08 Oct Miscarriage
**TRIGGER WARNING – MISCARRIAGE **
I wasn’t sure whether to share this or not. I’ve typed and deleted it so many times. Ultimately I’m sharing because the Idea of someone else going through this alone, not knowing how common it is, is heartbreaking. This is my story.
From the outset, Mother’s Day might look like flowers and chocolates and smiling faces on social media, but, It can be a heartbreaking day for many too. I woke up and cried for the baby that I lost.
We found out I was pregnant in October. We made a little sign for our son Bjorn to hold in front of the Xmas tree, and we announced it to our friends and family. We were so excited. A sibling for Bjorn to run around with, to make things with, to be protective over. I didn’t go to the doctors; I just contacted a midwife and thought I’d see her when I get back from our Xmas/New Year holiday as everyone was quite busy around then. Everything seemed normal. I was pretty sick from the outset, which was the same with Bjorn—vomiting randomly and feeling like ass. We went to Whangamata with my best friends, intending to spend New Year’s eve there, bringing in 2021 with excitement for what was to come.
I was really sick, like head in the toilet, not coping kind of sick. So we called the doctors, and they prescribed me some anti-nausea pills. It didn’t help a whole heap; we carried on with the holiday anyway. (So to those who say, Oh, If you are sick, then It’s a sign of a healthy baby. That’s bullshit.)
I woke up on NYE to blood when I wiped. I called out to Aaron straight away. One of my friends took Bjorn, and we headed straight to the clinic in Whanga. Because of Covid, everyone was still a bit panicky. We couldn’t go in, so we spoke to an elderly lady at the door. She asked if we had an appointment, to which I responded, “No, I’m 7.5 weeks pregnant and am bleeding.” Her response was, “Well, if you are miscarrying, you are miscarrying, and there is nothing we can do about it.” I immediately burst into tears. How cold and rude. I couldn’t fathom someone saying something like that to anyone. We got put on a waiting list to come back in an hour.
The doctor checked me internally; nothing seemed to be wrong so far. Then we were sent home to Hamilton for an emergency scan. We packed everything up and went home, not knowing what lay in store for my 7.5-week baby or pregnancy (they call it in the medical profession).
I had a blood test to check my HCG levels & Our scan showed a tiny yet strong heartbeat. The sonographer was happy, and we were sent away with a glimmer of hope. Just a little passing comment about the “sac” being smaller than usual, but that should be fine. Google, however, said It could be a sign of miscarriage. I tried not to worry.
I text my midwife to keep her in the loop, and she said she would follow up on the tests.
Never had I spent a New Years on the couch before. We went home, drank fake Champagne went to bed at 12.01 am.
A day had passed with no news. No answer from anyone. No contact from my midwife. Some pain had started, and more bleeding began. I called Healthline crying, unaware of what I should do. They advised us to go straight to emergency.
A stark contrast from the other clinic, they rushed me right in. Another blood test, basically the same “no information”, and I was sent home with only my fingers googling what might be coming.
At 4 pm, whilst in bed alone, I got the call. I was told my HCG levels had dropped – meaning an inevitable miscarriage, even though we currently had a heartbeat. She said how sorry she was.
Why, why me? I wept. It was pouring with rain. I ran out in the rain with my two-year-old son. He thought it was a game; I just didn’t want him to see me crying endlessly. I took some photos of the rain falling on our tree outside to capture the moment we lost him.
We were hardly given any advice. No “what to expect” pamphlets. Just wait and see. Someone might call you, but the call never came. By this point, I had received no support from anyone in the health system. My midwife never got back to me. I was going through this alone because It was a holiday. Nothing happened; I just kept bleeding. No one could tell us what to do or what was next. Was I miscarrying? Was there any hope at all? So many questions and some hopeful answers online, but were they our fate? So I emailed a few other midwives to try and get anyone to answer me during the holiday period. One finally replied, and she was SO goddamn great.
I didn’t know you could find out you were to miscarry before you did. Waiting to farewell your unborn baby, knowing they will never be.
So we were referred for another scan. Walking into the room, 70% of me knew It wasn’t going to be good news; 30% of me had hope. He put the toggle on my tummy, moved it around a few times. And quietly said, “Sadly, there is no heartbeat”. It was numbing. Tears streamed down my face, but no sound came out. What’s next, I said? Medication and a D&C are the last resorts if It doesn’t happen naturally. But I had to go and have more blood tests to confirm the scan. At this point, I broke down in the waiting room. I cried and cried and cried into Aaron’s arms. Why do I need to do this? Our baby is gone.
We went to bunnings and bought a beautiful plant that blooms in August (the due month), for we knew we would soon need to bury our little one somewhere safe.
Google became an hourly thing as I waited for something, anything to happen. At this point, I came across the stat that 1/4 of pregnancies ends in miscarriage. How did I not know this?
Sleep was an escape. If I was asleep, this wasn’t happening, right? I woke up many times in the night asking Aaron if It was all just a bad dream. But It wasn’t. We cried together.
