4 December 2021 – 1 week to go
Two days ago, was the first time I realised that my emotions have been steadily creeping up on me. I’m irritable, easily upset and finding it hard to be around people I normally love spending time with.
The run up to our anniversary date is always the worst. I build it up in my mind as if once the 11 December hits I might implode and turn to dust.
Then there’s the inner argument with myself, we found out we were pregnant on 20 November, so six years ago today I was happy and planning the future. I had fainted in the morning and just put it down to low blood pressure and getting out of bed too fast, the first of many symptoms I would go on to ignore. Although, I am not sure ignore is the right word because on some level I was aware, but it was too difficult to face so I forced it to the back of my mind to the same place I store GCSE level maths. The 9 December was when I began bleeding, but more of that later, so which date is THE date?
It’s something I am asked a lot since I began working with The EPT, “what date should be the one I use?” and there is never one answer. It’s the one(s) you feel the connection with is all I can say from experience. Yes, my pregnancy wasn’t viable from long before my surgery, but I was blissfully ignorant, so I want to hold that feeling. My world stopped turning on its axis on the 11 December, the day of collapse and emergency surgery so that’s my ‘chosen’** date. The thing with an ectopic pregnancy is there is never any one date, you have diagnosis dates; treatment dates; hCG levels being ‘non-pregnant’ date; methotrexate, surgery, the list goes on. So choose one, choose them all, do what makes your heart fell the least pain because at the end of the day it’s your loss, your trauma.
I digress, today is a week until the big day and I’m nervous. I don’t know what to expect, because this will be six years and not one of those six years has been the same for me. I have had anniversaries where I have cried, laughed, muddled through, felt empowered – so we will just wait and see and watch this space.
** I see the irony of using this word. None of us had a choice, maybe with treatment but I am here writing this, and you are reading it because the choice was stolen from us. And it sucks, and I am sorry you are here too.
9 December 2021 – 2 days and counting
So today is a key date for me. It’s the date when I began bleeding and a day that acts as a constant reminder to listen to my body and instincts as well as one that if I don’t keep on top of it, I can really put a lot of misdirected blame on myself.
I’ve miscarried before, so when I saw blood my instincts told me it was over. The hope started to fade and I went straight into survival mode. I remember ringing my husband, telling him that our pregnancy was ending, and then I carried on because it was easier than facing the reality. I had an early pregnancy scan booked for the 11th and there wasn’t much more that could be done, I wont say I accepted it, because six years on I still haven’t really and fully accepted what happened. I don’t think we ever do, do we? No heartbreak or loss in our lives can be accepted, we are just left to deal with the aftermath and to make little sense of a trauma that blindsided us.
So with the scan in mind I wanted to wait it out, I wanted to ‘lose’ my baby in the comfort of my own home with my husband by my side. He is the one that suggested ringing the following day, so I did. I rang and informed them of the bleeding and when they asked if I had any other symptoms I said no, I insisted I wanted to be at home and the midwife on the phone asked me to contact them with any changes.
This is where the blame comes in. I said no, no other symptoms. Yet I had shoulder pain, a strange shoulder pain that I hadn’t had before. For a long time, I have talked about how I wasn’t aware of the symptoms of ectopic pregnancy, was not aware of shoulder tip pain but if I am really brutally honest, I knew on some level that the pain wasn’t normal, I didn’t know the connection, but I knew it wasn’t how I had slept the night before or a strain. I ignored it, I hoped it would go away.
So today I have felt that guilt, it wouldn’t have changed the outcome, I still wouldn’t have walked away with a baby in my arms, but it may have changed the treatment, the emergency surgery, and the toll it all took on my body and mind. But then again, maybe it wouldn’t have made a blind bit of a difference.
Here it is, another anniversary and I have woken up to find the world still turning just as it did yesterday. Just as it did when I woke from surgery six years ago.
How unfair it is that when our walls come tumbling down, the rest of the world continues revolving completely oblivious to the pain and the silent screams of those of us that lose our babies?
I never knew the true feeling behind the word empty until I woke from that surgery. I was physically and emotionally empty, it’s a feeling I wouldn’t wish on anyone and it breaks my heart knowing that you are reading this because you or someone you care about knows that feeling.
I’ve kept busy today, I exhausted myself on every level so that I did not have to let it in until I was ready to. And when I was ready? Well I am still standing; and among the tears I also have a smile. Because when I think of my experience, our baby, it doesn’t always make me sad. Yes, it makes my heart ache, and it makes me wonder what would have been but after six years it isn’t all sadness and that’s okay.
We all use our grief and our experiences in different ways, and I have the upmost respect for anyone that has experienced the loss of a baby who keeps their head above water.
I want to take it all back in so many ways, wish that it never happened. But then if I took it all back, I wouldn’t be where I am today and I genuinely believe I am a better person because of my experience. They say that children shape us, and I agree. I may not have met my much longed-for baby but he still shaped me, he still set my life on a path that would have lay undiscovered otherwise. So tonight, I will look up to the night sky and know that it shines a little brighter now, because for a short while my baby was here, so vibrant like a firework and then he faded until there was nothing but a memory, a touch that will always be just out of reach.
If you would like to share your experience, please email firstname.lastname@example.org