Thursday 28 April 2011

Goodbye Baby Beans

It's with a heavy heart and a huge sense of emptiness that I report that the Boy and I have sadly lost our baby. We had a scan on Tuesday which revealed our little peanut's heart had stopped beating, probably a day or two beforehand. The cliches trip off my tongue, I feel like my heart has been ripped out and the stuffing knocked out of me. I feel like I've been turned inside out and put back together differently. This disappointment has changed me and it feels like I'm looking at the world through different, darker, more fragile and vulnerable eyes.

It's very difficult to know what to write and where to start. I had a horrible nightmare on Monday night during which the sonographer told me she couldn't hear a heartbeat, which was pretty upsetting and I woke up early on Tuesday morning very agitated. I was very anxious about the appointment. My heart was pounding as we waited in the reception area to be called into the scan. I'm not sure if I knew subconsciously that something was wrong, or if it was just me worrying a lot as normal - I know I have held a lot of anxiety during the pregnancy thus far. But sadly for us, our darkets fears were realised and our baby is not to be this time.

The sonographer was very kind and gave us the news gently, as I reached for the Boy's hand and we both tried to take in those awful words "I'm sorry, I can't find a heartbeat". I think we both knew before she spoke though. The scan looked different to the last one and I felt her awkwardness. It's a very strange thing to have your worst fears realised, and to have the thing you dread the most - your most awful nightmare - transcend into reality. As the Boy and I's hopes drained away and we were overtaken by silent and muffled sobs, I couldn't begin to comprehend that this was actually happening to us. It's something I've dreaded since before we even tried to conceive, one of the saddest events I could forsee unfolding and unfortunately it was just as painful as I imagined. Everything changed for us in a matter of minutes - instead of excited expectant parents waiting to hear more about our baby, we were suddenly bereft. Grieving parents instead, mourning the loss of what might of been, and of a relationship with our baby we will never know, or experience.

It seems both my blood tests showed low hormone levels which indicate all was not well with the baby - so I suppose at least we have half a reason to cling to, which will hopefully stop us torturing ourselves about what we could or should have done differently in the difficult days ahead. The doctor explained that if the baby had survived I would have had to have been very closely monitored during the pregnancy as there would have been cause for concern. It seems the baby could have been badly disabled and there could have been some impossible decisions for the Boy and I further down the line. At least we have been spared that. The doctor also explained that while miscarriage is fairly common, it is much more rare this late on in pregnancy especially when we'd had such a positive and healthy scan only a few weeks ago and seen our little peanut and heard the heartbeat, so we have been very unlucky.

We were taken to a quiet room in the hospital and we spent quite some time together crying, talking and cuddling. We were there a few hours although now it feels like just a few minutes, it is all becoming a blur in my memory, a hazy fog I don't want to return to focus. I am reminded yet again how amazing the Boy is and what a wonderful partner I have, as he couldn't have given any more to the situation or been any more supportive to me. He cried, talked about his disappointment and dashed hopes, his sadness and how he felt, and he listened to me, held me and was there with me the whole way. We had to talk to a couple of nurses and some doctors about our options and it felt increasingly surreal - having come to the hospital to have our next routine scan, we were suddenly choosing how my missed miscarriage would be medically managed. It was all very emotional and I didn't feel like it was happening to us. It felt like I was watching a film screen flicker by and I was watching the characters suffer from afar like a soap opera.

The staff were all exceptionally kind and were very supportive. They helped us make the decision that we will manage the miscarriage through a dosage of pills. As the miscarriage is 13 weeks this will involve a short hospital stay for me. Our only other viable option was an operation under general anasthetic, but this comes with risks of damage to the womb which could impede future pregnancies, as well as the standard risks from having a GA. The process began today. I had to go in first thing and take a pill that will begin to relax my womb and its contents, and then I return on Saturday to take some pills that will encourage my womb to contract and pass the "conception matter" as they call it. My heart breaks just writing this down. I am scared about how Saturday will be as I have been warned there will be pain and mess and I am dreading feeling the contractions, but mostly I feel so numb and sad inside. I really wanted this baby and I loved it so much already. The Boy would have been an amazing father to it and I ache for the fact that 1st November will come and go this year, but there will be no baby. I feel devastated and lost that I will never meet him or her, never see which of us he or she looked like, and never know if he or she would have enjoyed art, football, reading or dance. We were a third of the way towards meeting our baby Beans and I was already overcome with excitement and hopes for the future.

But I have to stay strong, and while as a bereavement counsellor I know I must keep talking and keep being honest about my feelings and exploring them with the Boy and our (very strong) support network, I also want to stay positive. The Boy and I live a very blessed life and we have a lot to be thankful for. This is a dark time in our shared history, but it will pass. It will take time and space for us to work through what has happened, but we will get there, and I have every confidence we will be a closer and stronger couple for it. If it's possible I love the Boy even more after what we've been through these past 48 hours or so. He is more than one in a million and I absolutely treasure him. I couldn't be anything like the person I am without him by my side, and that's exactly where he'll be as this tragedy unfolds and develops.

It has been very difficult telling our friends and families, and at a point yesterday my eyes were so red and raw I wondered whether I had any more tears to cry. Everyone has been fantastic and so supportive. We've been overwhelmed with messages of love and care. We are surrounded by people who adore us and want the best for us, and that is a comfort in this difficult time. Again, I am reminded that we have much light and love in our life and that we have a lot to be thankful for. Our time as parents will hopefully come one day, and I'm sure this experience - torturous and upsetting as it is - will help us become better people for the future.

So, for now we have to begin to say goodbye to our baby. He or she will always be our first baby and I plan, when I am a little stronger, to make a little box with our pictures of the baby, and some cards we have been sent and have given each other. I'll never forget my first baby and I hope that he or she is somewhere safe and warm now, and that he or she didn't feel any pain, but knew that they were wanted and loved. This is for you baby Beans, may you sleep well little one...

I'll lend you for a little while a child of mine God said
For you to love the while he lives and mourn for when he's dead
It may be six or seven years or forty two or three
But will you 'til I call him back take care of him for Me
He'll bring his ways to gladden you and should his stay be brief
You'll always have his memories as a solace for your grief
I cannot promise he will stay as all from earth return
But there are lessons taught below that I want you all to learn
I've looked this whole world over in My search for students true
And from the folks that crown life's lane I have chosen you
Now will you give him all your love nor think labour vain
Nor hate Me when I come to take this lent child back again?
I fancied that I heard them say Dear Lord Thy Will be done
For all the joys Thy child will bring the risk of grief we'll run
We'll shelter him with tenderness we'll love him while we may
And just for having loved him forever grateful stay

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