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I was looking forward to going out. I remember getting stomach cramps which I put down to period pain, because I always got them really painful and I usually bleed heavy. I stopped to go to the toilet, and I discovered a stain the color of a "show" that a woman normally gets before going into labour, and I thought nothing of it at all, as I had given birth to a baby not long before hand, so I ignored it, thinking it might just be a light period.
As the day went on, the bleeding got heavier and deeper, and the pain got worse. My initial thought was that my period might be extra heavy, so I continued to ignore it. I started feeling really dizzy and sick, and my stomach was getting more painful by the minute. At this point, I was panicking a bit, but I put it down to a virus—that was until I was bleeding so much it was showing through my trousers. I still had no idea what was going on. I had heard of miscarriage but I had never been through it, and I didn't know I was pregnant either, as I had no signs of morning sickness or missed periods.
I was taken to the hospital, and by the time I got there, I was bleeding so much that my trousers were covered heavily in blood, and ordinary pads wouldn't control it, so I was given larger ones, even these weren't enough to control it. I was in tears, shocked, scared, and it was like all my emotions had flooded at once. I could barely speak because I was in so much shock. The nurse wanted to do a scan, but to begin with, I didn't want to because I was convinced that I wasn't pregnant. However, I went through with the scan but it didn't pick anything up.
I managed to go to the hospital toilet, but I needed support to get there because I couldn't stand up. When I got there, I had a heavy bleed and I felt a push, but I thought it was just my bowels wanting to open because that is what it felt like. When I stood up, I looked into the toilet, and I saw what to me looked like a very big clot of tissue, and I flushed it away, ignoring it. However, when I came out of there, it hit me, and I was worried, so I told a nurse who went to get someone to talk to me. I regretted that moment, as it was explained that I may have lost the early partly-formed fetus in the toilet. I told the nurse that wasn't possible, as I was not pregnant.
The nurse explained to me that they had looked at the scan again, and I had been carrying. I asked them how that was possible as I had had a baby not long ago. That was when she mentioned the term 'dormant pregnancy,' of which I had never heard of before. She said it was possible that I may have been carrying twins when I had my first baby, but the twin may have been hidden and not picked up on the scan at the time. She then went on to explain how one baby may have possibly taken all the nutrients from the other baby, stopping the baby from surviving and forming. My mind was completely blank. I couldn't understand how this could not have been picked up before I gave birth. I had a lot of trouble understanding it, and I was distraught. I was asked if I wanted to list my loss as miscarriage or stillbirth. I still have no idea why I was asked this, because I assumed they would have listed it as a miscarriage because the baby did not fully form, and I had nothing to show for it. However, I couldn't bare the idea of listing my loss as a miscarriage, as I needed something to hold on to, so I registered my loss as a still birth.
When I was discharged, I spent months putting on a happy face, trying to bring up my surviving baby and acting as if nothing had ever happened. I was offered support from the miscarriage and stillbirth association, but my emotions were a mixture of sadness, guilt, anger and depression. I felt like something was missing, and I desperately tried to fill the empty void inside. I also tried imagining myself in different realities, just so I didn't have to admit my feelings, and my thoughts became badly distorted.
I went on to have more children, but with each pregnancy I was terrified it would happen again, though I didn't dare to talk about my feelings with anyone, because I felt like a murderer and I was scared of being shamed and judged because of what I went through. I was like this for many years, and then I picked up the phone and spoke to the miscarriage and still birth association to try and talk about how I really felt. They were very sympathetic and understanding, and they reassured me that I wasn't alone. The problem was, I did feel alone, even after speaking to them, because when I finally spoke with other people about how I felt, I was asked "Why can't you get over it?" and told "the baby can't be classed as a baby because it was never fully formed." These comments really hurt, and they left me feeling more guilty, and more ashamed of myself than I had ever felt.
To me, the baby was growing inside of me. It was my baby, whether fully formed or not, and I should have known I was carrying it. I felt like I had been neglectful and that I had killed the baby. I spent at least two years after hating my body, my looks, and everything about me. When I did fall pregnant again, I wanted the baby, but I resented being pregnant, because I was worried that I would "kill my baby again." When the baby was born, I really struggled, because the baby had been diagnosed with problems. I spent that first year blaming myself, calling myself an unfit mother, and putting myself down for not been a "perfect parent." The only way I could cope was by shutting my feelings in and "pretending" that I was coping, because if I told anybody, I would be shamed for being a mum.
Many years after that, I went through a lot of pain, especially as before my loss, I had been diagnosed with post-natal depression, which years later was reoriented to two different diagnosis's because of the severe abuse I had already gone through. I spent all my young adult life up to my mid 30s with severe mental health problems, which were very difficult to overcome.
In the present, I have overcome the worst of those problems, but the memory of my loss is still a sad one for me. I don't think anyone should be expected to 100 percent get over the loss of a baby, whether it is a miscarriage or still birth. I think many parents like myself do go on to have successful pregnancies and try to enjoy being a parent, but one who has suffered such a loss, remembers it for the rest of their lives.
The 'dormant' pregnancy described to me by the hospital is not well documented anywhere. I do sometimes look back, and wonder if this was just a term the hospital used because they couldn't find any explanation about what happened to me. However, the loss was still extremely painful, and it is hard to come to terms with today. What makes it harder, is that during my pregnancy with my younger son, I fractured my pelvic bone, which landed me in a wheel chair for most of my pregnancy. After this, I experienced a very traumatic C-section in which I was given an antibiotic that the surgeons were clearly told I was allergic too. In return I lost a lot of blood, my blood pressure went dangerously low and I almost died. When I woke I was hypothermic. This on top of what I had already gone through, causes me twice as much pain. Today, I still want another baby, but I have a lot of 'What ifs?' to work through if I am to do that confidently.