It’s a harmless enough question when people ask about the age difference between my children. It’s almost 6 years. Nothing extraordinary about that is there? My standard answer is “that’s just how it happened” and that’s true enough for most people. After all, when someone asks “How are you?” do you give them chapter & verse. No, I thought not.
November 5th 1999 I had a positive pregnancy test. Six days later I was in hospital with a suspected miscarriage.
Please tell me why they scan you in the same department as all the pregnant women with their swollen bellies? You hang your head, unable and unwilling to make eye contact with anyone. There is no joy in your heart or womb, just emptiness. You failed. I was sent home to let nature take it’s course. Miscarriage, even early on is bloody, painful and cruel. But that’s only half the story.
I thought that I was verging on insanity, you see, after years of infertility treatment I was fairly in tune with my body and its cycles. I felt pregnant. I felt crazy. I had seen what was flushed down the toilet. I honestly thought that if I mentioned it to my GP that he would have me sectioned. I didn’t mention it, I went back to work.
A week after my miscarriage I had a routine blood test to make sure that “the products of conception” (Hey! That’s my baby you’re talking about!) had not been retained by my faulty, failure of a womb.
I took a call at work – I was working evenings – my GP said that I needed to go to hospital. I said “I’ll make an appointment in the morning”. He said no, that I needed to go immediately as my pregnancy hormones were still rising. What the hell did that mean? I think it meant that I wasn’t going crazy.
I’ll cut a long story short. More scans. More swollen bellies. More disgust with my own body. More failure. Nothing. There was no trace of the pregnancy, a “complete miscarriage” they said. That’s it then.
But it wasn’t, there was an ectopic pregnancy. This was a heterotopic pregnancy, a rare situation when there was an intra-uterine and extra-uterine pregnancy occurring simultaneously.
I then had to sign a consent form to have the foetus and fallopian tube removed. It broke my heart. This is a very different kind of grief.
A healthy, very unexpected pregnancy followed very soon afterwards. My son is my Child of Hope. Even his name means gift. If I had to go through it all again just to hold him, I would.