My first pregnancy ended in miscarriage. At the time I struggled to talk about it. I felt ashamed and guilty. Acknowledging what was happening in my body, that the baby I had so desperately wanted and longed for had died, was like admitting I was a failure as a mother before I even got the chance to try.
The embryo stopped developing at six weeks but, in one of life’s cruel jokes, my body didn’t realise. My body kept giving me pregnancy symptoms, kept growing and changing, kept carrying around the dead and decomposing remnants of my biggest dream. On boxing day in 2011 I began to bleed. I had an emergency scan and, where a little humanoid figure should have been, was a vast, empty space. When I asked the nurse what was happening her response, and I remember the cutting way her words split through me, was “Well obviously there’s no baby there is there.”
For the next six weeks I bled. I bled heavily and solidly. I bled so much that my bed got flooded repeatedly. That as I crawled to the bathroom in gut splitting painful agony, sobbing with the pain of the movements, that I left a long trail of blood across the wooden floor behind me. On New Year’s Eve, as I heard the bells ring in the new year, I was on the toilet with clots of blood forcing their way out of me between gushing blood pouring. I saw in January 2012 in agony, both physically and mentally.
When I was scanned, on my original dating scan date, they told me everything had passed. They were wrong. It hadn’t. I kept bleeding and an infection developed. A painful, awful infection which could have prevented me having any more pregnancies if it hadn’t been caught in time.
My experience of losing my first child still haunts me. Still sits in me. The pain is still real and it still lingers, even all these years on. My due date was July 27th.
This time I am pregnant my due date was originally estimated at July 24th.
On Christmas Day I had a bleed.
On New Year’s Eve I bled again.
If I could describe the fear I felt taking over every ounce of my being I would do but I honestly don’t think I have an adequate vocabulary. I held myself together as best as I could. I tried, and failed, to not let Miss Rose see how frightened I was. How much pain I was in when the cramps bit into me. I tried to keep my cool and tell myself that sometimes people bleed when they’re pregnant. That cramps are normal. As The Boy brought me drinks and made sure I stayed rested, my inside was breaking whilst I kept my outside as still as possible.
I was sent to the hospital for an emergency scan. I was terrified. The lady showed us in and asked what had been happening. I told her and explained about how like my first miscarriage it was. I expected the same empty screen.
As a fuzzy grey baby image came into focus I asked her, “Is it okay?”
“There’s the heart beat!” she told me.
Then I sobbed. The Boy held my hand tightly and kissed my fingers as tears poured down his cheeks. I begged her to tell me again and again, made her point out the heart beat repeatedly. She let The Boy go and get my mum and Miss Rose from the waiting room and they got to see my little survivor. My little baby alive and well, wriggling around, with a heart beat strong and clear.
I didn’t stop crying for about half an hour after we left the hospital, scan photos in my hand. I cried so much I could hardly walk and everyone around me must have thought I’d lost a relative. But my baby was okay. My baby was alive. I wasn’t facing the same pain and loss and heartache I had faced before and my opportunity to be a mother again was still there.
How much I truly love and want this baby was really hammered home to me that day. How much I still grieve the loss of my first baby was pushed to the forefront of my mind too.
Losing a child at any stage of it’s life is something you never truly get over. You reach a point where you might not think about it everyday. Where you can think about it without crying. But it never really leaves you and it’s easy to push that pain back to where it eats into you again.
You can check out all my contact info an links on www.jjbarnes.co.uk, I’m on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram so you can get in touch on there, as well as find links to all my work. There’s also www.sirenstories.co.uk which has all the work by both myself and Jonathan McKinney and loads of extra content such as background stories for different characters. If you want to subscribe on Patreon, its just $1 a month to help support our work and it also grants you access to our extra podcast a week, you can go to www.patreon.com/sirenstories.
Thanks as always for reading, and I’ll speak to you soon I hope!