Every now and again I get some hope from somewhere. It floats past and I accidentally inhale it. But the high doesn’t last, and ultimately I crash back to the reality of our situation.
In July and August – just after the last miscarriage and during the month that followed – I had two periods, roughly a month apart. This is very unusual for me, so this month (Sept) we decided to try to conceive naturally, working on the (somewhat ridiculous) assumption I’d get another period around 16th/18th Sept.
I knew the chances of it working were slim-to-none. I knew I’d have to actually ovulate, and the sperm would have to find the egg, and they’d have to make a viable embryo that could get through all the key developmental stages involved in hatching and implantation…
Nonetheless, I allowed hope to rise. What a great story it’d make if we were successful! The money we’d save! The heartache we’d avoid!
On Monday this week I started spotting. Could this be implantation bleeding? It was still a week before my period was “due”…
But as the week went on it became clear it was a period, and not only did I have to again face the reality that I wasn’t pregnant, and that my period was somehow a week early, but I also became overwhelmed with all the emotions as if I were having another miscarriage. Am I bleeding more now? What about now? Could it still be possible to be pregnant? And this just served to remind me of how awful the process we’re about to recommence is.
After a chat with our consultant back in July, I had several blood tests to check for common markers of problems that might cause recurrent miscarriages. The tests all came back normal, which I’m told is good because, although an explanation for the miscarriages would be nice, an abnormal result would mean daily injections throughout the entire pregnancy.
With this knowledge our consultant has recommended we take steroids during our next cycle as, “although the evidence for them is weak, they can sometimes help with undiagnosed immunological issues”.
So as I’m not pregnant, and there are no more diagnosed issues to contend with, I am going to begin the next cycle on 2nd October. This is 21 days after the start of my most recent period, and happily also the timming we’d planned, around such things as birthdays, anniversaries, and a holiday. This fertility stuff eats up your years before you realise it, and I’m determined to not let it interfere with all our birthdays and our family holiday.
In preparation for this penultimate cycle, I’ve lost weight (approx 7lbs), I am half way through couch-to-5k, and I am doing two exercise classes a week that are a mix of yoga, pilates, cardio and resistance training. I feel quite good. But the events of the last week have made me check my subconscious assumptions – just because I’m fitter and weigh less *doesn’t* mean it will work this time. It feels like it should. That’d be fair right? I’m putting in a huge amount of effort during the final furlong, so I should receive the dividends of that work.
But it doesn’t work that way.
So much depends on the quality of the embryo and many factors beyond my control. And once more – no, I am not excited to get going again. I’m dreading it and I’m terrified because this is our penultimate chance. I’m a crazy bag of emotions, and there is a deep sadness I can feel, which for most of the time just follows me like a shadow. I don’t pay it much attention day-to-day, because I can no more escape it than one can escape ones’ shadow.
So for now I’m determined to enjoy this time of year – I love autumn with all of my whole heart – and I will celebrate birthdays and anniversaries with my family. And keep fit. And eat well. The mountain can wait. It’s not going anywhere.