Right, I’ve never done this ‘blogging’ thing before, but I’ve found myself with rather a lot of time on my hands… again. My husband suggested I write a blog – what with me being an English teacher he thought I may as well do some writing to keep my ‘skills oiled’… There is of course the added potential for some cathartic release when I get on to discussing the reasons why I have all this free time… again.
Last year, on April 16th, in the early hours of a Friday morning (12.40am, to be precise), I discovered that I was having a miscarriage. I was 18 weeks and 5 days pregnant. Exactly one month ago, on Friday 18th April, my waters broke. This time I was 23 weeks and 6 days pregnant.
“Why is it happening again?” My husband asked me just after the fluid gushed in warm rivers onto the hospital bed. As I looked at his face, furrowed with pain, I wanted to say, “I’m sorry, I’m sorry that I’m losing your baby, again.” But I didn’t, I said “I don’t know”, which was the truth. Saying sorry would have only made him feel bad – no husband wants his wife to feel responsible for the loss of their baby, but it was becoming clear that it must be something to do with my body causing the problems – after all – the same thing had now happened twice.
When you hear the word ‘miscarriage’, or even ‘stillbirth’, there are connotations of sadness, of course, but when you’ve been through it, neither word does the experience justice. The first time, it was called a ‘late miscarriage’, which almost suggests that it should have happened sooner – as if the miscarriage was late in its arrival. Of course I know that the term is used to distinguish between what is considered a ‘normal’ miscarriage – one happening before reaching week 12 or 13 of pregnancy – and one happening between 14 and 24 weeks, in the mid-trimester, but it just doesn’t sound quite right. This time, because I was over 24 weeks when I gave birth, the baby was considered ‘viable’, and legally, things were seen in quite a different light. Sometimes I wonder what would have happened if the labour had not stopped the night I was admitted.
I don’t intend to frighten people by talking about such horrific things, I just feel like there are some things people should know, or more that there are things that I would like to say: I think that if you never experience anything that I’ve been through, it might at least help you to try to empathise with someone who has (of course I wish with all my heart that no one ever had to experience such heartache). If you’re a mother, or pregnant, hopefully reading about the experience of someone who has given birth to two babies, but not been able to take them home, will make you appreciate your lot, just in case you don’t already. For all those women who whinge and complain about getting cellulite and a flabby tummy, at least you have something to remind you why your body is not what it used to be – I’ve gone from a size 8 to a size 12-14 in a year, and battled trying to lose weight and get fit, while my body seems very much to have its own ideas. And I don’t have either of the two beautiful babies that I’ve carried to make the unpleasant changes in my body seem worthwhile.
So, today is the first day that I’ve been on my own since coming out of hospital – hence, the title of this post. My parents stayed with us from when I was admitted, up until Saturday. A total of 29 days. While I was in hospital my mum cooked and brought in food for every meal except breakfast – fortunately my house, which is where they were staying, is literally minutes away! My mum and I are very close, despite the fact that she lives with my stepdad, John, in the Outer Hebrides (none of us are from there, they went on holiday there a few years ago and fell in love with the beautiful coastline and bleak moors, sold our house in Lancashire and bought one up there, where they’ve lived amongst chickens and sheep for a few years now…), so I was very glad that she was able to come and be with me in the hospital, and even more glad that she was able to stay for so long once I was out. It made things easier as I didn’t need to make any decisions about anything much, and of course she was great company once my husband went back to work on the 5th April.
Last night, in preparation for my first day alone, I wrote a list of things to do. It reads:
- Walk dog
- Letter to school*
- Weigh + soak fruit for cake
- Make tea – meatballs and spaghetti
So far I have been able to tick off four things and will soon also be able to tick off ‘Blog’. It may seem as if some of the things on my ‘to do’ list are pretty inane – who needs to put ‘shower’ on a list, right? But when you’ve spent whole days lying on the sofa intermittently sobbing and flicking through mindless TV series, having a shower is most certainly a feat to be considered worthy of a place on a list.
Going to the gym is the thing that I’m most pleased about – I haven’t done any exercise (apart from walking the dog a bit) for 6 and a half months and I really missed the gym. I feel just a tiny bit thinner already…I think.
So, that’s probably enough for my first post – I’m going to tackle the rest of my list and look forward to my husband coming home – I expect he’ll be very proud of me for not spending the day in tears being frightened to leave the house – although it’s only 13.50…