Face to Face with the Nazgul – the first fight

But in the end it’s only a passing thing, this shadow; even darkness must pass.

** TMI WARNING for those who don’t want to read about the details of what happens in a natural miscarriage. I have tried to be as straight forward as I can without unnecessary details.

You’d think after what we had already faced that things possibly couldn’t get any worse – well certainly from an emotional perspective. That’s what I thought too. What’s worse than seeing your unborn baby without a heartbeat?

I didn’t understand that finding out you had lost your baby was only the warning for Frodo that the Nazgul were coming. The fight had yet to begin and, like our naive Hobbit, I was in no way prepared, educated or ready for it. At least I had my Sam by my side.

When you read about miscarriage you usually hear about it being a sudden event (as I mentioned previously). Sudden loss. Over quickly. As traumatic as this would be, I think if I had the choice – I would prefer the quick version. Missed miscarriage is also known as a silent miscarriage. This means that the fetus has stopped developing at some stage but has not been physically miscarried. The body hasn’t realised that things have stopped or gone wrong. You can have a pregnancy stop developing around the 5.5 week mark and be none the wiser until you excitedly go in for your 9-12 week scan with your OB to find the devastating news.

Now I don’t mean to sound so negative and I am conscious, writing this now, that it does sound very doom and gloom. But unfortunately the facts and situation surrounding this is very gloomy. I can’t seem to word it in a way that it isn’t – and I am aware that this is our story and leaving out the emotion would be untruthful and become clinical. Clinical reports and information regarding miscarriage are EVERYWHERE on the internet. It removes the emotion from the situation and makes this whole process into a simple act of nature – which it is. But that’s not what you need to hear from a human being who has gone through it – it is a very physical and emotionally exhausting time. So apologies for the lack of unicorns and rainbows for the time being. As we know – this too shall pass. But for now – it’s ok to be in the dark.

So where were we – oh yes. The Nazgul. After hearing word they were approaching and there was nothing I could do about it. My GP advised my husband and I to wait out the weekend, take time for ourselves and rest and she would contact me on Monday to see how I was going. If things had started to progress naturally – then we would continue down this path. If not, there were a couple of options:

  1. Surgery (Dilation and cutterage – commonly referred to as a D&C)
  2. Medical management (taking a pill to accelerate the miscarriage at home which is quite full on and is usually over in 24 – 48 hours if all goes well. This can be quite full on and traumatic.

Basically, because my pregnancy didn’t make it past 8 weeks, I had a few options. The less far you are along in your journey, the easier it is and safer it is to miscarry naturally. Remember that at this stage the fetus is only between 1mm – 6mm in length. If you are over 8 weeks they will generally always recommend a D&C if possible. This is to ensure all the tissue is safely removed to prevent infection. If you have a partial miscarriage at home where your body leaves behind a bit of tissue you run the risk of that tissue becoming infected and you ultimately becoming septic.

I sat at home, scared of what was going to happen to me. I furiously googled miscarriages and my symptoms to try and get a handle from real women as to what was going to happen to my body. You see, because people don’t talk about miscarriage, all you have to go on usually is clinical information. Mine was as follows “You will get cramping and bleeding similar to a heavy period. It will ramp up over a few days and then calm down. You will need a week off work”. A week? I thought “You have to be kidding me!? I haven’t had more than 2 days off work in 15 years for illness”. I rang my boss and plagued with guilt, proceeded to explain why I couldn’t come in and apologise profusely for being a pest. You see, empaths and people like me feel guilt for not doing things for others and not working and generally making life harder for other people. We will usually ignore our own comfort and needs in place of others. This is not a good thing.

By the time I had received the call from my GP at 10am on Monday morning, my body had started to miscarry naturally. Basically (excuse the TMI – apologies to the blokes reading this!) the bleeding had gone from spotting to what you usually expect on a light day of your period, along with cramping (mild). I have had worse period pains and thought to myself – “Ok, this is familiar, this isn’t too bad. I can do this.” I knew I was in for a week of… something… but not sure what that was. I knew I had to pack a hospital bag in case I started hemorrhaging at home – as if that was’t scary enough. So I made myself at home on the couch, downloaded Super Mario Odyssey on the Switch and distracted my melting brain from the mental and physical for a while. My poor husband said goodbye as he went downstairs to work – I was able to escape from social situations and work but he still had to soldier on. I felt horrible for him and know how hard it is to place your emotions aside to have to be there for others. This was tough.

