Following the threatened miscarriage, weeks 13 to 16 of my pregnancy were fuelled with anxiety. I felt pregnant (even though my morning sickness subsided during this time) and trusted my body. I had no further incidents of gushing blood loss and I felt no pain, so I hoped that the blood loss had been a freak incident or the result of some unexplained cervical trauma that did not mean I had lost our baby.
I experienced a few occasions of spotting after the big bleed. The blood was mostly brown. My working day was punctuated with trips to the bathroom where I would check my underwear for signs of blood. My heart would sink if there was blood on the toilet paper when I wiped or if my pantyliner was stained. I knew I’d have to tell Kate this and I hated feeling like I was letting her down.
On the Monday of week 16 of pregnancy, I had a midwife appointment. It felt like a long time had passed since I had met with a health professional regarding our baby and this appointment could not have come soon enough. She did her regular checks, asked questions about my health and carried out an antenatal urine sample test. She noted the presence of blood in my urine and we discussed what had happened a few weeks ago. She was shocked that I hadn’t been sent for an ultrasound scan after the bleed. I didn’t mention this to her, but I believe we had experienced some subtle homophobia at the hospital on the morning of that bleed.
I don’t like to think that homophobia is tolerated in the NHS, but both my wife and I felt uncomfortable by the way our (female) doctor spoke to us and reacted to us, when we explained our situation and how we had come to conceive. It was like she had been living on another planet and had never come across a same-sex couple before. I don’t know whether her personal beliefs impacted her patient care towards us, but they shouldn’t have been allowed to. Not in this country. Not anywhere.
My midwife sent us for an ultrasound scan on the Thursday of week 16. We were able to see our baby on the screen. He or she is growing well and, most importantly, their heart was strong and beating. Thank you, Universe.