Prior to my positive pregnancy test, I had been rather relaxed about our inability to conceive. I’d come close to tears only once, telling a friend in a cafe that we had in fact been trying but that it appeared it wouldn't happen. I’d been surprised when my eyes had unexpectedly filled with tears; whilst I felt ready to be a mother, I didn’t feel a desperate desire to be one.
But all that changed after the ectopic. I was stunned by the overwhelming strength of emotions I experienced. I’d never experienced grief or loss before. And it hit me with like a tonne of bricks. I blame hormones of course. But they weren’t solely responsible.
Of course, there were the inevitable comments. But it wasn’t really a baby. You didn’t have anything so you didn’t lose anything. It was meant to be. Stupid things like that. But a cousin made me feel normal. About my age, she’d had a miscarriage a few months earlier. “From the moment you get that positive pregnancy test, it’s a baby,” she said. She was right. This is not an argument of when life begins. Emotionally, for me, the pregnancy was welcome, and the outcome of the pregnancy, our baby-to-be, had been alive and well in our imaginations, keeping us awake at night, running around destroying things, smiling and giggling, making us laugh, making us worried, making us proud. That is the child we had lost.
In some ways the grief was helpful. It made me feel that I knew we were doing the right thing, that I really did want children. But the grief was subversive too. it presented me with a new obsession. Those in the infertility blogging world will understand that. Others probably won’t. Because I wouldn’t have understood it, couldn’t have understood it, until this happened to me. Women who lose a pregnancy often feel an incredible urge to be pregnant again – as soon as possible, and whether or not they were actively trying to conceive. I was no different. I felt out of control. I didn’t know myself. I cried more in a week than I had in previous years. Floodgates were opened that I’ve never been quite able to close again. It’s a good thing I wasn’t allowed alcohol in those first five weeks until my blood tests were back to normal.
I might have started drinking and never stopped.
I seemed to see pregnant women or newborn babies everywhere. It didn’t help that my changed Christmas plans meant I had to be around my sister-in-law and brother-in-law and their first baby. For the first time, it was difficult seeing babies. Before, it had never bothered me one way or another. In fact, I’d never been someone who was interested in babies. Toddlers, young children, teenagers I like. Babies? Meh!
There was fear too. Would this happen again? But I found the wonderful Ectopic Pregnancy Trust website, where they reassured us that most women go on to conceive again, and to conceive in the uterus. This was just a blip. I read that and felt reassured. And in a few months, I was ready to try again.