Well this is a post I never thought I’d be writing! Sharing my story of an early miscarriage in the hope you won’t feel alone, or that you’ll understand what your friend, partner or someone you know is going through.
I have written about loss before, after losing my Dad, but this is something very different. This was unexpected and brought more emotions than I could ever have imagined! One in four pregnancies end in miscarriage but so few talk openly about it. I felt so alone and unsure of what to expect.
In just six days my world turned upside down and did a back flip. From a + on a test, to sitting in a doctor’s room, this is my story. (15 minute read)
Let me rewind a little…
My not-husband and I weren’t trying to conceive but we also weren’t completely avoiding it either. That didn’t mean it wasn’t still a shock when I saw the + sign on the test.
It was a normal Wednesday morning, except I had an odd suspicion that something was awry. I peed on a stick and went downstairs to make a cupa. After a few minutes, I flipped the stick, half expecting to see nothing and I’d carry on with my day.
Nope, life had other ideas.
There staring back at me was a faint blue line where the ‘plus’ sign should be. I stopped in my tracks and readjusted my eyes a few times. “No, it can’t be?!“. I felt like it wasn’t real; like I was seeing things. I started questioning; “perhaps it’s a faulty test, maybe the line was there before, it could just be a mistake“.
Of course, none of these things were true and the test was performing as it should. I knew it was accurate as I ‘felt’ pregnant. Something I would never have been able to describe until I felt it, a weird internal inclination.
“Shit!” I thought. “How did this happen?!” Well, of course, I know how it happened as well as when, but in that moment, I didn’t want to believe it. I sat cupping my tea, wondering what to do now!
I text my not-husband to see if he’d be free for lunch. He replies, “why what’s up?!“. I have to reassure him nothing is wrong, that I just thought it would be nice (LIES! I was freaking out here!) He agrees and suggests 1130hrs. But that is a few hours away, I can’t sit around that long!
So off I go to do the food shop I’d planned to do already to try and distract myself from the racing thoughts inside my head. Shopping didn’t really work, I forgot half of the stuff on the list, despite the list being in my hand the whole time! I just couldn’t think straight!
My not-husband texts me, “Fred* is joining us for lunch, hope that’s okay“. WOAH! Not really no! I’m on my way to tell him we’re pregnant! My brain is even more crazy right now! I reply “Erm, no not really, but sure“. How else could I say it without giving too much away. So I drive to camp (he’s at work) and I wait in the cafe car park anxiously checking to see if he appears alone or with company. Considering how I will handle either eventuality when it arrives.
He’s alone…thank f*ck for that! Phew! I can breathe a little. But wait! That means I actually have to tell him!
So we sit there, I’m listening, nodding and “mhmm”ing, waiting for a natural pause so I can tell him. He’s rambling about work stuff so I just say “I have to show you something! “. On my phone screen is a photo of the positive test, he looks at it and blinks a few times.
“Yes darling, it is“, I reply, hands shaking as I hold the phone. The shakes were part anxiety, part adrenaline. It had all seemed so ‘in my head’, but now I had told him, it was real! This was our reality. This was happening. I was pregnant!
We both sat for a while, nervously laughing, a bit of disbelief on both sides; yet some kind of excitement thrown in the mix. We talk about various things and then try to refocus on our day ahead once we leave the café. He was due to fly and I didn’t want him distracted by this bombshell. I, on the other hand, had to go and get the shopping I didn’t get first time round! We parts ways and I tell him I love him. He replies, “I love you two, too“.
That sentence floods me with thoughts of, “oh my goodness, this is real now”, some level of, “shit, I can’t deal with this!” and a small hint of happiness.
It was still so new for me, I didn’t think I would ever be maternal or actually WANT a child. I’ve always had such self-doubt and felt like I could never be that motherly person. I didn’t feel like an adult capable of raising a child. The idea of having children filled me with dread 90% of the time. But I’m female and those hormonal, instinctive urges were there. The sound of the biological clock that I can no longer drown out. The whole thing confused me a lot if I’m honest, something changed that day. It weirdly felt right.
That scared me!
My not-husband had his reservations too, he’s ‘been there, done that’ and wasn’t keen on doing it again. He has teenagers and had started thinking about retirement plans once he leaves the military! This was yet another reason I was so nervous about telling him as I wasn’t entirely sure how he’d react.
