In light of Pregnancy and Infant Loss awareness month, I have decided to speak about the loss of our second pregnancy. I feel like miscarriage is a hard topic to talk about, and a topic many women feel alone and ashamed by. Many women have experienced a loss, and many do not talk about it. There are many emotions surrounding a loss, including anger, sadness, guilt, regret, to name a few. I hope by speaking openly about my experience, it will encourage others to speak about theirs and continue the memory of their baby, no matter how small.
My story begins in May, 2014, 15 months after my first born child. My fiancé and I were thrilled and excited about expecting our first child together. The positive pregnancy test was very unexpected, but very welcome by us. In my excitement, I told many of our friends and had arranged my first doctor’s appointment.
I didn't have many symptoms, except for lower back pain, but I was only early.
A week passes since the positive pregnancy test. It was a Saturday morning, my fiancé, son, parents and I had just finished a breakfast out and were on the way to inspect a house (we were about to purchase our first home). In the car, I felt this immense stabbing pain in my right side. It hurt so much that it took my breath away. Suddenly, I felt a warm sensation between my legs. I reached down and could see blood soaking through my pants.
I immediately asked my mum to stop the car and take me to the nearest shopping centre, where my GP happened to be located. I was hoping they would be open. When we arrived, the pain was still excruciating. I jumped out of the car and begged my fiancé to follow. He had no idea what was happening.
When I saw my gp wasn't open, I walked quickly to nearest public toilet. As I sat down on the toilet, I felt a huge gush of blood fall out. I then felt extremely faint, so I laid down on the floor and passed out.
Eventually my fiancé came in, and I asked him to go to the chemist and buy some huge pads. I then told him "I think I've lost the baby".
I honestly felt like I was going to die, but I thought that was normal for a miscarriage. I remember laying there, thinking about the tiny little bean that I had flushed down the toilet inadvertently. Thinking about the baby I was looking forward to meeting in 9 months’ time.
We got back to the car and asked my parents to take me to the hospital.
We arrived at the ER and I walked in hunched over with my fiancé by my side. Sobbing, I explained what had happened and how much pain I was in.
They took me straight in, took bloods, put in an IV and ordered an ultrasound. They didn't say much. The pain had subsided and I was taken in for the scan. The abdominal scanned showed my empty uterus, which came as no surprise to me considering the huge loss I had felt in the public toilet.
After the ultrasound, a Doctor came and explained they were suspecting a possible ectopic pregnancy, based on my HCG level and the ultrasound result. I was stunned and in disbelief. I was then asked to come back the next day for a follow up.
The following few hours consisted of calling friends and family to tell them the news. It was far from comforting. Instead of sympathetic, caring responses, I got responses such as:
"Oh well, the time mustn't be right"
"You can have another one later"
"it was probably going to be disabled"
I felt so alone. I had never cried so much in my life. I felt like no one understood. I felt mad at my fiancé because he wasn't upset as I was.
The grief was just prolonged because of the circumstances.
The next day, I spent 3 hours waiting for a doctor to review my blood test, only to be told my HCG levels weren't decreasing fast enough and therefore it was highly likely I would need surgery or to take a chemo drug called methotrexate.
Not only had I lost my baby, but I had to come to terms with either having surgery or taking a drug that would mean the end of my breastfeeding relationship with my 15 month old son.
Over the course of a week, I spent every day receiving blood tests and waiting for hours in the "early pregnancy clinic", surrounded by pregnant women.
Thankfully, my hormone levels eventually declined and I managed to escape the need of a toxic drug or surgery.
I could finally get on with grieving my baby.
It was a hard road, dealing with a body that still felt pregnant. Watching friends announce their pregnancies and giving birth. Dealing with emotions that I needed to express but had no one understanding to really talk to.
3 months later, I fell pregnant again. I was terrified. I was anticipating another loss. Even after the 6 week mark went, I was paranoid until I could feel him moving.
It's now been 3 years, and I am healed from that experience of loss. I believe it happened for a number of reasons. I also believe that the baby I lost was my youngest son. Since he was born, I haven't longed for the baby I lost because I know he is here.
If you or anyone you know has experience pregnancy or infant loss, please get in touch with the amazing charity SANDS or find a StillBirthday Doula