Category Archives: The innards

My art… keeps me sane.

Hiya, Gentle Readers. How have you been? I have been tired. Unbelievably tired. You know when you have ‘flu, and the first day after the fever breaks, you feel so much better, so you get out of bed and have a shower, and by the time you’re rinsing your hair you’re weeping with exhaustion? Like that.

Truthfully, I have been better than that for the past couple of days, but was busy feeling numb and reading fantasy novels.

State-of-May: Apart from The Tired? My leg has been getting noticeably better day by day. I can stand and walk for longer, and the pain is less hellacious and more of a dull ache. My pulse is still too fast for a resting pulse, and coffee makes it so much worse, but I no longer get completely breathless just climbing a flight of stairs. Cute Ute the Despoiler has finally stopped bleeding scarlet and is just spotting in a grouchy sort of way. She is also doing her trademark aching thing she always does for two Goddamn weeks after a period. I hate her and want a hysterectomy, but that’s our basic standard relationship. My belly is covered with vivid 50 pence-sized bruises from the Fragmin jabs, and I may have to violate the innocent virgin flesh of my outer thighs soon, as it is recommended one does not inject too close to an existing bruise. I have finally had a Dead Baby dream, of unprecedented David Lynch-style unpleasantness, so thanks for that, Subconscious.

Scanners!

I meant to tell you about the CT scan I had on the 28th of August, back when we were hanging around the emergency departments of the local hospital, waiting to find out why in heck I couldn’t breathe and talk at the same time. So! At about 9pm the doctor finished fucking with my veins and sent H and I down the corridor to the CT department to sit in the corridor there for a bit. It being summer, I had bare legs and was wearing sandals, so by now my feet were freezing cold. As well as being two different sizes. A technician appeared after a few minutes and sent me off to change into a hospital gown in a cubicle in a corridor full of men of all ages talking earnestly and loudlyabout testicular cancer. I shuffled painfully back past them clutching the back of my gown shut, colder than ever.

The technician then led me into a positively Arctic room, containing a narrow bed on a set of rails poked through a gigantic metal and white plastic doughnut of a thing. He briskly went through the ‘who are you, what is your date of birth?’ rigmarole and ended with ‘is there any chance you might be pregnant?’

‘No, none at all,’ I said.
‘Are you sure? Because this machine uses X-rays and we inject you with radioactive contrast dye and we need you to sign this disclaimer.’
‘I’m absolutely sure.’
‘How can you be so sure?’ he asked, briskly.
‘Because I had a miscarriage last week.’

The technician went a little pale, and became, suddenly, much less brisk and more tender.

I lay down on the bed, and the technician injected something, saline I suppose, into my hard-won cannula to check it was working. It stung, and I winced, and he said something about that being good, as it showed it was working. Then he got me to put my arms over my head, so they poked out the other end of the doughnut. I could not see what he was doing, but there was Fiddling With Cannula Again. He came back round to pat my elbow and tell me that the bed would move in and out of the machine a few times. There would be two injections of dye. I might feel odd hot sensations in my face and abdomen, and taste a metallic taste. Oh, and I might feel as if I’d wet myself. It was only a sensation, and I wasn’t to worry. And then he went off to the little booth. What the fuck?

The great metal and plastic torus over my head began to whirr and click, and you could see a conglomeration of machine parts through the transparent ring start spinning. A very loud voice told me the first injection was about to start. What they didn’t warn me of was that it would HURT LIKE FUCK. I managed to lie still and hold my breath when told to but tears sprang to my eyes. I mean seriously, technician dude, with all the other warnings, a ‘this will hurt like fuck’ would’ve been appreciated. And yes, I did indeed feel a sudden hot rush exactly as if someone had tipped a cup of hot tea onto my crotch. And yea verily, it was weird. And metal in my mouth, and warm flushes in my belly. And the machine roared and whirred and I was motored deeper into it and was beginning to expect the Universe to suddenly blur and tilt and vanish as I shot through a wormhole or something. Just as the pain in my hand was beginning to fade, they warned me the second injection was about to happen, and again the savage burn, and the hot tea in the groin and the swimming sensation.

