I’m probably having a miscarriage as I type, or maybe I’m not – I’m in gestational limbo and there’s nothing I can do about it except wait and see.
1 in 4 women will experience miscarriage at some point, yet few talk openly about it, even fewer share their experiences while it’s actually happening. Loosing a baby at any stage of pregnancy is physically painful, but more than that it leaves you mourning a future you’ll never have, and a baby you won’t meet.
The movies would have you believe that it’s over in a matter of hours, severe stomach cramping, a whoosh of blood and it’s all over. I’ve had three miscarriages to date, all of them different. During my first, I bled for 5 weeks, couldn’t get out of bed and finally lost our baby girl at 17 weeks after a traumatic hospital delivery. That wasn’t the worst part; it was the weeks of being in ‘will I / won’t I lose the baby’ limbo, torn between hope and despair that left me emotionally battered, and clinically diagnosed with PTSD.
My second miscarriage saw me hemorrhage three days after getting a positive test; and my third slipped out in a late period, silent and painless. This time is different again. I went for an early reassurance scan, thinking I was 7+ weeks along. The long silence of the sonographer trying to find a heartbeat said it all. “The good news is, I see a fetal pole,” she says, the first visible evidence of a fetus. She’s clinging on to the hope that I am just much earlier than my dates estimate. I want to believe her, but my psyche doesn’t let me, it doesn’t add up. I need to prepare myself for another loss.
It’s funny how your brain works, during that short conversation with the sonographer, my mind is working overtime to prepare, rationalize and protect itself from harm. I am already letting go of all the dreams I’ve had in the three weeks since I took a pregnancy test. This baby was going to change everything. It was going to give my son a sibling, something I never had; it was going to complete our family. I had thought about the birth, about when I would need to give up work, I’d looked up knitting patterns on Pinterest, and talked with my husband about how our house would accommodate a bigger family. It was all very real to us. And in that few moments, all those dreams and practical plans came spilling out, and I’ve just been left empty, in limbo, not wanting to cling onto any of it, so I can prepare myself for the worst. I can’t even begin to think about the guilt I have that my body doesn’t carry babies well, that will have to wait.
I’m grateful for my friends and family, who will try to stay positive as I go through this with well meaning sentiments; “you can try again”, “be grateful for the son you have”, “it might turn out ok”. In truth, none of it really helps, all I want is a shoulder to cry on and a big fat
glass bottle of wine. But for now, I’m in limbo, and I’ll just have to wait and see.
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