The journey to now has been a complicated one.
Having decided we weren’t ready to bring a child into this world until we were somewhat settled into a home that was comfortable and made an income that could provide for another member of our family, we left the trying to conceive part until our mid to late 30s thinking we’d have no problem in the conception department.
I don’t know why I thought this as I’ve been plagued with problems with my reproductive organs all my life, having dealt with endometriosis, fibroids, adhesions, interstitial cystitis, chronic candida, multiple laparoscopies, cone biopsies amongst other problems.
It took over a year to conceive. In the meantime, given our age we were referred to our local hospital’s fertility clinic. They put us straight onto the NHS IVF list. Whilst waiting for our specified IVF cycle we conceived naturally. That initial feeling of naivety and joy at our first pregnancy feels like an eternity ago. I lost the baby at 7 weeks, miscarried naturally.
We waited the suggested cycle to try again and low and behold success. I lost #2 naturally at 6 weeks.
Two months after that the same thing happened, #3 was lost naturally at 5.5 weeks.
The fertility clinic was keen to start IVF anyway but it just felt wrong that we should be going through such an invasive process when conception didn’t seem to be the problem. The clinic finally agreed and they referred us to a recurrent miscarriage clinic.
More weeks went by waiting for the referral and I found I was pregnant again. #4 was lost at 5 weeks naturally. The RMC tested for their standard blood clotting disorders which came back negative despite a strong family history of thrombophilia and DVT. The clinic told me they thought it was all in my head and that the positive pregnancy tests I was getting after a missed period were actually just false positives. They couldn’t be sure but my AMH was far too low for success and I should consider donor eggs at this point. Discharged. Done.
Back to the fertility clinic. They can work with the low AMH. And we’re back in the queue for IVF. But it still doesn’t make sense to me. Why should I subject my body to such a rigorous protocol if we are able to conceive on our own? It won’t help us keep carry to term.
Another referral to a different RMC, this time St Mary’s. More blood tests, scans, a horrific HSG. A scan found a polyp which later turned out to be a recently implanted embryo. Pregancy #5 managed by the RMC. More blood tests, biweekly scans, consultations. The only thing they found was elevated clot strength determined by a thromboelastogram. Put onto 150mg aspirin and 400mg progesterone. Concurrently doing acupuncture and traditional Chinese medicinal herbs.
We hoped so much for this one to work this time. But it felt wrong from the start. Delayed growth, slow heart beat. But still a heart beat. That was something, right? Assured it was just delayed implantation we were sent home to rest and return a week later. Blood tests spoke volumes: declining estrogen, declining progesterone even though HcG seemed normal. At a routine 10 week scan we were told the baby’s heart stopped beating a few days previously. This was by far the hardest blow. No matter how prepared we were for another possible failure we were stunned when it happened again. I never had any bleeding, any cramping, any symptoms.
We waited to see if I would miscarry naturally but over two weeks went by and nothing happened. We scheduled in the ERPC and that was it. The tissue will be tested to determine if the fetus was chromosonally abnormal. If things come back normal I will likely be discharged from St Mary’s without answers. Terrified I will develop scar tissue from the procedure I didn’t really want done.
Where do we go from here? On advice from some ladies in a similar situation I’ve decided to try seeing Professor Q for a different approach. I’m hoping she can shed some light in what feels like an eternity of misunderstanding and doubt.