MY MISCARRIAGE STORY
Covid restrictions had just eased enough in Melbourne for my husband and I to book a weekend away in the Yarra Velley, where we were married, for our 5th wedding anniversary. We had decided a couple of months earlier, when we were in a lockdown induced drunken stupor that we wanted a 3rd child, but were in no rush.
As we were packing our overnight bags to leave for our weekend, I had this niggling feeling that I might be pregnant. It terrified and thrilled me, as any pregnancy after [my miscarriage of] Autumn had done. I packed a pregnancy test and decided I would wait till the morning to check. I needed to work up the courage first.
You might think, “Why didn’t she just find out then and there?” My feelings since Autumn have been that the longer I don’t know, the longer I’m protected from pain. As soon as I see that pink line, I’m all in it, heart and soul, to the end. I can’t help it. Unlike most women, I hate being pregnant and would love very much to have fast forwarded 9 months to the part where you get to hold your baby.
The morning rolled around and I took the test. Holy shit… it’s positive. I figured out I was about 6 weeks already. I told my husband at a café while we were eating breakfast. I slid my bag across the table and told him to look inside. Inside was the test. He was shocked (we both were), excited, and so happy, of course.
“Here we go again” was our collective thought. I was terrified , but I reasoned with myself, “Lightning never strikes the same place twice…”
Christmas was fast approaching. We were heading straight to our holiday house on Boxing Day, so I booked our first scan for Christmas Eve eve. I was 7.5 weeks. I went to the scan alone as my husband was working. In hindsight, I regret this so much. It was the one and only time I would ever see my baby alive. My husband should have got to experience that too.
The magic wand of joy and despair was waved over my belly. Hello baby! Hello heartbeat! I felt instant calm. Baby was measuring a few days behind and heartbeat was a little slow, but still within the normal range. My doctor wasn’t concerned, so neither was I.
That Christmas was one of my favourites to date, made even more special by the promise of a baby by next Christmas. I even found out my cousin was expecting and was due in the same week as me in August.
It was getting hard to hide my pregnancy due to my uncharacteristic sobriety (I’m usually the cocktail queen). Just after the clock struck 12 and a new year had begun, my family and I were sitting around the fire and sharing something we were looking forward to in the new year. When it was my turn, I pulled out the ultrasound picture and said, “I’m looking forward to having a baby this year.” It was such a special moment. A memory that makes me smile, despite everything that followed.
We had some friends coming to stay with us in the last few days of our holiday. On the morning they were due to arrive, our fairytale summer came to a grinding halt. I started bleeding…
Surprisingly, I didn’t expect the worst. I had a small amount of bleeding early in my pregnancy with Theo and he was a perfect, healthy baby. I was rattled, but hopeful.
We immediately booked in to have a scan, which happened to be the day before my sister’s birthday. I was nearly 11 weeks at this point.
This time, my husband joined me. We nervously, but happily chatted away as the ultrasound tech prepared her wand. She waved it over my belly and I felt the silence cut the air. We were both holding our breath. There was our baby…but it wasn’t moving. The tech was quiet.
“Tell me our baby is okay,” I said in a trembling voice.
“I will discuss the scan with you at the end,” was her response.
I stopped looking at the screen at this point. I stared out the window as I felt the tears silently rolling down my cheeks.
After what seemed like an eternity, she broke the silence…
“I’m sorry there is no heartbeat. You need to see your doctor to discuss your next steps. I’ll give you some time to yourselves.”
And with that, she left the room. My husband and I sat in silence, crying. Too broken to comfort each other. I was prescribed misoprostol (the abortion pill), to medically induce labour, as my body hadn’t recognized that our baby had died.
Half my family still didn’t know we were pregnant. I didn’t want to spoil my sister’s birthday dinner, so I put off taking the pills till the next morning. I did my best to smile and feign that I wasn’t broken inside. Why didn’t I just tell them? A woman with a newborn baby sat down at the table next to us. I wasn’t okay. My brother and I went to the bar and I started crying uncontrollably. We went outside and he hugged me. “I can’t do this again. I’m not strong enough,” I cried to him. I was, I am, and I did.
Taking those pills was one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do. It’s accepting there’s no going back. The point where you embrace that all hope is lost.
On January 16th, I took them - and a few hours later I was holding you in my hands.
My Summer. My second angel. We’re so sorry you never got to meet your brothers. We love you.