waiting for a miracle

Crossroads

I don’t know if I should be ridiculously excited or preparing to grieve. We’ve waited so long to build a family. It was such a long, long and full on journey to be blessed with our incredible boy just over two years ago. I was scared to try again. Scared of the rollercoaster ride of losing babies. Scared of the not falling pregnant. Scared of falling in love with babies only to say goodbye to them in a few weeks.

This time around happened so easily (in comparison to our road to having him). And things just progressed so well. Better than we could have hoped or dreamed of. Until 7 weeks.

I had some spotting when I went to the toilet. I still remember the loud pounding of my heart in my ears. Deafening pounding. Like drums banging in each ear. My heart thumping out of my chest. And my hands trembling. I’ve seen this too many times before. It was always the start of the end. And of course in the middle of the night.

I went to work the next day. Worrying that this was about to be over so soon. I called my obstetrician and they said not to worry as it’s probably implantation blood. I still went in to see them and all was fine. Praise God!

The spotting continued from 7-9 weeks. Then finally some clear wiping. And by around 11 weeks I felt myself becoming excited. Two weeks without spotting meant I was gradually fearing the toilet less and less. That fear of wiping and seeing spotting or blood. I almost stopped checking, but not quite.

Then 12 weeks came. Our nuchal scan was perfect. Low risk bloods. We couldn’t be happier.

And then it happened again. More bleeding and with it brought darker bleeding this time. And some clots. That pounding in the ears returned. And the uncontrollable body shaking. A rush to be checked out in the middle of the night left us with more questions than answers. The hospital was understaffed (terribly!!) and didn’t do an ultrasound. The hcg reading was lower than my last one. I could be miscarrying or this could be normal as the levels drop at around 12 weeks.

The bleeding continued the next morning. So after only an hours sleep we went to a different hospital. They did an ultrasound and found the heartbeat. Praise God. No guarantees yet but there was hope. I could sleep for a bit.

We saw our obstetrician again and growth seemed okay and no reason for the bleed. I went to spotting for a few days. And then clear for a few. I began to relax again and began to feel excited again. Things just might be okay.

And then 14 weeks came. More bleeding. Heavier this time. More mucus clots. I tried to continue with work but it was all too much. My obstetrician booked me in urgently for a scan. No reason for the bleeds and growth all on track. But a cervix length that’s slowly shortening. No other reason for the bleeds. (Lots of time spent on dr google during every single bleed. What can I do to stop them? What is the cause? So many searches. So many medical journal articles read.)

Finally the bleeds returned to pink. This used to be a scary colour but now it’s a colour I am grateful for instead of red. And then clear for a few toilet trips. My mood lifted. Thinking things were maybe improving. And then more came again. I felt crushed

So I go back to the start, I’m not sure if I should be excited or preparing to grieve. I love the miracle of pregnancy. The growing and total mind blowing transformation that takes place from a teeny tiny blob on the screen with a flicker to a baby that swallows. My 14 weeker has already been loved so incredibly much. And I’m terrified. Absolutely terrified of looking at the remains as I say goodbye. Of feeling them fall out of me on one toilet trip or as I walk around. Yes, this part of pregnancy isn’t really talked about. The love story goes that you fall in love, get pregnant and have a baby. No one talks about this in between stuff.

I’m glad the taboo about miscarriage is beginning to go away. But what about this part where you’re waiting. Desperate to celebrate the miracle. Desperate to do anything to keep the miracle alive. Yet completely helpless.

And taking my mind off of this is like asking someone to survive a day without breathing. When you’re feeling wet liquid drip out between your legs as you sit, walk, move, and you’re wondering if it’s going to be blood, pink or clear, or your baby passing, you literally cannot stop thinking about it even for a second.

I praise God so much for this miracle and blessing beyond my wildest dreams. And each day I get to spend being pregnant is a gift, not a guarantee, that I’m forever thankful for. I don’t believe God ever takes babies away. The enemy does but God is still there with us. (I literally couldn’t get through this incredibly stressful, depressing and also what would otherwise be an exciting time without Him.) I wonder why in some cases He intervenes and in others He doesn’t (or in our earthly eyes it appears that way). But that’s not my place to know these answers here on Earth.

Right now I hope and pray that He intervenes in our situation. That He stops this bleeding and subsequently spotting and repeat, so that I can have clear. So that I can celebrate this miracle. This is our last chance at completing our family and I so desperately want a sibling for our miracle boy. I had wanted siblings but I don’t think I can experience pregnancy again. The mental torture is really taking a toll on me.

So how do I process this? I don’t know. But I have been praying so much. And every now and then I get a clear toilet trip and I can honestly cry tears of happiness, relief and joy when I see clear.

The pink now isn’t anywhere near as scary as the red. Can someone invent a way for people in this situation to sleep until their babies are born healthy? The second by second, minute by minute, hour by hour, day by day psychological torture is depressing to say the least. It steals joy, hope and peace.

The future plans of excitement are on hold. As we wait. And pray. And pray. And then pray some more. The tears don’t fall as much as I feel too numb. This place of in between is a place of both hope and despair. Of joy and sorrow.

