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"48 hours ago I was pregnant..."

 

 

BY RENZA SCIBILIA

I wrote this post immediately after a recent miscarriage. Now, a couple of weeks down the track, I am less raw, but still very sad.

The reason I wrote this piece was to try to explain how I was feeling to those around me. I was unable to say anything through the grief. But even though I can now talk about it, I still think that these stories are important because we should be able to freely talk about miscarriage and loss – even when the emotion can be quite confronting.

Today, I am doing much better. The miscarriage took place while I was in New York with my family. We’ve since returned home and I’m back at work and I’m slowly but surely coming to terms with what I have lost. I know that I will continue to feel pain for some time – maybe forever – but each day is a little easier. My family and friends have been an endless source of support to me and I thank them.

I am raw and I know that I probably shouldn’t be writing at the moment. I know that I will regret the words and I know that I will look back and remember the sadness, but not the intensity and pain I am feeling now.

I am bleeding and I am crying and I am sore. Forty-eight hours ago I was 13 weeks pregnant. I was at a friend’s 40th birthday party and was enjoying sharing with people the reason for my little round tummy. Because that’s what you do at 13 weeks. You feel safe and start to tell people. You start to buy clothes a little bigger than usual. You spend $500 on a freaking nappy bag. I shouldn’t have felt safe. My body doesn’t do safe; it does broken.

I have a love/hate relationship with my body. I love it because it allows me to do all the things I need it to do. It gets me up in the morning, gets me out and about. It conceived, carried and delivered my baby daughter – my daughter who is eight years old now and more of a miracle than she will ever understand. It allows me to work in a job I love, do a minimum amount of exercise and do fun things with my family.

But I hate it because I’ve never been happy with it – nothing serious, just in that ‘I wish I was 5kg lighter/had smaller thighs/had better upper arms/had bigger boobs’ sort of way that plagues pretty much every woman. And I hate it because it is broken. Thanks to an immune system that is unable to tell the difference between friend or foe, I have Type 1 diabetes. My own body killed off the insulin-producing cells in my pancreas 15 years ago, so now I wear a pump that infuses insulin into me throughout the day. But most of the time I can deal with this – I hate it and it’s a pain in the arse, but generally, I deal with the diabetes stuff and get on with life.

But more than anything, I hate it because it doesn’t do one of the things it is meant to be able to do – it sucks at being pregnant. Four attempts and one baby. Three miscarriages. I know that there are women who have had more – many more, but right now as there is blood leaking from my body and tears pouring down my cheeks I can only be selfish and think of myself. And the baby that until yesterday was part of the dreams and hopes of my family’s future.

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Renza

I woke up yesterday morning and within half an hour knew exactly what was going on. The pain that started in my lower abdomen and was coming and going in waves was the first indication that there was something wrong. I was having contractions. I rushed to a local hospital, the fact that I was on the opposite side of the world from home already making this more difficult, and numbly explained to the triage nurse what I was feeling. “Any bleeding?’ I was asked. “No,’ I answered in a small voice that didn’t in any way disguise the dumb hope that was trying to rise up and convince me that the pain was from food poisoning, or just the need to go to the toilet.

And then it started. I went to the bathroom and there on the stark white paper was the first sign of blood. It was faint but it was there and I sobbed loudly as I walked back to my emergency room to tell my husband. ‘It’s over. I’m losing the baby’. He refused to let me jump to conclusions. ‘Wait until the ultrasound. It could be anything’. But I know my body – my broken body – and I knew what was happening.

As I waited to be taken to the ultrasound; as I lay down with the gel and wand running over my belly; as I begged the tight-lipped ultrasound technician to tell me if she could see a heartbeat; as I waited for the doctor to confirm what I already knew to be true, I wept and cried and sobbed. My heart cracked in two for yet another baby I was not able to grow and deliver. I cried for my eight year old daughter who was so excited at the thought of finally – FINALLY – becoming a big sister. And I cried for my husband who was being strong but had wanted another baby for so, so many years. I cried for the other two babies I’d lost and I cried for the pain I was in as my body was trying to expel what I thought would be our child.

When the doctor finally came to tell me the results, he was kind and gentle and said he was sorry. So did the nurse. Their words, meant to console me, barely entered my head as I mentally started to process what I needed to do. I made clear my wishes of having a D and C. I knew that recovery would be easier and swifter if I had one rather than needing to miscarry naturally as I had the first time. I made a call to Australia to let my parents know I was about to go into surgery and heard their sadness and tears down the phone as together we cried for my loss. Another grandchild I could not provide them, I thought and then chided myself for being so bloody melodramatic. I prepared myself for the surgery ahead and wondered how we were going to explain this to our daughter. And as I lay in the operating theatre, slowly starting to feel drowsy, I quietly, in my head, said my goodbyes to my baby and told it how sorry I was that I couldn’t do what I was meant to do.

And now, twenty-four hours later, I am raw and sad beyond all belief. My broken body has once again failed. And right now, I have a broken heart as well.

Renza Scibilia is mum to a beautiful 8 year-old daughter, wife to a jazz musician and guitar collector and works at a diabetes organisation. She blogs about living well with diabetes here and tweets @RenzaS.

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