These last few days have been full of ups and downs, not unusual for an infertile or recurrent miscarrier.
Down: A colleague from work, the one who forced me to tell my story because she wanted information on IVF, is visibly pregnant, probably 20+ weeks. She never told me about her pregnancy. She never said ‘I’m sorry’ for my last loss either – or any loss for that matter. Last week she found out the sex of the baby, so she brought a cake to work to celebrate. And she didn’t invite me. I’m guessing (from how far along she is) she never needed IVF after all. I finally realised she wasn’t going to say anything, so I walked up to her and said ‘Congratulations!’ with a big (half-fake) smile. She still didn’t acknowledge anything, nor did she ask me how I was doing. Too busy enjoying her pregnancy, I suppose.
Down: Another colleague opened up to me about recently finding out that the baby his wife is carrying has been diagnosed with Down syndrome. He doesn’t know about our struggles with infertility and RPL. I tried to be supportive and caring – and non-judgemental – in this difficult time for him. However, when he was sharing that he wanted to convince his wife to abort the baby (which is legal here in this circumstance) and she refused, he said something that felt like a sharp knife going into my stomach: ‘She can’t do it at this point in pregnancy (20 something weeks); it would feel to her as if she’s killing someone, like killing you or I, because she can now feel the baby’s movements. Now, the baby is its own person. It would be different if it was earlier in the pregnancy’. I froze at that moment, my thoughts going straight to ‘what about my babies? Does that mean they’re nothing? My babies don’t matter?’. I didn’t say anything, though.
Down: Due to some bureaucratic misunderstanding regarding our referral to the RPL specialist, I received a letter from the hospital in which our fertility clinic is located, saying I had voluntarily moved away from their clinic and switched to the new RPL clinic. This is incorrect, as I still plan on doing the FET on this fertility clinic (they have our embryos and it’s much closer to us). I was worried we would loose our public funding for the FET altogether, so called the hospital to clarify. After being passed around to different departments, repeating my story again and again, I talked to the secretary at our fertility clinic. She was extremely rude, saying (again) they will not support my treatment with the RPL specialist; but at least she confirmed I’m still registered as their patient and can have the FET any time I choose to. I had to made these phone calls at work, due to the opening hours, and after it I was having a mini meltdown and couldn’t stay at work, so I left early saying I wasn’t feeling well. I really think their attitude is unacceptable. Infertility and recurrent miscarriages are recognised by the government as chronic diseases. The offered treatments and clinics I’m attending are publicly run. Why should I feel like I need to beg and fight to have access to it?
Up: After some exhausting days, I really needed to relax and have some fun. Some friends from work came over and we had a girls night, just talking, eating cake and drinking coffee. It was wonderful. They are very supportive. We also vented our frustrations about work and laughed a lot. I need nights like that more often.
Up: Thursday was my husband’s birthday! We went out in the evening, after work, had a great dinner and watched ‘The Revenant’ in the cinema. It was wonderful. Food was great, movie was great and we didn’t talk about infertility. We always enjoy ourselves when we go out on a date night.
Down and Up: Friday I went to the hospital to do the Aspirin allergy test. I was really scared I was going into anaphylactic shock again, since I’ve had it twice when I was a kid, both times from Aspirin. How would you feel if you doctor offered to give you the same substance you almost died from twice before? I was freaking out. I barely slept the night before, thinking I shouldn’t have had those 2 glasses of wine during dinner (it was hubby’s birthday, though!). Before starting the test, they took my blood pressure and it was too high. They said if I don’t calm down and my blood pressure decreases, they couldn’t proceed. I wanted to do this, so I can have more painkiller and anaesthesia options. I kept thinking if I need to go through another miscarriage I want better drugs to manage the pain (I don’t react well to opioids as they make me sick, so I end up preferring the pain then throwing up all the time). And baby Aspirin is often used to treat RPL. I tried my best to control my nerves and was able to complete the test. It took about 6 hours in total. I had no reaction whatsoever. The doctor said they don’t know why. Maybe I reacted to some other substances in the pill, not the Aspirin itself, when I was younger. Or maybe I just grew out of it. I’m now allowed to take anything, but I think I’ll still be afraid for the first couple of times. If only I had done this test earlier, I wouldn’t have gone through 20 years of drug-free painful periods, muscular pains and headaches. Well, better late than never.
Up and down: Sunday we celebrated my husband’s birthday with some friends at our place. It was just an afternoon tea with hot-dogs and brownies, but it was so nice spending time with friends, talking and playing board games. I was a bit nervous about it, as I hadn’t seen my pregnant friend in over a month. I just have a hard time being around her due to her pregnancy being so close to my last pregnancy. We talk a lot on the phone and text each other, but when her huge belly is staring at my face it’s much harder for me. She’s quite nice about it most of the time, I think she understands it’s not easy for me, even though we never really talked about how it makes me feel. Her husband, on the other hand, is much less caring. He often times says or do things that are hurtful to me without noticing. This time was no different. At some point, my friend and I were sitting side by side just talking normally, when he came over and started rubbing her belly. Somehow, I never see him rubbing or kissing her belly unless she’s sitting right besides me. Then he does it all the time. I’m sure it’s not on purpose, but can’t he really see how uncomfortable it makes me? Well, my friend feels uncomfortable too, so she removes his hand and tries to gently push him away. And he starts a small fight, saying: ‘Why are you pushing me away? It’s my baby too, I can touch it whenever I feel like it.’ What else can I do in these cases but to get up and walk away? Why can’t even my closest friends, who have watched me go through all of it, understand how difficult it is, how their small actions affect me? I wish they didn’t, I wish I could touch her belly and feel excited too. But it’s impossible for me to not feel sad for what could, should, would have been.
I hope the days to come are filled with more ups than downs.