Freedom to not be okay

This was my second pregnancy.  The first one went pretty smoothly so this time round told quite a few people before the 12 week scan.  We told friends/family we just didn’t think anything would go wrong so why wouldn’t we tell people.   Even though before my first child I had a miscarriage but that was very early days and for some reason didn’t affect us that much (not that that would be the case now again for reasons I can’t explain).

So lying on the bed, the sonographer asks “Have you had any bleeding” and then I knew that something was wrong.  Looking at the screen where was the outline of a foetus?  Neil was saying it will all be OK but I knew that something was wrong.  A miscarriage I thought.  I’d had one before but that was at 5 weeks and no one knew but not at 12 weeks and not to be told at the scan.

We were escorted up to a ward and put into a room where we had to wait for the consultant.  While we were there I read literature on ways to get rid of the baby.  I had decided that I did not want an operation so I was going to choose surgical management.  Take some medicine to speed up a natural miscarriage.  However to my confusion the Doctor comes in to tell me that I am to be booked in for an operation – D and C commonly known as.  She told me they needed to send samples of the tissue off.  She told me I had a molar pregnancy and handed me some literature.  I had never heard of this and had no idea what she was talking about but I was incredibly confused.  She started talking about operations removing all the tissue and if it’s not all removed I could require chemotherapy.  Chemo?? That’s what you have when you have cancer.   So not only was I getting my head round a miscarriage,   I was also having to get my head round the fact that this baby was potentially cancerous. 

I had no idea what she was talking about and it wasn’t until several days later when I had done some extensive googling did I understand why I may require chemo.  However due to the fact that it is quite rare there was literally one official help website and a few other random sites.  Obviously only being one site there was a whole range of peoples stories and it freaked me out.

So then I had to go home and wait 10 days for an operation.  10 whole days.  Horrendous.

The next task was to tell people.  Peoples obvious response was “What??? I’ve never heard of that?” What’s that all about.  It was only out of care and love but after the tenth time of explaining I actually started saying to people to google it for themselves.  There was too much to explain.

How do you tell people?  It’s a topic that is so under spoken something that people deal with in the privacy of their homes which is wrong but how do you approach the subject?

The worst things people could say because I already had a child was so when are you having another.  I wanted to scream at them and say I wish now but I’m not allowed to get pregnant, I may need chemo etc etc.

I have learnt I will NEVER ask the question if people are trying for a baby unless they bring up the subject.  Even if they already have a child.  If someone wants to discuss that part of their life then they will.

Tears – uncontrollable tears.  I couldn’t help it I couldn’t stop it.  Days after weeks after.  To the point that my husband was telling me I needed to try and stop crying so much.  I know he meant well but this was something I couldn’t control – hormones/the sadness of it all/my future unknown/possibility  of chemo all of it was so overwhelming.

I honestly think I could have come to terms with it if it was just the baby I was grieving for but the fact that I wasn’t sure if I was going to be spending time in hospital having chemo away from my daughter just made the whole thing a million times worse.

What I wanted was a freedom pass to say it’s okay to cry just cry it out.  Be sad, its okay.  Just someone to give me the green light to deal with it how I wanted to deal with it.  It is all too easy to just carry on, put on a brave face.  OR after a week or two the expectation that you should be fine by then, you should be back at work, full of the joys of spring.  I didn’t want to be okay.

I’d had the operation and then I had to go to the local hospital to have regular blood tests which would be sent to Charing Cross.  This would then tell me if my levels were coming down.  They needed to be 0.  They started at over 200,000 so quite a way to go.

The first time I went I turned up at St Albans hospital in the afternoon.  I was told by the hospital that I could go whatever time I wanted.  However when I arrived I was told that I had missed the courier and as my blood needed to be taken to the lab straightaway it couldn’t wait at St Albans overnight so I had to do this another day.

It’s amazing how something so small as this completely set me back.  I became hysterical again.  I didn’t want to be having any blood test.   My mother in law was over at the time and she asked if I needed counselling. I was offered counselling by Charing Cross but I didn’t need counselling I just wanted to know that all was going to be Ok.  Was I going to need chemo or not? It was like a dark cloud hanging over me.  All I wanted to do was try and move on and get on with life but this wasn’t possible.  I wouldn’t know for at least a couple months.

