It has been exactly a week since our world came crashing down around us. After a week of knowing I was pregnant after 12 years of trying to conceive, everything changed again. It has probably been one of the worst weeks of my entire life. I genuinely don’t know how I have made it through some of the sheer moments of pain and grief. I wanted to write this post in the hope that it helps others who may be trying to put one foot in front of another after they have suffered a miscarriage. In all honesty, I didn’t have a clue what would happen to me, what my body would go through or how I would feel.
Within the space of a few seconds, I went from being pregnant and happy to being heartbroken and scared. Seven days after it happened and I feel empty. Empty uterus, empty heart. I am exhausted, just completely wiped out physically and emotionally. I am tired, of everything. I feel done, defeated, broken. And yet, I am hopeful and know that I am going to be ok. But what has happened to me in the last seven days…here goes…
When I wrote my last post, in my heart I knew it was over. I knew I was having a miscarriage. I couldn’t say the word but that was what was happening to me. I suppose I was still clutching on to some hope that maybe I was wrong and that our bean was a fighter and had by some miracle stuck around. The pain and bleeding were pretty horrific for a few hours and then they all but disappeared. This is where the false hope started to creep in. Still, I knew it was done. Utterly drained from crying buckets of tears, I somehow managed to get some sleep. I slept until 1am and then I cried and cried and cried some more until 4.30am. Sitting on the cold tiled bathroom floor, curled into a ball, I have never felt so alone in my entire life. What have I done to deserve this?
A new day, the day I should have gone for my second Hcg test to confirm the numbers were dropping. It snowed heavily so we phoned the clinic to tell them we couldn’t make it in. In reality, I couldn’t face going in. I didn’t want to go for a blood test, I had lost our baby, end of. The nurse that I spoke to said that I needed to continue with the medication and to come in the next day. I reluctantly agreed. I couldn’t come off the drugs until they had confirmation either way. We trudged through another day, random bursts of tears. Lots of tears, seemingly set off by nothing, other than the realisation of what had happened. Family visits passed a few hours, everyone truly as heartbroken as us. My pain was back, the bleeding had slowed right down. I stayed away from Google, I didn’t want to read stories of positive outcomes, I knew this just wasn’t the case.
The snow cleared so the next day we made our way to the clinic. I walked in but I didn’t want to be there. I felt and looked like crap. I wanted to be in and out as quickly as I could. The fertility clinic was just a reminder of what we nearly had. Luckily, I was in and out within 5 minutes. As we drove away, the tears flowed some more. Why has this happened to us? Both of us in a state of pure sadness. A couple of hours later, the phone call came. The Hcg had dropped from 3000 to 1100 and our worst fears were finally confirmed. The nurse didn’t use the term miscarriage, she simply said that I was right and things hadn’t progressed. She said it usually ‘resolves’ itself so they don’t offer a scan. I have to do a pregnancy test in 2 weeks to make sure it’s negative. That is something to look forward to then. She didn’t offer me a counsellor, didn’t ask if I needed any support. Fortunately, I already had this in hand but she wouldn’t have know that. We would need to wait a month before we went for another cycle and she was quick to remind me that we had 5 embryos frozen. I told her it would be a few months and we would need a holiday before we thought about another cycle. She commented that it was positive that we had a positive, we’ve never had one of those before! Yey for us…are you actually kidding me? She did then realise what she had said and started to backtrack a little, but I understand the sentiment. Heck, I’ve even thought it myself in the last few days. She advised us to avoid Zika areas for a holiday. She then started talking about arranging a follow up when we were ready…I took part in the conversation but I had switched off. She had just delivered the worst news I had received throughout 8 years of fertility treatment, I couldn’t take in what was being said. I said I would contact in a few months when I was ready. Her parting line…you know where we are if you need anything. Really, are you? You haven’t even asked if I want to speak to someone about what has happened. I don’t know why I expect any other. Oh I know, because I’m a person with feelings who has just been ripped into two and maybe I expect to be taken care of through the good and bad. Unfortunately, they got this very wrong, but that’s just my opinion. The phone went down, the tears flowed. It was done. It was finally confirmed. I am 1 in 4.
