Just a wee disclaimer, I’m sharing this story not in order to draw attention or cause drama but with the intention of helping others. I know how much it helps me to read real stories from real people about the hard times they’ve gone through, so I thought I would write down my experience, story and feelings in hopes of doing the same. If just one person connects with my story, then it was worth me sharing it.
Earlier last year in May, I fell pregnant. Aaron and I had to decided to start trying and we had tried properly for one month. Without a shadow of a doubt, I knew I was pregnant before taking a test. I was having the most horrible sleeps, waking up to crazy dreams and of course, needing to go to the toilet a lot more than normal. On top of that, over sensitive and extremely painful boobs made it impossible to give someone a hug or get comfortable in bed. None of this bothered me, because it all meant that I was pregnant! As soon as I was able to, on a Wednesday morning, I took a pregnancy test and got a negative result. I knew it was probably too early, and that I’d wait another few days to see if I got something different.
My period was due on Friday but it didn’t come. On Sunday I had spotting and a few cramps. However, it came to nothing, and as I later found out, it was just implantation bleeding. I continued to have pregnancy symptoms and started to get ridiculously excited about having a little baby on the way. All I’ve ever really wanted to be is a mum and the prospect of that coming true was incredible. I would be able to tell my Mum and family about the baby for Mother’s Day and started planning how I would do so. My Mum and sister were in Africa at the time and I knew it would be such a lovely surprise for them to come back to. I did a lot of internet research, reading up on what I should be doing, and what to expect. I found out that my due date would be January 20th. I figured out when the 12 week mark would be, when we would be able to tell all our friends the news, and discovered that it would be right before our holiday to Auckland. How exciting to go baby shopping in Auckland! My mind was racing a hundred miles a second and I was planning out everything in my head. I was SO EXCITED.
On Tuesday morning, Aaron woke me up at 5.00am when he was getting up for work, so that we could take a test together. It came back with two lines, one thick red line and one extremely faint pale pink. Pregnant! That little faint line left me with questions though. The test was supposed to be accurate from 5 days before my period due date so why was it giving me such a weak result 4 days AFTER my missed period? That day also happened to be my very first day at my new job. It was an interesting day as I was trying to figure out my job with the pregnancy test looming in the back of my mind. However, I made it through the day and couldn’t wait to get home, inspect the pregnancy test once more, and scroll Pinterest for nursery inspiration. One of my best friends who also works with me had just found out she was pregnant two weeks before. After work we stood chatting at her car for half an hour, both ecstatic about our pregnancies. We were having our first babies together!
On Tuesday night I hopped into bed and realised my boobs were’t quite as sore anymore. That night I had the best sleep in a week. I woke up feeling so revived and then discovered that I was bleeding.
Immediately I knew that I had miscarried. My precious little baby, gone faster than I thought was possible. I cried. And cried. And cried. I spent the whole day sobbing, mourning the loss of someone who I had never even met. I was totally overcome with sadness and couldn’t really believe what had happened. Aaron tried to understand but struggled to feel the feelings I had. It was like my little heart had been shattered.
The few months after my miscarriage I tried to block out the pain by focussing on getting pregnant again. I told two people about my miscarriage and didn’t tell anyone else for about three months, trying my very best to clear it from my mind. I started to clear out the ‘baby room’, researched everything baby related, and continued to purchase little items for my baby stash. As the months went on, all of this slowly reduced until it stopped. I was losing faith and beginning to think that I couldn’t actually get pregnant.
Once you get married, you start getting questions about when you’ll be having kids. These kind of questions, for some reason, started coming in constantly after the miscarriage. “It’s about time you and Aaron had some kids don’t you think?” “Are you pregnant yet?” “When are you having kids?” “You’ve been married for a year now! When are you going to start reproducing?” Or “Don’t you go getting clucky!” whenever I was with a small child. And working at a preschool, I was with small children A LOT. I know that people mean it in a totally non offensive and light hearted way, and I’m not mad at any of them, but gee those questions and statements are a real stab straight through the heart sometimes. You never really know what people are going through and what’s happening in their private lives. I know I’ve been guilty of asking the same kind of questions, but now I really know to keep my mouth shut. Fertility is a sensitive issue.
