For Steven and I, the 25th of December this year was going to be more than just Christmas day. It was the day that marked the 12th week of our pregnancy, and the day we were going to be able to announce it. Sadly, we had a miscarriage weeks before, and now, instead of being excited that Christmas is just a few days away, instead of making up excuses as to why I’m not drinking, instead of Googling every food, medicine or activity to make sure it is pregnancy safe, I’m writing this.
If you know me in real life, or even follow me on Twitter, you are probably bored of hearing about this now, and I don’t blame you. I toyed with the idea of not writing a blog post at all, but I know it will be at least a little cathartic for me and for once I’m putting that before the thoughts of others.
The day we found out we were pregnant, I had had to get up at 5am ready to get a train to Wales. I am not one for early mornings, but knowing I was about to pee on a stick that could possibly change my life forever, I was straight up. I’ve taken a lot of pregnancy tests in the past and usually am begging for a negative. There have been times in the past few years that I have been happy to take a result either way, but for this one, we both wanted to see two lines.
and we did.
There was a lot of excited swearing, and hugging and Steven was stunned. I was shaking so much I almost dropped the test. I was so damn happy I thought my heart was going to explode. In fact, the whole time I was pregnant, I felt an inner glow. I was the happiest I have ever been, and I felt like I was carrying a secret bit of magic around with me.
We told some people, because that’s who we are, and I don’t regret that for a minute. We told Steven’s parents with a wedding thank you card that ended by offering to repay them by giving them a grandchild in July. I told my best friends, my sisters, my mum. I had had so many fantasies about the crazy and fun ways we’d tell people, but in the end, I couldn’t wait until I saw them, I just had to tell them. People cried and screamed and laughed and it was amazing.
Everytime I said no to a glass of Prosecco, I felt an excited buzz. When we went to the waterpark and I had to change my ticket and say “because I’m pregnant”, I almost cried with happiness. I signed up to every app, every news letter, and searched every Pinterest board. My baby was a cluster of cells the size of a poppy seed, so there wasn’t a lot of planning I could do, but I still read everything I could.
And so did Steven. As those of you who know him can imagine, he was amazing. Running around after me, making sure I took my giant, gross pregnancy pills and even Googling how to be a good husband to your pregnant wife. Everything was amazing.
One Monday, however, I woke up with Squidge cuddled on my tummy. This isn’t something he does very often, and looking back I think he could sense that something was wrong. I felt the overwhelming urge to take another test. I did so and the lines were faint but still there. I Googled what that meant and was given so much conflicting advice, I decided to just go to work. I think I knew at this point that it wasn’t going to last.
Later in the morning, I had a little brown discharge and although I panicked, everyone assured me that it could be implantation bleeding and not to worry unless it was red.
It turned red.
I was surprisingly calm. I took another test, this time one that says how many weeks gone you are and panicked when it said less than I thought. I looked it up and actually this brand just measures the weeks differently to the way we tend to measure them (from your last period) but it still shook me. I decided to drive home, and I don’t remember the journey at all. I got in and sobbed with Steven.
I managed to get to talk to my lovely doctor on the phone and she booked me in for that day. I went in to explain what had happened and she booked me in for a scan. I had to wait almost two weeks for the scan to give them the best chance of being able to see what they were looking for.
I bled a lot and was in a lot of pain, physically and emotionally. I knew that it was a miscarriage, but poor Steven tried to remain positive. We were both so heartbroken.
I bled for about 5 or so days and it was like the worst period you’ve ever had. I went back to work and tried to pretend like everything was okay. At this point I was sure we had lost the baby.
When the day of the scan came, I was having constant anxiety attacks, was shaking and could barely walk. We were left in a room on our own, rather than waiting in the waiting room with all the pregnant ladies, and the woman who dealt with us at this stage was pretty rude. I tried to explain that I wasn’t sure if I was registered in my maiden name or married name and she was very snappy. Not what we needed.
After waiting forever, we went through to the scan room. I had naively thought it would be an external ultrasound, like you see on TV. I was very wrong. A giant want was shoved inside me and moved around in a very uncomfortable way. It was very undignified, but if there was even a chance of them finding the baby, I didn’t care. I embraced the pain because it was important to me that I suffered a little, as my stupid body couldn’t even do the one thing it is supposed to do.
The ultrasound technician was much nicer, but still had to tell us that there was no baby. I cried and she was very sympathetic, even though I’m sure she does this all the time.
We went back to our little room and cried together. Our first lady came back in and was a bit nicer this time. She said that I had had a full miscarriage, ‘you did it all by yourself’ as if I should be proud of myself. At least it meant that I didn’t have to go through any treatment, so I am grateful for that. I had a blood test and a pregnancy test, to check my hormone levels and to make sure a secret baby wasn’t hiding somewhere and then we were let go.
And that was it.
To be fair to the staff, I’m not sure what else they could have done, but we took our photocopied, clinical leaflet, and walked out of the hospital in tears.
Since then, things have been up and down. The closer we get to Christmas, the harder it is, as we should he approaching the ‘safe’ twelve week mark. But instead I am taking my temperature every morning, tracking my cycle and reluctantly buying sanitary products again. It’s shit.
It’s all I want to talk about, but I feel like I’ve used people’s sympathies up. If you haven’t had a miscarriage, you don’t realise just how shit it is. Before we went through this, I thought I understood. But I didn’t. Not really.
I know that this early it was just a clump of cells, but it was our clump of cells. It was something we had created that was growing inside me, and more than anything it was the promise of a child, of a new life. Our next big adventure. A few people have been quite flippant and said we can just ‘try again’, which is true. But we wanted that baby. We were pregnant. And when we do get pregnant again, it will be amazing, but it won’t ever undo the fact that we lost a baby.
I also feel as though we lost the joy of being pregnant. Next time when we tell people, there will be a hint of ’let’s hope it works out this time’, and trying not to get too excited, just incase. It’s robbed us of the joy we should have felt.
However, we are trying to be positive, and although it’s difficult, at least we know we can get pregnant. I’ve always worried that I might be infertile, so knowing that we can make a baby is a big relief. I also have the most support husband, who felt it all with me, and some people just don’t have that. We also had the ‘easiest’ miscarriage you can have, in that we knew it was happening (rather than finding out at a scan), and it passed itself so we didn’t have to have any medial intervention.
So that’s where we’re at. We’re trying to stay positive, and look after our bodies (and mental health) and each other. I hope this blog doesn’t seem too self-indulgent, or as if I am looking for attention, I just feel it’s something important to talk about. 1/5 pregnancies ends in miscarriage and that is incredible to me. So many of us, and yet it rarely gets mentioned, as if it is some shameful secret, and as you know, I like to tackle a good taboo, so that’s what this post was.