Monday – Wednesday were generally not unlike a normal period. Apart from general unpredictability. I couldn’t stand up to quick. I couldn’t go out to the shops or go for a walk for fear of an accident. Your usual “super” and “regular” pads will not help you. The thicker and more uncomfortable and embarassing the pad you can find – the better. I felt physically awful. Ugly. Useless – I couldn’t help with housework! I felt embarassed and all round miserable. I shared the details with my husband – poor thing and tears came in waves – so did the cramps. I glued myself to my heat pack and went through panamax after panamax after neurofen to try and numb the pain. Not because it was physically worse than a normal period, but because the emotion tied to it was horrible. Each cramp reminded me of what was actually happening. About the little one we would never get to meet. The journey had ended for us.

** For the men reading this – cramps are not too dissimilar to gastro cramps or constipation cramps if you have ever felt them. Just much more lower tummy and radiating into your low back. Pain level around 6/10.

I can’t remember which day it was now, but I do remember getting into bed with my husband and saying to him “I am sorry, I need to be irrational right now and I need to say some things”. What came out of my mouth saddens me terribly just to even recall it and think about it. I am in the medical profession, my husband and I had talked about this and understood that it was NO ONES FAULT and that this is a COMMON and NATURAL thing. It is my body making a choice not to continue with a pregnancy that was a genetic mismatch. It’s nature doing it’s thing and that is amazing (even though that word was far from my vocab at the time). Here’s what I was thinking and here is what I said (in a number of words):

  • What did I do wrong? I broke our baby…I’m so sorry. I tried not to….
  • I fucked up. My body is useless. I am sorry I am useless
  • I understand if you don’t want to be around me and if you want to find someone younger and someone who isn’t broken who can easily give you a child. I understand if that’s what you want to do.
  • I failed. I failed our baby, I failed me and I failed us. I knew I wouldn’t be able to do this.
  • I am so ugly and overweight and horrible. I understand if you don’t find me attractive anymore.
  • I’m sorry I have to put you through this.

Now. My husband, being the Samwise that he is, simply wrapped me in a hug so tight I thought I would burst as I just sat there and cried and cried and shook with emotion. He simply kept saying “No, baby”, and “that’s not true and you know it” and “it is NOT your fault, it’s not anyone’s fault” and “you’ll be ok. I love you.”

After the emotions stopped. I felt silly. I felt like an idiot as I reacted to the words I had said and combined them now with logic. This is not my fault. I didn’t break anything. I didn’t fail and I am not alone. But you feel these things. You don’t think you will. But you do. And its SO hard. You NEED people around you who can be your Samwise and who can listen to you and hold you as you purge the emotions from your body that are making your brain sick. I needed to get it out and I needed someone who understood me. My husband is not perfect – which makes him perfect for me. Were it not for him at this moment – I think the darkness of those emotions would have bored into my system so strong that I would have really believed everything I said.

**I think it is important to mention, that when my husband read this blog before I posted it he said “I’m glad you said this because I felt so helpless. I didn’t think there was anything I could do to help you”. Even though he was helping SO much. Make sure you let your Samwise know how important they are and how much their presence helps.

By this point. I was emotionally exhausted and physically exhausted. Friday night came and my husband said his usual “Are you ok? I’m going down for work. Do you need anything?”. Work, for those who don’t know, is at home – so he wasn’t going far. I said “I’m fine. Thanks, baby. See you soon”.

Then it happened.

The cramps really came out of nowhere and I bent over and shuffled to the bathroom. All at once I had searing pain and cramps like you wouldn’t believe rip through my lower tummy. My body responded with piles of sweat and chills as I basically stripped off all my warm layers and lay in a pool of sweat on the bathroom floor. My vision went blurry. Then the nausea started. I crawled back to the toilet and hugged it – expecting the worst. Nothing. I lay on the floor and phoned my husband on the half hour when I knew he would be free for a second and said I wasn’t ok. By this time, I had crawled to the kitchen and popped two Panadiene and crawled back to the couch. I am not kidding when I said crawled.