I didn’t need counselling no counsellor was going to tell me what the results were going to be.  Why could no one understand that!?

Telling me well it wasn’t a proper baby, the baby wouldn’t have survived, it was meant to be are just some of the comments that I would hear.  And yes there was truth in all these comments but at the time it really wasn’t helpful.

Probably the one which I found the hardest to deal with was “It wasn’t a proper baby”.  Yes this is correct, the baby grows with 3 sets of Chromosomes instead of 2 sets so yes it hasn’t developed as it should but it still could have been a baby.  You still conceive, you still test positive on a pregnancy test, you have nausea/vomiting, your stomach gets bigger (bigger than what you normally would be for 12 weeks pregnant), and all the other signs of being pregnant.  There were times when I wanted to scream at the person saying this and say IT WAS!!!! But I didn’t.  I wanted to be able to deal with this, cope with it in a rational manner.  (I think part of my personality is to just deal with things and not crumble)  But this was one time when I didn’t want to have this personal trait.  I wanted to crumble and give up.  I was angry but more at the double whammy that was dealt.  Why have the extra upset of having to have blood tests every week, ringing up for results waiting to find out if I needed chemo….

As the weeks went on and my husband and I had grieved the loss of a baby I then had to still cope with the blood tests, the results, the not knowing.  Several weeks went by and I had another meltdown at the continuing tests etc. and also I thought my husband had got on with things and moved forward and wasn’t really thinking about what I was going through or what my possible future would be.  Of course he was thinking about it, of course he was thinking what would happen if his wife would spend months in and out of hospital having chemo he just didn’t want to say anything as he didn’t want to remind me of it/upset me/worry me.  Communication with your husband is a must but sometimes it is hard when you are so close to someone because somethings like this would greatly affect him as well.

Where was God in all of this?  I didn’t see him at all.  I didn’t really say “Why me” but I did say “Why God?”  I realised I was angry.  I realised I was angry at the thought that as well as all the upset that I had been through I also may be taken away from my family for a time and be in hospital.  Why would God allow this?

It didn’t help that at the same time (within weeks of the diagnosis)  My husband’s best friend died and my husband was in also a car accident where a drink driver drove into him head on and wrote off his car.  How much was God going to put us through?  All happening at the same time.

I remember going to Church one Sunday without my daughter and as soon as the first song was played and I sung about three words I had to leave.  I was again an emotional wreck.  And this was several weeks after my operation.  It was too much.  Lydia followed me out and we sat for the whole service in one of the rooms, she prayed while I shouted out to God all my anger.  Lydia was great non judging, not offering advice would just say “Shout out to God, swear at him if you want, ask him the questions”, she gave me the green card if you like, to be angry at God and shout at him.  No one has ever said I could do this.  It helped hugely.  I kept asking him,  why God, why the uncertain future, the unknown,  why take time away from spending with my daughter.  I didn’t really want prayer, my heart wasn’t open to it, but Lydia did it in a way that I didn’t feel like I needed to accept it.  If someone wanted to pray fine but I wasn’t going to be grateful for it.  How bad does that sound.  I just wasn’t open to feeling God.  However after an hour of just sitting there crying/shouting/questioning/praying, I was praying.  But there was no conclusion.  It wasn’t like she was expecting miracles.  That’s what I wanted I just wanted to walk out of the room.  As I did I went back into the service at the end and was able to tell a couple people.

I didn’t want people asking me if I wanted them to pray for me.  Just do it.  I wasn’t sure myself what to pray for specifically.  I remember going to Oasis and I said to my little group, please pray for me and all I said was life is rubbish at the moment, I’m feeling sad lots going on and not really sure where God is.  General prayers were great.  Just give me strength to get through this time in my life.  I actually didn’t want specific prayer of heal me so I didn’t need chemo it was more give me strength make me able to face these challenges.  But I didn’t really want to have to say this to people because this shows I’m not coping.  Again goes back to its okay not to cope at times in life, giving the green light to cry/be angry/question God etc etc etc

A few weeks went by and more sad news.  A friend’s baby died at 7 months pregnant.  This brought all those feelings flooding back and my husband and I were in tears again.  In a weird way we were grateful that we hadn’t lost our baby at 7 months which again conjures up strange emotions. I had an operation to remove the baby but my friend had to give birth.  I have no idea how you get through that.

