I’ve wanted to write this piece for a long time now. But I’ve not been able to start until right this moment – when I simply had to write it as it was… well, it was ready to come out. Right now, finally, I’m ready to talk about my third miscarriage.
Miscarriage is difficult. We all know and/or assume that. But this story is about entering into a world of the 1%. The 1% of women who suffer 3 or more miscarriages. It’s a story that is written at a point in time where I feel like the chapter has closed. Although I know that’s not true (grief, processing and all that comes with miscarriage doesn’t just ‘finish’ at any given point in time), today I felt a huge energy shift that meant that life can finally start to feel brighter again.
Let me take you back to the beginning.
Six weeks ago, my husband, 5 year old son and I walked in to have what was supposed to be a 12 (almost 13) week ultrasound. The instant the obstetrician told me it was ‘small for 12 weeks’, I knew it was bad news. The baby had died at almost 9 weeks. Having suffered 2 miscarriages last year, I didn’t have high expectations for this pregnancy and went in with eyes wide open. After feeling like I counselled the obstetrician (it’s ok, we’ve been here before), we left and started our grieving process as a family.
Perhaps oddly, I had taken the next 3 weeks off due to school holidays running into Easter. Who knows if this was intuition or just coincidence, but it was 3 weeks that I desperately needed. After my horrific miscarriage last year, we decided as a family that a D&C (dilation and curettage or procedure to remove the fetus) was the best way to go to avoid the trauma of a natural miscarriage like last time. I was reluctant, but knowing how difficult it was for my husband to watch me go through the pain, I agreed.
Waiting the 5 days for the procedure was a hellish mix of wanting the process to start naturally to get it over with and not wanting it to start so I wouldn’t have to go through the pain again. A strange flip from desperately hoping not to see blood when visiting the toilet to wanting to or… worse… waiting to. And the feeling of having a dead baby inside of me just made me feel ill to my core.
I’m not afraid to admit that there were times when I wondered where mum was and why she wasn’t helping me add to my beautiful family. Was she too busy to worry about me anymore? is there something wrong with me? With Kim? Am I just only meant to have one child? What testing do we do now? And why the hell isn’t mum here to comfort me? I guess it just is what it is…
The dreaded miscarriage isn’t just about losing a baby. Miscarriage makes you doubt your body, doubt the compatibility of creating life with your partner. Your ability to carry a child. Your ability to ‘do the right things’ and eat properly, exercise enough, stress less and nurture more. It raises questions about what tests you need to get done. What questions you even need to ask and who to ask them of. It’s a huge unknown with virtually no answers.
However, because of the D&C we were given a choice to test the baby for genetic abnormalities. After much research, discussions with my ever beautiful and nurturing naturopath (and friend and mentor), my midwife, husband and sister, a new day brought clarity and I decided we should do it, no matter the financial hit to our family. As my naturopath so perfectly said, it’s one more piece of information, one more piece of the puzzle.
The dreaded Tuesday came with no sign of a miscarriage starting. It was D Day and I had to go through with the D&C. I was grumpy because of it, but trying to be thankful. It was about 10 minutes before the procedure when they wheeled me to the cubicle next to the operating theatre. Therefore it was about 10 minutes before I started crying – uncontrollably. I couldn’t control it any longer, I was in tears and as much as the staff tried to make light of it, I wasn’t stopping.
They thought I was upset because I was losing a baby. But I wasn’t. Not in that moment. In that moment, I felt out of control and about to be violated. The anaesthetist harshly inserted a cannula in the back of my hand that made me cry out in pain. My obstetrician was talking to me about our decision to have the genetic test. The nurses were stroking my arms and my husband was right next to me. This was all happening as I was bawling my eyes out, unable to tell them that I didn’t want to go through with it because I felt I was about to be violated.
No words could come out. No ability to shout. Nobody asking me if I had doubts. Nobody seeing I was screaming out inside. Lying in the theatre, about to be put under, I didn’t want to move my legs. I didn’t want to see the faces of the people who were about to see me exposed in the most vulnerable way. I didn’t want them to touch me. But I couldn’t find my voice. I was still crying uncontrollably when they put me under…
And I was still crying when I woke up. I woke up with the old Peter Mac building in sight. My mum (and I) had spent so much time in those buildings while she was fighting the ‘c’ fight. And all I could get out while I was lying there looking out that window was ‘I want my mum’. The lovely nurse in recovery couldn’t possibly have known what I was going through or feeling.
It was over. And it was just beginning.
After however long, they let me go home with my husband where every bump in the car was unpleasant. Urinating hurt, twisting hurt and emotionally I was a mess. I lay in bed for 2 days wanting to numb the pain.
After 3 days of no bleeding, suddenly I started to bleed. Gushes of blood. I had to cancel an acupuncture appointment because the pain and bleeding was too much. But it only lasted a few hours and things settled down again.
The bleeding came and went over the next 4 weeks – sometimes with huge clots, other times just spotting.
But the violated feeling… that never left me. It was the day after the procedure that I finally found my voice enough to let my husband and sister know how I felt. I burst into tears and couldn’t stand to be touched. I felt like something had been taken away from me – and not just the baby.
I’ve always been able to share my experiences. But for the past few weeks, I’ve been angry and unable to even tolerate looking at a pregnant woman. I’ve been unable to think about my dear, dear friend who is pregnant right now as I didn’t know how to feel about her pregnancy. I’ve eaten bad food, drank way too much alcohol. I’ve not told many people about my miscarriage and I’ve definitely not been able to express my anger in healthy ways.
Two days ago, the anger erupted physically and I had pain in my hip that had me almost unable to walk, bend or lift my leg. After a self balance, I discovered that feeling exposed and violated in that procedure was all caught up in my hip and after a huge cry and some kinesi work, the pain started to ease a little. Enough so I could move around.
But today was a day of major shifts. Yesterday marked 5 weeks since the procedure and tomorrow marks 6 weeks since our ultrasound. But today, as I was on my way out the door, I suddenly felt a gush of blood. I ran to the bathroom where blood poured out of my body. It poured and it poured and it poured. Terrified, I called my obstetrician’s office where the midwife kept me on the phone whilst we waited for the obstetrician to be finished with his patient.
For 10 full minutes, my body was expelling bright red blood like a tap. I was scared I was haemorrhaging. That something was left behind from the procedure 5 weeks ago. I was scared that the on and off bleeding to this point was my body trying to remove what was left but couldn’t. That call felt like it took an hour but by the time he answered, the bleeding had slowed right down. He explained it was likely my period returning.
Embarrassed and slightly confused that anybody could have ‘just a period’ like this, he assured me that if it kept on gushing to call back. But that call wasn’t the end to this ‘chapter’. What he said next was.
He said he had meant to call me today because the results of the genetic testing was back. The baby was genetically abnormal – triploidy. A very rare and spontaneous mutation that unfortunately just happens and is a cause of miscarriage. A confirmation from my naturopath that indeed, no testing was needed, that we had the answer we were looking for. All of a sudden, the energy in my body shifted.
As I sat in the sun, I felt like that gush of blood was the end of a chapter. Washing away all the negativity, the violation, the unknowns and the self destruction. The cramping a sign of my body working hard to start the next cycle of my life. My hip pain is now virtually gone. Today I can start afresh. Now it’s time to leave this experience in the past. Today is day 1 of my new cycle. Today is day 1 of my recovery. And today, I can finally talk about my 3rd miscarriage.