After years of complications with my ovaries and surgery to correct a few things, the idea of getting pregnant seemed like a faraway dream. And yet, two years after having an ovary removed, I fell pregnant!
When you have wanted a baby for so long, seeing those two lines appear on a pregnancy test fill you with absolute joy. But then follows the worry, the anxiety, the trepidation. The range of emotions can be quite overwhelming!
When it comes to the stats, 1 in 4 pregnancies results in a miscarriage. Most miscarriages happen in the first 12 weeks. After 12 weeks, the stat changes to 1 in 100, greatly reducing the risk which is why it’s at this time most couples choose to make the announcement publicly.
What I found, when I was pregnant in those first few weeks, is that nobody really talks about the first trimester enough. Mainly because until 12 weeks it isn’t deemed safe to announce your pregnancy due to it being incredibly early days. Due to this, I found that I ‘suffered in silence’ with my symptoms, struggling with feeling nauseous at work, nursing painful boobs, and generally feeling a range of emotions.
Another thing that struck me as strange, is that you don’t have your first ultrasound appointment until you are 12 weeks. With miscarriage being a higher risk in the first 1-12 weeks, I was surprised that there was no monitoring available in those precious weeks where the baby is developing. I felt incredibly alone despite having my partner supporting me through those early weeks.
Just as we were getting excited about the prospect of having a baby, I was at work one day when I noticed the spotting of fresh red blood after going to the toilet. My heart sunk. I called 111 and they instructed me to go to the hospital. I made my excuses at work and my partner and I drove in the snow to the hospital where I was rushed in for a scan.
I was meant to be 9 weeks pregnant. It was then in the scan when the nurse said ‘How far along are you meant to be?’ I realised something was most definitely not right. And after not being able to find the baby’s heartbeat with the traditional ultrasound scan they had to do a transvaginal scan to confirm that the baby had stopped growing at just 7 weeks.
My initial reaction was that I wanted to be alone. I wanted to curl up into a ball and cry and process everything that was happening. Coming out of the hospital with the snow falling around me, tears streaming down my face, it felt like I was in a movie. It could have been someone else experiencing what I was at that moment in time because emotionally I had checked out. I almost slept walked through the next few days as I passed the baby naturally and experienced a sadness I had never felt before.
Nothing prepared me for the feeling of failure that I felt even a few months later. My body had let me down. And because the world is cruel, all I saw from then on in were newborn babies being pushed in prams on the street, newborn babies being cradled in cafes and restaurants… everywhere I looked were new radiant mothers and tiny babies.
But over time, I’ve come to realise that actually, I may not be a mother in the traditional sense, there was no baby in my arms and I hadn’t carried a baby to full term, but for that moment I was a mother. Those 7 weeks that the baby grew in my belly, they aren’t meaningless. And so I label myself a miscarriage mother. We loved that unborn baby not knowing that it wasn’t going to make it, and for so many mothers that lose a baby, no matter what stage of the pregnancy they are at, they’re mothers. We’re all mothers.
Looking back at my experience, and reading the stories of others, there are so many women that suffer miscarriages and although all of us experience things differently, we are connected by our loss. Talking about it with friends and family gave me strength and I am a strong advocate of talking about experiences like this to share information and increase awareness of things such as miscarriage.