On Saturday, 31st May 2014, I had a miscarriage.
This is the first time I have felt able to properly share this.. I have touched on it before but I’ve never gone into detail or told my Angel Baby’s story before. I still don’t know if I’m ready to but if this helps someone, somewhere, then I feel the pain of writing this will be worth it.
When I found out I was pregnant again, I was absolutely not expecting it. I didn’t even think I was late when I tested, I just had an overwhelming feeling one day telling me that I needed do a test RIGHT NOW so when it came back positive I was in complete shock. I remember standing there, shaking like a leaf, staring at the 2 pink lines appearing before my eyes feeling like everything around me was on fast forward and I was just there, on pause, eyes glued to this stick of plastic.
Despite being in complete shock, completely terrified of how I was going to make this work and about a million other things, I knew without a doubt in my mind that I wanted to keep the baby and the main thing going through my mind was complete and utter excitement. Being a Mum is my thing and there wasn’t anything else on the entire planet I loved more than being a Mum and I loved this baby with every ounce of my being the second those lines appeared. I rang and booked an appointment with the midwife straight away just as I did when I found out I was expecting my first, Eloise, and was booked in. My dates made me out to be about 5 or 6 weeks pregnant.
The reception to my news didn’t go down as well as I had hoped and to cut a long and shitty story short, I started to look for a place to move to. Problem being my now ex, was an apprentice so everywhere we looked rent wise no one would touch us because we were poor as hell basically.
The start of my pregnancy was ruined by phone calls to estate agents, viewing houses, more phone calls and yet more viewings. I tried my best to eat well and try not to stress out at the shit storm of a situation I had found myself in. I began to get an incredibly strange feeling in my general bump area. The only way I can describe it is that it was as thought my womb had detached and was just floating in there, tugging as I walked, about to fall out at any second. It felt so heavy, not painful at first, just really heavy.
We publicly announced the pregnancy, I never got the chance to properly announce Eloise’s as that was also a shit storm and I was just so excited at the thought of becoming a Mum again. A day after I began spotting, not a lot, but enough to notice a slight pink tinge on the toilet paper, not enough to mark my underwear. This worried me but not too much as I had a small amount of spotting with Eloise at about 9 weeks. I was still testing positive so I decided to wait it out and as it was such a small amount I tried not to freak out and kept reminding myself that I actually had more spotting with Eloise and she was fine etc etc. In hindsight, as soon as the strange tugging feeling started I think I knew.
I was taking test after test now, comparing the lines, taking photos and editing them to try and convince me that the newer ones were the same or darker by editing them. I was going to the bathroom every 3 minutes to check if I was bleeding more. Reading google search after google search about pregnancy tests and how the hook effect works (when the HCG hormone in your urine is too high that the test comes back lighter or negative) and I even diluted a sample to test this theory. Still came back positive. This went on for a week whilst I was viewing properties and making phone calls I really didn’t feel like making. I remember viewing one not far from where I lived at the time and being asked by the estate agent if I had children. I told her I had a 4 year old and one on the way. She congratulated me. She was the first person to say anything positive about my pregnancy.
The spotting stopped for a while and I started to calm down and I slowed right down, trying anything that I thought I could possibly do to stop this happening, holding on to every single shred of hope I had left at this point, with all I had. The spotting returned later on the same day. It was then that I really began to accept that I was probably losing my baby.
I rang the doctors and they got the Early Pregnancy Unit to speak to me and assess me. The lady said to me quite bluntly that “the pregnancy will either progress, or it won’t”. Those words still echo in my head. She was helpful and told me to stop torturing myself by taking a good 5 tests a day and to leave it a couple of weeks and test again. She gave me a number to ring if I started to get any sharp pain in either side or if I started bleeding more.
The spotting quickly increased to resemble the start of a period and progressed into bleeding which progressed into the worst cramps I have experienced. I have a very high pain tolerance and they were painful at this point but not crippling. Not like contractions or period pains, they felt deep and hollow.
I began getting sharp pains in my side and so I rang the EPU and they said they wouldn’t be able to get me a scan until the following week and the pain was most likely my ligaments/ my uterus trying to “expel the foetus” rather than an ectopic pregnancy as my tests had started to get lighter and my HCG levels were going down rather than up. I remember taking a photo with a digital test I bought, as a keepsake now more than anything. The dates on it would have been wrong but I wanted something other than a pissy stick to keep.
Over the next few days the bleeding got heavier, I don’t know whether it was the blood loss or the stress but I began to feel dizzy whenever I was upright but being alone for most of it and having a 4 year old to look after meant I couldn’t rest like my body needed me to. At this point I knew my baby had died. Knowing that you are carrying your dead child inside you is a feeling I will never, ever get over. When the one place they should be safe, they weren’t. Did it hurt? Were they in any pain? Knowing that it was your body that stopped their little heart, for whatever reason, and that no amount of hoping, no amount of editing or holding the tests in certain lights, no amount of praying, none of those things would bring my baby back.
