***Trigger Warning – Miscarriage*** I’ve felt the need to write this post for a couple of weeks now. I’ve tried a couple of times, but it’s always so difficult to start. Perhaps this will be the time I start typing and don’t falter over my words, only to delete them all again. It’s been just over a month now since our miscarriage at 5 weeks. I want to write about it, with the hope that it will help to heal me in the way that writing has helped me so many times before. Hopefully it will also serve as a comfort and reminder to others that they aren’t alone. Not everyone talks about it, but so many have suffered this.
4th December 2019
It was the crack of dawn, but walking along the pavement towards work, I felt blissfully happy. Life was good. I admired the soft pink in the winter sky, the illumination of the crisp half moon and the cold fog swirling. Noticing the vapour against the freezing air as I exhaled, I unlocked the door. There was a busy day ahead due to Christmas festivities, but I was excited for it.
Christmas itself was going to be the most exciting it had probably ever been for me. As a 3 year old, Autumn understood Christmas better than ever and couldn’t wait to see what presents Father Christmas would bring her. As for my husband and I, we were planning on telling our families and friends over Christmas that we were finally expecting again. I’d even ordered a top with a Christmas pudding on the belly that said “Mummy’s Little Pudding”. I’d had a few symptoms, including craving orange and apple juice. However, a test the previous Sunday had confirmed it. I was very worried about the idea of miscarriage, probably more so than I’d been with Autumn. I’d supported several people in the Twitter community and it just seemed so awful and unfair. I tried to keep positive, however.
It had taken years for me to feel physically and emotionally ready after Autumn being so ill when she was tiny, but here I was again. At 5 weeks, I’d even started getting a little bump already. I couldn’t be happier.
Photo by Pok Rie from Pexels
Little did I know, the tides were about to turn. Just before 8am, I suddenly had a slight feeling of discomfort in my lower abdomen. For a split second, I felt an urge to sit down. I was worried about whether everything was okay or not, but continued working until I had a moment to go to the toilets.
When I got there, I was relieved to see that there was no blood in my knickers. Everything must be fine, right? However, after I used the toilet, there was blood on the toilet roll I used. The night before, I’d been concerned about a few drops of brown blood in my underwear when I’d gone to bed. However, some googling had reassured me that that could be quite normal in the early days of pregnancy. However, this wasn’t like that. This was bright red, there were clots and it was more than just a few drops.
Feeling a huge surge of anxiety hit me, I realised that I was cramping quite badly in a way I couldn’t really explain. One of my worst fears was happening. Fighting against the anxious dizziness, I hurried to get out of the cubicle, trying to ignore the feelings of impending doom. After all, other women I knew had bled in early pregnancy and they had all gone on to have healthy babies.
I headed outside into the frozen air, without my coat. It must have been 0 degrees, tops. However, I was boiling hot, my heart beating frantically against my chest. I phoned my husband, telling him that I’d been bleeding. “Oh, okay” was his first response. The tone was definitely not one that portrayed ‘okay’. I don’t really remember what else I gabbled to him, but I got off of the line quickly and dialed 111. There was a long wait for my call to be answered and I remember wishing there was somewhere I could sit. I still felt dizzy, but now I felt incredibly sick too. Shaking, the cold was also beginning to seep in through my inadequate clothing.
The lady who answered in the end was lovely, taking me through several questions. In layman’s terms, the end result was that I had to visit my GP and get an urgent appointment at the hospital for a scan. I was so, so cold by now and felt as though I might faint as I waited for them to answer too. They had no appointments, but squeezed me in when I said that it was for.
After updating my boss and husband, asking the latter to come and collect me, I finally went back inside after 45 minutes outside in the cold. Making myself a cup of tea, I tried to keep positive and fought to stop myself from going into a panic attack.
The waiting game
In reality, I only had to wait about 2 hours to go to my doctor’s appointment. However, it felt like it took forever. I urgently needed to know what was happening. I had stopped bleeding quite so much, so I hoped that was a good sign. From what I’d read online and what the lady at 111 had told me, I should have been able to get a hospital appointment that day. However, I had to wait 2 days – until Friday morning.
All I wanted to do when I got home was sleep and pretend nothing was happening. The physical pain of the cramping couldn’t even match the emotional pain I was going through. Sure, some bleeding can be normal. But bright red, accompanied with cramping? As the afternoon carried on, the bleeding started again and increased. I was losing hope and couldn’t stop crying. I didn’t take any painkillers, because if this pain was the last physical connection with my baby, I wanted to feel it.
5th December 2019
The next day I had a phone call from the hospital. A space had opened up for me, so I could go that evening rather than waiting for the following day. I snapped it up, not wanting to wait any longer than possible to confirm the certain reality I was tormenting myself with: I had lost my baby.
