Writing by anonymous // photograph by Alexander Krivitskiy
At 8 weeks pregnant, I knew what the odds were, of someone my age (40) and with my history (endometriosis), actually having a viable pregnancy. But since finding out and subsequently seeing and hearing the flickering of this tiny being’s heart, I felt attached and maternal. An almost foreign concept. Sure, I adore my niece and nephew and have no issues relating to and getting along with most kids. In fact I attract them, maybe they see the ridiculous big kid in me that I try so hard to hide from the sensible adult world.
When I discovered I was pregnant, I dared not breathe. I endured the waves of nausea, the hilarious bacon cravings, the going to bed before Nanna o’clock most nights. I analysed my body. Being so very body aware, every little change I studied, wondering what lay ahead. I was fascinated and so very scared.
When the bleeding started it was light. I scoured the internet, early pregnancy bleeding was common. I didn’t feel any better. By the second day, it intensified a little more and I felt my anxiety rising. I wanted to bury my head under the doona, to block out my reality. I knew deep down that things were changing.
On day three (Saturday), along with the bleeding I now had small period like cramps. Everything felt wrong. I debated with myself for a good hour, then drove alone to the hospital emergency department. The hospital staff were amazing. I felt cocooned in an supportive environment – being looked out for by people who genuinely cared.
When the radiologist could find no heartbeat, I knew I’d been right to trust my body.
It was all I could do to get back in my car and make it home. I felt like I could tear apart at the seams at any moment, and it would unleash the torrent of emotion within.
It wasn’t until I made it back home that I allowed myself to crack.
Then it was a waiting game.
On Sunday, after breakfast at a local cafe, we walked along the beach, talking, joking, and existing. He wanted to be there with me, I wanted it to be done with and couldn’t tell him no. I collected smooth sea glass as I replayed all the conversations I’d had when I first got pregnant. My partner at the time had shouted at me – throwing furniture – telling me how I’d be ruining HIS life, HIS prospects. The conversation with my little sister who told me in no uncertain terms that I was stupid and selfish and how terrible it would be if I had a baby. The amazing support from my colleagues, who I’d had to tell as I was experiencing all day sickness. The love from one of my best friends who had patiently listened to all my thoughts and fears.
The pain was slowly ramping up and eventually I knew I needed to be back home. We debated going back to the hospital, I wasn’t sure I was strong enough for what lay ahead.
I felt like I was having contractions, 5 minutes apart. For a good two hours. Agonising. Excruciating. I was on all fours, breathing through the waves of pain. Just wanting it to be over.
What happened next, I will never forget. I got up to go to the toilet, I felt everything slide out of me and it was gone. Part of me was relieved it was all over, part of me was horrified at what was in the toilet, the rest of me just wanted to sleep.
I sobbed, feeling both utter sadness and relief.
Almost immediately things eased and just felt like normal period cramps again.
My little one, even though I never got to hold you in my arms, it was my pleasure to have held you within my body. I’m sorry that things didn’t work out but I have no regrets.
In the weeks afterwards, I shared what I’d written, above, on Facebook and was overwhelmed by the messages not only of support, but of people sharing their own experiences of miscarriage that they’d never shared before. It was truly something else. It made me realise how many people go through this experience and we just don’t talk about it. Like death really, it’s one of our most taboo topics.
The statistics show that up to one in five women who know they are pregnant, will have a miscarriage before 20 weeks. That’s a lot of people who are affected by something our society does not want to talk about. I processed my own experience with the help of some intense therapy. I can imagine there are many people out there who don’t even get to talk about their experiences, let alone process it properly and it hurts my heart to think that we don’t discuss such important issues.