I never thought I’d write this post or ever tell this story. But here, my beautiful daughter holding this rainbow, is our rainbow baby. Five people knew about it, one being me, one being the doctor and almost no one else. I’ve racked my brain so many times as to why I didn’t want to hit publish on this post and the only thing coming back to me is that I’m too scared of the reaction I’m going to get from this. I don’t want the commiseration. For so long I was too scared to mourn. Too scared to relive something I tried to block out of my memory. But I have to. For me. For you, a fellow mother who has also lost a child. For my baby I never mourned.
We had decided from the time when Oli was about 8 or 9 months old that we wanted another baby and that we would start trying once he had turned 1. I went off the pill, and a month later I was pregnant. I knew straight away. I just felt it. I remember buying one of those Clear Blue tests that indicate how far along you are and it read 3 – 4 weeks, early days, but still, I was pregnant! I was ecstatic, if not a little petrified of the HG journey I could possibly face. I remember tying a blue ribbon around the little pile of double-lined sticks (I was never one to believe that peeing on just one stick was enough) and surprising Dyl one afternoon after work. He was thrilled. I could see the pure joy on his face. Giving my husband a healthy little boy was the single greatest gift I have ever given anyone, and here I was adding to it.
At five weeks, I went to our local GP. Dr M, who delivered Oli had since moved out of our little town and he was replaced with an amazing female doctor. On arriving in her room for my appointment I told her I was pregnant, and immediately burst into tears. I remember her asking if this was a baby I didn’t intend to have because of my reaction. After composing myself enough to talk, I assured her that this baby was very much wanted, and planned, but I was petrified at any minute the Hyperemesis would kick in. You see, I truly believe I suffer from a form of PTSD because of it. Little did I know, she too was an HG sufferer and assured me that this time could possibly be different. She did a sonar and we picked up the tiny little foetus. My tiny little baby. It was in the right place but we didn’t pick up a heart beat, which she assured me, at such an early stage and on the equipment we were using, was not unusual. She must have registered the look on my face, so she silently filled out Laboratory forms for blood tests and off I went. I had to go, I can’t remember, but I think it was every two or three days to make sure the HCG levels were doubling. They did, for the first two weeks then all of a sudden – they dropped. I began spotting. Lightly. Dyl called the doctor straight away at 8pm on her cell phone and told her what was happening and she said to come in for a script for Oestrogen. I felt panicky, but she assured me sometimes spotting occurred in pregnancy. Two days in, and I felt ill. Praying it was ‘only’ the return of my HG I carried on with my day and the demands of a very busy one year old. Later that day, the bleeding worsened. I couldn’t call it spotting now. The doctor sent me straight to the Lab for another test and I waited for her call.
I remember my shoulders shaking uncontrollably as I sobbed, as I put the phone down with the doctor. The news I had just heard felt like a dagger to my chest. To this day I only remember snippets of what she was saying as she commiserated with me – “You’re losing the baby…your HCG levels are declining at a rapid rate…natural abortion…come back in a week to see if all the remains of the foetus are gone.”. I know she said so many other kind and concerned words, but these are the only ones I will ever remember. I sobbed with only my toddler for comfort, pulling him close and drenching his blonde mop of hair, I cried out of failure – failure that I wasn’t giving him the brother or sister I was so desperate to give him. I then had to pick up the phone and call my husband. I don’t think he made out much of what I was saying, but got the jist of it and was home in the twenty minutes it took him to drive from the site he was at. That day, all I did was cry. Big apologetic tears in his strong arms, and all I remember feeling, was failure. I questioned myself, why wasn’t I strong enough to carry this baby? Why couldn’t I keep my baby? What had I done wrong? The answer, quite simply, nothing. Miscarriage happens. It happens to one in four women. Sitting on the toilet I flushed away the remains of my dreams and in that moment, I decided I was going to lock away my emotion, my failure. I texted one of my best friends who knew about the pregnancy, and asked her not to phone when she read the message. I was done crying. I built a wall around my loss and threw away my pills that I was trying to hold onto my baby with.
We never spoke about the baby we lost, at my insistence, but six months later, we decided to try again. Two months later, we were pregnant. Back in the city, with a new doctor, after another round of Clear Blue tests, I went for a scan as my confirmation. It was early, but our little Buggy was there, and there was the feintest of flickers on the screen. A beating heart. Listening to that beat grow stronger with each scan felt like my heart was healing.
There have been so many women that have crossed my path, sharing their stories of miscarriages. These were women I could have spoken to, and genuinely commiserated over the loss of our babies, but I felt too conditioned not to talk about it, in that moment, and every moment thereafter. Writing has always been cathartic for me, this is my therapy, to do that, I had to tell my story, in the hopes that another woman who miscarries feels strong enough to share her story and her loss. We are not failures for losing our unborn children, we are human and a very unfortunate statistic. To the baby I never properly mourned, I’m so sorry and you will never be forgotten.