Peripeteia

Turbo’s heart stopped in the early hours of Saturday.

I’ve known since Saturday morning. I didn’t post before today, because I didn’t think I could quite cope with the likely reaction following a flat statement that I knew this pregnancy was over when I couldn’t find a heartbeat with a foetal doppler at 8 weeks + 5 days. I didn’t want gentle admonishment about doppler reliability, and I didn’t want hope kindly prodded my way – simply because I knew there wasn’t any.

Once I’d finally figured out where the heartbeat was located, on Friday, it was entirely straightforward to find again – I am nothing if not an old hand with this doppler – and I listened in again, briefly, before bed, on a normal-sounding 175 bpm foetus. On Saturday morning, following a night of evil dreams, dopplering was like scouring the empty ocean. I spent hours – pitiful, trembling, weeping, increasingly panic-stricken hours – listening, searching in vain. By Saturday evening I’d accepted my findings, and stopped looking altogether.

On Sunday, I simply hoped that nothing would kick off until I’d had a chance to see the Prof this afternoon, and at least have an opportunity to discuss if there was anything we could learn from tests. There’s not a fat lot of karotyping you can do with a foetus that has disappeared into your septic tank, plus I had a selfish notion that I would rather like to be asleep and oblivious for this one. I’ve been awake, dilating, and sadly analgesic-free during expulsion of 7 and 8 week pregnancies before, and I anticipate absolutely nothing pleasant or painless about the propect of losing a nearly 9-weeker whatsoever.

My wishes are not, however – and as usual – going to be gratified. My distraught and ‘really depressed about this’ (!) Professor left clinic to talk to the Consultant who had the struggle of his career inserting the embryo transfer catheter through my S-shaped cervix, and they have both come back with an apologetic but decided negative. I am simply the wrong shape for a medical evac, and they dare not attempt it unless in uttermost end of need and I am about to cark it. I have spent an hour sat listening whilst my Prof filled in elaborate ‘Do Not Dare Take This Woman To Theatre Unless You Are The Night Shift Consultant Obstetrician Who Has Read Her Entire Set Of Notes, Spoken To Dr X, Failed To Keep Her Stable On A Drip, And Has An Ultrasound Machine To Guide His Every Move’ -type paperwork, and has sent it over to Gynae A&E. 

She gloomily predicted that I might be getting on with things myself fairly soon: I have an ‘enormous’ clot sat right over my cervix. I have requisitioned bedpans and a suitable lab pot for the pregnancy sac – she agreed that karotyping would be worth a try – in case I am caught embarrassingly short of the ward. Judging exactly when to make the 30+ mile dash to hospital is a decision I fear I will get wrong, and sure as God made little apples: it’ll be in the dead of the night.

To my gall, I will have to summon my MIL, who lives very close, to look after Harry if so. I am not quite sure what entitles her to make free with information that most certainly is not her own – apart, that is, from a lifetime’s industrious practice at breathtaking impertinence – but she has just informed us, upon hearing our news, that she has, today, told Harry’s nursery staff (the ones I am theoretically scheduled to meet and bollock on Wednesday) that I was pregnant, but that it was early days, and we’d had ‘lots of problems’ before. They all then had a lovely conversation about how Harry is evidently picking up vibes from the situation. (He isn’t.)

I have told John that I am confident he will take an early opportunity to invite her to apologise for her invasion of my privacy, which is dialogue he won’t enjoy. The poor man (who did not really buy into my doppler findings, and so has had a particularly bad afternoon) was even attempting to defend her empathy skills as we drove into the yard to collect Harry, after I grimly announced that I might as well come and hear her inevitable reverse-bon mot in person. I am sure I have mentioned here before that this is the woman who coolly informed me, after miscarriage number 3, pre-Harry, that John would be ‘so disappointed if you don’t have any little ones’. There are many just retributions in this life that I deserve: John’s mother is not one of them; although, who knows? Perhaps ousting grief with anger might even be vaguely beneficial to my emotions, although, assuredly, not to my blood pressure.

I had bloods done before I left, just in case everything goes about as wrong as it can go, and I attempt to bleed out. If nothing happens this side of Wednesday, I am to go back in for mifepristone, and back in again on Friday, when everyone senior is floating about, for misoprostol. Misoprostol is an absolute fucker that hurts like blazes, so I have ensured I am also written up for vast quantities of pethidine, a drug I previously availed myself of far too late in the proceedings for comfort. I don’t think this’ll run as far as Friday, but we’ll see.

And… I can’t think of much else to say. By yesterday, my uterus felt entirely different, and the cramping I have experienced since the off had subtly changed in nature.  The nausea and crippling exhaustion have, now, begun to recede a good deal. I think I would have guessed by this afternoon, even without the doppler; I’m glad, in any event, I didn’t have to endure the shock of a unexpectedly bad scan, and silent medical personnel. Today, I knew before they looked, although the ‘I’m afraid I think you’re right’ still wasn’t easy.

I did so, so want to be wrong.

Thank you for all the hand-holding. It does help, I promise.

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