I don’t know what the outcome will be. Will it be my hopes, dreams and ultimately my plans? Or will it be different? I don’t know how I will get through this if it’s the grief I never want to experience again. But I know that no matter what, God’s with us on this journey and He’s making diamonds out of us.

Maybe I’ll be that person who can give comfort to another mum in my position one day. I certainly hope so. I’ve seen so many women go on to have healthy babies even with severe bleeding. But I’ve also seen the opposite and that’s been my only personal experience.

This is by far the hardest pregnancy I’ve been through. Yes we lost so many babies. And we lost them before the 12 weeks. And yes it was hard but we got through it. This pregnancy we are so much further. We’ve seen those kicks on the screen, those tiny fingers scratching the head, the heart beating beautifully. We already love our son or daughter. We already have hopes and dreams for our family. I pray so hard that they become a reality in July. That this horrible dribble that is seeping out of me constantly stops.

This fear of going to the toilet. I tremble. My heart sinks. I check as I pee. I shake. I worry. And then I’m so scared to wipe too. Even now, I need the toilet but I’m dreading it. I’m too scared to go. My ears are beating the sounds of drums from my thumping heart. I’m terrified. I want someone else to do it for me but this is the path I must walk every single day and night. Every time I go to the toilet, I’m begging and pleading “please God, please God, please no blood!” I used to beg for it to be clear. Now I’m relieved when it’s just pink. And then I’m saying “Thank you thank you thank you God!!!” I’m mentally exhausted.

I almost forgot the photos. I’m embarrassed for anyone to see photos in my camera roll without my control. My camera roll has so many photos to show the obstetrician each time what it’s like. They look, zoom in, analyse. At first it was to show my husband. Then the hospital but now I realise they don’t do anything until 24 weeks so there’s really no help there either. And that early pregnancy unit for those at risk of miscarriage takes a few weeks to get in to see and by that stage it’s probably too late anyway. This area needs a lot more funding. If you’re alive, that means you’ve been carried by a mother, so please support health services for pregnancy especially high risk ones.

If you’ve been blessed with a uncomplicated pregnancy, please appreciate it. So many others have had or are having pregnancies like mine. And it isn’t fun. It’s shattering in the almost worst way.

I know I speak for so many other women with this post. Many will think it’s an over share – I hope you have learned a lot anyway. I started my blogging to stop the taboo about subjects like this. I’ve spent countless hours, long into the early hours of the morning searching for hope. For information. And I can’t find one blog about this. Not one. The research studies are few and far between too. And when you’re feeling as vulnerable as I am, you’re looking for someone who has gone before you. You’re looking for what they did and how it turned out for them. You’re looking for solidarity. You’re looking to not feel so alone every single day because you know you’re absolutely not the first pregnant person to be facing this terrifying situation. It’s really lonely when you don’t find much.

We’ve received so many beautiful messages of congratulations and yet I now can’t even read them because I’m so scared. Should I be preparing myself so I can support others if this doesn’t go to plan? So I can break the news gently? Or should I be excited because everything is going to be okay?

I’ve got a lot of positives on my side. And I try to focus on each of those. Yet when that trickle starts randomly in the day, my heart sinks deeper than the titanic. And then when I get a light pink to clear wipe, I want to celebrate and tell everybody “it’s clear (or pink) and everything’s okay!!!” I feel on top of the world again.

When people ask me how I’m going, I feel torn. Do I do the socially appropriate thing and say “great thanks, we are so excited?!” Or do I be real and say “actually I’m not sure. I’m waiting and bleeding. Things might be okay or they might not be?”

Do I buy maternity clothes for my growing belly that no longer fits any of the pants in my wardrobe? Or do

I wait and keep wearing the uncomfortable stuff because I don’t want to waste the limited money on something I’ll possibly never wear?

Yeah, okay I know I’m usually pretty positive and this post is quite depressing. That’s a reflection of where I’m at and I think it’s important to share this so that if you have a friend who tells you they are bleeding or spotting, you might be able to tell them that yes, it’s terrifying, you might be able to sit with them as they cry and hug them. Or ask them if they’d prefer to not talk about it? Or you could ask them if they want to talk about it. Maybe they are desperate to tell someone who will truly listen.

I’ve had some absolutely wonderful support from strong women who have traveled a similar journey to me. They get it. And what a relief it’s been talking to them. To let my guard down and honestly talk about how terrified I am. And they relate. They get it. They get the undie check multiple times a day and the toilet wipe and pee check. They reassure me that no matter what I’ll get through this and they are there for me. They are searching for things to help, they are finding other possible reasons. It helps to know I’m not alone and I have a few friends I can go to who truly get it.

I hope this post helps to equip you to help another person in my position.

And if you’re willing, please pray that this pregnancy continues to be a healthy one with healthy results and no more bleeds. I’m so desperate to enjoy this last pregnancy. To not be grieving this. To instead enjoy these movements I’ve been feeling since 9 weeks and 4 days. To celebrate extending our family from an only (very much loved) child. Thank you.

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