I’ve now been not-pregnant for longer than I was actually pregnant and it doesn’t seem to be getting any easier to deal with. I’m trying not to countdown; to blame myself. I’m trying to keep myself busy and think of other things, but when something as unexpected and painful as this happens, I can’t help but do all of that. Life is so unfair at the moment. I want nothing more than to move on, be happy, looking forward to what is yet to come. But I can’t. My mind won’t let me and I keep circling around what I’ve lost; what I should be gaining.
There’s something every day that reminds me of what I’ve lost, what I’m missing out on. From waking up each morning with an ache in my stomach, to smelling the bath products I brought as a treat after I found out I was pregnant to coming home to an empty house. From losing weight and not gaining it to seeing so many happy families and baby products. To friends on Facebook counting down their pregnancies and others counting up the age of their babies. All of these things bring back the memories and stop me from being able to let go of the pain.
I’ve been told that a miscarriage is nature’s way of telling me that my pregnancy wasn’t viable, that I couldn’t have done anything to change the outcome. What I don’t say in return is that I feel like I gave nature a helping hand. That I put myself through so much stress in those weeks, experienced so much anger and frustration that I forced my body and nature to react in this way.
I’m not one to hold on to guilt or lay blame. But right now I feel all of it. I blame myself for not being able to keep my baby alive. I feel guilt for having had a hot bubble bath, for getting angry with Gary, for having a couple of drinks before I knew. I feel so guilty that I was using a facial cleanser that contained ingredients that shouldn’t be used in pregnancy.
I found out I was pregnant on the Thursday night; I kicked Gary out on the Saturday morning. I spent the day and night crying. I ate McDonald’s on the Sunday and spent a miserable day with my family. I went to the doctors on the Monday morning and then had an argument with Gary after. I didn’t allow myself to be happy or excited. I kept thinking about the possibility of miscarriage.
When I told dad I was scared, he asked me why. I told him I was scared of doing it alone, I was scared of everything. I was scared of having a miscarriage. I told mum I was scared of miscarrying. She told me it didn’t run in the family, so there wasn’t a reason to be scared.
On the Tuesday I bought myself ‘What to Expect When You’re Expecting’. I had a hot bubble bath then settled into bed with my new book. I read about the dating scan I was booked in for, what we should see and tried to work out how far along I was. I then read that having hot baths is a no-no. The body can overheat by staying submerged and can’t adjust, as it needs to. I freaked out.
I messaged Gary and told him I was scared of miscarriage and being alone. I was scared I’d done something wrong. I was scared I’d do something wrong. I was scared.
I went about the next nine days in a scared, yet hopeful, daze. I embraced the constant feeling of nausea, the lack of appetite and constant need to pee and just the overall exhaustion. These were all symptoms for the baby that was growing inside me. These were real things that were happening for a very real and exciting thing.
The day for the scan arrived at long last. Mum and Gary came in with me while dad waited outside. I stripped off my jeans and underwear and made myself comfortable on the bed with my knees bent up.
The technician went about her business, asked a few opening questions then proceeded to move about with lots of clicks and measurements on the screen. I had no idea what I was looking at, and eventually asked in a light tone ‘there’s just the one in there, isn’t there?’
The question seemed to linger. She asked me if my doctor had thought that my levels were low. I’d had my blood test almost two weeks ago; I told her that in fact she seemed to think they were quite high and I might have been further along than expected.
Silence followed. I wasn’t too sure what to make of it all. I just stared at the screen, hoping to make sense of the black and grey swirls. It all remained a mystery. I did find it odd that she wasn’t speaking to me, to us and telling us about what she was looking at.
‘I’m sorry, but I can’t detect a heartbeat.’
I don’t know what I said or what happened next, but she said something about sending the genetic counsellor in. Mum was then by my side and hugging me. My tears started and I lay frozen, my knees eventually dropping flat.
We didn’t see the technician again. I kept looking at the screen trying to make sense of it all. I began to doubt myself. Had I made up the symptoms that I’d still been experiencing that very day? Had I somehow created the hormones to appear in my urine and blood tests? Was this all just a big joke?
My biggest fear had come true. The main thing that played on my mind for those two weeks had been my fear of miscarriage. And that is exactly what happened. My body’s ultimate betrayal.