As baby loss awareness week comes to a close, I sit here reflecting one of my toughest years yet.
The week marks an opportunity for people across the UK to commemorate the lives of babies lost in pregnancy or during or soon after birth.
The truth is, for those that have suffered baby loss, every single day is spent commemorating the life that could have been. The dreadful feeling of loss never truly subsides. Just when you think you’re fine, something will trigger your pain to surface, be it a calendar invitation that coincides with what would have been your due date, yet another new baby announcement or even the drawer full of pregnancy medication you open every day. I wouldn’t wish this sinking feeling upon anyone.
The statistic that I’ve become so familiar with still really scares me. One in four pregnancies can end in miscarriage.
And when I saw the sonographer’s apologetic looking eyes I knew. I somehow found myself here again. Physically, mentally, emotionally and even spiritually broken. I didn’t think I would ever recover from yet another miscarriage. Not this time.
This took my total tally to 3 miscarriages.
The thing with miscarriage is it’s not treated like any other grief. There is no goodbye, no closure, no being surrounded by people feeling the same loss. Instead it’s a private grief, one only you and your partner feel. It’s lonely, dark and frightening.
We are taught to keep our pregnancy a secret until at least 12 weeks, so that if a miscarriage happens, no one needs to know or talk about it. Nobody has to confront the loss. Because if those around you don’t know, perhaps it never even happened.
But I needed to talk about it, at least to those closest to me. It is one of the saddest things I have ever been through and each time it happens I become weaker rather than more resilient. The more I hold it in, the sadder I become, so here I am sharing my story once again.
Just 6 months after my last loss, I woke up with my pregnancy test in hand. After another round of IVF (frozen embryo transfer) I had prepared myself for the worst, but hoped for the best. I had been here so many times before. My heart had been crushed more times than it could take. But here I was, testing its strength once more.
My nervousness mounted, my happiness clinging on to seeing two pink lines. As I plucked up the courage to peek at the result, I couldn’t hold in my smile. The treatment had worked! The months of medication were indeed worth it. I was pregnant again!
Having suffered losses in the past, I wasn’t able to properly celebrate the news I had been longing for. But, I decided from then on, that I was pregnant until proven otherwise and I was going to embrace that. A week or so after testing, the early pregnancy symptoms came flooding in; tiredness, nausea, food aversions. The sickness was difficult to deal with, I started to lose my appetite and was finding it difficult to not have a constant resting screw face.
I had been spotting since embryo transfer and whilst I was told it was really common, it was concerning me. It’s exactly what I had experienced last time I miscarried and I found myself on hold to the hospital once again. I needed reassurance that everything was ok.
A blood test confirmed that I was ‘very pregnant’ and that my HCG levels were high. This gave me confidence but I wanted an early pregnancy scan just to be sure.
Although I was a little more positive following the blood results, I still found walking into the ultrasound room very daunting. I went through the familiar routine to prepare myself for the scan. Empty bladder, bottoms off, and laying awkwardly of the bed waiting for the sonographer to prepare.
Hubby popped round the curtain so he could watch the screen as she scanned. Even though I was only 6 weeks pregnant, we saw the sac, the fetal pole and a little flicker of a heartbeat. We breathed a sigh of relief and had faith in this pregnancy once again.
However, just a week later my spotting became bleeding and was being accompanied by period like pains. I tried not to worry, but the following day at 5pm, as I lay on the sofa, I felt a sudden urge to go to the loo. As I stood up, I immediately crossed my legs and hurriedly shuffled to the bathroom. I sat on the loo and found myself uncontrollable crying. In just a few seconds I had passed huge clots, perhaps some tissue and who knows what else. I had been here before. I didn’t want to be here again.
Just like that 7 weeks into a pregnancy. I was miscarrying. I was somewhat numb from the whole experience. 2 miscarriages in the space of a year. What had I done to deserve this? Why was my body failing me? Will I ever regain the strength to try again? To summarise, I felt absolutely broken.
I confided in those closest to me and found being open about my experience helped me to process and register all the emotions that had built up from enduring the pain of multiple pregnancy loss. It was incredible how much talking helped the healing process.
I still struggle to understand the stigma surrounding a topic that impacts so many of us.
Our entire lives are lived through a filter, we celebrate and showcase our highs, we hide away and pretend our lows didn’t happen. Each of my losses are engrained in my heart, and I’m not scared in sharing my story as I know it will unfortunately resonate with so many.
To anyone who has suffered pregnancy or baby loss, I am truly sorry. Sadly so many of us will only get to hold our babies in our hearts. This is baby loss. ❤️❤️❤️