The famous doctor and the dread

This is going to be a bit dreary. I am reaching breaking point and I have a huge personality crisis stemming from, perhaps, the fact that I’m taking three times the amount of oestrogen that a menopausal woman would. (I am not menopausal yet… just thickening my lining…)

About ten days ago we went to see a specialist in recurrent miscarriage in London. He makes the papers with headlines “Women has baby after 18 miscarriages” and the like. He is a reproductive immunologist. A specialist that looks at the role of the immune system in RPL (Recurrent Pregnancy Loss). He investigates NK cells (Natural Killer cells) that aggressively attack the embryo whilst trying to implant in the uterus or right after. A huge amount of women undergo treatment with him after being told everywhere else that they didn’t have a problem and just to try again. These women write their experiences in a forum online that’s been going on for longer than 10 years. For months I have perused these forums; I have read success stories of women who followed his treatment and I have held my breath when women experienced further miscarriage under his treatment. I have also read that, if the tests he does show a NK cell problem, then you have an 80% chance of a successful pregnancy. So what’s not to like? What’s the catch?

Money. This is really expensive. I mean really. I feel guilty just for being self indulgent enough to want to have these tests done. And the tests are just the beginning of it. Then, if he identifies a problem with NKs, he will insist on treating you with several medications, giving you biweekly scans and intralipid infusions (A conconction that is supposed to bind to the NK cells to keep them from attacking the pregnancy). The intralipids alone cost 300 each.

I am desperate to be pregnant again after my last miscarriage, it’s instinct. But at what cost? I feel so much pressure. On the one hand, if I don’t conceive, at least I can save some money in order to pay for the treatment (If I found a real job). On the other hand, every month that passes is one month wasted and gone whilst my eggs are dying. My entire value as a woman dependent on my capacity to have children. It is worth money. The root of all fucking evil. I think this is what it must feel like to sell your soul to the devil. A dizzy feeling as if you were about to enter a huge vortex with no end to it. At least not a visible end. I have pressing questions that no one can answer. “Where do you draw the line?”

Stories of women having 10, 15 and 20 miscarriages blow my mind. How can they keep going? How can they amass the fortune that they need to keep going with these treatments? Everybody talks about the women who got their longed for rainbow babies. But what about the women that didn’t? In what physical and mental state were they? Why did they decide to stop? Was it money? Was it health? Their relationship breaking down?

My state of mind right now is so grotesque that it reminds me of one of Goya’s paintings of ‘Saturn devouring his son’. I’m trying to make sense of it. Maybe it’s the waiting time for the results. Maybe it is that, suddenly, everything became real and now I can see a light at the end of the tunnel and it’s scary. Weirdly, one of the things that happen with infertility is that you lose sight of the end goal and you stop wishing and hoping that a baby in your arms could/would happen. It is like a blurry dream. One I’m not ready for. Not yet. Maybe I’m absolutely terrified of pregnancy knowing that I will never have the naive, blissful experience other people have. Maybe I’m humiliated by the fact that my body needs huge amounts of money to conceive and carry to term. Maybe I just feel useless and worthless because I’m taking hormones. Or maybe I am miserable because my little sister went back home.

Either way, I feel dread at the results, at my lining not thickening enough to have an embryo implant in it, at my ovarian reserve results and at how expensive it could be if we went for it.

On this note, I’m going to show you a song I wrote that encapsulates how I feel and have felt numerous times since the beginning of this experience. The music for this song was written by our band ‘The Menagerie’. Once it was hammered in my head numerous times, I managed to write singing and lyrics for it. So here it is. I can sing it a capella if anyone wants to hear it in person sometime. Not sure about recording a capella though. It’s more intimidating.

Dread

Shackled to my bed
Bound by a demon
who lives within myself
Dreams hanging on a thread

Why did I wake
If I keep sleeping longer
there’ll be no choice to make
Or gestures misread/after the demon fled

A spark that possessed me
I feel dark and dead
The dream catcher drips blood above my head.

But I am dead in the seeds
I am dead inside
I feel dread
Dread, dread.

Chained to my head
If I keep sleeping longer
They’ll be no thoughts to face
Or feelings to shred

My eyes are open wide
But when I keep them closed
The pain is not around
Stop it, let me fly

Anger keeps me burning bright
Like the fire of thine eyes
And makes my skin shed

But I am dead in the seeds
I am dead inside
I feel dread
Dread, dread.

Saturn devouring his son

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