Another day came. Hubby and I went to see our counsellor, I had arranged the appointment as soon as I knew what was happening. We were going to need help to get through this. It was probably the hardest session I have ever had. I had stopped the medication the day before and now the period pain was ramping up to another level. I sat in the session, in so much physical pain I could barely breathe for the first few moments. Luckily the painkillers kicked in and it eased. We talked to her about what had happened, how we were feeling, where we were up to. She handled us with extreme care. It’s not my fault, nothing I could have done would have changed the outcome. We talked a little about the future. About me not getting depressed again. About me not sitting in a pool of grief for the next few months or years. It was, however, the first time that someone used the term miscarriage. As I talked about the events of the previous few days, I was using phrases like not developing, not continuing, positive then negative. I couldn’t say the ‘M’ word. She did. In that moment I was struck by a wave of realisation, a wave of grief even. It hurt like hell, but I needed to hear it, I needed to acknowledge that I have had a miscarriage. She knew it, I knew it. And since that point, it is how I talk about our loss. I am no longer afraid of the ‘M’ word. I have said it out loud a few times since, it hurts like hell, but that’s ok. It has happened and to move forward I need to acknowledge it and talk about it. We came out of the session, both feeling a little lighter. Some of the weight had gone, for a few hours at least. We talked about how we were going to take care of ourselves and each other. I came out of the session knowing we are going to be ok. The day continued with more pain and the bleeding got worse, much worse. I was passing clots, lots of them and many of then were huge. When was this going to end? We tried to distract ourselves with lunch and a film at the cinema, but I kept drifting off, thinking about what might have been. And then the tiredness hit.
I was due in work the next day, surely 2 days off sick was enough? Wrong. The next day came and I could barely open my eyes. Exhaustion had set in. The pain worse than the day before, painkillers not touching it. The bleeding continued but not as bad as the day before. I spent the day with one of my closest friends. We chatted, sometimes about what had happened and then about just normal, random, everyday crap. I ate my own body weight in crisps, chocolate, cheesecake & ice-cream. It didn’t make me feel any better. There were times in the day when I couldn’t move because of the pain. Evening came, I felt sick (probably from all of the crap I had eaten) and couldn’t keep my eyes open. I only cried 3 times all day. I decided to order Saying Goodbye by Zoe Clark-Coates, a book with 90 days of support to help navigate the aftermath of a miscarriage. I was going to need help to get me through this. My strength felt all but gone.
3 days off work and it was time to go back. I worked from home so I didn’t have to go into the office. I couldn’t face it. I logged on and within half an hour I was in floods of tears. I can’t do this. I gave myself an hour and if I wasn’t ok then I would log off and take the day off. I got through the hour, then the next, then the next. It was a struggle, a real struggle. My mind drifted off, thinking about our baby. The tears stayed away. The end of the working day came and I was utterly exhausted. The book arrived. A friend then arrived. The evening passed relatively quickly. I took myself off to bed with the book. I started to read the story of the author and her journey through pregnancy loss. The tears came once more. Our bean is gone. I got through the first few chapters of the book and some of the things written helped me realise that what I’m feeling is normal. Its going to take time to recover and heal, but it will happen. I have the strength to get through this. I don’t have a choice.
And so today it is seven days since my miscarriage. Another full day at work. I cried this morning as I thought about how this time last week I left the house for work with a huge smile on my face, and a week later the smile is gone. I had initially thrown my positive pregnancy tests away, but retrieved them quickly. I looked at them today and my heart hurt, I cried and then I put them away. Maybe one day I will get rid of them, but right now I’m not ready to. It has been my first pain free day in a week and finally the bleeding has all but stopped. Hopefully it has ‘resolved itself’ and I can start to recover physically.
One thing that caught me by surprise today was a feeling of panic. What if this never happens for us? What if we never have a baby? What if I never get pregnant again or what if I do and I miscarry again? I haven’t felt like this for a while. Even though we still have 5 good quality embryos frozen, there is simply no guarantee that any of them will ever call me ‘mum’. The desire for a family is stronger than it has been for a while and it has really taken me to a place that I haven’t been for a while. I am scared of what comes next.
The last seven days have been filled with tears, sadness, grief, pain and the feeling of hopelessness. But I am not consumed by them. I will not allow myself to be consumed by them. I allow the feelings in, I give them some time and then I try to move forward. Sometimes it is the tiniest step forward, but that is enough. I know in another 7 days I will have moved forward some more. I am living one day at a time. And that’s ok.
I also want to say a massive heartfelt ‘thank you’ to everyone that has sent us messages of love and support. It has made a huge difference knowing that we aren’t alone and that you are thinking of us. Those messages provide some light in our darkest of moments.