Confirmed miscarriage at 12+6 weeks
I’d just started getting excited about my pregnancy
I’d literally told my grandparents and friends two days before this day.
The ED doctor said that the current foetal size was about 8 weeks. Pretty much just after my first scan. Is that when baby died? Just after I’d seen it’s heart beat? Was I so tired in Samoa because I’d just miscarried? My lessening nausea was obviously a result of my hormones decreasing with the lost baby and not because I was coming out of my first trimester. That “baby-bump” I’d pointed to as I said goodbye to my mum at the airport three days past was literally my own ‘pottie’. Confirmation that those pies and sausages went somewhere in the end I suppose.
I did briefly wonder if it was something I had done. Was it something I ate? Was it because I went to the gym that one time when I thought I better get healthy for this baby? Was it when I jumped off the side of a waterfall in Samoa? But I know. Logically, I know it’s nothing I have done. I know this happens all the time – I know this is common. I’ve known my whole pregnancy and so I briefly wondered if it was because I held onto that knowledge, but then I move on because it’s not going to change anything now.
The gynaecology registrar (senior vagina doctor) came to see me after discussing my case with her boss (please note he is a male as it is relevant). My three options are as follows:
- Watch and wait, but considering I haven’t passed anything yet it is unlikely anything would occur
- Medical management – medication is inserted up the vagina and if that doesn’t work you take it through your mouth (not the same one obviously, but the same type of medication)
- Surgical management that requires general anaesthetic.
The male boss felt the surgical approach was the best option. Um excuse me, I just miscarried a raspberry not a kumquat (reference to previous parts in this series: a raspberry is a 8 week sized foetus and a kumquat is 10 weeks). Surgical evacuation (management) of foetal (baby) tissue under general anaesthetic seems a little bit extra don’t you think?
Medical option it is then – not too crazy, but it also allows me the flexibility to step up to a surgical approach if medication doesn’t work, whereas the only step up from surgery is to cut you open unless you’re already dead. . . okay it’s not actually that grim but ya get me. The female registrar thought my decision was appropriate.
Two days in hospital. The raspberry didn’t pass with the vaginal medication so lucky for me I get it orally now.
Those cramps were lit.
My partner spent the entire time beside me. He held my hand. He gave me cuddles. He rubbed my back when it was sore. He let me lean on him to walk because you know how it is with period cramps and this was. . . Extra period cramps – like triple them up, one on top of the other.
After spending the last few years working in hospitals; tending to patients; gazing longingly at their beds; wishing I could have a lie down too, I was out of there as fast as I was allowed – in on Tuesday afternoon, out by late Wednesday night. And whoops, I forgot my car had been in the carpark for two days not one so I didn’t have enough credit on my staff account and I made three other cars back up from behind me so I could reverse to go back to the pay station. Perfect.
The first time he cried was when we looked at our little uncooked bun together. Thankfully he had spoken up at the hospital when they asked if we wanted to keep our raspberry, I had been panicking in my head with the question and immediately said no. It is tiny. But I see a distinct head and little arms and little legs. Having our little foetus-shaped raspberry allowed us to mourn and grieve better, I think, and then a few weeks later (on our one year anniversary) we buried a now frozen raspberry (had to keep him fresh in the freezer while we waited to head back to Wellington) alongside my partner’s recently passed grandfather. It helped, I think, to imagine them looking after each other.
I get flash backs. This old Chinese man with dementia was in the hospital recently and I watched as he held out his hand to his wife, initially, I thought, to get her attention, but when she took his hand and held it I realised that’s all he had wanted as he settled. It made me remember lying in a similar hospital bed, in a different hospital, with a different hand in mine. I tried not to cry on the ward round. I wrote the notes. I moved out of the room. I tried not to think about it.
I spent so much time waiting to reach 12 weeks so I could let go and start enjoying pregnancy. Sometimes, I feel thankful that I held myself back so much because maybe I’ve been hurting less now than I would have if I had let myself enjoy the journey more? Then again it was the first trimester and I don’t know if anyone really has fun during that time – I recall tender breasts that were sore with the lightest touch, a constant state of nausea that I didn’t fully appreciate till it was gone, an excessive tiredness that made me cranky and irritable and fall asleep as soon as I had dinner to the relief of those around me. But I never felt that excitement.
. . .
It’s February 6th 2019If things had gone to plan, as they rarely do, you would have been born into this crazy world today. I think about you often. I thought about you all throughout Christmas as I saw my family and my partner’s family for the first time since the news. I felt sad and I reflected on where I had thought I would be at this point – unable to hide an obvious baby bump (not a pottie no more) and confirming that I am indeed pregnant with more of my family (because my Grandmother would have already told them by now). There’s been a pregnant woman at work did you know? She’s due a week after you would have been. Her belly is large like a watermelon and she’s newly married last year. She seems to have taken the supposedly assigned course for life (get married; have kids = pretty much what I have always hoped for) and eagerly awaits the arrival of her newborn as gleaned from the questions other staff ask her. I can’t ask those questions. They’re too much. I would’ve been her size or bigger by this stage and I wonder how we would’ve interacted together if we’d both been pregnant. I wonder what it feels like. To have swollen feet you need to put up, to overheat constantly even in the mildest of weather, to accept and be completely content with how your body is expanding to accommodate for a new life that you can actually feel when he kicks. I look away when she signals this is happening because it’s too much. I am happy for her, but I’m also a relieved when it’s time for her maternity leave. By that time though it’s getting close to February 6th and I’m thinking about you more.
I’m always thinking about you.
“I never got to hold you, or bounce you on my lap. I never got to read to you or watch you as you nap. You slipped away so quickly, before I said your name. And I want the world to know, I love you just the same.”A Peterson
Your Dad and I talk about you. It was hard at first, I think harder on him because he didn’t know how to talk about it. But we’ve been spending more time together, learning to be better friends and I know we would never have got this if you had stayed. I joined a Pacific Island dance group which I wouldn’t have had the courage to do if you had stayed. I applied for another fashion show which I never would have done if you had stayed.
I reconnect with myself and what I want out of life, which I know I couldn’t have done if you had stayed but I wouldn’t have done it if you’d never been there because you spurred me to do all these things.
I pretty up my blog posts about you because it helps me to process your loss too. I love writing and I’ve still always wanted to start a blog and that hasn’t changed now that you are gone. Thank you for giving me the courage to start. My partner reads over each tone because this was our journey – the three of us, and even though the experience is through my eyes, it helps us both, I think. It makes us feel like we haven’t forgotten you, that we have a written memoir of our time together; specifically how you made me feel, what you made me eat and how much we love you still.
It wasn’t the right time by a long shot and you made me so terrified of the changes you brought and would continue to bring.
But we would have made it work for you not matter what, don’t ever doubt – we’ll always love you our Maby