I walk into A&E, I have cramps and I’m bleeding. They make me pee in a bottle – why do they make those so thin? I always pee on my hand.
“Well if you’re miscarrying, which is what you think isn’t it...”
“We can’t do anything anyway.” Whatever happened to empathy?
A scan is booked for the following morning. I don’t sleep - I watch endless episodes of Gossip Girl on Netflix and try to forget it all. About 3am I know. I cry so hard. I’m consumed with this feeling that everything is so wrong but there’s nothing I can do about it. I rub my belly and beg my baby to hang on.
I don’t think I’d stopped crying for nearly 24 hours. I walk into the room for the scan with my husband and I tell the lady what’s happening. She tells me to go behind the curtain and get ready. When she scans me, she is silent forever. My eyes are closed and I’m repeating in my head “please tell me it’s all ok, please tell me it all looks fine and a little bleeding is normal”.
“I’m sorry honey but this doesn’t look good”. My heart breaks. “I can see baby but there’s no heartbeat”. These big sobs are coming out of me, the kind you can’t control. “I’m sorry,” I say to my husband, And I am. I’m sorry I couldn’t do this, I’m so sorry I’ve fucked this up.
She’s telling me options, but I can’t listen past the phrase “vacuum out your uterus”. I hate the terms. I hate that she tells me it’s common. I hate walking out past everyone through the hospital, more broken than I thought I could ever feel, eyes on us, then to the floor, embarrassed by our visible pain.
Our baby measured seven weeks and six days. Only five days before she died we had excitedly paid for an early scan. We saw that beautiful bright brain, we saw that crazy beating heart. We’d cleared a room out upstairs, done a boot sale to get rid of stuff. Taken a carload to charity. I’d ordered our first nursery decoration, a little stitched moon face. We’d told those closest to us and joked about their reactions. We’d chatted about schools. I’d found a pregnancy yoga class I want to start in a few weeks. People had bought us gifts and sent us tips. We’d chosen a name for a girl and argued for weeks over a boy’s name. I can’t believe it’s over but it is. It’s all gone.
When I see my parents I break down again. I say I’m sorry again (this is my overwhelming feeling). I’m so sorry to everyone for failing at this, I’m so sorry to my baby. I could have done better.
People say “she miscarried” in a hushed tone and it allows you to believe it’s just a really sad time. And it is, but no-one really talks about the trauma, they don’t talk about how much it hurts and how undignified it is. I didn’t know it would be this bad. I’ve got packets of painkillers, 2 hot water bottles, I can barely move from the sofa. I’ve stocked up on extra-long sanitary towels and I’ve got maternity pads too. The irony isn’t lost on me. Nothing about this is pretty or hushed.
I’ve lost my appetite for the first time in my life and I only move to go to and from the toilet. Three days after my scan the pain worsens and comes in waves – contractions, I guess. At about 5pm I go to the toilet and stay there. I’m bleeding too heavily to move. I’m so scared. I don’t want to see my baby in the toilet but that’s what’s happening here. My husband leaves a tea outside the door for me and I grab it. I’m telling him through the door what’s happening. Something significant comes out and the bleeding subsides a little. I do look but I don’t know what I’m looking at and I don’t want to. I leave the toilet but within five minutes I’m doubled over a chair in agony. I rush to the toilet, something else comes out and immediately the pain stops. It’s over. I look again but I can’t work out what I’m looking at. I know it’s done. This was meant to happen in seven months’ time with a labour playlist on Spotify in a birth centre with pink walls. Instead I’ve just said goodbye to my baby in my downstairs toilet with the scent of an Earl Grey reed diffuser that will forever turn my stomach, and a cold cup of tea.
I feel empty and devastated. The pain was a distraction – now I’m just not pregnant anymore. I have fleeting moments where I convince myself they made a mistake. I know the truth but there’s a part of me that is filled with such disbelief - I just can’t believe I’m not pregnant anymore. How did this happen to me?
People say it’s nothing I’ve done but there will always be a part of me that blames the ibuprofen I took before I knew I was pregnant, and the stress I felt during my pregnancy settling in with a new puppy. The same people also tell me it’s common. It is, and one in four women will experience miscarriage at some point. So why isn’t it more widely talked about? Why aren’t we better prepared? I bled for three days with people including my midwife telling me it’s normal before I finally decided it wasn’t and went to A&E.
When you miscarry, you join this secret club that loads of women you know are in too, but you never realised. You only find out just how common miscarriage is when you become a member of the club. I didn’t want to be a member but if I have to be I want to try and be vocal about it. It hurts to talk about it but it needs to be normalised, not whispered about or hushed away.
Today I should be 12 weeks. I shouldn’t be sat writing this. I should be planning how to tell my friends and arranging a super cute Facebook announcement. Instead I’m sat in a coffee shop coming to terms with the last four weeks. Goodbye little one. Eight weeks or eight months, you were so wanted and are so loved.