In that moment your subconscious takes you to a version of your life and what it now could be. You see yourself with a child, you think about what this might mean for your work, the logistics of where you live, your partner. All these things are considered factors when you get that positive result, so when that all changes, from the highest of highs to the lowest of lows, how are we even meant to process it?
Losing a baby at any point during pregnancy is a loss. And if i'm honest I didn’t get that before having a baby and going through trying to conceive myself. I don’t expect anyone to fully understand something they’ve not experienced, but that's where we all can do a better job of shining a light on these experiences and offering empathy and compassion.
The concept that we should not share the joy that is life until ⅓ of the way through the journey, to me, is archaic. Where has this idea of not telling people come from? Is it that we as a society are too frightened and uncomfortable to have these conversations when it doesn’t go the way we’d all hoped? I think so. And this can leave those 1 in 4 pregnant people who’s babies do leave us before the magic 12 week mark, feeling even more alone and secluded.
I’d already had one healthy full term pregnancy with my darling boy Walter before we lost our second baby. We experienced what’s known as a Missed Miscarriage, which is where your body continues to cling on to the little one and your uterus grows even though they were never meant to be earth side, and you tend to only find out as a result of your scan. I liked to think that my body was trying its absolute hardest to give us the baby we wanted.
And with this scenario brings all the weirdest things that our community feels are okay to say in order to justify what you are experiencing.
“Well at least you know you can have a baby”
“Walter obviously wasn’t ready to share you yet”
“Perhaps it’s because you’re still breastfeeding”
The last one hurt the most, the idea that it was somehow my fault that this baby didn’t make it because I was providing my other child with what they wanted and needed. Which is absolute bullshit by the way.
But the truth is, it happens, and there is nothing that I could have done or anyone else could do differently to alter the result of any miscarriage, some things aren’t meant to be, that doesn’t make it any easier to swallow, but shit does happen.
Our baby had stopped growing at around 6 weeks and therefore we made the decision to opt for ‘surgical management’, which is basically to have a surgical procedure to remove the baby and accompanying remains under general anaesthetic. There are two additional options which are ‘Natural Management’ whereby you leave your body to pass the baby naturally, and ‘Medical Management’ which is where you will be given medication normally in the form of a pessary for the vagina, that will speed the process of clearing the uterus. Look into the benefits and risks of all your options to make sure it’s right for you.
My body needed to recover from what it had gone through and also I needed to ensure my mind recovered, all whilst still being Mum. This made it easier in some respects, as you don’t get much time to think and are constantly kept busy with little laughs and lots of mess, but equally you don’t get the time to rest and process.
We found our experience was made easier by the people around us, we had shared our news early and therefore those who loved us also were expecting a baby too, the first they heard of it wasn’t just the sadness. They too rode the rollercoaster of happiness to sadness and were able to support us in a way we will always be grateful for.
Now of course there is no right or wrong way to go about TTC, pregnancy, losing a baby or life in general! But why don’t we consider breaking this societal guard that is created that makes talking about and experiencing the tough stuff, even tougher.
If you’ve experienced losing a baby and need support, reach out. To your family, to friends, to us! 1 in 4 of us go through this, so you are anything but alone, not only are we with you, but so is your baby, their cells are binded within yours forever, no matter how small they were. This process, called foetal-maternal microchimerism, means they stay with you for the rest of your life.