Miscarriage, for some reason that I cannot comprehend, seems to be the ultimate taboo subject. No one talks about it and, as women, we seem to be squeezed into this situation where it almost becomes shameful. When you look at the statistics, however, there is absolutely no reason why we should confine our stories and experiences to the deepest and darkest parts of our memories. We should share them, use them as a form of support for others and most of all be proud that we survive such an indescribable heartache. That is what I hope to achieve here – if just one person can read my story and feel empowered to speak out about their experience then my heartache and loss will have produced something good and pure.
Our story starts in April 2015. My fiancé and I had just become aunt and uncle to our truly beautiful twin nephews. We were already luckily enough to be blessed with an equally wonderful nephew and the two new additions made an instant impact on our lives, in more ways than they know.
As we were driving home from the hospital, I turned to my fiancé and said those six words which changed everything “I want to have a baby”. I’m prone to saying the first thing that comes into my head, so I really wasn’t sure how he would react to this very simple, yet life changing, statement.
To my amazement, he looked at me and replied “me too.” That was the point where everything changed for us. We decided that we wanted to become parents.
While the decision had been made, it wasn’t just as simple as getting down to business and trying for a baby. The nature of my job meant that I wanted to time getting pregnant quite carefully so it had the least impact. As well as this, my partner was about to go back to college so that he could also progress his career. There were too many variables in the lives of two already busy people to just plunge headfirst into making babies. We decided that October would be a good time for me to come off of the pill with the hope of a conception at the start of 2016.
It was a long wait to October and ditching the contraception that had been in place for so long to prevent the thing that we now wanted so desperately. In November, December and just after New Year we didn’t manage to conceive. It broke my heart every time. No one ever tells you just how difficult getting pregnant can be – not just from the point of view of conception but also emotionally.
Every 4 weeks I would spend at least 3 hours crying uncontrollably because my period had arrived. For the professional, driven women I had always been, the sting of failure came keen.
That was until Wednesday 27th January 2016. I didn’t feel right. Something was ‘off’, as it were. After speaking to a much trusted colleague she advised me to come home and test. So I did.
After a slightly ambiguous result and a mad dash for the most expensive test Sainsbury’s stock, my other half said the words I will never forget “well, you’re going to have a small person to look after!”
If I could have bottled that feeling and cherished it forever I would have. It was indescribable. The months of waiting and trying had finally come to fruition. We were going to be parents. The decision was made to tell our families and close friends early on, “just in case anything does happen and we need a little bit of support.” Looking back now, maybe something didn’t sit right with my other half. Maybe that is why he made the suggestion. Either way, we were so blinded by the happiness and excitement we didn’t think anything could burst out bubble.
Scroll forward to 13th March 2016. I woke up that Sunday morning to the one thing no expectant mother wants to see – blood. Panic descended and I felt like my world was falling apart. While it was only the tiniest amount of blood, it was enough. We went to the NHS Walk-in Centre who booked us in for an early scan the following Thursday. That evening, there was a little more bleeding so we went to A&E. They tried to scan me but couldn’t get a clear picture, and at that point the bleeding had stopped. My impatience got the better of me on the Monday morning and I booked a private scan.
The private scan showed an 8 week sac but no baby. We were completely bewildered by what was going on. By Thursday we were wrecks and were informed at the hospital scan that it looked like baby had stopped growing at 6 weeks. There was no heartbeat. I still remember the lovely ultrasound technician who took a picture of my little baby and printed it for me to keep. She’ll never know how much that meant to us.
On Saturday 19th March I was admitted to hospital as the bleeding had started again and was much more in quantity. I felt like the world was falling down around my head. I couldn’t make head nor tail of what was happening to me and why it was happening to me. Another scan on the Sunday (after bleeding had stopped, again) showed two ‘blobs’ – one was definitely our baby but the other was a new element in the story. We were back in the “wait and see what happens” stage.
I will never forget the moment my miscarriage truly began on the Sunday night. I knew instantly; not just through the pain or the loss of blood, but also because of the gut instinct which told me this wonderful, beautiful thing was coming to an end.
On the Monday lunchtime they confirmed that I was miscarrying. In my heart I had known all along. I decided to have Medical Management intervention to complete – I had come so far at that point I wanted to have my ‘delivery’, as morbid as it sounds. I needed to complete my miscarriage myself to feel like I had done something right. I kept going through the night on the most ridiculous cocktail of pain medication until the Tuesday morning. At this point, I had lost so much blood that the doctors decided that if it continued I would have to go to emergency surgery. I was rushed down to theatre 15 minutes later.
From that point on my life became about blood tests, transfusions, blood pressure readings and oxygen saturation rates. My miscarriage became secondary. It wasn’t until I came home from the hospital, battered and well and truly broken, that the truth really hit me.
I had lost my baby. I had failed my baby. I was inadequate. I wasn’t a true woman. I couldn’t make this situation better.
I wouldn’t speak to my partner about it for a number of days and when I finally did all I could do was apologise. I felt like I had disappointed him and let him down in the most heinous of ways. I retreated into myself and developed terrible anxiety, to the point where I did not want to leave the house or be left alone. Once I got past my body being broken I had to confront the terrible truth that I was mentally broken as well.
We are just over 6 weeks since our miscarriage and I still cry every day. I cry for the baby I lost and I cry for the future we had planned. I cry for the moments I had imagined between myself and my partner; seeing our living, breathing baby on the ultrasound; feeling the baby moving in my stomach and most of all him holding our child in his arms. I’ve cried most of the way through writing this.
I still feel guilty and that I’ve let him down. I feel like people see me as ‘the girl that miscarried’, even if they don’t know my story. The only thing that has taken the edge off of all of it is being able to talk about it. I can’t imagine how we would have coped if we hadn’t been lucky enough to have friends and family around us to talk about our experience. That’s why #misCOURAGE is so important for me – no one should have to suffer the pain I know and understand in silence.
No woman should have to feel ashamed of nature taking its pre-determined course.
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