Sunday, June 17, 2007


Next morning - Weds, 30th May - I rang the local hospital to find out if they had a scan time first thing for me, which they didn't, so I rang the specialist hospital and was told that in order to have an ERPC* at that hospital, my scan had to be there, and that they could fit me in at lunchtime for a scan, and it was likely they could then do the ERPC that night. So I packed my bag (forgetting dressing gown, slippers, and earphones to listen to music on my phone) and we set off, ringing the local hospital as we passed it to tell them we weren't coming.

We needed to go to A&E at the specialist hospital but as it is specialist, and the labour ward is elsewhere, it was relatively quick, and I suspect almost everyone there is in for a similar problem. A quick triage and we were sent downstairs for a scan, where the radiographer did a thoroughly decent job including using visual doppler and narrowing in on the chest area, but couldn't find anything resembling a heartbeat. As I posted previously the foetus was much more as I expected in shape - similar to the previous week - and did not look like it had disintegrated, only like it had not grown further - it still had a distinguishable head and body, and measured 7w6d.

Of course we have since racked our brains for anything that might have happened around 5d after our second scan but that particular Tuesday was quite relaxing so, although we know intellectually that it is unlikely anything I did caused the foetus to stop growing, it is helpful to actually feel blame-free too.

Back up to A&E and a few tears were shed while a junior doctor talked us through the options - well, rushed over medical management, didn't mention expectant management, and talked more about surgical management. I mentioned for the first of about five times that we needed analysis of the foetal material. While we were waiting to be allocated a bed someone in the next cubicle was having a very loud doppler with a pregnancy of uncertain gestation, "about 16 weeks".

I had at this point not had anything to eat since 8.30 and no water since midday, before the scan. They found me a bed and at about 4pm confirmed they'd be able to do the ERPC that day, and that I should be able to go home at 10pm, but I decided I didn't want to arrive home woozy at nearly midnight, so Mr. Spouse went and got me a magazine (forgetting chocolate - he was in trouble later) and went home. More waiting, I went down for the op, and eventually came back to the ward and demanded food. I spent most of the rest of the evening demanding more food, and asking to go to the shop to buy chocolate, and not being allowed to go. I think I finished my magazine, and my first book, and checked various things on t'internet on my phone, and dozed off about 10.30 after the other girls on the ward (unidentified serious gynae op, and huge ovarian abscess) had watched the first Big Brother, and the old lady in the next bed (some type of gynae cancer, removed) had started snoring.

I did have my earplugs, but about 4am was woken by an emergency admission, one of those things that actually makes you feel lucky - early 20s, suspected ectopic, very frightened. I tried really hard not to cry too loudly, and read most of my second book, until drugs came round at 6am and I went back to sleep.

Before Mr. Spouse arrived one of the doctors from the miscarriage clinic came to see me, admired my (Paul Frank) pyjama bottoms, and said how sorry (blah blah) she was to hear this, and then totally blew me out of the water by saying how encouraging it was that we had got this far, we had never got this far before, what they are doing must be working, etc. etc. I have to say that I hadn't thought at all that it was encouraging - more along the lines of, they do everything they can and still it doesn't work - but perhaps she is right. Except she isn't really going to just tell us to go away and give up, is she? Or is she? I have since thought that maybe, if there are two problems (rubbish embryos with genetic abnormalities, and an unsupportive environment), if we can sort out the second, then possibly luck will lead us to have a chance with the first, statistically.

We went back home about midday on the Thursday, after they had finally found me some anti-D (as I'm Rh -ve, and this was my first surgical management). The girl in the next bed still hadn't been scanned, and was getting very fed up of being on a drip. I gave her my magazines and commiserated about waiting for a scan when you are nervous.

I spent the next two or three days in a complete haze, mainly in bed ringing down for things to be brought to me, not even really making it onto the laptop. I think those days were more upsetting for Mr. Spouse, with me being so out of it, and his emotions being very raw, but he was at home with me, and very solicitous too I may say.

It's late, and I'm getting over the (ahem) tiredness from yesterday which followed on from the black tie do of the day before, so I will sign off. Probably only one more update installment - Hospital Visit Mark 2.

Incidentally we (as in, our household) don't do Father's Day - something that Mr. Spouse told me when his father was alive, so it's not that he wants to avoid it because of not being a father yet, or because of missing his father who died last year - my own father has never even mentioned it, except possibly to agree with my mother (always wise, at least when she's in the room) when she bemoaned its artificiality when we were children. I don't remember her acknowledging it when her father was alive either - even though she expected something from us on UK Mothering Sunday, and called her own mother on US Mother's Day. So. I haven't commented on it. But Mr. Spouse has been a bit out of sorts today. Though I think it's his Open University assignment, and the same (ahem) tiredness as me, to be honest.

As he's now asleep I'm not going to wake him up and say "oh, were you upset because it's Father's Day and your dad died last year". I'm nice like that.

*Evacuation of Retained Products of Conception. I think in some places they still do D&C as standard, or else a lot of women are told that's what they are getting, as I've seen a lot of people still referring to D&C, even for recent pregnancies. I even saw an online gynae query where the gynae "wasn't familiar with the abbreviation ERPC". But I believe ERPC is best practice now.


May said...

What stays with me, having read all this, is that it all sounds so lonely. When these sad things happen, it would help if the medical profession could, I don't know, somehow not make people wait for and hours and hours, alone in the night. I am probably not thinking realistically about logistics. Oh well.

I am so sorry you had to go through this, I admire your courage in writing it down, and I will be thinking of you some more.

Chili said...

I'm so sorry you had to deal with this. You've done a beautiful job of journaling everything. Will be keeping you in my thoughts!