Four Angels

My journey to be a mum started when I was about to turn 38. Until then I never wanted children, I thought my life was complete with my two gorgeous dogs, but children? Nope, not for me.

My partner already had 2 teenager girls from a previous relationship so he was happy with this choice. Until one night I had a dream that I desperately wanted a baby! I woke up in tears. My biological clock was ticking loudly and there was no ignoring it. I talked to my partner. He could see this was serious, non-negotiable. So he agreed. We did all the right things. GP visit, prenatal vitamins, waited 3 months before trying in earnest. I fell pregnant straight away. Started feeling nauseous. All going well, till week 7.

I started bleeding. I went straight to the GP and they sent me to the Emergency Department. What a horrible experience. I was not a priority. I had to sit there for hours, holding back tears, not knowing. Finally a doctor examined me. They couldn’t tell if I had miscarried. Recommended I came back the next day for a scan as the ultrasound department was now closed! What a night of agony. I kept hoping my little one was somehow still there, alive. And the next day we heart its heartbeat! Somehow my angel was ok. I had had a “threatened miscarriage”. The doctor told me something about a misshapen uterus and a 50% probability of miscarriage, and off we went. In the next weeks there was no more bleeding. Nausea faded. We went to the NT scan at 12 weeks, full of hope. But we weren’t prepared for the words “I can’t see a 12 week foetus” from the sonographer. Angel was gone. Passed away in the previous weeks, probably as my nausea faded away. I had had a “silent miscarriage”.

Who knew there were so many different types. Waking up from the general anasthaesia after the D&C I experienced the saddest feeling my body has ever felt. Complete emptiness and loneliness. Wishing there was a little baby lying next to me. I took a week off work then when I went back people started sharing their stories. Turns out 4 out 5 couples had gone through the same ordeal! Miscarriage was very common, but not spoken about. People who’d never lost an angel couldn’t understand my pain and dismissed it as “it’s probably for the best”. Not helpful, but how could they know? Years later one of those people emailed me: they had had a miscarriage.

They now understood my pain and were so sorry for me. It is a pain nobody can understand until they’ve gone through it themselves, but I don’t wish it on anyone. A couple of months later I fell pregnant again, right before Christmas. Happiness again, but a bit more cautiousness. At the 12 week scan they announced that there were very serious health issues with the foetus. The CSV confirmed our fears. After considering all our options and the risks we decided we had to let our angel go, peacefully. This was the hardest decision I ever had to make and I don’t want to be in that situation ever again. They tested the genetic material and told us it was a boy.

Little Tama I called him, which means “boy” in Maori. I then decided to call my first angel Anahera, “angel” in Maori. I wanted to do something with the remains of Tama. My ob gyn was told that the remains of all the D&C’s are cremated and the ashes scattered on a rose garden at the Eastern Suburbs Memorial Park. I went to visit and talked to the manager, who confirmed this and told me that “next time” they could arrange a beautiful ceremony for my angel, that they’d done it before – but somehow when we asked at the hospital nobody knew about this. My ob gyn herself had never been asked to make such enquiries, but she was happy to help anyway she could. Thankfully there was never a “next time”, but this is something families should have the option to do, to say a proper goodbye.

I found the strength to move on, after getting acupuncture, talking to the beautiful Deb de Wilde at Mater Hospital and seeing a psychologist. We decided to try again, one last time, as I was getting close to 40 by then. I got pregnant again. For the 12 week scan we went to a different imaging centre, to try to break the curse. We spoke to the lovely Dr Lynn Townsend, who, whilst remaining realistic, assured us that we had the numbers on our side. We kept getting regular scans, more often than for other pregnancies. Everything went great! Holding my baby girl in my arms for the first time felt so natural, still does. It is the best feeling ever. This is what my body was aching for when I had that dream over 5 years ago.

Since then we have tried again, but had 2 early miscarriages at 6 weeks. They were painful, compounded by several ladies at work announcing their successful pregnancies. Made me realise I couldn’t go through losing another angel again. We’ve now officially stopped, we’ve sold or given away our baby gear. Time to focus on the future, on giving our little girl all our love and attention, and spend a bit more time with our ageing dogs. I am 43 and although I know it can still be done, I don’t want to put my family through that loss and despair again. And to be honest, if we did another 12 week scan and got discouraging results, I am not sure I could decide to let go of an angel again, and I’m not sure what effect that could have on my family and relationship with my partner. We are blessed with our gorgeous almost 3 year old girl, but I still think about all the angels I lost, what could have been. One day when my girl is older I will tell her about you and we’ll come visit you at the rose garden. We will never forget you xxx