Miscarriage: What nobody talks about
Today is my due date. I have been dreading this day and even as I write this, I feel choked up. It amazes me that there is still so much grief and emotion there, after all this time. And the truth is, the pain has not really subsided. I have simply become more accustomed to it and more capable of holding it in my heart. It’s just there, every day, all the time. And it’s ok. I have come to accept it.
Six months ago I miscarried my baby at 13 weeks pregnant. It was not my first miscarriage and of course I can’t ever guarantee it will be my last. I write this piece for a few reasons. One is to help me move on and put a full stop at the end of this chapter.
The other… I write this for you.
You mammas out there that have also lost a baby. Because there are a lot of us. All part of this secret taboo club that nobody talks about for some reason. For all you beautiful mothers who never quite got there yet. You are not alone. I get it. And it’s time to stop hiding and to start letting this stuff out.
It began one morning…
I was 13 weeks pregnant. My belly had already popped out and everyone thought I was having twins. I could no longer fit into my jeans and I had just gotten through 2 months of nausea and complete exhaustion of that awful 1st Trimester. We were a few days shy of our scan and I was excited to finally see my baby for the first time. In my mind I was in the safety zone and it never even crossed my mind that this little one was not for keeps. Sadly I was wrong. I crawled out of bed early to play with my 3 year old daughter and did my usual route via the bathroom for the millionth pee. Oh man, how pregnancy makes you pee! It was actually how I knew I was pregnant because I was suddenly going every 30min! It was there I discover the worst possible thing any expecting mamma never wants to see. Blood on the tissue. I screamed for my husband. The next few hours felt like everything was in slow motion and time had stopped. My husband rushed me to hospital. I remember saying in the car all the way there:
“It’s my fault.
I should never have drunk that coffee yesterday.
It’s my fault.
I’m such an idiot.
Please god, please god, please god”.
I flicked between berating myself and begging with all my heart for my baby to be ok. My entire body was frozen in terror as I desperately resisted the reality of what was happening. The mind is an incredible thing. Tricking us to believe what we want. Surely the baby will be fine, this is just a blip and maybe I’m bleeding because I am having twins. My sister bled at 13 weeks and ended up having twin boys.
Maybe, maybe, maybe.
After 5 hours of back and forth in A&E, with my mind going mental grasping on to hope, we finally got the guarantee. As I looked on the scan at my womb… my empty empty womb… that was all I felt. Empty. Like someone had scraped out my heart and I was left completely hollow.
“I’m afraid it is true Mrs. Helas (my married name). You are miscarrying.” She was the sweetest doctor. She went silent for a moment and said nothing as she looked down at the floor. It made me nervous and I asked her what was wrong. She just said, “I wanted to just take a moment to say a prayer for you” and she gave my hand a squeeze and walked out. The last thing anyone told us as we left the hospital was that everything may come out at once and I may bleed a lot. If it gets extreme come back. That’s it.
I literally had no idea what was about to happen. Not a clue.
How much will I bleed?
What will I feel?
Will my dead baby just pop out of me?
What will it look like?
I wish someone could have prepared me more for the next 24 hours. My husband and I went home. Both numb. Both Frozen.
Just waiting ….. for the nightmare.
Having to Surrender
The next 24-72 hours were the worst.
It began for me with the worst period pains of my life. Little did I know that I was having full on contractions. I was actually going in to labour. I woke at 3am and rushed to the toilet. I was losing a lot of blood with multiple blood clots dropping out of me. I was terrified. My husband sat with me in our toilet for an hour as we cried and held each other letting it all just happen.
By 7am the bleeding was getting much worse and I was soaking through 4 super plus pads every 20min. Something was very wrong and I was really scared.
Hubby dropped our daughter off at nursery and rushed me to hospital. As I hobbled from the car to the A&E reception something came out of me into my pants that was big – bigger than my fist. And I literally froze in fear.
Oh god please don’t let that be my baby.
We rushed in straight to the loo and there in my pants was something solid and red that looked like a big liver. I froze in terror and just wept and wept. I felt like I was in a horror movie. The doctor confirmed later on that was another clot. We were in that hospital bed for 10 hours. The doctor told me that my baby had gotten stuck and that my body had started hemorrhaging to try and purge it out.
