It's taken me months to sit down and write about my experience with loss and grief.
An experience that so many women go through, yet for whatever reason, seldom talk about.
2016 was a hard year, personally and professionally. But in October last year things started to look brighter, I found out that I was pregnant with my second child.
Motherhood has presented me with so many challenges, both physically and emotionally and mentally.
Falling pregnant with my daughter was... easy. It happened straight away and although I was extremely sick throughout the pregnancy ('morning' sickness all day every day and extremely low iron resulting in two iron infusions), there were no real issues. Labour was INTENSE but overall the birth was problem free (how lucky!)
The journey into motherhood has been profound to say the least! I'm tested every single day, as are all mothers. I cry, and I sometimes wish I'd had more 'me time' before having a child, but as every mother knows, one smile from your child completely obliterates any negative feeling or emotion you have. The love we have for our children is indescribable.
When I found out that I was pregnant again, I was so excited. Nervous as hell, but I could not wipe the smile from my face. Sure, I had moments were I thought, how the HELL am I literally going to manage? Having one is hard enough! And having one arm makes it even harder! But the joy I felt once again put my mind at ease.
I told family and close friends as soon as my blood results came back - I had no reason to think anything might be wrong, why would I when everything went so smoothly with my daughter?
I wrote the weeks and due date on my calendar (which would of course come back to haunt me).
The sickness started straight away, and the exhaustion - oh my god was I tired! So tired.
At about week 6 my husband and I went looking at prams, sure it was early days, but why not?We were excited and of course trying to re-budget and plan for baby number two!
I was very busy from the moment I found out, lots of interstate travel for work, so when I finally got around to making an appointment with the OB it was at week 9.
In the car on the way to the appointment, my husband and I joked about the possibility that I could be pregnant with twins (funny but not funny! Could you imagine?) as it runs on BOTH sides of the family!
Filled with so much anticipation I got up on the bed for my first scan, both my husband and daughter beside me.
As we waited for the doctor to confirm that yes in fact we were having twins... her face said it all. Then her words... "I'm sorry but I'm not seeing what I would expect for someone who is 9 weeks pregnant."
What does that mean?
She asked if I had my dates wrong... there was a heartbeat but the baby wasn't as developed as it should be, showing to be only around 7 weeks.
I knew I had the dates rights.
So again I asked her, what does this mean?
To which she replied, an inevitable miscarriage.
I started to sob quietly.
But there is still a heart beat!! Surely that means we need to stay hopeful?
The doctor gave me a bunch of pamphlets with details about miscarriages, and statistics that stated 1 in 5 pregnancies in women over the age of 30 will result in a miscarriage (sorry WHAT?!). Something as alarming as that, I simply could not comprehend it. Why didn't I know this... Because, no one talks about it.
I was told that I would miscarry within a week, and if I didn't then I would need to forcefully end the pregnancy through surgery or medication.
We left the doctor's office via a waiting room full of expecting mothers and new babies... gut-wrenching.
For a week I did what anyone would do, and Googled every possible scenario, hoping for a positive outcome. I told myself that I must have got the dates wrong (of course I hadn't) but I was clutching at straws - anything to convince myself that it would all be OK.
I cried every day for an entire week. No miscarriage.
So, I went back to the doctor, and this time the scan showed no heartbeat.
By this stage I was numb. I'd gone through every emotion possible in the week prior, waiting and hoping which turned to anger and sadness, and then it would alternate again.
I miscarried at home, a few days before my 32nd birthday.
It was horrendous.
Everyone tells me that it's not my fault, but of course I still (and always will) blame myself.
I'm still mourning, not just the loss of my baby, but the hopes and dreams that I had for him or her. How do we ever really move on?
After months of anguish, I am finally trying to allow myself to 'let go'.
I see the beautiful gift that is my daughter, and every day I remind myself how incredibly lucky I am to have her in my life. I'd give anything for her to have a sibling, and I know, if and when the time is right, she will have one.
In recent months I have seen many women close and not so close, experience similar loss and grief ... we are all connected in some way. My heart aches for every woman who understands these feelings. It is so painful, so heartbreaking, so unfair.
I decided not to buy a new calendar, instead, each week I am reminded of the baby I lost, because I don't ever want to forget.
(Author's own image)