I did not expect to lose you so quickly. I thought you’d hang around for the next two weeks, as you’d already stayed put for six.
What’s another two weeks between mother and child?
I wanted you to hang around, so when you were gone, we could preserve a part of you. You could be cremated and we could scatter your ashes in the Lake District. My birthday week was one of the happiest of my life; exploring our favourite place with your brother and sister, happily stroking my growing bump whilst we wandered through forests and across streams. We talked about how it would be the five of us when we visited next year. We told your sister we were expecting you.
The Lakes seemed like the perfect place to say goodbye. And I wanted to say goodbye properly.
But you went before we had the chance. At least I think you have. I guess it’s hard to know for certain. We’ll have confirmation at the scan next week.
An hour or so of strong, heavy bleeding. Going through maternity pads… Pad, after pad, after pad. The sensation felt a bit like when I gave birth to your brother’s placenta: Painful. Uncomfortable. And then a plop, and everything eased.
We were out for lunch; I needed fresh air and my body craved lots of food.
I passed you in the pub toilet, and there was no way I could get you out. I had nothing with me. I stood there for a while, looking down the toilet bowl. Wondering how I could save you without looking like a crazy person. In the end I had to flush and let you go.
It seems so ridiculous and unfitting, for such a loved bundle to be reduced to the fate of a dead goldfish. That’s all I could think as I flushed: “We always buried our goldfish. Why do I have to flush? I’m not ready to say goodbye. How is this possible?”
We tried for you for six months. Six months of sobbing on negative pregnancy tests. Six months of “Oh well, maybe next month.” Six months of wondering how bad my endometriosis had become since your brother’s birth.
I had been begging the doctor to refer me to an endometriosis specialist. We had to start the treatment pathway all over again because we’d relocated. But I knew it was a large part of the reason we were struggling to get pregnant.
But then you came! A positive test! Three positive tests! And then my appointment letter came through, and I called up to cancel with glee because I was finally pregnant!
“Another miracle!” we exclaimed, and we counted down the days until our 12 week scan.
You were so loved.
I wonder whether I should have known that you’d stopped developing. A couple of weeks ago, I started losing hair quickly, like I do postnatally. My leg hair continued growing, and one of the things I love about pregnancy is that my leg hair growth slows down (weird, but true). The nausea was starting to ease in the final week, but I put that down to turning 12 weeks. I thought I was just lucky!
And there were so many symptoms that continued: Your bump was still growing. I was still exhausted. I still had the weird taste in my mouth and food cravings. Up until 12 weeks, I was still nauseous and being sick.
A small bleed saw us in the Early Pregnancy Unit the day after our wedding anniversary. I thought it was probably just the womb stretching to make room for you, but then we received the news that you had stopped developing at 6 weeks. I was 12+1 when we heard the news, which is horribly ironic since your sister arrived at 41+1 and your brother at 40+1.
I have had some strong bleeds since the big bleed on Sunday, but they are beginning to ease once more. Your bump has gone down considerably and I no longer feel nauseous or crave food. I just yearn to be pregnant with you. To be stroking your bump. Smiling with happiness and joy, instead of the weird numbness I currently feel. Going through the motions of life with two children, dreading the moment your sister asks me: “What size is the baby now?” Wanting to hold on tight to Nick and never let go.
And now we wait for the scan next week, to confirm what I already know; you have gone. And we will talk about memory boxes… and next steps… and future pregnancies.
And, I guess at some point, we will return to ‘normal’. Whatever ‘normal’ is: School runs. Fish fingers and baked beans. Laughing again without feeling crushing guilt.
But really, what I want more than anything in the world, it to still be pregnant with you.