When we met, he’d said, “no more kids and definitely no marriage” which at the time seemed pretty reasonable as we’d both been in long term relationships and didn’t fancy getting too deep again. But of course, things change!
Surprisingly he was actually fine when I told him and he quickly started planning. He had all the practical stuff like the house, cars, money, etc worked out whilst I was still flapping about being able to cope mentally. I have anxiety flare-ups from time to time, so the fear of having a baby was really quite real for me!
Three long days…
We spent the rest of Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday talking a lot; discussing how things were about to change drastically for us. My not-husband would swing from “I’m too old to start again” to, “Okay, so we need to change your car…”. I did feel he was getting way too far ahead of himself though; he’d mentally redesigned the girl’s rooms and thrown out furniture and built new stuff; all before I had got my head around the fact that I was actually pregnant. I loved his ideas for storage and so on, but it was too far ahead for me to think about. I couldn’t hear this!
I loved that it was coming from a nervous yet excited place within him, but I couldn’t help think he was moving a bit too quickly. I was so apprehensive about everything as it was only a faint line on a test (okay, 2 tests. I had to do another Friday to be sure it wasn’t all in my head!). But I’d not seen a doctor or had it confirmed by a professional. I read a lot of blogs and am fully aware of the devastating things that happen to women all the time; aware of what can be lost so easily!
Boom! There it is…!
Saturday morning I woke up, everything fine as normal. I’m training to be a counsellor at the moment and had a day of that ahead of me, so I was getting ready to go; slightly distracted by the thoughts of continued dread/excitement/nervousness. Then it all went wrong…
I felt some pain low down, kind of cramping but more sudden and severe. I’d nipped to the toilet, not thinking much of it. Women have cramps whilst pregnant all the time, but when I saw the blood I knew something was wrong. I told my not-husband and he started googling it; I think he was hoping to reassure me.
At first, I wasn’t completely sure as it was more like spotting. I tried to convince myself it’s all fine and that spotting is common. I had no choice but to carry on and go to my course, hoping for the best as I went.
During that morning I experienced a lot of pain and the loss was getting heavier by the hour. I knew then, that was it. It couldn’t be anything else. It was over and I had to adjust once again to a huge change.
We were at friend’s for the night, celebrating a super early Christmas get together as it was the only weekend we were all free. It’s an annual meet with my not-husband’s friends of many years.
If I’m honest, it was kind of nice having the distraction as I couldn’t overthink or dwell on what was happening. It wasn’t ideal though, in a group of 10 adults, I was the sober one, quiet and reserved trying to not let on what was happening. Downing paracetamol with my water, attempting to dull the pain of having a miscarriage.
There was still a glimmer of hope as I’ve known women bleed heavily and not miscarry, so I had to continue as if I was pregnant until I knew for sure. Deep down we knew what was happening and I didn’t ‘feel’ pregnant any more.
Monday morning I was given an appointment with the doctor immediately. She confirmed a miscarriage but was concerned by the pain I was having. She wanted to send me for a scan to check for any physical damage but the hospital refused as it was too early. I had to go home, rest and cross my fingers that there wasn’t anything else going on (ectopic, etc).
But how do you cope with something like this?!
The pain and bleeding stopped after a few days and my hormones settled down (eventually). The crazy brain, on the other hand, has been a different thing entirely! So many reminders and triggers you never think of before it happens to you.
My not-husband took a day or two to get his head around it, but in classic military style, he’d pushed it aside, soldiered on and vowed to deal with it another day. I explained it might not be that easy for me. Time would be a healer for sure in this instance. Coming to terms with it is hard enough without pregnancy hormones in the way. My body was as confused as my brain was for that week.
From a positive test on Wednesday to a doctor confirming a miscarriage on the following Monday. Our world had been flipped more than once and I was struggling to keep up. For the three days I knew I was pregnant, I was dealing with a sense of overwhelming responsibility for this life inside. I had to protect it in every way, it was fully reliant on me. One thing I think that made it harder after losing it.
“It’s not your fault, these things just happen”
They always say that, but for me, I am very logical and quite ’cause and effect’ when it comes to anything remotely scientific. I felt like I had failed as a woman. Failed to keep this thing alive. Failed to grow it. I questioned my every action, from the drinks I had at a wedding the day after we’d conceived, to the workout I’d done the week I found out. I really felt like I must have done something to make this happen.
