Category Archives: I visit the Doctors

At length, or, Clot me Amadeus.

Gentle Readers, I have no idea where to begin. I am at an utter loss. Because, my dears, what in the name of fuck just happened?

H, poor bewildered stressed-out lamb, gave you all an account of How We Spent Tuesday in the last post. So we left matters with me tucked into a hospital bed on the Clinical Decisions Unit, some time after midnight, and H shuffling off home to try and get some sleep.

I was woken at three in the morning by a doctor on call from Haematology. We discussed the recent miscarriage, the Clexane, the coming off Clexane, and the fact this was my tenth miscarriage, and she patted my hand, and then, apologetically, told me she needed to get an arterial blood-sample, which would mean sticking this rather large needle into that handy artery on my inner wrist. OW THE FUCK. After which, going back to sleep was kinda not happening or a while.

Allow me to digress, back-track, bitch, and discuss needles for a bit. My veins are quite small and deeply tucked into my flesh, so barely show at skin-level. That said, I have one splendidly cooperative vein in the crook of my left elbow that even an amateur can get first stab, and a fairly cooperative one in my right elbow crook. So, the first blood test, taken in A&E at 14:45, was taken from the Good Vein, and left a small bruise, oops. When I was admitted to the CDU with a definite DVT and suspected Pulmonary Embolism, they needed to take more blood, and set up a cannula for the CT scan. Because Good Vein was bruised, they tried Second Best Vein, which promptly collapsed flat and refused to release a drop. The darling sweet nurse apologised and stuck Good Vein, who promptly screamed ‘fuck you!’ and not only collapsed shut after half a vial, but then blew and left me with a bruise of shudder-inducing luridness and a blood-blister. The poor nurse patted and rubbed both my hands for minutes on end, but they insisted I had no veins at all and the blood only circulated by osmosis. So they paged for The Vein Whisperer. I kid you not, they referred to this dude as The Vein Whisperer.

He arrived very quickly, a soft-spoken shy-seeming young man, who mumbled politely at my hands and forearms for a minute, then poked a cannula into a seemingly absolutely random part of my right hand, and hit a decent vein at once, and got the two vials of blood for tests, and it didn’t really hurt. And then he sidled back into the bowels of the hospital and to my great sorrow I never saw him again.

After a vey long while, the CT scanner stopped having massive life-or-death emergencies to deal with and had time for me. The doctor now on duty needed more blood (this is standard with a DVT) and was also concerned that the little vein in my hand wouldn’t ‘take’ the dye shots for the CT scan. So she tried to find another vein. Oh, but that was unpleasant. She managed, eventually, and what a tale of ow is in that ‘eventually’, to get a needle into a vein in my right inner wrist, and get just enough out for the tests before it collapsed, and in the attempt to reposition the needle she tore the vein, and the bruise from that looks like a peacock feather. So she flushed the existing cannula and said, basically, sod it, it’ll have to do. Oh, thanks.

I’ll tell you about CT scans another time, but believe me, they are weird.

So! At 4am, all the completely demented little old ladies on the ward with me woke up confused, upset, and utterly disorientated, and started yelling, weeping, cursing (I thought I had a potty-mouth) and in one case wandering into other people’s cubicles and haranguing them. I merely got ordered to get up and take her to the shops, but she was happily telling the lady with back trauma to go hang her fucking useless self before one of the nurses corralled her. Oy. Vey. The nurses, by the way, were saints. And no more sleep for May.

And after breakfast, another nurse tried, and to everyone’s delight, succeeded in getting blood out of Second Best Vein.

H turned up at ten am, with bags under his eyes almost down to his beard, with some toiletries for me stashed in them, so I was able to have a sort of cat-bath, apply deodorant and brush my teeth and therefore feel a tad more civilised. Demented Wandering Lady promptly mistook him for her own son and alternately begged and emotionally blackmailed him to take her home, which was Awkward as Fuck, and then pulled the ‘you have fun with your bride, I’ll just wait here alone and forgotten in the dark’ card before being led away and fed tea by the nurses. Her actual son turned up later and did in fact look somewhat like H, but we decided not to harass the poor chap with the incident.

