Saturday, October 15, 2016

The Saddest Day Of My Life

I went for an ultrasound a few years ago because I had had a lot of trouble falling pregnant and was sure something would be wrong. I had a sneaking suspicion that I’d be one of those people who looks like a female on the outside but has man parts on the inside. Luckily for me the ultrasound tech was able to show me my left ovary, my right ovary and definitive proof that I was not infertile. Because there, in my uterus, was a fetus.

Nick and I started choosing names and talking about birth plans and waiting waiting waiting for the twelve weeks to be up so we could tell people. But I am the worst secret keeper in the world and just told all of my close friends anyway, pretty much immediately, behind Nick’s back (sorry Nick). We went for a dating scan and saw a little heartbeat. A small flicker in the middle of a blob and I cried one little tear. Excited weeks passed and I counted down the days. Until one day when something just felt… off.

Then I had the smallest amount of blood. I ignored it, googled it, only read the things that said there was definitely nothing wrong, ignored it some more and then felt like I HAD to go to the doctor as soon as it was too late in the day to go to the doctor. I rushed to the medical centre and waited patiently in the waiting room. I could see the doctor in her office. She was on her computer editing some word document. The time for my appointment came and went. And still the doctor was on her computer apparently trying to figure out how to spell some words she didn’t know. And I kept waiting. An hour and a half after my allocated time I was called into the room by the doctor who can’t spell. I was too scared to be mad. The doctor asked me what was wrong and I told her I was pregnant and scared I was miscarrying. She asked me if I had taken a pregnancy test, how did I know I was pregnant? I told her I had had an ultrasound and seen the heartbeat, I had taken a pregnancy test and was pregnant but I was scared I was losing it. She asked me what my birth plan was. Again, I tried to convey to her that I needed her help. I needed to know if my flickering blob was ok. She asked what hospital I was going to deliver at. I all but screamed at her that I needed her to help me because SOMETHING WAS WRONG. She referred me to the ultrasound clinic at RPA for the next day but told me I wasn’t miscarrying, it was normal to bleed.

I got to the clinic early, they gave me a random number from a pile and even though I was the first to arrive I got the number 8. This meant that when they opened in an hour they called numbers in order, starting with 1, so I would just have to wait. So I sat there, crying and waiting. It seemed like potentially miscarrying involves a lot of waiting around. Finally, two hours later, I was called in to see a midwife. She told me that if I was bleeding there was a 50% chance I was going to lose the baby. She wanted me to be prepared for that outcome, then she gave me some feedback forms to fill out. The feedback forms were about the treatment I would receive for my miscarriage and how effective those treatments were. I was shuffled into another room and waited another hour for my ultrasound.

The room was dark and the ultrasound guy was young and nice. He moved the wand over my stomach, look confused, left, came back with another ultrasound person, performed an internal ultrasound instead and looked more confused. I could see the blob, but I could no longer see the flicker. I only saw flat lines where weeks before there had been little heartbeat lines. The ultrasound man looked at Nick and I and told us simply, “I’m sorry but there isn’t a heartbeat any more.” He looked so distressed, I actually apologised to him. Then he left and I called my parents, hysterical. They drove down to Sydney to bundle me up in blankets and whisk me away to the mountains to buy me books and feed me sushi and beer. It was a long weekend and it passed in a blur. I messaged my friends and told them I was no longer pregnant. Then we went home and again, waited. Waited for the final stage, the actual physical loss of my little blob.

At about midday on the Monday I started having cramps, and so began what no one really prepared me for - labour. I didn't realise that this crushing emotional loss would be accompanied by such physical pain. Having been through the labour of a live child and the labour of a miscarriage I can tell you both were equally painful, but the latter was shorter and I knew there would be no happy ending. After about twelve hours my little teeny tiny blob came out into the world. Like a little gummy bear in a sac the size of a golf ball. I was beyond horrified. No one told me that this would happen, and had no idea what to do now. So I wrapped it up in a piece of paper towel, put it in a ziplock bag and slept with it beside my bed. The same proximity Max would be to me, the night after he was born, more than a year later.

The next morning I was still at a loss as to what to do with my little ziplocked child, so I put him in the freezer and went back to work. I have never been sadder. People, of course, said the wrong things; at least you can get pregnant, everything happens for a reason, you'll get pregnant again and even worse, some people said nothing. And everyone else didn't know, so I just pretended to be the same as I was last week, even though I was irreparably changed. A few weeks later we buried the little blob under a fern in my mum’s garden and then we went bush. We camped in a river bed out past Broken Hill, we watched the sunset at Silverton, we saw shooting stars at Menindee. We came home and mourned for almost a year before I fell pregnant again. I thought I would LOL my way through this blog post, finding the bright side as I am so often wont to do, laughing about putting my baby in the freezer next to the toast. But I still count the months marking how old he'd be, and when I think of him safe and sound under the tree ferns I still ache the littlest bit.


  1. 2am Maz! Read your blog at 8.15,& mourned with you.Lots of