MY MISCARRIAGE STORY
Our son Arlo was about to turn one. We’d just enjoyed an amazing summer with friends, business was good, life was good.
My husband and I had that feeling. When you know, you know. It was time to give Arlo a sibling. To my surprise, I fell pregnant straight away. We were over the moon. I started buying things for the baby straight away. What cause did I have for thinking my pregnancy would be any different to Arlo’s?
I always thought of myself as one of those women that was built for pregnancy. My mum had four children without issue, two of those being twins, delivered naturally. I didn’t know anyone who had lost a baby. I was so far removed from that world. I never in my wildest dreams thought I would ever experience pregnancy loss. Those things didn’t happen to me. I thought.
We had planned a family trip to Bali. The first one as a family of 3 (to be 4). My mother-in-law offered to mind Arlo while I did some last minute shopping for the trip. It was that day, in the change room of some surf shop, that I discovered something wasn’t right. I called nurse on call immediately while pacing up and down the main drag of the center. I was shaking and in tears and I didn’t care who saw. They advised me to go to the hospital right away.
I made one of the hardest phone calls I’ve made in my life and called my mother-in-law. She didn’t know I was pregnant. It broke my heart to tell her this way. She left Arlo with my father-in-law and met me at emercency. We didn’t say a word, but she gave me a hug that said everything I needed to hear.
They did some tests and reassured me that light bleeding is very common in early pregnancy. I left the hospital feeling a little more optimistic. The next day I received a call saying my HCG levels were still rising and were at a good level. I didn’t have time to do a repeat scan before our flight, but the doctor told me not to worry and go enjoy my holiday.
My naïve mind held him to these words. I wanted to believe them without reservations, so I did. The world was as it should be again.
The following day we left for our holiday.
The first week of our holiday was perfection. We spent our days exploring, immersing ourselves in the culture and relaxing by the pool. We were so happy. It was probably the last time I felt 100% whole.
In the second week of our holiday we travelled to Seminyak to stay in a private villa where we would later meet my Mum and sister who were also travelling. We went to visit Saraswati temple in Ubud. There was a sign outside that said “women who are menstruating are forbidden from entering the temple.” I remember wondering how they felt about pregnant women. I felt unsettled, but wasn’t sure why.
After a long day, we finally returned back to the villa. I went to the bathroom to shower and noticed I was bleeding. Not like before…This was bad. My heart felt like it had stopped beating and sped up all at once. I felt like I was going to be sick. I screamed out to my husband. We called a nanny to watch Arlo while we travelled to Denpassar Hospital. The longest drive of my life.
They put me in a wheelchair and wheeled me into an elevator with wall to wall mirrors. I don’t remember why my husband wasn’t allowed to join me. A woman I didn’t recognize stared back at me in the mirror. Pale face, disheveled hair and tear stained cheeks. I broke down again surrounded by strangers. No one said anything.
My husband finally met me in the ultrasound room. I held my breath. They waved the wand over my belly for a moment. The nurse excitedly exclaimed, “Look, there’s your baby!” But my baby wasn’t moving. It didn’t have a heartbeat and it hadn’t grown in 2 weeks.
They wanted to perform a D&C right away, but I refused. I remember thinking, “Please just hang in there little one until we can get back to Australia. Back to our home…”
My mum and sister arrived at our villa the next day. My heart broke once again, having to tell her we were pregnant while simultaneously telling her we were almost certainly losing it.
We cancelled treks, adventures we had planned, and laid low for the next few days, expecting the worst. Trapped in limbo, holding onto a glimmer of hope that, perhaps, everything would be okay.
We tried to enjoy those last few days with our family, but I felt like the world had lost its colour. I was incredibly homesick and absolutely terrified. We released some paper lanterns into the night sky in your honor. Despite not receiving an official diagnosis, we knew our baby was gone.
It wasn’t till we were walking our bags into the departures line at Denpassar airport that I started to feel contraception pains. I like to think she really tried to hold on for her Mum. I doubled over in pain, while being acutely aware not to draw attention to myself for fear that they wouldn’t allow us on the plane.
I felt something shift in my body and ran to the airport bathroom.
It was there I lost you. I’m so sorry for leaving you there.
I had no choice. It haunts me to this day.
We made it onto the plane, but I was still in terrible pain. My husband was doing such an amazing job caring for Arlo. The lady next to us told me how lucky I was to have such a supportive husband. I wanted to scream at her. She didn’t know what was happening. It wasn’t her fault.
When we touched down, we immediately went to the hospital where they confirmed that there was no longer a baby inside me. I felt relief, guilt, sadness and anger all at once. It was over. I had survived a miscarriage in Bali. My baby was gone, but I was here.
What did I do to deserve this?
I still wonder that and probably always will. I only carried you for two months, but the effect you had on our lives was immense. In the days following, I looked at Arlo with a renewed sense of wonder and gratitude. He was truly a miracle. Thank you for the mother you made me, Autumn. You will always be my first angel.