1 in 4 isn’t just a statistic, it’s us

I feel like I’ve overcome a lot in this last week, there’s definitely more good days than bad, but I still miss what could’ve been.

Story by Victoria

We are quick to share good news, pregnancy announcements, gender reveals, baby arrivals, milestones and birthdays. But you hardly ever see anyone sharing the experience of losing a baby, coming to terms with the life that you created being taken away and the mental and physical pain it puts you through.

We found out a week before Christmas 2018 that we were expecting and we couldn’t have been happier. We shared the news with our closest family on Christmas Day and I have never felt joy like it. We had so much to look forward to and so much to plan, all the while I worried something would happen. I tried to just enjoy it for what it was. I had my first midwife appointment and all was well, we booked our first scan for 4 weeks later. 

A little over a week before we were due our scan things started happening that made me feel something wasn’t quite right. I knew when I was pregnant before we took the test and I knew before we had our emergency scan on February 3rd 2019 that something was wrong. The two days we waited for our scan were awful and they felt so so long. I’d already told myself the worst had happened so that when they told me everything was fine then things would only get better. 

Nothing on this earth can prepare you for the moment you find out. It only took minutes but it felt like hours and sure enough they confirmed what I already knew. Our baby we had dreamed of and wanted so much had passed, 3 weeks prior to the scan. The lady asked if we wanted to see on the screen, I said no. She asked if we wanted a photo printing, again the answer was no. I couldn’t bare to have a photo of something we would never have. To know that tiny baby, our first baby, was never going to be ours. Now I wonder if that was selfish, but we had to do what was best for us. 

We cried a lot and I’m not ashamed. I was angry and hurt and confused as to why it happened to us when we had done everything right. But there is no explanation, no reason. It’s nobody’s fault despite how you blame yourself. And I did blame myself, over and over. Did I do too much around the house? Did I drink too much caffeine? Maybe I didn’t eat enough vegetables. But it’s not my fault.

We were shown in to the ‘quiet room’ and left on our own for a while where all I did was cry and apologise. I was sorry to my husband, because I felt like me and my body had let him down and sorry to our tiny baby, because I blamed myself. We were told about our options. Things you have no idea about. Did we want to let the miscarriage happen naturally? No, I couldn’t wait any longer for this to be over. I’d already carried our baby for 3 weeks without realising it’s tiny heart had stopped beating, I also didn’t want this happening at home. You could have medication to speed up the process or the third option was a surgical procedure where the pregnancy would be removed, this was what we wanted, so we knew when it was all over. We we’re booked to go back two days later for a second scan to ‘confirm’ what they had just told us, but everything happened so fast that we never made it to that scan. 

Part of me wanted to keep this private, the horror we felt on the morning of February 5th when our miscarriage was well on it’s way is something I will never forget and it’s not something that everyone could openly talk about. I bled more than I ever imagined possible, I nearly fainted twice in the bathroom only being held up by my husband who was my absolute rock throughout. He is the strongest person I know and if he hadn’t kept it together the way he did I’m not sure how I would’ve coped. 

The pain I experienced was second to none, realising I now know what labour feels like without bringing a baby home. Nobody tells you this part, you don’t expect to experience contractions despite knowing what’s going on in your body. I didn’t have time to cry anymore because the pain I felt overtook any other emotions I had. 

After 4 hours of constant bleeding and excruciating pain we were told we needed to go to the hospital. 

We were in the waiting room for only a few minutes before they called my name, sat me in a wheelchair and took us through. I lost all my dignity that day, walking around with blood streaming down my legs, soaking my clothes completely, carrying a towel around to sit on. What I experienced in the A&E room was without a doubt the worst thing I’ve ever gone through. It’s not something that needs to be shared but it left us questioning if we could ever risk going through this again. When the morphine finally kicked in and unbeknown to us I’d finished the ‘labour stage’ I was moved to the ward and with my first trip to the toilet I’d passed our tiny baby. I didn’t want to do this part on my own, but I knew exactly what it was when I saw it. And I realised I was stronger than I ever thought possible. 

The calm I felt after was something I cant explain but I knew that, physically, it was almost over and we could begin to move forward. The rest of the day was sponsored by biscuits and having my head tickled by my husband who never left my side. It was hard for me to have to put my body through this but equally as hard for him to have to watch the agony and distress I was in knowing there wasn’t a single thing he could do to ease my pain. 

After a couple hours on the ward I waddled down for my scan where they confirmed that the pregnancy was gone. Our baby was gone. We were then given more options, I never thought we’d be deciding if we wanted our first baby to be cremated or buried. If we wanted to attend a service, which we decided against. The fact they offer this to so many women is so so comforting, but for us it would only have prolonged the pain and we wanted to move on as quickly as we could. Before leaving we were told we needed to do a pregnancy test three weeks later to make sure all the pregnancy tissue had come away, there’s something quite unsettling about wanting a baby so badly, yet hoping for a negative pregnancy test, because only then do you know that all is over. 

The hospital were amazing from start to finish, of course there were things we would change but the way the staff handled everything with such sensitivity is something that helped us through. We are heartbroken and we will be for a long time, but we are healing together. People say things happen for a reason and sometimes it’s difficult to understand why, I’ve lost count of the amount of times I’ve cried that it just isn’t fair. But we will get through this, surrounded by the most amazing group of family and friends that have been with us throughout. We are grieving for the tiny life we lost but also for the future we had planned as a family. But better things are ahead and we will be happy again.

You never think something like this would happen to you. It just never does, does it? But we were so wrong and so unprepared for what we went through because it’s never really spoken about, there isn’t enough awareness despite how often it happens. I don’t know if I’m just naive or uneducated, but my idea of a miscarriage was very different to the way it played out, I didn’t expect any of this. But the other ladies on the ward I was on all had very different experiences too. The only thing we had in common was the loss of a pregnancy we desperately wanted. 

I’ve definitely made it through these last few weeks by being completely honest about the way I was feeling and sharing the awful things we’ve been through. Like anything, you should be able to grieve and come to terms with the loss in your own time as everyone is different. We aren’t the first people to experience this and we know we won’t be the last and that’s so so upsetting. I feel like I’ve overcome a lot in this last week, there’s definitely more good days than bad, but I still miss what could’ve been. 

It’s not ‘just a miscarriage’ and it was a ‘proper’ baby to me. I carried it for every second of its life and that’s not something I take lightly. It was and will always be our first.