It’s early on Thursday 7th February 2019, just a couple of days after a fresh embryo transfer, and I’m awake with tummy pains. I pop some paracetamol and hope it goes away.
It doesn’t. By mid-afternoon I’m back in bed, feeling shivery and by now in some degree of pain. I ring the clinic. Someone tells me it’s very unlikely to be related to my IVF and I’m probably coming down with a bug. I’m pretty sure they’re wrong but I swallow it and stay put.
By 5pm I’m in agony, unable to move from my bed and I know it’s not a bug. I call them again and, gasping for breath, tell them it’s got worse. They tell me to get someone to take me to hospital, and if there’s no one home then to call an ambulance.
Arriving home following my panicked phonecall, John carries me down the stairs as by now I cannot move and I arrive at Macclesfield General Hospital A&E at 6.30pm, hot and crumpled.
Hours later, I am admitted. Vaginal swabs taken behind a flimsy curtain in an A&E corridor will be sent for testing and bloods checked for infection (a high temperature does not bode well). I am taken by wheelchair to a ward in the depths of the labyrinthine hospital, and wonder how John will ever find me. He’s gone to the 24hr Tesco to find me some pants and a toothbrush.
Arriving on the ward at close to midnight, I am wheeled into a 3 bed room. One bed has the curtains drawn, while in another a pale and ancient female figure is propped up in bed under what seem like glaring lights, all rattling breath and staring eyes.
I am hooked up to IV paracetamol to try and calm my raging temperature and dull the excruciating pain in my abdomen. John eventually finds me (the ward, helpfully, is completely un-signposted and located at the far side of the hospital from the car park) and at least I have a toothbrush for the morning.
A nurse brings me some toast and I spend the rest of the night tossing and turning, my feverish sweats drenching the sheets which cling to the thin rubber mattress.