A doctor surrounded by students marched in, gave them my potted medical history (always a freaky ‘who is that poor unfortunate mortal… Oh’ moment), and told me I’d been referred to Haematology and their specialist consultant nurse would be coming to evaluate me. She also revealed, to my bewilderment and H’s total fucking horror, that the clot in my lung was not, as we thought, small, but actually really rather large, and cuntily (she did not say ‘cuntily’) positioned in the ‘saddle’ where the pulmonary artery splits into two branches, one for each lung. Which explains the constant tachycardia and breathlessness. But I’d already been given a huge shot of Fragmin the previous afternoon, and would be kept on that, so not to worry! Not unless I developed chest pain or collapsed! In which case, maybe worry! And off she went.

And then I had lunch. Which contrary to popular myth, was not inedible, though I don’t think you’re supposed to boil carrots until they dissolve.

The Haematology Nurse was lovely, and during the course of our conversation leaned forward, took my hand, and whispered that she too had no children and was trying hard. We get everywhere, we Infertiles. I hope she succeeds, because we need more nice kind clever people about the place. Anyway, she checked my pulse, BP and oxygenation rates, and then took me for a little walk (Holy crap, having a DVT can hurt. *limp limp hop ow limp*) along a few corridors and up and down a flight of stairs, and then checked again and found that though I’d stopped with that breathless nonsense from the day before (yay!) and my oxygenation was still good at 97%, my pulse was racing at 120 beats a minute, which was a bit of an overreaction. So I got another electrocardiogram. And another blood test. Buggeration. (Useful vein discovered in back of left hand, though a syringe was needed to get anything much out, which hurts *whine*).

Haematology Nurse also brought me a handful of leaflets on thrombophilia and on pregnancy with thrombophilia. The fact we were trying so hard to conceive rather concerned everyone, and so they decided not to put me on Warfarin, which is the standard treatment, but very toxic to embryos, unless Fragmin alone wasn’t helping enough. I did book myself a six-month course of Fragmin injections, however, and a set of compression stockings which I will have to wear for a large part of every day for two sodding years.

(Fragmin, like Clexane, is a low molecular weight heparin, but I am now on about four times the dose of the ‘prophylactic’ Clexane, and why yes, Virginia, it does sting and bruise about four times as much).

I was then moved to another ward, as I’d been in the CDU for the regulation 24 hours and was going to ‘breach’ any minute. I got transferred in a wheelchair, pulled backwards through the corridors, which gives a lass an unrivalled chance to stare back at the people walking along behind you in a brazen ‘well, you looked at me first’ sort of way. At the new ward, I got swabbed for MRSA, and had the usual BP/pulse/oxygenation tests, and my pulse being way high, I spent half an hour on a continuous monitor, which no one except H bothered to check. My pulse rate was rising and falling like the waves on the sea, with no particular logic, and my oxygenation rates would occasionally drop a little, just to keep H good and nervous, but I didn’t trip the alarms, so after a while I got unhitched so I could go to the loo and change into a fresh and more dignified gown, and they didn’t bother to rehitch me.

And drank a million cups of tea, because the one thing the NHS believes in fervidly is the importance of tea.

My Friend Who Knows Who She Is (hi Sol!), who actually lives near me and had offered to come over and keep me company, managed by a splendid bit of detective work to track me down and called the hospital and offered to visit me, which was jolly splendid and I said yes please. She turned up just after the Haematology Nurse turned up to drag me out for another little wander (I noticed my gown was not quite arranged at the back about five minutes into this walk. Hello everyone! I wear black knickers!). I don’t know if my heart and lungs were cheering up anyway or whether it was the pleasure of seeing my friend (who bought me BOOKS, proper good old detective and SF&F to lose oneself mindlessly in) but my pulse and oxygenation levels were more satisfactory. Didn’t stop Haematology Nurse doing another electrocardiogram, and frankly I am so utterly devoid of dignity and modesty at this point that I was happily yanking up my gown In front of everyone in a ‘hi! We’ve all got tits, right?’ sort of way without batting an eyelid. Sorry, Sol.

