So, I wasn’t best pleased with my first blog post. I rushed it, I didn’t think it through, but I needed to get something out there. I could erase it, but I’ve decided to leave it be. It’ll sit there as the reminder of me taking that first step.
It’s got me thinking though, about the sort of blog I want to cultivate and grow here. I’m not a fashion/beauty/food blogger……I don’t really care about the first two, and as for food, all I want to do is eat it, writing would simply slow that process down.
What I want to write about is the real stuff, the mess that makes me who I am, and us who we are. Those things that whisper to us, and that we ignore until they slap us in the face. Those life moments that thrill us, and those that leave us crushed. The day to day grind that wears us down, and the unexpected Monday morning miracles the lift us up.
I am an emotional being, so all I can do is write from the heart. With that in mind, and now that I have waffled on, I’ll get cracking with the actual blog post.
Warning – to any male readers, this post is filled with lady jargon, but I hope you’ll stick with it.
Tuesday 22rd March, my period’s late (yep, there’s the one of the P word’s that nobody likes) My period is never late. It’s our second month of trying for a baby, surely I can’t be pregnant already, I’m 36 – this is supposed to take months. I do a test. That’s a big fat negative. Okay I’ll give it a day or two, still nothing. Eat, sleep, repeat for the next 10 days. Chuck in a call to my Doctor, who decides over the phone that I am not pregnant (moron)
Finally Saturday 2nd April arrives. I’m laid in bed awake at 6am because that’s the glorious life of a commuter’s body clock. Husband is snoring quietly beside me. “Fuck this shit, this is ridiculous” I grab my last pregnancy test and head for the loo. What seems like an eternity later, there it is. A positive result. Holy shit bags this is massive! By this time Chris has woken up, I’m trying to think of cool and clever ways to tell him. However, as I was sadly lacking in time to check Pinterest for fabulous ideas, I decided that jigging around on the spot naked with a massive grin on my face would have to suffice.
We are both staring in wonder at this wee covered stick, telling us that, yes indeed, there is a bun in our oven. Huzzah and hurrah, lots of crying (him), hugging and hysterical giggling ensues. We can’t quite believe it. We’ve made a person.
Both of us are hugely impatient people…..
Me: Should we tell anyone yet?
Chris: No, let’s leave it
Chris: (3 seconds later) perhaps we should tell our Mums
Me: Okay, and maybe our absolute closest friends too
Chris: Agreed, shall we go to Mum’s now.
Me: It’s still only 6:30am
So over the next few days we divulge our wonderful secret to those people we love most, one of our reasons for doing that was in case anything went wrong and we needed some support (not that it was going to of course) We read books about becoming parents, we start talking to my belly. I know a lot of couples give their ‘baking buns’ names at this point. We chose Squash, I have no idea why, it just popped into my head and I loved it.
A week after we found out, we went and climbed Snowdon with some dear friends of ours. Chris had gone on ahead of us on the way up (he’s massively long legged) and when my friend Louise and I stopped to rest I saw a text from him saying “We’re going to be parents, I love you” Climbing that mountain was amazing, and we both genuinely felt on top of the world up there. It was all still to come, we were both imagining this little person, praying that they weren’t going to get my forehead or his nose….I’m not kidding! But that they would be funny, quirky, determined, kind and brave whatever they looked like.
Wednesday 13th April, I’m at work, I’m feeling pretty good. A bit tired and I have a severe hankering for all things sugar, but that’s it. This was easy, what were all these other women moaning about?
10:50am, I went to the loo……pink, a lot of pink……that’s not right. I took a few deep breaths and tried to remind myself that this can be very normal in early pregnancy, it was probably nothing. I called the EPU (Early Pregnancy Unit) and told them what was happening. They don’t seem concerned but say they’ll book me in for a scan on the Thursday afternoon.
Okay, no worries, back to work I go, but I couldn’t think of anything else. I asked for five minutes with my boss, I spilt the beans, way earlier than I had intended to. She was fabulous, and instructed me to go home immediately and chill out until Friday morning. So, with much protest I headed home. I mooched about the house for the afternoon; busying myself with nothing, watching Sex And The City (please don’t judge) and of course, eating peanut butter from the jar with a spoon.
When Chris arrived home I was still bleeding, I needed to get out of the house, so we went out for a walk and ended up at Pizza Express for dinner, at this point we were still full of optimism, still talking openly about our little human. After a belly full of food we decided an early night was the best option, that way the scan would get there quicker.
I couldn’t sleep though, my anxiety went into overdrive, my heart was racing and my mind was playing that worst case scenario again and again, then about midnight, the pain started. Oh that pain, I have never known anything like it. I’ve been having periods a long time, but this was far worse than that. I tried to ignore it. While Chris dreamt (hopefully) peacefully beside me, I curled myself up into a ball and sobbed. I couldn’t admit to myself what was happening, but I knew……I just knew. I got up and went to the bathroom, blood everywhere. I did my best not to let my legs go from underneath me and crawled back to the bedroom.
That moment, that single moment of having to wake Chris up from his dream to our actual nightmare was one of the worst of my life. He was amazing though, while I crumpled, he got his shit together, held my hand and told me we’d be okay. I rang the hospital and they told me to come in. The cramps were excruciating, and I felt so weak. We got to the hospital in the early hours of the morning. I had an examination, at which point the Doctor told me she was optimistic, looking back I don’t see how that was possible. She very kindly, allowed me to stay there for the night, they gave me a bed and told me to get some sleep, but they didn’t give me any painkillers, so, while Chris slept in the car, I lay there in the darkness, quietly saying “I’m sorry” over and over knowing deep down that I wasn’t pregnant anymore.
At 8:30am I was scanned…….
Doctor: How far along are you?
