Please be aware that this post discusses a topic that some may find difficult.
Most people seeing this test result would feel excitement. Especially those who know the anticipation, frustrations and obsessions with TTC – or trying to conceive. The faintest line can give overwhelming hope to people who desperately want to see those two lines appear – that long-awaited ‘big fat positive’ or BFP.
But little did I realise, until now, that there’s another purpose to pregnancy tests: to see when your pregnancy is over. You see, the above test was taken two and a half weeks after we found out that I’d experienced a missed miscarriage.
The tests below were the ones that I first saw; the BFP that I’d been hoping for. An actual BIG FAT positive that left me confused. Having been lucky enough to have a successful pregnancy before, I was taken aback by how quickly those lines appeared and just how strong they were; my first test with Oliver took much longer and looked more akin to the first photograph.
My disbelief was probably evident by the sheer amount of tests that I took. I had initially discounted the result because the tests were a month out of date, having kept them from last time around. But no, sure enough, all the tests, new and old, came back the same. And a Clear Blue one dated me at 3+ weeks which just added to the confusion; the maths just didn’t work!
I joked with those I told that I was either further gone than I thought or I was having twins! A quick Google and a conversation with my midwife a week later agreed that I was probably coming up to nine weeks rather than the 4-5 I thought I was.
I was quite anxious about this pregnancy from the start. It felt totally different to last time and I just didn’t feel pregnant enough! Everyone I spoke to thought I was daft wishing nausea on myself because it was a handy reminder that everything was exactly how it was supposed to be. But my boobs had grown and my belly had definitely popped, so I allowed myself to feel reassured enough to share our news and get excited about what was to come. Little did I know that it’s possible for your body to think and act as if it’s pregnant for weeks after your baby’s heart stops beating.
When my NHS scan dropped through the door for an appointment in more than three weeks time, I booked a private scan because I just couldn’t cope with the waves of anxiety any more. On the 16th August (a date that is now imprinted on my mind) we found out that our baby didn’t have a heartbeat. We also found out that there wasn’t just one baby, there were two (hence the strong tests) – and sadly there wasn’t a heartbeat between them. Even though I’d gone into that scan with an inkling that the news might not be good, I was in no way prepared for the way I felt when I found out that it really wasn’t good news. I’ve never felt the earth drop out from under me in the way it did in that moment. I didn’t even need the sonographer to say anything; somehow I knew the second I saw the scan on the screen.
In the days and weeks since, I’ve bawled my eyes out and I’ve felt utterly numb, as well as having days where I just feel OK. Whether it’s our personal circumstances or standard procedure, the medical journey has been frustratingly drawn out, which really doesn’t help matters, and as I write this I am due to go back into hospital to have surgery to end the uncertainty (of this pregnancy) once and for all.
It’s a sombre statistic that most probably don’t realise until they’re in that situation, but one in four pregnancies ends in miscarriage. Since sharing our news, I have been overwhelmed with messages of support from friends and family and I’ve received a huge amount of personal messages from people who’ve experienced miscarriage and comforted me with the fact that it does get easier. But what worries me is the amount of people who said that they never even spoke about it, who never announced their pregnancy in the first place, let alone that they’d had the devastating news that they’d had a miscarriage. I’m a talker. I need to get my feelings off my chest and have a good rant or a cry with friends. I just cannot imagine trying to deal with this on my own. (My husband’s been great but it’s not the same as speaking to someone who’s been there themselves.) It’s not good to keep things locked up inside.
I know, for us, there will be a lot of uncertainty ahead. If and when we do get pregnant again, it’s going to be fraught with worry and I’m already dreading the anxiety. Life for us will never be the same again. And I know we’re not alone in that feeling.
So my plea to you is that, if this happens to you – or if it’s happened to you before and you’ve just never spoken up – please talk about it with someone you feel comfortable with or who understands what you’re going through. Even if it’s years down the line and you’re feeling sad, just talk about it. You can even talk to me if you want! I don’t want anyone to feel like they’re having to deal with miscarriage on their own own.