I wanted to write this post to process my feelings; I wasn’t even sure if I would ever publish it. But I’m going to. I want to talk candidly about my loss.
A little over a month ago I got the news I’d been hoping for every month for the past year – I was pregnant. The two little pink lines told me so. I even asked Rosalie what she could see just to check I wasn’t fooling myself. I shared the news with Jim and we were overjoyed, and relieved to finally have some good news after the months of trying.
Sadly the euphoria of getting a positive didn’t last long – after experiencing bleeding, having numerous blood tests, hormone levels rising abnormally, a suspected ectopic pregnancy and an internal scan, I miscarried at around seven weeks.
I was left feeling lost, alone and numb. With a rollercoaster of emotions and numerous medical appointments, hours were feeling like days, and days feeling like weeks. The future of our little bean was hanging in the balance, but the Doctors and Nurses didn’t seem to care, I was just another patient to them. To be dealt with so clinically left me feeling as though I shouldn’t be feeling anything at all. When the Doctor explained “it’s nothing you’ve done” and “it wasn’t a healthy foetus” I tried to rationalise it in my mind, but I found it so difficult not to yell “that’s my baby you’re talking about!”
I walked out of the hospital wondering if I was really allowed to grieve (clearly the Doctors didn’t expect me to) since I was so early on – I hadn’t seen a heartbeat and I did feel like a bit of a fraud feeling sad for losing something I never really had. The question ‘Is it acceptable for me to mourn my loss?’ kept running through my head. But I couldn’t help it. As soon as I saw the line on the pregnancy test I felt hope that after all our efforts we might finally be able to give Rosalie a sibling and have the second baby we so longed for. So I mourned, in my own silent way.
I didn’t really know who to talk to. Since no one really talks about pregnancy loss it’s hard to know where to turn. I think people feel really awkward when you mention miscarriage, so they say sorry for your loss, give you a hug and try and say something positive like “you’ve got Rosalie to cheer you up” or “it will happen when the time is right”. But that really doesn’t change the deep sadness and desperate feeling of loss that hangs like a veil over you.
Miscarrying is also physically very draining – for me it took two weeks for the bleeding to stop and I felt so tired and rundown from it all. I know there were days, early on when there was still a fragment of hope, when Rosalie didn’t get the attention she deserved because I was googling my symptoms, desperate to find a success story among all the tales of despair.
Thankfully I have one amazing husband and some wonderfully supportive friends who’ve really helped see me through to the other side, and now the bleeding has stopped I feel physically so much better.
Emotionally, I will always carry this in my heart. A part of me that’s gone but not forgotten, and has changed me ever so slightly.
We planted a Hellebore ‘Winter Sun’ in the garden as a way of remembering our little bean that wasn’t meant to be. We wanted to honour our loss, instead of bottle it up and push it down never to be spoken of again.
It has been really hard seeing all the pregnancy updates and baby announcements across social media – literally everywhere I turn, locally and online, there seems to be either a newborn or a bump, as if the whole world is rubbing my face in it. Of course I know they aren’t, and I’d never wish my circumstances on them, but why can’t it be me too?
I’m incredibly lucky to have a daughter already; I know that. Longing for a second baby, and grieving the loss of this pregnancy, doesn’t make me love Rosalie any less, if anything it makes me love her even more. I find myself treasuring her more, holding her even closer, breathing her in deeper and cherishing each moment that little bit longer.
But I still wonder what this one might have become…
The full story of my miscarriage
(Warning: may contain too much information for some.)
I wanted to share the full story of my miscarriage because when I was googling my symptoms I came across numerous threads on various forums where the original poster never returned to say what their outcome was. By sharing my story I hope I might help someone else in a similar situation. If anyone wants someone to talk to about their own loss then please send me a message.
It was only a few days after the positive pregnancy test that I started to get some brown bleeding; after much googling I assured myself that brown means old so it was probably nothing to worry about (easier said than done). I did several pregnancy tests over the following week and they continued to read positive, but the bleeding wasn’t stopping either, in fact it remained the same (in colour and quantity) for two weeks.
After two weeks of brown bleeding I talked to the Doctor who said it was fairly common in early pregnancy, but suggested a blood test which would tell us how far along I was according to my hormones, and if this tallied with my dates then there would be hope. The results came back and showed my hCG levels to be within a day or two of the six weeks I thought I was.
Two days after this blood test I experienced severe lower back pain, stomach cramping and red bleeding. I was absolutely gutted; I felt having had the positive blood results everything was going to be fine. How foolish I was. I grieved my loss over the weekend and was starting to come to terms with it, although the bleeding, pain and tiredness was wearing me down.
After speaking to the Doctor again he suggested another blood test to check what my hormones were doing. At this point he wasn’t convinced I had miscarried.
The results of this second blood test showed that my levels were still rising, but not in accordance with a healthy pregnancy. By now I would have been nearly seven weeks pregnant. Having done a lot of reading the thought that I could be ectopic had crossed my mind, but wasn’t something I had wanted to dwell on. But with these worrying blood results the Doctor felt it necessary for me to have a scan to see if the pregnancy could be located. She explained that if the pregnancy was ectopic then I would have to have my tube removed.
I spent a hugely anxious weekend researching ectopic pregnancy and what it would mean if I had to have my tube removed. I was fearful if it had taken us so long to conceive that with only one tube it would be an even longer road. I went to quite a dark place with the worry. I am so grateful to my wonderful husband for his support at a time when he was very anxious too.
On the Monday we had to go to Reading to the Early Pregnancy Assessment Clinic where, along with a whole lot of sitting and nervously waiting, they took a sample, did my blood pressure and an internal scan (an uncomfortable experience) – they checked my uterus and fallopian tubes but the results were inconclusive. It was being referred to as a ‘pregnancy of unknown location’.
After more waiting around a Doctor spoke to me and explained that since the scan was inconclusive they would have to take more blood and see what my hormone levels were doing and that I might possibly need another scan. Of course I knew I didn’t have a healthy pregnancy at this point, but how bad it was I was anxious to find out.
A few days later I got the results and my hormone levels had dropped massively, indicating I was miscarrying. At this stage I was actually relieved – the thought of having surgery and losing a tube was terrifying, so being told it was just a ‘regular miscarriage’ was a significant weight off my mind. But I was still being told I’d lost my baby, in the most clinical way imaginable. I wasn’t offered any support, any follow-up or any guidance on what to expect from the bleeding. I was sent on my way, checked off a list never to be thought of again. All in a days work for them. A little bit of me and Jim lost forever to us.
I bled for two weeks in total.