Why a miscarriage always matters
**Serious post alert to mark baby loss awareness week**
I'll be back to posting my usual happy positive things tomorrow, but this is an important day and I would like to share why.
It’s pretty well known by now that I suffered a miscarriage at 11 weeks, two and a half years after the birth of my son. I am not going to pretend that this loss is anything comparable to the loss of a full-term baby, stillborn, or a later loss of a child, but to me it is still very much the loss of a child, whose heart I once saw beating on a pregnancy scan.
Hands up if you think that a miscarriage under 12 weeks is no big deal, really – it’s common and is just something that often happens during the first trimester? It simply nature’s way of getting rid of something that wasn’t right for this world, a nice easy solution. I used to put my hand up to that…until it happened to me.
Despite the trauma, and long-lasting affects both mental and physical, from the birth of my first child, I desperately wanted another child. I have a sibling, as has my husband, and I simply couldn’t imagine my child growing up without another sibling. It just wasn’t the norm for me.
I got pregnant pretty quickly, and the familiar surge of joy, combined with a much greater surge of anxiety and trepidation, was experienced when I saw the line on the pregnancy test confirming the pregnancy. My first pregnancy, until 34 weeks, had been pretty straightforward, but I had had a number of bleeds early on, which were very stressful to deal with. Following my first birth experience, it was agreed that I would be able to have early pregnancy scans if I wanted them, and a c-section was agreed as the best plan forward. I was in contact with the medical team from the very early weeks due to my immense anxiety about anything birth related. My husband and I paid for a private scan, at about 6 weeks, and there we saw the little heartbeat for the first time. It’s the moment when the pregnancy test turns into something more real, into a being with an actual heartbeat, which is the foundation of life.
As soon as you are pregnant it is natural to get excited, which increases the further you get through the pregnancy. I thought of a name for a girl – Stephanie, or Steph or short. We chatted about how to arrange the house, what to do about work, finances and how to introduce the baby to Sam. So many hopes and dreams.
Around Christmas time I had a bleed and took a pregnancy test which came back negative. I quickly did another one, which came back positive. This was the first sign that something was wrong, and I knew something wasn’t right. I called the hospital and was told by the early pregnancy team to go to A & E if I was bleeding, and I was too soon for a scan. I tried to explain my special circumstances, and that I had been given permission for early scans if I needed reassurance, but all to no avail. The familiar panic of being “just a number”, with no-one listening to me, surged all the way through me. Eventually I contacted our local midwifery unit, who worked their magic and got me in for a scan a couple of days later.
On arrival at the scan we were told by the midwife that the scan would be through an internal probe. I had spent the best part of 18 months of my life with my legs akimbo undergoing excruciating examinations and operations, and I was immediately, terrifyingly, taken back to those moments, as I lay there on the bed with the probe inside me. I cried huge silent tears, willing the midwife to ask me why I was distressed, as I couldn’t bring myself to start the story. She didn’t take any notice, and continued briskly with her job. I managed to quietly ask if she could see anything, as we’d seen a heartbeat in an early scan, and she replied that there was something there but she would talk to me afterward.
When the scan was finished, I got dressed, still in tears, and went to sit