At this point I stopped being scared for my baby and began being scared for me. Before, when I felt there was hope, I didn’t really think about me. I knew the things that can go wrong, the things that can happen to me but I didn’t care. All I cared about was keeping this baby alive but by this point my tests were now pretty much negative. My body was weak, it was exhausted from crying until I couldn’t breathe anymore, from pregnancy, from loss. I had failed at the one thing my body had been created to do and I began trying to figure out how my body had killed my baby. I hated myself. I hated everything I “could have done”. Should I have taken vitamins earlier? Was it my blood type? Should I have stopped breastfeeding my eldest? Would those things have made a difference? A million reasons to blame myself were spinning round and round in my mind. I blamed my ex, he was a smoker, was it that which caused this? I blamed my situation. If I hadn’t have been given a time limit to find a place and leave; if i hadn’t been so stressed out, would this still have happened? This was the beginning of me completely losing myself.
I now just wanted the baby out of me. I was exhausted with waiting for the worst thing of my life to happen. There was no hope now but part of me still couldn’t give up on the deluded though that even now, perhaps my baby was okay. Maybe by some miracle my baby was safe, wiggling away inside.
I tried distracting myself with anything, buying gifts for my eldest as a sorry for being a shit Mum, played games that I can no longer play and watched films I cannot watch anymore. I remember watching Les Misérables which is one of my favourite musicals. I haven’t been able to watch it since and the songs still feel like stabs to my entire being. Anything that takes me back to how I felt in that moment, even now, I can’t bare.
Finally, on the night of 31st May the cramping picked up. I mean, really picked up. It felt like someone was literally trying to tear my abdominal organs out of me. I went into the bathroom and tried to catch the blood with some tissue and it was then that my baby passed.
There on the toilet paper I could see the sac that had surrounded the baby inside my womb. It looked torn open, I wasn’t sure what it was meant to look like but to me it looked ripped and shredded almost. Thinking back now, it looked like a tiny placenta. The foetal tissue was there too, it looked like a large blood clot/tissue but grey and more fibrous and not like regular clots you get during periods. The colour was different, it was paler and more attached together and structured.
There on the toilet paper was my baby. I remember just standing there not knowing what the hell to do. To me what was in my hands wasn’t just a “ball of cells” (as someone so compassionately referred to it, that fucking hurt. A lot.) , it was my child. I didn’t want to just flush it down the toilet. I wouldn’t just throw my daughter away so why would I do that to this baby? I ended up folding the tissue as best I could do, trying hard to to “hurt” the baby and tucked the little package away in a purple, heart shaped trinket box I had. I don’t think I cried when it happened. I didn’t really feel anything anymore.
I remember getting back into bed, telling my ex that it had happened and then went to sleep, not being sure if I really wanted to wake up whilst at the same time being terrified that I actually wouldn’t.
I remember digging my fingers as hard as I could into my stomach and literally tearing at my skin, absolutely loathing my body for what it had done. It had killed my child. I hated my mind for not being stronger. I thought about how stressed I had been, had my baby felt that? Had the short time they had been alive, did they only feel the panic I did? I have never hated something more than I hated myself in that moment. But it was over.
I bled for a while after, like a heavy period once things had settled down which gradually trailed off over the next 2 weeks. By this point I was having countless panic attacks daily and was finding it really hard to cope. I was terrified of falling pregnant again because I was convinced my body was evil and that it would end up killing the next baby too.
Everyone had seemed to have forgotten there ever was a baby and I felt like the only person who cared that there had been a life inside of me and that life had ended. Everywhere I looked there was a newborn or someone had found out they were pregnant and because I had only been able to bring myself to tell close friends and family, I was still having people ask how my pregnancy was going and it just killed me over and over again and so I just shut everyone out and let the grief completely consume me.
We eventually found a shitty, falling apart but beautiful old listed building within our price range and moved out just as the bleeding started to stop. I threw myself into doing the place up trying desperately to shift my focus on something, anything else. I found it so hard to even like living there and ended up spending more time away from “home” that I spent there, taking Eloise to my Grandparents house most days and nights if I could because I felt like they were the only people who cared about me at the time. My mental health deteriorated quickly and beyond anything I have ever experienced before and my ex couldn’t/didn’t want to/didn’t know how to deal with it so we ended up splitting up and I moved back home late one night in November.
It is now coming up to 3 years later. I should have a 2 year old. Lily should have had 2 older siblings. I should have 3 children. They say time heals and to a certain extent it does, but losing a child, at any stage, is something I truly believe no parent can ever get over. Not completely. You see, the thing they don’t tell you when you lose a baby at any stage of pregnancy, is that you don’t just lose a baby, you lose a future, you lose their first smile, their wobbly little first steps, their first word. You lose their first day at school, their last day at school, their wedding day and the children they may had had themselves. When you lose a baby, you lose so much more than just that pregnancy. You lose a whole entire life.