Bad things

Bad things are happening to my body.

I returned to the hospital yesterday after my tantrum a few days earlier. After some searching they discovered a small embryo growing on my right fallopian tube.

The horror.

On the screen I could see something pumping furiously. I was reassured it was not a heartbeat but yet my heart broke.

Bad things are happening to my body.

My poor little bean. Finding herself in the wrong place, furiously clinging to life, putting the life of her mother in peril.

As yet another doctor held my hand and delivered more bad news I felt as though I was leaving my body. Watching from outside of myself.

A broken, empty shell lay on the table, trying to make sense of it all, her loyal and loving partner stroked her hair softly.

It was our anniversary yesterday. 6 years to the day of our first kiss.

When I met him I knew he would have a profound impact, change my life in so many ways. He would be my defender, my one and only.

As he lay his head beside me on the bed in the hospital room, I looked at his sleeping, exhausted face. How did we end up here? And why?

There is no point trying to make sense of this, I reason, it is what it is and it is no doubt sent to test us.

With all due respect to the administrator, I think I’ll sit this one out.

I am given two options – surgery or an injection to abort my fetus.

Abort my fetus.

In life we make many decisions; chocolate or vanilla, paper or plastic, surgery or injection.

We were left alone with a couple of pamphlets and told to make a decision. We quizzed the doctor – which option did she recommend? What were the risks? Would I conceive again?

She could give me no answers. Surgery would remove ‘the problem’ and my tube. I would be operated on immediately and go home the following morning and get on with my life.

An injection was the less invasive option but came with its own risks and would draw out the process for much longer than I was prepared for.

Methotrexate. It is used in cancer treatments and kills rapidly dividing cells.

I would keep my tube but there are no guarantees it would take care of ‘the problem’. It would mean monitoring for the next month or so until my levels went back to normal – but if it worked, I would get to keep my tube.

I am told that it works in most cases, sometimes you need a second shot and there are a small number of people who end up having to go on and have surgery.

I immediately recall another statistic, the one from an earlier pamphlet I received about ectopic pregnancies – only 1% of all pregnancies implant outside of the uterus.

I couldn’t help but feel like the numbers were not on my side at this point.

In a way surgery, while more drastic, seemed the more appealing option. At least it would be over with. I would lose my tube but, as the doctor said, if it is not working as it should then there is a chance this could just happen all over again – so maybe getting rid of it was the path of least resistance.

But still. I would lose my tube. Was I ready for that?

I was torn. I didn’t want to make a decision. I wanted to crawl into a small hole and stay there for a while.

I looked at my partner. He looked so sad, so worried, so afraid. He didn’thave to say anything, I could almost read his mind. He didn’t want me to have the surgery, not yet, we had to try the less risky option – ‘just in case’.

He told me it was my decision, that he just wanted me to be ok. That was his priority.

So that’s what we went with.

I lay down on the bed and they shot me full of awful drugs and now I lie here waiting, hoping that this will all soon be over.

Please work. I don’t know how much more I can take.

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Coming to terms

As I come to terms with the fact that my baby is no longer viable, an immense darkness and malaise spreads over me. The sheer joy I felt a little over a week ago has been replaced by a numbness that is difficult to shake.

I continue to bleed and the nurses are concerned that levels are not dropping as they should be. It is yet another complication – can’t I just get on with my life?

I start a new job on Monday. Last Friday was my final day at my old job, most of the week was spent back and forth at the hospital and my former colleagues looked at me suspiciously as though I was skyving off. Not being where I was supposed to be. “Are you feeling better?” they asked with smirking faces and questions in their eyes, “Yes. Much better, thanks”, I lied. “It’s good you could make it back for your last day”, they add, “it would have been weird if you didn’t….”, “uh huh” I mutter, looking off into the distance, “I’m glad I could be here”.

In truth I couldn’t care less about this place. The last few years have been an absolute nightmare, as the final minutes ticked down on the clock, it did not escape me that the managers I had worked under for 5+ years failed to even acknowledge that I was about to leave them for good. There were no fanfares, well-wishes or speeches. Just a deafening silence that shook me to my core.

So I drank to compensate, to take away the pain and grief that bubbled below the surface. I was so angry, angry at life for dealing me this cruel hand, at my former employer for being such a bunch of fucks, at myself for a reason I cannot describe… for letting my baby die, maybe that was it.