However, Haematology Nurse was pleased enough with the results to declare I could go home now. ‘Now’ means ‘When we can hunt down the pharmacist and sort out your bazillion Fragmin jabs and an epicly large sharps bin to take home with you’. So we had a nice chat with my friend until the end of visiting hours, and the dinner lady forced me to eat a yogurt (couldn’t face the Irish Stew and anyway I was going home soon). H, who had been in regular communication with my Mum announced she was driving up to see me so she could give us a lift home. The pharmacist turned up and I was given a carrier bag full of syringes and a sharps bucket. I changed back into actual clothes, and then they wanted the bed back, so we were sent to the ‘discharge lounge’ (bad name. Very bad name. Reconsider that name, for the love of God) to wait.

The discharge lounge was a cupboard containing six massively uncomfortable chairs, nowhere for me to put my leg up, and a gang of teenagers eating their way through the entire stock of the snack section of quite a sizeable supermarket. And H called my Mum again and discovered, as I had lovingly and from long experience predicted, that she was going to be at least another hour, hour-and-a-half, because she always bloody is, and I demanded a taxi in lordly tones. Like hell was I going to sit there aching bitterly surrounded by Doritos and clouds of Charlie Red.

Home! Home at last! And when Mum turned up, we had Chinese takeaway and a quiet chat, mostly me trying to explain that DVT and Pulmonary Embolism was not the same as the stroke my beloved grandmama died of, so could Mum stop fretting about that (I didn’t mention the possibility of heart failure bit. I thought it mightn’t help, as such). Oh, and discussing family history of various illnesses (upshot, I am a freaking freak, which we knew).

And then I went to bed and slept for ten hours straight.

And now I am going to go and do that again, with any luck. Golly, this has been a long and rambling and badly written post. I do apologise. I don’t have the energy to give it a good old edit and a bit more snap and narrative arc.


Very quick update (unlike hospital waiting times endured today)

As seems an unfortunate tradition I get to do the WTF o’clock updates having left May in hospital.

A brief factual timeline of our day since May’s post:

11:50 – I ordered taxi, thinking it would take about 20-30 minutes – it took 4 minutes catching us completely off-guard. Alas the last efficiently timed encounter we had.

12:10 – arrive at A&E

14:35 – seen by triage handed over referral letter, they took details ordered a blood test with some skepticism saying that it was probably just a baker’s cyst.

14:45 – blood taken and we were told we could go and get ourselves some lunch as blood result would take about an hour, so we did at the fairly pleasant M&S café on site.

15:45 – back for results and there was elevated fibrous material, so told to go and get a scan, meaning a painful walk back across to the other side of the hospital, feeling too British to ask for a wheelchair when there were people in various states of decrepitude being wheeled past in chairs and trolleys.

16:15 – scan showed there was a clot behind May’s left knee

16:30 – transferred to Clinical Decision Unit (CDU), which we had endless and repeated opportunity to observe as the A&E dumping ground for anyone threatening to take over the 4 hour ‘breach’ time before being admitted properly or patched up and sent on their way.

16:45 – on admission vitals were taken and some concern expressed about May’s high tapping rate, so an ECG plugged in that showed some strain on the heart… oxygen SATs were still good though, so no panic. By the time the Dr had reviewed the  DVT diagnoses and ECG and seen us May was getting quite breathless giving her potted version of recent shenanigans for about the fifth time that day. Dr suggested chest X-Ray and CT scan to check for clots elsewhere.

17:30ish – chest X-Ray, not told the result so returned to CDU

Then we waited – and waited  – and waited… CT had huge rush of emergencies apparently.

About 21:00 May finally got to go in the CT scanner – a very strange experience, which she will have to relay personally.

Then we waited – and waited – and waited…

I think we finally got confirmation that CT scan showed a (couple of?) small clot(s?) on the lungs too at about 23:00 – we were told therefore despite the acute lack of beds – endless shuffling, hassling and shifting of beds we witnessed being discussed – that May would be kept in overnight.

