I wanted to share something which is a little negative, but it’s something I need to get out there. It’s not often spoken about, but why not? Miscarriage is more common than many people realise. Once you’ve suffered through one, stories from friends and loved ones come out and you wonder why they chose to suffer in silence. There is nothing shameful or awkward about it. It happens and doesn’t discriminate. I need to share that one pivotal moment which changed everything for me. That one moment which put everything into perspective and showed me that we should never take anything for granted, we should be so grateful for what we have, and life is too short to waste it doing something you don’t enjoy. That was a massive long sentence of cliches, but they are cliches which I now live by. The changes took a while, and there were some hurdles along the way, but right now I can tell you it’s been worth it. I have my rainbow baby to thank for a refreshed outlook.
Stepping out of the car at the hospital that Wednesday morning, we joked about what the scan would reveal. I explained to hubby that we were going for our Nuchal Translucency (“NT”) scan at twelve weeks plus six days gestation as the further along you are, the better your chances are of finding out the gender. We had two boys but I had always wanted a little girl to dress up in bows and tutus. If it was another boy, that would make me the queen of the family hands down so that would have been OK too… Having already had two successful pregnancies, I never even considered that this could be the moment that changes everything.
11th September, 2013
The memory is so vivid that I can still feel the pressure of a full bladder as we sit in the waiting room eagerly waiting to find out if we’re playing on team blue or team pink. My knees nervously twitch, the plastic chair squeaks against the wall behind me and the parenting magazine jerks on my lap, but it doesn’t matter; I’m not reading anyway.
Another couple leave the radiologist’s room, all smiles while they finalise payment and wait for their DVD. My name is called and I eagerly bounce my way in after the perfectly pressed radiologist. She’s wearing beige slacks and a white shirt with her hair in a neat ponytail. I ponder how she looks like she’s just stepped off the page of a Review catalog. She greets me with a warmth I remember from my son’s morphology scan. I introduce hubby then loosen my maternity jeans and fold them down at the waist. I lie back in the recliner and lift my shirt, all smiles, knees bouncing with anticipation. The excitement is radiating from the both of us. The radiologist applies the warm gel and puts the wand to my stomach. On the big flat screen fixed to the opposite wall, we immediately see a perfect little baby, complete with arms and legs, fingers and toes. I look over at hubby and squeeze his hand, saying with a tear in my eye, “Awww we made another one!” The joy at seeing that beautiful little baby is short lived. The screen goes black. The radiologist quietly says “I’m sorry” with a look of sympathy. For a moment I think she’s apologising for turning the screen off, but then I see the look of sadness on her face. I realise my perfect baby was perfectly still and a sob escapes my mouth. My stomach drops and I feel like I could vomit. There’s a ringing in my ears and I feel like I’m looking down on myself. I squeeze hubby’s hand and the room suddenly feels suffocating.
I’m finally able to empty my bladder while my obstetrician is called. I wonder why there is no blood, and how this is even possible. I squeeze my nipple and feel nothing. No tenderness or tingling. Pulling up my jeans in between sobs, I realise why they were a little loose on me this morning. How long has my baby been sleeping in my stomach with no heartbeat? How could I have been going on about my usual life without knowing that my baby had died? When exactly did the tiny little heart stop beating?I’m twelve weeks and six days today, but baby measures about ten weeks and five days. The radiologist explains to me that I have an appointment tomorrow morning with my obstetrician, which I am to keep, and he will speak to me then. She puts a gentle hand on my shoulder and guides me out of the room into the one next door while the next expectant couple are ushered through and the door is quickly closed. I can only assume this was to protect us both: me from her large protruding belly, and them from my tear-stained cheeks and red raw eyes. They give me a brochure and suggest I read through it, paying particular attention to the section titled “Missed Miscarriage” and “Talking To Your Child About Miscarriage”. My heart sinks at the prospect of explaining it all to our four and six year old boys.
As we’re walking back to the car, hubby pulls me into him and I let it all out. I wail, stomp my feet, snot drips from my nose. Thirteen weeks I carried my baby, and I loved it so much already. The pain is going to take some time to heal, but we’ll get there.
I can tell you now this DOES have a happy ending. This was just over a year ago, and I now have the most beautiful ten week old baby girl. She keeps me awake at night and prefers to sleep in my arms during the day … and I love every second of it. Just moments after signing the hospital paperwork promising not to sign any important documents or make any major decisions within 24 hours of the D&C, I broke the rule. I asked my husband to phone work and tell them I won’t be returning. It was the best decision I had ever made. I’d remained in my position too long, in a workplace where I was bullied on a daily basis, and had decided enough was enough. Two weeks later I was at the beginning of a university degree which I wish I’d had the opportunity to do when I first finished high school. I won’t tell you how long ago that was!
So here I am, mother of three, life complete, full time student and loving it. And I want to share it with anyone who may be interested. Thank you for reading. x