There are mornings when I hear the little voice from the next room and squint at my phone to see “4am” – really, Delilah?! Or nights when I have just sunk into a divine bubble bath and the cries start. There is weetbix in my hair on the daily, about 900 loads of laundry to fold and I’ve basically lived on brown rice and cans of tuna because it’s the quickest thing to make when I’m juggling a clingy baby.
I think back to when I was pregnant with Delilah and had weekends where I literally did nothing but watch Tv, nap and eat. I longed for a day like that again. But this little face is worth all the interrupted plans, sleepless nights and anxious parent moments, because there was a time when I lost the opportunity to meet another little face, the face before Delilah’s.
I believe the topic of pregnancy loss is still such a taboo and there are so many people feeling like they shouldn’t talk about it. It is a hugely tragic emptiness which everyone chooses to deal with in their own way.
Finding out I was pregnant I felt unbelievably terrified but also so excited. I started up a Pinterest board for nursery inspiration. I told people well before the first scan, the superstitious side of me didn’t even flinch- we were so pumped.
But come the scan on Christmas Eve (talk about timing) there was no heartbeat. Everything else was there except the baby. In fact there was no baby to start with. But I still had all the symptoms of being pregnant, a sac on the scan and the blood tests that stated “positive.”
This is called a blighted ovum. Most miscarriages actually happen without women realising, and 1 in 4 pregnancies will end in miscarriage. But I was 10 weeks already, just a few shy of the second trimester when we were getting ready to tell everyone else.
Shortly after this I was booked in for a d&c but started to miscarry the day before. The hospital nearly cancelled because of this but then said to come in anyway just to be safe. I’m glad I did. The pain was unbearable. Having had a baby now, I can say it was like being in labour. It was a very public miscarriage too, being rushed from the floor of a hospital toilet to surgery. Like a moron, I wore a white top that day too. No matter how many times I washed it, it was clean but it never felt right again. I remember lying on the bed in that pre theatre room feeling terrified but also embarrassed. And then I was out like a light and it was over with.
Like most traumatic or stressful things in life I just push on, I was told to rest as I’d lost a lot of blood. But I hate not being busy.
I deleted the Pinterest board and busied with planning new year goals.
I received a job offer closer to home, threw myself back into exercise and said yes to every social event possible. My partner got a job offer on the Sunshine Coast and I supported the move. I mean to some extent, life does have to go on, but when you force it to happen sooner than it should, little cracks start to appear. But if I was essentially never pregnant with an actual baby then did I have the right to be upset?
When I was pregnant again, we waited until the 20 week scan to tell most people other than family, a few close friends and those that worked it out (frequent nauseated trips to the bathroom is a dead giveaway). I lived in constant fear that I would never meet my baby or that something awful would happen. I found it hard to be excited.
At 8 weeks I started to bleed and with no Hayden close by, it was a terrifying 20 minute journey to emergency on my own.
My stupid anxiety was telling me it was a sign. But it was all ok, my baby was fine. I felt like I was constantly waiting for the ‘what if?’. I began to realise how much of an impact my previous loss was having on my current pregnancy and state of mind. Anxiety is the constant worry about the future, catastrophic thinking, but it’s pointless because there is no crystal ball that can predict absolutely everything. I sought help through a counsellor, practicing mindfulness techniques. Apps like ‘Mind the Bump’, geared for pregnant and new parents were great, providing quick meditations to help notice thoughts and feelings without judgement.
Before I could worry myself into a tension headache she was here after the swiftest labour. After months of preparing for what most midwives said would be a long process, I didn’t even have time to play Ganstas Paradise! She was perfect and healthy with a head full of red hair. “Shit” I thought, “I am actually a Mum…”
Five weeks later Hayden called me up while he was at work.
He said that out of the blue he had this sudden sadness about the previous loss. It had made him wonder what it would have been like to have two littlies now.
He cried. While I had relied on him to support me during that time, I’d never really considered what a profound effect this had on him. He was always busy being strong for me. It revealed our vulnerable sides, even if they appeared at different times.
It is this vulnerability that I am grateful for today as a mother to Delilah. I still worry all the time about her and I’m relieved to know that’s mostly normal. I have resigned myself to the fact that mum life is also anxious life. But mostly I’m excited-anxious; to see her grow up but not interfere too much, to see who this loud, alert, flirt of a baby will be. I’m excited to create 100 more Pinterest boards for activities and adventures. I’m still insanely anxious about my ability to equip her with skills to deal with situations which might be bad or hurtful, and saddened that I won’t be able to protect her from everything. But I’m so very excited to be her mum and forced best friend.
If you or someone you love has experienced pregnancy and infant loss, support is available from:
And your GP.