Eve's story - miscarriage and loss
So there I was, finally pregnant after wanting it to happen for so long. My partner and I had recently seen the heartbeat so everything was ‘in the bag’ so to speak. I was worried about telling work and didn’t know how they were going to take it. I was in a busy job, one they probably didn’t have a replacement for before the end of the year. But it was great news and I was so happy.
We went in for our final scan for the first trimester, just to check everything was all going okay and we could get all those first checks done. And then, there it was… there was no heartbeat anymore.
My partner and I were both devastated. We had had what they call a missed miscarriage. My body hadn’t registered that it had stopped growing, but there it was, no bigger than what they believe was about nine weeks and there I was at the 12 week mark, thinking I had made it through all the morning sickness, body changes and keeping it quiet at work.
I cried myself to sleep that night, and the following day I was booked into hospital to have an operation. It all happened so quickly and it wasn’t where I wanted to be. I thought I would be going in to get a due date, not to have it all halted so quickly. I had a pretty miserable few days after that and tried to get over it. No one around us really knew what was happening apart from a few close friends, it was only my partner who consoled me when I woke up in the middle of the night crying. Even now, thinking back still brings tears to my eyes – I don’t think you really get over it. But how you deal with it does.
I went straight back to work, got busy, and our personal life was extremely busy too. My partner and I started getting shorter with each other, he was hurting too but we didn’t know what to say to one another. We just wanted to get pregnant again but even the intimacy didn’t seem like normal.
I figured we had done pretty well to just keep trucking along – while at work it was like nothing had happened at all. I went to the doctor as I had a ton of questions about where to next for me; whether I was infertile; if there was something I could do to make sure I didn’t miscarry again.
To everyone at work I was still holding it together like nothing had happened, but behind the scenes I had turned into a bit of a nervous wreck – gutted by the loss of a baby we had never met, never held, but had made space for in our lives – and in the wardrobe with a few impulse baby buys as you do. So the doctor empathised, but then she asked how I was doing. Not the work side, not the getting on with things, but how ‘I’ was coping. Now this is where I thought I had it all together. And apparently I didn’t. That simple question opened some sort of flood gate, and I realised I wasn’t ok. I was barely holding things together. I was burning out at work, I was quick to get frustrated at work and at home, didn’t have the energy to exercise, didn’t want to be around my friends and above all else, I was grieving and I hadn’t given myself or my partner the time we needed to grieve and reconnect as a couple.
The doctor suggested I take some sick leave – time to think, time to stop. At first I couldn’t think of where to put that in my busy life, but I did and it was the best thing I did. I didn’t realise how close I was to breaking. I started a journal, I talked with a counsellor about managing grief and I talked to more people about my experiences. Whilst I don’t think I will truly forget or never ever get upset again when I tell people what happened, I can better manage it now and put it into perspective much easier than I could when I was trying to bury it away and ‘get over it.’ You need to forgive yourself, love yourself and give yourself time to reflect, grieve and remember. Asking for help and admitting you're not coping is hard, especially for someone like me who doesn’t like to be seen as weak or vulnerable, but it's worth it. You only have one life, so being able to best cope with the experiences is worth the courage it takes to step up and say you're not actually doing ok – you will have those experiences for a lifetime so coping with them the best you can is worth it.