Thursday, 22 February 2018

One year on.......

An anniversary; a date commemorating an event. A wedding anniversary, a birthday are joyful things Remembrance Sunday a sombre event, but the anniversary of a loved ones passing or a first Christmas without them is unbearable. Our lives are made up of anniversaries good and bad and this week marks a reflective one for my husband and I. It is one year since we miscarried our first baby and marks 12 months of further miscarriages, pregnancies and fear all interspersed with the joy of getting married and creating our first home together. I refuse to use that analogy of a rollercoaster but it certainly feels like we’ve been on some fast paced journey that hasn’t given us the choice to get off to breathe and reflect.

I have been teary over the last few weeks as the enormity of this anniversary has crept up on me. Sad at the hardship we have shared but yet proud of the way it has galvanised us and created this partnership where we feel safe and protected together, ready to fight off life’s challenges.

We are not special. We are not the only couple to suffer loss and struggles conceiving a child, indeed it is everywhere and our story is no better or brutal than anyone else’s. But we own it and I chose to write about it because to me writing is the only way I can collate my thoughts and begin to understand it all. In my opinion, people don’t talk about miscarriage and loss enough. Of course it is an insanely private thing, my late Grandfather certainly wouldn’t be one to advocate openly chatting about one’s issues, but knowing someone else has been through it can sometimes really help a person deep in the mire of it all.

As I read back through my writings from a year ago, and then from last autumn when it happened again, the words scream off the screen at me. It is so raw, painful and honest. I knew that feelings would lessen in time so I feel glad that I wrote back then to fully appreciate their weight. Some of it feels like it was yesterday but others are vague as my body has worked hard to protect me from the pain of it all and forced me to move on.

“I never thought that I would carry my first baby out of the hospital in a jiffy bag. My name written on it in biro, diminishing the significance of its contents. I am that one in four. The potential mother who isn’t.”

Is how I started my reflection on my first miscarriage. Miscarriage varies for every woman; it can be a quick event in the toilet at work or it can be a rushed to hospital in an ambulance. Unfortunately for me, it was the latter both times with morphine pumping through my veins, my body unable to deal with what was happening.

“As my pupils enlarge and the pain dulls I am carried to the ambulance, my pulse has gotten so weak that it cannot be found. I feel as drained and devoid of life as that vital sign implies. I am wrung out and out of fight. My skin is drained of colour as every part of my being has been sent to my abdomen to fight off this attack. But I couldn’t defeat it on my own, it has won.

Just like last time, the pregnancy matter is removed from me by a doctor. Undignified and sad, it is yanked out like old seaweed from a plastic bucket. That potential for life looking like it never stood a chance. It certainly didn’t in me.”

The self-loathing brought on by a miscarriage is also over-looked. You feel like a failure; a mother who cannot protect her own child, a wife who cannot make her husband happy and a woman who cannot fulfil nature’s purpose. I now feel devastated that I could say such things about myself and mean them whole-heartedly. But it is natural in those weeks after such an event, when the world feels bleak, to blame yourself and I certainly did.

The language used by doctors also doesn’t help; “pregnancy matter” doesn’t quantify the meaning of what I felt was inside of me. I will never forget the sonographer, as I lay on the bed on my 36th birthday straining to see some flicker of life from the mass on the screen, saying “I can’t condemn it as they has been some growth.” CONDEMN! Our second baby wasn’t some old building to be torn down. I understand that they see case after case like ours and it’s their job so emotive language cannot be part of it, but if I ever see that woman again........

However, today is to reflect and not dwell. Anniversaries are to be marked but they are not as significant as the original day. Things stay with you, perhaps even defining you in a new way but the pain can diminish with each passing year. Sadly in life these things happen, and to more people than we realise. Re-writing the Fairytale means to explore exactly that. I can honestly say that despite today’s anniversary I still feel like I am living my fairytale with my Prince firmly by my side. Life will always have the ogres, witches and storms, those fairytale ruiners, that real life creeping in. But there is beauty in survival. Beauty in living through certain events and discovering new strength that you failed to believe was within yourself. Life is never how you imagine it will be, but that’s okay because there will always be some good to be found from the ashes, even if it’s a teeny bit. Promise.

1 comment:

  1. Oh Daniella, I feel your pain. Paul (your cousin in Canada) and I could never conceive despite numerous attempts at various intrusive methods. I must admit that the British side of the family were so supportive and understanding. The Greeks could use a few lessons in sensitivity. I have come to understand that it was not meant to be for Paul and I. My role in this life is not as biological mother but something much different. I have embraced it and found my peace with it. I hope that you can find your peace. You are so blessed with a beautiful and loving family. You write your own fairy tale. The truth is you can have whatever you set your mind to. You are allowed to grieve. You take all the time you need. Kisses from Canada.