At the end of 2018, something happened to us which for the past 3-4 months I’ve constantly struggled to process, and move on from. In light of recent events in the media, I feel it’s important to share our demons and talk openly. It’s important to ask for help and support when you need it the most. People are constantly keeping things to themselves and fighting battles alone for fear of burdening other people, which I’ve been semi-guilty of since November. I’m writing this to reach out to anybody else who has gone through a similar situation, because it actually affects 1 in 4 women. I’m talking about miscarriage, and how it’s completely turned my life upside down.
When I met my partner, we quickly realised that we were soulmates. A few months into our relationship, we discussed ditching birth control… which sounds crazy but we just KNEW. We were stuck together like glue, and didn’t want to delay having children. I’ve always wanted to become a Mother and he’s very family orientated. I threw out my Cerazette, and felt super excited at the thought that I could potentially fall pregnant… soon!
12 months passed. I wasn’t pregnant and started to wonder if something was wrong. All of my research pointed towards contacting your GP if you hadn’t conceived within a year, but I wanted to be patient. I wanted to give my body time to return to normal after years of birth control. By July 2018, it had been a year and a half since I took any form of birth control… and STILL no positive pregnancy test. I bit the bullet and went to my GP, who handed me a blood test form. I was terrified – not only do I hate needles, but all of a sudden I was scared of what they may find. What if I can’t ever get pregnant? All sorts of thoughts ran through my head, and I actually put off this blood test for 4 months. We decided that, when we returned from our annual holiday to Mexico, we were going to commit to finding out why we hadn’t conceived. After the test, I couldn’t believe I’d put it off for SO long! It made me feel amazing – I did my best to let go of my fear and left the hospital that day thinking “I’m one step closer to being a Mum. For the first time in a long time, I’m actually excited!”
The next day – a withheld number calls me as I’m working. I ignored it – they said my results would take 2-3 weeks to come back – so it must be a spammy call right? Within minutes of it ringing off, a voicemail notification. It was my doctors surgery asking me to phone in for my test results. I got that horrible, tight knotted feeling in my stomach and thought “something’s wrong, they’ve definitely found something wrong. Otherwise, why would they be calling me the next day?”
With baited breath, I called back and spoke to my GP. He sounded confused. “This blood test was for infertility, wasn’t it?” as much as I hated that word, I agreed. “Your HCG is really high…” he paused. “You’re pregnant”.
I literally went numb, with joy, but also with fear. I was actually pregnant?! I could not believe it. After all of this time worrying, telling myself I couldn’t conceive, he confirmed it. My HCG was up, and he scheduled a follow up test to make sure my levels were rising. I’d been feeling off colour for a couple of weeks, but just brushed it off as me coming down with something or not getting enough sleep. That night, I told my partner, and we both cried so, so many happy tears. I downloaded a pregnancy tracking app. I looked at how big my baby was. We talked about how to tell our families. I joined forums where I could connect with other Mums to be… and went to bed that night holding my tummy. It felt so special to know that our little baby was in there.
For the few days that followed, I felt grateful to be pregnant every single day. It was a surreal feeling… and something we had wanted so much! The timing of the whole situation was crazy, the way I just happened to go for my bloods on the exact month we’d finally caught out… it just felt like fate.
I woke up less than a week later to blood… and pain. Sorry, but I promised myself I’d be an open book on this post. I had an awful feeling that something was wrong – and whilst my partner was telling me to stay positive, I was terrified that my dream of us becoming parents was slipping away. As my symptoms worsened over the next day or two… We went to A&E where they took more blood. All I wanted was to be one of those women who have these symptoms and miraculously, baby is ok. Because that does happen! I was frantically reading success stories on forums, but the hospital confirmed the exact news that I didn’t want to hear. I’d miscarried, and HCG had plummeted back to near zero.
I was completely and utterly crushed, and to be honest, so was my partner. We didn’t really talk about what had happened for about a week, because I think we were just both in shock. When we did finally talk, we both just cried. Our happy tears had turned into absolute heartbreak. Within a week of finding out I was pregnant, I wasn’t pregnant anymore… and there was absolutely nothing I could do about it… and all the old feelings crept back again, this time mixed with some new ones… guilt included. There’s something wrong with my body, I’ve failed… I’ve let him down. He was SO excited to be a Dad and that’s been taken away. I tried desperately to see a silver lining, and my Mum reassured me that the great thing is, I CAN get pregnant. And she was right!
