Talking about loss can be quite heavy on the tongue. I don’t think anyone finds it particularly easy; whether it’s a Doctor delivering bad news, or a policewoman sent to tell the family, or a phone call from abroad, there is no convenient time to hear about a loved one dying. Here’s a story telling of a unique kind of loss, one we try not to focus on a lot – mainly because it is a private matter – even though it hurts like any other.
Two lines. That’s how we met. I was sort of expecting to meet you, but you came a little earlier than planned. I remember thinking I needed to see a Doctor because I wasn’t sure what was going on. I only took the test because I knew the Doctor would ask, and there you were; two very strong red lines on the stick. I was in shock for a split second, and then I was overwhelmed with joy. “Well, hello!” I said. “… wasn’t expecting to see you so soon, but I’m glad you are here.” I was pregnant and I was excited. I was one week late so technically 5 weeks pregnant. My next thought was how I would break the news to my husband. I wanted this time to be memorable so I set up a scenario in my head. I waited an extra week before I told him.
“Hi dear, we really need to talk.” Naturally he wondered what he had done wrong now. “I’ve said this a couple of times but I really hope this is the last time I will say this…” Now he was really thinking. “Let me guess” he said, “Is this about last night…” I had to stop him before we went into an unnecessary dissection of holy grail matters. “No dear, it’s not about last night. It’s about a night a few weeks ago. You scored big! And we are pregnant.” “From where?” He asked. I busted out laughing. His expression was priceless. He ran to the loo for a few minutes and came back shaking. “Are you okay?” I asked. He nodded and held me to himself and quietly said “Thank God”. I would have loved to wait and surprise him with a scan photo at 13 weeks, but I knew my mouth was going to feel funny, I would feel tired and probably complain about everything, so he needed to be warned and armed.
Most women are truly excited to find out they are pregnant, particularly when the pregnancy has been planned and there is a stable man to accompany her on the parenting journey. It comes with it’s highs and lows but it’s a process we are content to go through because the end result is worth it. So how to do explain to others all the plans you’ve already made within 24 hrs of testing positive? All the conversations you’ve had with you growing baby in the first week, or how real this person is to you?
I was so conscious of you inside me. I felt I could feel you moving even though science says it is impossible at such an early stage. My breathing got heavier (or maybe I just had a cold) and my tummy couldn’t wait to shoot out. You were only 7 weeks old! And as for my appetite, I reckon you were having fun making certain demands. I used my money to buy sparkling water for the first time because my need for fizz was great! Chewing ginger was normal and I actually threw out onions and garlic as I could not stand the smell of them; but it was all worth it, because I was going to meet you in another 32 weeks. I told your Grandma and Grandad at 10 weeks and they were thrilled. Uncles and Aunties came next and they couldn’t be happier.
Then at 11 weeks I noticed a change. My mouth tasted normal and I noticed my tummy reducing in size. “Are you okay sweetheart, is everything alright inside there?” I asked. I wished I had a machine at home to see what was going on. “Have faith” I told myself. Everything is fine. And then there was a little red spot. I wanted to see you, to hold you and tell you Mummy loves you. 3 days of little spots and I called the midwife. Nothing to be concerned about I was told. Another 5 days and I would have had my first scan. You just had to hold on; mummy will see you soon. Everything will be Ok. I couldn’t hear you. All I could do was stay off my feet and hug my tummy hoping you could still hear my heart beating for yours. The next two days were torture. We eventually got a scan. The nurse said there was no heartbeat. You looked 8 weeks old, gently curled up. I heaved a heavy breath as I was sent to a quite room. Your Dad came in and we just sat there. And then you poured out of me. For three hours…
A lot happens during a miscarriage. The experience is different depending on how old your baby is, and to be honest, it doesn’t hurt the same way either. This was not my first miscarriage but this one had more of an impact on me. I had time to cry and I wanted to cry. My Parents actually called to make sure I was not crying and I hung up on them.
I don’t think anyone really has the right words to say in times like this. Telling me things like “Maybe the child had deformities” or “the body knew something was wrong” … those things actually annoyed me. I know they could be true but I believe in a sovereign God who created every inch of my body, so how can my body, without my consent, reject what God put inside me?
It was easier for me and my faith, to believe that God wanted me to be pregnant for 8 weeks. You may disagree but this is how I got through that period. As miscarriages go, this was a pretty easy and straightforward process. By the following day I was actually jumping and dancing energetically, to make sure everything that needed to come out was out. I was asked to come for an evacuation process, but there was nothing left to remove. However, it gave my husband and I lot of time to just talk, something we hadn’t done in a very long while. I am also thankful for my friends and Big Sisters who were there without words. I am truly blessed with great friends. You need people to support you quietly in this time. Someone who heard about me said “Oh, I didn’t know she was going for another one. Don’t they have enough?” Unfortunately, this is another comment that people throw about but it is really no one’s business that I have three children already.
I understand that words of comfort can be difficult to find, but we should also be careful not to add to the pain. We really need God to help us speak the right words at the right time. And if you have experienced this kind of loss, take your time to heal. Don’t feel under pressure to do what someone else has done, because you are unique, in every way.
It’s been a few months now, but looking back, what I found the hardest was saying goodbye. The nurse said I had to take another test to confirm I was not pregnant. I struggled with that part. I knew it was over but to figuratively close the coffin was proofing tough. I had to say it. I had to do it. And there it was. One single strong red line. I still miss you, but I know you are okay where you are and I’ll see you again someday. You said goodbye like you said hello, with a simple red line.