I Left a Piece of Me in Italy

My miscarriage happened in August 2018, and ever since then I have wanted to share my story, but could never quite find the words. There will never be a ‘right’ time or the ‘right’ words, so here goes.

My husband and I decided that 2018 would be the year to start our family, we fell pregnant unexpectedly quickly, due on Valentines Day 2019. We already had a holiday to England and Italy booked in to visit friends and family. It was perfect timing, one last hurrah just the two of us and then settle down to welcome our baby in the New Year.

We didn’t have a dating scan as I didn’t think it was needed. I knew my dates, I was healthy and feeling good. We were to return from holidays right on the 13 week mark and would then be welcomed home with seeing our little bubba at the scan for the first time.

After two weeks of holidaying in England and Italy, we were starting to tell family and friends our exciting news. Our next stop was Rome and I woke up one morning with dark spotting and had a slight freak out. I knew spotting could be common and after some intense Googling, I found that dark blood seemed to be okay, so we continued on with our day and went a tour of the Colosseum. That afternoon I wasn’t feeling 100% so I had a nap, however midway through I was woken by the feeling of pressure, contracting, and blood all down my legs.

We made it the hospital and I was taken into a consulting room. My husband was left in the waiting room as no men were allowed. Through broken English and Italian, I had an examination, ultrasound and was eventually told ‘no baby’. It was heartbreaking. One of the the hardest parts was going back out to my husband and telling him. He just couldn’t get his head around it, with questions like ‘Can they check again?’ and ‘What do you mean it’s gone?’

I decided I would have a D&C over medication, as there was less risk of having retained product and I didn’t want to have to revisit a hospital or run into trouble mid flight back to Australia. I was taken up to the ward, again without my husband who was left wondering what was going on, not knowing if he could stay or should return to our hotel.

After waiting for what felt like forever, I soon realised I was in a room on the delivery ward. I could hear women giving birth, newborn babies crying and just across the hall was the nursery room. I kept asking over and over again for my husband. Begging the nurses and doctors, anyone that came into my room. Eventually he was allowed to stay with me, and could wait until I returned from surgery. I have little memories of being wheeled into the room, a lovely nurse who held my hand, and waking up asking for my husband. It was the worst night of my life and I was left alone for the night numb and in shock.

The next morning, I had a final check-up, was given some tablets, one sanitary pad, and sent on my way. We still had another week left of travel and decided to continue on rather than return to Australia early. It was the right decision, as I think it helped me to heal. I spent my days sipping cocktails and swimming in the ocean, exploring the little streets of Sorrento, consuming silly amounts of wine and pasta for dinner and just crying, crying and crying.

Returning back to Australia was hard and seeing my mum, family and friends for the first time was very emotional. I didn’t know anyone personally who had experienced miscarriage, and my sister and close friends had gorgeous healthy babies, so I found it difficult to talk to them about my experience, and for anyone to truly understand.

I cried every day for months. I didn’t have the answers that I needed and I didn’t have the little baby that I had so desperately wanted. I questioned myself, what could I have done differently, what did I miss, should I have had that dating scan. I found Pink Elephants on Facebook and was immediately relieved by other women’s stories and how common having a miscarriage was, and the feeling that I was not alone anymore.

It took my body 6 months to get back into a normal cycle and soon after we were expecting our rainbow baby. On Valentines Day, our original due date, my husband and I went out for a lovely dinner and went home to find out the sex of our rainbow, a boy. Someone once described pregnancy after loss as like holding your breath for 9 months. In the back of my mind I was always thinking that something could still go wrong, and it wasn’t until our boy was in my arms that I was finally able to breathe again.

By, Jessica