This is not the happiest of posts for my second attempt at blogging. I promise I’ll be focusing on some of the awesome elements of parenthood over time. But writing is therapeutic and I figure that getting these thoughts out of my head will a. help me process where I’m at and b. maybe provide thought/relief/information for others out there.
2 weeks ago I went for my first scan for baby #2. This was meant to be the 8 week scan, and if I’m totally honest, I was a little uneasy. I was nauseous and had sore boobs etc, but something felt off. I put it down to being pessismistic about fertility and pregnancy and myself in general. I’m polycystic, so falling pregnant is a struggle. I’ve been in and out of fertility clinic and taken some awful induction medication. I had high blood pressure with Ben and gestational diabetes.
My amazing gynae started the scan and was immediately uncomfortable. There wasn’t a heartbeat and the yolk sac was large – a sign that baby was not feeding from it. But there was the baby. I could see its head and its body. My brain did not want to process this. She sent me for a 2 HCG tests. These happened over 48 hours – a Friday and a Sunday. Not the greatest time to do them and not the happiest way to spend a weekend.
I was broken. How could this happen? Why was I being punished? I had just quit my job. At the time (and I guess even now) I felt like I was already questioning who I was and what I wanted from life – and now this? I was completely in denial. I Googled compulsively, even though I knew that I wouldn’t find the answers I wanted. I had ridiculous hope. “What if I ovulated later?” “Perhaps I have a tilted uterus (I do but that wasn’t the point) and that’s masking the heartbeat.” Etc etc.
And then the nausea became less. I continued to hope. At 6 weeks, with Ben, we had seen an empty sac. By 9 weeks he was there with a strong heartbeat. On Sunday eve, my gynae phoned. My HCG levels had barely risen – and definitely not by the minimum expected. I was also showing to be only around 6.5 weeks pregnant. There was no hope. But she told me to come in for one more scan, just to put my mind at ease.
At the last scan, there was our island baby. But it had grown smaller by 2 days. Still no heartbeat. The gestational sac on ultrasound was ominously silent. This helped put me at ease. My gynae has also experienced a miscarriage and her support has been immeasurable during this time.
The next decision was how to proceed. My body didn’t know that the baby was no longer alive, hence the slow rising HCG levels (instead of falling), the lack of bleeding and the continuing pregnancy symptoms. This is known as a silent or missed miscarriage. Most women only go for a 12 week scan, and it is at this point that they find out or start to bleed. It’s a long time to wait and my gynae felt that it would be more traumatic. She suggested an evacuation. A huge part of me wanted to miscarry naturally. I didn’t want to be knocked out and have my baby scraped out of me. It was so final and impersonal – I didn’t feel in control. I spoke at length to friends and family and finally decided on the evacuation. It would help me move on quickly and allow me to start healing emotionally and physically for Ben, for Tim – and ultimately for baby #2. Having fertility issues, I didn’t want to compromise my health any further.
I felt at ease going in. My doctor kept me so calm and positive. When I woke I felt more at peace. I couldn’t go back. I couldn’t hang on to hope. It was over. I had to focus on the future.
I ended up back at the hospital 6 days later with bleeding. At my last scan this week my lining is still a little thick. So it’s going to mean careful monitoring. I may need to be patient. But I’m focusing on my blessings. I have an amazing husband and a beautiful son. Ben is my everything. I’ve been able to hug him every day and that makes me incredibly aware of how lucky I am.
From a rational point, I know that this baby must have had massive chromosomal defects. It wouldn’t have survived. And I didn’t feel it kick – so there isn’t that emotional link. But it still sucks. And it still hurts. It means more medication, more scans, more blood tests and more time. I asked my gynae for a picture. Because I want to honour this memory. I don’t want to dwell and be negative. But it meant something to me. We were ready and we were excited. And we’ll get there again one day. I told friends and family earlier this time. With Ben it was family/close friends at 12 weeks and Facebook (oh, Facebook) at 20. I don’t regret that. The support I’ve received has been a huge part of the reason I can be positive.
I still have some weepy days. The most recent was when some lovely, well-meaning people asked me when Ben was going to get a sibling and mentioned that 2 years was a great gap. And I didn’t know how to respond. But – unlike before Ben – I don’t have the awful, hateful feelings I had. I can see babies and pregnant women. And I am exceptionally happy for them. I delight in a newborn baby. And I remain hopeful that I will get to experience that joy all over again one day.