When you make the decision to have a baby, you think ‘how hard can it be?’
Well in my experience, not that easy. At the start you think it’s so very exciting and you picture your life with kids. But if it isn’t turning out how you planned, then what do you do? This is my story.
After 12 months of trying I went to see a fertility doctor who ran all the standard tests and I was diagnosed with PCOS or Polycystic Ovary Syndrome.
To combat this I started on fertility medication, and complimented with acupuncture and eating certain diets – it became all consuming and sex became all about pro-creating. Sexy right.
I started to feel like less of a woman – I had one job and I couldn’t even do that right. Women fall pregnant all the time and I didn’t have anyone around me going through the same thing, so I started to feel ashamed. I don’t think I even told my family we were trying at first. Outwardly I came across as outgoing and fun but inwardly I was a huge ball of insecurity. I became obsessed with baby forums and googling fertility remedies. The term ‘sprinkle baby dust’ became part of my vocabulary.
I started to think about the next steps. If it came down to it would I do IVF? Would I look at adoption? Do I even want kids? And it was like when you buy a red car, you notice red cars on the road.
It became babies here, babies there, babies, babies EVERYWHERE.
After another year of trying I went back to see the fertility doc and decided to take some time off before returning for more invasive testing.
You know what happened then? I fell pregnant. Yay. I tell our closest friends at 5 weeks. I’m still in the danger zone and people don’t normally announce until 12 weeks but I’m so excited. The next week, a big group of us are all scheduled to go to a holiday home on an island off the coast of Cairns for a friends birthday. On the way I notice spotting. I google. Google says this can be normal. We get there and for the next two days its full-on blood. I stay quiet. I don’t want to ruin anyone’s time and the only way to leave is if someone takes me on the boat.
I get home and book into one of the bulk billed GP’s and see a really uninterested doctor. She assures me that it’s normal, even when I explained how heavy it had been and tells me to attend the normal scan in a week that I had already booked. I find it hard to advocate for myself and don’t insist on a second opinion. I’m embarrassed that I’ll have to explain it to another doctor.
In the end, I have another appointment at a different clinic (where I still go because they are fantastic) and the doctor is horrified that no follow up blood tests to confirm pregnancy levels were ordered and we were just told to turn up for a scan where I would have seen I had had a miscarriage. I stay quiet again. It’s confirmed I lost the pregnancy.
I’m confused, I’m shocked but outwardly I brush it off.
After a few months I book an overseas trip with a couple of friends. These friends were moving over to London to do the working visa thing and I wanted to end up in Sweden to see my best friend from high school. Hopefully, I do a pregnancy test before I leave. Negative.
A week before the trip, my girlfriend broke her foot dancing in a club but we set off with her in a moon boot. It meant we got priority access to the front of the lines in the airport and special seats on the plane so for me it wasn’t so bad. We ate our way from Cairns to Japan, Japan to Abu Dhabi, and Abu Dhabi to Greece. In Greece, Santorini in fact, I started feeling queasy but think if my friend can walk up to the Parthenon in a moon boot in a European summer than I will be fine.
I put the queasiness down to motion sickness from a boat excursion. I became obsessed with eating vegemite toast (true Aussie, I took vegemite with me) and chocolate Nesquik. With all that amazing food around, it’s all I wanted. I never thought I could have been pregnant and I had done a test before I left.
I part ways with my friends and head to Sweden. I put my tiredness down to the travelling and the fact that my Swedish Goddess friend made me ride all around Stockholm on a bike with flat tires. We hop on a plane and head to Amsterdam. The pot capital of the world.
I could not STAND the smell of Amsterdam and I think I’m one of the only a handful of people in the world who can say they went to Amsterdam and did not partake in hash brownies. I felt too shitty.
Our trip came to an end and I flew home the cheapest way possible. Amsterdam – Abu Dhabi – Singapore – Brisbane – Cairns. Get off one plane and straight on to another. I was so sick. It was the worst trip of my life. Lo and behold I get home and do a pregnancy test and its positive. I immediately send a pic to my friend in Sweden. See! I had a reason to be such a grump.
Blood tests confirm and for whatever reason I head to the dating scan by myself. At the time I have no idea how far along I could be as my cycles were all messed up but we estimate about 10 weeks.
At the scan, there’s a pause, and I’m told there is no heartbeat. It’s called a missed miscarriage.
[A missed miscarriage happens when the embryo has died, but your body hasn’t expelled it yet. It’s also called a missed abortion or silent miscarriage]
I’m told I need to schedule a D&C.
[Dilation and curettage (D&C) is a brief surgical procedure in which the cervix is dilated and a special instrument is used to scrape the uterine lining to remove tissue in the uterus during or after a miscarriage]
In a daze, I thank the sonographer and walk out. I sit in the waiting room and call my husband and cry, quietly though – I don‘t want to make it awkward.
Next day with the D&C booked I decide now is probably a good time to ring my mum seeing as I’m about to go under anesthetic. I blurt out everything in a quick phone call. I’m so ashamed.
One thing I always remember is that by pure coincidence my miscarriages were on my friend’s birthdays. The second one was actually on the birthday of my now sister-in-law and I guiltily remember texting her when I woke up and was still groggy from the anesthesia – happy birthday, by the way I just had a miscarriage and had surgery. Face Palm.
After this we decide to just put a pause on the whole baby making and consider if we really want children. It’s a rough time. Six months later we buy a house – a fixer upper – maybe its some kind of analogy for how I was feeling about myself. It needs a pretty extensive renovation and I wouldn’t set foot in there until the 2000 year old carpet is ripped up. A week into renovating – I find out I’m pregnant. You know how people say focus on something else and it happens? Well heck, we weren’t even trying.
If you read my blog on my pregnancy experience you will know that whilst renovating this new house I had Hyperemesis and was really unwell. The day I was in labour was the day the bathroom was finished – my builder was walking in and out all day just watching me bouncing on my pregnancy ball to move things along. My birth story is a whole other story in itself and I’ll blog about it on a future date but I will tell you that I now have a wonderful four year old.
I’ll leave you with this. Infertility and pregnancy loss are devastating. It’s hard to find the right thing to say to someone going through it but in my opinion the worst thing to say to a woman when she loses a baby is ‘well at least you can fall pregnant’. I know I said it to myself during this time and I have apologised to myself a thousand times over. Pregnancy is not a consolation prize.
To help you, I have put some words you can say to a family that has miscarried below.
Things you can say to comfort a family that has experienced pregnancy loss.
I don’t know what to say but I’m here for you.
This is not your fault.
I’m so sorry you’re going through this.
You are entitled to your feelings and to grieve however you want.
I’m deeply sorry for your loss.
I’m thinking about you.
It doesn’t matter how far along you were. Loss is loss.
Here are some meals so you can rest.