"I need to cancel my ultrasound appointment please."
My voice was small. So small.
"And can I reschedule that for you?"
Her voice was bright. Too bright.
"No, thank you."
The sob caught just in time at the back of my throat.
Until it happens to you, you can't imagine that it would ever happen to you.
You don't know anyone it's happened to.
Except you probably do.
I was eight weeks along when I learned that my first pregnancy was already over. That the little life forming inside me had, for some excruciatingly unknown reason, come to a halt two weeks earlier.
I thought I was the only person in the world that this had ever happened to.
It's not until you have a miscarriage that you come to realise just how common they are.
That knowledge provided little comfort though. Two work colleagues and I had been sharing the journey to conception. One already had a small child. The other was pregnant with her first. Neither of them had ever miscarried.
And I resented the hell out of them for that.
During the scan that revealed our worst fears, Bren and I both began to sob. But I couldn't look at him. I couldn't deal with his grief on top of mine. I didn't want to share this with him.
I made torturous phonecalls to the people I was now cursing myself for telling about the pregnancy. Others I texted. I didn't want to hear their attempts at sympathy. When those same people gave me lots of space in the following weeks, I was angry at them for ignoring my pain.
Along with the sadness which sat, leaden, in the pit of my stomach, I felt an overwhelming shame. I made my mum promise not to tell anyone what had happened to me. For years, I kept quiet. I held myself responsible for this perceived failure. I desperately wanted to hide that failure from others.
Mine was what is referred to as a missed miscarriage – apart from a tiny spot of bleeding that alerted me to the trouble ahead, my body had taken no further action in regard to this pregnancy that wasn't going anywhere. I would need a D & C.
In the days before the procedure, I felt empty. And desperate to be rid of this failed life inside me. It made me anxious to be stuck in this awful kind of limbo.
I allowed myself to be comforted by the words of the various medical practitioners who saw me throughout. This was just nature's way of correcting something that wasn't quite right; that this had happened very early on and so really all that was present on the scan was a tiny, empty sac. Almost as though there had never been a baby at all.
Some women are deeply offended when offered similar condolences as it fails to acknowledge the life that has been lost. For others, it's simply untrue and the reason for their miscarriage has nothing to do with nature and everything to do with an underlying issue that they often don't discover until they've gone on to have further miscarriages. But for me, it seemed a reasonable explanation and it helped me to move on.
I fell pregnant with Luca two months later.
I can never forget what it felt like to lose a baby – or the promise of one, which was really all this pregnancy had ever been.
Miscarriage colours every subsequent pregnancy – mine and others. I understand all too well how fragile this burgeoning life is. Making it through the first trimester is a chance to let out the breath you've been holding for months.
For the month that I was pregnant, I called you Little Wing. I fear that was a mistake as you very quickly found your wings and flew away. I don't commemorate the date of your conception or the date we discovered your loss. But you are an indelible part of my story and for that short month, we loved you fiercely. Maybe that was all you needed from us. And in leaving, you gave us the gift of Luca. Thank you, tiny love.
Heartbreakingly beautiful. Love to you.
Thank you, sweet friend. xx
Little Wing will always be in our hearts and in little expressions on the faces of your children and you will recognise that that little person lives on inside your family. Love, love & love
Beautiful. Just beautiful x
It’s a heartache I can’t imagine. I’m sure there are many who will read your story, and draw some comfort for their own sadness.
So relieved for you that your subsequent pregnancies have been smoother – you deserve it. x
As someone with pretty much an identical story your words are so right. Thank you.
That was beautiful, honey – *hugs*.
That’s beautiful. It is so important to share this with people I think. I shared a similar experience which, if you like, you can read at http://allaboutbeingamummy.com/2011/07/09/a-sad-story/
A lot of people responded to positively, I was glad I shared it.
So hearbreakingly beautiful. I feel so very blessed that I never had to experience such a loss, but my heart goes out to all those who have. Thank you for sharing this honey. Much love xo
Thanks for sharing Angie, so beautiful but heartbreaking.
Luca is a gorgeous gift.
