THE STORY OF MY ANGEL BABY
It's been a month since we lost our baby, Archie's little "brudda" or "tista", and to be honest it's been one of the toughest months of my life.
A couple of weeks after I miscarried, I went to my Doctor as I couldn't get a handle on my anxiety. When I thought I was feeling better one day, it would come back with a vengeance the next. I was experiencing chest pain and felt like I couldn't breathe. I couldn't breathe. I was grieving. You see, after three days and nights of crying in my bed I felt like it was time to pick myself up, be grateful for my blessings and look ahead to the future. I kept telling myself "you have a great life, a beautiful son, a loving husband and you'll fall pregnant again when the time is right". But emotions just aren't that logical, and I was hurting to the core of my soul. What I really needed was to allow myself to properly grieve- for however long it took. I kept trying to push away my grief, but I was aching for my loss. Aching for the child I would never get to hold. I was only 10 weeks pregnant, but as a sweet lady said to me "10 weeks or 10 years, a loss is a loss".
My Doctor told me that my physical symptoms were grief & anxiety. He also said that miscarriage was especially difficult because the emotional responses are exactly the same as losing a child, but without the support, as outwardly no one can see the loss, and in most cases no one even knows you're pregnant. This really resonated with me. There really is very little support. Sure there are counsellors, but the general sentiment from the wider community is "Oh well, just try again", with little compassion for the extent of how painful this loss can be. I know this sentiment comes from a good place and it's important to not become overwhelmed by grief, but for me it's been really important to sit with and acknowledge this loss before moving on. Until you experience a miscarriage, there is no way you can know how it will affect you. I am shocked at how deeply this has affected me. It got me thinking- how many other women are silently suffering?
I know all the miscarriage stats, but when the numbers are replaced with real people, they take on a whole new meaning. Hundreds of women reached out to me after I shared my loss on Instagram. I was surprised to learn that so many of these women have experienced a miscarriage. The support I felt just knowing that others had been there and really understood was so helpful, and this motivated me to share my story. I want to acknowledge my baby's life, and my struggle navigating this loss, and in doing so I hope I can offer support to other women who have gone through or a going through something similar. We are not alone- let us share this burden by talking about it.
So here is our story…My Angel Baby.
We fell pregnant the second month we tried. I knew I was pregnant the moment we conceived and I dreamt it that very night. It happened sooner than we expected and we were over the moon. We shared our news with Archie and our families straight away. Archie was so cute with my bump. I would eat something and he would ask, " Does the baby like it?" He would kiss and cuddle my belly all the time and only wanted a "brudda". I had the usual early pregnancy symptoms- a little nausea, crazy hormones (aka: stay the hell away hubby), painful, full breasts and by 7 weeks a little belly already. (It's true! The second one pops so quickly!)
At 8 weeks we went to the clinic have a dating scan. We saw the tiniest little peanut jumping around in my belly and heard it's little heart beating. The lady told us that I wasn't 8 weeks, only 6 weeks. I knew that was impossible, because that meant the date of conception was Christmas Day and I had a positive pregnancy test on Boxing Day. She said everything was normal for a 6-week pregnancy and I just have my dates wrong. I kept saying to my husband that was impossible, but he told me to push it out of my mind. We saw the baby, heard the heartbeat- we were good. I did a bit of research and read that dates can be out that early and also that once you have a heart beat the chances of miscarriage are extremely low, so I just forgot about it and made my appointment with my Ob for a few weeks time.
We had a busy couple of weeks, I had a few exciting new projects to work on, Archie started pre-school and my hubby was OS for a couple of weeks working on his new collection. I was quite relaxed this pregnancy compared to how I was with Archie and felt that all was well. The possibility of miscarriage really wasn't even on my radar.
When I looked down and saw blood on that Thursday night, I was shocked and in disbelief. I called my sister and my mum, then my naturopath and the hospital- all who assured me that bleeding was normal- as long as it was brown it was Ok. It was brown. It was Ok. I tried to stay calm and look after Archie as he was on day 2 of a high fever (later to be confirmed as tonsillitis). An hour or so later the cramps started and the blood was turning bright red. There wasn't a lot at this stage, but it was red. I couldn't go to the hospital as I was home by myself and Archie was too sick. I took him to bed with me and lay next to him- visualizing my healthy baby, stroking my belly and praying that all would be ok.
I was too scared to go to the bathroom to see if there was more blood. I remained hopeful, as I didn't feel like I was bleeding but when I stood up the sheets were blood soaked. Then the pain kicked up a notch. I lay on the bathroom floor, sobbing, rocking, praying, pleading that my baby would be OK. "Please don't leave me, please be Ok" was my mantra. By 2am I was bleeding profusely- I couldn't get in touch with my husband- and I felt it was too late to call anyone. My family live a fair way out and I didn't want to burden anyone else at that ungodly hour, although in retrospect I really should have. Archie kept waking and calling for me and I would straighten myself up to go and comfort him and then back to the bathroom. As the sun rose, my heart broke into a million pieces. The harsh reality of morning. Here I was alone, with a sick child and no baby.
My nanny came to watch Archie and I took myself to the hospital where I was rushed through emergency due to the amount of blood loss. I get extremely anxious in hospitals as I've seen so much trauma with my two sisters passing and Archie's operation and complications at birth, so being there experiencing this alone was my worst case scenario. I just wanted to run out the door. As wonderful as the staff were, the day was quite traumatic. My pregnancy sack was stuck in my cervix so they had to pull it out. And there it was. Placed in a jar on the table next to me. My baby.
Thankfully my mum arrived by the afternoon and after confirming I didn't need a blood transfusion, I was able to go home to my Archie. Thank god for my little Archie. I finally got in touch with my hubby and told him we lost our baby and he took the next flight home.
The following two weeks were intense. I was bleeding and passing so much. Every bathroom trip a reminder of my loss. Coupled with the hormone crash, I was an emotional wreck. I felt like this was Post Natal, but without the baby. I felt angry and sad. I felt like a failure. I felt like I couldn't protect my child. I blamed myself, I blamed others. I didn't want to be in this headspace so I tried to move forward and "be normal" but I wasn't OK. And what I've learnt through this whole experience is that it's OK to not be OK. To need more or less time to heal- everyone's journey is different.
A month later, I still have bad days, and bad parts of good days. It's hard to see pregnant friends; I still feel tears prick in my eyes when my yoga instructor asks if anyone is pregnant. I'm keeping myself busy and focusing on healing physically & emotionally and my beautiful boys.
I truly believe everything happens for a reason and I'm trying to trust the timing of my life. But it's tough. Sometimes I struggle, but I'm learning that that is OK. We will try again, and I believe there is a baby coming to complete our family, but for now I need to heal.
We bought a beautiful pot plant for our babe. We lit a candle and told our much loved, much wanted baby we would always remember his or her life.
"I carried you for all of your life and will love you for all of mine" We'll be waiting for your soul to come back to our family my angel baby. Forever your mama xxx
If you would like to share your story, please do in comments. It really is cathartic to put it out there and acknowledge the empty loss of miscarriage. Thank you for reading my story xxx