I had a haemorrhage and spent 24 hours in hospital being re-inflated.
November 2009 – Am referred to the Recurrent Miscarriage Clinic. *sob*.
Christmas 2009 – Surprise! Pregnant again! Blood everywhere! Not viable! Happy New Year!
March 2010 – Another scan, to see if we can nail down the identity of the mysterious appearing and disappearing one or three or more or fewer fibroids people keep trying to diagnose me with. Turns out to be adenomyosis after all. Which explains why my periods suck, but not why I keep miscarrying. Oh joy.
April 2010 – Another possible chemical pregnancy. Bother.
May 2010 – Turn 35. Have crise de nerfs.
Also May 2010 – Discover that the reason we haven’t got a date for our follow-up appointment with the gynaecology clinic, to discuss the adenomyosis and what next in the whole miscarriage epic, is that they haven’t booked us one, despite clear written instructions to do so from the consultant. Pitch a fit, request an private appointment with a renowned RM clinic instead. Feel I have betrayed my socialist principles/ been betrayed by my socialist principles, delete as gin intake prompts.
June 2010 – See world-renowned Professor at world-renowned RM clinic. Hand over 10 vials of blood. Get read the riot act about my weight as being possible cause of miscarriages. Fortunately, channel guilt and self-loathing into successful diet rather than into self-harming and alcoholism (but it was tempting (especially the alcoholism)). Take TTC break.
July 2010 – Get results from world-renowned Professor of the many, many blood tests. I have a clotting disorder! One that the NHS don’t test for! Good God, it’s treatable with aspirin! Hope rushes back and knocks me completely off my feet. Take this information to the NHS clinic, who seem pleased for me, and awe-struck by the Professor (but yes, I do have adenomyosis). Am pretty much told to go away and play.
August 2010 onwards – Carry on losing weight. Recommence having sex with my husband. Buy quite a lot of low-dose aspirin. Cross fingers.
December 2010 – Get pregnant. Feverishly take aspirin. Return to the Professor’s clinic for follow-up clotting tests. Aspirin alone seems to be doing the job. Everyone re-crosses fingers. Miscarry three days later.
February 2011 – Finally get my FSH tested on the right day. It’s normal. So I promptly have a chemical pregnancy. Didn’t even get the time to have follow-up tests. Tear hair out. Also, my NHS gynaecologist examines the results of my latest ultrasound and decides I have fibroids, but will not commit on the matter of adenomyosis. Reassures me they will not affect my ability to get and stay pregnant. At this point, however, I am getting more concerned with my quality of life, as my periods are like being torn apart by wolves. Oh, and a chemical pregnancy for Valentine’s Day.
End of February 2011 – GP prescribes diclofenac PR, so I can’t actually throw it up during my period (fate of all other painkillers tried). It works quite well. The subject of full-on endometriosis is brought up again, also mirena coils and hysterectomies. I feel quite glum.
August 2011 – Go back to Miss Consultant, who agrees I may well have endometriosis and thinks it worth having a look in there, so books me in for a laparoscopy. Especially as my periods are now regular as anything (and increasingly hideous) and I haven’t gotten pregnant since February. I am afeared.
November 2011 – Laparascopy. Ovary and fallopian tube clear, but uterus so bulky with adenomyosis (it’s official!) they couldn’t get the instruments under it to treat the endometriosis (also official!). My insides suck. I give up gluten.
February 2012 – Inconclusive post-surgical visit to Miss Consultant. Carry on losing weight! IVF! For when you’re thinner! On the NHS! FOR WHEN YOU’RE THINNER!
March 2012 – H’s Grandfather dies. Grief ensues. H and I enter into a Phase of Discontent with each other and entire world.
May 2012 – H’s Grandmother dies.
June 2012 – H starts going to a counsellor, and our relationship slowly leaves the Phase of Discontent.
July 2012 – H and I bite some bullets and go to a private specialist in reproductive medicine and autoimmune issues. I spend the summer being diagnosed with… autoimmune issues. And we look down the barrel of treatments, that may or may not work, that may or may not be worth persuing. Hope and terror and anxst and exhausted resignation come upon us.