Wednesday, May 30, 2012


"Miscarriage and Lossing Babies in Pregnancy" is the 5th post in the series "BECOMING A MUM VIA AN ALTERNATE ROUTE". 

"We have two healthy boys now but it took us five pregnancies to get to this stage. We were always fortunate to fall pregnant easily but unfortunately for some reason my body has difficulty holding on to a pregnancy full term. Our first pregnancy ended in a miscarriage. At the time it seemed very sad but was certainly not crushing as we were both able to accept that there was obviously something wrong and the baby would not have been strong enough to survive. The doctors suggested that typically miscarriages in the first trimester are due to chromosomal issues so it seemed to make sense. I fell pregnant the very next month and we had a smooth pregnancy and birth. There was some nervousness but not a high level of anxiety or stress during the second pregnancy. Less than a year later we were pregnant again. The third pregnancy seemed to be going well, we knew we were having another boy and had named him. We were going to be moving overseas for a few months so we had his room set up and were on track for the arrival of our second son. Sadly I went into labour and gave birth to our son before his little body was strong enough to survive. The fourth pregnancy went the same way with me giving birth to another little boy far too early. Our fifth pregnancy and birth was difficult but thankfully resulted in a healthy baby boy.
While technically our second and third losses still fall into the category of miscarriage as a "late loss" for us they were very different experiences to the first trimester miscarriage of our first loss. In my experience there is a much higher level of grief associated with a loss when you have carried the child longer, connected with him/her, in our case know the sex and have named him. There is also the difference once you experience labour and get to hold the child as opposed to in an early miscarriage where you tend to have pain, heavy bleeding etc but do not have the birthing and connection of being able to "meet" and hold your child. For both our boys that I gave birth to and lost they are a very real part of my life whereas the early miscarriage does not feel on the same level. I have my boys ashes with me and still think about them.
One of the difficult things about suffering a loss of a baby is that it really affects your subsequent pregnancy and birth experiences. The level of anxiety and distress significantly increased for me after each loss. Because my first pregnancy ended in first trimester it meant that I still hadn't had a traumatic birth experience when I gave birth to my first healthy son. That first birth was a wonderful experience. Unfortunately after two incredibly traumatic births that followed I ended up having a horrible birth experience with my youngest son. I tried very hard to mentally prepare, and to be fair there were a number of complicating factors, but I think the fact that my previous two births had ended in holding and singing to a son I would never get to know was damaging and affected the way I coped with the birth...
I am fortunate to be an incredibly resilient person. I have always been able to survive to see another day! My favourite saying is "This too shall pass". I have often threatened that I will get it tattooed on my wrist in Aramaic! I don't know if it worked for King David but I have certainly found it helpful. 
In terms of "living well through this situation" to be honest I don't think I did live well "through it", I "survived it" would be more accurate. At the time it was a matter of getting up and trying to keep my head above water, I survived one day at a time. I was still crying about each of my boys at least once every day for about two years before it gradually became every few days, then once a week etc. Eventually it got to a point where I could think about them without crying every time. Now I am in a wonderful place and would definitely say I'm am living extremely well and have the most amazing, supportive husband but I won't lie and say I lived well during the very dark years that surrounded this period of my life.  
I think the most difficult thing is when people trivialise the nature of your loss by stating how common these things are or saying things like "It obviously wasn't meant to be"... I hate that one! What a stupid thing to say, yes it was meant to be and it WAS. I was pregnant, I did have this child and it is a tragedy that it IS NO LONGER... I really would say on this note that unfortunately people will be hurtful and thoughtless either out of ignorance or simply not knowing what to say. You can't do anything about that so you will just have to endure it. Like I mentioned before, for me continually reciting things like "this too shall pass" as a mantra can be helpful. Finding beautiful songs/music that both help you release your emotions and also act as a soothing healer for you can help. I found lines like: "Hope is coming for me..." and "Mercy comes in the morning...", from Brooke Fraser's song C.S. Lewis Song, were helpful when I just sang those words over and over in my mind. 
The main thing that my experiences have taught me is that you cannot take the pregnancy and birth of healthy babies for granted or assume it's a given. We have such amazing health care in the West that have resulted in massive reductions in maternal death rates, saving lives of premature babies, assistance falling pregnant through advances in IVF and so on that I think we've become too relaxed and taken on an attitude of entitlement to birth and pregnancy. Loosing two of our boys has made us acutely aware of how lucky we are to have the beautiful children we do have and I do not take that for granted. It took lots of blood, sweat and tears to have our boys but they were worth it and if I had to do it all again to get them I would.
We don't take our family for granted. We're a strong little unit... I can say confidently on this side of those difficult years that I know our marriage can withstand anything! We adore each other even more and support each other really well. Marrying my husband was the best decision I ever made. I'd say that's a good place to be in!"
From my friend "B".





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