This week is baby loss awareness week. I have wanted to talk about my miscarriage for a long time but it’s not something that comes easily to me. It hurts, a lot. And it still feels so raw.
Publishing this post will be tough. I’m baring my soul to all to see and sharing the pain that I went through with the World. It’s messy. But so is losing a baby. So is grief. So is life.
Friday 28th June
That date will forever be imprinted on my heart.
Just a short while before I had been told that I was expecting triplets – three little miracle bubbles on the scan. I stared at the screen in awe – a mixture of fear and excitement and pure joy making me feel nauseous (although that could have been the morning sickness!)
We called my dad, my best friends. Made jokes that babies are like buses – you wait years for one and then three come along at once. Told my mother in law. Let Lily know that she was finally going to be the big sister that she has always wanted to be.
But then the bleeding started. I knew instantly what was happening. I had known it was too good to be true.
In the hospital, I sat in a waiting room with expectant mothers. They sat rubbing their bumps, gazing lovingly into their partner’s eyes, flicking through magazines and planning nurseries on Pinterest.
I gripped Scott’s hand tight, the tightening and pain making it difficult to breathe. The panic making bile rise in my throat.
Eventually, the pain got worse and I was taken to a room to lie down in private. I wasn’t sure what was hurting me more – the physical pain or the worry that I was having a miscarriage. I wrapped my arms over my tummy, pleading with my babies to not leave me. Making promises that I would do anything to keep them safe.
When they eventually took me into the scan room I could barely speak. It was like something was stuck in my throat, stopping me from breathing. Stopping me from talking to the sonographer.
I clung to Scott as the sonographer started the scan. She’d moved the screen away so that we couldn’t see it.
“I’m sorry but there’s no sign of life”.
She turned the screen so that we could see the blurred outline of my womb. “Do you want me to get a second opinion?” she asked. The kindness in her eyes had me struggling to hold it together. My body shook as I nodded.
Of course, I wanted a second opinion. Against all hope, I wanted a ‘better sonographer’ to come in. I wanted them to say “here look, there’s the sign of life you missed. Everything is fine”
But they didn’t. The other sonographer came in, took a few measurements on the screen and looked over at me.
“We’ll get the nurse to discuss your options with you.” It was official. I had miscarried at just over 10 weeks.
I fell apart then. I sobbed and I screamed against Scott’s shoulder. He held me as I shattered into a million pieces. Every single part of me hurt. My whole body and my heart felt broken.
We were led to a private waiting room. A peach coloured nightmare with a plastic covered sofa. I sat wondering how many women had sat in my exact seat, heard the exact words that I was about to hear from the nurse.
When they finally came to see us I’d managed to stop crying. I felt numb and trapped. I was snappy with her, “Can we just get on with it I want to go home?!”. I was rude and angry and wanted to get away from this place where my heart had been hurt so badly.
They gave us options. I didn’t really listen. I didn’t want surgical intervention – that seemed too close to an abortion to me. I didn’t want tablets, stupidly ‘just in case’ the sonographer had got it wrong.
They wrote me a prescription for painkillers. The nurse ticked the box that said I got them free of prescription charges because I was ‘pregnant’. Down in the pharmacy the guy at the till looked over his glasses at me and told me I would need to pay if I didn’t have proof of pregnancy… I can’t remember my exact response but it was something along the lines of “I’m miscarrying right at this minute so could you just hurry the fuck up and do your job you twat”. Possibly not the politest of responses but fitting in the circumstance.
I went home with the painkillers and clutching a handful of leaflets about all of the ‘options’ and advice on dealing with loss. On the way home I threw away the folder with my scan photos and hospital notes in. It was a rash decision and one I really regret.
Scott helped me change into my pyjamas and did a run to Tesco to get whatever I needed. I can’t remember what I asked for – although I’m pretty sure pints of Ben & Jerries’ Ice Cream were on the list.
I didn’t cry anymore that afternoon. I called work and let them know why I was off. I sat numbly in bed, occasionally dozing off.
It was the night that was the hardest part. I went into the bathroom and cried into a towel, trying to stifle the noise. I lay there on the bathroom floor letting the grief tear through me.
From then it wasn’t the pain that hurt the most anymore. It was the realisation of everything that I had lost. I hadn’t ‘just’ had a miscarriage. I had lost my babies. My longed-for babies. That loss was birthdays, first days of school, laughter. It was those first toddling steps when they were learning to walk. The cuddles and the kisses and the scent of them when rocking them to sleep.
The Miscarriage Process
I thought that a miscarriage would be like it is in the movies. I thought I would bleed for a couple of days and then it would all be over.
Instead, I was in a lot of pain and I bled for over a month. The actual physical process of miscarriage was awful. It involved lots of visits back and forth to the hospital for blood tests and scans because there was ‘product’ left behind. Such an awful turn of phrase which made me sick to my stomach every time I heard it. It was such a long drawn out process that I really started regretting not listening to my options.
It’s only now, a few months later, that I feel like my body is finally getting back to normal. My mind, not so much!
Advice for you
If you are suffering, or have suffered, a miscarriage then I just want you to know you are not alone. It’s tough. It’s wading through a river of shit as my darling Ruth from Wading Through Shit would say. You will never forget your babies but life will go on. And even though it might not seem like it now you will get through the other side. You will be ok – you will never ‘get over it’ but you will be ok. Talk to people about how you are feeling. Share your grief – you will be surprised at how many people will step up to the plate to help you. Be kind to yourself. Take the time you need to heal. There will be moments where, in the middle of doing something unrelated like washing up, where the pain will rush up and hit you in the face like Mike Tyson. In those moments let it out, then call your friends. Lean on other people. Ask for help.
If you know someone going through a miscarriage show them that you love them. Hold them when they need you to. Let them know that even if you don’t know what to say, you will be there when they need you. Ship them ice cream. Let them rant at you and cry on your shoulder. Show them kindness and empathy. Don’t say stupid stuff like ‘ah well at least you can get pregnant’ or ‘you can just try again’. Recognise the babies that they have loved and lost. Be there.
A Thank You
I couldn’t write a post about my miscarriage without saying thank you to the people who got me through it.
My beautiful sister @asiyexo who was there night and day for me to lean on, to cry on.
Jessie @my.life.with.littles for sitting through the hospital appointments with me, for asking questions when I lost my voice, for Always remembering.
@nicole_lloyd_ for weathering the storm with me, for always being there for me to rant to.
@gmeldrum88 for making me laugh, promising beer and making me feel like myself again. Even if you are an asshole 😉
And lastly but certainly not least, my incredible husband @better_man_project – for helping to fix me, for doing numerous supermarket runs and keeping the freezer stocked with ice cream. For knowing just when I needed a hug and when I needed to be left alone. For understanding. And for reminding me that happiness can be found even in the darkest of times if only one remembers to turn on the light.
There are of course many others who showed me so much kindness and love when I needed it the most. So this post is to thank them too – thank you from the bottom of my heart.