I have no idea how long it all lasted, but I doubt it was longer than ten minutes. The technician came out to gently liberate me from the dye pump – I saw the size of the syringes and crikey they were big. No wonder that hurt. My hand veins are small and irritable at the best of times, and did I mention I was cold? – and help me sit up. I was despite warnings still slightly surprised to find that I had not in fact pissed myself. He told me to go back to the Clinical Decisions Unit and they’d send the scans along when they’d processed them. These were the scans that showed a large pulmonary embolism, straddling the pulmonary artery just where it splits into two branches, one for each lung.

And when we got back to the CDU my cannula leaked bloodily all over the floor. Hurrah!

To return to yesterday. Yesterday I had been booked in to have an echocardiogram, to check whether last week’s shenanigans had done any damage to my heart. The chances of permanent damage are not high, before you all panic, but, you know, best to check.

H and I ambitiously took the bus, as my leg was so much better. From the bus-stop to the correct part of the enormous hospital is about a 500 yard walk, and I managed it with only one stop to sit for a few minutes. Admittedly, my leg spasmed at the last yard and I needed another urgent sit-down, but I managed it, and I did not get too breathless to talk or so tachycardic I noticed, so yay!

Of course, when we got there, they’d cancelled my appointment. Because when it was made I was an inpatient and the twat who did the discharging on the computer was a twat. I can say this with impunity because the extremely sweet receptionist in cardiology leapt to his feet and rushed into the back offices to sort it out, and came back overflowing with apologies because obviously the appointment should not have been cancelled and he’d see at once what he could do and off he rushed again and five minutes later my appointment had been reinstated and the poor chap,was apologising to me all over again because there’d be a wait and did we want to go get a tea or coffee? I thanked him and said I could see they were busy (waiting room quite full) and we didn’t mind the wait at all, at which point he looked so relieved he nearly popped and pressing his palms together, bowed to me right there in the waiting room. From which I can only assume people had been being dicks to him all morning. And then H went and got me a (decaff, obvs.) cappuccino and I settled down happily with my book for an hour.

The echocardiogram itself was no biggy. I stripped to the waist (tits ahoy!) and lay down on a couch next to that familiar creature, an ultrasound machine. The sonographer lady, poker-faced but perfectly pleasant, attached electrodes to my collarbones and right side, and then had me roll onto my left side ‘for a better view of the heart’. She then jellied up a probe and pressed it to my breast-bone, leaning comfortably over my waist. She also scanned my heart from just under my left breast, which was less comfortable, as she kept digging the probe into breast-flesh to get a better view, and this went on for some time. I got to hear my own heart beating from various angles. From some, it sounded weirdly sloshy and gloingy, like someone playing in a tin bath. It also sounded a little fast to me. I’d never really considered what my resting pulse actually is before. I know I am not very fit, so it won’t be particularly slow, but constantly in the 90s? Reaching the 100s? Me no like. Poker-face said nothing, beyond asking me to roll onto my back again so she could probe around under my ribs for a while and then explore matters via my supra-sternal notch. I did get to see my heart on the monitor, and I can assure you it is a busy little organ and has four chambers and it goes woosha woosha and/or thuddity thuddity and/or slosh-gloing slosh-gloing depending on the angle, but more I cannot tell you. Poker-face handed me lots of paper towels to de-slime my torso with, informed me my consultant would be in touch about results, and once I’d dressed, ushered me firmly out of her domain.

I don’t see the consultant for another week. Ho hum.

I can see why technicians don’t want to discuss tests with patients. The technician doesn’t have the full picture and can’t know if they’re seeing anything clinically significant or not, and it’s rotten to make them responsible for dealing with bad news situations, and anyway, the patient may well get hold of the wrong end of the stick and without all the other information the consultant has it may well be the wrong stick altogether. But it’s fucking frustrating for us. ‘Not knowing’ is a thing I have enormo-huge issues with at the best of times. The whole ‘it’s probably fine’ thing does nothing for me. It never did, and given the quite dramatically inventive ways I manage to fall off the Medical Norm charts, it never bloody will, because in my case ‘probably’ so often means ‘muahahahaha’.

