Miscarriage – the broken dreams
This is me
So this is me. 33 years old. Executive headteacher. Gorgeous amazing husband married 7 years, together 17 years. 1 polite, caring utterly adorable 4 year old boy. I can hear what you are saying now… this woman has the world at her feet. She must be the happiest girl in the world because happy family equals happy life.
This is also me
This is also me. 33 years old and all of the things above plus 5 miscarriages. 2 'natural' and 3 'missed'.
The words 'natural' and 'missed' are such normal words with easy explanations. So why have they taken away part of my heart and soul that I know I will never get back?
Miscarriage is such a taboo
Miscarriage is such a taboo word. Everybody is scared of the word, the glances to the side when you say the word, the scattered looks of sympathy from people who don’t really know what to say. 'At least it was early on in your pregnancy', 'there was obviously something wrong with the baby', 'you can try again soon'. Yes to all of these comments.
But at this moment in time a little bit of my heart has died along with the dreams, the life you were going to lead, the colour of the nursery that you were going to choose, the baby clothes you were going to buy and the part of the family that this baby, not foetus, baby, was going to become.
Because it is your baby and from the moment that the stick shows two lines you love your tummy. You stroke it, you silently talk to it, you encourage it to grow, you promise to love it forever, you have visualised what he or she is going to look like, you imagined the moment that you have told your little boy that he is going to be a big brother.
Suddenly it is all gone
The first time I lost my baby I thought my world was going to end.
You have an expectation on your shoulders. You grow up, you fall in love, you get married and then you have babies. Easy right?
So myself and my husband had decided that this was the right time and after 8 months of trying I was pregnant. The joy and happiness of telling our families. It was all going to plan – we were having our baby.
Then 4 weeks later we were not having our baby anymore. Total devastation. The tears that seemed to fall constantly, the hugs, the promises to try again soon, the dreams that were broken – broken for the first time.
I lay on the sofa after the clinical, horrendous, 'it’s only a short clear out operation it won’t take long' (by the way, that’s my baby you are 'clearing out') and felt at a loss. Empty. I would never get over this. And actually I don’t think I ever have.
So we tried again. You tell yourself at the time that you are not getting obsessed, that you are not 'telling' your body to feel the pregnancy symptoms each month, that you are not waiting for a positive test a week before your period is supposed to come, the money that is wasted on testing far too soon only for your heart to plummet each time when it comes up negative.
Another 8 months of trying to put a brave face on each month when the dreaded signs of the period came, but feeling totally helpless as if the whole situation is eating you up inside.
Then there it was – the positive test.
Overjoyed, but a little more hesitant
Again, overjoyed but a little more hesitant this time. Surely it wouldn’t happen again. So many people lose their first precious one but then are successful next time. We clung to this hope. But at 6 weeks I started to bleed and went for the scan only to be told there is 'nothing there'.
What do you mean there is nothing there? I saw the positive test – three positive tests, I’ve started to feel sick, and my boobs have started to hurt… haven’t they? I’ve made plans for my future again and it involved this baby. I’ve worked out my due date and know when I need to go on my maternity leave. There has got to be something there.
What does 'natural miscarriage' even mean?
The third time it happened we just went through the motions. Again a 'natural' miscarriage. What does that even mean? What is natural about not being able to do the most natural thing in the world?
I felt broken in a different sense of the word this time. I am a strong, capable woman in all parts of my life. Apart from this one.
Why can’t I make our precious baby grow? What is wrong me? Well nothing according to the doctors, tests, blood taken, ultrasounds observed. 'There is no medical reason that we can see why you can’t have a baby'. Right. Thanks. Now what do we do?
2½ years, three babies gone
Two and a half years, three babies gone. The world seems a lonely place. Now this makes it sound that we didn’t have support. We really did. The support of both sides of our family and all of our friends. Everyone around us really was amazing.
But what can people really say? What do I want them to say? The only people that know how we are feeling are myself and my husband. And actually the only person who knows how I am feeling is me. Because you don’t want to let this ruin your life, you don’t want it to take over; you don’t want your relationship to become all about the baby that is not happening.
I had to be brave. I had to be strong. My husband is amazing but at times I could see he was lost. Not only was he dealing with his own feelings in all of this but he was trying to figure me out. What a difficult task that was when I couldn’t even voice my own emotions.
