These are the words I kept telling myself and anyone who asked how I was when diagnosed with a pregnancy of unknown location (PUL).
When imagining what my family unit would be like, I always hoped to have two children. After struggling with postnatal depression with Little-Man though, the thought of a second was terrifying – so much so that this idea was scrapped completely at one point.
The time comes for a medication review with the GP, and I’m told I have to change contraception due to my weight. In a way this is was the catalyst for the conversation with Hubby about maybe growing our family. I decided if I was going to mess around my hormones, I’d rather not take anything at all than switch contraception.
Again, I fell pregnant fairly quickly. Similar to last time, it didn’t really feel real as I didn’t have any symptoms.
Unfortunately by the time I start getting use to the idea, I discover some light bleeding. I’m not far gone enough to be able to self-refer and go to the hospital triage there and then, so I have to wait for an appointment in a couple of days’ time. This is at the start of the Covid pandemic, which means I had to go alone. There I was sat in silence, not really knowing what was happening or what to expect. My name is called and I follow the midwife to one of the rooms where I fill her in. I now wait for a sonographer to become available so we can have a look at what’s going on. You’d normally be excited for the first scan of seeing your baby but this time I was just full of apprehension.
I’m now called into the darkened room where the scans happen. The cold gel goes on, and I lie there staring at the screen, not really knowing what to looking for. This then becomes an internal examination (sorry for TMI). Not much is said between myself or the sonographer. I didn’t want to disturb her concentration! When the time does come to talk, she says the words I was dreading…..’I can’t see any sign of a foetus’. My immediate response was ‘Maybe they’re just hiding’. Little-Man, my first born, was always sat in awkward positions for his scans, so maybe this was the same? I was told this is known as a Pregnancy of Unknown Location, and that this was a possibility. I clung on to this thought.
I’m now escorted to a room to sit and wait. Here I sit, confused by the whole situation. Am I pregnant?! I’ve no idea how long I was sat here on my own, but it felt like forever. I expected someone to come back in a few minutes to come and explain things to me, but this never happened. Meanwhile Hubby is outside trying to keep Little-Man entertained not knowing if we’re ok or not. I try my best to keep him updated, but that’s hard to do when don’t understand yourself.
When someone does come back to see me, I’m told to take another pregnancy test. Those two lines appear saying I’m still pregnant. What does it all mean?!?! So to try and clarify things, I have blood tests. I’m then sent home on my way, with instructions to do pregnancy tests at home and return for further blood tests to monitor hormone levels.
Did you know that the pregnancy hormones stay in your body for up to three weeks after a miscarriage? This is how long it took to see a negative result on the pregnancy test.
It’s going to sound horrible but I was actually relieved. I now had a definitive answer. I no longer needed to go back to the hospital, back to that room where it all began, to have further tests, all on my own.
Not only was I alone for these tests etc, but so was Hubby. It was like the blind leading the blind or a game of Chinese Whispers as I relay to him what was said by the medical staff. Whilst this made it more real for me and made me come to terms with it quickly, I think this made it harder for Hubby. Lockdown also made this harder than it needed to be as we weren’t able to see friends and family for support and comfort.
We’re both fairly open about what happened if asked, but it’s not something you find comes up in everyday conversation. We, along with others affected by this, take part in the Wave of Light Campaign. At 7pm on October 15th every year, candles are lit to remember those who were too beautiful for this earth, and photos put on social media. This is a lovely way to remember, but also a way to help others open up and seek support.