My hubby rushed in – worried. Felt my cold and clammy head for a fever and asked if I needed to go to the hospital. I told him how I had just taken two Panadiene and to check on me in 30 mins and see how I am. Reluctantly, he left me on the couch.

Next thing I remember is him waking me up about 30 mins later. The pains had died down and the Panadiene had knocked me for 6 and caused me to fall asleep. I spent the rest of the night resting and sleeping the drugs off.

Saturday morning came and I got up, had my cup of tea and went to the bathroom. Usual routine. I will try to skim the surface of how to describe what happened next. Basically, at some point during your natural miscarriage you are effectively ‘giving birth’. This happened. I jumped up and my heart lodged in my throat. I was too scared initially to look down. But I did. All the pain the previous night was most likely my body trying to expel all the *remaining tissue. And there it all was.

*Remaining tissue means that you generally pass what they call the ‘pregnancy sac’. I say this to avoid people conjuring images of Voldemort under the table in the final installment of Harry Potter. It’s very much indistinguishable tissue. I write this because my husband immediately conjured said image…. very far from accurate!

I went numb and pale. But a sensation of relief and a feeling of lightness washed over me. The worst was over. I told my husband what had happened and sighed as I gave him a hug. My body was exhausted. My brain was exhausted. There was a feeling of release.

The following week was basically back to no pain. Simple spotting and more blood tests to confirm my HCG (pregnancy hormone) level was returning to zero again. It was, slowly. Here is a timeline summary for you.

Week 1: spotting started, found out about miscarriage
Week 2: started miscarrying naturally, total time 7 days.
Week 3: spotting and recovery
Week 4: HCG down to 210 (which is low) and blood tests stopped
Week 5: end of this week I got my period back again.

Now, for those women wondering. There is NO normal here. Some women have a quicker timeline. Others go on longer. Sometimes it can take months for your HCG to return to zero. Basically, your cycle will not come back until it does. Mine was very quick. I started bleeding again and thought the worse, but turns out it was my period back a mere 2.5 weeks after the miscarriage had completed.

So there you have it. My experience of a natural miscarriage. I was lucky in a way – I didn’t have any complications at all. No hospitalizations and no infections and no left over tissue that required a D&C afterwards to remove. Again, I cannot stress enough that there are SO many variations of normal. After the end of Week 2 we returned to theatre rehearsals for a concert that was going on in 3 weeks.

I had survived. We had survived.

When I look at it now. Women’s bodies are insane. This process of deciding that a pregnancy is not going to work and going through this whole process is incredible. You have no conscious control. Once you are miscarrying there is nothing you can do to prevent it from progressing. It’s not a pleasant experience but you are so strong. So very strong.

You won’t feel it.

You will feel so small. So weak. So helpless. So useless. So sad. So angry. So frustrated. So alone. So unprepared.

But you will do it. Your body has not failed you.

My one piece of advice is to surround yourself with love. Hugs. Warmth and those who make you feel good by simply being. You need this. Take time for yourself and be selfish for a while. The world will go on turning.

There is no way Frodo would have gotten to the end without his Samwise. Without The Fellowship.

As for us – we were back to some sense of ‘normal’ (whatever the hell that is). This was not going to be an easy road. But we will get back up and try again. Your cycle wont return to normal for a few months while your body basically resets itself. Mine went from 28 days every month to 26, 32, 27 post miscarriage. Be patient and allow it time. We were hermits for around 3 weeks during the miscarriage process and that is ok. Reach out when you need to but make sure you do. We made the choice to say “no” a lot more and to surround ourselves with people who made us feel good and situations that were helpful for us.

We decided to stop counting days. Stop using ovulation calendars. Stop making this natural process so clinical and planned and simply go back to enjoying being us in our bubble for a while.

Funny thing! My years of period pain and PMS symptoms pretty much disappeared after the miscarriage. Perhaps turning the system on and off again actually does work for these issues too!

We were back on the road. Samwise and I. The Nazgul had left us exhausted and scared, now always looking over our shoulders and taking cautious steps forward.

