This time a week ago John and I had come home from our minibreak in Tunbridge Wells and were about to view houses in Epping. I was blissfully pregnant. Over the coming days I would start to cautiously look at baby things on Etsy. I’d Whatsapp John a picture of the woodland animal baby mobile I liked accompanied by the line ‘might be getting ahead of myself here but…’ as I was getting more nervous for our upcoming early pregnancy scan to find that important heartbeat. I’d visit mum and dad, bursting to tell them the news but holding it back. I’d be reading up on floor beds, Montessori style. I’d be picturing Little Bud as almost the size of an apple pip, so my pregnancy app told me. I’d be arranging more houses to view with the aim to move into a new one before Little Buds Christmas arrival, picturing which room would be the nursery.
Everything was finally falling into place. After over a year of struggles since my endometriosis diagnosis and surgery (not to mention more time trying naturally prior to that), and then various other complications in the IVF journey, we were pregnant after round 2. I couldn’t believe it. It was a dream come true. Seeing two lines on the pee stick for the first time ever in my life. Watching those lines get darker day by day. Our embryo was actually sticking. All my concern about whether my body was capable started to lift away. Hearing that the pregnancy hormone levels were more than doubling every 48 hours as hoped, even though they started out low. Little Bud the embie was doing its thing. It has implanted and it was multiplying, developing.
Now here I am. Day 4 in hospital. After what we thought was a miscarriage three days ago but actually turned out to be a very rare form of ectopic pregnancy. Little Bud had snuggled into my cervix, not my womb. So I am still pregnant, my hormone levels are telling my body that. There are fibrous connections between the foetus and myself. But it’s a foetus that has no heartbeat simply because our precious little everything settled in the wrong place.
After some back and forth and loads of scans at the early pregnancy unit over the last few days it was decided not to surgically intervene to remove Little Bud. Instead, yesterday I had a chemotherapy injection into my thigh which works by stopping rapidly developing cells in the body….like cancer….or pregnancy. Because of this injection I am not allowed to get pregnant for at least another 3 months. Not that it’s easy for me to do so anyway. This pregnancy was an absolute miracle in mine and my husbands life. So precious, so delicate, so yearned for.
Every day I wake up and can’t believe what’s going on. At first I think I’m at home and pregnant, then moments later I realise I’m in hospital living a nightmare, terrified. I cry and cry and cry, grieving our baby that will never be.
I have to collect whatever passes each time I go for a wee so the nurses can check through it. I don’t know how to separate the physical pain from the emotional, I’m just a wreck.
Nothing will be the same. Next week was supposed to be our first scan and I was hoping to tell the family around Fathers Day.
Some people might think losing a 6 week pregnancy is just one of those things, it’s common. But I haven’t miscarried – which would be devastating enough – our baby implanted and started to develop. My hormone levels were strong. It’s just my uterus is empty.
I’ve spoken to my developing baby. I’ve told it while walking to the woods with Rupert that we’ll do loads of hanging out there, making things and listening to the birds. I’ve said good morning and night night to it. Ive told it to stay safe and warm in there.
I’m so sorry little embryo. I’m sorry I couldn’t keep you safe.
Having the injection to start to dissolve the pregnancy was bittersweet. I need to have the pregnancy tissues absorb back into my body to avoid any health risks to myself. But the moment the needle went in I felt like I was saying goodbye to the most precious thing in the universe. I imagine the toxins whirring through my body, killing the very thing I longed to thrive.
I don’t have any plans now. I just want this injection to work so that I can avoid surgery and then I want to go home. But I’m also sad to go home. Home is the last place I was when I was happily pregnant. Home is where I would routinely take my progesterone and estrogen medication three times a day to maintain the pregnancy post IVF. Home is where all of my pregnancy supplements are that I’m now not allowed to take. Home is where I would relax and take it easy at this special time. Home is where hubby and I would knowingly look at eachother excitedly every now and then. Home is where I would get called ‘pregnant’.
Why am I sharing our personal tragedy? Writing really helps me. And maybe sharing might help someone else. In the early days of pregnancy I was sharing my experience with a handful of friends, some of which had been through their own desperate fertility issues. And nothing helped more than sharing with them. I don’t like the idea of bottling it up and pretending I’m ok. That’s not right or fair. I think more people should speak out about heartache and complicated matters if they have the strength. I also hate lying and don’t think I’m very good at it.
I also want to offer this up as a reminder to everyone to not ask a woman, couple, man about their plans for kids. You have no idea where they’re at. Please just don’t do it. Even if you know a bit of their story and feel entitled. It could be terrible timing. They will volunteer the information to you if and only if, they wish. If they can cope. If pregnancy has been easy for you or people around you I’m sure it seems as though it should be easy for everyone. It’s not, it can be devastatingly tough. I look at pregnant people in awe, amazed at how they got to that stage. I was recently (just after our failed first round of IVF) in a hairdressers when the woman cutting my hair and who I had never met before in my life said ‘so on Saturdays you can bring the kids’ to which I smiled and carried on with my magazine, already a bit misty eyed. She then said ‘so have you got any…kids?’ And I weakly replied ‘no, hopefully one day’, utterly exhausted by that question. She then scoffed and said ‘ha! Lucky you. Enjoy your freedom now. Mine are a NIGHTMARE. 3 and 6. I can’t bring them here Saturdays, they’d be out of control hahahahaha’. I left the hairdressers before the blow dry.
Apparently I’m brave. That’s what everyone keeps saying over and over. The reality is I am petrified more than I can try to explain and I’m not putting pressure on myself to be whatever ‘brave’ is supposed to look like. So if you think I’m brave you might be in for a shock I’m afraid. I don’t know how I am coping or what to do now to try and get some happiness back. Everything seems so futile.
I am just so very, so deeply sad.
Words aren’t enough. I can’t pretend I know how this feels for you as I haven’t ever managed to get pregnant but the longing & finally the loss after a hysterectomy gives me a fair idea that your pain is mine times a million. I know I can’t say anything to lessen that pain but I am thinking of you. Give yourself permission to grieve, properly and for as long as you need. Please don’t listen to anyone’s expectations of how you should feel as only you know what this means to you – as you rightly say, others can be cruel without meaning it. Look after yourself xxxx
Dearest Victoria, you don’t have to be brave, it is normal that you are grieving for the loss of your little bud. My heart aches for you and John. Tomorrow will bring healing and new beginnings. Keep taking those wonderful walks in the woods with Rupert when you are healed. Dreams can come true. ⚘Love you Vicky.
I know it doesn’t feel like you’ll ever get over this but you will.. time helps of course. You will get there and i hope you will have your beautiful bundle of joy one day soon. I feel compelled to write to you because I’ve had virtually the same thing happen- I think it’s great you can write about your experience and release what’s in your heart. Sending you positive vibes, take your time to heal and praying for you!