Me: We think about 7 weeks
Doctor: Hmmm, well what I’m seeing on this scan isn’t 7 weeks.
Me: What does that mean?
Doctor: I’m not sure, but we would expect to see certain things by now and they aren’t there.
Doctor: I’m sorry
We go back to the ward, close the curtains and sob. A few minutes later some other Doctors arrive, they then raise our hopes by saying that at this stage in their development “babies can be very naughty” I tried to get my head around that complicated medical jargon, and let the message sink in…..there was still hope.
We were sent home, and I was told to go back on the Friday morning for a blood test, if my HCG levels had doubled then there was still a viable pregnancy. If they had dropped, then we had confirmation that Squash was gone.
Talk about watching paint dry, time slowed down to a crawl. The pain and bleeding continued, I felt like I’d been knocked for six, I didn’t sleep much, I ate lots, my mood swung from pits of despair to worryingly spritely. When Friday morning came around I drove to the hospital feeling frantic, I wanted to be first to get the blood test done, the quicker that sharp scratch came, the quicker we would know our fate. All day I waited, Chris was working, I didn’t blame him at all for wanting to keep busy, the best I could muster was watching a selection of the worlds worst movies (I don’t know why this acceptable when you’re not well)
When he arrived home at 4:30 I still hadn’t heard anything, but at some point during that day, I had squared it away with myself, I knew what was coming, I just needed someone to actually say it to me. Chris still seemed to be hanging onto hope by a thread. The phone rang about 5pm
Generic person on phone: Hello is that Rachel
Me: Yes it is, thank you for calling
GPOP: Sorry its taken so long, they were particularly busy in the lab today.
Me: Oh, its no problem at all *lying my arse off*
GPOP: I’m afraid your HCG levels have dropped, which means you have definitely had a miscarriage.
Me: Okay, thank you (wtf) I appreciate you letting me know.
GPOP: I’m really sorry
Me: Oh no really its fine, thanks anyway, bye
FFS – Talk about stiff upper lip!
And then it was time, it was time to tell my beautiful, wonderful husband that we were no longer going to be parents. He fell into my arms and sobbed, proper heaving, gasping sobs, like there just wasn’t enough air in the world for him. I have never felt so helpless, or so fucking useless. This had crushed him, and for a while the light in his eyes really did look different.
The both of us felt as though we had failed, which is ludicrous, but I guess by nature, we have to assign blame to something. I felt my body had let all three of us down, I must have done something wrong, either in the previous seven weeks, or somewhen in years gone by. Of course, in basic terms my body did exactly what it’s supposed to and there was no stopping it. But right there, when you know that the little life you both started has ground to a halt, there must be a reason. It can’t just be happening.
I try to look back at the days that followed but its all a blur, I was asked just yesterday how I felt about it, and I couldn’t say anything. I attach emotion to everything, I cry at adverts for crying out loud. But this, this deep cut that had torn at both of us and left us scarred, was something that I couldn’t attach anything to. In amongst the physical pain I had being going through for days, had all my emotional grief flowed out of me too? Have I locked it away for future reference, and at some really bloody inconvenient moment down the road will it pop up and say “Hey there, time for you to deal with me now”?
Now, we are 3 months post miscarriage, Doctors aren’t bothered at this stage “You’ve only had one” they say. Oh, well that’s okay then, I look forward to going through that joyful experience again and again before you do anything! However, we are hopeful. Neither of us are religious, but we do both have faith that we will get there. We choose to believe that we are destined to be parents. The current NHS system for dealing with this maddens me, but more than that has been the reaction of people around around us.
First of all, a miscarriage happens to both of the parents, but people (generally) only think of the mother. But what about the father? The man who had had to watch his partner go through something horrendous without being able to intervene. The man who has to stay strong regardless of the fact that he too has suffered a bereavement.
It’s not anyone’s fault, it’s not an easy thing to talk about, but I guess we’ve both felt awkward trying to get across to others how we feel. I’m not moaning about a lack of support, our friends were really good to us, but the conversations still felt stilted, and with my family in particular it has been super weird (sorry for chucking ‘super’ in there, I’ve been listening to a lot of American podcasts) anyway, it’s been really strange. I guess the problem is this. When someone passes away, the people that knew that someone are sad because they miss the physical presence of that person. They laughed with them, argued with them, made personal memories with them, they shared history. They mourn that they could walk the earth and never find that person again, they have to come to terms with the fact that said “someone” has gone.
With a miscarriage nobody but the parents can relate to the loss. They just don’t get it, and they don’t want to. Nobody wants to think about it, it’s not nice, and therefore, it makes it such a taboo, which it really shouldn’t be. Also, nobody wants to say anything that might lead to a person breaking down and being vulnerable. But, its 2016, and couples are going through this alone every day.
The only group of people that have really checked in with us repeatedly over the months, are those people that have also gone through that particular shit show, and I do totally get that. I hope that nobody in my life has to go through this, but fucking hell I will be there with bells on if it does to help them, however and whenever they need it.
We lost a baby, that’s how we see it. We lost hopes, dreams, aspirations, future memories. We lost chances of that first Christmas, family holidays, blazing rows over potty training…whatever, we lost. We lost the amalgamation of us, of two people who love each other completely, and who wanted to make a person made of them….we lost someone that we never met, but that we loved totally from the moment that blue line appeared.
I guess I wanted to write this as a bit of therapy for myself, but also to put it out there, that this is something that the people who are going through need to talk about, and they need the people around them to try and put their uncomfortableness aside, and just fucking listen. In this day and age it is such a shame that we still ALL have these barriers up. We need to find a way to go to those really hard to reach places and speak our truth. Leave nothing unsaid that could help. They lost someone that can’t be replaced. They really might need to lean on you.