3 weeks later, I had a sudden sharp stabbing pain in my right side and thought “surely, I can’t be ovulating again yet?!” Really? So I dashed to the bathroom and grabbed an ovulation test. Positive! I couldn’t believe it. My body was getting back to normal again already. This gave me SO much faith… and actually helped me relax a little.
Fast forward to Christmas Day. This was the very next cycle after our loss… I just had a suspicion that we had caught out again. I wasn’t feeling good at all… sick, tired… but surely it hasn’t happened for us again? Are we really that lucky? Feeling sick with nerves, I grabbed a pregnancy test and took it. 2 lines appeared. I almost fell off the loo in shock. The feelings of joy came flooding back all over again! I ran downstairs to my partner and said babe, you won’t believe this… and showed him the test. What a Christmas gift! I’ll never forget that feeling. Maybe this was going to be our time, after all, the doctors had told us that my chances of a healthy pregnancy next time around were good.
A week later, we’d gone away for the weekend with my best friend and her fiancé to the Lake District. The cramps started… but there was no blood. Although the pain wasn’t bad, I was worried after what had happened last time to say the least. I told myself over and over that it would be ok… until the same symptoms reared their ugly head. It felt exactly the same, and I just knew in my heart that the same thing was happening to me again.
I cannot even begin to describe that feeling. I mean, the first one was crushing, but to be going through this all over again in such a short space of time… Nothing I have ever been through can compare.
The upset and the pain that I felt was physical… I can honestly say my heart physically hurt and still does every day. I spent New Year’s Eve sobbing until 2am on the phone to my mum, asking her why this had to happen to us… and telling her that I couldn’t cope with the hurt. All of a sudden, all I saw on social media were scan pictures, pregnancy announcements, and babies. People tried to make me feel better by saying things like “it’s your body’s way of getting rid of something that may not have been healthy” or “at least you weren’t further along” but none of these things made it ANY better. It affected me in so many ways… I couldn’t get up in the morning. I lost all of my motivation. But the worst thing was the feeling of isolation, which is what’s led me to write this post.
Thankfully now, I have started to look at other ways to cope… and every day I’m trying my best to heal. A couple of months ago, I could never have written and shared this story. But it doesn’t take away the fact that I am still to this day absolutely heartbroken. Like I said before, my heart physically hurts EVERY day, and I’m struggling to move on. Had our first baby stuck, I would have been 22 weeks pregnant this week, I’d have felt movements, I might have a little bump… I may even have caved and found out whether we were having a little boy or a little girl. We’d be prepping our nursery, and buying things. Or, if the second baby had stuck, I’d be a little less further along, enjoying pregnancy after such a heartbreaking loss the first time around. These are things that I think about daily, and constantly ask myself why this had to happen.
Baby loss is something that people sometimes avoid talking about and today, I decided that I was fed up of keeping this inside. No matter how far along I was, no matter what anybody else says, I lost our babies… and there will be women across the world that feel my pain and ask all of the same questions I do. As much as I’m sad to say that I’m 1 in 4, I’m proud of myself for finding the strength and the courage to share this so openly, even when I can’t find the answers why. I’m 24, I’m healthy, my partner is healthy… so why us? Everything that I share is always in the hope that my experience can reassure somebody that they are not on their own. In what has probably been the most isolating experience of my entire life, I wanted to reach out to other women in my position and say:
It’s ok to be hurt, no matter how far along you were. This is a loss, and we need to grieve. Grief has no timeline, and we shouldn’t feel under pressure to move on, or not talk about our experience. I’ve felt all of the resentment, I’ve cried at pregnancy announcements and asked why that couldn’t be us… and I’ve felt like a failure. I wonder what our babies would have looked like, and feel heartbroken that I’ll never see who they could have grown up to be. But what I do know is that we’re fucking tough. I’m lucky to have a gorgeous, supportive partner going through this crazy emotional rollercoaster along with me.
If I can help anybody, even if it’s just for a coffee and a chat, or a phone call, please please reach out me. A huge part of my healing process is to help other people through their darker days.