Monday, 21 March 2016

Why My Miscarriage Was Never a Secret

I am the 1 in 4 women who has lost a pregnancy. I was only just 19, happy, almost engaged, career on track. Everything was exactly how I had wanted it to be. I found a midwife I really liked, done the first lot of blood tests and as far as early pregnancy goes I was feeling really good. I wasn't at all sick, I was feeling a little tired but I was used to it with being busy with work anyway and 3 of the women I worked with were also pregnant so it was all very exciting.

One night when I was estimated to be about 9 weeks pregnant, I got up to pee. There was some spotting. Being that it was so early in the morning and it was very minimal I just went back to sleep and decided to call my midwife in the morning.
The next morning I got up for work as normal but decided to ring my midwife first, she sent through an urgent ultrasound form and I went in to have a scan. In the scan the tech couldn't really see much so I had to have an internal ultrasound. The look in my face as I saw that giant ultrasound rod must have been pure horror. With that she could see that I was measuring at only about 6 weeks, which is when I knew something was very wrong. There was also no little flicker of a heartbeat and the ultrasound tech was quite matter of fact with me but basically told me that she would recommend to my midwife that I should come back in a few days to see if there was any change. It didn't occur to me until a few days later that my baby had died 3 weeks before.
I called into work to say I wouldn't be in and just went home to cry, at that stage I think I was still pretty naive to what was actually happening and since no one mentioned the word miscarriage it didn't really occur to me that this is how my pregnancy would end. That night I started getting some cramping, I thought I might just have had an upset stomach so I went to the bathroom, then I felt a big blood clot come out but I wasn't 100% sure so I got in the shower, then there was a lot of blood and some clots, I started crying and called out to Chris, he came in and the look on his face was pure shock. I just kept saying "I can't make it stop!" The feeling of pure and utter helplessness and misery covered me like a black sheet. This is not how it was meant to happen, how could this happen, what did I do wrong, why is this happening?
I told Chris to ring my mum and then the midwife. My midwife didn't answer and instead he got another midwife from their practice she told him to get me to the hospital. My mum arrived, Chris dressed me, we got in the car and drove to the hospital. It didn't take long for me to be seen in the emergency room, the nurse came in and took my bloods, then we sat there Chris, Mum and I in a sort of stunned silence for what seemed like forever.
When the doctor came back he said, "The blood test shows a significant decrease in HCG levels conclusive to that of a miscarriage. I'm sorry." Then he said, "You can either stay here for a while or you can go home the choice is yours." Then he left. Still somewhat stunned we all just kind of looked at each other curious as to who would break the silence first. I chose to, "Well lets go home then if that's it." I was still quite surprised that after a blood test it was see ya later. I expected some kind of exam or something to make sure everything was ok with me. But that was that and we went home. I got mum to stop at the petrol station on the way home so Chris could buy me some cigarettes, I had given up smoking before getting pregnant but that felt like a waste of time now. The next morning I had to go and see my midwife to get my Anti-D injection so I went into work and told everyone we had lost our baby. I thought I could do it but I burst into tears and they surrounded me in a hug that I knew came from deep and genuine place. I was so grateful to have their support and love at that moment.
I got home and just retreated to my bed and that is where I stayed for the next 3 or 4 days. Watching senseless daytime tv and sleeping. Not because I was tired but because I didn't want to think or to feel about what had happened. After the 4th day something snapped inside me and I was sick of being miserable so I got out of bed and did what I knew how to do, go to work. I showed up and everyone was surprised to see me but I had to be there I needed distraction, something else to focus on. I think I worked until about lunch time and I started to feel a bit faint and suddenly very tired. I knew my body needed time to heal some more and wasn't quite ready for me to move on with my life, so I went home and rested. I went back to work part time for the rest of the week. After that I was feeling fine physically but emotionally I was broken. I hadn't known anyone in my circle of friends or family who had had a miscarriage do I felt isolated and alone. Until someone in my family told me they too had had a miscarriage. Suddenly I didn't feel alone anymore, I felt like there were other women like me who had been through this. While it made me feel better that I wasn't alone I still felt this overwhelming sense of failure, as I watched the women I worked with grow beautiful preggy bellies and talk about decorating their baby's rooms and brought beautiful baby things in their lunch breaks. I wasn't angry at them for being pregnant, I wasn't even jealous, I just wished I was still pregnant too. 
It was hard to tell people who still thought I was pregnant that I had lost the baby, I felt worse for them than myself. There is nothing worse than asking someone how their pregnancy is going for them to tell you they had lost their baby. But it had to be done, I was surprised by the number of people who told me of their pregnancy loss too and I began to feel like I was a member of this very unfortunate club of women.
It was a long time before I was even ready to talk about trying for another baby, my eyes were all of a sudden open to all the things that could potentially go wrong. But eventually we did and we got pregnant, I didn't miscarry and we have our beautiful 5 year old daughter.
I didn't just loose a baby, I lost a dream, my future plans, this world I had created in my head of how it was going to be. This is still really hard for me to even think about and I still have that feeling of loss almost 7 years on and I think I always will. But if talking about can make one women feel less alone then it's worth talking about. This shouldn't be covered with the veil of shame, failure and embarrassment but something we heal from, help each other through and look to others for support and sometimes just a cup of tea or a pre paid pizza delivery.
I'm glad I didn't keep my early pregnancy a secret, sharing this pregnancy and miscarriage with others made it real, made it a memory not just me. By telling people about my pregnancy and miscarriage it meant I had a great big circle of support and my husband and I didn't have to go through it alone.


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