The following morning I am back down at the hospital, more blood is taken, more head-shaking and skirting around the truth. “It’s ok” I tell them “I know I’m having a miscarriage, I just want it to be over – can you tell me where to from here?”. I want the doctor I saw last week, the girl with the kind eyes who sat me down and told me straight up that my baby was no longer viable, that it was bullshit, really, really shitty luck and that, one day, in the probably not too distant future, we would conceive again and that she could see no reason why I could not carry to full term.

She answered my questions straight up, there was no hesitation, no darting eyes, no ducking off behind curtains or rehearsed responses. She looked me in the eyes and said “this is one of the hardest things you will ever have to deal with, so be kind to yourself, don’t give up”. Where was she hiding today? This other doctor did not make me feel certain or reassured “there’s, um, a problem with your results. They have not gone down as much as they should have”, “but they have done down, right?”. A quick google search yields thousands of results suggesting that everyone is different, that for some people it takes longer than others. “Yes, but because we couldn’t see anything on the ultrasound we can’t rule out the fact that there might be a little angry ectopic in there”. An ‘angry’ ectopic? Are you fucking kidding me? Didn’t you just say that my bleeding is reassuring, that I would not be bleeding like this if it were ectopic? WHAT THE FUCK IS GOING ON?

They want me to come back on Monday for more scans, more tests, more sitting around and waiting in this godforsaken ER.

It is a setback, I’m not going to lie. I just want this to be over. I agree to come back on Monday but I will not. I will wait a few more days and then go back for another blood test. I don’t believe further tests are warranted, I feel like they are being unreasonable and overly cautious. I guess I should be happy that they are taking all the right precautions but it feels like overkill. It feels like I’ve gone in on a Saturday afternoon with a raging hangover and picked up some new doctor who doesn’t know how to deal with something that is not textbook.

I’m not going back.

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The Indescribable Agony

The last few days have been a nightmare. One of those defining moments in ones existence that forces you to examine the very depths of who you are as a person.

I am a fighter. A realist. An optimist.

But I am also human, and being human means that pain is not inescapable. Agony is not something you can hide from. Suffering is inevitable.

Three and a half weeks ago I discovered I was pregnant. For the second time.

The first ended before it had begun, a gush of excitement, joy, and days later blood and grief.

This time was different, it felt different – I was to be a mum.

When I made it past the landmark that was the end of my first pregnancy I started to glow. I rubbed my belly knowingly and felt the optimism that comes with the joy of knowing a new life was growing inside of me.

We talked about baby names and what he/she would look like.

Would she be musical?

Would he be a thinker or an artist?

Would she rebel against us, fight to smash the system, or quiet and bookish – a love of words, science and literature.

I dodged questions about why I wasn’t drinking, I read pregnancy books and scoured the internet for flattering maternity wear.

I told a few people, unable to hide my joy.

I felt strange sensations down below, pulling, twinges and cramps. As long as there was no blood, I knew everything was fine. Normal.

And then one morning, the blood came.

At first it was but a trickle, but soon I knew that it was all over.

We rushed to the ER, my heart in my throat. I knew deep down it was over but yet that reckless optimism persisted. Maybe I’m just being overly dramatic, maybe everything will be ok.

But it wasn’t.

As the midwife tried desperately to find something on an ultrasound, my entire world crashed down around me.

I awoke this morning a mum, I would go to sleep that night as what? A failure? A statistic? A woman who had lost her baby.

The grief I feel is indescribable. I go from crushing lows, balled up in my bed howling, to a lightness and easiness that suggests ‘I’m fine’.

Friends and relatives call to see how I am, in some ways I feel as though I am comforting them – ‘I’m ok’, I say, lying through my teeth

But then the quietness hits me. Those moments sneak up on you when you least expect it. I awake in the morning, for a moment blissfully unaware and then the pain strikes.

My heart hurts. I want this to be over and yet it haunts me.

How do I go on? People try to reassure me that it will happen when it is meant to but the gripping panic I feel at the thought of this happening again is enough to make me want to give up entirely.

Each cramp I feel is a reminder of what is happening, each quiet moment is louder than a marching band inside my mind.

I don’t know how to do this.

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