NOTE: THIS POST INCLUDES DESCRIPTIONS AND MEMORIES OF MISCARRIAGE WHICH SOME READERS MAY FIND DISTRESSING.
Hi everyone! Welcome back!
Are you all back into your routine of school runs, work, kids homework, tea (I’m a Northerner) and early nights? We are; it has taken a few weeks to adjust but I’m happy to be back in a routine. Although, with both my daughters in school, there’s just me and my son at home now apart from the two days when he’s in nursery – I have found it strange and I miss my second daughter now she has started school (I miss my eldest too, but I’ve got used to her not being around). We’ve had a quite a lot of tears - both her and me - on some days because she didn’t want to go. I know she is fine once she’s there, but it is so hard leaving her when she is upset. I know it will get easier as time passes.
I hope it has all gone well for you and your little ones and you are adjusting to the school routine. Have you managed to keep up with all the paperwork? Is their uniform still looking pristine? My daughter came home with purple paint on her shirt (I still can’t get it out), oh, and also covered in glitter on another day! Glitter is just... no there are no words other than it’s a nightmare! Anyway, at least she is coming home smiling!
So, this month I am going to discuss something very personal to me and my family; it’s something I’ve never really discussed in detail with anyone apart from my husband, so it’s not going to be easy writing this, but I feel it’s important to share to hopefully help any of you out there that is either going through it or has been through it.
Some of you may be aware, some may not, that October is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month. Well, I am that 1 in 4! Yes, that statistic is quite something – so very common but very rarely talked about – so I am going to tell you my story and I hope it helps in raising awareness and understanding of such tragedies.
In 2013, we found out that we were pregnant with our second child. We were absolutely thrilled; we already had our 2 year old daughter and were so happy that we were going to have a new addition to our family. We found out the day after Valentine’s Day – it was perfect, we went out that night for a meal to celebrate – I was about 6 weeks pregnant. We only told our parents; they were thrilled.
However, a couple of days later – I began to bleed and immediately I was concerned something was wrong. I rang the doctors explaining everything and they made me an appointment for 2 days later at the Early Pregnancy Unit – I was terrified, the bleeding did not stop – I just knew what was happening but I didn’t want to believe it – I was losing our baby. We went to the hospital on Wednesday February 18 to be examined to be told the dreadful news that we were expecting - we had lost our baby. I was having a miscarriage. This was the worst day of our lives.
In that moment, our bubble of happiness had exploded! We had been on such a high the past few days then all our hopes and dreams for the future of our little one just came crashing down! We were utterly devastated! I rang work and told them I wasn’t going in. All I wanted to do was give my daughter a hug and never let her go. She was at my parents, so we drove straight there; I cried the whole journey!
The following few days were some of the most difficult days we’d ever been through. I remember us both sitting in the lounge while our daughter was having her nap and the silence was deafening – I couldn’t bare it! I just needed to take myself away, so we decided to go to my parents for the weekend – I needed some kind of normality in order to be able to cope because otherwise I was just drowning in my thoughts. I was pleased to be surrounded by family but felt so empty and alone.
It was such a horrid time and (sorry if this is unpleasant for you to read) but if I’m truly honest the reminder of what I was going through physically every time I went to the bathroom was awful – I felt as though I was flushing our baby down the toilet! I cried each time. It was just horrific. This went on for days! It doesn’t just happen and it’s over, the miscarriage continues for days – it’s just awful.
The following week I returned to work - you may be thinking, why so soon?! I had to keep my mind occupied, I couldn’t sit at home on my own in silence – just thinking! What could I have done, nothing was going to change. I had to carry on for our daughter.
No one knew we were even pregnant other than our immediate family and my manager at work, so when I broke down at work one morning, my colleagues wondered what was wrong. This raises the question: When do you tell people you’re pregnant? Many of us wait till 12 weeks, because the first trimester is critical but when something does go wrong you feel you have no one to turn to for support. You’re almost made to feel as though, because you’ve had a miscarriage before 12 weeks then it’s part of what to expect because you haven’t passed the critical period, you must get on with it - “it wasn’t even an actual baby”, they would say!
So, because of this I felt such guilt for grieving. I felt as though others had suffered much worse, so I questioned why I should even be grieving for something I never even had. I almost felt ashamed and so didn’t really discuss fully how I felt, other than with my husband occasionally but he was also going through this with me and so we had to somehow get through this together in our own way. When I look back now, I don’t think I really gave myself enough time to grieve. Personally, I believe that if wish to tell your family and friends that you are pregnant then do so, don’t feel you have to wait till the after the 12 weeks. If, god forbid, the worst did happen, at least you have immediate support from those closest to you, but if you don’t want to then you don’t have to. We did tell family and had great support from them. The first trimester is the most critical and it many changes are happening to your body, so if anything you need more support in the early stages because often it’s the time when you feel the worst in the pregnancy.
What I learnt is that you shouldn’t compare your situation to anyone else’s – each situation is different and at whatever stage you have a miscarriage or lose a child you have the right to grieve – as you not only grieving for the loss of child at whatever stage of their life and however brief it may have been, but also for the loss of a future.
After giving ourselves time to come to terms with what had happened, we wondered whether we should try again for another baby. I didn’t want the fear to consume us because as you may or may not know worry and stress can affect your chances of becoming pregnant. So, after speaking with the doctor, who told me that my risk of another miscarriage had not increased, it was just the same as any previous pregnancy, so we decided to try again.
Some months later, we found out that we were pregnant again! The fear returned, the first trimester was such a fearful time – I was petrified that the same was going to happen again but with each passing week – our hope grew!
We are never going to forget our little angel, no matter how small he/she may have been and we continue to remember each year, our loss.
On October 15 at 7pm every year, there is a Wave of Light, in which people across the world light a candle for those babies that have died too soon. We have done this since and we will be lighting our candle this year again as will friends of mine that have gone through such tragedy.
Here is a poem I have written that I suppose summarises my story (I don’t write poetry but it was my own way of putting our story in simple terms):
WE NEVER KNEW YOU, BUT WE WILL NEVER FORGET YOU
The Hopes and Dreams gone
The Blood – The Awful Reminder
Where do you turn?
The Deafening Silence
The Guilt - I shouldn’t be grieving – ‘it wasn’t even a baby’ they would say
The Dark Cloud
Will it happen again?
Time to heal
The Fear Returns
But now it’s time to be hopeful
For our rainbow!
Our rainbow baby was due February 18, 2014 – this was exactly 12 months on from our miscarriage. She actually arrived 6 weeks early on January 12, 2014. Her name is Tariro and it means Hope!
Thank you for taking the time to read my story. If you are going through this, please talk to someone (see links below image) and just remember you will never forget but there is always hope for the future!
If you have been affected by anything I have spoken about please get in touch with any of the following sites:
https://www.sands.org.uk/ (stillbirth and neonatal deaths)
https://babyloss-awareness.org/charities/ (this site includes many links to other charities that can provide support)
Tagged in Pregnancy