It had never crossed my mind; the possibility of not being able to fall pregnant had, even the worry that the baby could not be healthy, but not the thought of miscarrying. Simply because I didn’t know much about it and didn’t know how common and frequent miscarriages were until it happened to me. I purposely used the word ME because in what I write I want to share my experience and not what sounds like the right thing to say. Some people might resonate with me, some might think I sound a bit unfair toward my husband, some might feel like they went through a similar or worse situation and experienced much stronger feelings. When we found out I was pregnant we were super happy, I was definitely a bit scared but I can assure you that as a man, my husband did not feel the same visceral sensation and emotions of something growing inside as I did. We had not been trying for a long time either so it wasn’t something we both had been waiting for a while.
You know how they usually say to wait before you tell, it was hard to keep it a secret specially to our families and some of my colleagues in the office had picked up on me not drinking during our Xmas party. We spent most of our Christmas back home with our families imagining how it would be the following year with 3 grandchildren and potential names. My husband and I were not totally feeling that mood because I had had some spotting just over the holiday. We had our 12 week scan booked a week after we got back to London. At that stage, you don’t have any means to know what is going on in your body other than early pregnancy symptoms disappearing or spotting. I was very nervous, I can still remember which corridor and scanning room in St Mary’s we were in. Gel and probe were on the belly. After a couple of glides of the probe, the tiniest little shape appeared on the screen. The fetus was there just in front of our eyes, so small but the shape still resembling a baby. But there was no heartbeat. This sense of heaviness all of a sudden pervaded my body and the first thing I thought was I wished I had not seen that tiny little shape. We spent the rest of the morning in the gynaecology A&E to make the necessary appointments for the management of the miscarriage. We decided to have a manual vacuum aspiration as I didn’t want to take a medicine that would induce the tissues to come out. The appointment was booked for the end of the week. I think at that point the news had not really hit me hard yet and I went into the office, quietly working through my emails and letting quietly know my manager and my team about the news. I asked if I could leave earlier as I was not feeling quite right. We told our families the sad news and some of them better took it better than others. That evening we both felt a little bit shaken and thought that our decision of waiting till the end of the week knowing what we knew was inside me was not ideal. The next morning I didn’t feel well and I call in sick at the office. I’m still amazed at how intuitive we can sometimes be. I was not in any physical pain but I knew something what not quite right. My body started miscarrying naturally that morning! I felt very faint and managed to carefully walk from the toilet to my bathroom and call my husband. Luckily he was able to get hold of my neighbour who happened to be home that morning. She came over and as the angel she is, made a very sugary cup of tea to bring some colour back to my face and called her friend who is a GP to get some advice. It was all I needed, a woman helping out another woman. Apologies if I am being insensitive but I feel like a lot of misconceptions around the woman body and childbearing are perpetuated by avoiding going into detail and letting other outlets, which aim is to shock, portray these situations. At 8 weeks into the pregnancy, the miscarriage was like a very heavy clotty period which lasted for more than a week. It was quite uncomfortable but in some ways I was relieved my body was going through it naturally.
I remember my cousin sending me a beautiful article about a Japanese ceremony for those who had a miscarriage or stillbirth called Mizuko kuyo. I didn’t feel like I was mourning so I didn’t need to read any self-help book on how to process this event, but the article my cousin sent me gave me comfort. There was lots of tenderness and dignity in the words of that journalist sharing her story.
A few weeks into the miscarriage, I had read enough web pages reassuring us that this was very common. I was still feeling something lingering whether it was the hormones or my body being a little bit fuller, I don’t know. I knew though that nature had decided for us and I was glad, that had the “ingredients and chemistry” not worked properly together but kept our pregnancy going, I don’t know how we would have made that call! I am one of those people who get oh so worked up if there was something I could have done to change things. But if nothing could be done, I hold my hands high and with little to no resentment will accept that there was nothing we could have done.
I still wonder why as women we are so oblivious to some of the most common things that can happen to us. Why aren’t we told until we say. How many women came forward with their stories after I shared. There is still a lot of stigma, a lot of self blame or trying to find what caused it, if we could have avoided something. Again is this behaviour a result of lack of knowledge? Can we change that? Can we make it better? I know part of the silence surrounding a miscarriage is down to the grief and the sense of loss but I wonder if we could alleviate some of that by talking about it a little bit more, finding the right settings to bring information to women. By no means the thought of miscarriages happening frequently will make women feel better when experiencing it but at least it will help us to feel less lost and alone in a moment of physical and mental pain.