At 00:30 a CDU bed slot became available so that was made up for a temporary spot for May to get some sleep… yes, we had been in a ‘chair’ slot up until that point.

I made my way home to grab a bite to eat, email work, and post this… and now to bed for me too, perchance to sleep.


You’ll never guess what now

Item – Pain and bleeding still very unsatisfactory.

Item – Weeping with exhaustion is totally a thing that I am embracing with every fibre of my tortured being.

Item – Leg cramps still awful, crippling, etc.

Item – So we went to GP, who was disgruntled by leg cramps and insisted I go to Local Hospital for Doppler and ultrasound to rule out DVT. Oh, what the actual FUCK, Universe? Risk factors: pregnancy, immobility, sticky blood syndromes, coming OFF Clexane, fat arse. Shoot me now.

Item – On plus side, GP will deal with maternity services cancelling. And gave me a prescription for Co-Codamol, just to mix things up a little.

Item – Re: previous whine about people ignoring me and my piteous plight, if you’ve texted, commented, emailed, twittered, DM’d, phoned, written or FB’d me in the past fortnight, I did not, do not, mean you. At all. I am thinking of a couple of friends and specific family members in absolute particular, and both honour and honesty compel me to admit that I am not handling the situation fairly or gracefully and a Rethink Is In Order. I’d delete that paragraph in that last post if you-all hadn’t read it already. Onwards!

Item – I am writing this while H sorts things out at work so he can take the afternoon off and manhandle his limping, wilting, sagging, wailing, snivelling wife down to the Local Hospital so she can Alarm and Distress him with greater convenience to all parties.

Item – I fucking hate my life right now. Hate hate hate. Hate hate. Hate.


Over

And it was gone. The sweet, kindly new-to-us sonographer, who had bothered to read my notes before she came and fetched us, and who said she was so sorry for our loss, looked and looked, from many many angles, some very nearly anatomically impossible, but, there lay Cute Ute, empty, with a thin lining, shut tight, deserted.

Our perfect embryo had folded its tent and stolen away.

I thought back to the enormous clot I had passed in the Riverside Clinic toilets last Thursday, that I hastily poked through and saw nothing gestational in. I thought back to the several smaller clots I passed later that day when we had got home again. I thought how surprised I’d been that none of them had been accompanied by more than a mild cramp and a slight stabbing sensation in my cervix, and how therefore I’d assumed I couldn’t possibly have passed the embryo. I have, in the past, suffered a great deal more for a far smaller… object. I thought about how I simply hadn’t felt pregnant since Thursday. I thought about how badly I wanted a coffee, and later tonight, a large alcoholic drink. I gripped H’s hand very tight.

The sonographer found a nurse to talk to us about next steps. We all agreed it was a complete miscarriage, and while I may well carry on spotting and having light bleeds for another few weeks, there should be no more severe pain or heavy bleeding. I felt, guiltily, huge relief that the ‘worst’ was over, had intact slunk past us without our really noticing. I can stop all medication. We can schedule our What The Fuck appointment with Dr George. I came away with a prescription for smaller and smaller doses of Prednisolone, so I can spend the next fortnight or so weaning myself off it.

Gentle Readers, thank you. Thank you all for being there, for reading, for commenting, for popping out of the woodwork to comment for this special and horrible occasion. You mean a lot to me.

Beloved 6AA, beloved proto-child, what the hell did we do wrong?


The bad thing that happened

Me, lying on the table with my knees up and the dildocam stuck up my precious. H sitting by my head, his hand on my shoulder. We are both looking at the screen of the ultrasound machine, and ÜberScanningLady is adjusting the focus. There! There! See it? A gestational sac! It looks exactly like a gestational sac! ÜberScanningLady wiggles the dildocam about and scrolls slowly past the sac. And back again. And refocuses, and bashes me about the cervix again. There’s an appalling silence. I clutch H’s fingers. Why can’t we see a foetal pole and a heartbeat? There’s just a sort of… blob.

