The first time we got pregnant was sort of a surprise. We weren’t trying but we weren’t preventing. I still remember very vividly the moment when I saw that positive on the test. I was at work. Hundreds of miles from home. I wasn’t at all nervous as I called my now husband on the drive home. He laughed and was happy.
We spent the next few weeks day dreaming excitedly about what our baby would look like, be good at, what they would do when old etc etc. We told only close family and friends and began thinking about how to reorganize our lives and home.
I attended my ‘booking’ appointment with the midwife which was very exciting. I was trying to be incognito in a town where I have grown up and know lots of people so visiting a midwife in the large health in the town centre felt quite nerve wracking.
Around five weeks I began to feel very tired and sick all day long. Long meetings at work were torturous. I never went anywhere without a stash of crackers and dried fruit in my bag/pocket/drawer.
Our 12week scan was booked for when I would be 12wks 6days pregnant. Very pregnant in my eyes. We looked around the waiting room at all the bumps wondering how far along each mum was and then it was our turn.
I lay back on the bed, flinched at the cold jelly on my tummy and waited, hardly breathing. And waited. And waited a bit more. And then I knew. I could sense it.
The sonographer eventually spoke in an overly jovial voice saying she could see a gestational sack but needed to do an internal scan to see better. She told me to go for a wee and come back. The toilet was in the waiting room and was busy so I had to stand there with everyone in the room looking quizzically at me. I just wanted to go home.
When I went back into the scan room the sonographer smiled at me and so did my husband but the smiles didn’t reach their eyes so I knew I was right.
The foetus had died at around six weeks. There was a sac containing a yolk sack and foetal pole but that was all. My body wasn’t showing any signs to suggest that it was going to miscarry so it was staying put and I’d had no signs that anything was wrong.
The sonographer asked if I’d like to look at the screen. Absolutely not. She wrote some notes and told us to wait outside in the waiting room then she looked up and saw the look of horror on my face and told us to go home and that someone would call.
We went home. Numb. My cat baby sat me. She sat on me and followed me around. My husband made phone calls. A nice soothing nurse called from the hospital. I was booked back in for another scan in 7days to see if there was any change. We spent a week in limbo. I secretly hoped they were wrong and all would be ok but really i knew my baby was no more.
A week later as I laid back on that bed I silently prayed to a God I had ignored for over twenty years. The miscarriage was confirmed and we were sent to a waiting room to decide on next steps. Sitting in the room was awful. I hate public displays of emotion but I just couldn’t stop the tears rolling down my cheeks. Surrounded by mums with bumps and little babies and toddlers. I just sort of zoned out.
The conversation with the nurse was a blur. I snapped out of the haze when my husband questioned the safety of the operation being planned. He asked for time to look at the options so we took some information and sat in the hospital coffee shop. I drank a hot chocolate while he read carefully through the details. We decided that the risks of the opp weren’t ones we wanted to take so we chose medical management. I was given the first two tablets that day and had another appointment booked for the pessary part two days later.
We went home and I cried. A lot. More than I’ve cried since I was a child. Proper, loud sobs. I don’t ever remember feeling such despair or sadness. Questions constantly floated in my head. Was I unable to have children? Was there something wrong with me? Had I done something wrong? Was it my fault? I felt guilty, as though I’d been given a very precious gift but I hadn’t looked after it.
The day of the final part just felt like process. I was emotionally detached from it. We went to the hospital but were thankfully put in a private room. I was given the pessary and then had to wait in the hospital for an hour to check that I didn’t have a reaction to it. When we went home my best friend came over to give me a bit of female support. It was very, very painful – even with the codiene. There was lots of blood, lots of tears and eventually I passed what had been my baby. It was horrific but gave a certain amount of closure. After about 12hrs the contractions subsided.
I felt numb and introverted for weeks after and it took a full two weeks for the pregnancy hormone in my system to drop low enough to give a negative pregnancy test.
My period arrived on Christmas Day and it’s probably the only time since my first one that I was happy and suprised to see it. It signified a fresh start and another chance. We were in it now. We knew that we wanted a baby and were ready for it.
I fell pregnant with my eldest daughter the following June after months of paying attention to my body. I tracked my cycle by temping and ovulation sticks. I watched my diet and raised my bum the air after sex. None of that worked. The month we caught was the one were I lost track of the chart and had no idea what was happening or when.
There was no way I was taking any risks second time around. I followed guidance to the letter, stopped running, stopped drinking, I wouldn’t even be in the same room as a lit cigarette!
Our baby was born in March the following year and we felt very lucky and proud to have her.
Miscarriage, pregnancy loss and struggles to conceive are taboo subjects. Nobody talks about it yet 1 in four pregnancies end in miscarriage. All too often while people are going through these silent struggles people are asking questions like ‘when are you going to have a baby’ or ‘isn’t it about time you started trying for children’. Whilst they mean no harm its a really personal thing to ask. I now never ask or make any comments about people being pregnant or having babies even if I suspect a friend is pregnant I won’t ask. I’ve been there in those early weeks, scared and worrying.
For some people, babies just aren’t a part of their future. You can’t assume that woman are probably going to have babies because they’re a certain age and they really shouldn’t have to justify or explain to people whether or not that has been a choice they’ve made or a decision taken out of their hands. Either way its all way too sensitive and personal.
So, I think what i’m trying to say is that whilst it might seem fun to say to someone ‘ oooh it’ll be you next!’ or ‘i can’t wait until you have babies!’ its really better to say nothing because its just not always that easy for everyone.