September 25th 2013 I was 19 years old and I found I was pregnant with my first baby. Mid October I saw my baby as a tiny spec on the ultrasound. October 30th I saw it again and boy had it grown! It was the size of an olive. I was in awe! The ultrasound technician searched silently for a long time before those words… “I’m so sorry, I can’t find your baby’s heartbeat.”
She left me alone for a moment to myself. Baby’s dad was at work, I was by myself. Those words shattered my entire world in seconds. My heart was in a million pieces as I sat sobbing by myself in that dark room. Somehow I walked out of the hospital. My legs were jelly. I collapsed on the chair outside and called baby’s dad, wailing my heart out. I caught the bus home and told my mum on the phone in tears. I collapsed in bed that afternoon and didn’t get up until the next day.
One week went by, nobody at work informed me of bereavement leave so I worked with my dead baby inside me for 5 days. November 5th came round and I’d gone to the hospital to book my D&C. Baby’s dad was “too tired and too hot to travel so far on such a hot day”…. I was by myself. I was gut wrenched.
Surrounded by pregnant women and babies crying. I sat by myself for 6 hours waiting to be seen. On the 7th hour, my mum had caught a bus down and met me just in time to be seen. I was taken into a room by myself with the doctor when I mustered up the courage to ask “what will happen to my baby?” To which she answered that they would “dispose of” my “human waste”. Yep. Word for word. That night I stayed with my parents and they drove me back the next morning for the operation. Before I was taken into theatre, I rubbed my belly and thought of all the things I wanted to tell my baby. I said goodbye.
I woke up hours later feeling so empty and dead inside. No message from baby’s dad asking if I was ok or anything. I had to go back to him and stay at home that night. He had me cry myself to sleep on the couch that night. I was up till 4am sobbing my heart out just hoping he’d come and hold me. He came out to let the dog out for a wee, saw me in tears, and went back to bed without a word. After finding out I’d miscarried, this moment was one of the most shattering moments my heart has ever had to bare, a pain I will never forget. My eyes were puffy from crying until 3pm the next day.
A few days after the operation, it would become apparent I’d had an infection from it. I hurt so badly down there that I couldn’t even sit or lay down without pain but baby’s dad still expected and manipulated intimacy despite me saying no and being in tears… it’s only through remembering and writing my story down that I now realise 9 years later what it was he did to me then… I was in so much pain I had to go to hospital again.
I was shoved in women’s assessment, again with pregnant women and newborns everywhere. I noticed all the posters were to encourage healthy pregnancies. Not ONE poster spoke about pregnancy or infant loss and what to do or how to cope. Not a single poster or even pamphlet for depression support. The doctor was 30 minutes late. I couldn’t take it anymore and ran out in tears. I later had to see a GP for help instead.
Baby’s dad kicked me out 3 weeks later and I faced possible homelessness if not for friends taking me in. People at work started blaming me as they took baby’s dads side (we worked together at the time. To this day I’ve never blamed myself. I didn’t drink, I tore up my last cigarette the day I saw those 2 pink lines, I ate healthy and excercised lightly). I lost “friends” after my loss. I heard all the usuals “at least it was early”, “at least you know you can get pregnant”, all the “at leasts”, then the religious “condolences” like “it was God’s plan/God’s will” (note we respect religion but aren’t religious ourselves. These words were more painful than helpful), then others like “perhaps it was best if you’re unwed, love.” yep, let that one sink in.
3 months later a woman at work, a friend of baby’s dad, went out of her way to purposefully indirectly rub her pregnancy in my face (in the staff common room) after speaking ill of miscarriages and how “they happen for a reason” and “otherwise the baby would be born all deformed”. 9 months after my miscarriage I was dating my now husband when I met his mother for one of the first times. I was innocently and excitedly preparing how to celebrate my baby’s first Heavenly birthday when she sat me down to tell me to “get over it” and “move on”. Time would eventually tell that his family didn’t care at all about my baby because it wasn’t their blood. It wasn’t the first time I’d have to hear this from them.