‘I can’t get a good view,’ says ÜberScanningLady eventually. ‘The texture of your uterus makes it difficult. I can see a yolk sac, here, but I can’t see a foetal pole. There might be one, here, but the view is really not clear.’

She waggles the dildocam about inside me, and scrolls the focus back and forth along the gestational sac a few more times. ‘This is where you were bleeding from,’ she adds, pointing out a small black lacuna in my uterus, just below the gestational sac. ‘It looks like a bit of the lining disintegrated. It’s not necessarily a problem, I’ve seen it in lots of successful pregnancies. I’m just worried that I can’t see a foetal pole… I’ll print some pictures out and get a doctor to come and talk with you, OK?’

At this point I gasp ‘I’m wet! I feel wet!’ She lifts the paper sheet up and peeks at my crotch ‘Oh my dear, you’re bleeding!’

Idiotically, the first thing that pops into my head is ‘Thank Christ for that, I thought I’d pissed myself.’ I barely manage to not say it aloud, and hours later remember it’s a quote from TV comedy Rab C. Nesbitt, when Mary Nesbitt bursts her stitches after surgery.

ÜberScanningLady helps me mop up. Cussed paranoia made me put several pads in my bag that morning, and H fishes out the fattest of them for me. ÜberScanningLady takes us to a tiny consultation room, one I’ve had several blood tests in, and rushes off to find a doctor for us. Dr George is not available, but after only a few minutes a woman I’d not met before knocks on the door and comes in to talk to us, with that rather tight, serious, professionally sympathetic smile that bodes no good to man or beast.

I find I’ve almost completely lost my voice, and can only talk in a tiny little murmur. H has to repeat practically everything I say for me. I don’t say much.

The upshot is, it really does not look good. We hadn’t thought it did. But because Cute Ute is such a bloated monstrosity, and therefore hard to scan through, there’s a chance, a very small chance, the doctor does not want us to get our hopes up, that ‘things might have developed’ by next week. I feel very sceptical. And very, very tired. And I hate my uterus more than I thought it possible to hate one’s own organs. We are booked in for another scan on Wednesday, to make sure. Meanwhile, we go home, and, get this carry on taking the Prednisolone, the Metformin, the Clexane, and the progesterone. Just in case. Though she repeats, solemnly, that we shouldn’t get our hopes up. We decide not to do the Intralipid infusion booked for this afternoon. There’ll be time enough to do it next week, if ‘things have developed’, and the doctor tells us, tactfully, it’s best not to waste money just now. She reminds us not to get our hopes up for the fifth or sixth time.

All this time, I’ve been carrying a cold cup of peppermint tea about with me, because we were early and I thought I’d have time to finish it before the scan.

As we’re on our way out, I go to the loo. This next bit is disgusting. As I sit there, I feel something slithering out of me, and, in a sudden panic, I catch it in my bare hand. The idea of my embryo falling into the toilet seems unbearable. I am holding a blood clot about the size of my palm. I stare at it in horror, thinking ‘but, it didn’t hurt!’. After what feels like an age, I wrap it in paper towels, wash my hands, and stick my head round the door to let H know what has happened and perhaps if the doctor is still about… He rushes off and finds her. I speak to her briefly through the half-open toilet door, and she thinks this changes nothing, in fact could mean nothing, and we should stick to the original plan. She seems embarrassed and flustered, which irritates me beyond measure. It’s not as if I’ve tried to show her the blood clot.

I examine it myself, and can’t find anything that looks like a gestational sac. That and the lack of pain leads me to conclude, eventually, that it is just blood, but I am very concerned at how much it clotted in the half hour between my suddenly gushing blood during the ultrasound and my visit to the loo. I put it in the sanitary bin and wash my hands again, very thoroughly.

We go home.

*Gloom that no quantity of ornamental fans can bat away*

Since then, the bleeding slowed over the course of Thursday, became a thin dark steady drip on Friday, and is as I write, heavy brown spotting. I have had very little cramping, most of which seems to be related to a full bladder or bowel rather than genuine uterine or cervical distress. On the other hand, I don’t feel particularly pregnant anymore.

