We were back to St Mary's in Manchester last week for a follow up after my operation in August to remove an ectopic pregnancy that ended in miscarriage. We'd been feeling very nervous and filled with dread about going because it was such a difficult operation and recovery. We went in for what we thought was a 20 minute procedure to get rid of some retained tissue from the miscarriage, we weren't too stressed about it, it had to be easier than the original operation. Instead, I woke up after being on the operating table for over three hours, feeling like something that had been dragged 100 miles down the M1 underneath a lorry.
I also had to stay in hospital for a night and a whole day, which, when the morphine kicked in, felt like a holiday!! Sleep when I wanted, ice cream for pudding in those little polystyrene cups and a stack of magazines a foot high to catch up on. I was in a lot of pain physically and emotionally and that seems like a flippant thing to say, but fellow parents of toddlers who like to surprise you with a week of sharing your bed will get where I'm coming from with the holiday thing.
It took a few weeks for me to recover amid a hot flash storm of hormones and struggling to walk, but I did it. I had three stitched and glued keyhole surgery sites to heal, along with cuts inside where they'd repaired things. I healed my heart most importantly; I fully came to terms with my grief and started to let go. I starting being kinder to myself and forgave myself for what had happened. I started to ask myself how a scar ectopic pregnancy could even remotely have been my fault.
Post op, they were initially worried about some adhesions in my womb, which are bands of scar tissue that prevent you from having any more children. Understandably we were gutted. It just felt like more bad news heaping on top of an already groaning pile. On the way to St Mary's we listened to The National's new album in silence, having snapped at each other over nothing due to the stress.
I walked in there resigned to my fate. Five minutes passed, my stomach churning. The Doctor turned to us and said that everything went really well and there's no scar tissue. I nearly cried and threw my arms around him. I'm not used to getting good news anymore, it's a wonderful feeling. Even better, the best news we could have hoped for; we've been given the all clear to try for another baby in two months.
The two days after the appointment I felt like I was floating. This whole ordeal started in May and lasted until last week. Our entire summer was ruined. We were under so much more stress than I ever felt possible. The pressure was so great I thought my insides would have turned into coal. We weren't very kind to each other at times. I wasn't the best mother or wife I could be. I lost friends for better or worse. All that can now fade into the landscape of our lives and shape us in a more long term and less urgent way, which will allow us to remember our baby.
Simply put; we're free.
I want to finish with a line from a John Grant song called Glacier that has not only helped me through all this but also shaped me as a person:
"This pain/It is a glacier moving through you/And carving out deep valleys/And creating spectacular landscapes"
This song always brought me back to me even at my lowest ebb through this entire nightmare. Please listen, I'm sure you'll agree with the meaning behind it about how pain shapes us in unimaginable ways after the short term fog has lifted. It makes us better and we learn.