I knew my second pregnancy was going to be very different and waited in trepidation for the 6-week mark
I knew my second pregnancy was going to be very different from the first. First time round, I had such bad sickness I was hospitalised for a few days and was off work for quite a while to recover. It had started from around 6 weeks and lasted until just into the second trimester.
When I saw the pregnancy test turn positive second time around, I waited for the 6-week mark with great trepidation, in case I was really sick again. This time, though, it felt really different.
Lots of people say that every pregnancy is different. Just because you're not sick, doesn't mean something is wrong. But I just felt in myself that I didn't really know how this pregnancy was going to turn out. I told my parents and one or two close friends, but apart from that, I kept it quiet.
As I wasn't ill, I didn't need to take any time off work, so I managed to avoid people's notice. I'm not the sort of the person who goes out and starts buying baby clothes as soon as they get a positive test result. But as the weeks go on and you get closer to your first scan date, you think about the baby more and more with such hope. I had no bleeding, no pains, nothing. I always assumed that if something went wrong, I would know straight away.
The night before my 12-week scan, I had one small spot of blood. I didn't know what to make of it really, so I mentioned it to the sonographer as soon as I went into the room. As she started doing the scan, she said, 'How many weeks did you say you were?' 'Twelve,' I said, feeling a sinking feeling in my chest.
She looked at me. 'It's not looking good,' she said. The scan showed a round shape. There was no heartbeat. She estimated that the baby had stopped developing at about 8 weeks' gestation.
I started to sob. My cries sounded so loud and yet they weren't loud enough to truly echo the grief I felt. I had never felt anything like it.
We were sent to the hospital for another scan to confirm the diagnosis, and then to discuss our options. We were in the waiting room for hours and I was just crying the whole time.
There was some mess-up with the paperwork and we had to wait for the clinic to send through some form before they would scan me. It just felt horrible, waiting for the inevitable bad news.
When we finally moved along into the scanning waiting room, it was so hard to be around all those women who were there for their scans. After waiting for ages and seeing people who had arrived after me going in for their scan, I just broke down in loud sobs and begged the staff to see me next.
It must have been surreal for the others in the waiting room. They all looked politely in the other direction. It felt to me like the hospital staff had no idea what our situation was. They seemed surprised by how upset I was and quickly ushered me into the room.
The diagnosis was confirmed, and I'm pleased to say that a very kind male member of staff gave me and my husband a room for some privacy before we had to go up to the ward to see the doctor. We made sure we got a picture from that scan. We knew it would be the only thing we would have to remember the baby.
The doctor explained the options: wait for the miscarriage to happen naturally, have the miscarriage induced and managed in the hospital, or have an operation.
Because the miscarriage hadn't happened and it had already been 4 weeks (called a missed miscarriage), I went for the second option. I didn't like the idea of an operation because it would feel like an abortion. I wouldn't see anything of the baby and it would all just be flushed away. I felt I had to go through it in order to come to terms with it.
We came back to the hospital a few days later, and we had a room to ourselves. They gave me the pessary to induce the miscarriage, and it took effect within a few hours. I was glad that I was in the hospital, because it was a lot of blood, and it was reassuring to have the staff on hand.
After several hours, the pain was quite bad, and I felt quite sick, so I called the nurses and the doctor came and after examining me, saw that there was a bit of a blockage at the neck of the womb so she had to clear it, and although that wasn't particularly pleasant, after that it was all pretty much over. I was able to go home that night, and I did find the staff really kind and thoughtful.
We made sure that we saw everything that came out before they took it away. I can't say that we could see anything definite, but I'm glad we still saw the remains anyway.
Once I was home and getting back to normal, the numbness was the hardest thing. I'm usually quite open about my feelings, but I felt a massive emotional block. I couldn't articulate at all how I felt.
Thinking about it, I had never really experienced much grief at all- I hadn't ever lost a really close relative and I'd gone through life relatively unscathed by death. It was also hard to grieve someone I had never known. I didn't even know if it was a boy or a girl. We decided to call the baby Daniel.
The hardest part was that no one really knew that I was even pregnant in the first place. So now I had this dilemma: do I tell them about the miscarriage? It was really difficult because I didn't really want to talk about it. But when I was around people, I didn't want to talk about anything else either. I think I must have been really awkward to be around in those first few weeks afterwards!
In the end, I told a few more of my friends and they were great at asking me how I was in the days, weeks and months that followed. That was really helpful. It's like any grief; it doesn't go away overnight. It does get easier with time, but in some ways, you'll always feel that sadness and loss.
I'm pregnant again now, and I know many people will think this is my second baby. In my mind, it's my third. My second baby may not be visible, may not be physically here on earth, but that doesn't make them any less real. That baby will always be a part of my family, and a part of my story.
And I hope one day I can be there for someone else who has to go through a miscarriage. After all, it's surprising how many of us go through it. If you're going through it now, just know that you're not alone. And even if it seems you're in a really dark place of grief, there is hope for the future. With life, there is always hope.