Heading into the new year, everyone’s busy talking about their highlights of the past 12 months. Their goals for the next year. What they want to achieve and how a new year signals new adventures, opportunities and challenges.
Just over a week ago, I was on the same page. Busy deciding what I wanted to do with my 2018.
After getting married, spending a month in Europe on our honeymoon, buying a block of land to build our new home on and moving halfway across the state, 2017 had been a big year for us. The biggest yet.
But 2018 was going to be even bigger. I was pregnant, with our baby due in August. We were so incredibly excited. It felt like life had just fallen together perfectly and we were happy. So happy.
We’d told our families on Christmas Day and Boxing Day, as well as some of our closest friends. Most weren’t too surprised – it turns out me staying completely sober on Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve was a pretty obvious sign something was up.
I’d bought a few little bits and pieces. Nothing over the top, but I was excited and loved the fact I could finally buy tiny jump suits and leggings for my own baby – not as a gift for someone else’s.
We knew there were risks. It’s pretty much the first thing your doctor tells you once they determine you’re pregnant, but I was young, healthy, fell pregnant really quickly and did all the right things. Plenty of other women have perfectly healthy first pregnancies – so why shouldn’t I?
In our case, however, I guess it wasn’t meant to be.
On Wednesday, the 3rd of January, I woke up at 3.30am with excruciating stomach pains. I was just over eight weeks pregnant and had just had an internal ultrasound the afternoon before. I’d put the mild aches earlier that evening down to this invasive procedure and hoped they would eventually go away.
When I woke up, I thought the pressure I was feeling was from a full bladder. I stood up to go to the toilet when I felt something drop, like a rock in my stomach. It was at that moment I knew what had just happened.
I’d had a miscarriage.
In all honesty, I’d been trying to prepare myself for that moment. In the days leading up to that morning, I’d told myself numerous times, “You’ll probably lose this baby”. I’d been bleeding lightly for almost a week at that stage and I thought if I convinced myself that my pregnancy wasn’t going to last, it wouldn’t be such a shock if it did happen.
In hindsight, I don’t actually think anything could have prepared me for that moment. I remember calling out to my husband from the bathroom and, when he got there, saying to him over and over again somewhat hysterically, “I didn’t think it would actually happen”.
He put me in the shower and tried to calm me down, whilst being totally shattered himself. It was one of the most awful things we’ve ever experienced.
I’m not going to throw a bunch of statistics in your face about miscarriage. You could read a dozen different sources and come up with just as many conflicting details about the chances of losing a baby in the first trimester. I know that a large percentage of women will endure a miscarriage in their lives.
I know this not only from what I’ve read, but because it’s something people tell you when they find out you’ve just experienced yourself and tell you “Lots of women have miscarriages.” I know they’re just trying to make you feel better and I appreciate that. The fact is every single woman could have a similar experience to mine, and many go through so much more.
But it doesn’t make what we went through any less tough.
I’m angry. I’m frustrated. I’m disappointed. I’m impatient. And I’m sad.
Physically, the past week has been pretty miserable. I felt pretty betrayed by my body, even though I know – scientifically speaking – it just did what was best for us all.
Emotionally, I thought I was ok. I was upset, obviously, but within 24 hours I thought I’d cried all I was going to cry, and was going to be ok.
I know I’m going to be ok, but I’m also learning it’s going to take a little longer than I expected. One moment I’m fine, and the next I’m holding back tears because I’ve seen a lady with her newborn baby, or an ad for baby clothes has shown up in my newsfeed.
On Monday, a package with baby clothes arrived in the mail and as much as I tried to laugh it off, holding up these tiny little garments knowing I currently have zero use for them was really hard.
I’ve been feeling really empty, both in a physical and emotional sense. I mean, I’ve gone from knowing there was something growing inside of me that was going to be our child, and now every morning I wake up, I have to remind myself it’s not there anymore. I have to remind myself I can now eat poached eggs, or make myself a ham sandwich.
As much as I’m excited to fall pregnant for a second time, I’m also a little terrified knowing I will have to go through those first few months again and will have no control over what will happen. I’d love to think next time will be better, but there are no guarantees.
I guess I just thought it would never happen to me.
Miscarriage is still a bit of a taboo subject, right along with periods, abortions and other ‘women’s business’ we’ve been taught not to talk about in public. We’re told we shouldn’t even tell anyone we’re pregnant until those first 12 weeks have passed, as though having a miscarriage is a shameful thing we should keep a secret and not admit to anyone else.
I wish people would talk about it more. I wish there weren’t any secrets, or need to hide one of the most exciting times in our lives out of fear something could go wrong. In our case, something did go wrong and I am so thankful we told the people we love, and who love us, so that they could support us and grieve with us when we needed it most.
We are incredibly lucky to be surrounded by amazing family and friends. I am blessed to know women who have also experienced miscarriage and have been willing to share their own stories, feelings and advice. And those who can’t relate have been there with hugs, flowers, fresh juice and sweet things to eat – all of the things that have made me feel a tiny bit better about life.
It’s also important to remember that this isn’t only about me. My wonderful husband has been my rock, despite the fact this has been hard on him too. If anything, this time in our lives has brought us closer together and made our relationship stronger than ever. I can’t even imagine going through something like this without him there to hold me up.
So whilst others have been starting fresh in 2018, for us it’s been a really shitty start to the year. Instead, we’re taking it one day at a time and just appreciating all the good in our lives. I still like to think I’ll become a mum this year, but I’m learning a lot about patience too.
If you’ve had a miscarriage and don’t want to talk about it, that’s completely ok. It is such a personal experience and something not everyone wants to talk about. But if you do want to talk about it, please – speak up. Scream it from the rooftops if you need to. Talking about this time in my life, and writing this blog post, has been my own form of therapy, but I like to think sharing my story might help others too one day.
If you feel like sharing your story, please don’t hesitate to write a comment below, or if you’d prefer to send me a message, my email is email@example.com. I’d love to hear from you.