There are many experiences in life that you will never understand unless you go through it yourself. From giving birth to the death of a loved one, there are no words or advice that will prepare you for your emotions. You cannot anticipate how you will react. You won’t know if you will deal with things rationally, or freak the hell out. Despite my flair for the dramatics, that my daughter has subsequently inherited, I’m usually calm and follow the premise that everything will be OK in the end.
In this instance, life was pretty frantic in our house because we had just had our first baby. He was a good little boy, but on my first I was so hell bent on doing everything right that I squeezed the joy out of watching my little boy grow. I found that the birth of the baby had put a strain on our relationship and it just wasn’t everything that I thought it was going to be. Still, I took one day at a time and it wasn’t the worst time in my life.
This day, myself and himself were pottering around the house and I think the baby was in his rocking chair when stood in the kitchen, I felt something in my underwear. Maybe I was due my period that week and I thought, ‘my word, that’s a heavy flow’ because I literally felt it come out. I went upstairs, he was in the shower, and I said ‘I think there is something wrong with me’. I sat on the toilet and looked down to see what I can only describe as a mass about the length and thickness of my thumb sitting in my underwear. Well I thought I was dying.
‘What the hell is that??’ My first thought was that it was placenta left over from the baby.
I took a picture and sent it to some nurse friends of mine. They all thought it was a clot. I wasn’t convinced so I put it in a tissue and brought it to the doctor. She said it was a clot and I disagreed, so we agreed to have it sent off to be tested! And I thought no more of it. My cycle continued as normal, you’ll be delighted to hear, and we went on about our lives as a new family unit.
A few weeks passed and the doctor rang. The phone call floored me. ‘Ms Brophy, we had it tested and it was actually foetal matter.’ I responded ‘I don’t understand? You mean left over from Kyle?’
The doctor spoke and I’ll never forget it. ‘No Ms Brophy, you’ve suffered a miscarriage.’
I couldn’t even process the sentence. I didn’t even know I was pregnant. My son was three -months-old. Had we even had sex? I hadn’t felt any pain. How could this be the case?
Then the events flooded my brain. I had taken pictures of my baby, I had carried it in a tissue and spoken about ‘it’! I was so deeply ashamed. I was trying to reason with the loss of a child I never knew I had, paired with the absolute horror of my actions towards a baby that my heart now ached for. Somehow weeks after the event to be told you have miscarried, it felt like I had missed my chance to grieve. I cried and I cried despite feeling like I didn’t have a right to. This was magnified by my unspeakable behaviour towards my baby. Family, friends and my partner all reassured me that I wasn’t to know and rational me would agree, but these feelings knew no logic. I was disgusted by myself.
The pain of miscarriage for me is the never ending list of What If’s?
Was it a boy or a girl? If I had given birth would I still have the children that I have now plus one, or how does all that work? How would I have coped with two under a year old, and all the never ending questions that I ask myself regularly? I gave my baby the nickname of Sweetpea so I had something to call him or her in my thoughts. I’ve forgiven myself because I wasn’t to know. How could I have known? I’ll shed many tears for Sweetpea for many years to come and when the kids are older I will tell them that in my heart I have four children.
To my darling Sweetpea; you deserved so much better, but I hope you know you are loved deeply. I never knew that I could love someone I have never met, but I do, and the pain doesn’t get any easier. All I can do is try to be the best Mammy for the three that are with me, forever keeping Sweetpea in my heart.