I really umm’d and aah’d (is that even how you write it?!) about posting this. But here goes…
We lost a baby.
It was last July, 15 months ago.
And it was bloody awful.
I’m writing about it because I noticed that my Facebook and Twitter feed this week has been full of posts about Baby Loss Awareness Week.
My wife and I didn’t really tell many people about her miscarriage, so writing this now feels like a very alien thing to be doing.
And, I should say from the off, our situation was our situation; I can’t speak for anyone else, nor would I ever try to do so.
But there was one thing I realised as a result of the unwanted experience:
Nobody talks about miscarriage.
It was the single most traumatic thing my wife and I have experienced together, yet it felt like it was an experience that should be undertaken ‘behind closed doors’.
My wife rang me when I was at work (this was 11 weeks into her pregnancy) to say that something wasn’t right. I’m an optimist, but even I sensed from her tone that this seemed serious. That night we knew we had to go to A&E… but nobody knew she was pregnant. What would we do with the other two kids?
We rang a close friend who came round to look after them and we went to A&E. The doctor we saw was amazing, although from her tone of voice and the way she was speaking we both suspected that there was a very good chance that my wife was suffering a miscarriage.
She told us to return the next day if there were any more signs of discomfort.
And it became very obvious during the night that this wasn’t going to be the outcome we wanted.
I had NO IDEA what a physical trauma it would be for my wife. Perhaps I was naïve? I don’t know. But watching her go through the physical side of the miscarriage was heart-wrenching.
The next morning at 6am I rang my mum because we needed to go to hospital urgently. It was the most awful phone call to make as she had no idea we were expecting. In the space of thirty seconds I had to effectively tell her that she was due to have another grandchild on the way… but we were losing the baby.
I uttered the words (quietly) “I think she’s having a miscarriage”.
I hadn’t verbalised it until that point.
I burst into tears.
(Over a year on and I can feel myself getting emotional about it now).
I hadn’t shed a single tear until that moment. I wanted to be ‘strong’ (whatever that means) for my wife. Saying the words though… that made it real.
By the time we were in hospital we 100% knew what had happened. They couldn’t get us in for a scan to confirm the miscarriage so we booked a private scan as we simply couldn’t wait. We just needed to know.
Watching my wife lie down as the sonographer searched for something we knew she wouldn’t find made us both incredibly emotional. But, at last, we knew.
God, it was shit. Really shit.
We didn’t want to tell anyone but then decided to tell our close family. I set up a whatsapp group entitled ‘Some news’. My brother-in-law, unwittingly saw the group and whilst I was composing the message got in there first with “You’re expecting?!?!”
Everything had changed in the space of 24 hours.
As soon as you see that plus sign on the pregnancy stick, you immediately become 110% emotionally invested and attached to your unborn baby. Even knowing the risks of pregnancy, you can’t help but let your mind run wild with thoughts of the gender, names and what he or she will look like.
It’s human nature.
A few weeks earlier my wife and I were stood, arm in arm, at a Take That concert just hours after finding out she was pregnant.
Gary Barlow was singing:
“Today this could be the greatest day of our lives”…
And as cheesy as it sounds, we swayed arm in arm, with our amazing secret that we’d just found out, feeling like it really was the greatest day.
Now we were sat in my car. Crying. Feeling like there was nobody to share the sadness with.
So I’ll say it again:
Nobody talks about miscarriage.
It’s a solo venture.
I don’t claim to be a statistician, but the one that kept popping up is that one in four pregnancies end in miscarriage.
This isn’t unusual.
It isn’t taboo.
The only thing that is strange about it is the silence that surrounds it.
Some people don’t like to talk about things, especially of such a personal nature.
But perhaps it would be better to create a society, in which there is more openness around the subject of miscarriage for those that do want to.
We have been very blessed since then to have welcomed Baby Honey into our lives. I am very aware that everyone’s experiences are vastly different and, as such, I can only speak from my perspective.
This was a pre-12 week loss, the fact that we hadn’t announced the pregnancy meant we didn’t have to tell everyone what had happened, or face the inevitable questions from people weeks down the line who hadn’t found out but wanted to see how mum and baby were getting on.
I just wanted to write this because it would seem strange to be thinking how ‘nobody talks’ about it and then not talk about it myself.
So big love to everyone; especially those who have been or are going through anything similar.
PS Next blog will be slightly more upbeat…!