Pregnancy after miscarriage: I was sure I'd lost you
Updated: Jul 24, 2021
Content note: This post talks about infertility and miscarriage. If you're not in a place to read this right now, you're welcome back any time you feel up to it.
Early pregnancy is an anxious time for most of us, but when you've spent the equivalent of a house deposit on physically and mentally gruelling IVF treatment, the stakes seem positively altitudinal. So if you're lucky enough to conceive again, cue months-long sense of impending doom.
After having our perfect Ivy, Alex and I tried for number two about 18 months later. I was very lucky to fall pregnant on our first embryo transfer but had a miscarriage at about 8 weeks. We then had a failed attempt the following month and conceived our darling Luca the month after that.
At exactly 8 weeks again, I had a huge bleed in the middle of the night which left a trail from our bed to the bathroom in what can only be described as crime scene-esque. With that much blood, we were convinced she was gone. It was 2am Sunday morning and we had to wait until noon for a scan to ensure it was a 'complete miscarriage'.
My scan was performed by a heavily pregnant, lovely Obstetrician who I'd never met. It went something like this:
Her: "Well I don't know what that was that came out with all that blood, but there's your baby, and there's its nice, strong heartbeat."
Me: "FUCK OFF"
Me again: "I'm sorry for swearing, but what?"
Her: "That's ok, that's actually a perfectly reasonable response."
We were incredibly lucky. Our sweet angel unicorn rainbow baby, Luca, arrived several months later. But in those awful hours between the bleed and the scan, I wrote this:
In the early hours, for the second time in twice as many months, I feel a lifetime of love slip out of me in a flash of bright crimson.
My back and heart ache as I flush you away like mere waste.
You were so wanted, and we went through so much to bring you here.
I’m so sorry I couldn’t hold onto you. When the bleeding eases, I go back to bed knowing you’re gone.
I have no idea what to do next. Try to sleep? Call someone? Pour a stiff drink then sit in the dark and cry? But what if by some miracle you’re still in there? I know you’re not. And then your 2-year-old sister calls out in the dark, and I bring her into bed with us.
She nuzzles in and starts playing with my hair, as she always does to soothe herself to sleep. I cling onto her - my precious baby - the one that must have been 'meant to be'. After a while she is asleep but restless. Snuffling, pulling my hair, and kneeing my aching lower back. I roll over, breathe her in, and kiss her soft cheek as tears stream down mine. And I think, this is Motherhood.
My heart is smashed into tiny fragments and yet, somehow, it remains so full.