After two healthy and normal pregnancies, miscarriage was something that never entered my mind as we embarked on our third pregnancy. My first two babies we had conceived without trouble and had “uneventful pregnancies” so why should the third be any different? We waited for our 12 week scan and found everything to be healthy and normal, so we announced to the world that baby 3 was on its way. Our older two children were so excited and so were we. My son was praying for a brother he could wrestle with, and my daughter hoping for a sister with whom she could play tea parties, and so as a family we began dreaming up the 5th member of our family. We decided not to find out what we were having, and enjoy the surprise that would come at the time of delivery. We went along to our 19 week scan. I went to this “big scan” with a sense of apprehension and in hindsight my gut was telling me the unthinkable.
Its a moment that will replay in my mind forever. The ultrasongraher placing the ultrasound probe on my belly, removing it almost immediately and asking my husband to sit down and turn off the video camera. Knowing straight away that something was wrong. The deep, primal screams that came from my mouth, yet i felt like I was no longer inside my body. The feeling that the walls around me were collapsing and that I could no longer breathe. The million thoughts of my children, how they would cope, devastating our parents, our siblings and having to deal with this loss with everyone watching us…… There was also the strange feeling of having to comprehend that I had a baby, who’s heart was no longer beating, inside of me. This feeling that I wanted the baby to be out of me, and yet I wanted it never to leave. I also had a burning desire to know who this baby was? Unfortunately for me, my baby had passed 4 weeks prior to me finding out (another million questions about why my body let me down and then didn’t tell me??) so the ultrasound couldn’t tell me the babies sex or if there was something wrong with the baby. In one of the earlier tests i had, the sex was noted, we just chose not to be told, and so we found out that we hadn’t just lost a baby, we had lost our little girl. My head was spinning. I had to make decisions, I had to take care of my family, I had to deal with my feelings, I just wanted to crawl into a dark place and make everything stop. And then something else came from within me, the knowledge that I had two beings who looked to me to know the world was a good place, the instinct to look after my children and make sure they were safe above all else. I would have time for me later. Telling my children was one of the hardest things I have ever had to do as a parent. I feel as I write this, my thoughts are taking me in a thousand different directions, and thats how I felt at the time. SO as I try to centre myself, I’m thinking what message do I want to share? What do I want people to know about miscarriage? I think there’s a number of things. I want you to know that in the early days it sucked the joy out of my life. It made me reevaluate every single breath I took, every word that came from my mouth. It made me more thankful for what I know is so precious, and also made me feel very disconnected from who I was and everyone and everything around me. Like I was living in a parallel universe. So for those supporting someone going through it, patience is key. Remember that the person who has lost their baby has had dreams squashed, the ground beneath them is no longer stable and they are likely questioning every inch of their being. I was lucky to already have children, which pushed me through, something which gave every day focus and purpose which couldn’t be ignored. Not everyone has that. I also want you to know I felt lonely. Even though I had so many people around me offering support and love. At the time, the last thing I wanted to hear is “you’ll get past it” or “you’re still young, you can try again”. As well meaning as the sentiment is, they invalidated my feelings, like the baby I lost, the baby I carried, was somehow no longer important. I don’t ever want to get over my daughter, and yes, she never quite made it here, but she was very real to me and still is. I guess the difference is from the loss of someone you’ve met, to someone you’ve only danced with in your dreams, you’re mourning what could’ve been, not what was.
As much as i wanted to lay surrounded by my grief, and hold on to any connection to my angel daughter, it couldn’t be my long term reality. I had two children who needed me to get back up on my feet, and after counselling and hours of chatting to my husband, our idea of what our family looked like still included another child. So we made a conscious decision to choose life. We continued counselling and let g-d decide when to give us another baby. We were lucky, it didn’t take us long, and after and uneventful, albeit very anxious pregnancy, almost exactly a year to the day we had the devastating news, we were given an amazing blessing of our rainbow baby boy. I needed a lot of reassurance during my pregnancy and I was still dealing with my grief, but i had a great team to work with which enabled me to get through it successfully and I enjoy my precious gift every day! I often think of my daughter, and what she would be doing and where we would be up to if she had made it, but I also try to see that she played an important role in the creation of our family and that she is still an important part of our family, even without seeing a day on earth.
Grief is an unusual thing. It takes each person on their own journey. It changes us. It makes us grow. My final thought is, miscarriage hurts, and the grief is real. Be kind and gentle to people around you because often it goes on behind closed doors.
From Bec: A special thank you to this beautiful, brave mum who wrote this blog for Bellies and Beyond. Whilst she would like to stay anonymous she is more than happy for mothers needing someone to talk to, to contact her. If this is you then please be in touch with me and I will pass on her details.
If you are seeking professional help then get in touch with Terry Diamond, a bereavement counsellor who specialises in infertility and perinatal loss and death of a child. 0414990243 or firstname.lastname@example.org