Sometimes the light at the end of the tunnel seems like a portent of doom.

So, a bit more introspection for you.

The last year has been a total roller coaster; travelling half way around the world to Canada, writing magazine articles that appeared IN PRINT, getting the dream job... all totally fantastic things. However none of that was what I had in mind when I wrote "What is 2014 going to bring? Well, I have an idea, and I'm thinking it’s going to be fabulous!!!"

When I wrote that, I wasn't envisioning any of these events - in fact our planned trip to Canada had been put it on the back burner - because last New Year’s eve, I was pregnant.

It’s been three New Years Eve's since I last celebrated with champagne. I guess I'm writing out this pain because somewhere I think this year will make a fourth spent as "just the three of us", and then it will be five years. Not because of baby but because it’s going to happen again and again and no one wants to talk about how it’s in this space that hope refuses to live.

There is an assumption made, when you’ve been married for a few years and don't have a fancy career, that babies are coming and, when they don't, it’s assumed you are having problems conceiving. It can be really annoying if it’s actually because you don't want children - I have friends who fall into that category - sadly we fall into the other side, the one that's not as talked about, and most people do not understand the pain it causes. The pain that comes not from a failure to get pregnant but instead comes from not being able to stay pregnant and the question "when are you two going to have kids" feels like an accusation, leaving you feeling like a failure.

Statistics tell us that 1 in 100 suffers with recurrent miscarriages and that 20% of pregnancies fail and that's only the recorded ones, sometimes it doesn't even get that far; on one A&E visit I was told that it wasn't really a miscarriage, I wasn't far enough along. After that I now refuse to visit the doctor until I’m 6 weeks pregnant... the furthest I've made it is 7 weeks and 5 days.

Like most women desperately trying, tests are taken as soon as the adverts say they will work, often sooner; now they get taken only once I'm feeling miserable and my period has been missing in action for at least 4 days.

With a missing period comes the fear, it’s gut wrenching, the fear and dread that this month you’ll go through it all over again. Hope gets replaced by despair, by the feeling that again you’ll believe that this time it will stick, only to die inside a little more when it doesn't.

The old adage of "say nothing until 12 weeks" works ok the first few times, but after that it’s even more painful to go through all the torment inside with no one realizing that handing you the baby to hold is killing you, that you are screaming behind your smile.

When you do break the 12 week taboo, it’s not much better. The first time, or two, it’s comforting to know that "at least you can get pregnant". After the third, it’s like another knife in your heart, and the comparison to other couples who cannot conceive is in no way a consolation, nor the knowledge that others "are going through the same thing", because they aren’t at all, a part of you wishes you were part of that club, that you just couldn't, that you were lucky enough to just be unable to have children, rather than your body killing them. Some people will tell you they understand, but a lot of the time it is not an understanding really. The sympathy is there, of course and they do; especially if they had a loss, they remember that pain. It’s a pain, however, that fades  in the shadow of the living children that come after, whereas you are left clinging to the hope of bolder lines on sticks, at one day more day more than last time to imagine and dream, that maybe this time you will see your baby before it disappears again.

Those hopes are eventually replaced with the memories of another due date that won't be, another trip to the hospital, praying for a different diagnosis this time. You end up with the feeling that you are defective. It’s too early to be told the reasons why, and it’s apparently too early for some people to think you even have the right to be upset - It isn't, each line is a baby, and each loss feels as intense as the loss of any child, leaving you crying for hours after having to go to a child's party on what should have been a due date.

Pregnancy losses in the first few weeks aren't always something that gets talked about an awful lot, again down to that 12 week “rule”. I do wonder if it’s somehow connected to the idea it’s not a baby until the first scan, until there is proof. To me, proof is not being able to sleep because I have horrendous heartburn and acid reflux, because I never suffer either at any other time. Stillbirth and late term loss are getting talked about more, it is truly a horrendous thing for the parents to deal with. I think it’s something we need to talk about, we’re getting more recognition for this awful thing that happens to so many, but it seems those of us having early loss, something sometimes callously called “chemical pregnancy", are left to the side. What is even worse for me and my husband, having no outside of close friends to talk to, is that I seemingly can get pregnant very easily - I just never stay that way. Sometimes it’s a few days, sometimes a few weeks, but never for long. For those of us who lose early, a lot will lose pregnancies over and over, sometimes with only a few months between each one. It’s a harsh thing to deal with, for the most part, in silence.

A very large part of me actually fears pregnancy now, because to me it’s just another 3 weeks checking every moment that I haven't started to bleed. One day, maybe, I'll actually have a baby, but until then I have reflux, hiccups so bad I think my stomach will pop out and fear. No hope though, hope doesn't live here anymore. It is something I want, and I will keep trying to achieve it, but there’s only a small part of me left that keeps the faith, the rest of me thinks this is a cycle that will keep going. I’m not going to fail simply because I give up, so I keep trying again and again.

I'm generally quite happy these days, I have good and bad days like everyone else. It’s hardest for me because no one else seems to get it. That every one loss is harder than the last, and that this hiding the pain makes it harder. Some days I don't want to think about it –the due date that fell on my birthday kind of sticks in my head sadly - but otherwise, the hiding of it makes it feel like dirty little secret. It’s a terrible way to look at it but sometimes you can't help it, especially when it’s something people tell you to not talk about.

I hope that at least one person with the same problem will find and read this and it will make them feel a bit better, knowing that someone else gets it and has been in the same spot. I know it would have made me feel less alone. Even if it’s not the same problem, just that feeling that something that should be giving you hope is filling you with dread, please know that you are not the only one.

2 comments

  1. I get it. I have never felt so lonely as a result of all this. But a great post for me to read today. At the low points I think it will help to remind myself that I am not on my own after all.

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