After having Katie we decided quite quickly to try and have a second baby. John only wanted two children so we thought it made sense to have them close together. As was the case when we were trying for Katie I got pregnant straight away.
As everything had been plain sailing with my first pregnancy it didn’t really occur to me that anything might go wrong. It had been a fleeting thought when I was pregnant with Katie but I’d dismissed it and enjoyed my pregnancy so I assumed it would be the same the second time round. I was only 5 weeks pregnant and had only just done the test when Katie’s 1st birthday came around, but since we had family and friends over we told them then that we were expecting again. A couple of weeks after that I miscarried.
I went to the toilet before bed and noticed ever such a slight pinkish tinge when I wiped. It was just a hint of something and definitely not proper blood so I tried not to worry about it and went to bed. When I got up in the morning there was a bit of blood but not too much. I wasn’t sure what was going on or if it was just spotting, and I didn’t know what I was supposed to do if it was a miscarriage. Do you just bleed and then it’s done? Do you go to hospital? Do you see the GP? I booked a doctors appointment for later that day and went to work. By the time I saw the doctor my bleeding was heavier and she said it sounded like a miscarriage and booked me in for a scan at the hospital for the next day. I went back to work.
The scan the next day confirmed that I had miscarried. I’ve got to be honest, I have always wondered about my reaction to that miscarriage and if it was normal or if I’m just really heartless? I wasn’t that upset. It was more of an inconvenience than anything else. The plan for our family had been going perfectly and suddenly it wasn’t. Surely miscarriage was something that happened to other people? That was about the extent of it for me. It wasn’t a pleasant experience to go to the toilet and flush the blood away as that was basically what would have grown into our baby. But it was such an early miscarriage I didn’t feel a massive attachment to the baby that would have been – it was still quite an abstract image of something we were looking forward to a few months down the line.
As it was John and I both dealt with it pretty easily. Obviously we had to tell the people who knew I was pregnant that I wasn’t anymore and mostly they seemed more upset than I was which I felt a bit weird about. My manager insisted I had a couple of days off work, which I really didn’t need, but I had a nice couple of days sat watching Wimbledon and wondering why I wasn’t feeling as bad as everyone else assumed I was. My feeling was that this was a minor blip and I’d get pregnant again and have baby number two.
I got pregnant again straight away and felt that my bad luck was done and dusted and that this time everything would be fine. However, again I had the same slight tinge on the paper when I wiped and again I then started bleeding. I didn’t go to the doctor this time and I didn’t ask for a scan. I knew I was having a miscarriage. Like the first time, because it was early it didn’t hurt and it was like a heavy period. This time though I felt quite worried. What if having Katie had just been a fluke and I’d never be able to have another baby? What if I just kept miscarrying? What if I never even managed to get pregnant again? Did we try again too soon? And then because I hadn’t seen a doctor I worried because how did I know everything had come out? Could we try again or should we wait?
I am really thankful both miscarriages were early. They didn’t hurt, I didn’t have contractions, and I couldn’t tell the point that I actually lost the foetus. They were just heavy periods with some clotting. I imagine if I’d been even a couple of weeks further along I would have felt very differently about it. If I’d seen a sac or the beginnings of the baby it would have been an awful lot harder. I didn’t really have an emotional attachment to the pregnancies I lost. I’d never seen a heartbeat or felt them move. I like to think that their hearts never started beating in the first place and that’s why I miscarried them. I would hate to think they had started and then stopped, that the foetus had actually ‘died’.
I’m also really thankful that we already had Katie and even if we never had another baby we had her. It’s pretty hard to feel sorry for yourself or dwell on a miscarriage when you’ve got a one year old to look after. She kept me cheerful and I kept her entertained and it definitely wasn’t as bad as it could have been or as bad for me as many other people find it.
But I do wonder what my overall lack of emotion about it says about me as a person. My issue was more that our wish for a second baby seemed to be getting harder and the ideal of us as family of 4 was moving further away, rather than mourning the two babies that weren’t to be. I know a number of people who have had miscarriages and they have all been a lot more upset than I was. It’s not something that I find difficult to think back on and it was quite sad rather than traumatic at the time. I had worked out my due dates and do still remember them (4th February and 23rd April) but I don’t wonder what could have been or think of us as having ‘angel babies’. I don’t think of Alice as our rainbow baby. It was what it was.
Anyway, we tried again, I got pregnant straight away again and third time lucky it stuck. 9 months later, and 2 years and 1 month after having Katie, we had Alice. The miscarriages receded further into the background and we had our family of 4. I’m not trying to minimise the impact of miscarriage and the devastating experience it can be for many people. I count myself very lucky that I miscarried early and went on to have more children.