Content warning: This post contains details of miscarriage some readers may find triggering.
On Wednesday I snapped at my husband. Really snapped. Completely unleashed over something absolutely insignificant. In hindsight, perhaps this was the first sign that my hormones were going haywire. Two days later, at just over 9 weeks pregnant, I started to lose the baby.
I say ‘started to lose’ because, although I’ve always thought a miscarriage was an event, it turns out that, for me and this baby, it was a fairly moderate bleed that lasted over a week without any other sign that something was wrong.
So, while I feel relieved that I didn’t go through any pain, it almost makes it harder to understand because I don’t know what happened or when it happened or why it happened. And I guess I’ve always thought that if you lost a baby you would know it.
There was one clear sign – on Friday morning I was trying to disguise a growing, bloated belly and by Saturday morning I practically had a six-pack. A flat tummy that would have been a source of pride at any other point in my life but that I now can’t bear to look at.
This baby’s conception was terribly timed. We found out I was pregnant a few days before I started a new job and a week before we moved house. I was already stressed about the amount of change occurring and a pregnancy seemed like an absolute inconvenience. But, over the next month, I became excited about it.
Every thought I had about the year ahead was consumed by whether I would be pregnant or have a newborn. What would I wear to my friends’ wedding? I’d be 16 weeks pregnant. Could I go to my work Christmas party? I’d be 34 weeks pregnant. Could we have a New Year’s Eve party in our new house? I’d be 38 weeks pregnant. Could I travel overseas at the end of the year? Would I have to beg my new employer for paid parental leave?
LISTEN: Libby Trickett on miscarrying. Post continues…
And then I miscarried and all these questions seemed so trivial. And I’m now grieving the fact that I no longer have these concerns.
I started bleeding at midday on a Friday. I didn’t worry about it until Friday night which meant that, by the time I sought help, there was none available because it was the weekend. I spent Friday evening in hospital getting no answers and Saturday morning in another hospital getting no answers. It wasn’t until I had an ultrasound on Tuesday that they confirmed there was no gestational sack. That was 4 full days before I had closure.
Those four days were near unbearable. Especially with my almost two year old constantly saying, ‘Mummy picture tummy’ as she’d been at the dating scan a week earlier where everything had been perfectly normal and the baby had a strong heart rate of 169bpm.
But, if those four days were unbearable, the 24 hours since confirmation have been excruciating. Plans lost, questions that will never be answered, and uncertainty about the future when I’m so damn intent on being in control.
So I’ll never know what happened. It will never become clear why the eight week scan was perfectly normal and everything fell apart a week later. I need to accept what’s happened, understanding that it’s happened to many women before me and will continue to happen without explanation. For now I will practise gratefulness and acceptance and positivity and hope that at some point this all becomes a little easier to manage.
But right now, I can still see that little heartbeat and I can still feel everything it represented and I still can’t believe that baby will never exist.
Amanda Bower is a 36 year old writer living in Balmain, Sydney, with her husband, Adam, and their daughter, Ivy. Amanda works in reinsurance but considers herself a writer at heart, holding out hope that one day her career might take an interesting and creative turn.
If you or someone you know is going through a miscarriage or the loss of a child, please seek professional medical advice, contact Sands on 1300 072 637 or Lifeline on 13 11 14. If you are in immediate danger, call 000.