This is a hard post for me to write, and not one I had ever anticipated doing so if I’m honest but the world works in mysterious ways and this topic has continued to keep being brought to the surface, so, here we go… ?
I have Polycistic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS), basically my hormones are fuct and ever since I hit puberty they have messed with my life. I didn’t discover this until I was sixteen and sexually active and it was a visit to Family Planning when they decide they should check my hormone levels and this was uncovered.
Completely irresponsibility and incorrectly, but unfortunately not all that uncommon, I was told by the nurse at the time that I would never be able to have children. Obviously it was a very unsettling and devastating thing to be told. I felt like I had closed myself to the concept of ever being a mum and I guess in my own way come to terms with it.
Sometime later, with a steady boyfriend who I knew was faithful to me (hence no concern around Sexually Tansmitted Infections) and with the understanding that I couldn’t get pregnant, we decided to stop using protection. A few months later on a check up to Family Planning, I did a routine pregnancy test and completely to the surprise of both the nurse and I, it came back positive.
I am not wanting to start a debate here about the appropriateness or other people’s perspective on the decisions I made next, but it is an important part of my story. I decided to have an abortion.
This part of the story, I had made peace with long ago. It was my choice, I have no regret around that and I am not sure that if I was able to go back in time I would change it. It is what it is.
Though that nurse have never said that I couldn’t have kids. What she meant was, it might be hard for you to get pregnant. And when I meet my now husband and we were giddly in love and mapping out our potential future together, he mentioned he had always wanted kids.
And so we started “trying”.. And we were doing that for a long time.. We had been trying to concieve my eldest son for over two years. I had got to the point where I thought it might never happen. The doctor was at the point of saying we would likely have to seek some IVF or hormone treatment for us to concieve. We decided to take the pressure off ourselves and stop “trying”, just let life unfold and if in a few years we needed to go down that route, we would deal with it then…
It was about a month later that our beautiful eldest was conceived. We didn’t find out for a while, I have never had regular periods it has never been any kind of indication of anything for me. And my pregnancy wasn’t without issue. We suffered a placental adbruption, I had massive bleeds and crying on a bed in the emergency ward I was certain I was miscarrying. The doctor said we just had to wait and see what would happen but at that time my cervix was still closed and it wasn’t for certain that it was a miscarriage.
I was put on bed rest, actually the doctor specially said “lie on your back with your feet in the air and wait for an ultrasound next week”. And I did just that. When we had our ultrasound we found out that my belly bubba was indeed still with us and my placenta had grown massively to reattach itself to the womb lining.
This created it’s own issues with birth and recovery and I hemoraged after birthing my eldest. But that’s a completely different story; the point is that belly bubba is a beautiful three and a half year old today.
After having him, my obstetrician warned us that it might not be as difficult to concieve next time and wanted me to consider a contraceptive. After years in my late teens and early twenties I had tried all kinds of contraceptives that messed me up in different ways and to me seemed to exacerbate the symptoms of PCOS that I hated most, I was hesitant to even look at any options. We decided together that we were just going to let life happen in that respect, leave it in the hands of destiny.
When my eldest was eighteen months old, we found out that I was again pregnant. I was breastfeeding my eighteen month old and had a very light spotting a month earlier which was the closest thing I have had to a period in years. So it was almost routinely that I took a test that came back positive.
We were ecstatic and happy that this was the kind of age difference we hoped for our kids. We imagined future scenarios, tried to explain to our eighteen month old that he would be a big brother, and excitedly him, my husband and myself went to our first ultrasound. It was the same ultrasound tech who we had seen when we had scans of my eldest.
We were all laughing and joking as she started the scan, telling our son about being able to see a tiny baby in my puku when all of a sudden the face of the lady doing the scan just changed. I knew something was wrong in that moment. And before she had even said anything, I asked my husband to take our son outside for a walk and I would see them soon.
Long story short, my baby had no heart beat. It’s referred to as a missed miscarriage. My baby had died days earlier but my body hadn’t yet got the message. I was told to go home and wait a week to see if my body would naturally catch up before medical intervention would be considered.
It was one of the longest weeks of my life. I was angry at my body, I felt like I had failed my husband and son. I rehashed all the things I might have possibly said or done wrong.
Most of all, I struggled to reconcile that I could feel so much loss about a pregnancy that spontaneously ended in miscarriage while also not having the same emotion about a medical miscarriage, which is what they call abortion medically, almost 15 years earlier in my life.
It was day 7 after that scan that I started to hemorage. Natural miscarriage obviously results in a relatively large amount of blood loss but my body just wasn’t stopping. I was losing clots that were bigger than golf balls and on the phone to Health Line trying to gauge how much bleeding was a concern and how much was normal.
I had been speaking to the lady for about ten minutes, she was asking all kinds of questions and I was giving her all kinds of information and she finally asked, “are you soaking through more than a pad every hour?” to which I replied, “I’ve used two in the time we have been talking.”
An ambulance was immediately called and I got rushed off to hospital. My husband stayed home with my son, I didn’t want my son to see any of this. I just wanted to hide.
I was a blubbering fucking mess. They sedated me and did a D&C and I had to have an IV and all kinds and stay in over night. I was alone. I was just uncontrollably sobbing. They moved me because I was disturbing other patients…
I remember the next nurse who they assigned me was heavily pregnant. I saw her walk into the room and it felt a little but like I was being kicked in the gut. She was a lovely lady. She told me she had suffered losses of her own. This was the furthest she had in a pregnancy and this baby in her tummy was her rainbow.
It was the first time I had heard of the term rainbow baby and now have we have our very own rainbow baby who is nine months old and causing chaos.
Miscarriage is a strange anomaly in our society. People don’t seem all that comfortable discussing it. I never put anything on social media or anything but I hadn’t announced my pregnancy in any broadcast sense so there was no reason I would announce a miscarriage in that way. But I certainly didn’t shy away from talking about it in person.
And the thing that struck me was just how many other people go through this and don’t talk about it. Women everywhere in my life seemed to be popping out of the woodwork saying they had gone through the same thing.
We need to support each other with these things. It is one out of four pregnancies that results in miscarriage, that means there are lots of women feeling alone and lost in their loss regularly. I think these stories are really important to share and while I am hesitant and a little scared to share mine, here it is.
And to my little Jellybean, I’m sorry we never got to meet you. I still often go and sit in the garden in the spot we buried the tiny little coffin they gave you to me in and think of what might have been. You are forever in mine and your Dad’s hearts little one xxxxx
If you are struggling with your own loss, please check out SANDS, they run a volunteer service for bereaved parents who have lost children at any stage.