If you’ve read my previous posts you’ll know I suffered the loss of my first baby, I was early on in my pregnancy but that made no difference to me. I wrote an overview of what happened but didn’t go into much detail about the day I was told I’d lost my baby.
From the minute I saw that positive test I was a mother, I was in love with the little life growing inside me and I envisioned a future for me and that beautiful baby. I started to plan our new life, I planned how I would decorate the nursery, I started thinking of names, I started looking online at travel systems and cribs. I was excited beyond belief that we had got pregnant so soon into trying, it felt like the universe was finally on my side.
Then I started bleeding. I called my midwife and told her, she told me not to worry and that its probably nothing. She was shit at calming my fears and if I’m honest I felt brushed off. I went to work, the bleeding got worse the longer I was on my feet and being a shop floor assistant it was kind of my job to be on my feet for nine hours a day. I couldn’t tell my boss because I was so early on in my pregnancy I hadn’t told my boss or anyone at work yet.
I went home after work and told Matthew, I then also texted my mum. She called me immediately and told me to call the midwife led unit at my local hospital. So I did, they were really great and told me to be on bedrest until my emergency ultrasound which was in two days time as they didn’t have any space to get me seen any earlier. So thats what I did, I called in sick to work and I laid in bed and worried for 48 hours.
I went to my ultrasound scan and there my baby was on the screen! I was further along that I thought and I got to see the tiny flicker of a heartbeat. It was beautiful, the love I felt grew each time I saw that tiny flicker.
My baby was safe.
They told me they couldn’t find a reason for the bleeding and that my cervix was closed so the baby was safe. I was told to go home and to see my GP the following day to be signed off of work for the remainder of my first trimester. So that what I did.
A few days went by and the bleeding stopped I was beyond relieved and my midwife said I no longer had to be on bedrest! So I went for a trip into town with Matthew to get out of the house for half n hour. I was in town when the bleeding started again, so we went home and I called the midwife led unit again immediately. They got me in for a scan within two days again.
I went to the scan with a heavy feeling in my chest. I knew my baby wasn’t going to be there. Everyone was telling me to be positive, to remember that my baby was a fighter, that if I had lost the baby there would have been loads of blood and extreme cramping. Which I hadn’t had either of. But I knew, I knew in my gut that I was empty inside.
Its a difficult feeling to explain.
It is literally like feeling your heart break, it was the feeling of loss engulfing me before I had even had my scan. My body knew its loss before it had been confirmed. Unless you’ve experience it you wouldn’t understand, its impossible to describe, the feeling of knowing your womb is empty when it should be growing your baby.
But I put on a brave face and I made it through the 48 hours without breaking, much.
I remember sitting in the ultrasound waiting room looking at big pregnant bellies, the proud mothers sitting there rubbing their hand over their bumps without even realising the grief that was slowly taking over my whole body.
They probably thought I was there for my 12 week scan, how were they to know I was there to find out if I had just suffered one of the most devastating losses I will ever have to endure.
When my name was called I got up and walked to the room, each step felt like I was dragging my feet through peanut butter. My legs felt heavy, like they were trying to collapse under me. I wanted to leave, I didn’t want the confirmation. I wanted to cling to the tiny bit of hope that I was wrong, that my baby was still there and I knew the minute I got on that hospital bed my world would be ripped out from under me.
I got on the bed and lifted my shirt, Matthew by my side holding my hand the entire time.
I remember looking around the very small room, I was looking anywhere but on the screen. I couldn’t bare the thought of looking up on the screen that was screwed to the wall directly in front of the bed and seeing the confirmation that I was in fact as empty as my heart felt. I looked at the clock hanging on the wall and watched the red second hand tick by second by second feeling the pressure building in my chest. I looked at the rows of folders on the selves at the side of the room, boring standard pale bule A4 folders in labeled and placed in alphabetical order. I was literally focusing on anything other than the screen in front of me.
The nurse found my uterus within seconds, of course she did, its her job to know where to look. I remember her face as she looked at me and told me how sorry she was. She told me that I had lost my baby. After that I stopped hearing the words that were coming out of her mouth. I know she took measurements of my uterus, I was later told that it was to make sure I expelled everything and didn’t end up with an infection.
