On 15th May 2019 we transferred two of our frozen embryos. A long time coming after Phil’s diagnosis last year, an emergency sperm freezing and then a fresh IVF cycle in February.
It was a big decision for us as we had only ever transferred one at a time before. We have always been fortunate that our blastocyst embryos have been good quality and we really did take the time to think about the implications of a multiple pregnancy and the possible risk of miscarriage. The general consensus from our clinic was that one was preferred but my age (38) allowed us the option for two.
On transfer day we were told that one embryo had thawed out beautifully but the other one was still catching up. The embryologist explained that the embryo was still above the margins that they are happy to transfer and there was a good chance once in my uterus it would catch up. But we were given the option to use another embryo (we had another 5) but we felt like after all the dilemma with transferring two, this was the universes way of making that decision for us and we transferred both understanding that one maybe wasn’t as viable as the other. Six weeks of injections and tablets and we were once again excited to have our embryos on board! IVF no.6.
I felt positive 48 hours in, lots of twinges and familiar pregnancy feelings. In fact I felt nauseous just three days after transfer. I felt so confident that I tested 4dp5dt and the faintest line appeared on a FRER. I will always be one of those people who test early (don’t judge) as I don’t have the patience or will power to hold out until OTD (Official Test Day)
I knew I was pregnant. I tried not to test everyday but inevitably I was anxious to see a strong line progression.
OTD came and there they were, two very beautiful lines.
It was bank holiday Monday so I couldn’t go in for a blood test and we had to wait until the next day for the pregnancy to be confirmed. My clinic don’t usually test Beta levels but they understood how anxious I was and essentially we are paying for it so they were happy to help ease our minds. Our first beta at 13dp5dt came back at 790. Phew. First hurdle over.
I went back to my clinic 48 hours later for a repeat blood test and we were thrilled to be told the levels at 15dp5dt had risen to 1990. Perfect. Doubling easily and we all felt good. For me this was further than the last two chemical pregnancies we had, but I by no means felt confident. There is always that nagging doubt when you have experienced recurrent miscarriage that it’s not a given you get to take your baby home. A positive test does not equal a baby.
We reached the 5 week mark and this was big for us. Then out of nowhere, I started spotting. There was no pain and it was brown blood so initially I didn’t feel too worried. Neither were the clinic. The next few days passed and the spotting would come and go so we asked for an early scan for some reassurance. I was 5 weeks 5 days when we went in and we had no idea what we would see. My clinic don’t like to scan before 7 weeks especially as this can induce more anxiety and worry if the dates don’t match up to what you see on the ultrasound. But to our surprise and relief we saw one beautiful little embryo sac.
Baby Meakin. We were due in January.
The love was instant. Just like when I saw Austins first ultrasound. Was this our triple rainbow baby? I think Mr M may have even shed a little tear when he looked at the screen. Our consultant was happy with the position of the pregnancy, located away from a threatened miscarriage and he could see no signs of a bleed or where the spotting may be coming from. There were no guarantees but at this stage everything looked good.
Our little poppy seed photo sat proudly on my bed side table that night and I went to sleep with a protective hand resting on my swollen tummy.
The next morning I felt good and although our consultant had warned us that due to having an internal ultrasound there may be some irritation to my cervix causing some more spotting/bleeding but it had actually almost stopped. There was some momentary calm.
The next few days were a blur. There was blood. Lots of it. I was in pain. I felt panicked and scared. I felt like we were loosing the baby. My mum took me to A&E, while Phil stayed at home with Austin. Phil was in the middle of his second chemotherapy cycle and we didn’t want him anywhere near any possible infection. My mum is a nurse. She instantly makes me feel reassured both from a motherly and a medical perspective.
I was worried about the blood loss. There was no way in my mind I was still pregnant. I had several vials of blood taken at the hospital, one was to check my heamoglobin levels (blood loss) which thankfully came back ok. By the time I got through to the EPU (early pregnancy unit) they couldn’t scan me. I would have to come back tomorrow. I didn’t mind, I knew it was over. My mum was sad for me, she pushed for them to scan me and asked how I was expected to go home not knowing if we were still pregnant. But we’ve spent a life time waiting, waiting for tests. waiting for scans, results. Another 24 hours was nothing to me.
The nurse in the EPU recognised me. She asked if she had seen me before. I nodded. I remembered she looked after me when we had our first miscarriage (a blighted ovum) back in 2017. We chatted for a while, she listened to me as I explained about the IVF and about Phil’s diagnosis too. The EPU unit had closed an hour or so before and I was grateful for her sensitivity and recognition that I wasn’t just a statistic through the door that day. I asked her how she coped working in such a unit. She told us that she had delivered sad news to 10 couples that day. I guess I was potentially no.11. My heart broke some more. I couldn’t stop thinking about all those people (plus the many, many more across the world) that on that day had been told they had lost their babies.
At 11.50am the next day Phil and I were back at EPU. A familiar setting, I felt calm. they had several emergencies that morning and we had a wait. The scan revealed that I was right in the thick of the miscarriage. There was more pregnancy to pass and they hoped my body would continue to do this naturally, avoiding intervention. That beautiful sac we had seen just a few days ago had gone. Along with all our hopes and dreams of bringing home our baby.
At exactly 6 weeks pregnant we added another little star to the sky.
There where no tears. I just felt numb. We were taken into a room. I don’t think either of us knew what to say. The same nurse looked after us. She was lovely, she said all the right things which I am grateful for as that is not always the case for some.
I do wonder how many times your heart can be broken before it can never fully mend? Will the scars be forever etched in each chamber? I think so. And thats ok. I want to remember each little star. I hope that with time the pain does subside. You never Whatever stage you loose your baby, the aching is indescribable. I am not ashamed to say I was (maybe still am) drowning in the grief. Some days have been incredibly hard to just function, others have been easier. I just hope this finds someone who may well be drowning in similar pain and needs to read these words. To read the words that it is OK to feel the devastation, to feel such loss. Maybe to help you feel less alone and maybe even offer some strength. The club that no one wants to be a member of but a club that only the members know such acute pain.
How can I be hurting so much for a baby I only knew existed for a few weeks? That dream of your baby starts when you decide you want one, not for how long they are in your tummy. The very moment you want to be a mother is when your plans start. A positive test, a first scan they are all moments along the way but the truth is your motherhood dream had already begun a long time before you see any tangible elements of a pregnancy.
So for now this chapter draws to a close and sadly it doesn’t have a happy ending. But there is huge HOPE. I have no idea if a happy ending even exists anymore or if we will make our own ending. You see both Phil and I don’t have to look far for miracles, we just look at Austin. I marvel at how that little boy is here with us. I really do.
There are another five little miracles in the freezer and when we feel strong enough we will start the journey again. Lucky no.7?
Sleep tight little one, my god you are loved.