This is a hard topic, there is no way around it.
But I do want to share my story, in the hopes that It might validate what others are feeling and maybe offer empathy to those who feel alone in this struggle.
My husband and I have had a bit of a fertility journey- which is a topic for another day.
We were trying to conceive a child for a while and then finally the day came…the double lines on the stick- YAY!!! We were SOOO excited.
I felt unleashed to finally explore All things motherhood- I hunted for prams, I booked in to my hospital, I started looking at maternity clothes, cots, baby clothes, I bought a pregnancy book, started telling close friends and family…..it was So Exciting!
Then a few weeks later…it happened…the thing we all fear. The reason people don’t share pregnancy news straight away….
My first Miscarriage:
I was at work, when to the bathroom and noticed spotting on my underwear. I felt faint. I was almost finished my shift thankfully and from there I went straight to the pharmacy to get a pregnancy test.
Now I know many of you are thinking Why??? Well, I had NO IDEA. I had very little insight into what my body was doing, and I did not realise that taking a pregnancy test now, even if I was miscarrying, would likely show positive because of the hormones still in my body. I just wanted reassurance that It was going to be ok.
I went to the bathroom at the shops- pee’d on the stick, and it came up positive- so naively… I thought Ok…things will be fine.
I continued to bleed, decided to take the next day off and went and saw a GP, who gave me a referral to get an ultrasound. I had no counsel on what might happen, what to expect, he didn’t reassure me, but didn’t warn me either. I’m not sure what should have been said, but I know I was not prepared for what was coming. I left still feeling hopeful that I was one of the people that just had a random bleed, but I would go on to have a healthy pregnancy.
I googled ‘bleeding when pregnant’ ‘am I having a miscarriage’…..I honestly spent all day googling these things- trying to find hope in the stories with positive outcomes. I spent my time lying in my bed- feeling like the more stationary I stay the safer I keep this baby. I felt so fragile, so vulnerable. I went back over the last few months thinking- was there something I did?
My bleeding became heavier, and I became more discouraged.
I then went to have my ultrasound. My husband by my side.
The screen showed nothing but shadows all over the screen. And of course the sonographer can’t say anything. I just remember him saying that it was the lining of my uterus, and my GP can discuss it with me. That didn’t really make sense to me, all I knew was that there was no little heartbeat to reassure me and I was heart broken. I think until that point- I was still hopeful. Now I just felt empty.
I didn’t go back to my GP straight away- I probably should have done, but I just wanted to go home and cry.
It wasn’t until the next day, still bleeding that I went to the toilet and completely unexpected….Something came out…..I lost my baby in the toilet.
I had no idea that I would actually ‘pass’ something. That it wasn’t just blood. I was far enough along that there was a little formed baby and this little baby fell out into my toilet bowl. I was mortified. It fell down past toilet paper, I could barely see it in there but I knew it was. I didn’t know whether I should retrieve it, I couldn’t find it in me to flush it….. I just sobbed. I couldn’t leave the toilet bowl… I felt so ashamed that it was in there, no longer a part of me, yet I still couldn’t let it go.
From memory my husband found me and must have flushed it because I just could not bring myself to. Later I passed more, again unexpected- when will this end. The experience of miscarriage is something I had never heard talked about, I felt a bit shocked by it all.
Once the bleeding stopped, about a week or so later, I began to recover physically, but my headspace needed time.
I was grateful to have not needed intervention. My body miscarried on its own and there were no complications. I did not need to have surgical removal or medication. I know some of you have had intervention in this time and in some ways I think that would add to what was already a traumatic experience.
My Second Miscarriage:
Each and every pregnancy was anxiety stricken, first emotion Joy- followed immediately by fear. Losing a second baby, I felt more prepared for the experience, wasn’t so quick to sit on the toilet that’s for sure, but it also doubled my discouragement.
I would get so anxious during the first few months about losing the baby that I would almost stop myself from loving it too much, not hoping too much. Trying to protect myself from the pain.
The tragic thing is, when we lost our second- I felt ten times worse Because I felt I didn’t allow myself to love it enough. I didn’t protect myself from the pain at all.
The thing is, once you have lost a baby, even once the body has healed and moves on. There is an inner struggle that does not heal and move on, at least not in my experience.
After my first miscarriage- We went on to struggle to fall pregnant again, we did end up getting support with conceiving (another story) but now we wanted a baby more than ever. I had opened the doors of my heart to being a mother and now I feel robbed of it.
And every month that I got my period just felt like I was losing another baby. Because every month I let myself hope. Menstruating had suddenly become a bit traumatic each month- reliving the pain.
I became consumed with wanting another chance.
Yet also not wanting to move on too quickly, because I also wanted this baby to matter.
All the while brushing off the ‘when are you guys going to have children’ comments all the time- with a smile and well rehearsed response to hide the pain behind how that question actually made me feel.
When the due date draws near- it is just tough. You mark down the day that you think you will hold a child in your arms, everything now revolves around that day. Where money is spent, what plans are made. Then…that date no longer requires your whole life’s orbit anymore- but its not as easy as flicking a switch back to what was.
In the interest of full disclosure though, at the time. While I held a lot of pain inside, I rarely let it show- even to myself. I would tell myself- this happens all the time, to lots of women. I am sure it happened for a reason, perhaps the baby was not compatible with life. Trying to lessen the inner struggle. But in all honesty I was trying to convince myself that it was less of a deal than it actually was. I was heart broken! It did matter, it’s really painful.
It has been quite a few years, but I still get emotional when I think about these little ones that I lost, wondering what our family would look like with them here.
It was a short relationship that I had with them, but they were apart of me, I had already surrendered my life in dedication to them, planned the rest of my life around this new addition to our family and then ‘boom’ gone. It is too hard to just return to normal life.
It may have only been days, maybe weeks, maybe months.
For some you may have been term and then lost your sweet child, maybe you did get to meet your baby and then that life was ended short.
This is the tough stuff of Motherhood. And too many of us walk this out alone.
Particularly if it is an early pregnancy, no one really knew, life didn’t really change yet…..But I know for me…I opened up my whole heart in that one moment of discovering I was pregnant and the fall would have been hard even hours after that.
My husband struggled as well, he says- he didn’t really realise how much he wanted this until it was gone. Then…how to support me, how to grieve for something he never really saw/felt. It isn’t just the mother that feels the pain.
So many women are walking around right now, today, with a smile on their face. A smile that is trying to cover their own grief, fear, disappointment, anger. Because this isn’t the kind of conversation you have over coffee I guess. It is exhausting trying to pretend you are O.K….I just want to give you a hug and my shoulder to cry on.
There are SO many stories out there, I hope you can find a safe space to share yours.
Don’t try to work it out and understand it on your own- it really can help to talk to someone.
Even just writing it down/typing it up- letting yourself feel all the feelings.
My heart truly feels for you if you are in this season. I wish I could just give you a hug.
My story continues on to have a happy ending, and I sincerely hope that yours does too. xxxx
(This is a post about My Story, and In sharing my story I am referencing ‘my babies’ when I share about my losses. I appreciate that it is personal the language that you use- this is what helps me process my own loss, but please know I don’t wish to be insensitive to others experience.)
Here are some resources and websites that you might care to look at if you are feeling like you would like more support:
Or visit your GP to tap into some local Counselling and/or fertility support.