I saw a wonderful doctor at the hospital, who went through further questions with me. I’d cried and cried and cried on the way to the hospital, but in her room it was like I’d run out of tears. As she scanned and told me that unfortunately she could see no sign of pregnancy in my room, I replied without my voice cracking at all. It was almost like an out of body experience. The tests continued. I had to take a pregnancy test, which showed positive. Then as that had been positive, I had to have a blood test. Two hours later, having left the hospital, this showed that I still had a high level of hCG (commonly known as the pregnancy hormone). This meant I’d have to go back two days later to have another blood test to make sure it was going down.
6th December 2019
After two days of supporting me, this was my husband’s day to break. I didn’t cry at all, but he was in pieces bless him. I had to be strong for him, despite falling apart emotionally as well as dealing with awful cramps, pain shooting down my legs and my limbs and back aching.
7th December 2019
Going back to the hospital again, I was dreading my blood test. I have always hated blood tests. I’m fine with needles, so I guess it’s just the blood being taken from me that freaks me out. *Shudder*
Fortunately, I saw another wonderful doctor who helped to put me at ease. We had a good discussion; he was impressed that I’d remembered my exact result from the previous blood test. Unlike the previous bumbling doctor, I felt confident in his ability and this made the blood test go much smoother for me.
Unfortunately, when I got the results of this blood test the next day, I was told I’d have to go back for another a week later. Although they had gone down quite a significant amount, it was still enough to show pregnancy. I suppose they had to triple check to be on the safe side.
That night, I just completely broke down. I don’t think I’ve ever cried so hard in my life. It was the ugliest, loudest crying I’ve ever done in my life. I just crumpled on the bathroom floor, to the sound of my heart breaking. When I finally crawled into bed and succumbed to sleep, I felt empty.
The week that followed
In the week that followed, Christmas things were beginning to really kick off. I didn’t really have any interest in Christmas anymore, but had to try to for Autumn’s sake. Work was a bit of a struggle at first, but fortunately my boss was very lovely and supportive. I got the impression I didn’t have to be there if I didn’t feel up for it. However, I tried my best to persevere. I think it may have done me good in a way, although I was surrounded by constant reminders of what I’d lost there in the form of the Christmas story and pregnant women. On my first day back, several other unhelpful things happened, but I got through it.
Final Blood Test
On Saturday, we had to go back to the hospital for my last blood test. It was horrendous. The nurse or doctor I saw was lovely, but I felt so anxious about it. Just her tapping on the inside of my elbow made me feel hot and sick. As she was doing the blood test, I did what I usually do, trying to concentrate on reading posters on the wall. The words started blurring, so I focused on my breathing. I got through the blood test, but as she spoke to me, I lost concentration as much as I tried to listen. The words on the wall went out of focus again and I was in a bubble. All noise felt like it was outside that bubble. I felt hot. I was going.
She and my husband got me onto the bed to lay down. He nursed me back to the world of the living with chocolate and a cup of water. We came to the conclusion it was due to my lack of eating as well as the stress of everything going on.
Still, the result showed that the hCG levels had fallen. All I had to do now was take another pregnancy test at the end of December and inform the hospital of the result, which should be negative. At least the hospital part of this horrible experience was finally over.
Family and friends have been so lovely and supportive with flowers and kind wishes. A childhood neighbour even sent me some beautiful yellow flowers which was a complete surprise and really brightened up my day. Each day gets slightly easier, but I’m still having my sad moments where I just wonder what would have been. It would have been my first scan on the 20th of January, so I’m expecting that day to be a difficult one. It’s also so difficult seeing pregnant people – and I’m surrounded at the moment. I’m happy for them, but it’s difficult for me as I feel that I should also be like them.
Christmas was lovely, in spite of the fact that I was sitting there during Christmas dinner thinking about the news I should have been able to give family that day. My body is back to normal now from an outside perspective, but for me life will never be quite the same again. It may have only been 5 weeks of pregnancy, but to me that was my child. Someone that I pinned so many hopes and dreams for the future against. It has been difficult trying to grieve, not knowing their name, what they looked like or even their gender. I think that’s been one of the hardest things, having nothing to hold onto.
I find it helpful to talk about it. Likewise, it has been comforting to know that others have gone through this too. The community on Twitter is amazing and has been very helpful. In the future I do want another baby. However, I’m scared of being pregnant, but also scared of never being pregnant. I don’t trust my body.
For now, I just have to “just keep swimming” as Dory from Finding Nemo says, and hope that one day a rainbow will come.
Photo by Francesco Ungaro from Pexels
Cover photo by Josh Sorenson from Pexels