This has been a difficult post to write and I went back and forward on whether to post it. However, I feel it is really important and something we still don’t talk about enough. According to the Miscarriage association 1 in 4 pregnancies end in miscarriage. In the UK that includes any pregnancy up to 23 weeks and 6 days. I will leave a link to the Miscarriage association here.
Today 10 years ago was the due date for my first baby. This is the date that has always stuck in mind. I know the miscarriage happened in the May and I remember so many little details from that time but the due date I have never forgotten. I think this is because one the first things you do when you find out your pregnant is to work out when you will meet your baby.
Lets back track a little bit. When I was 20 I was diagnosed with endometriosis, a condition that can effect your fertility. I was told I would likely need IVF if I was ever going to be able to conceive. Skip forward a few years and after many months trying that little stick turned blue, no IVF required. I was incredibly lucky.
From the moment you see that line you are a mum. I feel very strongly about that, the moment I got pregnant I became a mum. You start to plan, to feel excited, work out the due date. Even if you are dealing with feeling constantly sick. You start looking at clothing and imagining this little bundle in your arms. The one thing I did buy was a little teddy bear, I still have it in a box. Even now I cannot have it out.
So, what went wrong?
Around 11 weeks pregnant one Friday at work I noticed blood when I wiped. I had no bleeding at all (this can be common in early pregnancy, in fact when I was pregnant with my daughter I experienced implantation bleeding) so for me it was unusual. I phoned triage and they arranged a scan for me on the Monday.
All weekend I was left wondering what was happening. Terrified every time I went to the loo there would be more blood. It was an awful 48hrs. On that Sunday I remember holding a friend’s baby and something inside me just knew that it had gone wrong for me. I don’t know what or why but, in my heart of hearts I knew.
That Monday morning, we went for the scan, I was 11weeks 5days at this point, I knew there should be a baby on that screen. Instead when she scanned my tummy there was just a little blob. The baby had, for some reason, stopped developing at around 6 weeks. However, my body had continued the pregnancy, this is called a missed or silent miscarriage.
For 5 weeks I had continued to feel pregnant, to plan that life that would never happen. It was so dam cruel. You feel the guilt and the frustration – why had my body done this to me?! No one can give you the answer.
It took another week for the miscarriage to happen naturally. A very kind doctor gave me some very good painkillers and I spent the majority of the time very numb. Unfortunately, I then had an incomplete miscarriage, some of the pregnancy tissue was left behind and had caused an infection. Two weeks after that first scan, I had a small operation to remove what was left.
That was that, your left with nothing and people didn’t know I was pregnant. Why don’t we tell people? When this happens we need all the support we can get.
Miscarriage also has a knock-on effect on future pregnancies. I got pregnant with my son about 6 months later. I would not allow myself to be excited, to make plans or work out a due date. Every time I went to the toilet, I would be paranoid about finding blood.
Due to my fear the NHS trust I was in at the time gave me an early scan. At almost 7 weeks I was scanned and there on the screen was a little heart beat flickering away. It doesn’t mean that you are out of the woods, but the likelihood of miscarriage once the heart beat has been observed is much lower.
10 Years On
I have been luckily enough to go on and have two healthy pregnancies. That doesn’t mean I still don’t grieve for the one I lost. Yes, it is easier, no I don’t think about it all the time now, but this time of year always brings it back up. I would also like to say whether you have lost one or many, your grieve is yours. No one can tell you, you should be over it or you haven’t had it as bad as some others. You are entitled to feel how you do. Your pain is real and it is valid.
Something that never quite goes away though is the what if. It is an odd one, I would dearly loved to have met that first baby but had I done so I would never have had my son. I’ve spoken to other friends that have been in similar situations and they say the same. You would never change the children you do have but you will always wonder what that one (or more) may have been like.
To all three of my children, I love you always.