It’s heartbreaking and not something you can ever prepare for. I had two miscarriages before my first was born. I was gutted and wondered if it was karma catching up with me. I searched for a time and place where I had done something wrong to someone else and was now being payed back. I had to blame myself because there was no one else to blame. I had my second, with no problems at all. Then, you announced your third pregnancy and I was overjoyed for you because I was pregnant too, with my third, but that also ended in miscarriage. Gutted. Again. But, I am loving being part of your journey. And, Ang, I don’t know you, really, but I’m there with you, because your journey is giving me comfort and making me smile. Now, I’ve made it all about me, when really, it’s all about you 🙂 Can’t wait for the arrival of your little missy. xxoo
I had a scare while pregnant and it put the fear of everything fearful into me. Still, I can’t even imagine how it must feel to go through that.
So happy that you’ve been able to have three healthy pregnancies since, and are blessed with your gorgeous boys. xxx
Yes. So very true. I will always wonder who Little Wing might have been but you are right…Little Wing has been here all along.
Thank you, Becky. x
It is a heartache that’s hard to explain. And I’m glad you’ve never known it.
I know all too well how blessed I am to have two beautiful children and god willing, a third safe in my arms sooner rather than later.
Soph, I am sorry that we share such similar stories. But I am glad that my words have resonated with you.
Thank you so very much for reading.
Thank you, my friend.
You know as well as anyone how precarious life can be. And how the sorrows and the fears are all worth it when you are cradling your newborn child.
Zanni, thank you for your lovely words.
I read your post and commented. I am sorry for your loss but I love your perspective. You gave yourself the space to grieve and honoured the little life that was not to be.
Thank you, darling Belle.
I’m so glad this has never been your experience either. So very glad.
Thank you so much, Trish.
And yes, Luca was quite the compensation. His name means ‘bringer of light’ – it seemed fitting.
Oh, Julie. I am absolutely gutted for you. I vaguely remember (in my muddled pregnant mind)you commenting on another post that made me think you were pregnant. I am so, so sorry. I would have so loved to have been belly buddies with you.
That you can take joy in MY journey after this loss? Julie, this speaks volumes about the kind of person you are. What a beautiful and generous woman you are.
If it is what you wish for, I hope that another little soul finds its way to you soon.
No matter how much you read about what could happen, you never really think that will be your story.
I am so glad yours was just a scare, Megan – I know I prayed that was all mine was but almost immediately, I knew. That sense of foreboding was a deafening roar inside me.
I feel quite unable to express how lucky I feel for this to have been a one-off and that I have a family which for a short but awful time, I feared might never be.
It is so SO common and we really don’t know how common until it happens to us. Even if we read the statistics, we never think it’s going to be US. Until we find ourselves weeping in a doctor’s office and getting irrationally angry at the pregnant women we see. Sigh. Time helps, but we don’t forget. I lost my first pregnancy too. I wrote about it here: http://39forthefirsttime.blogspot.com/2010/11/that-sucks.html.
Thank you for voicing what for many women, including me, is unable to be expressed. After 3 miscarriages and 9 IVF attempts, I now have a beautiful healthy and gregarious 4 year old daughter. Despite 6 further attempts at IVF to extend our family, and at 40 years old now, I am starting to accept that this might not ever happen. Well, maybe not accept, can I ever do that?
The only reason I share my own story is to remind us all that there are many different journeys that we as women take to bring children into our lives. The end result is of course the same, we have created a little family that we cherish and love with everything we have and everything we are.
I am sorry that you experienced this loss, but also delighted that you have a gorgeous little family now.
I can’t imagine the devastation that you, and others I know, felt going through that. I’m blessed to have been pregnant four times, and now have four healthy children, all of whom I loved with every fiber of my being from the moment I leanred I was pregnant. To have lost one of them? I don’t want to think about. I’m so glad you now have two children to love fiercely, hug, and smooch on (or at least, soon you will)!
I haven’t had this experience and consider myself very fortunate not to have been put through it. The statistics are startling for how many pregnancies actually result in live births when you first read them.
Each lost pregnancy is a hope lost too – behind the statistics are the stories of people like you and so many others with losses they carry in their hearts for a lifetime.
Thanks for sharing this and I hope it might help someone else going through a similar experience.
Oh you, your words and your heart- are stunning.
Thank you for sharing Little Wing- I’m honored to know her story (and more of yours).
