Moving on from a miscarriage and some tips that might help you too – My personal experience

All most pregnant women want is for a healthy and normal pregnancy, and baby. So what if that isn’t the case?

When our daughter was around 16 months old we decided we’d like to try for another baby, so that the age gap between our children would be just over two years.  We waited to try until after Christmas and New Year (because…PARTIES!), and I fell pregnant almost immediately!  It was almost too easy and too good to be true. But of course we were thrilled!  Not only us, but also our families were ecstatic!

My first appointment and echo at the verloskundige (midwife) was textbook standard. Everything was perfect with my pregnancy; even though I had to go alone as it was the beginning of the Covid-19 lockdown, and partners weren’t allowed to go with. I saw our baby’s heartbeat and everything was as it should be.  We discussed and made appointments for my future check-ups, just as we had done with my first pregnancy.  When I got home I showed my husband the picture of the echo and I was confident that everything was in order.

I was trying to maintain my normal everyday duties: mother, wife, and small business owner all whilst coping with the first trimester fatigue and nausea.  I wasn’t half as focused on myself being pregnant as I was with my firstborn. I just didn’t have the time to do that, and most of my energy and focus went into my 1.5 year old daughter in anyway!  Anyone who has a toddler will tell you that this is gospel! 

As scheduled I went for my 12 week echo and the Verloskudige told me that it wasn’t looking good. There was no heartbeat. I was devastated!  There I was sitting with my mondkapje (Facemask), sobbing alone, and the only form of comfort that the poor man (verloskundige) was able to give me were his words. No physical contact during the pandemic, so physical comfort was taboo.  I had such an overwhelming feeling of sadness and guilt. The “what ifs” and the “why’s”. The ideals that I had for our new baby, for Lyla’ sibling, how they would play……. How do I tell my husband?  My mum? My sister?  Everyone?  Why did I tell everyone immediately, and not wait until it was ‘safe’ to do so? Now I have to disappoint everyone on top of what I was feeling.  We hadn’t even talked about possible names…if it’s a boy. Or another girl… My heart was broken. 

Then a few days later, before my scheduled curettage, I had a spontaneous miscarriage, which was horrendous, and I ended up in hospital by ambulance; fainted twice and had an emergency curettage performed.  

So how to deal with the physical and emotional loss of your unborn baby?

Don’t blame yourself! – It is not your fault!  In my own words: miscarriages happen due to a chromosome abnormality during conception and it’s natures way to not let the pregnancy continue as it wasn’t a healthy and normal baby. So rather now than later in your pregnancy or worse even: an early death for your new-born baby/child. 

Talk about it – Even though it can be painful to talk about, especially when it’s still raw, accept the concern and support from your nearest and dearest and tell them how you feel.  Sharing your grief with others might just help in your emotional healing process.  Keeping it all to yourself won’t.

Give yourself a break – You have been through a lot!  Now it’s time to recover; both physically and emotionally.  Take that long bubble bath, go for a walk or a bike ride, read a book or watch a movie you have been putting off, eat that raw cheese and sushi you couldn’t at first and drink that glass of wine!

Try again! – If you WANT to have another baby of course!  Having had a miscarriage is not an indication that your next pregnancy won’t be successful and go full term.  Each pregnancy has an approximate 15% chance of a miscarriage so you have, as well as the majority of women in the world, an 85% chance of carrying your baby full term.  Keep taking your folic acid if that is what the midwife has advised you to do, have a positive mindset, and go for it!

Best of luck and success to you for any future pregnancies!

*Thanks to the team at Parteraverloskunde, Wim and especially Marion,whom have supported me during this time as well as great aftercare.  And a special thanks to all the staff, Ambulance men, Doctors and nurses at Het Langeland Ziekenhuis (LangelandHospital, Zoetermeer).

An unprofessional, unedited selfie taken first thing in the morning – I still had an unopened pregnancy test in my cupboard!