I Still Have So Much Love to Give by Kirsty Dummin
‘No, no. I can’t go through this again…’
These were the thoughts running through my head as I stared at the blood soaked toilet paper between my legs.
But go through it again, I did.
Less than twenty-four hours after seeing a strong beating heart via ultrasound, my body made the decision that my heart was unwilling to accept, and my 8 week old baby was born.
I’ll never have any answers as to why my seemingly healthy child did not survive. Unlike my first miscarriage, which involved dilation and curettage surgery, and thus pathology on the fetus, this time I miscarried naturally and away from a hospital. But even with the pathology, I never followed up to find out the results. The truth is; it wouldn’t have mattered anyway. A loss is a loss, and no reason would bring me comfort when I did not have a baby to hold.
Losing a baby, at any stage of your pregnancy is a devastating and traumatic experience. It’s something that I wasn’t prepared for, even after having experienced it once before. I was trying to remain positive when the bleeding started, because the stats say that the risk of miscarriage decreases significantly after seeing a healthy heartbeat.
But there is still a risk.
It’s my nature to remain hopeful. It’s how I survive heartache and push through pain. When I was in the midst of it, I could only think of the pain. Not the physical pain, as hard as it was. The emotional pain. We had wanted it so much, were certain it was meant to be. I’d had a feeling from the moment we conceived that I was pregnant. To be so sure means to be beyond shocked at the reality. As I wept for my baby, I was certain that I would never let myself go through this again.
I wasn’t prepared for the enduring pain, discomfort, bleeding and cramping that would go on for days afterwards. I wasn’t prepared for the reminder of what I had experienced each time I closed my eyes and saw the tiny, translucent body in the cup of my palm. I wasn’t prepared for the blame I would place on myself, because surely I must have done something wrong for this to have happened? I wasn’t prepared for the heartbreak that would find me in the middle of the night or day, when I least expected it.
I also wasn’t prepared for the comfort I would find in online forums where so many other women shared their experiences of loss. I wasn’t prepared for the hope I would begin to feel, that we could try again. I wasn’t prepared for the outpouring of love from those around me, cradling me in my darkest hours. I wasn’t prepared for the bursting of love I would feel for my son as he cuddled and kissed me and laughed at me, with his indelible giggle. In him, I have the greatest hope. For he is here, he is the very proof that I can carry a baby to term.
Some people will prefer to keep to themselves when they experience a loss like this, while others will talk about it to anyone who will listen. Like pregnancy, miscarriage is very much an individual experience that simply cannot be understood by anyone else. No matter how much it hurts, it’s important to remember that you are not alone. You did nothing wrong. Your feelings are valid and cannot be overstated. You will heal, and the pain will lessen. Only you can decide how and when to move past this.
For now, while I am surrendering my body to do what it must to heal, I have hope that we will expand our family again, one day. I may not be able to control when, and maybe I won’t be able to control how, but it will happen, because I still have so much love to give.
Kirsty Dummin is a mother, wife, writer and animal advocate. She works in the not for profit health sector part time to fund her love of travel and growing brood of animals (and humans). She lives in the famous wine region of the Barossa Valley in South Australia.