SISJ PREGNANCY: MY EXPERIENCE WITH MISCARRIAGE >
Today’s blog post is a very real part of all pregnancies. While the word ‘miscarriage’ does carry horrible connotations and anxiety, it’s also another opportunity for us to grow and learn together. When I say it’s a part of all pregnancies, it might not happen to you, but it’s a concern that is never far from our minds. Particularly during those first three months, where you just hope everything is ok at your next scan. Today I am sharing some of the ways I coped with this very real fear and also my personal experience with miscarriage.
GETTING THROUGH THE BIG THREE:
While we all aware of the statistics, that one in four pregnancies will result in a miscarriage, it doesn’t make it any easier to deal with. I have had many friends experience this, as well as my own mother. With this being my very first pregnancy, it was definitely a concern for me. With our troubled history of actually getting pregnant and then those first three months where so much is unknown. For those of you who know me well, you will know I am super organised and a small-medium control freak! The scariest (but most amazing) part of pregnancy is just that, having absolutely NO control. However, I surprised myself from day one. I had the attitude that yes, of course there was a risk of miscarriage in the first trimester, but there was an even higher chance that everything would be ok. My husband would flip if he knew how many people I told before I was even eight weeks, but hey? I was excited and I wanted to share that with my closest friends and family. I also knew that a positive mind, translated into a healthy body and a healthy bub. I knew it was a risk and every day that I was symptom-free was like a little win. It wasn’t something I consciously thought about every day, but of course when you get closer to your eight week and 12 weeks scans, it’s right there in the forefront of your mind.
My tactics or coping mechanisms to get through ‘the big three’ were simple: think positively, don’t stress out, set mini-goals and milestones and don’t bloody get on any of those crazy chat rooms! As I’ve said before, I didn’t and still don’t read anything regarding pregnancy. My personal mantra is: THE LESS YOU KNOW, THE LESS YOU HAVE TO WORRY ABOUT! While I am one end of the spectrum, of course you can do reading and research – just be sensible about your reactions and where you source this from. It’s all about listening to your body. I find it hard to describe the experience and feelings to someone who hasn’t been pregnant. When you do get pregnant, everything changes. You become incredibly in-tune with your body and I believe (most of the time), you will know when something isn’t right or to explore it further. When you arrive for your eight week scan, be hopeful and excited – it’s amazing! The same applies to your 12 week scan too. Don’t let one tiny concern shape your experience – because most of the time, it’s positive news! At the same time, be as prepared as you can, in case the news isn’t great. Take your partner, family or a friend to your appointment for additional support – either way.
I have dedicated today’s blog post to my best friend and soul-sista-mate (!!!). While she had volunteered that I use her name in this post (as it’s nothing to be ashamed of), I didn’t think it added anything to my message and story. This is something that a lot of us will and may have already faced. I believe by leaving her name blank, it will make this post even more personal to each and every one of you. To my friend, thank you again for letting me share this story… I love you and your strength inspires me every single day.
From my opening paragraph, I have been in tears twice and am welling-up as I type now. Although I have been lucky enough not to experience a miscarriage at this point, many women have. Exactly two seconds after I found out I was pregnant, I phoned my sister and my best friend. They both knew the ins and outs of our journey and I wanted them to know our exciting news first. About five or six days later, I received a picture message from my bestie, which was of a pregnancy test marked positive! I couldn’t dial her number fast enough with excitement and shock! I believe my opening line was something like “WTF?!”. After lots of laughter and joy, it hit me what a truly heightened pregnancy I was going to experience. My best friend’s baby would only be a few days behind mine – you can’t get much closer as friends and as women than that. Everything was going well in the first 3 months. We were in daily exchange of funny messages, about all the interesting things you will experience throughout pregnancy (most too rude for here!) and just general BS, ha-ha. The plans for our children, how and when we were going to announce it… It was amazing. I felt like we were truly in this together.
When it came to our 12 week scans I was the first cab off the rank. We saw our beautiful baby whose little heart was beating away like crazy and all was well. While in my rational mind I knew everything was ok, but of course that 1% (or more…) of worry that it wouldn’t be, was absolutely there. For me personally, I felt like our journey was hard enough and it was all too good to be true at times. However, at the same time, I was positive, happy and excited. The first ‘big three’ is such a hard time to describe, you are in and out of moods and emotions – those bloody hormones are powerful I tell ya! The following week my best friend went in for her scan. We speak most days and I knew exactly when she was going in. When my phone rang at 4.12pm, my heart sank. I knew something was wrong. I could hear her heart breaking through her tears when she said “there was no heartbeat, the baby is gone”. I honestly went into shock. For someone who is never short of words, I had nothing to say but “I’m so sorry”. We hung up and I burst into tears… As I cry again right now, I can feel my heart breaking all over again for her. I immediately phoned her back and we just cried together. I was angry, I was confused but most of all, I was just so, so sad for her. In those initial moments, there is no right or wrong way to feel. As an outsider I can only imagine the pain one must feel, when this happens. By three months, you have already formed a bond with your child and are changed in a way I didn’t know was possible.
I called my husband straight away and he was so fantastic. He reached out to my friend and rushed home to make sure I was ok. He was worried that I would then start worrying and stressing out over our baby. I have to say, I surprised myself (again!). I didn’t once think about myself or my baby, all I felt was my heart breaking for her. While that may sound melodramatic (it wasn’t me after all), it’s how I felt. We had become ‘soul-sistas’ even more throughout the experience. Our babies shared a unique connection and I felt as though it had happened to me, in some weird way. Over the next few weeks we were in contact every single day, all day. I tried so hard to articulate my thoughts, feelings and encouraging words, but I also told her what I would want to hear. That it wasn’t fair, she would never know why, it was totally shit and she had a right to curl up in a ball and cry and cry. As time passed, my tears started to disappear and SHE pulled ME back to life. Her strength and attitude will forever inspire me. What followed in those weeks was also awful regarding her health care management. However, I can now report she is in great health and back to her normal (stupid, annoying, amazing) self. I am so proud of the way in which she handled herself and kept going. I know there is a little part of her and her bub, in my baby girl. That is why I have asked her to be our daughter’s God Mother. We want our child to grow up with men and women, who will make her a better person and teach her everything she needs to know. My darling friend, I love you more than words can describe. I can never repay you for the love and unconditional support you have shown me – particularly during one of the hardest things you’ll ever have to experience. You never once let your pain impact on your love for me, my little girl or my journey. Thank you for making me stronger. Our little girl will grow up knowing exactly how amazing and wonderful you are – every single day.
If you or someone you know needs help, whether it is related to miscarriage, stillbirth or newborn death support, please reach out. There are also fantastic organisations that can assist, like SANDS > Each year in Australia, approximately 150,000 couples experience reproductive loss; about 147,000 experience a miscarriage, 1,750 babies are stillborn and about 850 babies die in the first 28 days after birth. Sands promotes awareness, parent support and understanding following the death of a baby (occurring any time from conception through to newborn).
IMAGES VIA > ETSY & Irina Slesarenko Photography