In the glorious sunshine of Philae Island on our long awaited honeymoon to Egypt, my new husband, Mat, and I walked hand in hand through beauty. Excited by our future and eager to start our family we talked to a guard who took us to an ancient part of the island and talked me through a ritual for fertility. We paid the man and he assured us that we would have a child within the year.
Little did we know that the magic had already happened. The week after our return home, we got the news. I was pregnant and our family was beginning to grow. Keeping it a secret for the next six weeks was agonising but as the date of our 12 week scan neared our excitement grew. We arranged a family meal to share our news. About a week before the scan the sickness eased and I felt great, thanking my lucky stars that I would not be one of the poor women who had sickness all the way through their pregnancy.
Four days to go and the spotting started. It would be fine though, Mat's worried expression was needless, lots of women bleed during the early stages, we were practically 12 weeks already, what could go wrong? Regardless, I called the doctor and he arranged a scan for the next day, Friday.
Going to the scan I was excited to see my baby for the first time. We were called in by a senior looking man and he asked me to lie on the bed. For the initial scan he did not switch out viewing screen on and after a few moments he asked me to go and empty my bladder as I would need an internal scan for him to get a clear view. Still determined that everything had to be OK I skipped across the waiting room to the bathroom and smiled at a heavily pregnant lady waiting her turn to be seen. I will be you soon.
Mat's expression was irritatingly grave as I hopped back onto the bed. A few minutes later I heard the ultrasound man very compassionately tell me that there was no heartbeat and that this appeared to be a missed miscarriage. My baby had died weeks ago and my body, much like myself, could not bear to let it go. He asked if I would like to look at the screen and I shouted, "No! Please don't show me!"
He was very kind and compassionate but every word he said floated away the instant I heard it.
Soon we were ushered into a private room and waited to be seen to talk about options. I don't know when the numbness faded and the tears began but by the time the midwife came to talk to us I was sobbing in Mat's arms and took several minutes to quiet myself enough for her to speak. She explained that I could wait for the process to happen naturally or they could book me in for an RPC (what a hateful name, Removal of Products of Conception) on Monday morning. Three days away. I asked for the procedure and we went home.
At home Mat poured me a glass of scotch and I felt guilty as I had my first sip. I drank defiantly, hating fate for killing my baby and making me carry it's dead body inside me. The rest of the weekend was a blur. Mat was a champion, making all of the phone calls that I could not bring myself to make, looking after me as the the cramps set in, putting his own grief second to mine.
Monday finally came and we arrived at the hospital, driven by my sister, I think. I was numb. The medical staff were very somber and respectful then taken aback as I joked and chatted with them. See how strong I am? I kissed Mat then they took me to theatre. I don't remember much else.
A week later I returned to work. Everyone knew and so I did not have to explain, which was a mercy. Working with children, babies, was tough. I talked with some of the mum's who were pregnant with their second child, feeling the bitterness creep back in as I smiled and asked how long they had together go. Congratulations! After that first week or two I stopped talking about it. No one wants to hear it again. Time to put it away in the same box I keep my grief, pain and sadness that fairytale endings aren't meant for me.
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