Thursday, June 14, 2007

In all its gory detail

You realise this is mainly for me, not for you, OK? So feel free to nod off.

Tuesday 29th May, a.m.: After having had a small amount of brown blood (and I mean small - titchy in fact) over the weekend, I rang Liverpool and got Accident & Emergency who said yes, I could come in, they could not promise to scan me that day, but they could check my cervix. I decided to book a G.P. appointment for that day as a quicker way to check if it was closed. My friend J rang, who had the day off and who I'd completely forgotten might come down to see me if she wasn't too tired after being on call. She is a consultant anaesthetist who lives about an hour and a half away from me. This point will become important later. I realised that there was no other day that week for her to come, and at that point was feeling OK, so I asked her to come down that morning and planned to have lunch with her.

After she arrived, I opened my birthday present from her (she is a busy woman!) and that was my last panic-free moment. The paper is, I think, still sitting in the dining room. One part of the present was a blank book and I remember thinking I could put stuff relating to the baby in the book. That is also still sitting there. We decided to walk into town and get lunch, and I nipped to the loo where true panic set in - I found some red blood. I wasn't even sure whether to tell her but decided she'd know what to do. I remember saying "I don't know what to do now". She suggested that I needed to eat (that was a mistake, really as the place we chose to eat took over an hour to serve us some rather mediocre sandwiches - we chose it as it is on the same side of town as the hospital, and there isn't much else out there except my work) and that going to A&E after that would be quicker than waiting for the GP, who probably wouldn't examine my cervix anyway.

So, about 3pm we were in the hospital and after we had refused the medical student trying to put a canula in and the A&E registrar had failed she did it herself. It is very handy having someone bossy and knowledgeable in a hospital, even if she doesn't know as much about fertility/miscarriage as I do - which made me feel slightly better. By 4 we'd been taken up to an examination room in the gynae ward, and finally at about 4.30 I'd been examined, pronounced to be closed, the bleeding had pretty much given up and I and was about to go home feeling much better, with a promise of a scan slot at some time in the morning. J
didn't know what they meant by a follicle tracking appointment [which might have been free] nor when I explained I thought it was for the IUI they do at a different local hospital did she know what IUI was. And she didn't know the condoms in the box on the shelf were for TV scans.

We'd been talking about her pregnancy (she didn't find out till she was 19 weeks - she was on the mini-pill and religious about taking it, but had been vomiting - her daughter was just 7 - she is a big lass but although I only saw her after the birth, having not seen her for a few years, I don't think she was that big!) and antenatal testing (she pointed out, quite rightly, that if the baby had a fatal condition I would be wasting six months to a year of my fertility if I didn't terminate early), and everything felt calm.

Then one of the radiographers (I'm assuming - whoever it was, I've never seen him before, and even J who likes her patients unconscious was aghast at his lack of bedside manner) arrived with a portable scanner although I actually felt very calm, and somehow knew it wasn't going to be good, even before he switched much too quickly from an abdominal to a TV scan. The previous scan had been abdominal and very quickly found something - although looking back now I think even if things had been OK he might not have been able to see much since the resolution is very poor on the portable scanner. But I suppose it was probably best for me not to hang on in hope, as in the first pregnancy I had an overnight of hanging on in hope when Mr. Spouse had given up.

On the TV scan the foetus was measuring just 7w - smaller than when we had seen it nearly 2 weeks previously - and he could not see a heartbeat, and the shape was really blobby and not at all foetus-like. I managed to hold it together until J took me home, by which time Mr. Spouse was there, and she went and made a cup of tea while I collapsed, sobbing, into his arms. At this point I was thinking that the foetus had deteriorated into a mass of undifferentiated tissue, and had been partly reabsorbed, and even was wondering if the first miscarriage (empty sac at 10+2) was in fact more advanced than we had previously thought, but had been reabsorbed. I was also feeling even more depressed (personally) than after any previous miscarriage - serious thoughts of self-harm and even suicide), which very much worried Mr. Spouse.

I've known J since we were both 18, but she isn't a very touchy-feely person - I was very touched when she pressed my shoulder before leaving and said "take care of yourself".

We were still promised a full scan the next day, either in an early morning slot or mid-afternoon. I can't really write much more now, but having started the story I think I'm going to have to finish it at some point. Nudge me if you think I have gone off into a deep depression (honestly, I wouldn't be able to write this if I wasn't feeling a whole lot better).


DD said...

I'll be here to listen. I wish it was more than that, but don't we all?

May said...

I'm so sorry you went through this. I'll be checking in on you, and listening, and thinking of you.

perceval said...

What they said.