My surgery was on 1st July 2011, making my all-clear date 1st January 2012. This would be 18 months from when we first set out on our journey to conceive. 18 months! Some people make 2 babies in this time, and we would be no closer to making one.
Following the first hCG reading, I was referred to Sheffield Trophoblastic Disease Centre and I was then required to provide them with a urine sample on a fortnightly basis for testing. Every two weeks the testing package arrived – a teeny test tube and some paperwork to fill and send back in the return post. I would then have a couple of anxious days to wait before I could ring up for the result. Luckily (I guess ‘lucky’ is really relative in this story), my results remained ‘normal’. The waiting was hard though. All that I said earlier, about wanting to conceive again to help us heal? That was being kept from us. There was no way, of course, to know whether we’d conceive any quicker this time, but at least before we were trying to move forward, now we were in a no man’s land, where there was nothing we could do but wait for time to pass and the all clear to reach us.
Trying (and failing) to conceive is hard [understatement!] at any time. Trying (and failing) and being prevented from conceiving in what was one of the largest baby booms to hit England in 40 years was extra-specially hard. Friends / colleagues who started trying after us, were now nursing their precious babes. Not a week seemed to go by without another baby announcement, another ‘you’re leaving to have a baby’ collection to dig deep for, another card to write in, another smile to fix to our faces, another “oh, congratulations, how wonderful” to deliver. Did I wish these people weren’t having babies? Not at all, I only wished that we too could join them.
Time passed slowly. I was absolutely desperate to start trying again, the limbo we were living in was making me extremely sad. I researched molar pregnancies to death. I emailed the wonderful nurses at Sheffield for advice. Matt and I discussed it at length and eventually decided that we would start trying again a month early. This is a really individual decision to make, but we felt it was the right one for us. The 6 month period seems relatively arbitrary and once a ‘normal’ result is received, hCG very rarely rises again. We felt safe to start trying to move forward.
Around the time we were making the decision to start trying again, I joined an online molar pregnancy forum. I feel so lucky that I did. Unlike a ‘regular’ miscarriage, there is so much other rubbish that comes with having had a molar pregnancy. Plus such little information around – in all the pregnancy books we had, I think only one mentioned molar pregnancy as a possible complication of pregnancy, and only then in passing (like “oh spotting might be a sign of a molar pregnancy, but yeah, it won’t be that as they’re so uncommon”). It’s easy to feel like a freak. To be able to speak to other ladies going through the same and coming out the other side was such a relief. This group of ladies are some of the most courageous, brave, compassionate women I have ever come across. Some had been through such long and scary journeys (including months of chemotherapy treatment and extended periods of follow-up, in some cases lifetime), but still had time to offer support, encouragement and non-judgmental listening.
So, we started trying again in November. The first month passed and we were unsuccessful. My new cycle began on Christmas Eve 2011. We were disappointed to be facing another Christmas without a baby or one on the way, but we were determined to make 2012 our fresh start.
On 21st January 2012, we got a positive test. Our fresh new start was here. Pregnant again.