I do, however, feel like a total delusional idiot, shoving progesterone pessaries up my arse while blood trickles out of my vagina. And I resent the Clexane jabs with the power of a thousand burning suns. But the doctor said to, so on we go.

I emailed my boss, and I am off work for at least a couple of weeks, while this idiotic drama resolves itself.

I called my mother, who said mostly the right things, though I wish she’d shut up about homeopathy and acupuncture and herbs and special diets and craniosacral realignments and gestational surrogates. She insisted on being hopeful in an ‘at least you got pregnant!’ way until I reminded her I’m really quite good at getting pregnant. Heigh ho. She also said she was sorry and acknowledged this was very hard on me. She concluded by remembering H would be horribly sad too, and sending him all her love, which restored my faith in mothers somewhat. H still hasn’t told his own parents, and is dreading it, poor sod.

I don’t feel hopeful, and don’t know how to deal with people being hopeful at me. It’s as much as I can do to keep taking the sodding medications. Gentle Readers, it did not look good. I’ve googled enough 6-7 week embryo ultrasound images to know that that did not look good. Fuck Cute Ute anyway, for making everything as drawn-out, complicated, messy and difficult as possible.


Scared? How about reasons to be scared? (Limbo. Limbo is happening)

Do you know what seeing blood in your underwear is like when you’re pregnant? It’s like being hit between the eyes with half a brick.

I was at work. I’d just finished a desk-shift, and beyond feeling a bit heart-burny and sick, also very tired (i.e. exactly as usual), nothing was bothering me. I went to the loo, as you do. I looked down at the crotch of my bright pink knickers. What was that mark? What was that mark? I wiped myself, and the paper came away smeared bright red. I stood up and looked in the bowl, and the water was stained with red swirls.

I sat down again, and briefly considered blacking out. But this was a cubicle in a public toilet regularly patronised by the sort of student who pees on the seat, and, well, no. No.

I sat there for minutes, trying desperately to work out what to do, while my heart rate very unhelpfully accelerated from ‘sitting on the loo’ to ‘run from tigers run run run run TIGERS‘. Eventually I managed to wrench my fevered brain into some sort of order and decided to go back to my desk, email my boss to let her know what was going on, and walk slowly and calmly up the road to the very-near-by enormous hospital, where I knew they had an EPU, on account of having checked all these things weeks ago in Paranoid All-Contingency Planning Mode. Paranoia doesn’t mean They aren’t out to get you, haha.

And that is what I did. With a wad of toilet-paper in my knickers. For the dignity.

To my almighty fucking rage, my mobile phone had absolutely no signal in the area (how does a network that boasts of being the biggest in Britain not have coverage at the centre of the major city? And it’s been like this for weeks. I am so annoyed, and now it’s personal). And H, poor lamb, had gone off at dawn for a day of meetings at the regional office a good couple of hours away. Ach, I thought, even if I do get hold of him, he won’t be able to hold my hand. I’ll go to the hospital, and keep trying H, and if it’s serious I’m sure I can get them to call him.

The EPU (Early Pregnancy Unit, that is) at Enormous Hospital doesn’t take self-referrals, so I knew I had to go to A&E (ER to you) first and get them to refer me (see? See? I’d checked everything). A&E were in the middle of having half the walls knocked down, of course, and being very busy, but the receptionists were calm and kind. I had a 30 minute wait for triage, surrounded by little old ladies who had fallen over, two other bleeding-in-early-pregnancy cases (we resolutely avoided each-others’ eyes), the standard local eccentric covered in blood and bruises, a toddler with concussion, people in slings, people having picnics, people having bitter spousal arguments in whispers, and one chap who fell theatrically to the ground while shrieking ‘I’m dying!’ down the phone to his mother (turned out to actually be called ‘I skipped breakfast and felt faint’).

