Today marks the start of Baby Loss Awareness week in the UK. And whilst it has been a topic that I have been passionate about talking about and reducing the stigma of ever since I became a mother, the cause has recently become one very close to my heart. It has been less than eight weeks since my husband and I found out we had lost our babies at just six weeks’ gestation.
Much like pregnancy, miscarriages can be very different for everyone. We found out during an early reassurance scan that our babies had passed away and it honestly felt like the floor had fallen from underneath me at that moment. I’ve noticed that so many women use that exact same description for the moment that they found out their pregnancy was over.
Three days later, my body began the process of miscarrying our babies. They’d passed away two weeks before and yet within that time my belly had continued to grow larger and firmer and I even felt like it had ‘popped’ in the week before the scan. Thankfully, I didn’t find my miscarriage particularly painful, but I did take regular painkillers so that I didn’t feel any more pain than I had to. The bleeding initially lasted for a couple of weeks before tailing off and I thought it was all over, however a follow-up scan showed that I had still not yet lost my pregnancy sac. Unable to bear the thought of further waiting and uncertainty, I booked an MVA, where they used suction to remove the remaining pregnancy tissue under local anaesthetic. Again, the MVA wasn’t particularly painful although I experienced heavy bleeding for more than two weeks after the procedure which was just draining.
Throughout all of that time my emotions were all over the place and I cried more than I ever have before. I’ve never felt grief like it. In fact, I found myself feeling guilty that I hadn’t felt anything like this when I’d grieved family members in the past. About three or four weeks into it all I started to experience brain fog like nothing else – call it baby brain on steroids – I honestly had days where I could barely string a sentence together, but thankfully everything started to improve dramatically around the time the bleeding finally stopped. Frustratingly it all came flooding back just seven days later when I started the heaviest and most painful period I can ever remember. It just felt like it was never going to end.
We’re now about a week later and there is finally some hope that it’s all over – physically at least. Now is my chance for a fresh start and who knows what will happen from here on in. We’ll try again but I honestly don’t know if I’d want to continue trying to conceive if we were to lose another. Thankfully statistics are on our side and it’s unlikely that I’ll have another miscarriage, but that won’t take away the inevitable anxiety that lays ahead if and when I get pregnant again. My work with Remember My Baby has definitely made me more anxious over pregnancy and the loss of a friend’s premature baby shortly after our loss really hit me hard. There’s a quote I’ve seen that says ‘Pregnancy after loss is like holding your breath for nine months’ and I just know that’s going to be true.
In the meantime, I choose to be grateful for what I do have, and that is a healthy, happy little boy who finally arrived into our world after a year long wait. I will continue to talk about baby loss, even though it’s probably not a topic that my clientele may really want to think about, but I know that by me writing about it I may just help someone who needs to read it. And with one in four pregnancies ending in loss, I know there are a lot of women out there who know exactly how it feels – and there is some odd comfort in that. Over the next week, I’ll share some stories and information about baby loss that I’ve compiled from other families who kindly took themselves back to that terrible time (or times) in their lives in order to share their experiences for the benefit of others. Thank you to each and every one of you.