Sunday, July 29, 2012
This is the hardest thing I have ever written, and I simply wasn't it expecting it to be, but I have hidden from the memories for a long time...
I haven't talked a lot about my miscarriages. I have three wonderful children now, but the three could have been five. Instead I live knowing that two souls didn't quite make it to live with us, and most of the time the thoughts, and the pain, and the memories live in a small room at the back of my heart, locked with a key that I also keep somewhere inside the maze that is my heart. I have healed with time and the love of my darling babies, but just opening the door to that room and peeking inside, brings the pain back front and centre.
I have a picture of Matthew that I keep in a journal. A journal tucked very far back in a book shelf down stairs. Matthew was my first son and born at nearly 5 months gestation. I thought I would die of a broken heart when I lost him. I had a terrible painful labour with him, and I do recall as clear as 'anything' I can remember, actually praying to God to let me die with him.
I have to stop typing for a moment because I can't see the key board through my crazy tears....
My first miscarriage was a late one and it was my first baby, so I did actually go through a dark and long grieving process. My 4th pregnancy also ended miscarriage, but it was fairly early on. What am I saying? Why should it being 'early on' make any difference? It doesn't really. It too was awful, but I had two small children by that time, so I wasn't indulged with much time to grieve. Grant suffered so much too. I think partners have it so very hard. You see they lose their baby too, and their dreams, but they also lose their darling partner for awhile as she slides in to a private greyness. It's very tough on the partners, and I want to acknowledge how very much I understand your pain too.
I had thought I'd lost our first baby at 12 weeks. I was standing in our kitchen in Westmere Auckland having just been grocery shopping for Strawberry Quik with Grant. We were scared but happy that I was expecting our first baby, when suddenly and unexpectadly I knew something was terribly wrong. Grant rushed me to the doctor, my strawberry Quik drink that I had craved so badly, still sitting on the bench. The doctor was pretty sure that with the amount of blood I was losing, I had surely miscarried our baby. We were both is shock. I was whisked to hospital by ambulance, still losing so much blood, and it was there they scanned me and told me I was still pregnant. How was this possible? I saw the scan. The heart was beating strong. It seems I was 'threatening' to miscarry. It was decided that I was sent to Hospital to rest, and at 16 weeks was told to go home, take it easy and cross my fingers. 4 weeks later staying in a hotel in Wellington I turned to Grant and said: "Something is wrong again Bubba!". I wasn't bleeding but I was in so much pain I could barely breathe. As we drove to the hospital Grant had me singing happy songs to take my mind off the pain. Poor Granty, it was such an awful time for him and he was so very young. I went in to full labour and after much pain and hours of contractions I delivered a small still perfect born baby boy. It was the worst labour I had and now I'm sure it's because at the end of it there was only grief and no bundle of joy. I barely remember my subsequent labours, but this one? Horrific. That night as I lay in the dark holding the small baby, the Catholic Priest came and spoke with me and asked if he could bless him. I'm not a Catholic, but I will always be grateful to that priest who sat with me through the night.
If you have been through a miscarriage whether it's at 6 weeks or 20 weeks, it is such a huge indescribable pain. People mean well, but they say some bloody insensitive things. Let's see. Some of my favourites:
"Well it's all for the best!"
"Obviously it wasn't meant to be!'
"Something must have been wrong with the baby!'
"Well at least you didn't lose an ACTUAL baby."
It's all for the best? Really? Who's best? Certainly not mine. Certainly not Grants. Who's best? My heart has broken in to a million shattered fragments...How is that 'best'. Not a real baby? Every single person who has lost a baby in pregnancy will tell you that from the very beginning you are building that babies future in your minds:
What will they look like? What will they be? If it's a girl will she be beautiful or funny or smart or all three?? If it's a boy will he bea good man? handsome? Will I be a good father? Will I be a natural mother? Will they have good friends? What school will they go to? Will other kids play with them? Oh no what if they get bullied? Will my life ever be the same again?
Not a real baby? Oh even a small bump is a real baby.
'Small Bump'. That's the title of Ed Sheerans latest song. Just the other day Grant and I were sitting in our studio, just going along doing our normal show, laughing and chatting when the new Ed Sheeran song played. We don't always listen to the songs, but he has a way of writing the most beautiful haunting songs with incredible meaning, about surprising things, and so we listened. At the very end we BOTH immediately burst in to tears. We looked in to each others eyes and every single feeling of pain, and loss, and grief, and love, came back. He summed up in his song, this single Englishman with no kids, everything we had felt. The memories came back and we cried. Ed Sheeran took me by the hand, took my secret key, and opened the door in the very back of my heart.
Losing a baby is unfathomably sad. It's a private relentless pain. Generally because there is no outer evidence of anything wrong, it's not discussed and not given the same attention as many other losses. You have the loss of the baby...and the dreams, and then the responsibility to let everyone know without wanting to make it a big deal, but at the same time hoping with all your heart the people you break the news to don't say something like "Oh well. You'll have to get busy trying again eh?"
Time passes and you do try again, and you worry constantly. Every single spot or pain sends you in to a giant panic attack. You may or may not go on to have more children, but the pain of losing your little one and all the love, hope and dreams that came with them doesn't disappear...It retires to the back room of your heart, and it's only when you hear a song, or read a story or find a photo of your baby, that all the pain and heart ache wells up and escapes in tears and sometimes heaving sobs.
I guess I just want you to know that I KNOW that miscarriage is not a 'late period' or.. Ok cos atleast it's not a 'real' baby. I know that the pain is raw and deep and a dark dark grey. I know that you for weeks you walk down the street and see other women and they ALL seem to be pregnant, and you ask yourself "How come she can do it and I couldn't?" I know that it makes you feel so empty and barren and you would do anything to put your hand on your stomach and have that tiny baby back inside of you.
I wish I could just hug all your pain away, but all I can do is assure you the pain will go and live a small room at the back of your heart and you will survive. I promise.
With love from me and my '5' kids xxxx