I tried slow, deep breathing, but it did not work. The triage nurse was all ready to send me over to the EPU for a scan, but of course he had to check my blood-pressure and pulse. And my blood-pressure and pulse were still both at ‘run from the motherfucking tigers!’ levels. That’s just how I react to a threatened miscarriage. When I was losing Pikaia the triage nurse actually hauled me off for an ECG, my heart was hammering so. I told the nurse I usually had perfectly normal blood pressure and heart-rate, and this was just how I panic, but he shook his head and said the EPU wouldn’t take patients who weren’t ‘stable’ in the cardiovascular sense. And a resting pulse of 122 was not ‘stable’. So he was going to take me through to A&E and get a doctor to have a look at me.

Did I mention they were in the middle of renovations? There were no available cubicles at all. I and some few fellow patients were all popped on a row of chairs in a corridor right next to three men smashing a new doorway into the next corridor. This was not relaxing.

I don’t object to the long waits. It was a busy urban A&E, and there were people having heart attacks and car accidents and head injuries and seizures to deal with. The staff I did see were kind, and did take a mo to let me know they hadn’t forgotten me every now and then. The noise was appalling. The having to talk to nurses about urine samples (mine was full of blood, because I was actually still bleeding vaginally) and, err, vaginal bleeding, in a noisy corridor, next to a grumpy man in a hoodie with filthy feet and fingernails was not ideal, but hey, the cubicles were full of power-drills and boxes of saline, and/or people with limbs hanging off, so we all just lumped it and pretended not to be listening to each other. They checked my blood pressure and pulse a couple more times, in which I calmed down to almost normal pressure but my silly heart kept thundering away at over 100 bpm no matter how carefully and slowly I breathed. The nurse who checked my urine agreed that I was a) pregnant and b) bleeding, patted my hand, and told me a doctor would talk to me soon. Soon meant after an hour and a half, which actually is not too bad for a busy A&E, but said wait entirely failed to bore my heart into submission.

The doctor, who had a charming Germanic accent and a cheerful manner, eventually examined me in a store-cupboard in which a bed and a screen had been hastily jammed. He took a history, blenched slightly at all the miscarriages, was mildly confused by the variety of drugs I am on, but acknowledged he knew nothing about IVF, was alarmed by the history of endometriosis and adenomyosis (‘that is not so fun, nicht wahr?’), and even more alarmed when he felt my belly and found that idiotic monstrous bloater Cute Ute was the size of a fifteen to twenty week pregnancy already oh for the love of Christ. ‘Adenomyosis,’ I said.

‘You,’ he answered, ‘have been attacked by all the devils at once.’ And he patted my hand quite thoroughly.

And by the time all this had happened, it was too late to refer me to the EPU, which closed mid-afternoon, regardless of the stability of my sodding heart. And that, Gentle Readers, really did piss me off. I am still pissed off. I didn’t act pissed off, because the doctor was clearly doing his best and thought the EPU were being dicks, both about their opening hours and their arse-covering policies, and because after all I was not lying on the floor weeping in a pool of blood, so I clearly was not an emergency. The doctor wrote me a referral for a scan tomorrow morning, either at Enormous Hospital, or at my Local Hospital of PTSD, and told me to go home and put my feet up, unless the bleeding got worse or I developed bad cramps, or felt faint or dizzy or got a fever.

He then asked if I – he paused, looking at my nerdy teeshirt and loose jeans and bright red sneakers – if I had a partner. I said yes, and he said, carefully, ‘And your partner wants the baby too?’.

‘Very much. We’ve been trying since we got married.’

‘Good, good. Get her err them, your partner, to look after you. You need lots of rest.’

Bless the man. Bless him to bits. I smiled and said I would. I quite like being politely taken for a lesbian, you know (that’s why I dress like I dress, I guess) (but if H were a girl, like hell I’d be doing the Being Pregnant part of the relationship, as I am clearly utterly shit at it. Oh, for a spare and healthy uterus in this marriage!).

And then I and my unstable cardiovascular system and leaky toilet-paper-wadded reproductive equipment waddled off to find a pay-phone and ask H to come home and look after me.

