Thursday, 11 October 2012

Gemma: One step forward and two steps back...

I thought my loss had finished, that I had reached a neat place at the end of my first year of loss to finish my book, to finish my story. I didn’t want to write a long drawn out book that was massive and a chore to wade through, I wanted to write a little book of my experience so that my gift and loss of Isaac and the feelings and emotions that I lived through each day were not wasted and served to help another grieving parent in the wake of a baby loss.

I intended to start my next journey of my next pregnancy in another book – a lighter book filled with tentative hope and expectation, sharing my worries for my rainbow baby throughout the 9 months of pregnancy and on into a live birth, a happy celebration of the gift that the love my husband and I shared resulting in a baby that finally I could bring home and nurture; A child that would keep me up all night crying instead of lying awake listening to the silence that my little lost boy left behind.

My journey of loss has not ended at Isaac, and I feel that it is important to share this here because its something that has happened; a missed opportunity for another child.
I remember writing about starting my medication for my pro-lactinoma and I think that somewhere deep down I had relaxed about getting pregnant. I still wanted to do so desperately; with every single fibre of my being I wanted to be pregnant again and yet I knew that it would take time for the medication to kick in and have an effect.

Little did I know that actually it must have worked straight away; I was pregnant – unknowingly without a single thought that it may be true. I waited impatiently for my period to come, writing a formal angry letter to my consultant explaining that after a year I felt that enough was enough; too little was being done. My close friends tentatively talked about feeling hopeful for me, that the possibility was there and yet I felt an urgency to have another child in my womb that I couldn’t explain to myself and yet somewhere I had resigned myself to waiting; waiting to get the dose of medication right, waiting to get my pro-lactin levels down and waiting to ovulate again.

It came as quite a shock therefore when my husband asked me to do a test; I remember looking at him suspiciously. Andy never wants me to do a pregnancy test as it is him that has to deal with the heartbreak each time that a line fails to appear; he bears the emotional scars from each time he has watched his strong wife crumple to the floor in despair. I know that it has hurt him, more than he has ever shown each time I had talked to him about failing him, letting him down and so I quite willingly took the test; quite prepared for the first time to get a negative.

It was never going to be a simple thing with me as I managed to wee all over the stick and I was convinced that this invalidated the test and so when a second blue line came up I was fairly certain that that was my fault for being a total plonker and I was aware that I would pay for that stupidity later when the next test came up negative.

I remember feeling the hope creep in as we wandered around the town; I was impatient to get the test and get home. I could see Andy watching me and I knew that I was getting giddy; “could I be? Is it possible?”

We got home and several tests later we had three positive pregnancy tests and I cried; I cried huge tears of relief that my body had not failed me. That I was pregnant, that we had managed it again. Suddenly everything looked brighter; the sun seemed to recover the shine it had long ago lost.

I hadn’t realised until that point how the colour had seemed to seep out of my life; I could still see colours but they had lacked beauty. We hurried to get a doctor’s appointment and also a midwife appointment; this time we saw a wonderful midwife who was bright and chirpy and seemed to be just what we needed and we booked into an early scan for peace of mind.

I did another pregnancy test for comfort expecting the date to show 3+ and it didn’t, it remained on 2-3 weeks and I was filled with a sense of doubt right from the start.
On the day of the scan we were anxious and yet I felt stronger walking back into the antenatal clinic, the last time that I was there I had learned that I had lost my Isaac, and yet I felt like he was with me again as I carried his baby brother or sister.

I have tried to visualise positive things as I moved forward with my grief; trying to believe that if you visualise and believe you get what you want that it will happen and yet I had worried all the way through about a miscarriage; the scan showed no baby we had a sac but nothing else and the hospital diagnosed a blighted Ovum; where everything forms except the baby so all the pregnancy symptoms are there; the morning sickness and the increased smell and feeling hot.

There was a chance they told us, that we were too early and we had our dates wrong so we had a two week wait while we prepared for the worst. I remember the woman being so sympathetic and sad that I was forced to take control of the situation. I remember saying to her “This is not the worst thing that can happen to me, that has already happened and if I can live through that I can live through anything” and yet she still gave me the sympathetic look that makes me angry and frustrated. I have never wanted people to feel sorry for me, I have never felt I deserved that; I don’t want pity. At times I have yearned for understanding and support but never pity; whether I respond differently following Isaac’s death I don’t know. Perhaps I feel less; I certainly have not cried over the loss of this pregnancy as much as I expected to, I have wanted people to treat me as normal and despite waiting for the breakdown the flood has never come.

