It’s been a fair while since I last blogged, but this time I promise there’s been a genuine reason. On the 13th January we welcomed to the world our beautiful (big!) baby boy, Joshua Peter Bell.
Life’s completely changed.
A lot of people were unaware that we were expecting as we kept the pregnancy off of social media. The main reason for this being we had a bit of a rocky road to get to where we are today. We went through two, fairly close together, miscarriages before the little man arrived. I can’t even begin to describe how difficult that period in time was. I’ve been through some crappy times in my life but this was by far the hardest, most heartbreaking and challenging I’ve ever faced. We’d almost reached 9 weeks the first time, it was so out of the blue and I really didn’t know much about miscarriages so it was a complete shock. I’d felt unwell a few days before and then leading up to it I just felt something wasn’t right. Then one morning I woke up really early, feeling I needed to dash to the loo, I’ll spare you the details but it was pretty horrific and I was loosing a lot of blood, resulting in me ending up in the back of an ambulance and a trip to a&e. I knew straight away we’d lost our baby, and the future we’d already started to become excited about. Even just writing about this now, while I’m cradling my newborn with one hand leaves me in tears. People just don’t talk about miscarriages and I was completely unprepared for what followed.
We fell pregnant again quickly but lost that baby at 6.5 weeks. I was completely devastated. It was a very different chain of events to the first one, the hospital called it a ‘chemical pregnancy’, (although never really even explained what that meant), they said it most likely never got started. But for us it was still going to be our baby and just as cruel and heart breaking as the first.
You may be reading this wondering why I’m sharing all this now, if I have learnt one thing from it all it’s that I probably should of spoken about it more at the time. Only close family and a handful of our best friends knew when we lost the first baby (and I’ll always be thankful for their amazing support) and we told even fewer people about the second one at the time, it meant we could deal with it all in private but at the same time it was hard to keep up pretences of my normal happy self. Even harder when it seemed like everyone around me was announcing their own pregnancies. That’s such a hard thing to deal with, it’s of course a happy moment for people and you want to share in their joy as you are pleased for them but at the same time it reminds you of everything you’ve been robbed of and long for.
Comments such as ‘well at least you fell pregnant’ or ‘there was obviously something not right with the baby’ and ‘it just wasn’t meant to be’ really don’t make you feel any better at the time but looking back now perhaps they were right. I think it’s extremely difficult for people who haven’t been through something like this to understand what it’s like, and in some cases people prefer to avoid the subject all together – what I say to that is there is nothing that you can really say that will make it worse so just ask the person how they are feeling and listen if they need to talk, avoiding it can make them feel very lonely.
Once I did tell people what we had been through (once we had our first scan date) I was amazed at how many people came forward with a similar experience. It doesn’t make it any easier but knowing you aren’t the only one in the world that it has happened to can make you feel less isolated. I also hope that by sharing it can perhaps offer some hope to others in our situation. I know we have been very fortunate and been third time lucky and not everyone who goes through similar has a happy ending but for many, miscarriages are unfortunately very common but you can go on to have a healthy pregnancy. I was told by a friend of a friend about taking a low dose of aspirin once finding out I was expecting, we’ll never know if it is what made a difference but if it was then I’m eternally grateful for finding out about it.
Looking back now I do wish I’d known about places to go for help – such as The Miscarriage Association
which is a service the Rosie Hospital in Cambridge run, (ironically I only found out about all of these during my third pregnancy) as I spent the first half of my pregnancy with Joshua in a state of worry. When we took the pregnancy test I couldn’t even look at the results, my hubby had to do it, then I could barely talk about it for the first 12 weeks as I didn’t dare to tempt fate. When we had our 12 week scan I burst into tears as soon as they picked up the heartbeat, at that point you would think that I would of relaxed! It wasn’t until I really reached 24 weeks that I could really start to believe that it was going to be ok and was actually going to happen. I do feel that I missed out a little on being able to be excited in those early weeks (and I refused to buy anything for our baby until I got to the third trimester) then at the same time I felt so guilty for feeling like it when I knew there were others who longed to just be pregnant.
Looking at Joshua’s little face now though makes me feel truly blessed, and if that’s the journey we had to go on to be with him then in some strange way it all seems worth it. I’d obviously rather not have had to go through it all but as they say, what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger x