One month of Blog Silence has passed, but so much has happened I don’t know where to begin writing it all up. And I don’t really know how, either.
I have been writing recently, but in purple biro in one of my many expensive notebooks. And what I wrote does not really bear re-reading, let alone publishing. I was thinking of turning it in to some sort of slam poetry piece, but unlike many others, I Don’t Do Emotion at those events. My default mode is Flippancy and that is where I am most comfortable. However, to misquote someone academic: “The cutting edge is never found in the comfort zone, but it isn’t necessarily in la-la-land either.” La-la Land does sound quite appealing right now though.
The fact remains that something happened to me, to us, that rarely gets talked about. So much so that nothing could have prepared us for the experience, even if we had been fully aware of the possibility. I had no point of reference to frame an understanding of it all. But I know I am not alone in experiencing this, and so for that reason I shall endeavour to explain, perhaps more for my own sanity but hopefully for other people’s as well.
In brief terms, I was pregnant, and now I’m not. I had a miscarriage at 12 weeks in.
We actually found out when we were in Edmonton, I took the test the day after Miranda’s birthday. I suspected anyway, but Carl was a bit shell shocked that it had happened so quickly as we hadn’t been trying very long at all, and of course Granny and Grandad were over the moon about it. We kept it quiet, only told our nearest and dearest and I didn’t mention it on the blog, just in case the worst happened. Oh the irony!! I had my first ultrasound at 11 weeks in because I had a few symptoms of Something Being Not Quite Right – but baby was there on the screen, with a tiny heartbeat and about the size of a Timbit. So at that point, we got incredibly excited and told *everyone* – my work, all our friends, and I even sent cryptic little postcards to everyone back in the UK about ‘spilling the beans’.
Those postcards took a week or so to arrive, and by the time they did, I was back in hospital being told to horrible news that Timbit hadn’t grown at all and no longer had a heartbeat, and all the while getting congratulatory messages from my friends as they read their snail mail.
The doctors tried to comfort us in the hospital by pointing out quite how common miscarriage is. 1 in 3 pregnancies end in miscarriage before 9 weeks in, and 1 in 5 at 12 weeks. We had got through the first hurdle, but were in amongst the unlucky 20% at the second milestone. Of course I was aware of the possibility, (which is why you’re always advised to wait to tell people until you’re in the second trimester), but One in Five is A LOT. I had no idea at all it was that many. But, as I made tearful announcements, so many of my friends suddenly came out and told me about their miscarriages, or about the someone they knew who’d had one and so on. It was astounding.
I am apparently at the age now where most of my friends also have kids, usually more than one now as well. My friends also usually fall into the category of loud, unreserved and open sort of people, unafraid to share even the most gruesome details. We talk about Poo as a normal topic of conversation, or leaky nipples, or discuss ways to actually have a sex life without traumatising the kids who won’t sleep through the night, graphic, gory birth stories around the campfire, that sort of thing. But nobody ever mentions miscarriage. Never. It can be gruesome, but it’s not anyone’s fault. It’s not shameful, just heartbreaking. And it seems to happen to an awful lot of us. So why the silence?
Knowing that it does happen so frequently is little comfort – my brain still wants to know “why couldn’t we have been in the lucky 80%? Why us? Why now?” or worse, “what did I do wrong/what’s wrong with me?” and there are no answers to any of those. Timbit just didn’t want to be, and it has taken me a long time to accept that and process the experience. I think maybe people don’t talk about it because not having the answers is still as scary as the physical experience itself. Knowing that you have no control over your own body makes you very, very vulnerable, and no one ever wants to admit vulnerability. But knowing that I’m not alone, that other people, friends have been through the same thing – that does help, a little. So talk about it I shall, to anyone who needs to hear it.