The two weeks were cruel, we had shared our news with a few close friends and family and we had to tell them that again it looked like no baby would be coming home. We tried to be positive, I still referred to sticky bun as a baby and I made plans to drive at the Christmas party.

I knew deep down that there would be no baby at the second scan and so the news didn’t quite take my breath away as I had expected it to; instead I have been thrown into turmoil at reliving Isaac’s death – the decisions that had to be made – waiting for a natural miscarriage with my high prolactin levels didn’t look to be an option and I wanted to avoid any surgery if possible and so I had to opt for a medically managed miscarriage; the first tablet we took bought back the day Isaac died so clearly I thought I would pass out. The consultant was asking if we had any questions and I had none, “we’ve been through this before in a much more painful way” I told her “I’m disappointed more than anything” and it is true.

I have cried; I must have but the only times that I can remember have been tears for Isaac; I cried when I went back to the hospital on the day of the miscarriage because it made me ache for my boy so strongly that I thought I would fall apart again. I miss what he would have been, though with no children I am not sure what stage he would have reached – would I have been pregnant with a tottering baby keeping me rushing around as little grubby hands grabbed at the cat, the dog and everything he shouldn’t have.
I feel the hole left inside of me opening again, he doesn’t say Mummy or daddy and squeal with joy.

With a medically induced miscarriage I had to collect anything I passed to show the doctor, so I was aware that there was never any fetus, and I think this has helped. More than anything I miss the opportunity I have missed rather than craving for a baby which never was, I think until I see a baby and a heartbeat on a scan I’m going to struggle to have any expectations again and yet I still feel better; I feel a bit more myself again and a little lost all together, lost without a baby to fill my arms.

I am sad that my sticky bun never had the chance to be a baby; and is a little star somewhere looking own on what might have been and I’m sad that Andy still has not had the chance to be a father; I swing from wanting to rage that I have had my share of grief and why has this needed to happen to me and yet I know that there is no answer to the question of why me other than why not me? I am lonely again in part because I feel a strange creature, I feel distant from my friends and family and the want to be closer to people after Isaac died has not returned as it should have, instead I am careful; keeping my distance to protect myself from further hurt.

I am aware also that my attitude to the recent events have proved incomprehensible to some friends, I went into work all through the miscarriage apart from on the days that I needed to be in hospital; I have talked about it openly and honestly but I always draw back to the comfort that there was no baby, no child that was born forever sleeping; just a short burst of hope appearing in my life again and I was glad to see her; I keep waiting for her to leave again and for despair to pour into me once again and yet it doesn’t, hope is still here. She isn’t with me as she always used to be, but I can see her in the distance and I feel finally that I am going to get there I can see that if we had made it to our 12 week scan and discovered the absence of a baby that there would have been more time to build hopes and expectations and yet for me this miscarriage was a tiny drop in the ocean, perhaps if there had never been Isaac this would have been worse; but the difference is huge for me – incomparable really and I feel bad for that, like I am abnormal. For me the difference is like stubbing your toe compared to breaking a limb; and I look at women who have battled to overcome an early miscarriage and feel perhaps that I am shallow that I have not grieved; my womb is empty again and I certainly feel it; and yet I feel that it is a small success in truth; even to have gotten pregnant after 14 months of hoping is a step forwards for me, it’s a step towards the future and is my body telling me “hang on in there, I haven’t given up!”


  1. Gem, thank you so much for sharing this with us. Couldn't have been easy. I think for me, when I had the early miscarriages, I grieved for the loss of hope and a future. When I lost the girls, I had a much more physical experience of grieving as I had laboured, given birth, held them, kissed them...

    I am pleased to hear that you are feeling hopeful again, it is so hard to keep hope sometimes. Lots of love xx

  2. What a beautifully sad, heartfelt and hopeful post, you are an incredibly strong lady and it's so good that you are feeling hope again, even if only in the distance. Sometimes it's all we have. So much love to you and Andy xXx