How does a relationship survive the loss of a baby?
Four and a half years ago Russell and I survived the loss of our baby as a result of a miscarriage. Our baby was Russell’s first child and my third. Having had two children already, I had no idea that a miscarriage was even possible nor the fact that it is very common.
1 in 4 women have lost a baby, I am now part of that statistic. I had no idea about the world of those who have suffered such a loss and have since learned of those around me who have also lost a baby through the non profit network that is Sands.
Losing a baby is not something that is commonly talked about. It does not come up in general conversation so unless you know the person well enough you may never know whether those around you have experienced such loss or not.
So what do you do when you attend a routine scan at 13 weeks to hear your babies heart beat only to be told there isn’t one? At that very moment all I could do was run for the toilet as I had to relieve myself after drinking so much in preparation for the scan itself. How all I could do was sit there in the bathroom, numb from shock, when all I wanted to do was scream and shout.
How could this be happening to me? I had two children. Things like this didn’t happen to me. How could I not have known that I had carried the baby for the previous 3 weeks without knowing that it’s little heart had stopped? Looking back, I was starting to feel normal and had felt less ill which I thought was great at the time as the morning sickness was horrible.
The rest of the day was spent in bed, both Russell and I couldn’t do anything but cry and hold one another. The kids came home from school and were told the news. We were all in a state of shock. The next day I attend the Gyne clinic at the local hospital to have a d&c only to learn that because no one had told me I had to be nil by mouth I couldn’t have the procedure as I had had breakfast that morning.
Having to walk away from the hospital with the baby still inside me was one of the hardest things I have ever had to do. Waiting for it to pass naturally would take all my strength and courage as I began to grieve for what could have been.
I returned to work and waited. 3 weeks went by and as it happened it was my day off and I was in town when I suddenly felt like I needed to be somewhere. I drove to my mothers house and as I was sitting on her couch I felt like I needed to run for the toilet. Something was happening. I ran and managed to get to it in time as my body began to explode from the inside out. As I was sitting there, feeling my body reject the product of the baby my mother calls from the hallway telling me that’s it’s ok, she has the baby.
What? Apparently as I ran, the baby fell out of me onto the hallway floor and she had scooped it up. I spent what seemed like hours sitting on the toilet as my body rejected everything. I felt dizzy and scared and all I could think of was whether I had made a mess of my mothers couch, carpet and toilet.
Russell was dropped to me around the time it was safe for me to leave the toilet. At this point all that was saving me from looking like a crime scene were towels. The 15 minute drive home felt longer and I went straight to bed. From there I made many more trips to the bathroom and shower to clean myself up as I was bleeding profusely throughout the afternoon.
A call to the health line to check on my condition resulted in the ambulance being called as apparently I had lost too much blood. I hated being so vulnerable and out of control. I was in shock and now I had to sit in a bed in A&E and face being examined again by yet another doctor.
Not needing to be admitted, I was sent home later that night and now that my body had begun to calm down, I was left to continue with my grief. While I was devastated and in shock I was aware of what Russell was going through as well. This was his first baby and he was grieving just as much as I was, if not more. After all, I had two children already so knew what it was like to raise your own child and now his chance to experience that was gone.
Our relationship survived the loss and in fact it has bought us closer together. We share our feelings all the time and we are there for each other in our times of need. We worked together on our relationship in the following months and allowed each other to grieve in our own unique ways. We have our baby with us and we remember baby Oliver all the time. The anniversary of his death is remembered and we have an ornament that we hang on our Christmas tree each year to remember him by.
Talking about the baby was something that I couldn’t bear to do for 2 years following the loss. Talking about it now is easier although the pain is still present just not as raw as it was back then. Be kind to each other, tell each other how you are feeling and remember to talk about the baby with those around you. Your relationship will survive as long as you are there for each other. Don’t shut each other out, you are both grieving and can grieve together.
Our relationship survived with love, respect and dedication and yours will too. If you know of someone who has lost a baby feel free to forward this on to them. No one should go through such a loss alone.