Miscarriage – Lost and a little broken!
Updated: Oct 8, 2019
They talk about a mothers love being like no other and I truly understand the strength of that love as from the moment you become pregnant, you become a mother. (An extract from my first blog)
With Baby loss awareness 👼week coming up it got me thinking … we do not openly talk about this enough. Within the last year, in my line of work as a Womens Health physiotherapist I have sadly encountered so many mums that have lost their precious little ones either early in their pregnancy journey or devastatingly towards the end 😥. There are no words of comfort in these difficult times but one thing I have learnt is – don’t ignore it. That little baby existed. Whether it was just forming into that small bundle of cells of life or had developed right up to Full Term – that wee life had already made a huge impression on its host – their MOTHER!
From the joy of seeing that positive pregnancy test, to maybe even hearing the first heartbeat, feeling those first kicks … all to be replaced with a sudden and often unexplainable loss can be very hard to come to terms with.
Breaking the Silence.
My first Pregnancy.
2nd of Jan 2015, I could hardly believe my luck when the very first month we decided to try for a baby we fell pregnant. I was extremely thankful and very aware that this wasn’t the “norm”. Conceiving a baby often takes time so I felt very very blessed and “lucky”. The pregnancy symptoms started soon after; the nausea, the sore boobs and that overwhelming feeling of fatigue. These were all new but welcomed experiences as it was all part of the exciting journey of growing my own little human. Living in Australia I was far away from family and often at times my husband (who worked in the mines) so those early few weeks seemed to drag. I couldn’t wait to tell everyone. The only person I confided in at this stage though was my Mum.
I had the dates worked out – I was due the day before my 30th birthday. Maternity leave would mean I would get home for Christmas. Family bonding… the mind spiralled at a rapid pace well ahead of itself. I didn’t know any different. I wasn’t aware of the 1 in 4 statistics of miscarriage. There was not one seed of doubt interrupting all this beautiful future planning…that was until that day I decided I didn’t feel pregnant…
I was 10weeks 5days (I will never forget it), so close to my 12 week scan, to being able to shout my good news from the roof top. To being able to complain about how horrendous I had been feeling with the fatigue and nausea. But something changed. It was like a flick of a switch.
Of course I googled and found the answer i was looking for..
“perfectly normal for symptoms to ease after 10wks as HCG levels levelling off…”
Great! No need to worry… but still I contacted my GP. It was a Friday afternoon. The GP saw no reason for concern however offered me a scan at the radiology building next door to give me “peace of mind” over the weekend. I was excited- I was potentially getting to see our little baby.
I rang my husband who was working on the other side of Australia to let him know I was having an early scan. I honestly wasn’t prepared for what happened next…
I was brought into a room by the most unfriendly male Sonographer and told to lie up on the couch. He didn’t talk. Just placed cold gel on my abdomen and pressed in harder than what I thought should be normal and went about clicking his mouse.
Click. Click. Click.
My mind was frantic… should I not be hearing a heartbeat? What was he doing? Should he not be showing/explaining things to me? I had no screen in front of me to look at so after what felt like an eternity I turned my head to see his screen and there was my baby. A head a body the limbs so clearly visible… i choked up..
“Is this my baby”
“Yes…but its not alive”
as blunt as that…
Lost and Broken. I cried like a baby.
I could feel my heart starting to pound out of my chest, my breathing rapidly increasing. I was confused. I could see the baby. Was he sure? Maybe he needed to check again…the tears started streaming uncontrollably as I made my way out of the radiology building and back towards my doctors surgery… I couldn’t even say my name to the receptionist between the sobs. Everyone was looking at me. My Gp, who I will never forget, came out brought me into her room and held me as I cried like a baby.
I can’t ever remember a time in my life where I had felt so lost. So lonely. I had never felt so far away from everyone. I had to break the news to my husband, who of course was on the first flight back to me, and my mum got that dreaded early morning call (time difference meant it was 2am in Ireland) from her daughter living on the other side of the world, absolutely broken.
My little babe had no intention of exiting and so at 12 weeks I had a D&C. I had never been to theatre before in my life never mind going under GA. I remember shaking with fear and constantly questioning the nurses to make sure that there wasn’t a heartbeat. Whilst waiting to go into theatre I overheard two males discussing their afternoon schedule “Oh i’ve just got a standard D&C” . I wanted to scream at him. That was MY D&C. MY Baby. My future dream.