One of the worst times I struggled with what had happened was our Auckland holiday. I was beyond miserable. We were going to a church conference with a couple that we’re friends with, also pregnant with their first baby. A whole bunch of our friends from home had also gone up. If I had still been pregnant, we would have announced the pregnancy just before the trip. Everyone would have known. Our friends and us would have been able to go baby shopping together, chat pregnancy, nurseries, baby showers and nappies until the cows came home. But we didn’t. Instead I sat wishing I was anywhere but where I was. To make the time even better, I had caught yet another tummy bug from preschool and I barely ate more than a bowl of muesli and a few hot chips the entire trip. I obviously looked pretty bad, since every Tom, Dick and Harry kept wanting to ask me if I was ok, even random strangers. Oh joy. And because I was sick I got even more “Are you pregnant?” questions. I felt so crumby on that dam trip and I swear I didn’t smile once the whole time. I feel sorry for Aaron and the friends we went there with because I definitely was not fun to be around.
Another thing that I’ve really struggled with is feeling like less of a woman because I wasn’t pregnant and without children. I know this sounds ridiculous since I’m only 23, and most girls my age are out travelling the world or starting their dream career but that’s never been the life I’ve wanted. Most of the bloggers, Instagrammers, and Snapchatters I follow and love are Mummas. They organise Mumma hang outs, and Mumma events, they have ‘mum crush Monday’ on Instagram, they take walks together with their bubbas in their prams. A lot of my friends have their own children too. When they talk about their pregnancies and their beautiful babies, my heart is happy for them but pines for my own child. Most of the time I enjoy their baby chat, in fact I love me some baby chat, but sometimes just looking at them with their little bundle brings a pang of pain. And working in a preschool surrounded by babies and kids and Mummas? Jeepers, it was tough! I know those Mums were probably looking at me envious that I had spare time, sleep ins and ‘freedom’ but I so desperately longed to be in their shoes.
Fast forward to April this year. We had been trying for an entire year. Still no baby. No pregnancy. I suggested to Aaron that it was probably time for us to visit the doctor. He said to wait three more months. Month one came around, and then month two, then month three. At the end of the third month I had the worst PMS ever. I usually get it pretty bad but this was terrible! I was a hormonal wreck with cramps that wouldn’t budge! I was waiting and waiting for my period but it just wasn’t coming. My boobs were feeling pretty sore but I thought it may just be PMS. It got to about 5 days after my period was due I decided I should probably take a pregnancy test. On a Friday night, half way through unpacking the groceries, I took a test. As soon as the film started disappearing, I could see as clear as day, two thick red lines. I was in total shock. After all this time I just could not believe that it was finally happening! I could actually get pregnant! I showed Aaron the test and he was so happy he shed a tear or two. It was very emotional and we thanked God for his goodness.
The next two months or so I organised doctor’s appointments and meetings with the midwife. We booked our first scan and I began organising the room that would be the nursery. I made notes in my diary, wrote lists and made budgets and researched everything. We told our parents, siblings and two close friends. One of Aaron’s sisters was pregnant already and we also found out that another sister was pregnant too, meaning three new babies in the family in the next 7 months! We were so excited that next March we would finally we holding our baby. I got all the normal pregnancy symptoms, but fatigue hit me the worst, closely followed by very intense mood swings. I felt queezy in the morning (and the rest of the day) but hadn’t thrown up so I was feeling pretty lucky! I had outgrown my bras and almost outgrown my pants with a little bump starting to appear. I decided it was time to learn how to knit properly and started knitting for our little bub. I joined a pregnancy group on Facebook where we discussed funny symptoms, nursery ideas, prams, names and everything else. There was the occasional lady that lost her baby along the journey but I was confident that my baby was sticky. I hadn’t been brought this far to fail.
