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It was a routine antenatal appt…..

I’d dropped my two kids at my sisters. “I won’t be long” I said.
At the Doctors, normal questions were asked. How was I feeling? Blood pressure normal.
Have you felt the baby move regularly?
“Erm, I think so” I said.
‘Pop on the bed and let’s just have a listen” she said.
The doppler moved over my swollen belly. I was 17 weeks pregnant. Over the scary stage,
excited for the next.
Silence.
I shifted my body a bit and listened.
Silence.
The Dr’s voice was soothing. “I’m going to send you over to the hospital for a scan, just to be
on the safe side”.
“Is everything ok” I said. I searched her eyes for reassurance.
She guided me to a chair outside the room to wait. What was I waiting for? The corridor was
dimly lit. A light flickered overhead. The floor was a pale speckled blue.
“Ok” The Dr said “They’re expecting you. Can someone drive you over to the hospital?”
“I can drive myself” I said. I was numb. In shock. In a daze.
I rang my sister to ask if she could have the girls for a while longer and drove over to the
hospital. Tears were streaming down my face. I was talking to myself out loud. “It’s going to
be ok” I said. “You’re ok in there. It’s fine” I was frantic through my tears.
I don’t know how I got to the hospital. I don’t remember driving there. I don’t remember
parking. I don’t remember the walk in to the antenatal department.
Suddenly I saw my mum. She ran in and hugged me, flustered, trying to be calm.
I was called in to a room, another Dr listened for the baby’s heartbeat.
The silence was deafening.
I was ushered into the ultrasound department. About 6 pregnant women all at different
stages of their pregnancy sat there. Some alone. Some with partners. I couldn’t look at them.
I was called in.
The atmosphere was sombre. The sonographer was quiet. She spoke softly as if she knew
the outcome already. I wanted to scream at her.
I waited. Nobody spoke. My mum sat beside me.
The cold gel was spread over my belly. She looked at the screen and moved the probe over
and over my belly for what seemed an eternity. But not long enough.
Eventually she turned it off. The screen remained turned away from me. I wanted to see it.
To see the little heart beating.
“I’m sorry” she said.
I cried then. I sobbed.
I was sent upstairs to a ward. Another long wait to see another specialist.
My husband was called. He was at work in London. He was on his way.
The baby had died probably in the last week. There was no reason. No explanation. No
answers.
I was sent home to wait for the baby to ‘expell’. Two days passed. Nothing. All that time I still
had hope. Hope that they were wrong. That my baby was still alive.
I went back to the hospital and was given something to help the process. I was put in a
maternity ward with pregnant women and women who had had their babies. It was a cruel
blow.
It happened that night. I gave birth for the third time.
But this time, no noise, no baby cries. Just my own tears.
It was taken away.
And just like that, my baby had gone.
I was never the same.
Ten years later and something will take me back there and I’ll catch a sob in my throat.
Usually a song lyric. I still cry. I still hurt. I still wonder. What if?
Whatever stage of pregnancy you’re at, the loss is all consuming. You’re grieving for what
might have been. Your future. Their future. The dreams you had and the memories you
never got to make.
It will never leave me. It’s part of me and it changed me forever.
But as with any loss, you learn to live with it. The pain dulls, life goes on.
My advice for anyone who’s friend, colleague or family member has gone through or is going
through a miscarriage. Don’t gloss over it. Don’t say “It wasn’t meant to be” Yes someone
did say this to me. Or “At least you have two healthy children” or “Nevermind, you can try
again”.
These statements don’t help. This isn’t what they need. All they need is love, hugs, warmth,
understanding. No words are necessary. Just be there, cry with them, tell them life sucks.
Be led by them. They don’t need a reason or any practical advice. Nothing you can say will
help. They just want to be listened to.
That’s all I wanted.
And even now, all these years later, when I see a 10 year old playing outside and my heart
hurts again, I know that what I’ve learned is compassion and understanding. I feel deeply for
every woman who has gone through this. I cry with them, for them. And when a baby is born,
whatever race, religion or gender. They’re all so very precious.
They’re little miracles after all.
____________________________
Anna Cascarina