A few of my best friends came over and cried with me that night. I was talking about everything that had happened, going over and over it probably 1000 times. But they just listened to me. I’ve never appreciated them more than at that moment.
The emotional pain is one thing, but the physical pain on top is absolutely awful. Google told me It was like a bad period at 7.5 weeks. Every time I went to the toilet, I wondered if now was the time. Is this it? Maybe next time?
No way in hell was that a period. Even in early pregnancy, It felt like early labour pains.
It finally happened after a week of bleeding. I knew It was happening when the pains got stronger and stronger. He had eyes, arms & legs. We held him in our palms for a while, cuddling together. Then we buried him under the plant.
Some photos Aaron took of me during the morning It happened.
I wrote a lot of this when I first miscarried. I thought that would be the end of the story.
Not by a long shot. The grief and sorrow you feel are out of this world. The hopes and dreams you had for this child go unnoticed if you don’t say a thing.
The government announced this year; New Zealand was to give anyone with pregnancy loss three days off work to “deal” with miscarriage. Influencer’s around the country praised this on social media. All I could do was feel sick and disgusted. I would have taken 2-3 weeks minimum if I worked for someone else. Plus the emotional turmoil after. You feel alone. You feel like people may think you are overreacting. So many comments are thrown around too..”At least you weren’t further along.” “At least you already have one child.” “It just wasn’t meant to be.” “It’s just like a period that early anyway.”
You want to be alone—a lot. I felt like being around others and talking about day to day things only invalidated my baby boy. He was gone, and life just moved on without him. I ended up speaking to a Councillor which helped.
After three months, we decided to name him.
You’ll see I’ve started referring to him as “him” now too. We didn’t know what we were having, but I just have this feeling he was a little boy.
I searched high and low for grief coping strategies. Quotes, books, anyway I could validate that he did live. I went to a spiritual meditation which helped silence all my thoughts & let me grieve. It’s such a numbing experience to go through. How can such a small thing hold such a big piece of my heart?
We had a memorial box made, and I put the dried flowers friends had bought me. Pregnancy tests, pictures of the sky when we lost him. It just made the process easier for me, knowing he wasn’t just forgotten.
Since I posted my story on my personal social media, I’ve had at least five women message me saying they too have miscarried. Many never told a soul except their partners. While I understand that is OK for some, It’s heartbreaking for others to go through such a life-changing event alone and without support. Talking helped me heal; I could not have gone through what I did without my husband & best friends. They cooked, took our son, let me cry on their shoulders (many times!). So please ask for help if you need it. Miscarriage is such a familiar trauma; there is no reason to be alone in our grief.
It didn’t just “end” there either. I saw a pregnant woman and wept into my breakfast at cafes. I couldn’t see newborn babies that I was meant to meet. I cried all day long and couldn’t get out of bed one day; then, the next day, I was completely fine. It’s a roller coaster of emotions. One thing I read about grief was, it feels like the world keeps spinning, but you are no longer on it. I resonated with this so fucking much. I took one weekend off of Weddings (I’m a Wedding Photographer), but that was it. The rest of the summer season, I pretended as if nothing had happened. Professionally – no one knew. I didn’t want to put a negative on anyone’s best day ever, so I sat in silence. I smiled when people asked if I would have a sibling for Bjorn, “One day”, I kindly said – and died on the inside.
Farewell my little love.
Some Miscarriage Quotes that helped me…
No one tells you grief isn’t linear. There’s no guidebook to “get over it”. It comes in wave, and I’ve been told the waves slowly get smaller over time, but the tide never goes away.
Until we meet again…
With miscarriage, What is this that has happened? “Pregnancy loss”? The word “baby” was never mentioned by the staff. If there’s no body, how can I grieve? I feel as though I must be kidding myself, wallowing in grief over a person who never even lived. Every time my mind trips back to this death, this loss, it strikes on empty, because there’s nothing there to miss. This jellybean, lying forlornly on some toilet tissue – how can that sum up all my hopes and dreams for this child? When a friend dies, you can seek solace in the company of other mourners. Miscarriage, by contrast is an entirely private grief.
During my experience, I counted seven times I could have been given a pamphlet on “miscarriage”. Not once was I offered it. I found one online after searching high and low. I have linked It below for you – this was SO HELPFUL. This is from Sands.org.nz – Sands New Zealand is a network of parent-run, non-profit groups supporting families who have experienced the death of a baby.
Our Rainbow Baby..
Today I am 17 weeks pregnant with our rainbow baby girl. I am so incredibly thankful that I get to have another beautiful baby. This pregnancy has been so hard, feeling sadness for August but happiness for this wee girl in my belly. Feeling guilty for being pregnant when I know so many other women are struggling at this very moment. Feeling lost worrying If this will end the same way, will our girl make it? With August, I wasn’t going to have any photoshoots done, but you realise how bloody precious life is after a loss. I booked a family shoot and a bump shoot straight away for a celebration of the life inside me. It really is something worth celebrating.
To those currently going through this, I feel so much heartache for you. I hope your rainbow baby comes soon too. XXX Sending you all of the hugs in the world. If you would like to, please leave a comment below with your stories. I know many would love to hear them too.