So it’s been a while! I signed myself off work after my last post – that turned into several weeks as I continued to faint, posing a risk to both myself and more importantly to my patients. I wasn’t allowed back and this kind of forced my hand. I was suddenly in a position where I had no choice but to take stock, to grieve properly and to start living again. Otherwise my health was really going to suffer. During this period I have changed a lot.
I began to see a cognitive hypnotherapist (the one that’s pregnant!). I have to say she’s been amazing and by some small miracle she has turned me into a positive thinker! Anybody who has read my blog will not have failed to notice that I have erred on the side of pessismism throughout this journey. This is a natural protective mechanism that often helps us not to be too disapointed when things don’t go so well. But it was starting to do me some harm. I had become struck with terror the moment I discovered I was pregnant for fear of miscarrying (which I inevitably did) and when I collapsed at work back in January I had started to project this terror into my proposed IVF. I’d convinced myself it couldn’t work. Then I convinced myself that I had already ruined it with my negative thoughts and I began blaming myself (somewhat pre-emptively!). I couldn’t break away from this awful circle of negativity.
My “homework” was to spend time listening to hypnosis recordings developed specifically for me, walking in the woods (my happy place), going out for coffee and cake, doing yoga, reading for pleasure, sitting by the fire, enjoying a glass of wine and painting. Slowly but surely the weight literally lifted from my shoulders. I’d been having regular massages as my shoulder stiffness was causing headaches – they stopped about six weeks ago. I began to laugh at my husband’s bad jokes. I could begin to see positive intentions behind people’s actions – something I’d always struggled to do before, believing that the entire world was somehow against me. I began to smile more and more, about nothing in particular. Now, and I can’t believe I am actually writing this, I AM EXCITED ABOUT IVF! I’m still fully aware of the stats; there is still a chance it won’t work. But I don’t know the outcome yet, so I have nothing to be fearful of yet. Who knows, it might actually work! Stats-wise I seem to have good odds. I have a 42% chance of success with the first cycle; this rises to 65% in cycle 2 and rises again to about 78% in cycle 3. At some point it plateaus but we can only really manage 3 cycles (2 on the NHS & we’ll fund 1).
I’m starting to lean away from the herbs & all the alternative stuff. I’m still organic where I can be but I’m not rigid about it. I’m not massaging my belly anymore – it was always done in such a rush with no feelings of positivity & it put pressure on my bladder. It just wasn’t pleasant so I’ve binned that. I thought I’d feel guilty about giving it all up but for the first time in ages I think I am finally thinking clearly. My most successful pregnancies (as a good friend pointed out) were when I wasn’t doing any of this stuff. I’m still having acupuncture because the evidence for this is well-established.
I finally had my surgery by the way. It hurt like a mother! That was ten days ago. Apparently it went really well and the cycst (which had grown again) came away easily. She checked my the outside of my tubes and the right ovary – all normal – and said the endo wasn’t that bad so she didn’t need to remove it. She said I might lose some follicles through the surgery but said that we have millions so to lose a few is okay. Millions?! I pointed out that I only had five on my right ovary in December and that my follicles were pretty precious to me. Hopefully none were lost but I’ll never know because the cyst was blocking them anyway.
Typically the surgery occurred the day before I was due to ovulate so the surgeon said I probably wouldn’t release an egg due to the shock, so this month is out. But she did say that I could start IVF as soon as I feel ready. I’ll see what my gynae says on Friday but even if he says we can start this month I think I’ll wait until April. It’s my sister’s 50th on April 1st and we’re going to Lundy Island for a walking & drinking weekend. That’s basically all there is to do there and I don’t want to be abstaining or worrying about whether I’ve walked too far and all that crap. It’s worth waiting just one more month I think.
In other pregnancy news my colleague texted me to confirm that I was right, she is pregnant. I literally must have guessed the week that she found out. I haven’t seen her yet but my stomach no longer lurches when I see that she’s texted me – I’m just genuinely pleased for her. A fellow recurrent miscarrier who I met through a forum has also just discovered she’s pregnant again. I used to stress about other people getting pregnant before me but I now feel pretty neutral about it, like I used to feel about pregnancy before I started trying. Of course, I still have sporadic twinges of jealousy but they are momentary and I move on pretty quickly. Sadly two other friends have miscarried recently. One of them must have miscarried 4-5 times in the last twelve months. The other one has been told by her husband not to tell anyone about it, which perpetuates this feeling of shame that is so dominant in the miscarriage culture. I totally see why he feels like this though. Tommy’s has a really good campaign for men and women to speak out about their experiences: https://www.tommys.org/miscourage-stories. I’ve sent them my story but they’ve been so inundated with stories that they’re struggling to put them all onto the site. It’s so telling that it’s such an unspoken issue, yet they’ve had such a huge response.
In other non-pregnancy news, I’ve rediscovered furniture painting. I’ll put some before & after pics up once I’ve worked out how. It’s amazing for mindful therapy. And we’re having a new bathrom installed, so we’ll have no shower or bath for two weeks starting today. I’m going to have to join a gym!
So all in all it’s good. I think the fainting was my unconscious trying to tell me it couldn’t cope. Apparently this is super common when an event happens that the mind feels too traumatised by to process, so it comes out in physical symptoms. I stopped fainting about three weeks ago & my new boss seems to be very supportive. He stopped me returning early twice to make sure I gave myelf a good rest before and after the surgery. I’m starting back on Monday so wish me luck!