Hysteroscopy, infertility, grief and trauma
Trigger warning: miscarriage, still birth, infertility, death, trauma My anxiety about Tuesday's hysteroscopy was really raging in the middle of the night so I centred myself with creativity. Neurographic and zentangle drawing help focus my mind and find peace from anxiety.
I've also been able to process why my anxiety is so high.
There's the expected pain and trauma of an invasive procedure, and yes it's traumatic to know you will experience pain in a procedure and many of us have had traumatic experiences around sexually encounters and/or examinations. But there's more than that. There's the trauma of infertility and the death of my boys. It is traumatic to go through infertility procedures for years and years; to have endless internal scans and tests and tries and failures and to feel hope and loss and hope and loss and hope and loss for month after month after month. It's a huge toll on relationships and friendships and on life itself. I don't think Mike and I talked about much else for years and of course most people knew nothing about it. We still held down professional jobs and looked like we were succeeding and happy. And yes, I was running my own business working, presenting and travelling internationally, but I was taking my temperature on waking ever day and taking ovulation tests for weeks every cycle and having at least 7 scans per cycle and then the pregnancy tests which I bought in bulk. Our life of infertility was hidden and therefore even more traumatic. I'm incredibly lucky to have met an amazing group of women online who became my life line. We supported each other through every step of our journeys and are still connected to this day. But back to my point.... All of the appointments and scans and heartbreak moments happened in the very building where I will be having the hysteroscopy on Tuesday. I can't go in that building without feeling sick, physically sick. When I go for a scan to check on my ovaries and womb I have to sit in the same waiting room where I'd sat dozens of times with hope, only to be told yet another cycle had come to nothing; the same room where I was told to wait after being told they couldn't find Kendi's heartbeat and where I sat alone when they said Leof had stopped growing. I feel faint and sick in that room. And often, when called for the scan, I'm having it in one of the rooms where I was given the bad news. And yes, one of those rooms is also the room where we heard Rachel's heartbeat for the first time, but it was momentary joy before fear overwhelmed us again. It's traumatic. On Tuesday I don't have to go for a scan, thankfully. I was going to go to a theatre and that isn't so bad. But, due to the NHS being overwhelmed, I've had the hysteroscopy moved to an outpatient room. There are all sorts of issues around disability that will make this more difficult. But the hardest thing will be that I'll be one door down from the ward where I said goodbye to my boys. I'm going to be right there in the place of the greatest trauma. I had an appt in that location a few years ago and had a full blown panic attack and had to leave. I'm in a stronger and more aware place mentally now, after all I've been able to identify and write this. But it is going to be mighty hard and I'm going to need every tool in my tool box to get through it and every prayer you can muster from 8am until midday on Tuesday 5 October please.