Guilty (adjective): Justly chargeable with a particular fault or error
I write because it helps me to process all my feelings, to assess what’s really wrong. Yesterday, I felt so low, I didn’t even want to write. That’s not happened before. But I know what’s been going around in my head, and it’s the blame game.
Apparently doctors don’t tell patients more than they think they need to know. They don’t want to overwhelm them, they assume that – in difficult times – there’s only so much a patient can take in. I agree with the latter premise, but personally, I think it’s so important to tell the patient whatever you can, simply and slowly. Because every grieving parent is going to ask themselves WHY and will try to piece together some sort of answer, to gather the facts and try to determine what happened, so any information is like gold dust.
The last time I was in the hospital, I was in for yet more follow up investigations. I sat in the waiting area and I made a list of questions for the doctors. I thought I’d done a good job. But now I’ve had time to think about the snippets of information I was given, I have more questions and no one to direct them to. It’s not just that, I have a whole new theory and no one to disprove it. To confirm or deny. Because I’ve figured out who is to blame here.
And it’s me.
It’s the twist in the proceedings: I thought I was the innocent bystander, but it turns out, I’m the guilty party.
It’s one month since I went into the hospital and if you recall, they told me that I have an adhesion in my womb which will require surgery; I am still awaiting a date for that. It was explained to me as being like a bit of elastic that’s separating my womb, which will need to be cut away.
The consultant also seemed oddly excited about how polycystic my ovaries were looking, he started counting “look there’s over 20 cysts on that one! And look so many on that one too!” – this was obviously not a good thing, so I didn’t question him about it. It was just more bad news.
The doctors were right: I could not think straight. I was in shock that there was something wrong with my womb and that my ovaries were both so riddled. I have had countless scans and probes, I really was not expecting them to find anything. I thought it would just be another case of “all things normal, you’ve just had bad luck with your pregnancies”.
I’m fairly certain that one of the snippets the doctor gave was that due to where the adhesion is, my left ovary would not be able to ovulate, but he said this quickly and casually, more to himself, so I’m only fairly sure that this is what was said. (This pandemic makes things worse, as there’s just me that has to do all the questioning and remembering now – James is no longer a secondary witness to it all).
My adhesion was likely caused by one of the two miscarriage surgeries (ERPC’s) I had, but which? The doctors did not want to commit to an answer, but I’ve now convinced myself that it occurred after the surgery with My Baby (as opposed to the surgery I underwent, after Summer).
Evidence for the Prosecution:
- Adhesions can cause second trimester miscarriages. Summer was a second trimester miscarriage.
- When the consultant looked back at a scan on my womb that was taken a week after Summer passed away (before my second surgery), he saw something which perhaps could have been an adhesion. He couldn’t confirm it for definite, it was very blurry, but surely seeing anything at all, is indicative of something having already been there?
- When I was pregnant with Summer, I started to get pain on the left side during the second trimester. We put this down to round ligament pain, even though it usually occurs on the right. Seeing as my adhesion is on the left hand side, surely this was confining the growing baby and causing the plain? I only made this connection two nights ago.
- Most of my pain with Summer occurred during the night. We could never figure out why it was always a similar time, perhaps this is when Summer was having her growth spurts and pushing against an adhesion?
- After my first miscarriage with BoC, I fell pregnant again within months. I had always heard that women are often more fertile immediately after a miscarriage, and that seemed to be true. After we lost My Baby though, it took eight months to conceive Summer. I was heartbroken to go through My Baby’s due date, still not pregnant. What’s worse, my periods were so irregular: every 6 to 8 weeks. When we fell pregnant with Summer, I was so surprised, because by that point it was clear that I was ovulating irregularly. Looking at the dates, it suggests that I was missing every other ovulation cycle: given that ovaries usually take it in turn to release eggs, surely it was my left ovary that had been obstructed from doing so?
- We need to go through all my past medical notes. I’m fairly sure that with BoC we were told the egg had come from one ovary, and the next pregnancy we were told it was the other ovary. (I remember thinking it was superfluous information, but at one scan I did smile and joke to James “good old lefty!”). I can’t remember which pregnancy was left and which was right. Perhaps we also have a note regarding Summer and which ovary had ovulated. I don’t think I want to know, because it will confirm what I think I already know: that my left ovary was failing before Summer arrived.
Evidence for the Defence:
- The earlier scan pictures were not clear or conclusive
- I have had polycystic ovaries since I was a teenager and so my periods have always been irregular. The eight week periods after My Baby, could have been a coincidence.
- I had a few regular periods after Summer, so maybe my left ovary is in fact working and the adhesion (which, as I understand it, is basically scarring after surgery) formed later. Except I’m now having eight week periods again – suggesting a missed ovulation, which is what has made me realise that this is what may have happened previously.
The adhesion was probably caused by the surgery after the miscarriage of My Baby, had I pushed to have medical investigations at that time, they would have seen and removed the adhesion.
I always knew that two first-trimester miscarriages would be medically considered “just bad luck”, that the NHS would not investigate until I had three consecutive miscarriages. But why did I trust and go along with that? Why did I not pause and investigate? We could have paid to go private. Why did I allow myself to have a third loss?
I’m not someone who ever just goes along with things I don’t understand. I pride myself on this at work: ensuring that I understand things myself, not just assuming that someone else does. Yet, I did not advocate for myself or my future babies and in doing so, I waited to have a third miscarriage.
You know, even when I got pregnant with Summer, I said “if it happens again, they’ll help us now” – how undeserving of that baby I was, to say that. As if that were a sacrifice worth making. I know a loss mum who has been much smarter. She paused after two losses and she’s started to investigate. It never made sense to her, that she should have to wait to lose another, before realising that something was wrong. Why was I so stupid, so cavalier? These are not my usual attributes.
I generally don’t do regrets, because I make considered decisions. But I didn’t do that here. I trusted other people. I am finding it difficult to forgive myself for this. I deserved this loss and I killed my baby.
Everything happens for a reason and sometimes, it’s because I’m stupid and make bad decisions.
I will now have to figure out how to live with this knowledge. It is a lifetime, not a fleeting, sentence of guilt that I will have to live with.
I don’t write for people to try to convince me otherwise, so there’s no need for you to interject. I write to document, assess and revisit. It’s been helpful to reread my earlier blogs and to see the progress I’ve made, feelings I no longer feel, or to acknowledge the lingering challenges to my mindset. The blog about my last appointment at the hospital has been useful to recall my immediate takeaways and I guess, this is the follow up investigative blog. I hope in time these feelings will change, but I know it’s more likely that these thoughts will linger.
N.B. I did not intend to put myself on trial. I just started writing and once finished, I realised that this was the format the blog had naturally taken. The blog name and section titles were added last, once I realised what the paragraphs and wording were suggesting.
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