The death of possibility.

Friday, 30 June 2017

"It's not uncommon to have a miscarriage, or even two in a row," a nurse said to me. As if that made me feel better. I'd lost one baby, one actual fully formed, crying, eating, sleeping baby, and now a potential one of those. I'd always thought, as the argument for pro-choice in abortion goes, "It's just a bunch of cells!" and yeah, sure it is. But it was my bunch of cells that would have been my baby. So no, Nurse, your words weren't particularly helpful. (Though she, as a whole, wasn't either, but that's another story.) This was her way of saying I shouldn't particularly mind it, and shouldn't mind it if it were to happen again.

It definitely didn't matter that she was right. The statistic of pregnancy losses is 1 in 4. Which sounds like a lot when you think about it. But it's 75% not going to happen, so when you end up being that one, being in the 25%, it's not easy. In all honesty I think I had a much easier time of it, in a way, than other people would. If losing Ezra was the top of the pain, the miscarriage was somewhere in the bottom quarter I'd say. Three trimesters and post-birth make up my scale.

A friend of mine once wrote that
'[i]f the pain of this early miscarriage is represented as a single teardrop, then the loss of [my son] is the greatest, deepest ocean. There is simply no comparison between the two. Although the loss of a baby is heartbreaking whenever it happens, early miscarriage and neonatal death are, in my own personal experience, worlds apart in pain.' 
And I agree wholeheartedly with her, I believe that there are different degrees of pain, in a way, which are quantified by our own experiences. When a child loses their favourite toy they cry like it is the end of the world – and that is because to them it is, it is the worst thing that has ever happened in their lives. Spraining an ankle is an awful kind of pain, unless you've broken something before.

'But this is the teardrop that falls into our already heaving ocean and creates a disastrous flood.'

When I miscarried it was not as if the world around me crumbled as it had done when I lost Ezra – it was an entirely different feeling. I think of Ezra's loss and my throat closes up, my heart seems to clench and I need to actively distract myself. When I think of the miscarriage I felt, at the time, a sense of resignation, as if it had been inevitable that there would be more sadness. I was resigned to the fact that I would be sad and that this was the way it was going to happen, and like a flood it came and it went. If it had gone well I would have a two month old baby right now and I wouldn't be writing this. I feel now only a mild sense of loss. 


However that there is a distinct lack of sympathy surrounding the conversation of miscarriages, and I'm guilty of it too. I suffered it and I know how upsetting it can be but my grief for that doesn't carry on as much as my grief for Ezra, it's so wildly overshadowed that I don't quite understand it – but I realise that. My second stopped growing at 5 weeks, and I had the surgical ERPC at 9 weeks so when I talk about it I mean early miscarriage, while bad not as bad as I've had and not as bad as it could have been.

Saying that: it could have been worse, isn't a way for me to discredit the grief and sadness that is felt, but I feel it should be said, because we all think it. Anybody that has suffered a second trimester miscarriage I think, somewhere inside them, will think it about a first trimester loss. Anybody that has suffered a stillbirth will think it. Anybody whose baby has died after birth will think it. And we will all feel guilty about it because we all understand grief and the way that it works. We think it but we don't want to think it, we don't want to make the feelings of others any less valid. It's just a natural, normal response. I often think that I wish the miscarriage I had was a normal one, rather than "missed" and so I could have avoided the EPAU trips and the surgical involvement, I think if I'd had a normal miscarriage at 5 weeks it would have been easier. But, you know, ask anybody that has had a normal early miscarriage and I doubt they'd agree.

All this just goes to prove that while the occurrence of miscarriage is "common", the situation itself is far from it. To many (even parents to a certain point), a baby before it is a birthed baby is a non-formed thing, a concept rather than a physical being. Early in pregnancy it is a bundle of cells, but it is the idea and the future that is lost, the "bundle of cells" themselves are not really the thing of importance when the grief comes. We mourn and grieve the loss of the baby they would have been, and then the adult they would have been, the life change, be that from no children to one or from four to five or more. We mourn the opportunity to meet that person and learn that personality.

You can't say that about a cold.




five or six week ultrasound

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