I was, and always will be, the girl who lost a baby on her honeymoon

We’d watch the sunrise and I couldn’t see beauty anymore. It didn’t matter where I went, or what I saw – I just couldn’t escape the grey.


Heartbreaking stories. Devastating stories. The miscarriage story needs to change. That's why we've created Tommy's book of #misCOURAGE. Read this story now and help spread the word that miscarriage can no longer be ignored. Help us change the story to save babies' lives.


September 2016

Nicola McGowan

I read somewhere that the brain remembers bad memories better than the good ones, so while the details of my wedding day might fade or alter, I’m destined to remember that horrendous day in all it’s explicit detail forever.

I was nearly 2 weeks in to my romantic honeymoon in Cuba when I woke one morning with horrible cramps. I went to the toilet thinking it was maybe the Cuban food disagreeing with me. How romantic! Sitting down, I noticed a little blood in my underwear and mentioned it to my husband. I knew I shouldn’t really be worried – I was nearly twelve weeks. The ‘danger’ stage was pretty much over.

Besides, I had done everything right and everything I was supposed to do. I don’t smoke, I had one coffee a day and I was taking all my prenatal vitamins. I mean I didn’t even have bloody runny eggs any more.

My cramps worsened and after seeing the on-site doctor, an ambulance was called. We tried our best to explain what was happening, but the language barrier was a huge struggle. I just kept repeating I was pregnant. I lay on the stretcher holding my husbands hand and cried the whole way there. The pain went from mild to unbearable within minutes and at that point I knew in my heart something was seriously wrong.

When I got to the clinic, the doctors gave me an ultrasound then spoke amongst themselves in Spanish. I looked at my husband and could see his eyes filling up. After what seemed like forever, the doctor turned to us and told us our baby was ok. There was a heartbeat. He printed off a scan picture and handed it to us. It was our first picture. My husband burst into tears and thanked the doctor. He looked so relieved, but I just couldn’t relax. I tried to explain that I was still in agony and asked why I was still bleeding but no one knew. The doctor suggested going to the main hospital a few hours away for observation and more tests. At this point I was desperate for the toilet, so asked if I could go pee first.

Afraid and sore, I sat down and felt it. I knew it wasn’t normal; it felt thick and warm and whatever it was, there was so much of it. I put my hand down and it landed in my palm. I screamed for Nikki – my husband. In my head it was deafening, but I don’t know how loud it actually was. He ran in with the doctor by his side and I showed him what was in my hand. I knew exactly what it was but still, I held it out for the doctor to see. He looked at me, shrugged and said “maybe.” I know he wasn’t intentionally being cold, but with the language differences it just never really translated properly. It sounded so cold and detached.

‘Maybe’. Maybe that’s your baby.

I don’t know if I’ll ever get that image out my head; of looking down and seeing what was once part of me, what was once a living thing now resting in the palm of my hand.

I stayed on the toilet and cried. Sobbed, wailed, I don’t know how to convey it properly. My heart was broken. Something I loved was taken away from me and I didn’t deserve it. Blood kept coming but the physical pain was away. It was like a switch. The nurse was there with me, staring at me awkwardly. I asked her to leave, to please just give me a minute on my own. I was naked from the waist down, I was crying, I was a mess. I felt so vulnerable and wanted more than anything to be home. Not home to the hotel - just home. What had been a paradise to us for nearly two weeks was fast becoming hell; an all too real nightmare that we were going to be stuck in for another three days.

We lay in bed together and cried. I blamed myself. I need to be honest. During our wedding toast I’d had a glass of bucks fizz. Everyone told me not to worry, that it was just one glass. Was one glass too much? Was I responsible? I still blame myself and constantly wonder if things would be different if only I’d been a bit more cautious.

I can’t help thinking that I was in some way responsible for killing our baby?

Nikki had the unenviable task of breaking the news to our new friends in Cuba. He wandered the hotel grounds and found most of them. He told me everyone seemed truly upset for us and a few even cried. I knew I’d have to face them myself eventually, and when I finally did, it followed the same routine. They were sorry and they hugged me. I cried and thanked them. No one really knew what to say to me. I knew they pitied me. I was, and always will be the girl who lost a baby on her honeymoon.

Cuba wasn’t the same to me after that. We’d watch the sunrise and I couldn’t see beauty anymore. Everything brought sadness and pain. It didn’t matter where I went, or what I saw – I just couldn’t escape the grey.

I would struggle to make it through the nights and would wake myself up crying. Nikki would hold me until I fell back asleep. Then we would wake up and repeat the whole scenario again.

It’s been over a year now since that miscarriage and unfortunately we’ve had another one in that time too. We’re in a much better place emotionally but it’s taken us a long time. I personally still get days where I’ll think of my lost babies and just cry.

I’ve often wondered if it was normal to still be crying 3 months or 6 months later or even now – over a year later. But I know that no one has the right to tell you when you should stop hurting. I don’t think time will heal my pain, I don’t think anything will. There will always be a part of me that’s hurting and yes that part will get smaller and smaller through time but it will never completely go away and that’s okay. The pain I feel will only serve as a reminder of the love that I felt for my babies.

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Please note that the opinions expressed by users in Tommy’s Book of #misCOURAGE are solely those of the user, who is unlikely to have had medical training. These opinions do not represent the opinions of Tommy’s and are not advice from Tommy's. Reading individual, real-life experiences can be a helpful resource, but it is never a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment from a qualified health care provider. We strongly advise readers not to take drugs that are not prescribed by your qualified healthcare provider. If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor, midwife or hospital immediately. Read full disclaimer


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