I like to believe my baby left us to give me freedom from an otherwise miserable life with domestic violence. Our loss gave us both a much needed exit from each other. My baby taught me an all new level of compassion and sympathy for others. My baby made me grow up fast from a careless teenager into a motivated adult. My baby made me a mum with so much love to give and nobody yet, to give it to.
It was a long 4 years after my miscarriage before I had my rainbow and my husband’s sunshine baby. PAL was dreadfully frightening. Numerous hospital visits to check she was ok, I needed a home doppler for reassurance, I took it day by day and set little milestones to reach. The day she was born, the weight of anxiety, panic, worry and fear lifted off my shoulders, I consciously felt it leave my body. We were finally parents!
2 years later my husband and I experienced 2 back to back miscarriages. 5 and 4 weeks along. The 5 week miscarriage (Baby Twoods [our number two baby together mixed with our last name Woods]) was diagnosed after 2 blood tests in hospital after experiencing extreme backache at work. Husband was working and offered to come but I assured him there’s nothing he could do. My friend however insisted on coming down. She took care of our daughter and waited with me at home until my husband came home from work early baring with him comfort food and all the cuddles I could ask for.
The 4 week miscarriage (Baby Rain, as it was a miserable rainy Winter and after the previous month’s loss, I was in no mood to think up another clever name, yet I believe all babies should have one) was confirmed by bloods at the GP when again, by myself with husband at work, I had to hold back tears infront of our daughter. My husband was never really touched by them but he understands why I grieve them now. He doesn’t tell me to get over or move on from them anymore, and he’s more accepting of my first baby as a part of my life nowadays. And that’s fine, everybody is different. The main thing was that he was there for me and made the whole ordeal 1000x less traumatic.
4 months later, we conceived our rainbow boy. And what a panic filled pregnancy that was! I had a bleed 2 days before our wedding at 11 weeks. The doctors confirmed the placenta had come off the wall a little but it was fine and ultrasound showed our baby with his heart beating away! I took one day at a time again and made those little milestones to reach. I had my doppler and only went to hospital once for a check to make sure he was still alive.
He was born on August 22nd, Rainbow Baby Day!! To his own accord too, not induced! And 20 minutes after his birth, he brought with him the first rainbow I’d seen all Winter! The next day there was nothing but rainbows outside the hospital window all day!! I counted at least 9!
So now our family is complete and I won’t ever have to fear another loss again! I love talking about my losses to help keep their memories alive, to make it less tabboo, to encourage others to do the same, to help those in our community. We join walks in memory of our losses every October. We donate to loss funds when we can. For each living child’s birthday we donate a care box to a stillbirth family.
To those going through loss I will say, I’m so sorry. I wish you never came to be a part of our community. It’s not fair at all. It’s not your fault. Your baby did and always will matter as there is no footprint too small that it cannot make an impact in this world. It won’t seem like it now, but it DOES get easier in time… a lot of time. We will never forget them but we can make something good come from their loss (donating, raising awareness, good deeds, helping others through their losses, etc).
To those PAL I say just take one day at a time. Make small milestones to reach. Reach out to friends or our loss community for guidance and support if you ever need. You’ve got this. Different pregnancy, different outcome. Different pregnancy, different outcome. Different pregnancy, different outcome!
Benjiman-Clair November 6th 2013
Baby Twoods July 6th 2020
Baby Rain August 7th 2020
I’d love to include a huge special thank you to Sarah for giving us all this wonderful opportunity, it’s truly a privilege and an honour. She’s also given us a voice among our community, litterally around the world and is raising awareness in just the most beautiful way. Thank you also to Jasmine for all the good that has rippled from your tiny footprint that really was big enough to make an imprint in this world. We are all blessed because of your short presence in this world.
Photos taken by Fox & Fawn Photography.
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