At about week 10, on a Thursday night, I noticed a little red spotting. It was a real shock and made me worry. I txt my midwife and she said it could be concerning, to keep an eye on it and to go to the hospital if it got worse. It didn’t really get worse, but it didn’t stop, plus I had been having constant cramps. By Sunday afternoon I was feeling really concerned. I had spent the past two days in bed as a precaution but felt that I needed to be checked up on. Aaron and I went in to the hospital, praying that everything would be ok. We sat in the emergency department waiting room for hours. I threw back about 5 glasses of water in an attempt to prevent me from throwing up. By the time we got in to see the doctor I was shaking with nerves. I got asked question after question before he tried an ultrasound scan on my tummy. My bladder was empty so he couldn’t see anything. I was then referred to a gynaecologist and moved to a private room. The nurse walked in and I immediately recognised her as a friend of my parents. A wave of peace washed over me as she talked to us, hugged us and loved on us. She stayed with us the whole time, supporting both of us and rubbing my shoulder. She was truely an angel sent from God. The gynaecologist tried a scan on my tummy, then internally. She found a little baby in my uterus but said it was quite small. She couldn’t find a heartbeat but wasn’t alarmed due to the quality of the machine and and the size of the baby. She examined me internally and told me there was nothing to be concerned about. As far as she could see there was no signs that I was miscarrying. I just had to wait until my formal scan on Thursday. Although we received somewhat positive news, there was a seed of doubt in my mind and I knew they should have been able to see a heartbeat.
We went home feeling nervous. Thursday was so far away to wait. On Monday morning I got up, cleaned the house and started to paint a room, I only painted one wall before feeling sick and lying down for the remainder of the day. The bleeding was not coming to a stop at all and was in fact increasing. I spent Tuesday and Wednesday in bed, still bleeding small amounts and cramping, but it was slowly increasing. I was absolutely terrified. I could barely sleep and kept dreaming of waking up to find a pool of blood. I was trying to be as positive as I could, but I knew something was wrong. It just didn’t seem right. I tried my hardest to be strong and distract my mind but as soon as I thought about it, I would find myself sobbing. It was the hardest waiting period.
Thursday finally came around. I got up, showered and dressed. I blow dried my hair and did my makeup. I figured that if I looked ok, maybe I wouldn’t feel so bad. I changed the sheets on our bed and tidied the house. I packed a bag, as I figured I might end up in hospital after the scan, no matter what news we got. I did as much as I could to distract my thoughts before the scan at 2.40pm. Lunch time came and I tried to eat something, although I felt sick in the pit of my stomach. Aaron came in from work and we went in to town together, headed for the ultrasound office. We arrived 10 minutes early and sat in the waiting room, arms wrapped around each other, tears rolling down my cheeks. What felt like an eternity later, we got into the room and the lady started an internal scan. Before she started, she very rudely explained how she didn’t know why the hospital couldn’t find a heart beat, because she finds them on babies much smaller. Basically as soon a she began the scan she told us that there was no heartbeat, and that our baby wasn’t alive. It was a failed pregnancy. I started sobbing and continued to do so throughout the whole scan.
We left the ultrasound office absolutely devastated and lost at what to do. We drove to a nearby quiet park and hugged and cried and hugged and cried some more. How could our precious baby be taken away from us? We had come so far but still not anywhere far enough to hold our little baby. Aaron is not one to get teary eyes, in fact I’ve only seen him shed a tear a handful of times, so to see him so upset really broke my heart. He desperately wants to be a father and would be so wonderful at it. I couldn’t help but think that I was destroying his dreams. We spent a few hours in town, getting some supplies, and visiting my family to share the horrible news with them.