I was told I had to go back and speak to another midwife before going home, apparently it was protocol for me to be informed of everything they had seen in my ultrasound. After my notes had been typed up I was pointed in the right direction of where we needed to go to see this other midwife. I just wanted to go home, I didn’t care about anything else that needed to be said. I had just been given the worst news of my life and I wanted to run, I wanted to scream, I needed to smoke.
I think thats when I broke, I had been silently shedding tears but after being told I had to walk through the hospital to be spoken too about a possible procedure I might have needed if my miscarriage didn’t complete itself naturally; I broke down. As if losing your baby wasn’t enough, instead of getting to go home I had to walk to the other side of the hospital with mascara running down my face, barely able to hold myself up to go and talk to someone else about how my body had failed to keep my baby safe.
Looking back now I really think this should be done either in the same room or before the ultrasound itself if they think this is a possibility because all I wanted was to get as far away from that hospital as physically possible. Not have to walk through it and then be made to wait fifteen minutes to be seen again, sitting in a waiting room with other people looking at me, obviously wondering if not knowing that my heart had just shattered.
I was made a follow up ultrasound appointment for a weeks time. They needed to be sure that everything made its way out otherwise I was at risk of an infection setting in.
So I went home to grieve. Matthew offered to drive home from the hospital but I needed to drive, I needed something to focus on to keep myself breathing. So I drove home, a journey that should have taken 25 minutes took me 10. I wasn’t aware of the speed I was going, I was only aware of the ache in my chest and my need to be as far away from that hospital as possible.
I got home and Matthew went back to work. I told him he needed to do what he needed to do, we each had to process what had happened in our own ways.
When the front door shut I managed to get all of three feet from my front door into my kitchen before collapsing on the floor in the foetal position. I still find it amazing how as an adult that is the position I go to when I feel like I can’t cope.
I think I laid in a ball on the floor sobbing until I went numb. The tears stopped pouring out of my eyes and just calmed down to a steady stream. I started to catch my breath, my mum and sister showed up at my house (They had stalked me on Find my Friends the whole way home from the hospital after I had texted my mum the news). My mum practically lifted me off of the floor and carried me outside onto my balcony, she just sat and handed me cigarette after cigarette knowing now wasn’t the time to try to convince me to not start smoking again. My little sister got me a glass of wine and a bottle of water because apparently I wasn’t allowed one without the other. I think we all sat outside for hours.
I sat there smoking, crying and asking ‘why’ all the while knowing that no one could give me that answer I so badly needed, because there wasn’t an answer as to why it happened.
I made it through the rest of the day by smoking and drinking wine until my lungs felt like they were going to collapse and my head was foggy from alcohol. I climbed into bed and cried myself to sleep while Matthew hugged me.
A week went by and it was time for my next ultrasound appointment. I know I was stupid but there was this pathetic part of me that was hoping and praying that I would get up on that table and be told ‘Oh we made a mistake, your baby is here and fine’. I know how stupid I sound, I know that was never going to happen but I couldn’t stop myself from hoping it might. I guess that was my way of trying to protect my heart from the pain of losing my baby.
I went to the hospital with Matthew by my side and I sat in the exact same chair in the exact same waiting room waiting for my name to be called so I could go and have my final ultrasound to make sure my miscarriage was ‘complete’. My name was called and we went into the exact same room as the week before and I laid on the bed as I did the last week. I didn’t bother looking at the screen because I still couldn’t handle seeing the empty space where my baby should have been.
The ultrasound was very quick, very formal. The guy was quiet the entire time and it went as well as it possibly could, I cleared the jelly off of my belly and got up off of the table. The ultrasound tech was typing up my notes and Matthew and I waited for the all clear from him that everything had done what it needed to do so we could go home and continue to grieve for our baby.
‘Your miscarriage is complete, Have a nice day’
Yup, that is what the fucking prick said to me. I have never wanted to hurt someone as much as I wanted to hurt that man. I understand that he probably became desensitised to his job but this was completely unacceptable. I was totally shocked that those words came out of his mouth and Matthew got me out of there pretty quickly so I didn’t beat his face in, which is exactly what I wanted to do.
I know I shouldn’t have had any hope going into that appointment but no matter how many times I told myself it would never happen I clung to that tiny part of hope like it was my only lifeline. So my heart was broken all over again.
If I’m honest with myself I still have not come to terms with what happened and I am still grieving. I don’t think I will ever stop grieving for my first baby. I am still learning to live with the hole in my heart.