Two (and a bit) Years On

Arms

The grief hit me again the other night.

It does this sometimes, still, more than two years after the miscarriage and despite having given birth to a daughter who I could not possibly love more. The pain is still there and sometimes it ambushes me, without warning, without obvious reason; I was lying in bed after a very happy day and suddenly there it was.

The same memories flash through my head, the same moments (sobbing when I was offered Entonox because I thought it was drugs and would delay me getting home), the same faces (the concerned ambulance driver who wouldn't leave), the same conversations ("We didn't know if I could get pregnant - what if this was our only chance?").

I remember the urgency with which the midwife shouted and shouted for a doctor when I went into convulsions; the doctor clearing a lot of matter out of me, including the sac; the doctor asking me how far along I was over and over again and the midwife telling her every time, "She hadn't had a scan."

I had thought I was eleven and a half weeks pregnant but I could tell that that answer was wrong.

They didn't tell me what the right answer was.

It ate me up for a long time afterwards, not knowing how long I can been carrying a dead baby around inside me. I remembered, on my birthday, Steve and me sitting on the floor of our newly carpeted dining room and choosing baby names; at that point, it was probably already too late.

I asked my GP, months later, if there was anything in my records. She showed me the letter from the hospital but all that I could see in it was the word "sadly" - it was so unexpectedly personal; it may be the term they use in every letter about every miscarriage but, suddenly, I felt like I had been a person to them rather than a statistic, that maybe they were genuinely sorry for my loss. I went home and cried.

But there were no details. All the letter said was that I had presented with heavy bleeding and that the pregnancy had ended.

I wanted more.

My memories are a muddle in my head. I came away with the impression that my bleeding was unusually heavy and my experience particularly violent and I wanted the facts and figures to tell me if this was true; I wanted volumes and timings and some sort of scale for physical misery.

I felt like, if I had some sort of written narrative of the night, I would have a handle on what had happened, I could process it better, I could regain a bit of control.

It was the same impulse which made me write down Matilda's birth story and what we were going through in hospital, knowing that I wanted to keep those memories clear and intact.

It's the same impulse which is making me write this now. If I grasp at these tiny shards of memory and these little flashes of pain and I type them into my keyboard, I'm putting them into a tangible, manageable shape. I'm making them make a little more sense. I'm getting them out of me in the hopes that they will stop surprising me.

I had thought, early on, that I would obsess over what had caused the miscarriage. I didn't. I could accept that it might have been random bad luck, an abnormality, an anomaly. I could even accept that it might have been in some way my fault; I hadn't planned or expected to get pregnant so I couldn't be too hard on myself for drinking some wine or being low on folic acid.

But I did obsess about how far along I had managed to get. I wanted a marker; I wanted a point during my second pregnancy at which I could say, "We've made it one day further; two days further; three days..."

There's still some bit of me trying to make sense of it all.

Late at night. Without warning. When I'm trying to go to sleep. A bit of me still wants to know.

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