The adventure continues…..

In Memory of our little Ponyo.

We never got to meet you. We never got to hold you. We never got to see who would grow to be. But we love you – our angel baby. You will always be in our hearts and never forgotten.
Love your Mummy and Daddy xox

Arriving at the first stop

I have seen so many of those videos on YouTube where couples find out they’re pregnant. There are the ones where people literally jump up and down and squeal. The tricky ones where the woman surprises the man and he either responds in disbelief or an emotional “ARE YOU SERIOUS!?!?” followed by lots of hugs. I have seen couples revealing a positive test to their families which usually results in “WHAT?! YOU’RE KIDDING?” and other such utterances and then lots of tears.

I don’t think we are different, we do things our way and excitement to me has never been something I have physically manifested in jumping up and down or squealing – draws too much attention from this easily embarrassed introvert. Plus, my awesome hubby doesn’t really do surprises, and neither do I!

Just a little bit of background for those wondering. I have always had a 27-28 day cycle with 6 days of bleeding. This is textbook normal, doesn’t usually change even if I am stressed beyond all belief. The only time I have ever had a change was when I was at the top of my physical game and competing in National Triathlon and Swimming where you end up with what they call amenorrhea which means that you have very light periods or even skip them entirely. This occurs mainly cos your body produces hormones when exercising at an elite level which stuffs up your cycle, also the lack of body fat contributes to this hormonal imbalance. Thankfully that hasn’t happened since I was 19. When I left sport it became ‘normal’.

So, when I had none of my usual HELL IS ABOUT TO COME symptoms the day my period was due I thought I should probably do a test. Remembering this was only 2 days after we saw the doc for our fertility results. I reckon there was about 1 second between the time the pee touched the stick and the test line coming up! I was pregnant. I calmly walked out to the kitchen and said to my Husband “Look at this”. In our own way, we were so excited (and relieved after all the fertility testing) as well as laughing because we had to make another doctors appointment so quickly! We texted our immediate families immediately and worked out our due date which was November 4th 2019. I was hoping for Halloween and my husband would have loved November 5th (Guy Fawkes Day!).

So off to the doc we went 2 days later where she rolled her eyes and said “Didn’t I tell you every time I give a referral for fertility nearly everyone gets pregnant!?”. More tests then for me unfortunately. Bloods again to check my blood type, hormone levels, immunity, thyroid hormone iron and HCG (human chorionic gonadotropin). HCG (for those who don’t know) is commonly known as the ‘pregnancy hormone’ and is what those little lines on the ‘pee on a stick’ tests pick up. Basically, this hormone doubles every TWO DAYS (!!!) in the first trimester of pregnancy, slowing down after around 10 weeks and then becoming a thing of the past when you move into trimester two.

We got our Obstetrician (OB) referral and decided to use my private health I had been forking out with and go private. I rung the office and spoke to the midwife who booked me the hospital as well as my first appointment with my OB at 9 weeks. At this stage, I was just past 4 weeks, so there was a surprising way to go before I thought you would see your OB. My GP would look after me in the mean time. There was a lot of information to take in.

Can I just mention the FOOD issues? So you can’t eat basically ANYTHING when you are pregnant. Everything these days is so focused on risk management. No soft cheeses (shit…), no food that has been sitting out in a bain marie or similar (no food courts basically or uber eats), no deli meats no veges that haven’t been thoroughly washed, no mayonnaise or sauce made with raw eggs, no undercooked eggs (yolks or whites)… the list goes on. Anyway, I adhered to it of course.

I continued to take my Elevit every night (this is a pre-pregnancy and during pregnancy vitamin to help prevent Spina Bifida which is caused by not enough Folic Acid as well as giving you all other essential nutrients). Basically, don’t take it on an empty stomach unless you want nausea times a billion!

The bloods came back all good. I am A-, same as my Mum when it comes to blood type. We are 2% of the population so if you are A- like me help us out and donate blood! My husband is 0+ which means that I would need anti – D after this pregnancy so make sure my body doesn’t form anti bodies in case the baby has a +ve blood group. This basically affects future pregnancies – if you have anti bodies and a future baby is +ve blood type then my blood cells and body will try and get rid of it. Charming huh?