I was unprepared for the emotional pain, but knew to expect it. What I didn’t expect was the physical pain my body would also have to go through. By the time we were almost home (an hour drive) I was feeling really uncomfortable and in a large amount of pain. Once I got inside I ran a hot bath. I was in so much pain that I climbed in still clothed, before water was even covering the bottom of the bath. I needed relief and fast. I only lasted about 10 minutes in the bath before the pain was too much and the bleeding turned to gushing. The next 3 hours or so I spent on my hands and knees, trying to manage the contractions as best I could, going to the toilet every 10 minutes to deal with the gushing of blood and tissue. I had no idea that this was going to happen and although terrified, I remained calm and focussed on breathing through the pain and coping with the bleeding. There was just SO MUCH bleeding. At one stage I passed a very substantial sized lump, and looked at it terrified that the lump could be our precious baby. Poor Aaron didn’t know what to do or how to help. He switched my heat packs every now and then, rubbing my head and fetching me anything I needed. I didn’t know how long it was all going to continue for, so txt my Mum and asked her to come out and stay. Aaron had to get up for work at 5am the next day, so I knew he needed sleep. Mum arrived and by then the worst of it was over. Aaron was able to get some sleep and I went to bed at about 1am, only getting up a few times in the night. It was honestly such a horrific experience. I later learnt that even though the baby wasn’t big and I was nowhere near full term, even at that stage, at 11 weeks, your body has to go through it’s own version of labour in order to clear out what was inside. It’s SO horrible! And knowing that in amongst everything that’s coming out, is the remains of the little baby is truly horrendous.
The next morning I woke up and felt like I was waking from a bad dream. I just felt so empty and sad to my core. I am very blessed to have such wonderful mother and best friend (the pregnant one from earlier in the story) who both kept me company all day and made sure I was ok. We walked and ate (something I had barely done all week), and talked. Both my Mum and my friend continued checking up on me and helping me for the days to come as well. They check on me everyday, bake for me, cook for me and cry with me.
One of the things that I struggle most with, with miscarriage is how no one really talks about it. Its quickly swept under the rug and people pretend like nothing happened. You’re also expected to continue just the same even though your heart is hurting and your body is constantly reminding you of everything you lost. There was only a small amount of people that knew what we were going through, and even some of them have never said anything to me about it. I know that being so tight lipped about it wasn’t going to help me, as it just ate me up the time before, but I don’t know who I could talk to and who I could trust. Most people didn’t know that I was pregnant so I have no idea how I could even bring it up. But I know in my heart that we’re just not meant to do life alone. There is so little support from health professionals too, so it’s hard to know what to do and how to feel. In fact, in the two conversations that I had with health professionals, they told me when to try again for another pregnancy in the same breath that they were telling me they were sorry. It was like I failed a maths test or my driver’s licence and they were instructing me on when to resit it. I can’t even begin to describe how alarming and upsetting this was. A new pregnancy couldn’t remove the pain and loss of what I was feeling.
A week has gone by and the feelings are just as fresh. We’re mourning the loss of our little baby and desperately wishing that none of this ever happened. We know that God is looking after our two little babies in heaven and are comforted by this in the midst of our heartbreak. One thing we do know is that God is faithful and his love for us is so strong. Throughout this journey God has been showing me little things and putting things in my path to prepare me and strengthen me. During the waiting period, I watched someone’s Instastory where she showed a tree that her and her family planted after her miscarriage. She also showed her little baby that came after. I was like “God, that’s really beautiful, but I really hope you’re not showing me this to prepare me for the future.” It turns out he was. He works beautiful things through all situations, no matter how dark, and that’s what I need to cling to. I changed my letter board to say “In all things, He is good.” I looked at it the next day and a letter had fallen off to say “In all things, He is God.” And gosh, he is. I don’t believe in coincidences, but in the love of my heavenly Father.
“But they who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.” -Isaiah 40:31
So what next? More trying, more praying and more trusting. We’re uncertain of the future but know that God is looking after us and will be there for us through it all. That is the only thing we can rely on and the only thing we are sure of.
We want to name our babies and do something to remember them by. I think this will help heal our hearts and provide comfort.
Thanks so much for reading. I hope that by sharing my story I help others that are going through or have gone through similar situations. Feel free to send me an email if you want to chat. (email@example.com)
“Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.” -Matthew 5:4