real life

"I'm so happy you're pregnant, but I can't be around you."

To my dear friend, I’m sorry…

What happens when you’re friend announces they are expecting? You’re happy for them, over the moon of course.

But, if you’ve been trying to fall pregnant, or have suffered a miscarriage, it can be really hard not to let your own emotions cloud the situation.

When my son was 8-months-old, I suffered an ectopic pregnancy. It happened as I was on a plane, but I didn’t realise at the time what was going on.

It wasn’t until I presented to hospital a few days later, white as a sheet, with a pain I cannot describe that I found out I was in a very dangerous position. I knew I was pregnant, but it was early days, so while I was anxiously waiting in the hospital bed to hear that the baby was okay, I had no idea that the situation was more, “You could die today”.

"I couldn't bear to listen to the planning, the pregnancy symptoms, the excitement."

The ruptured ectopic pregnancy required emergency surgery where they needed to remove the left fallopian tube completely. I was later told that I went into shock on the table due to so much internal bleeding. It was a very real, very scary situation.

When my husband and I decided to try for another baby, I needed some fertility medication to help, as my system had essentially gone into lock down.

I knew at the time I was a higher chance of multiples because of the medication I was on, and so it didn't come as a huge shock to find out that there were in fact, two in there. I was monitored by daily blood tests, which came back a lot higher than normal, so that also gave me a heads up before the scans showed anything.

I was overjoyed the day we saw two little beans on the ultrasound and I literally had to wipe away tears to see the screen. I waited until the very early stages were over before telling friends and family our news. Twins! I nicknamed them "the buttons" and got to planning how crazy my life would be with a 2-year-old and newborn twins.

Yes, I had all the symptoms of a multiple pregnancy, and threw up constantly, but it was going to be so worth it.

It wasn't until a very routine appointment with my OB that I realised something was wrong. His normally jovial face was different as he ran the doppler over my belly. I lay there waiting, waiting.  Just waiting for him to say something.

ADVERTISEMENT

The news that I had lost one of my twins was very hard for me. I couldn't find the words to tell my husband, and so I let the doctor call him and do it for me. I regret that deeply but I just didn't know how to do it. My head was a mess. I walked out of his rooms in a daze and sat in the car for what seemed like an eternity, just trying to process what had just happened. Of course I was happy that I still had a healthy baby on the way, don't get me wrong but in pregnancy a loss is still a loss. It affected me a lot more than I thought it would.

"My beautiful son was just as perfect as I thought he would be."

At the time, a good friend had also announced that she was pregnant with twins, due only two weeks apart from mine.  She too had had struggles with fertility, and twins for her were such a miracle. I was overjoyed for her, excited for all the things to come her way.

However, for the rest of my pregnancy, I found excuses not to see her. It's not that I didn't want to see her, but it was just a painful reminder of what was no longer there for me.

I couldn't bear to listen to the planning, the pregnancy symptoms, the excitement. Of course I was thrilled for her, I just didn't want to let her see that her joy tinged mine with a little pain. I knew she understood because when we did catch up, she kept avoiding discussing her twins even though I tried to pretend everything was fine by asking a million questions.

My beautiful son was born in May 2013, and was just as perfect as I thought he would be.

I was lucky enough that I was able to walk out of the hospital with a healthy baby because I know the situation for many is very different, but sometimes I do catch myself looking at him and wondering what could have been, for us, and for him.

Have you ever found yourself in a situation where it is too difficult to be happy for a friend?

If you need to talk to someone about your experience of still-birth or neo-natal death, can we suggest you contact SANDS AUSTRALIA (Sudden And Neo-Natal Death Support) in your state. There is a full list of contact numbers on their website here.

For more, try these:

10 Things nobody tells you about being married.

The one challenge no one told you about with a teenage daughter.

[iv-signup-form]

00:00 / ???