I also had developed what they call subclinical hypothyroidism. Basically this means a high TSH (thyroid stimulating hormone) but normal T4 and T3 which is what the thyroid pumps into the blood stream. Basically it does me no damage but if it turns clinical it can hurt the baby. So this normal thyroid I had had only 2 weeks prior to being pregnant was now having a spaz so I started on Thyroxine 75mg every morning. Thyroxine collides with Elevit so you have to keep them apart like fighting siblings. I would have another blood test in 6 weeks to make sure the levels are right. This will prove to be a pain in the ass as time goes on… but that’s for another day.

I felt good, we felt good. I sailed through the first few weeks with no symptoms. My Mother and my Nana also had symptomless pregnancies so I thought nothing of it. I started having naps – which is strange for me. I started craving some foods too but not crazy like you see in the movies where they drink like 5L of orange juice and pack away a whole chicken. We planned nursery ideas in our head. We nicknamed our little one Ponyo (as pictured above) because we both love Ghibli films and Ponyo is such a cute little fish. I imagined her swimming around in there. I was on Pinterest for things for the room and we discussed all sorts of parenting things which was wonderful.

Then it happened.

I was out to lunch with friends and made a usual bathroom trip (you get a few of these starting in early pregnancy cos your bladder works overtime!), wiped and saw the smallest streak of bright pink blood. My heart immediately stopped and my medical brain started going like the screen in The Matrix and scrolling through everything I could remember about pregnancy and bleeding. Immediately I thought the worst.

I quietly returned to the table and whispered in my husbands ear that I had had some bleeding. He reassured me and we decided to go home as my brain was starting to dissolve with anxiety and attempts to reassure myself.

We booked a doctors appointment where I learnt that bleeding “can be normal, but can not be normal”. Now, you will hear this phrase ALL THE TIME when you are pregnant. Everything is normal. Everything is not normal. Panic, but don’t panic. The long and the short of it is STAY OFF DOCTOR GOOGLE. I say this from experience. Go and see your GP or OB and follow their lead. There are stories on every aspect of the bell curve and you will find yourself more and more in your head trying to grasp at something that shows you you are on the right path and that everything will be fine.

The spotting and bleeding continued. On and off. I had some back pain which I thought was muscular, turns out it may not have been. Good work on self diagnosis, Physio.

I was sent for more bloods. HCG again. 2 days apart. The first number was great. The second was rising but hadn’t quite doubled and I got my results about 2 hours before I was supposed to start work for the day. An emergency ultrasound was organised for that day and my husband rang me in sick to work (which in my job is a nightmare to organise – you can’t be sick when you are a health professional, or self employed in my husbands case!).

The ultrasound technicians were great. I went in, they lay you down and your heart starts beating in your face and pounding in your chest. Time stops as the screen comes into view. Now bear in mind that I am able to read ultrasounds to a pretty decent extent. Even my husband could tell something wasn’t right.

No heartbeat.

Our little Ponyo, suspended in space was no longer swimming and was still. Everything was still.

“There’s a little pregnancy there, but I am sorry, I can’t find a heart beat. I’m sorry guys”

“That’s ok.” I replied… That’s ok?! What the hell kind of response is that? That is NOT ok. I am NOT ok.

I went numb, my husband gave me a hug. Tears started to form in my eyes as I quietly got changed and walked out to reception.

“No charge”. The receptionist said with sad eyes.

We got outside and the tears started to fall. My heart was broken and my husband and I hugged each other and got in our cars to head home. Empty.

This is a missed miscarriage. As in, my HCG was still rising so my machine of a body had not yet realised that anything was wrong and continued to think the pregnancy was progressing as normal. People think of a miscarriage as happening quickly. Well some do, some people just start bleeding and that’s that. Missed miscarriages are awful, drawn out and waiting around for your body to realise what your head already knows.

Your baby is gone. It has died.

This was a Friday when we found out. My GP rang and was amazing and empathetic as always and said she would ring on Monday to see if things had started naturally or whether we would need to look at other options to help me.

