Hrozienko (Raisin) – A Year On
Reflective diary from 3 days to 14 months after a miscarriage.
I feel guilty for letting people down – my boyfriend, my mum, others who were looking forward to the baby – I let them down by allowing this baby to die. And most of all by letting Raisin down by not being able to give him life.
Written 3 days after losing my baby
I am 29, will be 30 in September. When I was young, I’ve thought that by this time I will have a decent job, a place to live, a family. But it was not meant to be, not for me. I do not have the job of my dreams and live at short-term rented places in a country far away from home. Last year it somehow dawned on me that if a keep on waiting for a “decent” life, I could miss my chance to have kids altogether. My boyfriend sort of likes leaving decisions to me, he didn’t seem particularly concerned as for when to have a baby. And so we started trying for a baby some time in May 2006.
I knew it was normal not to become pregnant straight away, but I felt like a failure each and every month I got my period. Hope started fading away and a sense of overwhelming failure crept in. What’s the point of a f… up life anyway? And while on the rational level I knew many people are worse off than I am, it didn’t help me feel any better. We have grown distant with my boyfriend – sex was replaced by “babymaking” and while he had withdrawn into his computerised world, I have sunk into loneliness and depression. And then at the end of February 2007 I found out I was pregnant! Suddenly life had a meaning. I was happier than ever. I think my boyfriend was more happy for me than for the baby. I called the baby Hrozienko (it means Raisin) as at the time I read about it on the internet, it was the size of a raisin – and it sounded so cute. We filmed each other shortly after the test – a video we meant to show the baby one day. I had my morning (all day) sickness, my fatigue, my sore breasts – my happiness. Somehow I thought I was safe by 12 weeks and so I told all my friends about the pregnancy. But it was not meant to be – not for me. I started bleeding at 13 weeks, I think (I was never able to figure out the weeks) – 4 days before my scan was due.
It was Monday, April 30th. It started as a light, period like bleeding with period like pains. My boyfriend was assuring me everything was OK and I remembered reading that some bleeding is normal in pregnancy, so I decided to go to work and see. The bleeding continued throughout the day and grew a tiny bit stronger. I thought about calling the surgery, but I was sure all they would tell me would be to wait and see. My mother, however, got very panicky and almost sure I was going to bleed to death, so I promised her to call the hospital. That was on my way home form work. By the time I got home the bleeding got very heavy, I had to sit at the loo and my boyfriend called 999. They sent the paramedics for me, but I don’t think they took me very seriously, though they were nice. It was at 6.30 pm. I was OK to walk from my 2nd floor flat to the ambulance, but when I was to walk from the ambulance to the hospital, blood was already trickling down my leg onto my shoe and I was well scared. The paramedics had to get a wheelchair to get me in and I think they started to take my case seriously. The first half hour in the emergency room was spent by different people asking for my address. Then some blood was taken from my vein, it was followed by a sudden drop in my blood pressure, so they had to lay me with my feet higher than my head. I was in considerable pain by then, so I was given something that did not work. I also got an IV drip of fluids to control my blood pressure – it made me feel cold and shake uncontrollably. Then I was given some morphine and I was transferred to another room, so they could monitor me better, I was given some more IVs. Reading what I have written sounds quite dramatic, but the health professionals around me seemed pretty confident in what they were doing, so I felt safe with them. I knew my pregnancy was over and I knew I was not in danger myself. It was surprising, though, that they would not confirm that I was indeed having a miscarriage, in fact, they would not examine me “down there” at all. After they have “stabilised” me, that was around 10 pm, a lady doctor from the gynaecology came down and examined me – and confirmed what I have known all along. Finally they washed most of the blood of my legs, gave me some hospital underwear and a clean pad and transferred me to the gynaecology ward, I got some more IVs and some more morphine and had a relatively peaceful night, though they would not allow me to walk (not even to the loo) and kept monitoring my blood pressure every hour.
