“Are you sure you are okay?”
“Yes thanks. I am fine.” My head was still pretty groggy from the anesthesia and I just wanted the conversation to stop so I could rest my weariness.
“Here is our number. If you need to talk give us a call. Be aware that when the day your baby was meant to be born arrives, you may feel incredibly sad, and that is okay.”
The social worker was really a very kind lady, but I knew I would be fine.
It was only a few days earlier that we had received the news. We had brought Kalyra with us to see her new baby brother or sister on the ultrasound, the 12 week scan.
We were all excited by the new addition to our family. I was more excited to be moving out of the horrible first trimester lethargy and sickness into the glowing stage of pregnancy.
The warm gel was smeared on my tummy and the picture on the TV zapped into life. I held my breath in anticipation for the first glimpse at my sweet little bub.
But, all I could see was just an empty bubble. Hmm. Where’s the baby? I swear with Kalyra you could see her straight away. Maybe it is hiding somewhere.
But then the sonographer started asking me some weird questions and by her strained voice I knew something was up. I began to tremble.
“Is there a problem?
“I think there might be. I’ll have to examine you internally.”
After further examination she turned to me,
“I am so sorry but the baby didn’t develop.”
Heaving sobs burst out from my chest immediately.
“Why is Mummy crying, Daddy?” Kalyra was still waiting to see the baby on the screen and had no idea of the news we just heard. I had no idea what to tell her.
“Don’t worry Mummy. It will be okay.” A little pat on my shoulder and a kiss on the cheek.
“I don’t understand. How can there not be a baby there? I’ve been so sick, I’ve felt so pregnant.”
A million questions ran through my mind. Had I been delusional the whole time? Was I really not pregnant?
It must have been my fault. I had been so busy with everything, and feeling so sick that I didn’t really put much attention into the baby. I didn’t look after myself, I must have somehow done something for it to not grow. Guilt and blame overwhelmed me.
It was only the next day while sitting with the doctor, after a night of swollen tears, that I understood what had happened with my ‘blighted ovum.’
“Do you mean I was never pregnant?”
“There was definitely conception. But for whatever reason the baby just did not take and so it never developed.”
“So there was never a baby there?”
“Well no not really.”
“But, why did I feel so pregnant?”
“Because your placenta and womb still thought you were. They didn’t know what had happened. And because they are in control of the pregnancy hormones for the first trimester they kept producing the hormones thinking a baby was growing. It is not until the baby starts to develop more that it takes over the hormones. This is when women, who have a blighted ovum, miscarriage. This is when the placenta realizes there is nothing there and so it loses the womb.”
“So you mean there was never a baby?”
“No. But everything else was there.”
There was never a baby. My logical mind then took over. The mind that connects and makes sense of things.
How could I be upset about something that was never there? I’d be just grieving over something that was imagined and this is ridiculous. I really didn’t lose anything.
I knew from that moment on I’d be okay.
The mid-wife spoke to me before my surgery to have everything removed, as it was not willing to leave my body of it’s own accord.
“Are you okay?”
“Well yes. There wasn’t a baby there, so how can I be upset?”
“But still you had that thought there and were expecting it. You’ve been through some trauma.”
“I’ll be okay. Thank you”
There was of course a part of me that did experience some anger at how sick I had felt for 12 weeks and it was all for nothing. I did feel a little cheated, and very put out. Why couldn’t I have found out earlier to save myself the pain?
But, then I thought of my friend who had to give birth to a still born at 26 weeks, or other people I know who, no matter how hard they try cannot conceive.
I have one beautiful baby girl already. So, I felt crap for 12 weeks. Big deal. Their pain is so much worse. They have a right to complain. I did not.
And even though, I was terrified to be having surgery and be put under for the first time in my life, I thought of them and I knew I would be okay.
And even though the next week was filled with cramping pain as my uterus contracted back to normal size, I thought of them and knew my pain was nothing.
Life is always going to throw curve balls at you. Great pain will enter into your life in various forms, it is how we respond to these that determines our future. We can either let that pain and grief overwhelm and consume us, preventing us from moving forward in life and keeping us trapped in our suffering.
Or, we can find ways to face the pain, and then look for some empowering ways to climb over that mountain so our lives can move forward in a more powerful way.
I don’t want this post to ever belittle the pain that someone else may experience in having a miscarriage, because each experience is different. This was just how I was able to deal with it and move forward.
I’ve thought about April 5 for several weeks now knowing that today I could have been in the delivery room going through unimaginable real pain to give birth to our new baby. But, knowing there was never a baby there makes me look at it as just another day that could have been. I only think how nice it would be because now my pregnancy- the one that now has feet kicking my belly– would be over.
Today, I was meant to have a baby that never was.
Today, I’ll remember all of those who really have lost babies, or can’t have them, and I’ll grieve for them.