Friday, January 20, 2012

Mission failure

Today I am recovering from a curette. This is the third time I've had this procedure, which is necessary after a partial miscarriage. I'm certainly a lot more philosophical about it today than I was on Wednesday, the day before the curette. 

Wednesday morning started like any other. I happily rolled out of bed preparing for work. After going to the loo I noticed a very small streak of pinkish, redish blood on the toilet paper. I immediately grab more paper and wiped again - nothing. I repeat this again, still nothing. 

I've had bleeding in every pregnancy. Every time doctors have told me bleeding happens in loads of pregnancies and that it is fine. This is smallest amount of bleeding, it is so tiny, I actually consider if I should even bother with telling Matt. I know the effect telling him will have.  

I have a shower and think about all the possibilities, I wonder if it is because I stopped the progesterone support on Monday, perhaps I need to start taking it again. I decide I will ring my fertility specialist's office, even though I know my doctor is on leave still. I'm hoping they will have someone on back up who can make a call on what I should do. I tell Matt about the spotting and tell him I'll ring the doctor and see if I can get a blood test or even better another ultrasound. As I'm leaving for work I tell Matt I'll call him once I've spoken to a doctor.

On the train to work I keep thinking about it. I was going to wait until I got to work to make some calls in private, but I just can't get it out of my mind. I decide to make some discreet calls on the train. My first call was to my fertility specialist and again, with my doctor on holidays it is hopeless. The receptionist suggests I ring my obstetrician. I ring the obstetrician, her receptionist initially recommends I speak with my fertility specialist - once she knows he is on leave she suggests I make an appointment with my GP to get a referral for an ultrasound. I ring my GP, she is on holidays too, however now she is in a GP super clinic so I make an appointment with another GP for 4.30pm. 

I ring Matt and tell him I'm going to make a sneaky appointment, before I have the ultrasound referral, so once I've seen the GP we can go straight to the ultrasound. 

My fertility specialist's receptionist rings me back, she has spoken to another specialist who said the bleed might be a reaction to going off the progesterone and that I can start taking them again. Personally I didn't really find this helpful. Then my obstetrician's office rings me back, the obstetrician has given me a referral for an ultrasound and has already made me a 1pm appointment with the Women's Diagnostic centre at the Mater. The receptionist is even going to take the referral up to Women's diagnostic for me, so I just go straight there. Awesome, this is super helpful.

I'm really impressed and relieved. This obstetrician is supposed to be the best. She is really hard to get in to see. I figure now that she has organised the ultrasound that she'll be on hand to review the results of the scan and will take me on, two weeks before my initial appointment, if I need any medical intervention at this point.

At 12.30 Matt comes to pick me up from work and we head to the Mater. I was genuinely thinking this is just another crazy pregnant lady scan. I'm 99% sure everything is fine. Maybe even more than that. Our last scan was only 11 days ago and it was perfect, bleeding in early pregnancy is normal - I've been told that soooooo many times.

As per usual for these scans I'm busting to pee. You need to drink 600ml of water the hour before the scan as it is easier to see the uterus with a full bladder - or something like that. The sonographer gets the scan underway with squirt of cool gel onto my tummy. This room has a screen at the end of the bed, so it is really easy for Matt and I both to see the scan. 

I can see where the baby is, the sonographer zooms in. It is different to my last two scans. I can see the baby, it looks still, completely still, no flicker, nothing. The sonographer pokes around a little bit more and then says, I don't think I can see the heartbeat. She asks when the last scan was and suggests it is best to do an internal scan to get a closer look. She sends me off to pee before the internal scan and in the toilet I start crying. I can't believe it. This was supposed to a reassuring scan, not a confirmation of the worst scan. I try to pull myself together and head back into the room. When Matt sees me he looks a little shocked, I must look bad, or maybe he still had some hope, I'm not sure.