On Tuesday they arranged for an ultrasound scan to be carried out, to see whether surgery would be needed, so I was not allowed to eat anything (and I was incredibly hungry), I had another IV and was allowed to sip little amounts of water. I was finally allowed to walk and I could wash myself and was given a clean gown (I did not bring anything with me in the ambulance) and though the walking and washing made me dizzy and nauseous and they had to get a wheelchair to get me back to bed, feeling clean was well worth it. I had the scan at around noon and the sonographer confirmed that the baby was indeed lost and some tissue remained there, so they still would not let me eat, in case the doctors decided that I needed surgery. In the end they decided to leave it to nature and sent me home in the afternoon. I was surprised at how calm I was at the hospital. I knew what happened – but emotionally I was numb. I have had some counselling training, so I knew it will eventually hit in – and it did, just as I arrived home from the hospital. My boyfriend suggested to finish the video we started making when we found out I was pregnant – to say goodbye to Raisin. It was very sad, but I found it helpful at the same time. I’ve been crying a lot since – I’ve never cried so much in my adult life. My boyfriend is being very supportive, though he is more sorry for me than the baby. My world has been turned upside down. I feel ashamed and humiliated and it is hard to think I will have to tell people – I’ve sent some e-mails, but I will have to leave the flat eventually and face the people. I am concerned they will look down on me – just as I look down on women who are not able to produce babies easily. I am scared, too – I meet too many mums and kids at my work, how am I going to cope? And how come people who clearly do not deserve to have kids just produce one after the other? (I know I am being irrational here – who am I to decide who deserves kids, after all – but I can’t help feeling like that.) And I feel guilty for letting people down – my boyfriend, my mum, others who were looking forward to the baby – I let them down by allowing this baby to die. And most of all by letting Raisin down by not being able to give him life. I am in pain and still bleeding and it feels I deserve it all. I am a failure, after all. I am not depressed yet, but it is in the post. On the one hand I am hopeful that I will get pregnant again soon – on the other hand I doubt it very much. After all, this one has taken ages. Now I am back to square one. And I am frightened that this time we will not make it as a couple – me getting depressed and my boyfriend not able to cope with that, withdrawing into his world completely. Who knows, perhaps I am not meant to be happy – perhaps there is a reason for that.
Raisin, I am so sorry for f.. it up. I love you.
8 days after the miscarriage
I feel weird. I had a check-up at the hospital today and it seems all is gone the natural way and my womb is empty. I’ve almost stopped bleeding and I hardly have any cramps any more. I was crying for 2-3 days. I’ve read all the information on the Miscarriage Association website and at the moment it was all I needed as far as information is concerned. After that, I stopped reading about it and I stopped crying. I laugh, even. I know it is healthy, but I feel guilty about it. I imagine this is how my boyfriend must feel – he said that everyone expects him to be sad and when he is not, he thinks there is something wrong with him. And now I think there is something wrong with me, too. The people at the hospital seemed really concerned about me today, making sure I did understand what’s happened – while I was really happy that I did not need any surgery! Happy, yes. But only for a few seconds, until I remembered that I should not really be happy. I’ve had a few reactions from well meaning friends with their useless attempts to cheer me up by talking b..t, and while I thought I should tell them they are not being helpful, I just could not do it. I did not want to upset them – after all, they mean well and are trying to help me. I did not want to be rude. But it makes me scared of meeting people. I hardly ever left the flat in the past week. I am going back to work tomorrow, I am physically fit, so there is no reason delaying it. But I am scared of my colleagues’ reactions – how am I going to put up with their well-meaning attempts? I can picture myself telling them to stop, but will I be able to do that? I am more afraid of that than of having to put up with all the mums and children I will meet. I’ve had some useful support, too – mostly from women over the internet, whom I never met and now nothing about – some of whom have miscarried themselves. And I am still full of hope that I will get pregnant again very soon. I imagine, when that does not happen, I will gradually start to sink. And then there are moments, when I hope this is all just a bad dream, that everybody is mistaken and Raisin is still miraculously there.
4 months after the miscarriage
Only a few days ago I was considering writing about how I was getting on. It is the end of August now – 4 months since losing Raisin. I think I’ve gotten over it now. Living a life again. I’ve embarked on a weight-loss programme and now I look better than ever! My self-confidence has risen and I am eager to continue losing weight. I have also applied for a training course so that I can work as a counsellor in Britain. We’ve had a tough time with my boyfriend and the thought of leaving him has crossed my mind. But now I feel I am in love with him again. The experience we’ve been through was a threat to our relationship, but we emerged from it stronger. My boyfriend started thinking about changing his job and we were considering relocating. I was looking forward to the future. However, there was not one day that I would not think about Raisin. When I see a pregnant woman, I am wondering about how big my bump would be now… When I see people surrounded by children, I often judge them as unfit parents – and I am angry at how unfair this is. After losing Raisin, I was obsessed with getting pregnant again as soon as possible. I desperately wanted to be pregnant on my 30th birthday – or at last at the time when Raisin was due. However, time, indeed, is a healer. I’ve not given up hope, but I’ve learned to see myself not pregnant – and be all right with it. I’ve realised I cannot put my life on hold just because I might conceive. Sometimes I was happy and looking forward to the near future. I had plans. I had energy. Other times I was sad and desperate, thinking I’ll never have children, thinking I won’t be able to cope with that. But generally I was all right. Certainly better than shortly before the pregnancy. The depression I was fearing after the miscarriage did not come.
