Scotch Mist

We re-trod some old (ish) ground on Tuesday, and found ourselves in the Centre for Reproductive Medicine’s waiting room, staring at the same notices, the same fishtank (the same fish?) and the same magazines. The same, yet blissfully and very thankfully different. The sickening undertow of bleak emotional darkness is not a sensation I miss. I could read it on the other faces in there, and I ached for all of them.

When I arrived at reception, the admin assistant rootled through the stack of patients’ notes, and to my complete lack of surprise, mine were 4 times the size of everyone else’s and exceedingly dog-eared.  My appointment was with a new consultant – my old one has been bumped up to medical director of the whole place – who blinked a bit when I regaled her with some of the odder aspects of my previous treatment (I started writing a precis for you but only got as far as miscarriage number one, the writing of which made me cry, so I stopped. Even the summary of my reproductive history is long, complicated and tedious). but she seemed to grasp the overall picture pretty well.

She (and, it must be said, John also) was initially of the opinion that my right uterus has the better track history of the two, on the basis that it has carried a baby if not to term, then at least well into my third trimester. My left uterus is the sad scene of 3 failed first-trimester pregnancies. And I see their point of view. I do, really. I’m planning to pay no attention to it, however. 

My right uterus (shall we call it Cameron? for ease of reference?) for no reason that anyone could discern, proved to be highly unstable Harry-housing. I started to spot (from Cameron, worryingly, not the non-pregnant left uterus, which I shall now term Blair) at 9 weeks, and the bleeding and cramping increased throughout my pregnancy with Harry. He was frequently (by which I mean, daily) heard to be having intermittent distressed heartbeat patterns, but by the time I was pushed down to ultrasound he had always recovered his cool and no abnormality of my placenta or cord could be detected. I felt – and still feel – he was hanging on by a thread in Cameron. It was a tense 5 months.

All I can put Harry’s troubles down to, is that Cameron has a consistently crappy endometrium – lochia aside, it’s never bled red in my entire life, just a dark sticky brown. As Cameron is producing this feeble output alongside Blair, which simultaneously produces copious amounts of bright red blood, this cannot be hormonal in origin and smacks to me of poor quality lining and oxygenation in Cameron. I was awed that an embryo had managed to attach in Cameron at all, but Harry was spontaneous, and chose his own spot. All my previous pregnancies were from embryos replaced into Blair because the endometrium was visibly much better over there. And yes, I lost the two IVF pregnancies in Blair, but my endocrine system was staggering horribly under the chemically induced strain. The IUI embryo (which sneakily implanted following a cycle we had actually abandoned after poor follicular response) looked so wonderfully promising to begin with, with a heartbeat at 6 weeks – I feel sure that the genetic flaws that account for so many early miscarriages was to blame for that one, not the housing or the hormones.

I explained this rather convoluted point of view, and she agreed that low blood flow to Harry sounded awfully likely, although I’m not sure whether I made my point about never ever wanting another pregnancy in Cameron. I hope I did, because the sad fact remains that Cameron’s ovary is a whole lot livelier than Blair’s. Which does rather dictate IVF, which I don’t really want.

Confused? SO AM I!

Anyhoo. I went on to explain that Warwick’s consultant radiologist had diagnosed some fairly nasty-looking adenomyosis last month, hence my prompt appearance in her office. She said that a laparoscopy sounded like a good idea to her. Which it absolutely does, if you’re not the one who curls up in horror at the idea of a knife in her bellybutton. As I do. Shit.

I have a small stay of execution, however: my last bloodwork was 2005, so she wants to repeat the usual bundle of cycle day 2 blood tests first. I am absolutely dreading my FSH being something truly bloody awful. I was also bundled into a scan room to check that there was no sign of endometrial tissue on my actual ovaries. Which there wasn’t.

There was no adenomyosis visible anywhere, either.

Now, I’ve had a lot of ultrasounds. Seriously many ultrasounds. Rather more than 100, I reckon. And while I can’t quite drive all the buttons, and I’m a bit foggy on… the fog, when the probe stops moving, I can identify a uterus – particularly ones containing big white lumps that scream ABNORMALITY. I saw the screen last month, and my uteri looked ugly. On Tuesday, they looked like textbook smooth curves, with the white blips all having gone and done a total Lord Lucan. There is now talk of hysteroscopy (THEY CAN PUT CAMERAS IN THERE! AWESOME!) and having a better look, because WTbuggeryF, adeno?!

The NHS will not fund any actual treatment cycles now that we have Harry, but the state is stoically stumping up the bill for all this preliminary exploratory work. I am going back for further discussions on 22nd September armed with blood test results and a up-to-date semen analysis, as (rather to my dark satisfaction) Hubby received a demand to visit the room containing the (so he says) scary German porn. His samples have always been ok, but his last analysis was 4 years ago, so he gets a bonus one off the wrist next month. Lucky chap.

I noted without surprise, given the vague twinging this week, that I have a 15mm follicle growing on Cameron’s ovary. Wrong side, alas!

And aside from all that, I’ve been busy getting round to all the stuff I should have done when the in-laws were here, and didn’t. The cyclic gastro bug I was calling ‘long-standing’ on the 2nd July is still with us, and inducing intermittent belly-cramps, eggy burps, nausea and diarrhoea in both Harry and myself. The lab is currently poring over another turd sample; the first one came back clear for everything. I am officially puzzled about what this could be – and reasonably pissed off with being kept awake for nights on end with bellyache and miserably confined to the bathroom, clutching a bucket, on a regular basis. Harry does not enjoy suffering 10 dirty nappies in under 90 minutes, either, poor lad, so our GP will be made to step up his enquiries if the next lab report is uninformative. I haven’t been able to use the gym since mid-June because the creche won’t take Harry with a runny belly – hence I have gained 4lbs. Amazingly, I have missed going, and the thought of wasting my gym membership money is highly irksome.

The weather has been pissing awful, as is becoming usual for July and August, although a short spell of dryer weather is now forecast. John has been putting combine-pedal to the metal while Harry has been doing the same with his scale models. When he draws his combine up alongside (John’s old metal toy) trailer and extends the little augur out, he looks up expectantly at me – as if to find out what button to press next in order to make the grain come out. I took pity on him and put a spoonful of grain in his trailer, which I then watched him attempt to shove up the augur in order to play at decanting it back out. Bless the child.

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