Spontaneous non-induced expulsion of products of conception.
*Warning : This article touches on real life details of miscarriage.
Seeing the words 'Pregnant 2-3weeks' pop up on the tiny little screen of the pregnancy test came as a complete shock. Surprisingly though, it was a pleasantly welcomed shock and I immediately felt special, delicate and a little bit vulnerable. It was almost as though a little switch inside of me was turned on and my maternal instinct hit me immediately.
Like many other newly pregnant women I rushed out and purchased pregnancy vitamins and books.
I downloaded multiple phone apps and subscribed to all the websites that came attached.
I obsessed over the stages of development of the little person forming inside my tummy and compared it to the item of food it resembled that week, a poppy seed, an apple seed, a sweet pea etc. I successfully made it to 6 weeks and couldn’t help but think I was half way to the 12 week 'safety zone'.
The feelings of despair, helplessness and fright when those first spots of blood appeared are incomprehensible and it's only then that you realise just how badly you want this baby.
The trip to the hospital that afternoon is something that will stay with me forever. Sitting in the Maternity Ward waiting room for over three hours surrounded by glowing pregnant women in their various stages of pregnancy, whilst feeling the tiny life inside me slip away, was devastating. Watching mothers rubbing their tummies and feeling little kicks when all you feel is a gentle flow of warm blood as your little life prepares to leave you is absolute torture, and even now I can only bring myself to write about my experience in the third person.
Laying half naked in a dark room, on a cold plastic bed with a strip of screwed up tissue paper underneath you, the sonographer prepares for your internal scan. Humiliated that you're bleeding and embarrassed that your partner is having to see you in this way. The scan begins and you stare at the screen in hopes that the little life is still there. You pray that it's ok and realise that you’ve never wanted anything more in your life than this baby.
Half way through the scan an alarm goes off and your sonographer quickly says “It’s likely you will miscarry” and practically runs out of the room. The room is still dark, the bed is still cold and uncomfortable and you now feel empty. You lay for a few minutes not knowing what has happened, you wait for her to return but she doesn’t. You tidy yourself up, you dress and you try not to let the overwhelming sadness consume you. You don’t look at your partner as you know that you will fall apart if you do. You tidy the bloodied tissue paper on the bed and you wipe the bed down with disinfectant you find on the side. You leave the dark room and return to the waiting room for another hour surrounded by glowing pregnant women and young children and you start to cry. Everyone is looking at you, they know and it makes you feel worse.
Every time I have my period I am reminded of it, every spot of blood I see in my underwear is a trigger of emotions and pain that I never want to experience again.
Over the next 24 hours I experienced the most painful cramps, I would be doubled over in pain. Now that I am a mother I realise that those cramps were in fact contractions, my body preparing to aid that little life to leave me. The bleeding continued and the clots got bigger and I grew too scared to go to the loo, I was too afraid of what I might see. Eventually the inevitable happened and I honestly can’t remember the days that followed, I guess I was completely numb and empty.
I feel terrible for admitting this but in the weeks that followed I would “mum judge”. I would look at mothers in the street with their babies whilst smoking and swearing and I would judge. I would watch mothers in shopping centres dragging their kids around whilst shouting at them and I would judge. I would think why her and not me? I would think that I would have been able to do a better job, that I would have been a better mum and that I deserved motherhood more than she did.
Having spoken to other women who have experienced miscarriage I have realised that these thoughts and feelings are normal and for some, is part of the process. I have also come to realise that it is common practice for women experiencing miscarriage to be accommodated within the Maternity Ward surrounded by pregnant women rubbing their tummies and feeling little kicks from within, this breaks my heart. The thought of other women experiencing what I had to endure fills me with sorrow and I think that this is something that needs to be addressed.
It’s been just over two and a half years and the metallic smell of blood still turns my stomach. Every time I have my period I am reminded of it, every spot of blood I see in my underwear is a trigger of emotions and pain that I never want to experience again.