I’ve done a pregnancy test this morning – and it was inconclusive. I could be pregnant again. I am confused. There goes the weight loss, the training course, my boyfriend’s new job, the relocation. Here comes anxiety. I am not looking forward to the next months. Maybe the test is wrong – I’ll know in a few days, but those days are gonna be hard. If I am pregnant indeed, I am probably not gonna feel physically well (I didn’t with Raisin, I felt sick most of the time). And in the end of it I may lose it again. I’d love to say I am happy – and in a way I am – but I am very anxious and confused at the same time.
5 months after the miscarriage
I am about 8-9 weeks pregnant now – and I’ve been bleeding for the past 2 weeks. It started just as the miscarriage, with some dark old blood and abdominal cramps – and it’s been like that for the past 2 weeks. No change at all. I am due in for an ultrasound scan today. What will it reveal? Is my baby OK? Somehow, I doubt that.
I don’t love this baby as much as I did the previous one. And I don’t trust it, either. I feel guilty about that. I am scared to love it – the more I love, the more it’s gonna hurt when I lose it. But then – how is it supposed to live without love? And if it dies, shall it die without ever being loved by his mother? Is it too selfish of me to be afraid to love? Just because I don’t want to get hurt? Does it not deserve love, no matter what? At moments when I do allow myself to love this baby, I love it intensely. I am willing it to hang on. But then again – is it still alive? Or am I just hoping in vain? My pregnancy tests are still positive – I’ve done a few in the past 2 weeks. But will there be a heartbeat today?
My partner is not here with me today. He’s got important commitments at work. He always does. I wish he was here, though. I could use a shoulder to cry on. He’d be supportive, but not too emphatic. I did not insist on him coming. After the last one, I know he doesn’t care too much about my pregnancy. He does care about me – to some extent, anyway – but he prefers to stay out of pregnancy-related issues. I wish he was more interested.
6 months after the miscarriage – 12 weeks into my second pregnancy
The scan at 8 weeks showed a heartbeat. I’ve started to accept this pregnancy. Yet I am very cautious. Before the scan I tried not to plan too much for the future – after the scan I relaxed a bit. I’ve had the booking visit with the midwife and I’ve read all the pregnancy brochures she’s given me. I fantasise about the birth and having the baby. At the same time, though, I keep telling myself I am not over the 13 week mark yet. My scan is due in 6 days – I’ve lost Raisin some 3-4 days before my scan was due. I was 12 weeks + then, just as I am now. So I have to be careful. I’ve told my mother and I’ve told at work (health and safety issues), but I’ve not told my friends or the rest of the family. I’ll wait until after the scan. Or until it shows. I am not sure.
I am trying to be careful. I’ve stayed at home sick with a cold for 3 days. I would have gone to work – but I was ill just before I lost Raisin, yet I kept on working – what if that contributed to the miscarriage? Maybe I am paranoid. I am not surprised by that. Better be safe than sorry.
On the other hand, though, I am not as careful at work as was with my previous pregnancy – I still do lifting and carrying, I still climb ladders – though I am trying to limit those activities. I guess I just don’t want to get too much attached to this baby – just in case, and at the same time I am trying to be protective of it. We’ll see how it goes.
I still notice women who are heavily pregnant and think about how I would look like if I was still pregnant with Raisin – it would have been due in 10 days! I am glad my scan would be done before that.
14 months after the miscarriage
I’ve had my baby 8 weeks ago – one year and two weeks after I lost Raisin. As time went by, I spent less and less time thinking of Raisin, though sometimes I would daydream about what might have been… I was 38 weeks pregnant on the anniversary of losing Raisin. It took me quite long to accept this pregnancy – practically all the way through I was worried of losing the baby, of having a miscarriage and later a stillbirth – and now I am worried about cot death… I am not sure if I would be so anxious had I not lost Raisin. Sometimes I look at my baby and wonder what would Raisin have been like. Would he have been as big as this baby? Would I have had a caesarean? Would he have been a little boy? Would he have been healthy? Would he have looked anything like the baby girl I have?
I have spoken to a few women who have lost babies – and you never forget. It just hurts less. I do not want to forget, either. After all, my memories are the only thing that’s left of Raisin, I don’t want to lose that.
I would like to have another baby soon. And although my second pregnancy was without any problems, I know that with the next one I will be anxious again.
If you are reading this soon after you lost your baby, you probably don’t think so now – but there is life after a miscarriage. Don’t give up.