By the time I got home, the bleeding had stopped, and I am now doing brown spotting. I have not had any bad cramps (slight constant cramps being my modus operandi since I discovered I was pregnant) or any other alarming symptoms. But I spent the evening with my feet up anyway, and we got pizza.

Poor H. When he got home he was paper-white, cold to the touch all over, and absolutely clammy with sweat. I don’t suppose his cardiovascular system was entirely stable either.

I am going to call Riverside in a minute and ask their advice. Given that Scary Symptoms have stopped, I’d rather avoid PTSD Hospital and just go for my planned scan tomorrow, if everyone agrees it is safe and reasonable to do so. But I am not going to work today. Bother work.


Outed (nothing bad has happened yet)

On Monday, as planned, H and I went to see the GP, in order to get all my miraculous baby-sparing medications transferred to NHS prescriptions, which would be ever so much cheaper and easier to refill.

Naturally, I became terribly anxious (read: freaked out, snapped at H for no particular reason, had anxiety dreams) about this. I had visions of doctors refusing to do this without a proper letter from Dr George (we’d only managed to crowbar a rather vague email out of him), or refusing to do this on principle because it was a private IVF cycle (you know, like cosmetic dentistry), or refusing to do it because they didn’t understand why we’d want these drugs in the first place (in NHS IVF, they often have you stop progesterone on getting a positive pregnancy test (I know! What the serious fuck? And then they wonder why NHS success rates suck compared to private! How about because they treat it as vanity bollocks and don’t keep up with the research at-fucking-all?)).

Yeah, no. We saw a rather eager young chap who not only cheerfully and instantly sprang to his computer and printed out handfuls and handfuls of prescriptions for me, but also booked me into the NHS antenatal service, tested my urine for sugar and protein as if I were a normal pregnant woman (all fine, BTW), and wrote me out a Maternity Exemption certificate. This piece of NHS starlike wonder and genius guarantees that all pregnant women do not have to pay a penny for any even vaguely pregnancy-related medications for up to a year after the birth of their child. To make up for the being-shit-about-infertility part. This certificate is now stuck to my fridge, so I can stare at it in bewilderment and awe with all the more ease.

And then I went to work, and very discreetly, by email, let my boss (who knew I was doing IVF) and the office manager (who has to sort out which category sick-leave and doctors’ appointments fall under, because pregnancy stuff is tracked separately so as not to affect sick leave entitlement), that I was, in fact, uh, well, oh for God’s sake, pregnant (eeeeeeep I typed it I typed it eeeeeeeeeeep). And could we keep it quiet just for now, please and thank you.

Since when, my boss has given the world’s worst performance ever as discreet secret-keeper. She turned, on the instant, into the Mr Bean of discretion. I’m surprised she doesn’t *wink wink nudge nudge* me every time she speaks to me. For example, this morning I got caught in the rain on my way to work, and feeling chilled and disgruntled, I grabbed a decaf coffee. I have studied the available guidelines from several sources, and it seems that the magic number to stay under is 200mg of caffeine a day, and one frikken’ decaf has between 10 and 50. Also, I usually drink several coffees a day, and colleagues do actually notice and comment when I cut down (May: wild hair, glasses, nerdy teeshirt, coffee cup). So, decoy coffee, if you will. I had not yet sat my damp self down at my desk when Boss popped up and gasped: ‘Oh, May, is that coffee? Should you be drinking that?’ ‘It’s decaf,’ I said. I should’ve said ‘Of course not. It’s methadone,’ but I was tired and undercaffeinated. ‘I should phone your husband and let him know!’ she trilled. I smiled, weakly, incandescing under my various colleagues’ curious glances.

(Phone my husband oh my horsey God).

Later, she freaked out when I went to go pull something out from under my desk, and got a male colleague to come and do it for me. Which he did one-handed, and then gave us both a very curious stare, while I went absolutely puce with mortification.

I may have accidentally murdered her before the end of the 1st trimester. Or, because I simply must not strain myself, got any number of willing colleagues to do it for me.

It dawns on me that I do not have a repeat prescription for the Metformin. So I shall have to go and annoy the GPs again tomorrow. Bother.