Having a second consecutive miscarriage was devastating. It’s hard to know where to start when describing what happened, or how it felt and continues to feel. Perhaps I will start with the ultrasound. We were nine weeks and four days pregnant.
At about seven and a half weeks we had seen a fuzzy little splodge on the black and white screen. The splodge had a heartbeat! We then discovered that we had conceived twins, but that only one twin had struggled through the first seven weeks. The surprise I felt when hearing about twins outweighed the sadness of learning that only one had survived. According to our obstetrician, there was a 95% chance that everything would be fine.
I explained to the sonographer, a kind middle-aged man with a gangly frame, an Irish accent and a white beard, that I was worried. In weeks six and seven I was ill. Nauseous. Bed ridden on some days. But at eight weeks the nausea vanished. It was like some cruel magic trick. It’s hard to imagine any other scenario where you will yourself to feel unwell, but I did. The worry began to consume me and I wished I had booked an ultrasound sooner than the two-week wait. My sister and the few friends that knew assured me that it would be fine, “let us know how it goes” they asked.
“It seems that your premonition was right”, the sonographer said. He sighed. He didn’t smile. I didn’t want to hear these words. I looked at the screen. There was a perfect little guy peering back at me. His head, back, hands and legs were all forming just like the phone apps told me that he would be forming. But there was no fuzzy spot where his heartbeat should have been. It didn’t seem to make sense. How could I be seeing a perfect little guy, when he wasn’t alive. The sonographer said he was sorry. He said he measured about nine weeks five days, a day older than we had expected. But dead. He asked what I wanted to do, did I want to wait for the report or just go? I asked what the report would say, wasn’t it obvious? He nodded, and said the report would say, “nothing much I’m afraid”.
I passed through the waiting room. I knew my face would be blotchy, my eyes soaked in tears. I looked at each of the patients sitting in the room, wondering what their stories were. If they would go on to have wonderful pregnancies, if they shared my fears. I bumbled my way through the glass doors with my son strapped in the pram. I kept my eyes down as we turned the corridor to the bathroom. We went inside, I sat down, put my head in my hands and just bawled. My son, at 18 months, laughed. He hadn’t heard this noise before and thought his mama was being silly. I offered him a weak smile, “sorry sweetie” I said, “let’s get you out of here”.
In the car I rang my husband. I couldn’t talk coherently, and was sobbing. My husband was in a busy café. “What are you saying? Sorry I can’t hear anything you are saying? Did it go alright?” It was a disaster. He pieced things together. I knew I probably shouldn’t drive, but I drove the five or so minutes into the central city and picked him up from work. It was a tough day.
I messaged my friends, in between bouts of sobbing on the couch and pestering my husband to fetch me the tissues from the kitchen bench. I went to bed and sobbed there. My husband cried as well. He complained that it wasn’t fair. Of course it wasn’t. Bizarrely two other friends had miscarriages that same week.