Monday, 12 January 2009


Today my husband and I drove to Oxford (1 and a half hours away) to see a senior consultant at the John Radcliffe Hospital. We had booked the appointment in the expectation that I would still be pregant and we were not sure whether we should cancel it or not. But we decided to go. It rained heavily all the way there. I feel like it's been raining for three years. The appointment with the consultant was all about statistics. If you've lost five babies then the chance that you'll lose another is 50%. If you get pregnant at 42 then you have a 50% chance of losing the baby. If you have had a detached placenta then there's a 10% chance it will happen again but the risk is much higher if you are older. At some point I lost track of whether one of these figures is subsumed into the others, or whether I am meant to add them all together. If the latter is true then I seem to have at least 110% chance of losing another baby - even if I could get pregnant. (In another mood I might see the comic side of this). Well, the consultant was doing his best. At least he listened - which is more than can be said for most of his profession. I stopped listening at a certain point. I am very bad at maths but even I could figure out that, no matter how you add the figures up, the answer always equals Totally and Utterly Hopeless. I managed not to cry in the appointment or say bitter things but towards the end of the conversation I was beginning to lose control. As we left the consultants office, he said, 'You know there's a cafe, if you want a cup of tea. At the end of the corridor, a cup of tea.' Poor guy, we want a baby and all he can offer is a (very British) cup of tea. I came home, went to bed, cried for two hours. But after that I had to get up and make the supper and try to play the Normal Life Game. My husband and I get through the day but the grinding, grinding misery is pretty hard to bear. And there isn't really any end to it as far as I can see.


Anonymous said...

I prefer not to listen to statistics. My oncologist quoted statistics to me 8 years ago. My wonderful surgeon hugged me and gave me hope. You lost a baby only two weeks ago. I hear the despair in your voice. Although I am across the other side of the world we are connected because I have read your story now and my heart goes out to you. Prayers and hope and trust and love are just words to you right at this moment but all of these and more are surrounding you. Cyber hugs from someone whose heart you have touched. Peggy from Australia x

c. said...

Oh Alice. My heart just breaks for you. I'm just gutted. Were they able to offer you anything at all? Treatment? Meds? Help? Anything?

110%. Now those are some odds. How encouraging.

Your reaction sounds very much like how I'd react. The husband hates it when I react bitterly, but I can't even help it. It's hard to hurt so badly. It's hard to want something so badly and not be able to get help for it. To lose and lose, over and over again, and not have any one or anything try to help prevent it. It's awful. And I'm just. so. sorry.


Tash said...

110% is about what I came up with, too.

Of late, I've started just living by the basic premise of probability which is: either something will happen, or it won't. strip it of the odds. On the one hand, this kinda puts everything into a 50/50, but on the other, it's pretty liberating. Either I'll make to the grocery store and back, or I won't. I'll make dinner, or I won't. I've kinda had it with odds.

I'm really sorry. I actually think the tea is a really nice gesture -- I can't imagine any of my doctors doing anything remotely comforting. I'm thinking of you, and I'm just so sorry.

Lisa b said...

I saw a high risk OB on Friday to see what I don't really know.
I think my odds stink. He thinks since I have one healthy child that I could have another one.
Kind of like Tash's 50/50 odds but, as he put it, he's not the one jumping of the cliff.
I wish I had something to offer Alice, but I guess all I have is a cup of tea too.

Anonymous said...

Dont know if you take The Independent but there is a an article by Kate Evans on p8 of todays (27th Jan) Life section that might interest you.

A friend.

Karin said...

Statistics. Here is what I know. Out of 1 in 'insert statistic', it is still about the 1 or the other. For me, our Imogen was 1 in 3,000,000. When I saw that number I said to myself, well bugger the cautionary statistics. One either gets there, or they don't. Since then, whenever a medical person shares their thoughts on my odds about whatever, I tell them about Imogen. Recently, my gastroenterologist told me my risk for bowel cancer was 1 in 8. I told him about Imogen. He said, ah.

Since the beginning, we've been bombarded with one statistic to another. Our gut instincts and a willingness to take risks propelled us along.

Then when we tried again after Magnus, we reached the end. I knew it, Kieron knew it. I think all of us in this boat just keep trying until the day when we decide otherwise. I don't think it has much to do with statistics.

I am so sorry things are not easier. I wish for that the most, a bit of easing.


Aurelia said...

I had absolutely zero chances and multiple miscarriages, and everyone gave up on me but eventually something worked.

I know it's awful, but maybe there are meds that could help? I took heparin and baby aspirin and progesterone and they made all the difference.

But I know it may not help you...I guess I will just hope for you. Take care, and if you ever want to email about any of this, please do.