I’d always been a perfectionist and a planner, and having a baby was no different. I knew which cot, which car seat, which brand of breast pump I wanted before we even started trying to conceive!
As a 27 year old with no chronic medical conditions, I thought conceiving and carrying a baby to term would be a walk in the park. However, this journey taught me that life is dynamic, and most importantly, unpredictable.
We fell pregnant within four months. We were overjoyed! We were having a baby!
I felt reasonably well, aside from a minimal amount of nausea. We were so excited to have our eight week scan. Little did I know, the earth would come crashing down.
As the sonographer jellied my stomach and prepared the probe at our eight week scan, I looked at my husband with excitement. We would finally see our baby! She began scanning. “There’s the sac….” Silence. Clicking. Changing of viewpoints. The pressure of the probe. “I’m just trying to find the heartbeat.” Nothing. “Let’s do an internal.” I felt like I wanted to vomit. My heart was as racing. Please, please be okay. This isn’t meant to happen to me!
“There’s no heartbeat. This happens to so many women.”
I remember walking to the desk and having to pay for the ultrasound. Receiving a text later that evening to view my ultrasound images was an added insult. Instead of sharing amazing news and pictures with our parents who we had told, we had to share that sadly, there was no heartbeat. Just a little bean, sitting there, no blood flowing to nourish it. No sound. No heartbeat. I will always remember that image. Our baby.
I was admitted to hospital where I was medicated to speed up the miscarriage. It was horrific. The pain I endured was excruciating. The true bleeding and and miscarriage occurred later that evening at home in the middle of the night, alone. Gone.
I was a wreck needless to say. I took a week off work as I work with children, so needed some time to heal. To be honest, I’m still healing and I’ll be healing for a very long time.
So we were the statistic. I managed to find pieces of positivity and pick myself up. Think positive, embrace the future; we conceived again in two months. Looking at the test, I wasn’t happy. Anxiety was the feeling I got first. “Let’s not get too excited,” I said to my husband.
At six weeks, I started spotting. I’d heard some people do spot in early pregnancy with implantation of the embryo, so I tried not to panic. At my GP, my HCG levels were taken, then again 48 hours. They were falling. It was happening again. This is SO unfair! I’ve had my loss. Feelings of anger, jealousy and bitterness leached in amongst the utter devastation. I went back to work as a distraction and miscarried while undertaking routine tasks at work
I remember lying in a ball sobbing. Walking down the street looking at happy families, or pregnant women, or prams and feeling jealous and sad.
I hated myself for feeling jealous on top of being so despondent. It was a call to the Pink Elephant Peer Support Programme that changed my perspective. It was OKAY to feel jealous! It was okay to feel awful and lie and binge watch TV, but also important to get out and eat healthily. It was amazing to talk to someone who had been through it before! Who had heard the, “It’s God’s will’s” and “wasn’t meant to be’s” and the “are you sure it wasn’t because you are an anxious person’s?”
Four months later, after seeing a specialist and confirming nothing was wrong fertility wise with both of us, we fell pregnant again. I felt sick with anxiety. It wasn’t going to work. I was put on progesterone pessaries and had weekly scans until 8 weeks. That was the longest eight weeks of my life and every second I thought the pregnancy would end. But there it was: our flipping little bean and a strong heartbeat. And the nausea: vomiting every morning and feeling nauseous 24/7!
Booking in with an obstetrician was a whole other experience. Could this really, finally be happening? It was.
My pregnancy was hard. I endured extreme nausea until 24 weeks or so and had migraines with vomiting and aura approximately 3-4 times a week. I was crippled with anxiety. I bought nothing until 30 weeks because I was convinced I would lose our baby, who we knew now to be a girl. I compared my bump to everyone else. It was too small to be viable. I had people comment on whether I should check whether my baby was okay because my bump was so small. My obstetrician was happy and scans were fine, however.
The last ten weeks were the hardest. Every time I felt a change in movement, I had panic attacks and ended up in hospital monitoring the baby. She was always fine. Kicking away and happy.
At 39w and 5d my anxiety about having a stillborn became so bad I had an elective c-section. This was the best choice for me. I felt empowered, I knew what to expect and I had my husband and obstetrician with me.
Those five minutes of the c-section to get my daughter out were the longest of my life. I was sick with worry and asked my husband, who is a baker, to tell me how to make a strudel whilst they were doing it in order to distract me!
The moment our daughter was pulled out, screaming and well, was surreal. It’s really real. I was pregnant the whole time. We had our rainbow baby.
I could not have made it without the support of my husband, family, my medical team and Pink Elephants. As I type this waiting for my gorgeous four month old to drift into a deep sleep, I will be forever grateful for the strength my peer mentor afforded me in what was truly the darkest time in my life.