Haven’t written in a while because it’s been a hard week. As you all knew, hubby and I let the news of our pregnancy out pretty fast. It is at times like this that feels a bit like it was the wrong, or hasty, thing to do. Celebrating with people was great but when the grieving comes I think it might have been easier alone. This is how I’m getting it out. It’s hard to write, but easier than speaking.
Going back a week and a half: everything was fine. We had been to the Piece of Mind exhibition and talked with a lot of people, all who were excited by our news, had stories of their own, and were great in calming any nerves.
Everything was fine, and then it wasn’t. I started bleeding. I panicked.
Light bleeding in early pregnancy is pretty normal. It can be implantation bleeding, it can be leftover hormones that would otherwise be cueing a woman’s period, it can be just the body doing weird things. Often it is nothing to be concerned about at all. The stats say that 20-40% of pregnant women will have some bleeding (spotting – light bleeding) in the first trimester and 50% of these will go on to have perfectly normal healthy babies. I was panicking because I had no idea what was going on and how much bleeding was light bleeding – that is not something the Internet answers were often. I cried and worried and lay in bed for most of two days. By the third day I had got to a stage somewhere between giving up completely and accepting the fact there was nothing I could do anyway and it was probably fine. I had called my GP mother and she had calmed me, a lovely woman in our homegroup had been a midwife and said to get in contact with a doctor if I was still bleeding on the third day, and we had called the Early Pregnancy clinic in Ninewells Hospital. They had given me one thing to do and three options depending on the result.
I was to take another pregnancy test in 7-10 days. If I was still bleeding and it was positive then I was to call them again and they’d check me out. If the bleeding stopped and it was positive then yay – everything is likely fine, and just continue to midwife appointment that was already booked for 11th May. If the test was negative that meant .. well that my pregnancy was no more, that there would be no baby, that it had been a early (very early miscarriage) or a chemical pregnancy (meaning conception but nothing more). This calmed me enough to get through the week.
Symptoms I had felt before had disappeared but I constantly read information telling me that pregnancy symptoms often faded in and out and some women didn’t have them at all. So I waited and when I felt a little sick or bloated I felt some comfort in the idea that maybe things were still OK. I was still terrified though. I worried about what I would do, what we would tell people, the looks I would see on peoples’ faces. I didn’t know what to do or how to feel. I was caught between acting as if we were still OK and trying to get over the loss of my child.
Yesterday, I took the pregnancy test again not knowing what I was expecting. Part of me thought that I would look down and see that I was still pregnant, still expecting a Christmas baby. The other half dreaded looking down at all.
I picked it up and read “Not Pregnant” and froze. I set into dealing with it (my process, the same one used for the stupid scam earlier that week), cleaned up the box and wrappers, etc and then picked up the test again. It was only when my husband walked down the hall towards me that I really took it in. I shook my head and he knew. I went straight past him, not knowing what to say, and got into bed.
There were a few times I looked up the rare times tests have been wrong, women have had babies despite doctors telling them they’re not pregnant, when they have bled the entire way through their pregnancy for no good reason. But I knew that wasn’t me. My mother (GP) also let me know that due to particularly sensitive tests nowadays, more women notice this stuff happening. 50 years ago a woman may have just assumed she had a light period a few days late, she wouldn’t have known she was pregnant at all, and possibly only found out at 5/6 weeks when morning sickness really set in. This may well change how I check from now on. Maybe I’ll wait a lot longer, just to save myself the heartache.. maybe not.
I went back to dealing with it. Deleting Facebook conversations and announcements, deleting pregnancy apps, getting rid of pictures that might trick me into hoping it wasn’t true. When hubby came into the room and sat with me as I cried I let go a little. Then I wiped away the tears and went back to dealing with it. It might sound heartless but I didn’t, don’t, know how else to act. We rang our respective parents to let them know, cried after each call, and then updated Facebook.
That was that.
Right now, I don’t know if I’m ever going to be able to “talk about it”. What would I say? There is a strange part of me that needs a name for “it” because it feels like it was a dream without a name. Like nothing happened, nothing existed, and I don’t think I’m OK with that either. Pascal means Easter and that might be the way I refer to the whole situation. Science can tell me it wasn’t right from the start but that doesn’t help anything when you’ve already pictured pushing a child on a swing, or choosing a school. Science does not help deal with grief. I have a lot of respect for science but on this occasion it is just a list of stats and biology that tells me what happened, but not who happened.
This may seem a stupid time but it has really reminded me why I hate to see a woman go through the process of abortion. That woman will always have the memory of when she found out, the time of year, she will always have the approximate due date it would have been born, she will always remember how old it would have been years down the line. Abortion might take away the life growing within a woman, but it leaves a gap where a life would have been. It’s this that scares me most: that 10 years down the line Christmas will still be the time I could’ve been celebrating a birthday. Easter will still be the time I celebrated a pregnancy only to lose it.
Yet, I feel somehow stupid for not knowing sooner, for getting my hopes up, for telling people, for having conversations about nappies (diapers) and how to celebrate Christmas. None of these things I could’ve changed really, it was not in my nature to keep secrets. But it has made me more cautious and sceptical and I hate that. Being worried and disappointed to the extreme multiple times in one week leaves a mark and I now find it hard to believe that my dreams might come true.
I have decided to leave the Baby Journal up. It is the one area that I did not delete immediately because it is the story of Paschal. It is my story of finding out, dreaming, planning, and sharing my life. Maybe this will help someone else going through something similar. I don’t know. Maybe it will just be a chapter in the stories of many other children coming into my life.