Thursday, December 14, 2006
This blog has been running for almost two years now, and I've racked up over 300 posts in that time. Some mediocre, some interesting, a few amusing, and one or two that are pretty damn good, even if I say so myself.
In all that time, I never imagined I'd have to write one like this.
The pregnancy is no more. The baby lost to a miscarriage.
It had all seemed to be going so well. The bump was developing, and although the Mrs (henceforth 'K'), was still suffering morning sickness, she felt the worst was over.
So it was with great optimism that we attended the first scan yesterday afternoon - unfazed by the grim weather that assailed us as we crossed the hospital car park.
Arriving a little ahead of schedule gave me the chance to grab some lunch in their cafe - having rushed there from work - and we sat discussing K's maternity leave options, as we marked time ahead of the appointment.
When the first images from the scan flashed up on screen, memories of the previous pregnancy came racing back.
It had been quite stressful. K suffered a lot of early bleeding, which led to a scan after only 6 weeks, at which point the baby resembled nothing more than a tiny prawn - with a flashing dot at it's centre, which the staff told us was the heart beating.
This time, I was able to make out something more closely resembling the images I recalled from the later scans, but as the operator began to ask questions of K it became apparent something was wrong, and the smile faded from my face.
As I heard the dread words, and K burst into tears, it became obvious to me what was missing from this scan - a heartbeat.
For a few moments I felt dizzy, detached, like a viewer watching a drama unfold on a TV screen. All I could do was hold K's hand and cuddle her. It didn't feel real.
We've had no problems with bleeding. The morning sickness is supposed to be a good sign - indicative of high levels of the necessary hormones. The bump has been growing.
So how can the baby be dead?
Once it had sunk in, the staff showed us to another room, and gave us some time to ourselves.
Later they explained that although the pregnancy had gone for 14 weeks, the baby had only developed to a size equivalent to 8 weeks. In all likelihood, it had been growing very slowly and died in the previous day or two before the scan.
The fluid sac that protects it had grown at the normal rate, hence the expanding bump.
All of which seemed logical, and as that facts sunk it, reality dawned.
The drive back to my parents to pick up The Toddler (E) was mercifully short. I could barely focus on the road.
Breaking the news to them was made all the harder by E's broad smile welcoming us, and her puzzled stare as she watched K hug my mum.
When we got home, all we wanted to do was lie down. Both of us felt physically drained by the experience.
24 hours later, the shock has worn off, and reality has set in. I've been doing some reading on miscarriages and the statistics surprised me.
According to the NHS over 10% of pregnancies end this way, so it's hardly unusual.
I think what hit us hardest was the total lack of expectation that such an event was occurring. As the staff at the hospital said, most people have an idea something is wrong due to bleeding, pain, or other symptoms in advance of the scan.
We were feeling optimistic and anticipating the experience of seeing our new baby for the first time.
Right now we are trying to focus on the positive. There's no suggestion any future pregnancy would be affected by what has happened, and if it had to happen, better to be sooner than later.
That doesn't make things good, but we understand that other people go through much tougher experiences than this, so I'm sure we will be fine, though it may take a while before normality is restored.
Until then, we will be trying to get on with life, and appreciating what we already have.
I can't see it being a jolly festive season, but I'll savour every moment spent with my family, and give all the love I can to the great child we already have.