I was emotionally numb. My husband and I cried and sat on the couch. We ordered both Hungry Jacks AND McFlurries from Maccas and watched TV together. I cried to him and we talked about everything we were feeling. This is IMPORTANT. My husband and I have learnt the value of talking over the past few years. You need to express what you feel because your brain will start telling you all sorts of horrible things. You need support. Your partner needs support.

This is something you are going through together.

I thought of Ponyo. Still. Sleeping forever inside my belly. I felt cramps – both in my tummy and in my heart.

We decided to post on Facebook about what happened. This is something I wouldn’t normally do. But this happens to 1 in 4 women, 25%. Yet it is a taboo subject shrouded in grief, sadness, shame and blame and no one ever talks about it.

I liken it to getting a root canal. Horrible experience. The doctor tells you the medical plan of what is going to happen. Then you hear from 50 of your friends how their root canals went and you have a continuum of experiences to go off and the reassurance that so many others have gone through it.

Miscarriage is silent. But it doesn’t have to be. I don’t begrudge those who prefer to keep it to themselves for their own reasons. But I do believe that there shouldn’t be a shame stigma surrounding it. After our Facebook post, we received a lot of love and support which was beautiful. I had over 150 private messages from friends, family and other women (and men!) who had all experienced this too. I was completely taken aback as to how many of my friends had been through this too. It’s more common than you think. Their stories and ability to understand was what REALLY helped me and my husband deal with the psychological and emotional side of a miscarriage. Especially this early in the process.

So, I will tell you exactly how a natural missed miscarriage happened to me. So you will have a friend who has been there too when everything feels like you are old mate Frodo who has just put on the ring to find himself alone and invisible in a scary world.

Leaving the Shire.

“There is no real going back. Though I may come to the Shire it will not seem the same; for I shall not be the same.” – Frodo Baggins

All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.

— Gandalf.

Deciding to join the millions of others typing their thoughts and journey’s behind a screen was not something I ever saw myself doing. However, some journeys are worth sharing – if only so that others who walk the same path can find comfort in familiarity.

I chose to align these writings with my home, Middle Earth to liken our journey to the Hobbit and Lord of the Rings…in a way. These journey’s are never clear with pre-determined paths to take. There are many mountains, long days and long nights and many dangerous encounters. There are life-changing decisions to make, there are moments where you lose your way….when you lose your sanity. There are the Fellowship who join you on your journey and try to support you in their own ways each with a different personality. There is the Samwise to my Frodo, my amazing husband, who is your voice of reason and who walks beside you not out of necessity, but because they simply want to be there. In the end, you aren’t who you were when you left. But that’s ok. Journey’s are made to change you.

Our journey (and I specifically use the word “our” as a lot of writings surrounding pregnancy are squarely focused on women – sometimes this is negative attention, sometimes it discounts the fact that our partners are a part of this too) has already presented us with a number of challenges.

We have always wanted a child to share our bubble with. The decision to go on this journey together is not as simple as walking out the door and saying “You know what? I think we shall have a child” (well it wasn’t for me anyway!). Being in the medical field and working in Paediatrics presents you with a day that often involved 100% of what goes wrong (both with little ones and their mothers) which doesn’t always provide you with a rose tinted view of pregnancy, birth or having children. It takes a lot to remind yourself that this is a small percentage of all those who have what is classed as a ‘normal’ experience. Normal being a word I dislike – purely because normal can be ANYTHING (which will become more clear with our experiences so far). Having established finances, and achieving what you want with your career as woman is a lot more of a necessity these days than when my parents were young. I guess the changes you experience once you have a responsibility for a younger human being mean that you need to feel like you can tick a few things off before you feel “ready” or “prepared”? In reflection, what this really means is that sometimes it is better to find out who you are as a person and walk your own path for a bit before you decide to veer in another direction. That was something both my husband and I had to do (in our own ways).

We started the long journey from the Shire (our bubble) over 12 months ago now. We had no idea how long we would be on the road before we conceived and whether that was even going to be possible. I am 36 years old, so if you are like me…. DON’T GOOGLE….all you will see is how old you are, how your body is starting to fail you and how unfit you are to consider taking this journey so late in your life. It sows the seeds in your mind already that anything you encounter that blocks your path is likely your fault and yours alone. The “35” age issue was created in the absence of tests that can now determine genetic abnormalities between 10 – 12 weeks gestation, as well as a battery of fertility tests that even the most bouncy twenty-somethings can be told devastating news of their infertility/early menopause and other complications. There is also a strong possibility that the problem lies with your significant other – though that is never the first reason to cross your mind.

