One of the main reasons why I started this blog was because of our experience of losing a baby last year. It broke me as a person. I’ve had my fair share of loss, both my parents are now dead. My father died of cancer when I was 20 and my mother of cancer when I was 28. I was young and they were young and I miss them everyday. It isn’t fair, but I’m also aware that there are other people who lose their entire families in natural disasters, random car crashes or wars…but that’s the sort of person I compare myself to, that’s not something most people do. I’ve gotten used to a certain amount of doing stuff on my own, making big decisions and getting through life’s (normal) ups and downs without my parents for support. Then we lost Luna, our 2nd baby, our 5th pregnancy, in January last year. The chasm of grief that opened up beneath me was uncomprehendable. After delivering her at 18.5 weeks, I lost my voice for 3 days. I had no words left. My husband and I were mentally and physically exhausted. And I had no parents to help me through this disaster. What I’d lost, became even more complex. I wanted my family, but I couldn’t have them.
So, we pulled on other levers. The hospital had amazing staff and a specialist bereavement midwife who came to our house every week to check on us. I called one of the support charities and they put me in touch with a woman who had lost a baby with the same complications as Luna (she had Turner’s Syndrome). I called and spoke to someone at Child Bereavement UK, and we are still seeing one of their counselors every month. More recently, we got in touch with SANDS and I started seeing a separate therapist on my own, to help me process all this new grief, stirred up by the loss of Luna. These have all been really helpful things to do.
We have been working hard to bring ourselves back from the brink. I know I was close to a nervous breakdown last summer. I was having regular panic attacks and disturbing dreams, PTSD was mentioned. It’s been complex and exhausting, but finally, we felt we were ready to give it another try. It took a few months, but I did eventually get pregnant again. We felt a mixture of joy, relief, apprehension and doubt. I mentioned above that Luna was our 2nd baby, our 5th pregnancy. I’ve miscarried before, all of them early, all of them different. So not only were we nervous about the possibility of something like what happened to Luna, happening again (although another Turner’s outcome is highly improbable. It’s not hereditary or linked to the mothers age, it’s random and can happen to anyone. But we wouldn’t be exempt from any of the other things that can, and do go wrong), we had the nervousness of people who have experienced miscarriages before. We knew that just because we make it to the 12 week scan, without bleeding, doesn’t mean that there will be a heartbeat or a healthy looking baby to celebrate. Because of our history, we can have early scans, they call these ‘reassurance’ scans. So last week, at 8 weeks pregnant, we had one of these scans. We weren’t reassured, there wasn’t heartbeat. The baby had died probably within 24 hours of the scan, as the measurements showed that my dates were accurate, I was 8 weeks pregnant and the baby was 8 weeks in size. We knew within seconds of the scan starting that something was wrong. We’re getting good at spotting the signs: the quietness of the sonographer, the shifting of the monitor slightly away from you, the slight frown on the technicians face. If there’s a heartbeat, they tell you that straight away. They know why you’re there, this isn’t a game, if they can let you expell the breath you are holding, they tell you, immediately. So both my husband and I began to cry before she even said the words ‘I’m sorry, but there isn’t a heartbeat. I’m so sorry.’.
Disaster has struck again. We were initially dumbfounded and speechless, but then the creeping feeling of ‘oh yes, THIS, I recognise THIS awful feeling, I know THIS.’ We are getting used to it. How horrendous is that? It doesn’t make it any easier, the feeling is still terrible, we don’t feel less…we just are used to feeling bereft.
And yet again, I want, I need my mum. I need to be held and allowed to scream and cry, I need food cooked for me and our 4 year old son looked after, while we try to pieces ourselves back together again. But I can’t have that, so then what do I do? I’m not really sure.