Iggy – 16 months of IVF + 8 months in + 8 months out ! A normal person would post a photo of their devine creation next to a wooden block marked 8 months. Not us. We don’t even own those blocks.
So today… I had a follow up appointment at the GP. I packed up sixteen months, or nine stimulated cycles of sharps and expired meds to be disposed of. For anyone who’s not IVF savvy, that’s an awful lot of hormones that I have processed. I retired Iggy from the boob recently after a mix of being on the brink of utter exhaustion and Iggy deciding biting was all the rage.
Bam! The exhaustion increased but I was too busy being mesmerised with Iggy. My body was probably sent into a state of shock. ‘Hang on, we don’t need to make any pregnancy related hormones.’ My bloods went off the charts. From an overactive thyroid to a now functioning thyroid and LOW everything else. My blood and productive system seem to counteract. So, of course the first follow up, is why am I losing blood, why am I losing iron.
Last week I required a transfusion. Why do I keep coming to this point? In the last decade, I haven’t found a doctor that can answer this. It’s always, ‘Well, it’s possible that it’s fibroids or that polyp. We can remove them and we do remove them.’ But I end up in this scenario time and time again. And the vague diagnosis of, ‘Looks like you might have andenmoysis but we can’t really diagnose this until you have a complete hysterectomy. Then we can tell you for sure.’
The latest was an abdominal scan that detected another two fibroids and some type of mass structure growing where my left ovary once was. The sonographer swore I had two ovaries. It didn’t matter how many times I assured her the left ovary had been removed, she continued to probe me looking for a better angle. Eventually she admitted defeat and said my doctor would talk to me.
Hormones! They seem to be finally leveling out. And our Iggy is eight months.
I have no idea where the past 32 months have gone. Those sixteen months of IVF where the longest days of my life, followed by the torment of pregnancy.
I absolutely hate being pregnant. I’m sorry if this offends anyone, this is my honest heart’s feeling. Whilst I am completely grateful and honoured to endure the pain and anxiety. Each day, every moment is like a ticking bomb! Will I hold this pregnancy another day? When you have this degree of unexplained gynocology problems that have been ongoing since you can remember, plus the added trauma of having to do IVF. Your pregnancies are treated as high risk.
My pregnancies are riddled with ‘issues’. I have a weakened cervix, from a botched surgery job in my early 20’s. Which is how I came to lose my left ovary. I’ll talk about this episode another day. This is that one event in my life that shaped me as an adult. And when I say everyone has a story, believe me this is my story. I spent ten years working through dealing with the events and am extremely lucky to be alive. Someone up there had my back. But it’s also that one event I’m not quite ready to open up publicly about. So have I really dealt with it? I’m working up to it. Everything else is on the table for now. Maybe that’s where I’m headed, I want to call that doctor out. But it’s too late, he’s already been deregistered. And I left it 10 years too late. If I was braver maybe some other lives would have been spared. Or perhaps again I’m being too hard on myself.
So with a weakened cervix, comes the ability and the not-so-super power! For your cervix to shorten and open prematurely. Ta-da. Nope! There’s a huge risk for miscarriage. With my first, Dante, roughly around 20 weeks I was having the strangest pulling feelings. We were car shopping, I remember clearly saying to my husband it feels like the baby is going to fall out, of course he thought I was being dramatic. We happened to have a scan that day booked on the other side of town.
During the scan there was this silence in the room. I knew something was up. the sonographer fetched for another doctor to come look… as you do.
The doctor told me, your cervix is shortening it’s nearly open. You need to see your ob’ ASAP. And that was it. With what cervix he could find, he managed an emergency clerage, but couldn’t guarantee it would hold up. So that was it: bed rest until delivery.
The other thing I’m really good at, Is the Subchorionic hemorrhage SCH. For those unaware of this pregnancy complication it is bleeding which occurrs when the placenta detaches from the original site of implantation. Symptoms include vaginal bleeding, abdominal pain, premature labour and threatened miscarriage. So when you’ve had a few miscarriages along the way, this talent really is quite cruel.
