My husband and I have been together for 10 years and married for two. I had wanted a baby from a very young age, but I knew I had to finish university and start my career first. The time was right, and we started trying for a baby in February 2019. We got pregnant the same month I came off the pill which neither of us was expecting but it was wonderful.
We were so, so happy and were busy working out the next few months and planning our future as a family of three. My husband was so excited he even told his boss (even though I was only six weeks pregnant) and she suggested buying me a Mothers’ Day card as it was that Sunday. The night before we had gone for dinner with some friends and it was lovely having our little secret. Halfway through the evening, I went to the toilet and noticed a little bit of spotting. I wasn’t worried as I knew that could be normal at that time of pregnancy and it seemed to settle.
The next morning, I started bleeding a little more and so rang a friend for some advice about what to do. She suggested speaking to the GP who may be able to refer me to the early pregnancy unit for a reassurance scan. I had no pain and it wasn’t very heavy, so we continued to think everything was okay. The GP saw me and said if things got worse to go to A&E for a review. As it was Mother’s Day (and before lockdown) we were seeing both our mums and felt like we couldn’t not tell them what was going on. We had planned to tell them that weekend I was pregnant anyway but now it was tinged with sadness. Even though nothing was confirmed I felt like something wasn’t right as I hadn’t really had any pregnancy symptoms either. Later that day the bleeding got worse and I had terrible cramping pain, so I knew I had lost the pregnancy and 48 hours later it was confirmed by ultrasound that there was nothing there anymore. To add insult to injury, I had to go back for repeat bloods as my BHCG was high and so they needed to rule out an ectopic pregnancy.
“Yes, it was very early, but emotionally we had already planned this baby’s 18 birthday”
The thing that sticks in my mind the most from all my interactions was that people kept saying “oh it’s very early” and yes, biochemically, literally, physically it was very early but emotionally we had already planned this baby’s 18th birthday! I cried for a couple of days solidly and then other family things happened and so life had to return to normal. I told my close friends early on as I needed the support and they were wonderful. We assumed that I’d probably get pregnant again pretty quickly and so the first month of trying after the miscarriage with the negative test wasn’t too disappointing. However, as the months went on I got more distressed and found myself mourning my lost baby more with each passing month, especially as what would have been the due date came nearer. I was no longer enjoying my work with children and, to be honest, looking back over that year is a complete blur. All that filled my social media and my work life during that year was pregnancy announcements which I found so difficult and I felt quite resentful at times.
I saw my GP a few times during this year who was so reassuring and wonderful and she suggested some counselling. By coincidence, I saw a news article about a fundraiser for Footsteps and contacted them after reaching what felt like a crisis point. I’d been crying on the stairs following a phrase that upset me from our fertility test results (they were pretty much all normal, but something was phrased poorly) and then lockdown hit. We had our sessions over Zoom and as I was worried about how my husband was feeling about the loss, and then with the monthly rollercoaster of emotions, we had couples’ sessions. It was a great space for me to say how I was feeling and gave us a dedicated hour or two a week where we could talk about it and then try and not talk about it the rest of the time so it didn’t continue to consume us. That was really useful for us as it had taken over all of my thoughts and was all I thought about. We only needed a few sessions for me to accept that I was allowed to grieve my lost pregnancy and baby. The sessions allowed me space to think about that baby and to have some acceptance.
“I found it difficult when people asked if it was my first baby or when I saw it written in my notes that it was my first baby”.
In May 2020, we had a very unexpected positive pregnancy test and I think a lot of it was due to the fact I had accepted and grieved the miscarriage properly. The first few weeks were awful and filled with anxiety, but I think better than they would have been without the counselling. However, I don’t think losing a pregnancy is ever fully accepted. I checked the toilet every time I went for nine months for any signs of blood. I also found it difficult when people asked if it was my first baby or when I saw it written in my notes that it was my first baby.
When I was induced and had some unexpected bleeding, it brought back all of the emotions – which was horrible – even though I knew I had a perfectly healthy full grown baby that I was going to meet very soon! Thankfully our rainbow baby was born safely in January 2021.
Thank you to Amy for sharing her story. If you live in Gloucestershire and need support for pregnancy-related issues, including the loss of a baby at any time, please contact us.