Back for more

Yesterday was the big Visit-The-Clinic day.

‘Why are you nervous, flower of my heart?’ I asked H the evening before.

He looked thoughtfully at me. ‘In case they don’t take us seriously, I suppose,’ he said.

Shit, I’ve infected him with my own peculiar brand of reverse-hypochondria (instead of assuming the least little twinge means I’m dying, like a regular hypochondriac, I always manage to wind myself up into a fluster before a medical visit in case They stare coldly at me for a moment before telling me to go away and stop wasting the time and resources that should be spent on someone with something really wrong with them).

Anyway, morning came at sleepless last, and off we shuffled to the Mothership Hospital. Where, naturally, they hold the Recurrent Miscarriage Clinic in the Maternity Department. Hah. Apparently, it’s part of the general gynaecology clinic, so the women sat about in the waiting room that morning were not, by and large, obviously pregnant, and there was only one random toddler (who was being sweetly biddable and kept in check by Dad). The pregnant ladies turn up in the afternoon, apparently. Nevertheless, HAH.

Recurrent miscarriage is not an infertility thing, you see. As I have been told about a trillion-and-seven times, miscarriage is not that uncommon. So most miscarriers are not infertile, and have many-many-many children before and after. Unlike us here on Planet Infertile. Gah.

We were first seen by a student doctor, who was practicing taking medical histories, if that was OK with us. It was. I have friends who trained as doctors. I’d let a trainee doctor do practically anything to me. She looked at me earnestly with huge blue eyes and very carefully wrote my answers (story of crapola so far, humorous-aside-free version) down in neat hand-writing (someone should tell her that that’s unprofessional. Doctoral illegibility is mandatory). in a very fat file. This turned out to be my very fat file, complete with pictures of my innards from July 2007. And then we returned to the holding pen to gaze glumly at the walls for a little longer, until Senior Doctor was ready for us.

He was very pleasant. He was very reassuring. He did say that in most cases, they never do find a cause for miscarriages. That they are mostly just bad luck. To make this less of a platitude and more of a piece of interesting information, he went on to explain how, ironically, IVF had shown that fertilisation of eggs is in fact probably the norm, as long as one has timely sex. Just… most of them don’t stick. Most of them stick for a matter of hours, or days. Very few get it together and grow sweet sweet babies. The fact that mine stuck around long enough to let me know they were there before they conked out is… almost certainly bad luck. (And I thought, if I were luckier, they’d’ve gone before I even thought to test, and would I now be happier? Argh. Can of worms. Stop train of thought right there.)

He also ‘reassured’ us that miscarriages due to chromosonal abnormalities in the male were so rare that he’d only seen one case in his entire career. And that haemophiliac disorders are not a risk (at least, not to the pregnancy. Birth, whole ‘nother story). He also mystified me completely by saying an underactive thyroid was not a risk factor either, which is TOTALLY not what Doctor Google says.

He ordered the ‘standard’ panel of blood tests, in any case. They had a snazzy brand new computer system, so there was no paperwork. There was, however, a short pause while the trainee doctor went to find a tech guy, and then tech guy showed Senior Doctor how exactly to order tests on the new system, during which Senior Doctor looked sheepish in a Senior, Doctorish way.

And then H and I trailed over to the other side of the hospital to find pathology, where, apparently, all the paperwork would be waiting for us. There was a queue for the tame vampires, so we queued and queued and queued, and when our number was finally called, I was told my paperwork wasn’t there. I should have got it from reception. ARGH. I ran over to reception. YES! I was in the system (unlike the very cross woman in the next cubicle). They printed out my stickers. They printed them out wonky. They went and found another tech guy, who stood about complaining that printers weren’t his thing while the receptionists took it apart and put it back together again. And then they printed my stickers correctly, and I rushed back across the waiting room (feeling like an idiot) and the tame vampires took kindly charge of me instead of sending me to the back of the queue (which would have surprised me a good deal less). Stickers? Oh, yes. One sticker for each test, with my name and a barcode and the name of the test on, to be stuck on the vials. Better than stupid paperwork – can’t come adrift from the blood. Neat, eh?