And H! H has actually gone to work today. He has been getting by on a mixture of compassionate leave and working-from-home, and luckily there haven’t been any big or urgent projects to deal with, so he has actually been at my side since the miscarriage proper. We have both been very subdued and not very talkative, H mostly sublimating his feelings in making me tea and buying me all my favourite chocolate bars. It occurs to me that at this rate I am going to turn into crated veal, and the Chocolate Needs To Stop, heart-rending sentence that that is. Poor H. He looks so sad and tired, all the time.


Indignity

I should never have remarked on the behaviour of Cute Ute the Despoiler. Last night, at about three in the bloody Goddamned morning, she woke me with ferocious cramps and a gush of blood and clots. Oh, hurrah.

I eventually woke the (exhausted, half-dead-with-stress) H while fumbling helplessly about for the co-codamol (I was in the wrong room altogether). H found the pills, fetched me a glass of water, and made me up a hot-water-bottle to ease the pain in my lower back, and I fell asleep with his hand resting comfortably on my shoulder. H did not fall asleep again, not for a while. I really need to stop doing that to him.

Anyway, I was rather better this morning (though we have ordered a great many more sanitary pads in our next supermarket delivery (we live in a big big city. We are spoilt)). So I wrestled my way into my anti-embolism compression socks and H took me for a little walk around the local park, where all the conveniently-placed benches are. My leg still hurts like a bastard’s bastard son-of-a-camel, so some of the sitdownathons were about me trying to get my leg up and cussing under my breath as my knee spasmed. I was also surprisingly (no. Not surprisingly. You have a pulmonary embolism, you dumb bitch) weak and out of breath. But H took my blood-pressure and pulse when we got home (he has had a machine for years for his own purposes) and my blood-pressure was ‘excellent’ and pulse only 90, which after the sitting-the-fuck-down somersaults of Tuesday and Wednesday we have decided is acceptable.

But, Gentle Readers, compression socks oh my horsey God. I have to wear these for two fucking years. Every day. All day. Compression socks. You know the devil-octopus socks they stick you in if you’re immobilised by surgery? More so. These are not prevention devices, they are medical devices to treat existing DVT. And by ‘eck, but they are devices. The Haematology Nurse warned me I wouldn’t be able to tolerate them right away when she first handed them to me on Wednesday, because of the emming-effing pain I was already in. I managed to get them on for a few hours yesterday, and my poor leg felt like a boa-constrictor was slowly squeezing it to mince. They’re not so bad today, but oh, the pressure. I am under such pressure. Ugh.

I am only grateful this pair are green, and not dead-leg-beige.

To do –

  • GP Monday, to say thank you for taking my whiny leg-cramps seriously, please can I have a spare pair or two of compression socks, and now I need a new improved sick-note for work.
  • Contact work. Explain. Holy crap on a cracker, explain.
  • WTF appointment with Dr George on Tuesday.
  • Make appointment with Riverside’s counsellors. Because sheesh.
  • Echocardiogram Wednesday.
  • Haematology consult on the 12th.
  • Have nervous breakdown.

Unpregnant notes

And then I remember, with a sudden slapped sensation, that I just had a miscarriage, and was supposed to be focusing on getting over that.

Item – While Cute Ute got a partial grip of the situation on Tuesday, and agreed that any more vicious cramping would just be downright bitchy on her behalf, she still hasn’t stopped bleeding. The bleeding is finally slowing down to heavy red spotting (touch wood. Where’s some wood? Quick, touch it!) only today. Yeah, guess how much I enjoyed sitting about in hospital waiting rooms and corridors with my leg on fire, my heart thrumming like a harp-string, one toilet to share with all these other people, and blood persistently, unstoppably, running out of me?

Item – I am still about five pounds up on my pre-IVF weight, but all the bloat and plumpitude around my midriff has completely gone. I no longer look in the slightest bit pregnant. Just a bit… Deflated.

Item – While I was pregnant, my normally very dry skin became almost normal on my body – I could even just shower with moisturising shower gel and not need lotion unheard-of notion! – and my face and neck became downright oily. I promptly broke out in quite impressive acne. It was infuriating and gross and I loved it, because pregnant, you guys! Within a couple of days of losing 6AA, my skin was drying up. I have a whole bunch of acne scars on my neck, collar-bones and alas temples, but they’re slowly going. I need lotion by the gallon after a shower. *sigh*

Item – I can’t tell if I’m this tired because I’m recovering from a pulmonary embolism, or I’m anaemic, or I haven’t slept well for months, or I’m miserable and shell-shocked, or, no wait, I’ve got this, all of the above. You think? I think.

