Hattie shares her feelings about experiencing a miscarriage after a termination, and about being pregnant again after loss.
I was a mess and couldn’t believe that just 24 hours before I had been anticipating my scan and now I was having surgery to remove the pregnancy.
I was so excited for my 12-week scan, as all expectant parents are, but for my fiancé and me it had been a long time coming.
At the age of 17, I became pregnant for the first time, we wanted the baby but as the weeks went on we realized that neither of us were prepared for a child, in the end we made the heartbreaking decision to terminate. For the procedure I had to have a dating scan, my parents advised me not to look at the screen as they felt that if I saw the baby it would make the termination more unbearable.
Fast-forward 6 years and I was pregnant again but this time it was planned. Finally I could express those maternal feelings I had bottled up for so long. When the letter came for our scan my heart felt like it was going to burst, for years I had fantasied about seeing my baby on a screen.
I grew paranoid; it seemed too unbelievably perfect; my fiancé had to keep reassuring me that everything would be ok. As we entered the room I felt anxiety flood through my body, the room went dark and the scan begun. The sonographer went quiet; I could tell she was struggling to find the baby, it should be the size of a lime, how could she miss it? She asked if she could internally scan me, at that point I knew it was bad news. “I’m so sorry there’s no heartbeat.” She turned the screen and showing us a 12-week sac with a rice grain sized baby inside. I had suffered a missed miscarriage; I had been carrying a dead baby inside of me for weeks. I was given options on dealing with the miscarriage, with the termination I had to have surgery and never wanted to experience that again, however through talking about my options I realized that it was the most efficient method. Having the surgery also meant we had options when it came to the babies remains, as we were in the process of moving 200 miles away we felt that the baby needed to come with us.
The next morning I had the surgery. I was a mess and couldn’t believe that just 24 hours before I had been anticipating my scan and now I was having surgery to remove the pregnancy. I felt like I was being punished for having an abortion, it felt like I was living through it all over again, but this time it wasn’t a choice. I started thinking what if I kept having miscarriages, what if my first pregnancy would be my only viable one and I had got rid of my only chance to have a child. It felt like a sick joke.
A week later we collected our baby from the hospital chapel. Our little one was boxed up inside a paper bag below a cloud of tissue paper with a yellow daisy and wooden cross-sat on top. It almost looked like a gift, but instead of a present it was our tiny baby that never lived. I had fantasied about holding it in my arms, however having it boxed up on my lap inside in a hot car aware of it clinical preservation was not what I expected. We later had the baby buried next to my dad. It was June by this point but on this day the sky was grey and the rain poured down, if to reflex our pain, however I did feel closure afterwards.
7 weeks after the miscarriage I had a random heavy bleed, I kept getting paranoid about my fertility and any lasting damage from the surgery, so after the bleed I headed to the doctors. I was asked if there was any possibility I could be pregnant again, which I doubted as my period had not long ended, so when she did the test and it came back positive I was shocked. I couldn’t be happy though because as she explained the bleed was likely to be a pregnancy that didn’t latch, and there was no way of knowing for sure until 6 weeks when I could be scanned. My fiancé and I presumed it would be bad news, we couldn’t understand how so much bleeding would result in a healthy pregnancy.
I reached the 6-week milestone and went for a scan. I felt traumatized, I couldn’t stop shaking, the room was dark, the probe was uncomfortable; it felt like déjà vu. And then the sonographer turned the screen, and there was our baby, I was stunned, not only because it was viable but also I could see limbs, nose, and even eye sockets, not like the 6-week-old blobs on Google. It turned out that I was 10 weeks pregnant and what I thought was my first period after my miscarriage wasn’t one at all. “Congratulations” the sonographer smiled as we left the room clutching the first of many photos of our daughter.