by Natasza Lentner
After excitedly discovering my first fertility cycle had been successful I'd prepared myself for the terrifying prospect of miscarriage but slowly I began to relax and start preparing for our future together, mine and my little bumble bee's. We talked every day and I played audio books to my belly every night.
I’d prepared myself for the giddy joy of announcing the news to my closest friends and family after my 7-week-scan. I had not been prepared to hear the words 'I'm sorry there's no heartbeat'.
I had not been prepared to make decisions about how to induce my miscarriage, but a leaflet from the Miscarriage Association was passed into my hands to be read through salty tears at home, I had a week to decide.
I hadn't prepared for how to celebrate a birthday while carrying a dead baby inside of you.
I hadn't been prepared for the pain when sent home to manage the miscarriage on my own or the contractions that had me rocking and screaming in pain. I had been given paracetamol so presumed that should be enough. Other people managed with just paracetamol so I must be weak.
I'd prepared myself for the horror of having to flush the tiny ball of cells, who's heart had beat for just a few precious days, down the toilet when the bleeding finally started, but I hadn't been prepared for the grief.
I didn't even know I was grieving, could you grieve for someone you'd never met?
I knew I was sad, and thought I was expected to 'get over it'. I thought I'd be given an acceptable timeframe to weep and all would be well and it'd be forgotten.
I will never forget. My first baby should be 2 this year. September the 11th, a day etched in so many memories, now marked by me for another.
My midwife called to ask why I'd cancelled my appointment, I struggled through sobs to explain why I no longer needed to see her. I saw two different GPs but no one asked if I needed any support. Maybe I was being naive, maybe I should had realised it myself but I'd never lost a baby before, I wasn't prepared.
My second and third pregancies bought the same dual lines but both faded and the bleeding began before I even had a chance to tell anyone. I'd learnt not to work out due dates for babies that may never come. I hadn't been prepared for the term "Chemical Pregnancy", it sounded so clinical.
Many expensive tests later, I was overjoyed to be pregnant again but wasn’t prepared for the panic I would feel and I found it difficult to enjoy the pregnancy knowing how fragile it could be.
Days before my 7 week scan I started bleeding again and the all too familiar darkness descended
It was confirmed and I was sent to miscarry at home. I wasn't even given the standard Miscarriage Association leaflet. Maybe because I’d said this was number 4 they presumed I'd become an expert and didn't need any help, in fact I needed it then more than ever. I hadn't been prepared for the cumulative effect of grief.
Somehow, holding my breath the whole way, I got to the 7-week-scan for my fifth pregnancy. As soon as I hopped on the couch the tears sprung free, I'd been here before, I was preparing for the worst. But then to my utter joy heard the good news: 'We have a really strong heartbeat, do you want to see?'
I started to relax, to think about names and buggies. I worked out due dates (April 18th). Whole future possibilities were imagined and held tightly. 1 day before my 9 week scan I started bleeding. I tried to remain calm while my entire world collapsed. I was trying to reassure myself, many people have spotting and go on to have healthy babies, but I knew my baby and she'd gone.
I chose to have surgical management as I was terrified to have my baby at home again and I needed to keep what the hospital delightfully called 'products of conception' what I called 'my baby' so they could be tested to see what caused the miscarriage. I had to wait a week for a confirmation scan and the ward prepped me with instructions on what to do should I pass my baby at home.
I was not prepared to have conversations about sieves and Tupperware boxes!
This time I knew I was struggling to cope and reached out to the Miscarriage Association’s private Facebook group. It was here that I finally realised that I had in fact been grieving for the last two years but hadn’t realised it. I met some lovely friends online who had been through similar experiences to me and I bought a book on grieving mindfully.
Acknowledging that I was grieving validated my feelings and allowed me to express them rather than try to fix them. I started drawing, writing, and going to yoga. Instead of fighting with the feelings of loss, I embraced my grief and we became friends of a sort.
My friends and family have been amazingly supportive throughout, but talking to people going through similar experiences has been incredibly therapeutic.
I had felt that grief had changed me fundamentally as a person, I felt I’d lost my identity, but I learnt that my identity was never fixed or predictable, we are always changing, we are always moving. Grief doesn’t go away, it isn’t fixed, it blends into your life, it may become part of who you are but it is not all that you are.
Breathe and keep moving: I’m on cycle 11 now, it’s hard but it’ll be worth it.
As Winnie the Pooh/A. A. Milne said: ‘how lucky I am to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard’
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By Anonymous (not verified) on 6 May 2016 - 18:29
I'm so sorry to read your story. I too have been through the ordeals of ivf. I had 7years of it, all of which were negative tests with one miscarriage in 2014.
I finally had a successful cycle last year and now have a beautiful 6month old baby girl. I know how hard it is. Plus with ivf it's not just a case of 'having sex each month' to try again. It involves drugs/hormones and procedures. I think that definitely adds an edge to things.
I really really hope and pray that you get your successful cycle. You deserve it.