A year ago today, 22 August 2016, we had one of, if not the, worst days of our lives. It was the day of our 7week scan. All the blood tests said I was still pregnant with our last embryo, the one out of the 4 we had pre-genetic screening on that was chromosomally normal. We’d not made it to the scan day with any of our previous pregnancies so we thought we had finally got lucky. The excitement and desire to see our babies heartbeat was high, even though I had some serious doubts due to symptom changes a week or so earlier.
I remember being incredibly nervous, sitting in the waiting room at the clinic, waiting for our specialist to call our name. I remember going into our appointment, getting myself up on the bed, with the ultrasound wand in place, watching the screen as the specialist moved it around trying to get a good view…..and still moving it around trying to find the foetal pole, a heart beat, anything to show a sign of life. I remember thinking, this is bad, its not supposed to look like this. And I remember Mr not having any idea of what was happening, til the specialist said “I’m sorry, there’s no heartbeat, its a blighted ovum”. I remember just going numb, staring at that screen, as my husband held my hand and started to cry. The specialist left us “I’ll give you a moment”. We held each other tight, he cried, I was numb, frozen, barely able to form thoughts let alone words. After I was dressed, and the specialist returned, he tried to explain. Bad luck basically. The worst luck ever. I remember the specialist looked like he was trying not to cry too, he said he’d been looking forward to our scan all day. It’s easy to feel like just a number in the process some of the time, but for that moment I knew the specialist genuinely cared.
We talked through options for how to manage the next steps, and he gave us time to think about the decision, letting us text in later what we wanted to do, so we didn’t have to actually have a conversation about it.
And then we went home. I remember holding hands the whole drive home, I just stared blankly in front of me, random thoughts floating through like “Why us? How will I survive this? Why aren’t I crying?” I remember sitting on the couch when we got home, still staring in front of me, Mr held me close, I didn’t want to be held or touched, but I knew at some level that for the future of our marriage, I couldn’t block him out at this point. He needed me too. I remember thinking a blighted ovum was super cruel, here we were in love with our baby, and it had never even been there. I felt like such a failure, betrayed by my own body.
Somehow we made it through the evening, I think I cried eventually. We somehow found a way to tell our family. The next day we drove out of town for the day, trying to escape our world for a moment, in the hope we’d find a way to breathe again. Somewhere in there we made the decision of what to do next – I wanted on a D&C, Mr thought I’d already had enough drugs & intervention so maybe we should let it happen naturally, but after the last time I didn’t want to go through that trauma again. I also, however bad this sounds, just wanted the drugs, wanted the general anaesthetic so I could escape this pain for just a bit. I also just wanted someone to look after me for a change with no expectations in return. Fortunately (as fortunate as one can be in this situation) we only had to wait a few days before the hospital had a space for us. What should have been a half day at the hospital ended up almost a full day there – thanks body for being more weird again. And a day or so later we went away out of town for a few nights, we just needed to leave our life for a little bit….except you can’t ever escape that pain.
While I remained numb for weeks after, it wasn’t a numbness that means no feeling, it was more a freezing of the emotion. It didn’t change, there was no ebb or flow, there was no escape, and no release or respite. Just so much heaviness, so much pain.
A year on, I still hold the memory of our baby close, I might not have got to hold them in my arms, but for a few weeks there I was pregnant, the pain is still strong, I miss our baby so much. I’m guessing over time the memories of the days themselves will fade, but our love for that wee embryo never will.