By CATHERINE RODIE BLAGG
My period was a little late, I felt dreadful and I couldn’t shake the nagging feeling that there was something different. “I’m going to do a pregnancy test” I told my husband (then boyfriend).
I really didn’t think much of it. There were lots of other explanations. I’ll do the test, it will be negative and then I can forget about it.
But it wasn’t negative.
F*ck. F*ck. F*ck.
My husband stood beside me. I didn’t need to tell him. We had witnessed the two lines emerging on the stick together.
Although we had discussed marriage and babies our relationship was still fairly new. We had lived together. We’d met each others families. We were going in that general direction… it was just a little sooner than expected.
It was a shock. But as the shock wore off we started to get excited. We talked and talked and talked some more.
I didn’t know much about pregnancy. Only one of my close friends had a baby and she lived on the other side of the world. There were lots of surprises, like achy boobs and incessant weeing. I was constantly hungry, but couldn’t stomach food. I vomited. A lot.
My GP talked me through the scans and the paperwork. I made notes. During my lunch breaks I devoured the internet. I was scared. But I was happy. There was a time in my life that I didn’t want children. Babies made me nervous. But when I met my husband my feelings changed. I wanted to build a life with the wonderful man who made my heart sing.
I remember the moment I saw the blood with totally clarity. My stomach lurched, panic raced through my veins. At first it was light spotting, but by the following morning I knew for sure – something was very wrong.
My wonderful, kind, compassionate GP was unavailable. Her colleague was detached. She ignored my sobs as she handed me a referral.
“Yes, you’ve had a miscarriage, you’ll need a scan to determine whether or not you need a D&C”
I went straight to bed. My husband lay with me. We both cried. Eventually we got up. We sat on our balcony playing backgammon – the contrast of normality gave us a break from our grief.
I was only seven weeks, and had only known for one of them. But in that brief time I had become a mother.
In those early days we walked a lot, it hurt less while we moved. Distracted, busy. But whenever we stopped the pain would catch up with me. I knew the hard facts, I understood that miscarriage is common, the doctor informed me that as many as 1 in 3 pregnancies end in miscarriage. It didn’t stop me blaming myself. It didn’t stop me wondering if there was something wrong.
At first my friends were amazing. But there is something about watching grief, or pain or misery. It’s uncomfortable. It’s better all round if you recover quickly, go back to your old self… Move on. Get over it. One friend said ‘It’s for the best’….
It was a dark time. My grief consumed me. I could think of nothing else. Talk of nothing else… but I quickly ran out of people who would listen. I didn’t know where to turn. I drank heavily. I stayed in bed. My head told me that I hadn’t really lost anything… just a ball of cells. My heart told me otherwise.
My husband and I dealt with our emotions differently. It was make or break…
We had a weekend away. Leaving the experience behind us. We decided to let nature take its course… no more contraceptives, but not actively ‘trying’ either. We assumed it would take a while. I was pregnant again by the end of the month.
I can’t imagine the enormous pain of stillbirth, or of a miscarriage at 10 weeks, or 14… I know women who live with this grief. They say miscarriage is the last taboo, but I think it’s ridiculous to sweep something that affects so many under the carpet. Through speaking up and sharing stories we can support each other and let the healing begin.
Have you or has someone close to you, experienced miscarriage?