The internal scan is no better. Definitely can't see the heartbeat. Baby measures 8 weeks, which marginally smaller than the last scan. The sonographer wants to bring the doctor in to be extra sure. The doctor is also certain. They both say they are sorry. When they leave room for me to redress I lose it. I just can't believe it. I'm growling a series of questions out loud. Why is it always that the baby stops developing almost immediately after our last scan? Why do we have almost 2 more weeks thinking everything is great? Why do we get further along than before, with an absolutely perfect, no signs of trouble pregnancy only to once again lose the baby? How many times can this happen to us? How much of this can we take? I finally say I don't even know what to do anymore.

Matt is more the quiet thoughtful type, so he says nothing. We are both gutted. 

To their credit the Women's Diagnostic unit is all kinds of awesome, unlike the ridiculous situation that occurred last time we had the same result in the Mt Gravatt Qld Xray. This time they bring all the paperwork to me in our room, so we don't have to go back out to the front counter and pay in a distressed state at reception. They recommend we head straight down to our obstetrician's office, that they will ring in advance and let them know the outcome.

When we get downstairs the obstetrician has already left for the day and the receptionist will have to reach her to find out what to do now. She doesn't think they will be able to fit me in as the obstetrician is fully booked and besides doesn't have any of my complex medical history. Again she suggests I ring my fertility specialist and find out who he has on call for him. I already know the answer is no one, that is the answer every time. She suggests Matt and I hang around the medical precinct for a while so she can try to sort something out with our fertility specialist. 

Matt and I head down to West End and have some lunch. I can't believe the obstetrician can't help me. I thought that she would, given that she'd arranged the ultrasound. I know I need a curette, I know this is a really common obstetrics procedure, but my obstetrician won't take me, my fertility specialist is holidays until Monday and I'm stuck ringing around like a beggar trying to get someone else to take me. I ask my fertility specialist if the doctor who did my last curette, because my specialist was on leave, can take me? I tell the obstetrician's receptionist that another doctor in their group did my first curette, can she take me? The receptionists start ringing around for me. 

The first offer from the fertility specialist is a Friday appointment at 4.30pm. I know I won't be able to get the curette on the same day, so it will probably be Monday before I am having the procedure. I accept it as it is the best that can be done. Great we have days of carrying around the dead baby, with the chance that it could start to fully miscarry (which is apparently very painful and has the risk of me hemorrhaging and losing lots of blood). 

Matt and I decide to head home as there is little chance we will be seeing anyone today. We are almost home when the obstetrician's receptionist rings me back having made an appointment for me with the newest obstetrician in their group. She can see me right now. We have to get over to Spring Hill. We head back to town and meet another doctor. I think she's a good fit for me because she is a part of the Queensland Fertility Group (where I get my fertility treatment) and rivercity obstetrics (where I've had my small amount of obstetrics).

The new specialist has to ask all the horrible questions about my gynecological history:
  • How many pregnancies? 4
  • How many live births? 0
  • How many miscarriages? this is number 3
  • What other problems? 2 ectopics - 0 fallopian tubes left and I had my gallbladder removed.
At this point 3 + 2 doesn't equal 4, so I explain the last pregnancy was heterotopic, so I had the pleasure of ectopic and miscarriage. Once again, the new specialist tells me how rare heterotopic pregnancy is and reflects on what a tragic year 2011 was for us. 

Thankfully she has taken the liberty of already making a surgery time for us. At noon on Thursday at the same day specialist surgery most of the QFG stuff is done. She steps me through the risks of the procedure. She is very sympathetic. I'm really grateful she would take us on. 

Matt and I head back to the car. I tell him I'm glad we got with in with someone, I have a little moan about how stupidly hard it has all been. I then say, I'm not looking forward to having to ring the family. Matt says, neither am I. 


  1. I've been following your blog for a while and have been so excited with your latest pregnancy. Now I am in tears reading your latest post. I am so sorry. I misscarried twins in April last year. A totally awful experience that I will never forget. I am lucky though, I am the mum of 14 year old twins. Vicki an aussie living in NZ and sending you lots of hugs.

  2. Oh, I am so, so sorry. Thinking of you and Matt and sending many, many virtual hugs.