We are sat in a room with fellow grieving mothers and bewildered fathers. Fathers who are not sure what to say, or do. Confused. It’s not all about the mother – they were going to have a child too.
How do they comfort their devastated partner?
How do they process the news themselves?
How can you move forward when the world feels like it is conspiring against you?
It is a room full of sadness. Full of turmoil. Full of unjust.
The room is partitioned off for us. But the overflow for ‘regular’ antenatal ultrasound is in our partition. And every so often a happy mother hops out of the ultrasound room, clutching her maternity notes with glee. The same maternity notes we had to hand over when we found out that our baby had gone.
We, the grieving mothers, all look at her from beneath our tear-soaked lashes. We would not wish miscarriage upon anyone. We do not begrudge. But to be confronted with how it should have been for us too, is a difficult thing to witness. If we weren’t cried out, the tears would be flowing again.
I want to tell them: “You are so lucky. Please don’t ever take your baby for granted.”
I am called in.
It’s the nurse from last time. And she is still lovely, but her voice and manner grates on me, with her incessant use of the term “my love” and her semi-patronising tone. I am here to have a second scan to tell me what I already know: our baby has gone. I know she is only doing her job, a role that she is amazing at – what a strong person you must have to be to work here in the Early Pregnancy Unit. But I have spent two weeks bleeding through maternity pad, after maternity pad. Two weeks googling: “is this normal in miscarriage?”. Two weeks wandering around in a confused haze.
I am exhausted.
I am resigned.
I don’t need to be told any of this. I just need this appointment to be over. A process, a formality, that we have to go through. Counting down the minutes until we can return home and be away from the swirling suffocation of the hospital.
We are then called for our scan. And we are told what we already know: you are gone. I still have a little collection of blood in my womb, but that should go in the next couple of weeks.
They are apologetic, but matter of fact, and as I wipe lubricant from between my thighs and get re-dressed, I try to hold back the tears. This all feels so wrong. Too clinical for a farewell.
The nurse sees us one last time. We talk about rebooking my endometriosis appointment. About future pregnancies. About memory boxes. I ask for a copy of the original scan. I’m not sure why, but something in my heart tells me I will regret not having it a few months down the line once the grief becomes less overbearing.
And then we leave.
In silence, we exit the building that should have brought us so much happiness and elation. Two weeks ago we should have bounced out of here with our 12 week scan photo clutched between our tizzied hands. Our hands just clutch each other now. Gripping on tight to help balance ourselves in reality.
We pass families, excitedly on their way to meet new family members.
We pass tiny newborns, swamped by blankets in their car seats. Carried by exhausted, but proud, looking parents.
We pass pregnant mothers with their swollen bumps, waddling to their appointments, or to bring their child into the world.
And we walk hand-in-hand to the car. Neither of us know what to say. We ramble on about the weather. About school pick up. About how we think H-Bear has got on at nursery this afternoon.
We are relieved that the hospital part of this journey is over; relieved that I don’t need surgery. But the other emotions eddy and surge through our minds as we make garbled small talk.
And one question dominates my thoughts: Will we ever be brave, or strong, enough to try again?