Carried for a Moment, Loved for a Lifetime
I've toyed so much on whether to post this. It is so deeply personal, but I came to the conclusion that I should, given the work I do.
Last year Chrissy Tiegen and Meghan Markle shared their grief and talked so eloquently about their personal tragedies with baby loss, as the world read and realised it can happen to anyone. I soon found that to be true, as the narrative unfolded for me.
The sad thing is statistics show that 1 in 4 pregnancies lead to a miscarriage. Miscarriage is the loss of a pregnancy in the first 23 weeks. I wonder though, how many of these mothers have spoken openly about their miscarriage.
Fé and I always liked the idea of having three children, but when it came to trying for a third we didn't fall as quickly.
Eventually when we did fall pregnant our due date was set to be on our 10 year wedding anniversary...we were completing our family a decade on. It was as if it was written in the stars.
We planned holidays around it, bought new things, ordered a new garden office to free up a bedroom. I mean, we were psychologically there.
Then the week before Christmas, around 9 weeks pregnant, I woke in the middle of the night bleeding. I lost consciousness on the bathroom floor but by the time I came round the bleeding stopped and we figured it’s okay, this happened with Sonny at 14 weeks and it was just a hematoma. We went for a private scan to get some reassurance but walked away devastated.
Our baby was small, too small, and we couldn't get a heartbeat. The scan was inconclusive. I felt numb but somehow managed to work that evening, supporting a client who was planning her imminent birth.
The next day the bleeding was back. It didn't stop for 6 weeks. I called the hospital and they booked a scan for Christmas Eve.
The wait was unbearable but I knew, in my gut, I was losing my baby. The days that followed, leading up to the scan, I was curled on the sofa with a hot water bottle binge watching Friends (that's what I do in a crisis) while Fé heroically tried to preoccupy the boys. The cramps and bleeding were constant. A raw reminder of the life inside me, going away.
Meanwhile, everyone was up in arms as Boris “cancelled Christmas”, but selfishly, I didn't really care. While everyone was wondering what Tier they were in I was wondering whether I was about to wake up from a really bad dream.
By the time Christmas Eve came I had already grieved. The intrauterine scan felt like an eternity as we waited for the sonographer to conclude our fate. At first I searched her face for answers. It was unbearable so instead I went inward and used my Hypnobirthing techniques. It calmed me right down.
The scan was a long process, very unpleasant and rather uncomfortable. Not to mention emotionally disturbing. Without my Hypnobirthing techniques I don’t know how I would have seen it through; I was able to literally take myself to another place, emotionally and physically until it was all over.
Inevitably, following the scan we were ushered into that room, you know the one... that unwelcoming side room where no one wants to go, with three chairs, a table and a giant box of tissues. “The nurse will be with you shortly to discuss next steps,” they said.
As I turned to Fé, I realised that it was now his turn to grieve. I’d been through the physical throes of loss over the past few days, but until now, he hadn’t really felt it or been presented with it. His eyes gave him away.
I learnt a lot in the room that day. Doing what I do, I prepare couples to make informed decisions and exercise choice at birth. Many people don’t realise they have a choice. However, I had no idea that during a miscarriage you have choices too.
The nurse asked me what I wanted to do next. “What options do I have?” I asked, rhetorically. Turns out, I had a few.
I could have an expectant management - a “natural miscarriage”, where my body waits for when the baby is ready, and I let it pass the baby itself. This can be long and painful, but you can rest in the comfort of your own home.
I could go have medical management - where I go into the hospital and take some medication to help the tissue to pass out of the womb, then I would be able to return home to pass the baby there.
I could have surgical management - often referred to as a dilation and curettage (D&C) procedure that “vacuums” the baby out - over and done with. This is a more clinical approach where I would need to be in hospital and stay there for the duration.
Admittedly, I had no idea there were options! Much like how women go into birth, and have no idea there are options.
As we sat there gathering information, exercising our BRAINS and using relaxation techniques to keep calm we were able to make the right decision for us. In essence, I was exercising all my Hypnobirthing techniques right at the start of pregnancy. It may not be the birth I wanted, but the techniques helped me navigate the heart-breaking process, anyhow.
I chose the first option, an expectant management as I thought the worst was over. Little did I know it would be nearly 6 weeks until I passed the baby...
There were some mad dashes to hospital, and being in lockdown without childcare, it became a family affair as we hauled the boys up the M11. What struck me was how on every occasion I pulled on my trusty Hypnobirthing techniques to get me through the appointments, the procedures, the prodding and poking of each assessment. I can't imagine myself coping without them.
And as I sit here, reflecting on our grief and loss, my words and motive don’t sit well with me. I have friends who are going through so much more. And I've known couples to experience infertility in unbearable ways but I am sharing this in the hope that others going through this know they are not alone, and actually, it’s never too early to learn Hypnobirthing techniques and reap the benefits.
Losing a baby is a burden no woman should bear. I want you to know that whatever it is you’re going through, you’re not alone, you can talk about it, and it’s okay to not be okay.
I never ever thought I’d see myself write this post. Infact, I haven’t even shared this with friends. But as a birth educator, a sense of duty came over me. I strive to be an honest and open practitioner. Here's what I learnt...
Some things are beyond our control, and we all cope in different ways. It’s situations like this when we turn to our toolbox to find ways to cope with whatever life throws at us. Thanks to Hypnobirthing, I have the best tools going. The question is: do you?
There's endless evidence based research and science backed theories to suggest we must never underestimate the power of the mind, of conscious breathing and relaxation techniques out there. The key is however, to make sure you have them all within you.
If you think you will benefit from some Relaxation and Hypnobirthing techniques why not download your FREE Relaxation MP3 to enjoy at home. All you have to do is sign up to The Birth Easy Club and you'll be the first to receive offers, news and all things bump and baby related.
In addition, if you'd like to join a course, you can find more information on all my upcoming courses here.
If you are affected by this post, or need support on similar issues, the following charities can help:
Petals Charity - a Baby Loss Counselling Charity
Tommys - A Baby Loss Information and Research Charity
The Miscarriage Association - An organisation to provide support to anyone affected by miscarriage, ectopic pregnancy or molar pregnancy