In the UK, on the NHS, you are not considered to have a ‘problem’ with miscarriage until you have had three of them. In a row. If you have a THB (Take Home Baby) in amongst your MCs, the clock is reset. “Bad luck” is what they put it down to. And its not difficult to see why that is. The statistics tell us that MC is very common at least 20%, probably 25% of confirmed pregnancies will end in MC. And that’s just the ones ‘on the record’. I bet that if you asked 5 women of childbearing age about MC, you’d get a few stories back. That couple with that big age gap between their kids? I know what I’m betting on.
The advent of very sensitive HPTs (Home Pregnancy Tests) means that we know earlier and earlier when conception has occurred, and it all adds up. What might have been a slightly late and heavier than normal period 20 years ago is a very early MC now.
But that’s not the point. The real point is that it is a matter of fact that this happens to A LOT of couples, once, or maybe twice, and the very vast majority of those couples will go on to have subsequent healthy babies with no medical intervention (although it will, of course have been emotionally and mentally difficult for them, naturally). And, as a result of this fact, it is not financially ‘worth while’ (for want of a better phrase) to test every couple before they’ve got to the ‘magic 3’ unless there is a good reason, such as a known heritable genetic condition, or some other complication.
With respect to testing, I was lucky. Possibly because of having attracted the attention of a few Consultants, I was now ‘an interesting case’. I also have excellent GPs who were able to order the ‘cheaper’ bloods after MC 2 (clotting, some auto-immune etc.) and put us on a waiting list to talk to someone at our local hospital’s miscarriage clinic. The tests all came back ‘normal’. In fact, they would usually do them twice, but they were so normal, they left it at one round (presumably to keep the costs down, after all, I was not really officially entitled to them at that stage).
Having physically recovered from ‘Retained Products Gate’, off we duly went to our appointment. On the day, we were seen by the locum. What she told us would stop us in our tracks:
“IF YOU WANT TO HAVE A BABY, YOU WILL NEED TO HAVE SEX 3 TIMES A WEEK.” Well, f*uck me if it isn’t the Sherlock Holmes of fertility!
After that crashing disappointment, we eagerly awaited our next appointment a couple of months later. This time we were seen by a much more sensible Doctor who gave us lots of advice (stop being vegetarian – might help, might not, but at least you’ll have tried), a prescription for next time (baby Aspirin and progesterone pessaries), and a funny story about her cat (she had taught it to use and flush the toilet). We felt much more positive after that consultation. More importantly, we could put in to action two out of the three things she had said (I’m still working on that cat/toilet flushing thing).
This was shortly after Machiavelli (see previous post) had been killed on the road, so I was pretty much in the depths of despair, but at least we had some kind of a plan, and that was progress. When it comes to matters that take control of your health (and therefore your life choices, to an extent) out of your hands, having a plan makes a world of difference.
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