I had lost an enormous amount of blood. Over the past 38 years I have been through a lot. I have overcome crack addiction, sexual abuse, alcoholism, bulimia and the rest. But this experience was the worst. Because I was fully conscious. I was awake and aware through the whole thing. I wasn’t drunk or high or hiding in any way. I saw every moment and felt every feeling. And it involved losing something I loved with all my heart that was already a part of me. I prayed over and over: “Thy will, not mine be done. Give me the courage to get through this spirit. Please help me”. Which gave me peace and a strong presence of spirit in the room. Once home I had intense hormone rushes. So intense, that it felt like someone had injected cocaine directly in to my blood. I felt like I was going mad and my husband says it was like I had become possessed by a demon. It’s ok, they do pass and they do settle. It was in one of these possessed moments when I began searching frantically on the Internet for something somewhere to tell me that I wasn’t alone.
Why was I feeling so crazy?
How do I explain this all to my daughter?
How do I get through this?
Where are all the other women that know what this feels like?
I need them;
I found nothing. Only NHS medical and clinical explanations of miscarriage. It was in that moment I vowed that I would write my story as honestly and openly as I could. It took me 6 months but I’m so glad I did. Lastly, my body finally purged my baby’s placenta. It was small and like liver. It was beautiful simply because it was once connected to my beautiful child.
The whole process was done.
I was relieved.
And now it was time to heal my heart.
Grief is not a linear thing…
The most challenging things about grief are that it is not pretty and it doesn’t come in a linear way. One minute we feel fine and then the next it can hit us like a ton of bricks.
For me the hardest part was when everyone went back to normal life. It was time to ‘move on’ and time just kept moving forward. I couldn’t stop it and yet …. I was still picking up a million broken pieces. I am not the same woman I once was. This experience has changed me in every possible way. I have tried to let the grief come and I have had many moments where I’ve felt frozen and numb. I have found myself walking past mothers and new borns with such a longing to walk off with the baby. The yearning to breastfeed and coddle has been intense. After many months I felt almost normal again. Back to work and I decided that if I wasn’t going to be having a baby then I was going to put all my energy into growing my business. I made the decision that spirit had other plans for me during this time. Then very strangely, the morning of the 1st April, I woke up and out of nowhere I felt overcome with grief again. It was 1 month before my baby was due. I hadn’t been thinking about it, or checking the dates, but I guess it was just sitting in the back of my heart and mind. But that’s just grief… it’s not linear. It will come and it will go. And we can let it.
Shame & Guilt:
I became obsessed with finding the reason why the baby had died. One moment it was fine the next it was dead. It was too incomprehensible for my mind to accept so I grasped and grasped for reasons.
It was my fault. I caved in to my coffee craving and that killed the baby.
It’s my fault. I was working too much and I killed the baby.
It’s my fault because I went close to some mouldy carpet and I killed the baby.
These thoughts tortured me. Over and over again desperately trying to find an answer.
There are just certain things that are not meant to be.
And this little one was just not meant to be.
I heard somewhere that sometimes these little souls just need to touch in and touch out of our wombs for them to be complete.
That for them nothing wrong had happened. For them it was exactly as it should have been and was perfect.
This has helped me tremendously and given me much peace.
Acceptance & Gratitude
I know it may seem strange to talk about the gifts that have come out of this,
but I promise you there have been many.
This experience has softened me. My capacity to be empathic and compassionate with others has grown by 1000 and the walls of protection around my heart have melted away. I feel softer and yet stronger than ever before and I am grateful. This experience has brought my husband and I closer together than ever before. I have always been such a strong warrior in my life and I have found it hard to fully trust that a man can hold and support me. But allowing my husband be there for me and with me, throughout it all has been so healing. It has allowed me to trust in a way that I have never done before. This has nourished and fed our relationship in so many ways. And lastly this experience has allowed me to step more in my power as a woman. To feel even more deeply the sisterhood that is around us. To welcome and encourage and empower women as we are all connected together.
I would never wish this experience on anyone. But I am proud to be part of this club and I hope we can take it out of this secret taboo zone. So we can let go of the shame, the guilt, the feeling that we failed, the feeling of emptiness and the feeling of being alone.
It’s ok beautiful women to be part of The Miscarriage Club.
There are many of us.
Thousands in fact. Actually Millions. And we are not alone.
I love you