I am “one in four*” but like many other women, I don’t ever talk about it. Because I feel like I shouldn’t.
Those of us that are will probably know that pregnancy and infant loss awareness week is held annually from 9th – 15th October. I remember discovering this as I miscarried 27th September 2013 and the following week I thought it was apt that I should see so many reminders on Facebook of miscarriage.
Whilst some people might find these memes too sob story or self-indulgent, they remind women who have experienced miscarriage that they are not alone, when the experience can make you feel like you have never been more alone.
I miscarried at 8+5. I don’t know why, but I always say 9 weeks as though the added day or 2 will somehow make it sound as significant as it felt at the time. But I’ve never really discussed it with anyone other than those who knew I was pregnant, which wasn’t many. I suppose in many ways because I know a lot of people have multiple miscarriages or lose a baby later on in pregnancy and I can only imagine how hard this is in comparison to my experience. It’s just awful. I hate the thought of anyone thinking I am somehow comparing my loss to theirs.
I also wonder whether a loss at 8+5 just sounds trivial when said out loud – even though it wasn’t to me or my other half. I would hate for anyone to think I was talking about it to seek attention. Even as I type this I am unsure whether I should share my thoughts because it just feels like something I shouldn’t talk about.
The experience will always stay with me and I know lots of other women feel the same. And the sad thing is there is a woman going through this right now that will really need to talk about it, but won’t. We all need to vent and talk about the shit things that happen in life. It’s the best kind of therapy. It’s normal to grieve and feel sad, even if you do feel like you just have to get on with it. And to some extent, it’s comforting to know 1 in 4 women can relate to how you feel.
I fell pregnant quickly the second time round and I somewhat naively didn’t have the same worries that I did when I was pregnant with my first, Brody. I felt like it was meant to be. Both of my sister-in-law’s were pregnant. We had just bought a bigger house. The timing felt right and I felt like things were going our way.
Miscarriage took me by surprise. Like others, I had the stomach sinking experience of going to the toilet and noticing blood when wiping. When I later fell pregnant with our daughter, toilet trips were a source of anxiety.
In that moment, up until the very end, I felt sick, full of anxiety and desperate for it not to be happening to me. We were moving house the next day (brilliant timing, not that there is ever a good time) and when I called the hospital they just told me to phone in the morning if there was any more blood.
I didn’t feel reassured. I just felt completely helpless and alone.
The next day was a bank holiday (perfect) and we needed to get all of our stuff out of storage before it closed at midday and collect the keys to our house. My wonderfully sympathetic GP managed to get me an appointment at the hospital and my best friend came along with me to hold my hand (quite literally – forever grateful).
On the way there, I just knew the pregnancy had ended, despite reassurances about bleeding being common. I felt like I couldn’t stand up without going into any more detail. It was horrible.
We went to a room where I was scanned and finally the sonographer uttered those words “no heart beat“. Literally minutes later I had what they refer to as a complete miscarriage.
We were taken in to a small room with white walls and leaflets where we sat for hours until a kind woman came in and asked me if I wanted to take my loss home in a pot or if I’d prefer for it to be taken to a place at the crematorium, where there is apparently a plaque for women like me. I didn’t expect this. At all. Neither did my best friend. We cried, I signed a piece of paper and an uncomfortable trip to gynaecology followed.
And then we left. That was it. Emptiness. I was no longer pregnant. There was no May baby. My only reminder was a trip back to the hospital at 6.00am a few days later when to add insult to injury I developed endometritis in my womb. I sometimes regret not asking for the scan picture, even though I don’t know what I would have done with it in reality. Maybe that’s morbid, but I do.
I didn’t want to hear anyone say “everything happens for a reason“, “it’ll happen again“ or “it wasn’t your time“. Sometimes, you just need someone to say “this is shit“ and give you a hug. Because sometimes life is shit.
There are photos this week that are popping up on my Facebook “on this day” that just bring that week back to me. One of them is a photo of my son Brody looking up at me from underneath my parent’s kitchen chair. I remember feeling overwhelmed with sadness that day but looking at him I knew how lucky I was to have him. And I am. He was just what I needed.
But you know I won’t ever forget that day. And I know I’m not alone.
*One in four pregnancies ends in miscarriage (Tommy’s)
This blog was originally written for and published by Firefly Community.