I wanted to go to the funeral but my husband was worried that it would be too much probably because I was slowly getting there and moving forward and he was probably worried that I would be set back.  However I went and I am so glad I did.  I sat next to you and near the beginning of the funeral a thought entered my head (word from God) that you had had a miscarriage and that I should tell you what I was going through.  So after the service I told you.  You listened and that was that.  I went home thinking well maybe she hadn’t miscarried etc.  However the rest you might be able to remember.  You emailed that night to say you were due your scan the following day and then the following day you had your scan to receive the bad news and so you emailed me again.

From the darkness of your sad news came light.  I felt alive again.  God was with me.  As I was told by people” these things happen for a reason” and yes I know this but at the time I didn’t want to hear this.  However it does.  I have been able to show support ad truly understand what it is like to go through these situations.  Also my best friend’s sister in law was diagnosed with exactly the same thing as me 3 months later.  Something that is meant to be so rare and there was someone 20 mins down the road going through the same thing.  Unfortunately she had a worse time of it and needed full blown chemo and spent a year in and out of Charing Cross hospital.  But at the start of it I was able to support her via emails when she was going through all the tests.

I could support friends due to my experience.  Was this Gods plan???  I don’t know but I do believe he allowed this to happen so I could truly sympathise with friends going through similar situations.

I never once felt anger towards others or jealousy towards friends who had just had a baby.  My sister in law had a baby a month after I was due to have ours and I didn’t feel jealous or any negative emotions like that.  It took a little while before I was able to tell people.  I told a handful of people to start with, close friends and actually there were times when talking about what it was helped me deal with it.  And actually when friends asked questions about it made me feel like they cared, they got it, etc.  However this was only when I wold speak with people face to face.  I hated doing things via texts I couldn’t be bothered to explain it all. 

I had a friend who had experienced several miscarriages and she supported me via email however there was a major difference between her and I.  She couldn’t be around anyone with a young baby.  I didn’t have those feelings of resentment.  I didn’t begrudge others.

I would sometimes have the thought, why do some people have it so easy with this baby making?  The main issues I had were at work.   In my work (the police force) I meet a lot of people who have numerous children with numerous different fathers, children conceived on one night stands etc. and producing children seems to be so easy to them.  Or mothers choosing abusive partners over their children and their children being taken into care.  There were some days when it was worse than others especially cos no one knew at work.  My boss knew but he was a male who didn’t have children and wasn’t a very warm person so I couldn’t talk to him or confide in him.  I had to tell him purely cos I was going to be off for a couple of weeks.

Why is that though?  Why is this sort of thing quite an unspoken topic.  So many woman experience it but it isn’t spoken very much.  At work I didn’t feel very supported but then I guess I didn’t really tell anyone.

Of course people were understanding but sometimes people would come out with v unhelpful comments like I said earlier like it wasn’t a proper baby, it was meant to be, you will have another, try again.  I wasn’t allowed to try again and also I might not be able to have another.

It did force Neil and I to have a conversation about what would we do if we couldn’t have another and we both agreed we would adopt.

Another thing that was apparent that some friends who hadn’t been in contact for a while when they found out (once I had gone through it all) then started to feel bad for not being in touch, not being around.  Again something I have learnt from this is sending an odd text to friends just to check in with them see how they are is so important.  Those ten days when I had to wait for the operation, still feeling awful (this is a classic sign of Molar Pregnancy because you have so much more pregnancy hormone that all the symptoms you get first trimester are a million times worse like nausea/tiredness/sickness) was really hard.  One friend knew who came and helped me out and helped me look after my daughter but it was not something that I could just text someone.  I now just send texts to friends just to see if they are okay.

I now have a little boy and feel very blessed to have two children.  I’m not bitter upset or angry about what I went through.  I have dealt with it.  I am in a much better place to be able to comfort other woman experiencing miscarriages etc.

You can read about symptoms and treatments of molar pregnancy here.

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