I first wrote this story nearly 10 years ago. It’s taken me this long to publish it.
Why? Because I was heartbroken, I was sad and yes, I felt ashamed. Losing a pregnancy (this was my third) is hard, it’s emotional and it’s heart-breaking. It’s so many emotions rolled into one.
So, here’s my story. The story of my third loss. Not my last, but the one that was the hardest.
It’s Sunday the 11th March, 2011 and I haven’t been feeling well. I feel off, I feel strange, empty, sore, faint, weak and clammy. I’m nearly 12 weeks pregnant.
We head straight to the hospital. I tell the nurse I am pregnant and feeling unwell and about to pass out. I am taken into a room away from the crowded waiting room. I feel numb.
A doctor comes in and tells me she is going to have to do an internal. She says my cervix is still closed, a good sign. I have a glimmer of hope but know deep down something is not right.
I have a scan, but the scan is not clear. She wants to transfer me to a larger hospital that has a new scanning machine and an early pregnancy unit. She gives me some pain killers and an anti D injection as I am Rhesus negative.
I tell her I would rather go home and go to hospital in the morning. That way I can get clothes and try and get my head around what I already know that my little baby is no longer alive – the scanning cannot be done until the morning anyway.
I just want to be with my husband in our own little sanctuary.
I wake up in the morning feeling like I have had a bad dream. I feel like I am being punished.
I start to bleed as I arrive at the hospital. I am rushed into have a scan, and an internal exam. There is blood everywhere. The radiologist sends for the doctor, and the doctor tells James and I there is no heartbeat and I have what is termed a partial miscarriage, my cervix is now dilated.
I am heartbroken, in fact, I am just broken. I start to shake and sob, I feel lost. The pain is getting worse, as is the bleeding.
I am sent to the early pregnancy unit, but by this time I am doubled over in pain and crying. I am taken straight to emergency and admitted. I am put on a drip and given morphine.
I feel like I have let myself down and let the baby down. I am devastated. I go into the toilet, helped by a nurse as the pain is horrific. My blood pressure suddenly drops, and my body goes into shock.
After I am stabilised, I’m taken into the ward and kept on morphine. I am seen by the Gyno on call and a nurse holds my hand while I have another exam.
The exam is painful, and I am shaking like a leaf, I think more because I am so upset, and everything so overwhelming. Back in the ward I am given four tablets, two orally and two under my tongue to dissolve. These are to make me contract and pass the pregnancy.
Mum and Dad come in to see me. It’s good to have them there. It feels comforting. They hug me, they hold my hand as I contract and try and sooth me as I sob. A grief counsellor also comes in, but I tell her it’s okay. She gives me her number and says she will come and see me whenever I need her, but to be honest, it’s all too soon.
At 12 mid night I am woken up and told I am going to pre-op. I am prepped and allowed to have a shower, which makes me instantly feel better. Morning comes and I am seen by the surgeon and specialist, I am having a D & C. I am scared, lonely and confused. I am wheeled off to surgery and feel very strange and alone. It’s not the first time this has happened, but this time it hurts more, emotionally and physically.
I have surgery and everything goes well. I go home later that day. I feel sad, I am crying, feeling sorry for myself, wondering why I am being punished, I feel like everyone is moving forward and I am lagging behind.
I feel silly grieving for an early pregnancy, but I am grieving for what I won’t have: a baby, and a family with the man I love. The only person who I have ever wanted a family with.
The whole process was confronting. Bleeding everywhere, internals while I was bleeding, scans while losing a pregnancy, chunks of tissue coming out, medical staff examining that tissue, contracting, vomiting, going into shock. Crying, feeling a failure, letting everyone down, and being mad at my body for failing me. It was a roller-coaster of emotions in a 48 hour period.
Exactly a month later, I return to that every same hospital but this time it’s to see my girlfriend who has just given birth to a baby boy.
I didn’t know how I would feel seeing them. Would I be jealous? Would I hate them both? No, definitely not. The minute I walked in and saw my friend with her beautiful baby boy, I felt such love for both of them and incredible joy for her, and I was so proud of her.
She handed me her baby, and that’s when the tears came, they didn’t stop. I grieved for my loss but celebrated her baby. It was a surreal moment that will stay with me forever. The deep sadness I felt losing my baby will never and has never left me.
I know there are worse things in the world, but this, however, is my story, my loss and my grief. For we woman who miscarry (and there are many of us), for some of us it’s heartbreak, for some it’s nature taking its course, for me it was loss, shame, failure and an inability to protect my baby and an inability to move on quickly.
It was pure heartbreak.
It took me a long time to get over my four losses. But I did. Pregnancy loss didn’t define me, it made me a much better, understanding, empathic and kinder human. I also learnt how incredibly strong we women are, but at the same time, that it’s okay not be to okay.
I am resigned to the fact that my life will be childless (in fact, that realisation came in my mid-forties). I am completely at peace with it, I am happy and I have a wonderful life. In the words of one of my friends, who happened to have a baby around the same time I was due, said our lives will be different, but none better than the other, and she was right.
People often ask how I feel on Mother’s Day. So, what does Mother’s Day mean to me?
It means two things, heartbreak and joy. I’m eternally grateful for the wonderful mother I have. It is also a time to celebrate my friends who are incredible mums and my goddaughter. I feel lucky, and you know what, I am lucky, and I am happy.
I can remember the feeling of immense happiness as I heard and saw my baby’s heartbeat. It was music to my ears. I fell instantly in love. I was grinning from ear to ear at the scan and cried with happiness. I feel lucky I got to feel this and will never forget that moment. Even now I remember it like it was yesterday.
The person who first wrote this nearly 10 years ago is a completely different person to the one who is finishing it now. I feel great sadness for the person I am reading about, but I guess that is a good thing, because feeling sadness for that person, means the person I am today, reading this again, is in a much better place.
I’m just your average Jo. This is my story of miscarriage. It happens to millions of us, every single day. It’s nothing to be ashamed of.