And they took eight vials. (Eight! That’s nearly an armful!) Four were clotting array tests, lupus anticoagulant, anticardiolipin, err, thingy and, uh, whatsit (damn I wish I’d written this down at the time). Prothrombin? MTHFR? And then FSH, LH, TH (thyroid? But I thought he’d discounted thyroid) and a full blood count. Or was that one of the clotting ones? In which case, what was the eighth? Arse. I had a notebook with me and everything.

The results, get this, are all going to be sent to Miss Consultant. You know, the one who scraped my insides out in July 2007 and then technically oversaw all my Clomid cycles, and nagged me about my weight a lot. Because Senior Doctor thinks I should be referred back to her for more monitored cycles. Cue stupid conversation in which I say ‘but Clomid stopped working for me’ and he says ‘yes, but you don’t ovulate regularly, so perhaps you should try Clomid again’ at each other several times, with no noticeable result on our respective opinions.

I have no idea what Miss Consultant will think when she sees his letter (oh, yes, he’s referring me himself. At once). ‘Oh God, not her again,’ probably. Because the main thing, Senior Doctor thinks, is to get me pregnant again (really?). Because chances are next time will be fine. He absolutely did not say ‘and when you miscarry three times in a row, we bring out the bigger guns and do karyotyping and any other crazy shit we can think of’, but he did sort of hint it, in an accidental that-was-totally-not-what-he-was-saying way, or were my inferring glands overreacting? So back to Miss Consultant, with a stern note from her respected colleague requiring that she pull her bloody socks up and actually do some working treatments that work.

Except, I am ovulating solo now, thank you. I refuse, I absolutely refuse, to screw Satsuma around again with sodding Clomid. They can monitor me as much as they want, I’m immune to shame and will let any amount of medical personnel peer up my jollies, but NO CLOMID. Clomid and I are DONE. Done, you hear me?

Anyway. Waiting for blood test results via World’s Least Contactable Gynaecologist. Hurrah.

Also, this is day 7 of the two week wait. My temperature is soaring higher than any cycle I’ve had since the good old days when Clomid actually worked. Either I’ve got flu, or Satsuma is in grand form, churning out progesterone by the pint. I wonder why.


21 responses to “Back for more

  • Heather

    I guess I’m very confused on the way the medical system works there. I feel like you are getting the run around. Do you? Or am I just reading this all wrong?

    • May

      I feel like I’m getting the run around too. But at least Miss Consultant is at the same hospital as Senior Doctor, and they each know who the other is.

      The NHS is a mass of turf wars. Senior Doctor’s clinic can only diagnose and treat recurrent miscarriage. To get pregnant in the first place, I need to be treated by Miss Consultant’s clinic.


  • Hairy Farmer Family

    Have been peering nervously at feeds all day awaiting an update; I’m glad it went… ok-ish. Had no idea that fertilisation was so common; I thought the whole sperm obstacle course was a bit much for most of the poor tired things. So relieved to know I’m not the only one that has unpleasingly circular conversations with The People That Know Stuff, too. And hey, I wrote down EVERYTHING from my bloodwork in my notebook and STILL got it comically mixed up!

    I was told that 6 cycles of clomid was the most they really liked you to do in any event – I remember worrying vaguely when I went on to do 3 rounds of IUI that the Clomid was still a part of the protocol. And… yes… I think you & Clomid have reached the end of the road in fine style. I think Clomid has crashed straight through the No Through Road barriers and is now plummeting down the cliff holding the Bridge Broken sign.

    So, am I correct in thinking that the two obvious courses open to you are pretty damn disparate? On the one hand: IVF. On the other (given Satsuma’s recent revivalist tendencies): do nothing. Given your total of 2/3 pregnancies out of 12 ovulations, I’d have thought that either option has a fair chance of actually bringing home the baby goods; although the IVF option does admittedly give you rather more of an inside edge on a 2010 baby. And… I rather suspect that Miss Consultant will, at this point, drive obediently in whatever treatment direction you ask her to.

    Of course, it would be beyond lovely if the 2 week wait was a wait worth having.

