October is pregnancy and infant loss awareness month. This is my story.
I found out I was expecting on a Thursday – March 8th 2018. I was 5 1/2 weeks gone. I did 3 tests before i believed it. Straight away I felt excited and nervous, like part of a secret club but one i couldnt tell people i was part of. Not yet anyway.
That weekend it was mothers day. I felt excited to be able to celebrate, knowing i was now a mum and i was growing my baby inside me.
I gave my mum a homemade card saying “happy mothers day granny! (to be..again..)” with one of my positive pregnany tests inside. Mum was so confused for a moment, not quite understanding who it was from, until she saw my face, smiling through the tears. Her mouth dropped open and i confirmed our exciting news to her.
Over the next 7 weeks, we spoke about names we would like, the kind of birth i wanted, we looked at nursery furniture for inspiration. We found an immaculate second hand cot going cheap and bought it. I signed up to all the apps and read about how the baby was developing week by week. I got sent free packs with nappies, books, baby wipes and other bits and bobs. We pre ordered a pram and travel set that was going half price. We were excited. I had no reason to think anything was going to go wrong, after all, my mum had 5 healthy babies and i have 5 healthy nieces and nephews. There was no reason for me to think my pregnancy would be any different.
On the morning of April 26th 2018, me and Darren made our way to the hospital for our 12 week scan, as we were walking in i was chatting away about how i wasnt going to get the downs syndrome test because theres a risk of miscarriage. I had no idea that i had already lost the pregnancy.
At the scan, the sonographer was struggling to get a clear view, so she let me go empty my bursting bladder and come back for an internal ultrasound. I was quite carefree and having a laugh with the nurses because i brought the tin foil hat of urine back in to the ultrasound room as i didnt realise i had to put it in the little tubes which were in the bathroom.
As the internal ultrasound was happening, she asked me if i could be wrong about how far along i was. I responded saying if anything, i might be a couple weeks further on due to a strange cycle i had in the January. I explained that it was 7 weeks, to the day, that i had found out i was pregnant, so i assume i must be atleast 8 or 9 weeks along.
She advised that the embryo was only measuring 7 weeks. I didnt really understand the full extent of what that meant but she was quite reassuring, saying it might just be a bad scan and to come back in 2 weeks to check if its grown.
I was confused and getting upset. I cant be only 7 weeks, i have to be further on than that. She was talking about an empty yolk sac. I didnt know what that meant. She gave me an envelope and a follow up appointment and let us go.
I was worrying, panicking. Something wasnt adding up. Darren was trying to reassure me that it will all be okay, but i didnt feel so sure.
I dropped Darren off at work, as planned, and started making my way home.
I stopped in a lay-by and went onto one of the apps i had downloaded that had a community area.
I created a post asking for advice as i wasnt quite sure what everything meant, what were the reasons for the baby only showing 7 weeks? Whats an empty yolk sac?
I started getting responses right away that it sounded like a missed miscarriage. What was that?
I went onto google and read about what a missed miscarriage was. It sounded likely, but i hadnt had any spotting, bleeding or cramps like you would associate with a miscarriage.
I was still sat in the layby. I didnt want to go home yet. Back to the house full of pregnancy books and full of hope and future plans.
I phoned my mum and cried. I phoned my sisters and cried.
I opened the envelope from the hospital to find two leaflets – “coping with miscarriage” and “cremation of pregnancy loss”.
It sank in. The baby was gone yet still inside me. My body continued to think it was pregnant, it kept producing the pregnancy hormones. My body did not understand that the baby had stopped growing. I felt sad for my body, holding onto this pregnancy that wasnt going to make it. I felt betrayed and tricked by my body, why hadnt it realised and showed me a sign that things had taken a bad turn? To not expect good news?
I went and got Darren from work. I needed him with me. I was sobbing and felt completely empty. We went home. The loudness of the silence hit me. I took another pregnancy test – it was still positive.
I finally accepted the truth. I was having a missed miscarriage. The baby had been dead, inside me, for the past 3 weeks. I felt like a failure. I felt angry. I felt suffocating sadness.
I lay in bed crying, listening to Ed Sheeran – Small Bump for hours on end. Eventually around 8pm, i got up and went to the bathroom and noticed i had started bleeding. It was like now i knew what had happened and my mind accepted that it had happened, my body followed suit and started to let go.
Over the following 2 days, i was in labour.
I went to my sisters for comfort the Friday night. She made me tea, hugged me and let me cry. My body was cramping and i was having contractions. I didnt know that this happened with miscarriages – i assumed that you just, shed your pregnancy as it were. I didnt know that the pain would be so intense and it would go on for so long.
It was my nephews 6th birthday on the Saturday, 28th April 2018. He was having a birthday party at his house with some of his friends. I was there, surrounded by my family, my eldest two nieces who knew i had been pregnant and had now lost it, hugging me and telling me they loved me.
I spent alot of the day in the bathroom. It was gory and sad. My pain was intense and my contractions were now 2 minutes apart.
I decided to leave my sisters and head home. I thought it was for the best incase i needed to go to hospital. It took over an hour to drive home, meaning i had over 30 contractions while driving. I gripped the steering wheel tightly and gritted my teeth until i was home.
For the next few hours i kneeled on the floor getting my lower back rubbed. I had heat packs on my front. At 22.31 on 28th April 2018, i passed my pregnancy. It had the same birthday as Sheamus.
I did have to go to the hospital where i was kept in overnight, examined, given strong painkillers and blood tests.
Over the next month, i did everything i could to grieve. I found alot of comfort from miscarriage groups and made friends with other women going through similar experiences to me. I shared my sorrow with family and friends, most who did not know i had been pregnant as its frowned upon to share that you are expecting before the 12 weeks is up. Looking back i wish i had celebrated every minute that i had you growing inside me.
I cancelled the pre order of the pram. I hid the cot and baby books in the cupboard. I didnt want to see them. I wrote a poem expressing my sadness. I made a playlist of songs and cried to all of them. I had further appointments with the hospital and the doctors. I planted a tree at mums house. I gave myself time and showed myself love.
There is such secrecy around miscarriage, people dont talk about it – whether it is due to others feeling awkward that they dont know what to say, the mothers feeling like failures or a number of other reasons, it needs to change.
Miscarriage is one of the most painful, isolating experiences a woman can go through, its gut wrenching and leaves you feeling empty and without a purpose. Let your loved ones in. Let them comfort you. Let them know that miscarriage can and does, happen to anyone. #miscarriageawareness #1in4 #pregnancyloss