Until the age of 26 (last year), I was adamant I did not want children. I’m a very proud aunty to my brother’s little girl who is the center of my life and I always felt that was more than enough. But last year, when I found myself getting moony over my friends’ babies, I started thinking, what if?
When I finally told my husband I wanted to try to have a child, he was shocked. Earlier in our relationship, he was quite open about wanting a family someday, but my constant shut down of any conversation about us having a family of our own soon turned him off to the idea. He started saying “if” instead of “when” and openly admitted he was no longer sure if it was something he wanted.
But after discussing and deciding that we both have good jobs, earn a decent wage, feel settled and secure, and are still totally in love in our three-and-a-half-year-old marriage, we decided to go for it.
I got pregnant at the 3rd month of trying. We were so happy—if a little anxious.(We had “WHAT ARE WE DOING!!??? moments every hour).
It was an extremely emotional time for me. I am a very emotional person as it is, but add to that pregnancy hormones and the uncertainty of what is happening to my body, plus the worry about being a terrible mother. I cried at anything and everything and turned into a screaming banshee for about a week and this was at only 5-6 weeks along. What would the other seven-ish months be like!?
Unfortunately, we wouldn’t find out.
Just about to go into my seventh week, I started bleeding. I was supposed to be at work, but visited my GP first thing in the morning. He prodded my tummy, asked me a few questions about my diet, activity level, pre-natal vitamins I had been taking, then comfortingly told me that at this point he couldn’t tell me what was happening. He said that it isn’t normal to bleed during pregnancy but it’s very common, and that I was too early to have a scan to see what was happening. If I was losing it, he said, I couldn’t do anything to stop it and it’s not my fault. He advised me to go home, go back to bed and try not to worry about it. He told me to “see what happens,” and if the pain or bleeding got more intense, to contact him again and take another test after the weekend. And if the test turned out to be negative, it was over. If it came back positive, and I’d stopped bleeding, then I didn’t need to worry.
To say I was upset is a complete understatement. I hope I’m not the only one to think about what their embryo will become, or who they will look like. Will they have my red hair? Will my husband teach them to play guitar? I drove home and called my husband, who could barely understand me. He was upset and probably cried, I don’t know. I was a mess. All I wanted was my mum to sit and hug me. That was out of the question though, as we agreed not to tell anyone. Instead, I went home and cried. A lot.
I got my confirmation that it was over, and I took it really hard. I stopped going to the gym, stopped visiting friends, stopped cooking. I was angry all the time at work and I struggled with my faith.
The hardest thing about it was finally knowing how much this meant to me, how happy the thought of being a mother made me. So for two months, I had these negative thoughts going around in my mind and no one to pull me out of the tornado.
Anyway, we decided not to stop trying and I “got straight back on the horse” (pardon the expression). My first period after that didn’t come for seven weeks (yet another kick in the teeth), so I had some tests just to check that everything was OK. It was and my body was soon back to normal.
How exciting then that I didn’t get my next period! I cried with happiness. I was on holiday in Spain with family and as my husband was at home, I phoned him to tell him our suspicions were correct. That we were going to be parents. Woo! We agreed we weren’t as scared this time as we didn’t have the same initial fears as we’d been through it before. My body felt much the same as last time (constant nausea, boobs swollen and painful, dizziness, etc.), so that was no longer new. I struggled to keep the smile off my face as I was lying in the sun by the pool.
The pool, which I sat bobbing about in with a family member, was where I got an excruciating period pain that felt like a knife stabbing my lower abdomen. In my head, I was thinking, Oh no! not again. Please God, not again. I can’t cope. Sure enough, two hours later I was bleeding again. Why did I have to be in Spain with this happening? Why is this even happening? I had four days of my holiday left, so I just had to ride it out and not let on to my family. I didn’t tell my husband at first either, so I spent two days like that. I genuinely thought it would be OK this time—that I was still going to be a mom.
I didn’t feel the same despair as last time. I could go out in public and not break down. Google had told me that although miscarriages are normal in early pregnancy, it rarely happens twice and most women go on to have successful pregnancies. Including me, right? Wrong.
My husband picked me up from the airport. We went out to lunch, all the while this huge elephant in the room followed us around. As soon as I got home, I did a test. One pink line. I felt numb. I couldn’t cry. I still can’t cry. Am I OK with it? Am I in denial? I can’t tell. Either way, nobody explains that this will feel like you’re losing a loved one, that you grieve a life that never was.
Everybody’s experience is different and yet thousands of women have had the same experience. Doctors don’t know what causes it. They don’t investigate recurrent miscarriages until your third one. Your partner likely doesn’t feel the same as you, as they don’t feel physically different. Who do you go to for support when you need more than just cold, generic advice?
I’m afraid that so far, this story doesn’t have a happy ending, but I hope reading my story has given a little comfort to those of you who have been through something similar. It has certainly helped me to get it out.
Hannah Leighton is a 27-year-old UK married girl and a devoted aunty to one. She likes tattoos, dry stone walls and Disney. She dislikes sappy boy-bands and slow drivers.
(Image via Shutterstock)