This is a post about miscarriage. It’s not maudlin, I’m not looking for sympathy, it’s just that it’s a subject that a lot of us come across many times in life that isn’t spoken about much. It’s awkward, it’s deeply personal, and it sends people running. If you would like to run, now’s your chance!
What do you get if you cross a dead guineapig with clock gears?
You’re still here? Good stuff. This is just my story, maybe it’ll help someday if you’re caught unaware, maybe it’ll help to know… what to say, if anything. If you’re looking for a guide to help you figure out what you’re supposed to be feeling, I’m afraid you’re on your own, for I haven’t figured that part out yet myself.
I wrapped a yellow bow around the pregnancy test, it was February 12th when it tested positive, so it went into a Valentines day card for TAT. He was chuffed beyond reason. Perhaps not the best timing for a child, but when is? I told my mother in law later that it was an intentional accident, much the same as the rest of my kids. Accident and surprise should own the same word, if you ask me.
The week before superstition would allow me to boast about my being on the bubble, it arrived. Lots and lots of blood in all the wrong places and I knew, even before I called my friend for advice, what was happening. The pain followed soon after… a milder form of labour pain but horribly evil with no possible chance of a happy ending. I slugged Vodka. I took Ponstan and Solpadeine, but nothing would take it away. No more baby. Just dead cells and intense discomfort. I had it easy compared to most, which is a horribly scary thought.
I was brought into hospital where an ultrasound told me I’d been carrying those dead cells for four weeks… nature had seen it fit to call it a halt to this kid’s development after only eight weeks of growth. Why, though? Why have Laughingboy develop to term, only to have him suffer with disability in his life? Why take this child now?
The pains stopped suddenly… so suddenly that I wondered if I’d imagined the whole thing, and ten minutes later while seeing a man about a dog, I laid an egg. Right there, into the toiletbowl – *plop*. What a way to go.
I cried, then, purely because I didn’t know what else to be doing at the time. I knew when I scooped the foetus out of the toilet bowl and wrapped it in tissue, that it wasn’t a child, that it probably never was. I wanted to keep it, bury it in a shoebox, and not tell anybody. Instead, I handed the wadge of tissue to the lady at the helpdesk who asked me if I was okay, but I couldn’t answer with anything but a limp smile. A few moments later found me spreadeagled on a hospital bed, being probed for a D & C.
“Seems you’ve done all the work for me!” the doctor smiled.
“Yeah!” I laughed. I actually laughed, as though we were speaking about furniture removal or earwax or something equally as mundane. No sadness, just emptiness.
We stopped off at a relative’s house on the way home against my fervent wishes, and I sat alone on the couch. Nobody spoke of what had happened apart from one or two statements that I really didn’t want to hear, and nobody has mentioned it since. Far too awkward. Far too scary. Get on with your life already, woman, and count your blessings.
It was when I got the letter a week later that it hit home. I was invited to a mass in the hospital for the souls of recently miscarried babies including my own. I didn’t reply. I waited as the day arrived, and as the mass began elsewhere, I suddenly felt immensely guilty, like my baby was floating in a dense fog somewhere, counting on me to release it from it’s horrid limbo. I sat on my couch and tried to ignore it, tried to pray my own prayers, but the feeling stuck. I did nothing for the soul of that child, if there was such a thing, it’s existence on this planet went totally un-noticed. Is that wrong? I don’t know, for nobody’s really given me that much of a chance to talk about it. It’s probably a question which has no answer anyway.
If you do meet someone who’s going through this experience, I can arm you with advice… just listen. That’s all you have to do. Try not to say something for the sake of breaking silence… phrases like ‘It’s probably for the best’, or ‘Sure you can always try again’, or ‘Time’s a great healer’… they really don’t help. Boxes of chocolates go down extremely well, hugs are surprising, human contact sometimes is an excellent remedy… it fills the hollowness wonderfully.
Miscarriage is one of those feelings that stays inside a person. Even though the body is gone, the memory persists, an innate feeling that one has failed in a responsibility to another human being. Somebody died on my watch. It’s a tough cross to bear sometimes, and if left to fester can cause a multitude of other problems. It needs to be let out, so let it out. Talk. Listen. Remember that tiny pile of cells to somebody else, write stories about it.
Above all, never, never feel too ashamed to talk about it.
However you find this, whether it’s by search-term or by fate, I hope it helps. I hope it’s comforting to find you’re not as alone as you think you are, male or female, brother or cousin twice removed. You’re the proud owner of a new scar and it defines who you are. Wear it. It’s beautiful in its own weird way.