Just over a week ago, I had my last beta hCG. It came back as 2, which is considered a negative result and means all the pregnancy tissue has gone from my body. It’s over.
The months that this pregnancy took to resolve have been like a nightmare in every sense: horrible, but surreal. I have been living in bewilderment, from one blood test to the next, not knowing what would happen. It seems that it has taken a completely negative pregnancy test for the full force of what has happened to hit me. Of course I knew that I was pregnant, that we were losing the baby, that it was a potentially life-threatening situation (? ectopic pregnancy), that it was a horrendously drawn-out process, but… I guess I was dealing with one detail at a time, and now that there are no more in-the-moment issues to tackle, I’m forced to look at the big picture and it’s too much. It’s overwhelming and devastating.
On a practical and physical level, things aren’t too bad. The doctors are working on the assumption that this was a ‘normal’ miscarriage of a uterine pregnancy, which shouldn’t affect our chances of conceiving again. However, because they can’t be certain that it wasn’t ectopic, they’ve recommended I have an HSG (‘tube test’) before our next cycle of treatment. This will show any blockages in my Fallopian tubes that could have caused an ectopic pregnancy, but even if there is a problem, I’m in the best possible place for appropriate fertility treatments such as IVF. As I have to wait for the hospital referral, then have the test done immediately after a period, then wait for another period before resuming treatment, it means we can’t try to conceive again until at least the New Year, but that’s not my biggest concern right now.
My biggest concern is my mental health. I am really struggling to cope with everything emotionally and my Christian faith, which would normally be a comfort to me, is severely shaken. I’m not sure whether I’m clinically depressed, or if this is just all part of bereavement. But it does feel as though I’m going through a big bereavement that is not acknowledged by our society. There is no funeral, no sympathy cards, no flowers. Instead, there’s just me failing to show up at a conference in Venice for “personal reasons”. I have to go to my father-in-law’s 60th birthday party tomorrow and I don’t know how I’m going to explain the fact that I’m not in Venice – I don’t expect many people to understand. I don’t know how I’m going to cope with everyone congratulating OH’s cousin, who just announced her pregnancy and is due the week after I would have been. Apparently it’s not the done thing to piss on her parade by telling everyone about my miscarriage. But I feel I desperately need my loss to be acknowledged.
Miscarriages are so common – why do we all feel we have to suffer in silence? Part of me wants to say ‘fuck it’ and be open and outspoken, and I feel this may help other women too, but part of me doesn’t think I could cope if I get a negative response. On Thursday, I posted about my pregnancy loss on Facebook. I have been posting all of these blog entries to a select group of friends – and you’ve all been very lovely and I really appreciate it 🙂 – but Thursday’s post was the first that all my Facebook contacts could see. I thought I might get replies along the line of, “I’m sorry to hear that,” and maybe the odd person sharing that they’d been through similar. Instead, the only person to acknowledge my post in any way was my mother. To add insult to injury, a number of my friends chose to click ‘like’ on an inconsequential status about chai lattè instead. I wish to God I had never posted about that lattè, because at least then I could kid myself that my friends simply hadn’t been online.
I’m used to the stigma and silence surrounding mental health problems. I never thought I would get it with miscarriage too.