Guilt and algorithms

We weren't sure we were ready for a baby. In fact we were pretty sure we weren't ready! We felt like we were probably a bit too selfish

Unsplash - Annie-Spratt

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#misCOURAGE 22/08/17 by Laura 

We weren't sure we were ready for a baby. In fact we were pretty sure we weren't ready!

We felt like we were probably a bit too selfish. Too much still to do. But as I had turned 32 and my husband was nearly 36 it seemed like we had to be sensible about it. We did want kids so we'd just have to bite the bullet and I came off the pill. We proceeded to 'not not try'. I wasn't tracking anything or noting dates.

I was 33 by the time I fell pregnant and it was still a shock even though I'd been off the pill for so long. I was scared. My husband was away on a two week trip at the time and I was very alone. I was convinced I was too selfish and I wasn't sure I wanted this.

Fortunately my husband was having the same conflicted feelings. We talked through this huge life change. And I talked to close friends who were amazing and understanding about me suddenly feeling like this was a terrible idea despite it being something I apparently wanted.
I'd had hardly any symptoms throughout. I wasn't nauseous and only a little more tired than usual. My boobs were a bit sore but otherwise nothing major. That in itself did worry me a bit - I remember being told that the sicker you are the stronger the pregnancy hormones and that's a good thing - I've no idea if that's true. But I also knew plenty of people with kids who hadn't had many symptoms too.

I was 11 and a half weeks on Christmas Day and we were hosting both sets of parents. We'd decided to wait until then to tell them - for a start we'd be almost out the woods by then but it also seemed like a good Christmas present for them. They were all so happy. We saw more family on Boxing Day who'd all already guessed. It felt a lot more positive. A lot less scary.

So to start bleeding on the 27th felt like a very cruel trick. To wait until I was getting my head round it for it to be snatched away wasn't fair. 

In a way it was lucky (as lucky as you can be when miscarrying!) that we were both off work over Christmas, so my husband was at home when I found I was bleeding. We called the hospital and were given the option of waiting until an after hours surgery at our GP or taking our chances and waiting at the hospital but they'd no idea when I could be seen. I couldn't just sit around and wait at home. I needed to feel like I was doing something so we went to the hospital.

I don't know if it's like this everywhere but we had to wait in the Early Pregnancy Unit - where everyone goes for their scans. We were quite lucky again (!), it was early in the morning and there was no one else there. Having been back at a later date the room was full of pregnant women having their happy scans and taking their pictures of their healthy babies away.
More luck (!) we were seen quite quickly. An exam showed I wasn't yet miscarrying but they'd see if they could scan me to be sure. And in our run of luck we were able to go straight through.

A student sonographer was completing my scan with an experienced sonography on hand. After the internal exam they were discussing measurements and I was asked if it was possible I got my dates wrong. As they sat next to me they discussed the fact the sac was too small and then senior sonographer asked the student if she'd be ok to "tell the patient". At less than half a meter from them I didn't need either of them to tell me anything.

We had to book an appointment for a scan a week later to check, there was a chance my dates were wrong but in all likelihood it was the start of a miscarriage.

We were shown out through a back exit so as to avoid going back through the waiting room now full of healthy pregnant women. As soon as we got outside we sobbed and we didn't really stop for the next three days.
I wasn't told how far along the pregnancy had got but I recalled the measurements the sonographers were discussing and looked it up online. It was about right for 7 weeks. There was no chance I was 3 and a half weeks out with my dates. Not that I needed any confirmation really. I knew. My husband tried to stay hopeful but he knew too.

I continued to have a light bleed and some pain through until the 29th when the pain really hit. There weren't enough pain killers in the world and there was just so much blood. Trying to shower while blood pours from you is frankly horrendous. I passed clots several times throughout the day. I knew one of them would be my baby but I didn't know what else to do but flush the toilet. I tried to look but it was so dark with blood I couldn't see anything.

To some extent I think it was easier for me than my husband, I was going through the physical pain, something was happening to me which made it very clear that this was over. All he could do was watch, fetch hot water bottles, let me squeeze his hand when the waves of pain came and hold me. I was quite insane about trying again immediately after the bleeding had stopped, he said he wasn't sure we should be trying again so soon. I said there was no medical reason why we couldn't and I felt I had to try. He told me he couldn't watch me go through that again. I hadn't appreciated how hard it was to be on the outside looking in.

We went back the following week. There was a woman there quite clearly in pain, quite clearly miscarrying. We exchanged some teary eyed looks. It gave me some hope that even just one week down the line felt like a far better place than those first days. But I knew there was nothing that could be said that could make her feel any better in that moment.

We didn't really find anything out. There was a leaflet. I believe I went through a missed miscarriage. Though that's just from piecing together a few things that were said along with my own research. I'm sure I could have asked but I didn't think to.
It was confirmed that everything inside me was "normal". Obviously nothing was normal.

It was easier than it had been but it was and still is a very long road. For a start, despite being a logical and rational person, all the guilt of having not even wanted this, having brought this on myself with all my doubts came. I know that's not true. I know it, but it's hard to feel it sometimes. 

Also I'd been googling away looking up loads of baby stuff and so all those clever advertising algorithms were ensuring pregnancy and baby related links popped up in every app I opened. My GP surgery didn't get the memo so I had calls to find out why I hadn't booked my midwife appointment. And seemingly there are gazillions of babies and pregnant women wherever I go.

'Not not trying' has gone out the window! I'm not pregnant again yet. I'd hoped I would be by now. I'm very aware of my approaching 34th birthday. And I'm so scared it will happen again.

It would have been my due date this week. It's certainly been a hard week. Harder than it's been in a while. But it'll get easier again and hopefully I'll fall pregnant again soon.

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