Miscarriage: A Personal Story
Talking openly about the confusion and heartbreak of a miscarriage can help navigate the healing process. For many, it is a positive step forward.
I’ll never forget the joy when I found out that I was pregnant with my third baby. It was a sudden decision to have another child. A couple of years shy of forty, I had an overwhelming urge to complete my family. My two children were getting older and I felt convinced that we were missing a family member. I was determined we should be a family of five, not four.
My husband didn’t share my feelings and was perfectly content with our family just the way we were. But he was also smart enough not to try and stop me on what became a very focused crusade to bring a third baby into the world and close the chapter on my childbearing years.
I had already had two problem-free pregnancies and two beautiful children. I felt almost arrogant knowing that I could quickly fall pregnant and deliver healthy babies. Falling pregnant with baby number three all went to plan and I was on my way to my dream family. I didn’t hesitate to tell everyone that I was pregnant immediately after I found out and celebrated with a deep sense of contentment that life was rewarding me with all that I wanted.
I was startled when at 12 weeks I went to the bathroom and found that I had spotted blood. My 9 week scan had not shown any cause for concern. My heart sank, as somewhere, somehow I knew that the spotting wasn’t right. A small, frail, inner voice told me that spotting can happen and that a healthy baby can still be born. However, the voice that shouted at me won over, telling me that this baby was not going to be. We had guests in the house at the time and I excused myself, whispered to my husband that I was bleeding and drove to the hospital in a state of nervous shock. I was living in Italy at that time and even though I spoke the language, I felt culturally out of my comfort zone with no family members around to support me.
Once at the hospital I was treated quickly. However, on examination by transvaginal ultrasound the doctor very quickly announced that there was no heartbeat and that my baby had died. There were no soft words, no one beside me; just the deep realisation of what all woman fear. I had lost my baby. The shock hit me hard. I was disorientated and had no idea what the miscarriage would involve. So many questions ran through my head: Why me? What had I done wrong? Why did my baby die? Was it a girl or a boy? Who was this tiny beginning of a life going to be?
I mumbled to the doctor, “What happens next?”
I managed to drive home shell-shocked with the news that the baby had died at around 10 weeks, and I was to wait until my miscarriage occurred naturally. The option of a D&C (dilation and curettage) would be available if nature didn’t take its course. There were so many unanswered questions: How long should I wait? Will it hurt? What would come out of me?
I arrived home to my hopeful husband waiting at the door, only for me to explain that it was over, there would be no baby and I had to wait until I had a natural miscarriage, whatever that would involve. I lashed out at him; I told him he never wanted a third baby anyway. I was angry and hurt but we finally found each other and cried and said goodbye to the baby we both had anticipated joining our family.
Three days went by in a daze and I started to worry. It was my son’s birthday and I made him a cake and sang happy birthday, smiling on the outside and trying to be brave. Behind the smile, however, my heart was shattered into pieces and I was filled with anguish. I felt sick carrying around such sadness, waiting and wanting to be cleansed to move on and leave the devastation behind.
The children were at school and my husband at work when I started having painful contractions. I lay in bed and made numerous trips to the bathroom, but never dared to look at what was happening. My husband didn’t understand when he came home; he patted my head and then left me alone. It went on for the next three days. I never felt so alone or such devastating sadness. I watched my children with renewed wonder and rejoiced that I had them. I couldn’t fathom what it would feel like if this had been my first pregnancy.
I finally ended back in the hospital two weeks later as although I had stopped heavy bleeding, there was a feeling of discomfort and I was still spotting. The doctor was rough and laid me on the table impatiently. He seemed irritated with me when I dared to ask for a D&C. Ignoring me, he pulled a large blood clot from inside me and held it up and showed it to me. He seemed proud to get to the bottom of the problem and didn’t notice I was shaking. Glancing up, I questioned why he would want to show me what I was miscarrying. I tried to be strong but felt tears trickle down my cheeks. He demanded gruffly if I had eaten that morning. He had finally formed his opinion that I should have an immediate D&C, never once referring to my initial suggestion.
The D&C was a very positive experience. When I woke up after the procedure, I felt that at least physically it was over. The beloved little soul who struggled to develop was gone from my body and now I just had to heal my mind.
The impact of the miscarriage shook me and it shook my marriage. It was a difficult time where I was shocked that I wasn’t in control of all elements of my life. I have gone on to learn this lesson in other ways but my miscarriage was my initiation into not being able to control everything, even if I continue to try! As time passed I sadly experienced another failed pregnancy. But after having had some time to gain perspective, I accepted that my family of four was just perfect.
I now look back and realise that in all the confusion and pain, a number of very positive things also occurred. At the time of my first miscarriage, I was an expat and I had an amazing community of woman around me who were my family and were there for me. I realised that I was strong and could soldier on during tough times. I dug deep inside me and stayed strong for both my family and myself. All of these helped define me as the woman I pride myself on being today. A marriage will have hard times in it but the sign of a good marriage is our ability to adapt and deal with a crisis. Today my marriage is stronger after the difficult times that my husband and I went through together.
If you would like to share your story with other GeoBaby Mums, then please refer to our Pregnancy Loss Support Group thread. You can also refer to our list of recommended doctors, therapists, support groups, and counsellors in Hong Kong. Remember, you are not alone!