Tuesday, 3 June 2014

Life after miscarriage number two

I thought it was time to let you know how I am going. I think I know now!

I'm good really. In fact sometimes I feel guilty for feeling so OK. This miscarriage was so much easier to cope than the last one, for lots of reasons. Firstly I knew what to expect. Secondly I didn't go to A&E. Thirdly it wasn't such a shock to me, as I had spent 18 months contemplating the possibility of life as the mum of one, so I already had a plan B. This was something I hadn't ever really considered before I miscarried the first time - there had always been two in my plans.

I don't have the same grief as I had last time either as I really did make the most of every day this little bean was with me. Last time I was too busy with BB and just waiting for the birth. I had a lot of guilt around the fact that I hadn't attached to the baby and enjoyed it for the short time it was with me. I learned from that mistake. I am still just as sad that my little one didn't make it, but certainly not as traumatised.

I am angry at the health system once again. There are lots of great things about the NHS, but maternal care, particularly Early Pregnancy Care, is definitely not one of them. Last time I miscarried I went to A&E as advised. It was hideous. I was told I was definitely still pregnant based on a positive urine test, after bleeding for hours in their "care" and losing my baby down their loo. I was roughly examined by a male gynaecologist who said it was all old blood, he said I was fine and sent me home wishing me a happy pregnancy. They had no idea of what I went through whilst they were supposedly looking after me. They told me someone would call me the next day but they were actually closed.  I did at least get scan a couple of days later so that they could determine that my uterus was clear.

This time I was told I must go to A&E if I was using more than 4 pads an hour. I diligently timed 15 minutes and sat on a plastic bag to make sure the excess blood didn't get on the furniture (sorry if that's TMI), I was so determined not to go. I couldn't really anyway. I was in London without a car and for the first couple of hours, home alone with BB. By the time someone else arrived there was no way I could have independently made my way to hospital on public transport.

I rang the hospital again, thoughtfully after the long weekend, to arrange to go in for the scan. I expected there would be one like before, to check I didn't have any lurking residual tissue that might cause problems. I was told I wasn't entitled to a scan as they had no evidence that I had ever been pregnant! Apparently the doctor's and the midwife's  blood and urine tests were not adequate evidence. The evidence they needed was to have done their own scan and seen for themselves that there was a baby in my womb. I had not had a scan, because despite the fact that my Doctor referred me for one as he considered me to be high risk, the hospital refused his referral, without actually informing him or me  (I had to ring up to find out after not hearing about a date). Apparently it is not policy to scan people before 12 weeks.

I have said before that the system here is designed to save money by not seeing anyone before 12 weeks in the hope they will miscarry and save the health service being bothered by them, but I was being a bit cynical - this is pretty much proof though. By refusing to give you an early scan, even at a doctor's request, and then refusing to acknowledge you were actually pregnant because you haven't had an early scan, they are pretty much guaranteeing that they won't have to do anything, ever! It makes you wonder what Early Pregnancy Units actually do - other than ignore Doctors' referrals and fob off people on the phone. It is maddening.

As to what happens next, I have been weighing up the pros and cons of trying again. DD and I had a two hour conversation about it just a couple of days after the miscarriage. There are far more reasons to give in than there are to keep trying. I am old (almost 43), and the chances of miscarrying next time are even higher than they were the last two times, because of my increasing age and my previous history of miscarriages. Its also cheaper just with one, especially when travelling between hemispheres is involved, BB may have more opportunities, we could visit different places more easily, such as a stop over in Cambodia or India or somewhere on the way between the UK and Australia, there will be more time for me if there is just one, I wouldn't have to be pregnant or give birth, or have sex with a syringe again. I already feel better for not being pregnant, and I am a better mum too.

The main pro for trying again really is that BB could have a sibling. I really want that for him. But even if we do try again there is no guarantee I will get pregnant (it took 18 months last time) or that I will carry the baby to full term, or that I will deliver a healthy baby at the end. And we have the stress of trying. And the whole not knowing what the future might hold, or what to plan.

Despite all that though, we both really want a second child and so we are seriously considering ignoring all the negative odds and just trying anyway.

I think deep down what I really want is to feel able to give in, gracefully, now. To accept that we have tried and to move on. I really just want us to get on with life now! The thing that I am afraid of is that there will always be that what if? That maybe there will always be a big space in our lives where that second child should be. We have to live with that for a long time.

It also occurred to me today that I have never really been able to imagine a second child here, but when I picture us in Australia there is a second. I am fairly certain if I do get pregnant again I would like to be in Australia for the pregnancy and birth. Maternal care is much better there from all that I have heard from friends there and experienced here, and also according to the evidence in the 2014 State of the World's Mothers report.

As I have said many times before I would very happily adopt or foster, but as a single parent it seems my chances of these are slim too. In the UK it is officially allowable for a single person to foster or adopt - but perhaps not so likely. Certainly the meeting I went to last year was not very promising! In Australia I believe it is still the case that a single person can't adopt, and whether or not a single person can foster seems to vary from agency to agency.

Whatever is to happen we need to decide soon. If we are going to try again, we both agree that we should do it straight away, to maximise our chances due to my increased fertility following the miscarriage.

So hopefully clarity will visit us soon.

Meantime, I am feeling like a beached whale. My stomach doesn't seem to have got any smaller and my weight has actually increased since the miscarriage. Whether we are trying again or not I need to get my health and weight in order, so that is what I am focussing on for now.