For me the bleeding, is a gush of blood out of nowhere. Horrendous. With my first SCH I was in my first trimester, I rolled out of bed this particular morning, was standing in the bathroom getting ready for work and the next minute I was standing in a pool of blood. Confused, yet devastated. I mourned Dante’s pregnancy before I even got to the doctor’s office. Little did I know I would mourn his potential departure another three times. It happened so early in my pregnancy. It was before the initial ob’ appointment. The GP thought my cervix looked opened, she consoled me that It looked like a threatened miscarriage and sent me for a scan ASAP. We had the scan and the sonographer reassured me there was still a heartbeat. It still didn’t look great in my head no matter the reassurance. I ate a bucket of KFC, (well only the skin). Pregnancy gives you strange comfort cravings. I was called back to the GP. She couldn’t get a hold of my Ob’ and sent me on my way to the local public hospital for answers. Of course, they couldn’t find anyone who knew how to use the ultrasound machine, and prepped me with the, ‘There’s nothing we can do’ speech. ‘We will send the information to your Ob’. Go home and relax’. The obstetrician receptionist called the moment the papers came in and called me in ASAP. Now, this is why I believe in the private system! He diagnosed a SCH and comforted me; ‘It’s fine. Women have these all the time. It’s average size’. When you are weighing up health insurance, think about how the advice went from, ‘There’s nothing we can and will do’ to the assurance, ‘We will put you on bed rest and monitor the separation until it resolves’.
No promises, but hope to cling too. This obstetrician just won me. So yes, I stayed on bed rest. It finally resolved around the sixteen week mark. I went back to work for two days and on the Saturday afternoon, (you wouldn’t believe it) I had a second one! Walking to the kitchen- gush of blood on the kitchen tiles. In front of my dad, of all people. Still not understanding the private hospital system and being a weekend, we jumped into the car and drive straight to local emergency room. Again, the same story, ‘We have nobody on who is capable of using the ultrasound machine. You’ll have to come back to Outpatients for a scan next week.’ Face palm. Same line: There’s nothing we can do, this nurse added ‘Nature will take it course’ to the punch line.
Great, again they sent my admission to my ob’. My ob’ called me into his office on the Sunday, bless him. He questioned why I went to Public emergency again, ‘Didn’t you learn the first time?’
‘I didn’t want to annoy you on the weekend.’
He scans me, confirmed I have a second small SCH. Back on bed rest.
Fast forward to Iggy’s pregnancy. I made twelve weeks with no bleeding. Small inner-self dance. Maybe Dante’s pregnancy was just an awful pregnancy and isn’t anything to go by. No such luck. Midnight on Melbourne Cup Eve eve: I need to pee. I get up, oops did I just pee myself a little? I look down, then a waterfall gushes onto the toilet floor. I yell out, ‘Honey, it’s happening again.’ It wasn’t any easier! It’s midnight. Of course, I’m not going to call my ob’. Let’s just go to public emergency. Clearly, I learnt from my first pregnancy. I tell my myself, ‘It’s a new hospital, it will be fine. You can talk to the Ob’ tomorrow. You just need to know.’
We enter emergency, triage think I’ve been stabbed there’s that much blood, I soaked right through an overnight pad, a towel and hussy’s jumper. That’s how much blood we are talking: They still make me wait. We are seen. I explain, straight up, this has happened in a previous pregnancy before, but not this much blood. Previously, it was just one huge gush followed by weeks of spotting. This was gush, followed by gush, followed by gush. ‘Ok Miss, you’re a little dehydrated. We’ll give you some fluids.’
Once the fluids finished they sent me off for a scan! What? Get out- I’m a little shocked; they have someone on, on a Sunday night, to preform a scan. They scan. There’s the heartbeat. Far out. I kid you not, whilst I had hope I still mourned you, Iggy. You know I finally get home it’s nearly 4pm and you know my biggest concern is now the fact I can’t go halloweening! I’ve spent hours investing in my maleficent creation. I post a pic in an attempt to cover up to my co-workers what’s actually going on.
It never gets easier.
Of course, now this episode would affect my surgery to have a cervical clearage at thirteen weeks as we have to wait for the separation to heal. Of course, it doesn’t and I have another minor bleed two weeks later. By sixteen weeks, it still hasn’t resolved and my ob’ makes the decision to just perform the clerage. My cervix is already beginning to funnel.
So winding it up. And I’m only half way through Iggy’s pregnancy. I’ll save part 2 for his 1st birthday. You see why I look at our darling Iggy and think, you are amazing child. Everything about you is amazing. You are our gift, even your poop is rainbows full of magic.