Item – We have our post-IVF WTF appointment with Dr George on Tuesday. I think I may have cornered the market in WTF this month. Shall we be good, and warn Dr George beforehand by email? Yes, yes we really should. Or he’ll spend the whole appointment trying to rehinge his lower jaw.

Item – Talking to pregnant people right now makes me feel weepy and panicky. I know you, oh Gentle Readers, won’t hold this against me for a second, because ten miscarriages and near-death experiences you know? I get such a free pass, yes? But the rest of the big wide world is out there gestating happily oblivious to babies die and mothers die and holy fuck how are there any humans alive at all? and I am a stoic woman usually, but not right now not even a little. I don’t know how to leave the house or be on FuckBook or talk to family or anything. *flail flail*. Ach. This too shall pass. This, too, shall eventually pass.


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.


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.


Various pinches

Item – Pain a lot better, but still bleeding merrily scarlet. Not heavily, just merrily. It’s the only merry thing about me.

Item – Given that Cute Ute is being merely content (for the moment, touch wood) with working her way through all my leftover sanitary towels, I have time and attention to devote to my feet and calves. Which went into huge almighty cramp on Wednesday (no, no idea why, really. Too much lying down glaring miserably at things? Not enough grotesque nonsense in my life?), and which I am still crippled by. I can’t really walk very well, and one ankle is downright bruised. The hell, the fuck, the what the crikey? And why both feet? And why? *looks disconsolate, rubs foot again*.

Item – I finally cried today. I had been limiting myself to having my eyes fill with tears when a nurse tells me she’s so very sorry for our loss. Poor H burst into tears and wept in my arms as soon as we got back from the clinic. I just gaze glumly, or angrily, at the middle distance, depending, and occasionally shout at particularly obtuse people on the radio or telly. But today I lay flat on my back on the bed, with tears running into my ears, sobbing because I come from a long line of revoltingly fertile women on both sides, all popping out babies by the half-dozen with not a single bloody loss between them, and yet here I am.

Item – I feel I have merely skimmed an inch or so of tears off the top of the pan to stop it boiling over. Heigh ho.

Item – Things to do this week: Go to the GP and sort out sick leave and letter to work. Sort out prescription for weaning self off Prednisolone. Phone maternity services and cancel all scans and booking appointments. Call Riverside’s counselling service for a chat – this at H’s insistence, because he can’t exactly share his own counsellor with me, and I am clearly freaked out and havering about the whole trying-again/not-trying-EVER-again/FET/fresh IVF mind-chess, coupled with the ‘You can’t seriously expect me to hang about menstruating for months for no reason’ PTSD horseshitaria (and apparently no, I can’t go on the Pill back to back while we sort it out. 38, fat, migraines with aura in presence of oestrogen). Buy shoes.

Item – My darling Gentle Readers and Lovely Twitterers, what on earth would I be doing without you?

Item – Some of my friends and family are busily ignoring me, of course, and because they are, I can’t tell if they are just extremely busy and preoccupied themselves, or, having sent me a card already a few times this past decade, are thinking: ‘To lose one baby, Ms May, can be regarded as a misfortune; to lose ten looks like carelessness.’ This last item is very whiny, I know. But this is part of loss and disaster – the friends who run out of patience, the family who are too self-conscious and awkward to want to deal with it, the huge unspoken cloud of ‘Again? Seriously? But I sympathised with all this shit already! You want more sympathy? Well, I’m sorry, but I have school uniforms to buy and the gerbil just died and don’t you know the triplets are teething and I haven’t been on a date night since 2012 and my spouse is job-hunting? Only the first three miscarriages count! After that, I’m sorry, but it’s all too fucking weird and anyway you must be used to it by now so why are you crying, FREAK?’ Or at least, that’s what Bitter McTwisted tells me. The Positive Thinking Fairy reminds me they’re very very very busy and no doubt thinking of me very warmly indeed and/or too busy to check my blog or emails or talk to other family members or ask after me or wonder why I am so sad and silent these days…


Addenda

After I posted yesterday, things went From Bad To Worse, and Cute Ute realised she had a reputation to maintain here. So despite the fact she passed an entire seven-week embryo and all appurtenances without anyone noticing last week, this week she could not pass the shreds and tatters of her lining without donkey-kicking me in the knees and trampling over my collapsed form.