We had been trying for the standard 6 months with no luck before my GP ordered the battery of fertility tests. You see, if you are over 35 they give you 6 months before suggesting you take these tests to find out whether there is an issue with you conceiving. Now, bear in mind that my husband and I are extremely pragmatic people and therefore would prefer to know if something is going on. So the tests begin…..

Bloods…. SO MANY BLOOD TESTS! I had my hormones tested, my immunity and resistance to chicken pox, rubella and many other diseases, my iron levels, thyroid function, FSH and LH (follicle stimulating hormone and leuteinising hormone which are involved in ovulation, egg quality and production). You need blood tests pre-ovulation, post ovulation and two days after your period finishes. You have ultrasounds…. both external and internal (which is about as pleasant as it sounds) as well as updated pap smears and general health checks. All the while your friendly medical team saying “don’t stress, stress makes things ten times worse… just relax and don’t worry” – while you are being poked and prodded and tested within an inch of your life. Don’t forget… you are still over 35 and still feeling responsible.

My husband also had tests. Just basic bloods (which aren’t necessary but he already had had some done a couple of weeks prior for being under the weather so bonus there! He had a sperm count and quality test (which is likely a lot less traumatic than an internal ultrasound!). Already you feel like the weighting on you, as a woman, is massively disproportionate. You almost resent men for not having to share in your testing trauma.

As for the results, well my tests came back all within normal limits with no signs of any major issue surrounding my fertility or ability to conceive. My husbands first test came back with low count and high morphology – this can be due to a poor sample but his general health, mental health and other factors can also influence this. A second test revealed normal count and morphology – so we were given the initial ‘all clear’.

Two days after receiving our final results….. we got our first BFP (big fat positive for those not trained in pregnant women google forum speak)….. We had arrived at our first stop. But is it Rivendell… or Weathertop where we will be confronted with Nazgul? Fun fact – it took Frodo and Samwise approximately 6 months to get to Mt Doom… it took us just about the same amount of time to conceive… was this the end of the journey…. or just the beginning?

Who am I?

“It’s a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don’t keep your feet, there’s no knowing where you might be swept off to.”  – Bilbo Baggins

Who am I? I am a regular average 36 year old woman currently in the thick of one of the biggest adventures I will ever take – the journey to pregnancy, through pregnancy…and back again.

Why do this blog?

  • There is so much information available to us online these days, most of which is medical confusion (I am in the medical field so in no way am I saying ignore your docs!!). But my emotional journey has been helped by seeking out REAL storied by REAL women and couples so that you can align yourself with someone else for even just a second.
  • These journeys are not walked on paths paved in gold with Skyrim style clairvoyance to show you the way. There is a real part of pregnancy conceiving and loss that is kept quiet and swept under the rug. And it shouldn’t be.
  • I am 1 in 4. I am the 25% who has lost a baby to miscarriage…Twice. 25%!!! There are a lot of us out there who know this path. This is NORMAL this is a story that needs to be told and not hidden away in shame.

It is not easy to talk about loss. It is not easy to admit that you lost something – that’s what miscarriage is. You lost something. You. But YOU didn’t really – there are so many factors, so many reasons and so much more involved than you can fathom.

This blog is my unique journey (which is FAR from over). It’s a way for me to help to break the stigma surrounding miscarriage and pregnancy loss. It’s a way for others to connect their experiences to mine so that we have others who have trod this path with us. So we can feel understood, listened to and that someone else gets it.

I have gone through two miscarriages so far and I write this on the morning of my first D&C experience (my first miscarriage was natural but we shall talk about that later). I have experiences every colour of emotion along with my husband who walks this path with me. You are never alone in this. I hope that this can bring you some reassurance and some real experience.

I encourage you to tell your story – even if it is only to your partner, your Mum or your close friend. Talking really does help and there are so many who can be inspired and soothed by your words.

Image by theemibee (Redbubble)

We are not alone.