On the weeks that past following my loss I found myself on a rollercoaster of emotions going from highs where I bought myself a puppy to some very very low days. For those of you that know me, you will understand how important wee Molly was for me – my rainbow 🌈. Colm went back to work and life moved on. No-one knew what I had even been through. That I had been growing a little baby for the last 3 months. … I felt my loss didn’t matter and that hurt even more.
For the first time in my life I can honestly say, I struggled. Normally a strong, “get up and get on with it” kind of gal had transitioned to feeling quite weak and vulnerable. I found myself crying at traffic lights or on long car journeys and I hated being alone. My body had to go through the whole hormonal adjustment again and the wait for my cycle to return so I could try again. It was the only way for me that I was going to heal.
After 2 cycles I found myself back on the pregnancy journey again. But this time it was different. I was filled with worry and anxiety. Anyone that has experienced a MC will understand that excitement of being pregnant is taken away and each scan is met with a huge worry. Thankfully I had a successful second pregnancy and welcomed my little rainbow baby Maggie Grace into the world in March 2016 (Preparing for birth 2nd time around; a VBAC hopeful!)
My third pregnancy again was successful with Master Hugh entering into our lives on New Years day 2018. Part 3: My VBAC Quest – Bowing out with my head held high…
So with two successful pregnancies following my missed miscarriage in 2015, I understandably did not foresee another miscarriage occurring in May this year.
My Natural Miscarriage.
My 4th pregnancy. This time a little unexpected but all the same delighted. With my previous miscarriage experience I had booked in to Mid Ulster womens health clinic for an early scan at 6 weeks… sac, foetal pole and heartbeat flicker all visible… measuring slightly behind with dates but easily justified.. a later ovulation. So, with the scan behind me I continued with my normal busy life; working mum of 2, gym goer, buying a house, selling a house… it was all go and everything seemed perfect… nearly too perfect!
It was a Tuesday night. I was 8 weeks pregnant. My night off from teaching Pilates. I had just put the kids to bed and went to the toilet. As i wiped i was confronted with a tissue full of dark red sticky blood.
My heart sank.
Was this what i thought it was? I text Mary Angela. I googled . Again looking for answers to reassure me. Spotting can be normal. Deep down I knew this wasn’t OK.
I dreaded going to the toilet. I was afraid to pee incase I would lose more blood and therefore the baby – Which of course I know is silly but I so wanted to keep this baby!! I had seen the heartbeat. This baby was alive and wanted to grow. But by Wednesday afternoon there was more blood. I had my classes to teach that night so I put on a pad and hoped for the best….
As I sat reading out my Antenatal relaxation script to my Pregnant Mummies, i prayed for that little baby inside me. That it would survive.
Unfortunately, Friday confirmed no heartbeat at the early pregnancy clinic.
I was ok. I didn’t cry.
At 8 weeks my little foetus had developed its little sprout like arms and legs and a little mouth. I got to hold and then let go off this little one.
On the Sunday afternoon as i sat on the toilet i heard a splash. I looked into the toilet and there was the little foetus laying there at the bottom of the toilet. I scooped the baby out which lay on the palm of my hand and felt jelly like … The little foetus was wrapped up inside the amniotic sac – I could see the head formation, sprouts for the arms and legs and a little black line that looked like a mouth.
It was so surreal.
My husband was there.
It was peaceful.
I then flushed the foetus away…why did i do that? I just flushed my baby away!!
I then cried. ALOT!
Again, back to picking up the pieces…
I found it easier this time around. Perhaps because I got closure … knowing my body had rejected the pregnancy unlike the first time. Seeing and holding the little foetus. And of course, I had my other two rascals to keep me smiling. I also had my work. In my work i meet ladies every other day that have been through much worse than me and their stories and resilience drove me on.
Break the Taboo- Let’s talk about our losses.
Lets all talk more opening about Miscarriages and infant loss. Recognise them for the very important events that they are in womens lives. Do not dismiss them in the fear of upsetting someone. I have actually cried so much writing this and as I near the end I am smiling. It feels good to talk about my babies that never quite made it. They are a massive part of me and have shaped me into the person I am today.
So who is with me ? Are you 1 in 4?
Share your experience. Talk about your baby that was so very important to you but you never got to share with the world. I would love to hear your experience.
Its ok not to be ok. Grieve your loss. Believe me it mattered.