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My Baby

Anita shares her feelings on the loss of her IVF baby after years of hoping and planning.

There will never be a time when I’ll get over this. I wish people would stop telling me that I will.

Here’s two weeks off work – how exciting!

It’s a bit of an extreme way to get a bit of leave, Anita.

These are two examples of the things a nurse and my mother in law said to me after the worst thing happened to me. The worst thing doesn’t even cut it. I have never known pain like it.

A woman I respect a great deal said to me afterwards that this isn’t just grief. This is the loss of 5 years planning. This is the loss of future planning, of happiness so short-lived. This is the loss of everything I have lived for. This is the loss of being a mother. This is the loss of my baby. The loss of hope.

I didn’t know how I was meant to feel after the 10th February 2017. Have I been a mother? Do I have a right to grieve for a child I didn’t hold in my arms? And what about the other parents in the world, even that day, who lost a child they were able to see, kiss, hold, feed. And those whose scans showed more than what my 13 weeks did? Can I rightfully cry for my loss when theirs seem so much more painful?

The 17th December 2016 was the happiest day of my life. The birth of my nieces and nephew filled me with euphoria I didn’t think would ever be matched.  But… my positive pregnancy test after 18 months of IVF processes, medications, injections, mood swings and debilitating anxiety and uncertainty, completed me.

In 2001 I had been pregnant with twins. I made a strangely easy decision not to go through with this. I often think of them though and wonder how my life would be today with two 16-year-old children.

In July 2011 I married Adrian. In December 2011 I miscarried. I didn’t know I was pregnant at the time. It was an unexpected but planned pregnancy as I was not on birth control.

And now this. It’s as if my body decided that it didn’t want to get pregnant naturally. We tried and tried. The injections sent me more loopy than I already am. My mood swings were unbearable for my husband. The hormones were driving me mad. But it was so bloody worth it. That feeling when I did that wee on the stick is one I cannot even imagine putting into words. Elation, relief, joy are three words which come a bit close.

I spent the next 7 weeks planning for August 23rd when my baby was going to make his appearance. I am convinced he was a boy. His grandparents were already planning on who would babysit and when. My mother in law almost bought a Victorian rocking cot. I almost went to the Mothercare closing-down sale to buy everything he would need. We had quotes done to have a nursery made to house all those items. So many dreams, so much planning, so much anticipation and an itch I couldn’t wait to scratch: to hold this dream in my own hands. My miracle.

Then the 10th February happened. Those dreams were shattered and the planning came to an abrupt end as if brakes were applied to a moving car, but not in time and I flew off the cliff.

My miracle didn’t have a heartbeat, she said. He was gone. The room went dark, I took deep breaths and then I wailed an animalistic pain. My heart audibly broke in that room in front of my mum, my mother in law and the nurses and doctors.

There will not be a light at the end of this tunnel of grief. There will never be a time when I’ll get over this. I wish people would stop telling me that I will.

Having an IVF embryo successfully implanted was an achievement for which my consultant was extremely proud. I had lost the weight I needed to, I had responded so well to the meds and the eggs I produced were of extremely good quality.

Why then did this happen to me? I’m angry. I want answers. I need to know why. What could I have done differently? Did I do something?

I don’t know anyone who can fully and completely know how I feel. I appreciate support and I know people love and care for me. However, no one knows how it feels to be so desperate to be a mother, who has undergone medical treatment in order to achieve that, who has been the most doting aunt but who remains childless and at 38, has almost given up all hope.

Hope – a word I firmly believe in. Religion is something I associate with peace. However, hope is real and hope is all I have. I hope that there’s a God. I hope that he or she will one day stop punishing me or testing me. I hope that I can show the world the same thing that my friends and family are – that I can be a mum. I would be a perfect mum. I don’t need hope for that because I just know I would be.

When I was 4, I hoped that the touching would stop. When I was 11, I hoped and begged that the touching would stop. When I was 16, I hoped that I wouldn’t have another breakdown. One day when I was 18, I hoped that he would stop and a few days later, I hoped that my parents would never find out that I was raped. When I was 21, I hoped that my past wouldn’t make my future. When I was 22, I hoped that moving to London would bring me closure from my childhood. Now I am 38 and I hope that before I die, I am able to give my baby the love that is trapped inside me and waiting to explode in a million, billion beautiful glittery hearts all around them. I want my baby back but he’s gone. I hope that he’ll have a brother or sister who I may one day meet in person instead of in my dreams, who I can hold in my arms instead of briefly in my womb, who I can kiss instead of watch as they bleed away from me leaving me right back to where I started – nowhere.

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