I don’t believe in things happening without a cause but I do believe everything happens for a reason. Perhaps this wasn’t meant to be. Maybe it wasn’t the right time? Maybe I wasn’t ready yet? Perhaps it was a test? So many questions!!
Six weeks on…
Things are going well, yet the thoughts remain. I still feel I failed in some way. I had a bit of a crisis in the weeks after, wondering what my purpose was as it clearly wasn’t to be a mother. But I try to put those thoughts aside.
I continue to wonder what life would have been like. We went for a pre-Christmas lunch with my in-laws and that day hit me unexpectedly. We’d agreed to keep quiet until Christmas and that day would have been the day we told both our parents. Sadly we’d told them the sad news a couple of weeks before; both sides were devastated! My mother-in-law had even cried. As I sat there, eating my jacket potato I was thinking about how different this day would have been, had all been well. Everyone blissfully unaware of the chaos in my mind that day!
I see things and feel a sense of sadness. I look at other families and wonder if we’d have been lucky enough to have a boy or if we’d end up with three girls. I see cute baby items and know I’d have bought them yet now I have no need. I hug my pregnant best friend and pray baby arrives safely. Life is so so precious, no matter how many weeks it’s been in existence.
Time is an unknown quantity!
We may have only been 5 weeks pregnant and known that fact for 3 days, but it still existed and it still matters. It impacted my life harder than anything I’d been through before, aside from the loss of my dad.
Even that bought tears to me. It broke my heart to think that any child we would have had, would never know their grandad and my dad would never know his grandchild. I grew up without knowing either of my Grandads and I never dreamed the same would happen for our child.
I didn’t cry for our loss initially. I accepted it and felt some kind of guilt, coupled with a sense of invalidity; like I couldn’t cry about it because it was so early on and it wasn’t ‘a child’. Many women miscarry at 5 weeks without even knowing they’re pregnant. I felt guilty for feeling sad because there are women who experience the loss much further along than I was. I felt like I didn’t have the right to grieve as it didn’t exist for long. That, of course, is all rubbish as we all feel and experience things differently. Your feelings matter irrelevant of the circumstances. If it affects you, feel it, process it and gain strength from it.
It wasn’t until a week later when we scattered my dad’s ashes (yep full-on emotional month, with my not-husband’s Grandpa’s funeral to follow on Monday!) that I realised how much the miscarriage had affected me emotionally. That night my not-husband sent an incredibly heartfelt message to our family group chat, which sparked tears for all who read it.
My wonderful not-husband had no idea what he’d started! I couldn’t stop crying! I wasn’t upset that we’d scattered dad’s ashes as that was his wish, we’d fulfilled it just the way he’d asked and it was a beautiful, happy (but moving) occasion. I was crying because the reality was more raw than ever.
Firstly that my dad would never meet his grandchild (if we had one) and secondly, I was grieving the loss of our baby. 5 weeks may seem like nothing to most people but to us, it was everything. We were grieving the loss of its potential. The loss of how our lives could have been. The loss of the three days we’d spent mapping out the way our future might look.
I cried for hours…
The tears just kept falling out faster than I could stop them. I realised I’d bottled everything up until then but also the reality had hit me a little. The acceptance stage of grief. It hurt! I had to stop it somehow, so I opened a blank blog post and began writing. I wrote and wrote; every feeling inside me, ones I hadn’t acknowledged were even there. The pain I felt was real and I had to get it down into words. It’s something that will never be published but will be revisited. An extract of pure emotion in the moment!
Not a day has passed when I haven’t thought about it. I asked my not-husband one night, “do you think about what we lost?“. He doesn’t think like I do though, he’s super logical; in a, ‘it was here, now it’s not’ kinda way. He told me he occasionally thinks about it but to him, it’s gone and he’s moved on. I’m not entirely sure how true that is as I know he buries his emotions, but he knows I’m available to talk about it if he ever wants to.
For me, I still question why, I still wonder if it will happen again and how our future will look now.
Thank you for reading if you got this far. My hope is for just one person to feel that they’re not alone, or that they can understand what someone else is going through. By sharing our stories, we can help each other cope with these things in life.
I am one in four and this was my story.
Over and Out,
The Not Wife
*Names have been changed