Baby Loss Awareness Week takes place from the 9th to the 15th of October every year.
9th October 2020 was two days after I’d been told at what should have been a 9-week scan, that the foetus only measured what you might expect for 6-weeks. And that they couldn’t see a heartbeat. But that I’d have to wait another week to confirm that it hadn’t grown before they could confirm that it was a missed miscarriage.
Then there was the day, about a week into our holiday when I started to bleed. Proper red blood. This wasn’t the euphemistic “spotting”, the flash of brown or pink on loo paper that I’d had previously, resolutely decided was normal, and tried to ignore. This was bright red blood, the type you get when you cut your finger, and it was dripping into the loo.
“Well there you go, that’s that,” I thought to myself. “At least it’s better to have a proper miscarriage rather than a missed one.” I WhatsApped my friend Q… “You know when you said you bled and it was fine, what was the bleeding like?” And I tried to feel reassured when she told me about inserting progesterone pessaries into the blood thinking it was absolutely pointless. Because it turned out it wasn’t pointless as she now has a one-year-old son from that pregnancy.
And not for any good reason. It’s been a while because, as you could probably guess from the last post, having a miscarriage in a pandemic was a pretty shitty thing to happen and even six months after the event, it wasn’t something I really wanted to dwell on or revisit. But equally, it feels — as I think I’ve said before — that all of this should be documented — for you, for me, for completeness. So here I am, ironically about nine months after the miscarriage, finally writing it down.
I’m not going to sugarcoat it, it was really fucking grim. I took the same pills that a friend of mine who had accidentally got pregnant was prescribed when she wanted to terminate her pregnancy. She already has two children and she described the pain of those pills as being “worse than my second labour”.
I mean, I say that like you have a choice, or like miscarrying any other time in history is a walk in the park. It’s not, I know it’s not. Although I’ve got to be honest and didn’t realise how fucking horrific it would be. And I don’t want to play Top Trumps when it comes to miscarriages, but doing it in a pandemic is really, really shit. How is it shit? Well let me count the ways…
You know that plan to wait until 10 weeks for a scan? Yeah well on the day I woke up and my boobs didn’t hurt like they did before, I caved. Despite finding forums full of women saying the exact same thing had happened to them and they’d had healthy babies, I became utterly convinced that I had had a silent, or missed, miscarriage, where the foetus stops growing but you don’t bleed. I spent the morning in tears, suddenly realising quite how much I wanted everything to be ok. Knowing B was right when he told me that getting upset when we didn’t know if there was anything to get upset about was counterproductive. Knowing he was also right when he said that if this doesn’t work out we’re not in any different place than we were in before, and yet still knowing that for all our backup plans, this was the plan I wanted to work.
While I’m obviously writing and posting these posts many months on, at the time, I scribbled notes on my phone about my feelings. At night when I couldn’t sleep and B was asleep beside me, I typed my hopes, fears and dreams into that little illuminated screen. Some of those notes have made it into these posts. Here are two, in their unedited entirety…
You might recall that in posts past I’ve bitched about the lack of publicity given to women who don’t have children given that there are meant to be so bloody many of us. Well clearly it’s like buses – you wait ages then blah, blah, blah (god that’s a shit cliché, after all, everyone’s got an app on their phone that tells them when the bus is coming now so you don’t ACTUALLY wait ages…) I DIGRESS.