This was my first pregnancy and our long-awaited child. The joy that we both felt was very quickly overshadowed by fear, at 8 and 17 weeks in to the pregnancy, when I noticed spotting and was immediately rushed to the hospital. Both times, I had an ultrasound and was told that the baby was fine, and his heartbeat was strong. We really felt that we were given a second and third chance with our baby.
At our 12 week scan, the sonographer noticed a small pool of blood in the womb but put it down to the fact that I may have conceived just as my period was about to start. This was something I began to believe was an explanation for the intermittent bleeding that I had experienced during pregnancy, Although this explanation didn’t drive the fear away, it did give a cause for the bleeding.
I was 19 weeks pregnant, just 4 days shy from our 5-month scan, when it happened again: I woke up to spotting. The bleeding gradually got heavier and so, again, I rushed to A&E, only this time I was given the heartbreaking news that I was 4cm dilated.
Our son Israel was born sleeping. There is nothing more painful than giving birth and knowing your baby isn’t going to make it. You don’t get to hear their cry; your ideation of what the perfect delivery would be is shattered with silence. Going through the excruciating pain of labour, only to receive further pain and heartbreak, just doesn’t make sense. We left the hospital after spending 2 days with our son
Once I returned home, I soon realized that all the professional support had gone. I continued to blame myself, as I had never really heard a lot about second-trimester loss. I began to unpick everything I did leading up to the day. Was it stress from work? If I had got to the hospital sooner? If I was seen earlier? Were there signs that I ignored? Google became my friend; I felt like that was the only way I could get answers.
It took 4 months for us to get an answer as to what caused the miscarriage. After investigations, we were told that it was due to a placental abruption, which would have been the cause of the bleeding throughout the pregnancy, and explained the pool of blood in my womb. After waiting so long, it felt like a weight had been lifted. I finally had something to prove I wasn’t to blame and there was nothing that I could have done to prevent it.
Grieving during the pandemic, for me, felt like the world had stopped and allowed me to grieve. In a selfish way, I was grateful. No-one can prepare you for what life entails after losing a baby
You are a different person, living a life without your child, and it takes a while to accept this. You can no longer walk down the baby aisles in shops; you are fearful of bumping into people who knew you were having a baby, or are having a baby themselves; it even bothers you just to be around people who are living their normal day to day life, because you aren’t.
So, when we were in isolation, I felt a relief that I didn’t have to face the world. My partner and I were safe in our own bubble. We didn’t have to pretend to be who we were before losing our son. We were left to feel what we needed to, with no rush in having to feel ‘better’.
I started connecting with other bereaved parents on forums who also felt that aftercare was quite limited, which is something that had a real impact on me. My aim is to break the silence around infant loss. There needs to be more awareness and support in relation to the lasting impact on parents and their families.
I’m still very much in the early stages of my loss but if I was to offer any advice to someone going through this ordeal, it would be to try and connect with others who have experienced it.