Writing is a great outlet for your thoughts and emotions, and I think it is important to feel the feels when something happens to you. If you don’t allow yourself the time to reflect and hurt, your mental health may well suffer later down the line. Your mind might process the event without you even knowing and it could hit you unawares with a random panic attack on a rainy Tuesday afternoon whilst making a cup of tea.
I never expected to have a miscarriage, although does anyone? Maybe if you have more than one in a row it becomes a bit of an expectation to reoccur, though I highly doubt it becomes any easier to go through, quite the opposite in fact. Getting beyond 12 weeks, I physically breathed a sigh of relief that I was out of the 1 in 4 or 5 club and into the 3 or 4% or less, depending who has done the research and written the article. Naively I also knew of two friends who had sadly suffered in recent weeks so mathematically felt fairly confident I was out of the relative danger zone.
Then Sunday came and I had such a bad stomach ache, I went to bed in the afternoon. Another misconception I had regarding miscarriage was that it would most likely feel like early labour pains. Again, a big game show “uh uh” with a big red cross above my head as for me, it felt exactly like the feeling you get when you take iron and your stomach doesn’t agree with it. My stomach felt physically bruised and no matter what position I tried, I couldn’t ease the pain. From my google history I felt sure I was perhaps suffering with gall stones or a reaction to the iron, it didn’t even cross my mind it was the start of my miscarriage.
Monday morning and I felt myself again so felt relieved it was over only to go to the loo at lunch and see blood on my pad. Though not much, I instantly put the day before and the blood together and knew what was happening. No matter how much my husband and staff on the phone from the hospital tried to reassure me it could be normal, I knew instinctively the baby was dead. My scan was booked for Wednesday anyway, so I was repetitively told by the hospital to wait for then but if it got worse, to ring back or go to A and E. I did both of those things only to be turned away armed with the same message, wait for your scan, it could be normal.
Nothing in the entire world prepares you for what is being “expelled” from your body. Having given birth twice, I can honestly say I would rather go through those experiences back to back than have to experience the carnage that leaves your body with no relative end point, or point of reference for how bad it will get. I was fortunate to have friends who have been through it and family warning me what to expect and thank goodness they did. “Chopped liver” was banded about (obviously not medically!) and was definitely the closest description I could come up with. I wonder if it would even look as bad if your arm had been chopped off?
I am thankful that it did all happen before my scan as I cannot imagine the devastating crush of being told there is no heart beat after arriving at the scan happy and excited to go in. Sitting with excited mums clutching the scan photos was so hard and constantly having to explain to staff what had occurred, even harder. (Why go digital if departments don’t/can’t access records and notes?!) My main fear the whole way through was that I would see the foetus and it would haunt me for the rest of my life. I didn’t particularly notice it in amongst the warzone though so can rest easy on the haunting front.
Moving forward, I am still waiting for a big flood of emotion, I have had a few tears but worry it hasn’t hit me yet, but that’s ok as I feel ready to deal with my emotions. There is always going to be a part of me that wonders if it was something specifically that I did to bring it on, there again, if it wasn’t the right time, I am thankful it happened how it did. I feel ashamed that I had not known more about it, what would happen, what my friends have been through and I have perhaps not been as supportive as I could have been. Just because something is common it doesn’t make it any easier to deal with. I also feel angry that it is such a taboo subject. Why are young girls not armed with specific details at school? If 1 in 4 or 1 in 5 pregnancies end this way, surely we need to be much more educated on the process our bodies and minds will go through?
I personally want to get myself in better shape physically for the next “try” so will wait a good few months and work on my fitness and nutrition. I still haven’t decided if it is better mentally to get back on the horse so to speak, or to give yourself an extended period of time? For me, I know I want to be actively trying and hopefully quite pregnant by the due date so I have some positivity around that time of year. 12 weeks is a long period of time to assume everything was progressing normally.
I never expect my blog to be read but if this helps one person going through this or who has been through it, I will be so happy. It isn’t a good club to be a member of by any stretch of the imagination, but it is a club nonetheless and I really hope there is a shift in the way we view, speak and act around miscarriage.