Life can be cruel, and it was
Life can be cruel. It was cruel during this time. Both of my brother and sister went on to have babies. The genuine feelings of being 'so excited for you' mixed with the guilty feeling of jealousy and worry that I might not be able to be happy for them.
But human strength is amazing. Not only was I happy, I was overjoyed when these little bundles of joy came into the world. They were my family and I loved them to death.
And then it happened. Fourth time lucky. A successful pregnancy and a beautiful baby boy. The love that we felt for this child was immense. What had I done differently this time? It didn’t matter. We had our baby. He was and still remains to be perfect. Gorgeous, polite, an absolute joy to be around and he brings us so much happiness. We will be forever thankful for our little boy.
We feel absolutely blessed
At this point in this 'story' I would like everyone to know that we feel absolutely blessed to have our boy in a world where so many cannot have children. However, our journey didn’t end here.
2 years after the birth we decided to try again. We felt that we had to give our little boy a sibling because again – that’s what people do right?
After nearly a year of trying I got the positive two lines and thought, right this is it. Baby number 2 – let’s do this. All of my earlier miscarriages were put to the back of my head because I had had my child now so there was no way that we were going to lose this one.
Well we did. And it was more horrendous then the other three loses put together. This time it wasn’t just our baby but it was my little boy’s brother or sister too. This time my body let me get to 11 weeks before the little heart decided to stop. This time my body still thought I was pregnant. I had just gone through 11 weeks of sickness, tiredness; my bump had already started to show.
The words 'I’m so sorry there is no heartbeat'. What do you mean there is no heartbeat? I have seen the heartbeat three times. I have seen my baby grow and start to form arms and legs. Again I have sorted my life around my due date. My tummy feels full because I am carrying my baby… Well no, I had been carrying a baby for two weeks that had died.
Where had they cleared my baby too?
I hope I never feel again the feelings that I felt over the weeks following my operation to 'clear out' again. Where had they cleared my baby too? Yes it might have only been 2 cm long but it was perfectly formed and it was my child.
Why didn’t I get to say goodbye? How can you say goodbye? No physical entity there to say goodbye too. It is like it never happened. Well again actually no, it did happen and the part of my heart that held my baby tight as I went down for the operation, will never function properly again.
After another year of trying we went to see a fertility doctor who gave us drugs to boost my ovulation. They worked within a month and I was pregnant again. I found out on my 33rd birthday. I was given hormones to take during the first 12 weeks.
Everyone was convinced that this was going to be the one. I and my husband tried to keep people realistic but in our heads we felt different this time too. I had no problems at all apart from feeling horrendous. I was so relieved that I felt sick every day and my boobs hurt so much. 'Such good signs' people kept telling me.
I went for my 4th booking in appointment with the midwife. I was so happy to be booking in, this really was happening. I had a scan the very next day at 10 weeks 6 days. No heartbeat.
How can we keep doing this?
This time was different. This was always going to be our last try. How can we keep doing this? How can I keep putting my body through it? Do I have any strength left to get through this? The jury is still out on that one. This one hurt the most emotionally. We would never be able to sit our gorgeous boy down and tell him that he is going to be a big brother.
The worries that come with that – Will he be lonely? His children are not going to have any cousins, will we have any grandchildren? What will happen when we die?
I think that this one hurt my husband the most. We will not be adding to our family – but we have so much love, so much to give. There will be people that can’t have any children saying 'well at least you have one'. And yes we do. We have been incredibly lucky. But I am allowed to long after another child too.
Nobody has ever said that because you have one child you can’t long for another. This time I felt utterly useless as a woman. I hated myself and my insides. I was failing my son, my husband, my family and most of all the babies that were trying so hard to cling on but couldn’t.
I think I know deep down that this is not my fault. But then who else do I blame? And something like this you need to blame something. It happened for a reason they say. But nobody can tell me what that reason was.
I wonder whether we can truly get over the losses
They say that time is a great healer and I do believe that. But I also wonder whether our lives will ever be truly complete? Whether we can truly get over the losses that we have felt in our short lifespans. I suppose time will tell.
What I do know is that I am 33 years old. An executive headteacher. I have a gorgeous amazing husband that I married 7 years ago and have been in love with for 17 years. I have 1 polite, caring utterly adorable 4-year-old boy that I will be forever thankful for. I do actually have the world at my feet.