“Mummy’s baby died” my two-year old daughter announced to my family on Christmas Eve over dinner. It wasn’t the first baby. Nor was it the last. A year before, I had miscarried at 12 weeks, a couple of days before my first scan was due.
Innocently it had never occurred to me that I may miscarriage the pregnancy after I had safely delivered a healthy daughter. My evenings had already been spent on http://names.darkgreener.com/ assessing whether any favourites were suitable to make it onto our shortlist.
I was naïve to have driven home on the motorway from A&E after being informed by the hospital they suspected I was miscarrying.
The hospital could only scan me the following day. By then I was left with no doubt what had happened – I am just glad what then happened didn’t take place on the hard shoulder. Luckily I was safely home.
Why had even at the hospital they glazed over the part of what actually physically happens when you miscarry? “You will pass some blood clots” they said.
No one said that I would have contractions, my waters would burst and blood and tissue would literally gush from me. There was no doubt there would be nothing to see in the scan at the early pregnancy clinic the next day.
Emotionally – I was in shock. I put it down to a ‘life experience’ albeit one that no one should have to go through. But in the darkness, I couldn’t fail to acknowledge how remarkable the human body is.
I tried to be strong and distract myself, but little reminders set me off. The maternity clothes I already had bought; the baby blanket I had picked up on a business trip only a couple of weeks before; the email reminders updating me on the progression of my pregnancy, and a free bib from a baby food company and wishing me luck with my delivery...
Another miscarriage followed almost a year later at 10 weeks - the baby loss to which my daughter referred. I saw that one coming. Indeed, I tried to stop myself get excited knowing from raw experience there are no guarantees with any pregnancy.
Yet despite my best intentions, I had already started imagining the logistics of travelling to an overseas wedding with a newborn.
It was less of a surprise after an intense week of work away abroad, when I sensed my body was saying goodbye to the life growing inside me.
The bleeding had already begun as I bordered the flight home to the UK. When my body finally decided to expel the contents of my womb there was a sense of inevitability. I was prepared. My emotional wounds were compounded by my earlier experience.
Yet I found solace in the comfort I already had a healthy child, knowing that many others feel the pain and are not in the same position.
So back to sitting at the Christmas dinner table, while my daughter was referring to my previous loss, I thought I was having another miscarriage. I had already accepted the loss, but sensed relief that at least now I could have some investigations done after the ‘obligatory three losses’ before any action is taken.
What I didn’t know was that I was suffering from an ectopic pregnancy and on New Years Eve I would have emergency surgery to remove my ruptured fallopian tube and the little baby nestled inside.
I now have physical scars to complement the emotional ones. And my daughter knows that babies “go to heaven” when they die in mummy’s tummy.
Its these experiences which mean I feel pain deep inside me when my friends tell me they are pregnant. Behind closed doors heavy sobs fall coming from somewhere deep side my soul. There is no word to describe this contradictory emotion of genuine happiness for someone else that triggers a momentary episode of uncontrollable sadness and sense of loss.
I also feel greater anticipation of friends’ and strangers’ impending births and heightened concern until the baby is safely delivered into their arms and sheer joy when they are born.
I have lots count the number of bumps to babies I see which when born form a tally of time passing since my own babies would have been due. That is if the story had been written differently.
There may be time for my story still to have a different ending. In the meantime, as the grief subsides, I need to stop living in the past, or for the future, but find the #Miscourage to focus on the present. For while we mourn the premature loss of life, it is life we seek to create.
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