pregnancy

"I felt my child from day one." What I wish I knew before suffering a silent miscarriage.

The following deals with pregnancy loss. Support is available 24 hours a day via SANDS Australia. Call 1300 072 637 to speak to someone who understands.

This is one of the hardest stories I’ve ever had to write. Because it’s still happening.

You may have read that last year I had a miscarriage in October; but would you believe that I have literally been dealing with it since then?

When the coronavirus pandemic started, I was in the midst of the most painful stomach cramps that had me needing three different types of opioids just to be able to take a shower.

WATCH: A tribute to the babies we’ve lost. Post continues below.

Video via Mamamia

Let me take you back.

My pregnancy was fully planned in August 2019, and I had done all the right things with my GP and gynaecologist; but we never talked about what can happen when you lose a baby.

I was just told about all the good parts and tricky parts of pregnancy, and then sent on my way without an Implanon in my left arm, ready for a good rogering by the love of my life.

I felt my child from day one. My partner Matt and I were doing long distance and fell pregnant really easily – what can I say? He is potent and my womb must be warm and cosy.

I felt a person growing in me, and changing my body. I knew something was up right away.

heather
"I felt my child from day one." Image: Supplied.
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So when the baby started to die inside me, I could feel that too.

When my body didn’t catch up to this I knew something was wrong before the doctors did. I could feel my baby dying while my body tried to keep it alive.

THIS is a silent miscarriage, and there is only one word for it, and it starts with an "F".

After having intense complications from medication that caused me so much pain, I felt like someone was ripping my insides out. I ended up having to get the equivalent of an abortion surgery that left me with migraines, pelvic pain and mood swings. It has lasted for six months now.

Yes, while I sit in self-isolation, I am still managing the physical pain from my miscarriage.

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Not to mention the unexplained insomnia. I fell asleep one night at 3am and woke in a fright thinking I had slept too long and was distressed I couldn’t hear the baby crying to be fed.

My body was confused about how I had passed a baby, but there was no baby to care for.

All the while I can’t go out and do something to take my mind off it because of the current social distancing measures.

If I had known this information - that a miscarriage can be this severe - I would have planned my whole “trying for a baby” situation differently.

For the first few months, I felt like there must have been something wrong with me, because my body wasn’t “bouncing back” in two weeks. I felt I must’ve been broken.

So, I put it on social media. I thought, someone needs to talk about this. I know I’m not supposed to, and people were really shocked. But I found out from many women and close friends that they had the same issues, with or without the silent miscarriage.

 

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This man has been sleeping on hospital floors for me and taking me to the toilet. And not left my side for days. I’ve been in and out of Randwick for one of the saddest moments of our journey so far. It’s his birthday. And for his birthday. I will go into surgery. While he goes to work and comes back by the time I get out. He will wait by my side until I go under. And has been getting minimal sleep. He has been picking up my slack for work. And just been... fucking everything to me. There was no podcast this week. And I’m so sorry to the over 4000 people who listen in every week. I wanted to make sure to let you know what was happening. As you’re so committed to our stories. I wanted to be honest with you. When I’m ready I’ll explain what’s happened. But I just wanted to share how much I love this wonderful man. Who has been there no matter what. And say to everyone hitting a rough patch. It will get better. Stay tough. You got this. Find those people who are your rock. And let them love you. @johnmcaldwell_ you have been my best friend through this. And I will never forget it. The people in my current live show @convictfootprints, my new work family @blackfischstories... my best girls @celebrity_trainer_emily @billiemusk and my mum and dad. Plus nurse Jackie. I love you. Thank you. And I cannot wait to get back to improv with my gurus. #onetogetherpodcast

A post shared by Heather Maltman (@heather_maltman) on

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They all took way longer than two weeks to recover; in most cases it’s more like six months. Many didn't have a normal period for ages, and suffered from pain and emotional mood swings like me - which make me feel like I'm going completely mad.

We are told by doctors we trust that if you lose a baby in the first 12 weeks it won’t be as mentally and physically painful as getting closer to full term and having a miscarriage.

But it’s one of the most painful things a woman can go through, regardless of when it happens. Your body hasn’t had enough time to work out what’s happening, and this dislocation of mind and body can be devastating.

I’m embarrassed to say I used to think naively about pregnancy. That maybe at the start it’s not a real life yet. You explain it away, that the woman shouldn’t be that hurt because they were never really pregnant yet.

Which is ok…but you can’t just have another kid and it’s all better. Because you cannot stop thinking about the one you already had, and now you’re a mother with no baby to care for.

There are so many complications that can happen from being pregnant and I believe we are not educated anywhere near enough to where we need to be. I think if we all talked about being pregnant from day one, a lot of misconceptions would be demystified.

I guess I’m begging doctors to stop saying women’s bodies “should” go back to normal after two weeks. Because they don't.

If this has raised any issues for you or if you would like to speak with someone, please contact the Sands Australia 24 hour support line on 1300 072 637. 

You can download Never Forgotten: Stories of love, loss and healing after miscarriage, stillbirth, and neonatal death for free here.

Join the community of women, men and families who have lost a child in our private Facebook group.

For more from Heather, follow her on Instagram here.

Feature image: Instagram/ @heather_maltman.

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