Our loss happened two weeks before our wedding day. It was the day we had arrived at the hospital we had chosen to have our baby at, to meet our OB for the very first time. Leading up to this appointment, I was absolutely thrilled to be pregnant. My partner and I had been trying for some time and finding out we were pregnant (finally!), was a moment that is hard to forget.
I had experienced fatigue, morning sickness and we took pictures of my growing bump. The day we had arrived at the hospital for this appointment I was 10 weeks and 5 days pregnant. I couldn’t wait to see our baby on the screen and after answering all of the routine questions and meeting our OB, I laid down for the ultrasound.
It’s hard to forget this moment, but as the ultrasound came up on the screen our gorgeous baby had no heartbeat. Nobody had to tell me, I felt my stomach drop and I was in shock.
We could see that our baby had its profile and all of the right things in the right places, but the heartbeat we had fondly heard beating at our last appointment was no longer there.
Our OB had apologised and asked me to go for another scan to confirm, while explaining what our options were. I was booked in the following day for a D&C and sent on my way. At home, I could not speak much and my partner was the same.
Before we had tried for a baby, I had heard of miscarriage and prepared myself that if it did happen, it just wasn’t meant to be. Nothing had prepared me for the shame, grief and pain I carried with me after leaving the hospital following our procedure. I felt empty and numb. I was in shock, but we had a wedding coming up so I threw myself into all of the preparations pushing the grief down further, not knowing what to say and feeling overwhelmed with the grief I was carrying and that I wasn’t able to just ‘switch it off’. I felt alone, ashamed and that my body had failed me.
My wedding was one of the best days of our lives, I was lucky to have my partner support me through it all and on this day we felt stronger together and united in our grief. I had a lump in my throat all day, wondering how my bump would’ve looked in the wedding dress I’d picked to show it off, and the pain of not having the happy news we could’ve been sharing together with our family and friends.
After our wedding I didn’t have as much keeping me busy and the grief was heavy. I kept telling myself I should be able to just ‘move on’ and realise it happens to so many parents. So my pain wasn’t something I found easy to share or understand.
I fell pregnant with our first daughter, and the anxiety and fear I had felt especially in that first trimester was real for me. Looking back now I can see I needed to talk and free myself of the guilt and pain I had carried around after losing our first baby.
I had struggled with anxiety throughout this pregnancy and when our beautiful daughter was born, I felt confused and the anxiety only got harder to cope with. For so long I could not express my fear and shame, but it eventually got too heavy to carry around so I decided to seek help.
I shared my story, my shame and more importantly my guilt. I had never felt so vulnerable, and it was the most challenging and life changing moment of my life. I started to forgive myself and I surrounded myself with friends I was able to talk to and learned how important sharing my story was, because quickly I started to see I was not alone. The anxiety wasn’t overwhelming or suffocating me anymore. I built a solid network of friends, I was open and I had never felt so empowered just by being honest with myself and others.
The most positive side of my story was that it made me feel stronger, brave and I feel so blessed to wake up with my daughters every day, they have made my life a better place. My experience with our second child was such a healing experience and I felt like a new person. This is where my passion for empowering other women on their journey had started, I have found a real interest in Mental Health, particularly in the perinatal period. But more importantly, I wanted to be a small piece in someone else’s journey.
I have now gained a role working in a fantastic organisation that supports families through the highs and lows of pregnancy and early parenting. I am so excited to be part of their vision and I hope my story can help others feel like they are not alone.