(It’s a thing, by the way, that doctors and EPU staff entirely fail to warn a lass about. If you’re more than five or six weeks pregnant, your endometrium will have become very much more solid what with all that progesterone and HCG, and, err, meaty, and passing it is quite the motherfucking business. Even if the embryo has already gone).

Twenty-four hours or so of actual contractions, by the way. I could time the fuckers and everything. And feel my uterus shrinking as she squeezed. I already look considerably flatter in the stomach.

I am now stoned out of my gourd on my good old friends tramadol and diclofenac, and therefore feel much better about just about everything, apart from those blood-curdling moments when I remember I was pregnant last week and now I’m not. Not a damn thing on earth can make me feel better about that right now.

Next week, I must sort out cancelling all my maternity appointments and scans. Give me strength.


Large tired bitchy mermaid

I am not getting off scot-free after all, you know. Last night the Universe saw that I was physically comfortable, and the Universe saw that this was not on at all, and any and all suffering done in the past eight years by no means entitles me to a ‘get out of jail free’ card this time, and yea, verily, the Universe woke me at four am for a smiting.

Basically, and predictably, I stopped taking the progesterone supplements, and my hitherto politely dormant endometriosis awoke with a start, and leaked blood all over my lower bowel. What else was it going to do under the circumstances? So now I have that pain, in my lower abdomen, the crampy irritated pain like trapped wind or someone wrapping elastic bands round loops of my intestine, which makes me feel I constantly need to fart even when there’s nothing up there, and which causes outbreaks of diarrhoea. I also have lower backache, because my pet endo-monster does that. Not to be left out, Cute Ute is angrily sore and tender, and is spilling a little fresh blood, but she’s not able to work herself up to full-on Despoiler mode, as she’s fresh out of lining, for which relief much thanks. I have a headache, a stiff neck, and a sore throat (oh, well, cheers, Universe. Why not a summer cold, at this point?). More weirdly, and frankly unpleasantly, I woke with violent cramp in my left calf and both feet, which makes walking to the lavatory and back into something melodramatically tragic à la Little Mermaid, original worryingly sadistic Hans Christian Andersen version.

I am a fucking wreck, Gentle Readers. And much of it feels like a dirty psychosomatic game being played against me for elaborately sadistic metaphorical reasons. And I resent it.


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?


Nothing

Item – So, we are sitting about waiting for the scan on Wednesday and/or Something Dreadful To Commence. It is simultaneously very dull and mildly traumatic. I do see why some people go back to work while waiting for a miscarriage to get the hell on with itself, but I grieve hugely for people who don’t feel they can take the time, even if, really, they very much need to, and wear themselves to a fine crazed veneer holding everything together by sheer force of will. This society is not vey kind to sufferers. And not very patient either. I am taking full and absolute advantage of the kindness of my own place of work by staying the hell away. Apart from my poor control of both my tears and my temper, do you think if I started bleeding heavily in the middle of the office and fell over with a burning cramp in my lady parts, this would be edifying or beneficial to anyone?

Item – H worked from home today, having told the office his wife was very unwell. Details, schmetails. He was answering his email, wasn’t he?

Item – My ‘pregnancy symptoms’ have rather abated. I have raging acne, and am extremely tired (but then, I’m not sleeping), but the nausea, such as it was, is mostly gone. And my breasts have got bored of the progesterone and are no longer acting all sensitive and uppity. It makes me sad, but it’s easier, I suppose, than feeling pregnant to no purpose.

Item – I am still taking all the stupid pregnancy-sustaining medications, because. Well, because. This probably explains why I am not bleeding or cramping or anything. And I am still avoiding coffee and booze. My only gestures to hope. I don’t think hopeful thoughts at all.

Item – I spent today in bed, as if I were a Victorian invalid, for no reason other than because I could.