What a great bunch you all are, the madness of twitter never ceases to amaze me and whether you’re “virtual” friends or not, the support you have given me so far is overwhelming.
Many of you have asked me more details about my story and what has happened for me to be here today, so for the last two weeks I have been trying to write my story.
I have broken it up into parts so you don’t have to read a whole book and hopefully you will come back for the next instalment.
So, welcome to my story.
I was chatting to Shaun a few days ago and suggested that if one day we had a girl, we could call her Dotty. My girl’s name of choice used to be Mia, but if we did get there and our miracle happened, it would all be down to Dotty so why not? He said no. He doesn’t often say no but he said unless she’s going to be in EastEnders, it’s a no!
To be honest, I think that if we ever do get there after all the heartache, a name isn’t going to come between us.
It’s weird, daring to imagine that one day I could achieve my goal. I don’t do it often really because as positive as I try to be, the reality that we may never get there always hits me and shatters me every day.
Other than saying that I’m saving up for IVF, I try not to go on about things too much. I don’t really talk about what’s happened or how I feel. Really all I ever wanted to do online was be funny. Mainly because I was scared of being attacked or judged. But given the support I’ve received so far, I feel that I owe it to myself to be true to myself.
I go on about other people’s blogs and how much I love their personalities, and yet I only write myself when I’m “happy”. That’s not really what infertility is about. If I only write when I’m happy, it might be why I’ve only written three blogs in three months.
If I am going to try and raise money for IVF because I have infertility issues then it’s what I need to talk about. It’s what all these gorgeous bloggers tell me; let go and just say what’s on your mind. If you are one of the people who read my blogs, then I expect that this is what you want to read about.
I’ll start from the beginning.
Up until just over five years ago I was pretty much what you’d call an independent woman. I always worked, and mostly lived alone, keeping busy helping people out and just getting on with things. I’ve spent a lot of my life being single, so I was always a friend you could rely on. I had no ties, no dependants. I moved to England at the age of 19 and have had amazing adventures, great jobs. I was a bilingual PA for a cool American dude for a few years, travelling around and having fun. Then I changed career and went into the care industry.
Being a carer was probably my favourite job, I worked hands-on with older people and also with people with learning disabilities. No two days were the same, just looking after people and loving them.
In 2010 I was single and had pretty much accepted that this was going to be it for me so I decided to try and have a baby alone. I had an artificial insemination. It may sound selfish but I spent my life waiting for the “right time” and it wasn’t coming. I had a good job and was stable enough, I had lots of support around me and I was ready.
It worked first time and after about 20 tests I was pretty sure I was pregnant. It’s a strange feeling I remember, so scared and hoping that it would all go well, but also so exciting. That feeling lasted for just over nine weeks.
I started to have complications. I visited the hospital a couple of times. There were hours of waiting and not much information. “Stop complaining and go home, you’re fine”. I knew I wasn’t. Based on my experience, unless you’re 12 weeks pregnant and have had a scan, doctors barely acknowledge your pregnancy. They didn’t with me. It all seems surreal now how little interest they showed. The biggest memory I have of it is lingering in hospital corridors being upset, in a lot of pain whilst no one really took any notice of me.
On the night of my miscarriage, I had been at my friend’s all day and the complications were still happening, but she kept saying that I would be ok.
It was a Saturday and by the end of the night I couldn’t stand the pain anymore, so another friend drove me to the hospital. We waited outside for ages, it was cold and dark. When I was finally let in, an on-call doctor examined me. She seemed to be in a rush. I was in absolute pieces, the worst night of my life, and I kept asking questions that she just wouldn’t answer.
I felt like I was a nuisance to her and eventually she said to me, “you’re probably having a miscarriage so you can do it here or at home”. I felt like I was a dog or a cat. Actually an animal probably would have got more care than I had then, and in the following years.
I’d lost something (presumably the baby) and she said she would send “it” to the lab and get back to me with the results. We went home and my friend stayed with me. She sat on my bed whilst I cried myself to sleep.
I had an appointment for a scan the Monday after. The lady who scanned me told me there was something wrong with one of my fallopian tubes. She said, “you might have to lose one but you still have another one left”.
I had no idea what she was talking about. She said the doctor would explain the results to me after the scan. So I asked the consultant afterwards and she said, “she’s just a technician, don’t worry about it, there is nothing wrong”. Then she told me that my hormone levels were still high but that she was happy to discharge me.
She also told me that my tests results had shown some “product of conception”. Basically not really acknowledging I’d been pregnant, just talking about some “stuff” they found. This “stuff” was as close to being a mum as I ever came.
I went back home, still very distressed. That same day I got a phone call from my doctor’s surgery. They let me know that my pregnancy test from the week before was positive. Congratulations, they said!
Well, that was last week’s news, my baby was now gone.
When I met with my GP and explained to him that I was worried about the scan results, he told me to stop worrying, to take some vitamins and to try again.
What I didn’t know then, is that the hospital had realised their mistake and written to my GP just the day before, asking him to refer me back urgently. But he missed the letter. Well, he signed it and filed it away without reading it properly and that was that. I went home.
I did try to get pregnant a couple of times afterwards, but it didn’t work. My health wasn’t very good. I presume that when you’re pregnant your hormones go a certain way and then they reassemble afterwards, you have a baby and a new chapter starts.
I guess mine was interrupted.
I didn’t have any follow ups and I didn’t get offered any support. I was just discharged, off the books and on my own. I coped how I could, I put on loads of weight and went into myself. I didn’t really have anyone to talk to, infertility is pretty boring to most people and I didn’t feel like anyone was interested anyway. It’s like, get over it Steph, kids are a pain anyway… Not helpful people!
I suppose it’s difficult for people with children to understand, just like I don’t understand what it’s like to be a mum. I have all the maternal feelings and instincts and it is what I want most in the world, but until I have my own how can I ever know what it feels like?
I spent the next 18 months functioning, going to work and trying not to think. The “hormonal” feelings started to dissipate and I remember thinking back on how crazy it felt for ages, the loss and the loneliness, like I’d been a different person for months after the miscarriage.
I think it’s around then that I started to lose touch with my friends. It’s sad but I felt like no-one was helping. Sometimes it’s just not enough to say that it’s going to be ok. It’s too flippant, of course it’s not bloody ok!
I was suffering for about half to three quarters of the month with ladies’ pain, so bad sometimes I couldn’t move. But I thought it was just from the miscarriage and that it would take time for things to go back to normal. But it wasn’t easing and in fact getting worse. I complained to my nurse practitioner a few times and also mentioned how my attempts at conception hadn’t worked out.
Eventually, I was referred me to a gynaecologist. And this is where it all went wrong.