So very much love to you.
I read your beautiful piece, Victoria. Thank you for sharing that with me.
No, it is never going to happen to us, is it? But like your piece notes, when it DOES happen to us, through the sorrow we are given the opportunity to grow.
Lisa, thank you so much for sharing your story with me. Yours has been a rollercoaster ride, that is for sure. And what sweeter culmination than that gorgeous daughter of yours.
I pray she is not your last. xxx
Thank you, Greta.
I am eternally grateful to have two beautiful and healthy sons. I know that having had only one miscarriage, while heartbreaking, makes me one of the lucky ones. There are so many stories, some of people dear to me, that I can’t fathom remaining strong through.
And that you had four pregnancies and have four beautiful children to show for it? Is music to my ears.
Thank you, Mel.
I am glad you don’t personally know this story. But you have other stories. We all do. xx
Love you. xxx
Tough stuff. Words still can’t fully describe the hurt I felt… how I made my own skin crawl at not being able to sustain that little life… that was my first loss, a very very similar story to yours.
I’ve had 5 miscarriages now (albeit a little earlier in each pregnancy) and no one knows this except my husband, my Mum and two very dear friends – I dare not talk about it further – I couldn’t – my body sucks, I feel dysfunctional! BUT, I have two precious little ones too, who has challenging as they may be, are adorable and I love more than life. They wouldn’t be here if I hadn’t picked myself up, dusted myself off, and kept on keepin’ on. Easier said that done, but I did it. So did you. xx
Oh, dear girl. You are courageous beyond words.
I am so glad you kept on keeping on. For me, ploughing ahead with trying again was the way forward for me to heal. Others require greater space to grieve.
But I have to say, I tried again and now I have Luca. And then came Ziggy. To have multiple miscarriages in a row? Well, how that doesn’t shake a woman’s faith, I don’t know. But of the women I know who have suffered this fate, they are all strong and resilient through their sadness.
I am so in awe of women. I really am.
Thanks for sharing, my friend. xxx
I don’t see myself as courageous – just determined… stubborn maybe!? 🙂
Two losses before my boy, one before my girl, and another 2 since then. It sucks arse. I must say I feel more relaxed than what I once did though – my body CAN do this, so I’m just biding my time and letting whatever will be, will be. I’m cool with that and feel good in that headspace. After all, I have two little blessings to love and IF there is another, may the love grow! 🙂
Good luck Angie girl… and good on you for sharing. It’s times like this that you can pat yourself on the back – I’m sure this blog is a guiding light for many. xx
I recently read that courage originally meant “To speak one’s mind by telling all one’s heart”.
Thank you for your courage in telling your story Angie xxooxx
Achingly beautiful! I have experienced that loss and often think of my sweet one who gave us the gift of Laura-Elizabeth who was born three days prior to the anniversary of my miscarriage the following year. (I remember the date because it was my dad’s birthday.) Thank you for sharing this with us.
Thank you, Nicole.
I am so glad you have Laura-Elizabeth. If anything can heal a broken heart, it is a precious child finally safe in your arms.
Thank you, Hez, for this beautiful comment. xx
Thank you, dear COURAGEOUS friend.
See what I did there? I’m making you own it. Now don’t be so stubborn. 😉
I love your headspace. That’s such a major accomplishment to get to that place.
I hope a little soul is waiting in the wings, ready to join you sooner rather than later.
Thank you for sharing your story Angie. I had a teary when I read this as I had experienced the exact same thing when trying for baby #2. I went for my 12 weeks scan only to find out that the baby had stopped growing around 6-7 weeks. It was heartbreaking and I sobbed for a few days straight.
After my d&c I was lucky enough to get pregnant again straight away with our gorgeous little boy who is now nearly 15 months old (little brother to our daughter, now 3). I still remember the little baby that we lost though and even now I still get a little teary when I hear similar stories!
As quite a few people already knew I was pregnant when we lost our baby, I shared the fact that I had a miscarriage quite freely. I was astounded at how many women then shared a similar story with me. Although it didn’t bring our baby back, I did find comfort in their stories.
Thanks again for sharing your story, and I wish you all the best for your next little bundle of joy!
A well written post that coveys your grief. Thak you for sharing it