Bea shares her story of miscarriage after an abortion, and feelings during pregnancy after loss.
I cannot articulate the aching grief in that moment and the days that followed.
Firstly, we never talk of miscarriage and pregnancy abortion hand in hand, but I had an early abortion several years ago. I had felt ashamed but not regretful, and yet when I experienced miscarriage I was plagued by this past decision, like the three losses were a punishment. With the estimated statistics at 25% of pregnancies ending with miscarriage, there must be other women in my boat. If you are like me, you may feel like you deserve pain as a result of choosing to take one life you didn’t want, only to mourn the life you did. Trying to accept that I made the right decision at the time has been a separate battle.
I am so very sorry if you are reading this and are going through a miscarriage.
I found out that I was pregnant shortly after I got back from my honeymoon. We were thrilled, began imagining our future as parents and told a handful close friends and family. At 8 weeks I impatiently organised a scan to see the baby. I thought that miscarriages were tragedies that happened to other people and when they told me that I had a blighted ovum or ‘missed’ miscarriage I assumed, staring blankly at an empty sac on the screen, that my dates must be off.
The next day I started to miscarry naturally (perhaps a swift connection of mind and body). I cannot articulate the aching grief in that moment and the days that followed, but I put the baby books away, tried to be pragmatic and repeatedly told myself that it was just bad luck.
Unfortunately the miscarriage took over three months to complete and this broke my resolve. I bled constantly and became anaemic. Regular scans showed that some of the pregnancy tissue had clotted in my cervix and wasn’t budging, but determined not to have surgery, I sat it out. The relentlessness of the bleeding, the desperation to try again and the knowledge that it would take a while for my body to get back to normal made me unnecessarily frustrated. The bleeding abruptly came to an end coinciding with familiar pregnancy signs and I did a test; it was positive, but after a few days of tempered excitement I started bleeding again. I had what resembled a heavy period and passed the sac within 48 hours.
I felt like my body was reset and the next regular cycle a couple of months later, I got pregnant again. I was completely heartbroken when I started bleeding the day after a positive test. I went home and buried my head into a pillow, punching the bed and sobbing. My husband and I had just moved home and I felt sad that our new house was tainted already with the pain and stress of another loss. This time I booked in with a miscarriage specialist.
Over the seven months since the first pregnancy I had become more and more isolated. I found no joy in anything. I stopped seeing friends and the weight of feeling like I might not be a mother burdened me continuously. I become completely self involved and angry at the world. My husband was a saint. It was hard to shake the feeling of resentment towards others who were pregnant. I hated that I could only be truly happy for friends who had had a ‘struggle’, a thwarted journey to parenthood; those who had found it easy were somehow less deserved – what a horrible thing to think.
After light bleeding and pain for a week, I went to the Early Pregnancy Unit to check that the pregnancy wasn’t ectopic. And then everything changed. To my surprise there was a heartbeat and the baby was measuring 6 weeks. I went back every two weeks to check that the pregnancy was progressing and every week I became more confident. Before every scan I would convince myself that it would be bad news and then the tears would stream down my cheeks when I saw him kick and wave. I eventually stopped bleeding at 10 weeks.
After a very nervous pregnancy, my little boy was born this year and I am so thankful to have him. I was blown away by the endless support of colleagues, friends and family during the harder times. I have to be honest, I wish I was braver. I wish that I could have been a better person. I think that I have learnt a lot about myself (both good and bad) and maybe I’ll be a better wife, a better friend and a better mother now…
I know full well that I have only had a taster of the pain that infertility can bring and my heart goes out to all who are struggling or have struggled. You are the unsung heroes of this world.