I suppose this is a bizarre way to find out whether those close to me read my blog; if you’re a relative or friend of mine ‘in real life’, I’m so sorry you’re discovering this experience here – though please know that I chose not to tell you because I believed that you didn’t need to share in the sadness too, there’s already enough of us upset by this without extending that beyond our parents and siblings. Besides, everyone seems to have more than enough on their plate right now, so it’s no use causing further distress about something nobody could do anything about. (If you’d like to speak to me about it, please send a private message as opposed to broadcasting anything publicly on my social media accounts – I certainly don’t want my grandparents finding out, as due to lockdown I haven’t seen them for a long time and this would only upset them unnecessarily!) I’m writing about my experience because I find writing cathartic, and I long to help others who have experienced/are experiencing/will experience similar situations – it’s so important that nobody feels alone, especially going through something like this.
** Warning: there may be content some might find upsetting – read on at your own risk! **
Before I share my experiences, I send my sincerest condolences to anyone who has ever experienced pregnancy loss, miscarriage and stillbirth. Unfortunately, I am now a member of the (sadly) not-so-exclusive miscarriage club.
I understand that there are those who have had more traumatic experiences than I have, for which I am truly devastated and my thoughts go out to every one of you. Though I’d like to remind anyone grieving that your experience is not lessened by the perception that someone else’s experience seems worse than yours for whatever reason. The loss of a baby is devastating, irrespective of their stage of development – they still had a life, however briefly; they will always be part of you, and it’s important to remember that they existed, you created them, and it’s perfectly acceptable to mourn their passing.
My story is an unusual one, however, because my boyfriend and I didn’t know that I was pregnant. We believed I might have been for a couple of weeks, though at-home tests returned negative for pregnancy and although the GP claimed there was no need to test for pregnancy through blood tests because at-home tests would’ve ruled out pregnancy, the results of routine blood tests I had indicated that my hormone levels were all fine, aside progesterone being a little low (it’s normally high in a healthy pregnancy), so the GP believed I was likely to have an ovarian cyst that was stopping my menstrual cycle from happening for 15 weeks. As I write this, I’m still awaiting an ultrasound appointment to assess whether I had or have an ovarian cyst or something similar – though my body seems to be healing, so I imagine my issues were, in fact, pregnancy related. The symptoms I had were obviously pregnancy related, though I had no choice but to explain them away with whatever excuses I could think of at the time, since tests told me I wasn’t pregnant and I was made to feel it would be foolish to believe what my body was telling me.
I started getting menstrual-like cramping to the point I felt faint one night, so I assumed it was the long-awaited return of my menstrual cycle, which happened to be attacking with a vengeance after being MIA for so long. A week of mild cramping then became a week of ‘spotting’ and back ache following all forms of exercise. Then, 2:25am on 4th March 2021, I experienced the most severe menstrual cramps I had ever had in my entire life, accompanied by heavy bleeding. That excruciating pain continued in waves over the course of the day and night, to the point I could barely move off the sofa and struggled to get comfortable. Finally, at 1am on 5th March 2021, I managed to fall asleep. When I woke with one last wave of cramping at 7:30am 5th March 2021, I rushed into the bathroom, after feeling the strangest sensation I’ve ever experienced, to discover I had miscarried something that appeared to resemble part of a fetus and accompanying ‘mass’ whose development must have ceased between 8 and 9 weeks according to my own research; after which the relief was almost instantaneous – all the cramping, heavy bleeding, and uncertainty had gone. I took a photograph in case the GP might need to see it to check it was all there or whatever they do in such situations, though I couldn’t bring myself to investigate the ‘mass’ to check what the complete (that’s if it was indeed ‘complete’) fetus looked like and my boyfriend agreed that it could prove more traumatic and wouldn’t help wrap my head around it anyway. I called the GP surgery at 8:30am, having composed myself after an hour of sobbing; the receptionist was lovely and checked that I had someone with me – though I didn’t receive a call back until around 2:30pm. There was absolutely nothing the GP could do apparently (it wasn’t the GP I’d been dealing with throughout all this) – though they informed it was more than likely a miscarriage despite negative pregnancy test results, I was shocked that they didn’t advise of any organisations I could contact for further support, advice, or comfort; in fact, they were keen to rush off the phone. At least all the pain, discomfort, and confusion I’d experienced for the last few months had suddenly disappeared.
I realise that, for whatever reason, my pregnancy wasn’t viable because there must have been some chromosomal abnormality that meant the fetus couldn’t develop. Without any medical advice, from what I can fathom, the negative tests meant that there wasn’t enough pregnancy hormone in my body to sustain a full-term, healthy pregnancy – which was more than likely due to the fact that the fetus simply wasn’t viable. As for the reason my body held onto the fetus for weeks after it ceased to be, I could only hazard a guess that because my body wasn’t 100% certain of the pregnancy in the first place, there was no way of realising the pregnancy needed to end until my body came to terms with the fact that there was definitely no live fetus to care for anymore, instead there was an ‘alien-like mass’ that needed to be expelled before it caused a problem. I do take comfort in the fact that even for a short time that fetus was alive and growing – which is why I have decided to refer to them as ‘Moment’. I know it would be ridiculous to give a name to an undeveloped fetus whose existence I didn’t truly know about until they were no longer connected with me, though I feel it important to recognise their existence whilst simultaneously acknowledging my experience of losing them.
It seems that everyone around me are able to have happy, healthy babies and share with the world the wonders – as well as the stresses and pressures – that accompany their adventure into parenthood. I truly am delighted for every one of them, and wish them well – but it certainly doesn’t help the grieving process I’m having to endure that I hadn’t prepared for in any way, shape, or form.
Maybe one day I’ll be fortunate enough to become a mother – though maybe I’ll never have the chance to embark on the adventure of motherhood due to circumstances out of my control; who knows?
What I do know is that this devastating, excruciating, shocking experience has brought my boyfriend and I closer together. We both believe that everything happens for a reason, we’re infinitely grateful for all the wonderfulness we already have in our life together, and we know how lucky we are to have one another <3
I haven’t sought professional support for my experiences (primarily because I keep pondering whether this experience is less valid because the pregnancy was never detected let alone viable), although I may choose to sometime in the near future – however, just in case you’re in need of support, here’s a list of organisations I’ve been assured are amazing at helping people through any form of pregnancy loss, miscarriage, or stillbirth:
Thanks for reading.