My thoughts ranged from “this is a dream” to “what have I done wrong?”
It all started late Sunday morning. After completing a hot yoga class and feeling unwell, I went home to take a pregnancy test. We had been trying for four months and I had noticed my breasts were sore for a few days as well as unsettling nausea during yoga. Bam! Two lines appeared on the pregnancy test.
I was so incredibly excited that I called my 3-year-old daughter into the bathroom and asked her to tell Daddy that we had a Christmas present for him. She gave him the pregnancy test and said, “Merry Christmas Daddy”. I was so over the moon that my hands were shaking as I waited to see my husband’s reaction. Thankfully, he was just as happy as I was.
The next day we went off to the doctor for the confirmation blood test, we were five weeks pregnant. My daughter was constantly asking to meet her new sibling and even started adding names to our baby list.
After two weeks of bliss, my world fell apart. We had a difficult Easter break that resulted in my daughter’s hospitalisation with pneumonia, and then sadly we were advised to put our fur baby down after months and months of treatment to improve his quality of life. The day my daughter was discharged from the hospital, I started spotting. I told myself not to worry, I had spotting with my first pregnancy, and it can be normal. The spotting lasted 12 hours before I decided to present to the pregnancy ward at my local hospital. By this stage, the blood had turned from brown to bright red. Panic started but I tried to keep a positive mindset, but my body had other ideas. Seeing the nurses at the hospital and having blood work completed to assess a potential miscarriage was scary. My thoughts ranged from “this is a dream” to “what have I done wrong?”, “is it because I keep thinking two weeks ago that I would miscarry?” or “because I was still working late nights and not giving myself the rest I needed?”. When the nurse told me that my HCG levels weren’t high enough for someone at 7 weeks, I knew something wasn’t right, but wanted to remain hopeful.
Coming home that day was hard, the bleeding increased and over the next 48 hours before I could test my HCG levels again, my breasts stopped feeling sore, the colour of the blood was redder and had increased in volume. The call from the hospital 2 days later gave me a huge surge of hope when they said my HCG levels increased but I didn’t hear when they said, “But not by what is expected at this stage”. After asking them to repeat what my HCG levels were and what was going on, they said it was likely a miscarriage. I hung up the phone and fell to the floor, crying and howling in pain that consumed me so much, the intense stress and grief trigger my heart arrhythmia. Knowing if I didn’t calm myself my heart wouldn’t cope, I took some deep breaths and I got up and went to my husband. I couldn’t tell him straight away. I just looked at him and shook my head. We sat together and cried.
My daughter wanted to know what was wrong, but how do you tell a 3-year-old you are having a miscarriage and the little baby she desperately wanted to take to the park is no more? Over the next few days, the bleeding intensified and cramping kicked in. Off to the hospital again for scans and blood tests.
On Wednesday morning, we saw our little baby. A heartbeat! Our little baby was holding on, but their heartbeat was too slow. We were told this pregnancy may not be viable with low HCG levels and a low heartbeat. The worst was coming. On Thursday night, my baby left me, while we were at the vet putting our cat down. Before going to the consulting room, the hospital called to tell me that the bleeding may be caused by a haematoma growing on the sac, but my HCG levels were still not rising enough. “Hope for the best but prepare for the worst” is what they said. I tried to push this new spark of hope down, informing my husband of what the hospital said as our fur baby was taken to the theatre in preparation.
Shortly later, our cat was sedated, and we began to say goodbye to our fur baby. I start thanking him for the love and affection, the company and cuddles the night before and then I felt it. I was completely soaked. I could feel the gush. It felt similar to when my waters broke with my daughter but stronger. After crying and saying goodbye to my fur baby, we rushed home. I ran to the bathroom and my underwear was soaked in blood. Sitting on the toilet I knew what happened and then I felt it. I felt my little baby slip out of me into the toilet. Looking down into the toilet, I couldn’t comprehend what was happening and what do I do.
Another, smaller clot passed, and I asked my husband to take me to the hospital knowing our little baby was gone and I was helpless to stop it. The heavy bleeding and cramping were near unbearable, but nothing compared to knowing I had just lost our baby while putting our fur baby down, within an hour of each other.
Being in the hospital gave me no clarity as to what happened, little information was provided to help me process what I assumed had happened and for whatever reason no one could do an internal ultrasound to confirm that the baby was gone. A few days later my doctor referred me for a scan and finally confirmed that the baby was gone. Seeing an empty uterus was not something I had expected despite everything. I wanted a baby so much that I tried so hard to hold one small speckle of hope despite bleeding for two weeks and knowing what I felt, and seeing our baby pass. Keeping everyone updated was a nightmare on top of my already worst nightmare. I latched onto my mother-in-law who was empathic yet rational and didn’t say anything wrong to belittle my experience. Others would say “Your time will come” and “You can try again.” Why was everyone all of a sudden pushing my little baby away just because they were no more?
Friends stopped replying to messages or said “Sorry was busy” despite knowing I reached out to them for support and comfort. I didn’t want to shut myself away but there were moments where I did. I couldn’t care about anything else. I just lost my baby while losing my fur baby. The fluctuations of unbearable grief and trying to put on a brave face because expectations say so were awful. Wanting to talk about the experience but feeling like I was repeating the same story to the same people. At times I felt like a broken record to say, “I’m miserable because I’m thinking about the baby I lost”. It was isolating and some days no one said anything about losing the baby. It was almost morbid to watch how everyone expected me to dust myself off.
Apparently, recovery from a miscarriage isn’t long, or so I had been told. Yes, bleeding and cramping can last for 2-3 weeks but why wouldn’t anyone explain or talk about the mental and emotional healing? What do I do? How do I accept that this has happened and not search for answers as to why it happened? Does the pain stop? Will my heart feel whole again? I never found out these answers and my heart always ached. Wanting to see my daughter meet her sibling for the first time, to meet the precious gift we so desperately wanted. I was lying every day. I wanted someone to know and understand my hurt, to help me find some light in my darkness. And this is why I wanted to share my story. Because YOU are not alone. We are all here. We have walked your pain. We have known your fear. And together we will rise and always hold those precious lost babies in our hearts.