It will be one year next month since I started my journey to try for a baby. And my journey is still not over. I wanted to write my story now while I am still childless because I think it’s important.
Most women talk about their miscarriages after they have a successful pregnancy. It is only then that they can feel ready to open up and talk about it. But I want to reach out to all those women, like me who have been through a miscarriage and still don’t have a child.
I turned 39 this year so as most of the women my age know, our clock is ticking. I feel young at heart and also I am quite sure my ovaries don’t feel THAT old but nevertheless we are of an age where getting pregnant and keeping that pregnancy isn’t always so easy.
I have had 2 miscarriages. I had my first one at 5 weeks, then my second one at 12 weeks. I had started bleeding upon return from a holiday with my first one and after a doctor visit where my gynaecologist told me it doesn’t look good, I passed the small sack the next morning.
It was really sad and confusing but I was positive trying for the second time and I thought of course that I had all that miscarriage business out of the way. Little did I know that even after seeing the heart beat of my second pregnancy that there was a chance I could still lose it. And that’s exactly what happened.
The day I was due for the exciting ‘you can tell everyone after this’ 12 week scan where I was to head into see my gynaecologist once again (and this time with my partner), that morning I started bleeding. Of course all the googling told me not to panic but something made me nervous again. So what was to be a joyous day for me and my partner turned out to be a nightmare as I saw the baby, with no heartbeat, and it had also stopped growing at some point.
This is that feeling, that comes with pregnancy and miscarriage. One minute you are so high on life and feeling weightless, and just like that, at the sight of a bit of blood or the look on your doctors face, everything in your world collapses into a big heavy heap and everything just stops. A big thick ball gathers in my throat and all those little moments I had with myself; thoughts of being pregnant and having a baby and all the dreams of a future as a family disappear from your mind. The shock is numbing.
The second miscarriage was basically a silent miscarriage and so my doctor recommended I have surgery to have the baby removed (a D&C). Two days later I was given a general anaesthetic, then seconds later I passed out while being wheeled into the surgery room. I suppose, considering the circumstances I was happy to have the surgery. I don’t think I could have prolonged the feeling any longer of having the baby inside me, but I know it is different for all women. In my case I am not sure if the baby would have come out naturally.
The surgery was as good as can be expected as I was lucky to receive treatment from very kind doctors and nurses. But it all felt very strange. I not only had the emotional part of the miscarriage to deal with, but I was also dealing with the physical aspect of it all. I had experienced quite a lot of morning sickness, which named should be changed to ‘all-day sickness’, (am I right ladies!!). For about 2 months so I was eating a lot to ‘ease the quease' and at the 3 month mark my pants were already too tight for the top button to do up. So actually it took me months to feel physically normal again, and to be honest I still don’t think I am there.
That was really depressing. To have the weight on me from being pregnant but nothing to show for it. I am quite sure I experienced some emotional eating through the trauma of my experience also. I just wanted to avoid people and stay home and eat cake.
To compound the situation my hometown where I live went into a lockdown with the coronavirus and that gave me less of a reason to go outside and less access to exercise like swimming which I was doing regularly before the lockdown when all the pools closed.
I want to share with other women the multi-faceted trauma and grief which follows you after a miscarriage, but also hope. It is important to go through the grief and see hope at the end of it, even if there isn’t a baby yet. I am still in the middle of my trauma I would say. I didn’t see a councillor or a psychologist because I never have and I thought I could manage it. Maybe now in retrospect I should have talked to a professional.
Sometimes the grief is bigger than us! Some days I would just see a pregnant woman or a friend with her child and it made me sad and I would fall into a big crying mess as soon as I was alone. I never had that feeling before, not before I started to try for a baby of my own. I never had a jealousy feeling before then and now when I see my friends pregnant or the news of another baby being born I suppose I do feel the jealousy and the sadness, the feeling like I am the only one who’s unlucky. It is important though to talk about what has happened, to friends and family, but also important not to if you don’t feel like it. You have to do what is right for you but I found talking about it (of course) opened up a path for other women to express their own journeys through miscarriage.
As I get older I have a very dreaded sense of hopelessness, like I left the whole thing too late. I have my period right now. It’s 6 days early so yesterday morning when it started I thought it was implantation bleeding. I was excited thinking that I was finally pregnant again. My partner and I tried this month to make a baby, the first time in over 5 months since the last miscarriage. I really needed that time to grieve and to feel like my body was ready to try again. I didn’t have a period for almost 3 months after the D&C. So yesterday, as the blood became heavier and more bright red I realised I was just having my period, or maybe another miscarriage - hard to say. I was so devastated again.
It’s very hard to try to make a baby without thinking of all the bad stuff that happened in the past, for both me and my partner. It is of course difficult for him to ‘perform’ without thinking about all that we have been through. It is important that you are both ready to try again and actually that is not easy after going through something like this.
And of course for all women the journey is different. Some women find it difficult to get pregnant, some women find it difficult to stay pregnant, there is a multitude of reasons and complications through the journey of motherhood. I suppose the main reason I wanted to share my story is for other women who want to learn about what it is like for others or women who can relate to my story can then feel some sense of connectedness, that they are not alone. We are all connected. And our feelings and thoughts during these confusing times are valid and real. And although I don’t have my rainbow baby like a lot of women do, nevertheless I want to bring hope to other women that you can feel good even when you are in the middle of what feels like hopelessness.
I feel hopeful, whatever the outcome. Sure I want to keep trying but I am learning through this process to find and see the other beautiful things you have in your life and around you. Sometimes it is hard to lift the vail from your eyes and look beyond the thoughts of having a baby, but the best thing you can do is try to stay positive, get yourself out of bed each day, eat well, eat chocolate :), exercise and spend time with friends. Distract yourself with the things you love and be kind to yourself and your uterus.
Talking to your parter and sharing all the journey with him/her is really important too. All that blood I’ve had to witness, he’s had to witness too - show him!!!! Share everything so you can both understand how the journey feels for each other and in turn how you can care for each other and respect each others needs. You are in this together and that really is the most positive part of the whole situation.
Never forget the main reason that you are trying is because of the love you have for your partner. Time has a funny way of playing tricks on us and we forget that there is plenty of time for the things we really dream for. You just have to stay positive and find your self-worth in the myriad of other wonderful things that you can offer the world. Miscarriage changes you, but not only in a bad way - use that knowledge and experience to become wiser, stronger and even more courageous than before.
Women’s bodies are wonderful and magical - we have the power! And finally I would just like to thank ‘The Pink Elephant Support Network.’ Reading other women’s stories and knowing there was a place for support has been a huge comfort for me during this time.