  • a

    It sounds like H did some foreshadowing…I hope Miss Consultant can do something with your bloodwork results. Or maybe Satsuma will come through and this will all be moot.

  • Valery

    yes, that is confusing. thyroid yes/no and for the results back to Miss Consultant rather than the Doctor who ordered the tests. Would she talk in circles too? or send you back? or close for the holidays first?
    Good luck, and good vibes and well, some more good luck.

  • Teuchter

    It all sounds so bloody confusing and frustrating

    Am keeping fingers quietly crossed and sending general goodvibes in your direction.

  • Hairy Farmer Family

    I find it depressing that I unerstand the NHS Dr to-and-froing rationale perfectly. Been doing this too long!

  • Womb For Improvement

    Every time I read about your temps I think, next month I’ll try that again. Interesting …

    And doctoral shinanigans? Oof.

  • twangy

    So much to contend with, in so many ways. Brain-hurty.
    Still feel kinship to Satsuma, who I agree is doing well, and is regular, and doesn’t need to be blasted with drugs.

    Hoping Miss Consultant (is that what a female surgeon is called then?) does work some good work for you now.

  • Betty M

    Hmm – I assume it is not in his gift to stop the Clomid track due to demarcation lines but havent you done the NICE max of 6 already? Maybe they can just do some monitored sans drugs cycles so you can prove to them that you damn well know when Satsuma is doing her stuff through your own lower tech efforts so please can we move along to something more helpful. But maybe this 2ww will do the trick hopefully.

  • Aphra Behn

    Oh dear. Another go round the roundabout. And let no-one tell you that female gynes are nicer than male ones. The male ones are all, without exception, charming. The females start out lovely but turn into distilled essence of exasperation.

    Talking of the mix of patients in gynae wards, did I tell you about the time my husband had his hysterectomy? They tucked him away in a side room for privacy and then disturbed us cuddling up on the bed. Oooops. We weren’t being – you know – inappropriate. Just cosy.

    And I know I’ve told you about bumping into his gynae a year or so afterwards rather late in the evening at a Black Tie Function. A very pally “Hey mate, how’re you doing…?” to Mr Behn and a rather bemused “…. but you look so straight” to me.

    Double mastectomy, £1500. Hysterectomy, on the NHS. Remarks from the gynaecologist, Priceless.

    Good luck with Miss Consultant.


    (Sorry, have I lowered the tone?)

    • May

      Dear old NHS. You have to pay through the nose to have your secondary sexual characteristics dealt with, but they’ll whip the primary ones out for free…

      Bless you Aphra, you do make me laugh.

      (I should introduce that gynaecologist (by the way, the phrase ‘my husband’s gynaecologist’ delights me in every way) to my cousin and her wife, who both look like supermodels and have more lipsticks between them than the entire ground floor of John Lewis. They’ve gone through amused, ALL the way through every shade of exasperated, and back to amused again at the way people stagger back in shock at realising they’re a couple. ‘But… but… you’re BOTH wearing DRESSES…’)

      Incidentally, WHY are female gynaes so… so… irritated? Irritating? Or is it only the nine-stone set-a-calendar-by-my-cycles ones, who despite having spent years dealing with malfunctioning ladybits, seem to think aberrance is abhorrent?

  • geohde

    I thought that’s what they’d say. Essentially v likely shitty shitty luck.



  • thalia

    He is just wrong about thyroid. Really wrong. Unless there was some subtlety in what he was saying which didn’t come through here.

    Antiphospholipid antibodies, that’s the other one. Or it should have been.

    Hang in there. Glad satsuma is on the right track this month.

  • QoB

    whether it’s the acupuncture or the weight loss or the Ovary Fairy, Satsuma does seem to be behaving of late. Long may she continue to behave – I wouldn’t want to mess with her either.

  • Robyn

    Seconding Thalia with the “just wrong about the thyroid” statement. My understanding, as a regular taker of Thyr.oxine, is that an underactive thryoid plays merry hell with various parts of the reproductive anatomy. Only anecdotal in my case but still…you’d think he’d know.

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