When talking is too painful, sometimes we reach out in the only way we can.
“The Beast from the East”; the unseasonal spring snow. It fluttered to the pavement in thick flourishes, burying the daffodils and the freshly cut grass. It was almost March, the hint of Spring was supposed to be teetering on the breeze. Instead transport creaked to a stop and street lights wavered in the white fog. We held each other and looked out the window in disbelief. I squeezed him tight as we looked down once more at the undeniable pink lines staring up at us: “We’re having a baby, Willem.”
In the coming days and weeks I began to fall in love. For as long as I can remember, I’ve never not hated my body; I’ve been cruel and unkind and treated it in ways I would never dare treat another person. But finally, aged 25, I was in awe of the wonder of it; of what it could do, how it could change, how it could create. I began nourishing my body with everything it needed, I gave up booze, chocolate, bought decaf teabags. I ate vegetables! I hugged and rubbed and squeezed it, I stared naked in the mirror and smiled with pride. I was amazing.
Spring was in the air and we started sharing the news with those closest. We began planning and dreaming: ultrasound scans, maternity clothes, my voluptuous bikini body, the big reveal, the birth, the night feeds, our first Christmas. This year was our year. Finally!
And then the weather dropped. The snow was rumoured to return. “Spotting is perfectly normal”, they said; the midwives and the online forums, the doctors at A&E, and the nurses who drew blood, the Sonographer who showed us the tiny flutter of a 6-week heartbeat. It’s perfectly normal.
We breathed a sigh of relief and went home to the South Coast to escape London and celebrate my Birthday. To share our good news. Mid-March. Spring. “The sunniest town in England.” And the snow fluttered down, and the beast returned. And I knew that this amount of bleeding was not “perfectly normal”.
My Birthday came and went – I turned 26 in a blur of exhaustion and sanitary towels and tears. We forced ourselves back to London and back to the hospital. But I already knew. I knew before she even said that there was no heartbeat. I knew before the second opinion that it had stopped developing just hours after last week’s scan. I knew before they listed the options that I would choose number three, the surgical procedure. And I knew before I even looked at Will that his heart had shattered in exactly the same places as mine. The Spring snow had turned to sludge; our little bubble had burst.
And now it’s three days after surgery, and my heart feels as empty and violated as my vacuumed uterus. The morphine buzz has fizzed away, and the bleeding and the cramps ebb quietly into the distance. And I’m left with the heavy, empty, sadness that dulls the colours and dims the light.
I was built for this, I used to think; my child-bearing hips and my mumsy patience and clockwork periods: I was born to have children. But I’ve failed. My body; the body that I had finally forgiven and apologised to, that I had, after all these years finally fallen in love with, had failed. My body has broken my heart. And I don’t know whether to hold it tight or tear it to pieces.
So I curl up and cling to my hot water bottle, I close my eyes and hope that I can sleep until it’s not today anymore. Because maybe tomorrow my heart will hurt a little less, maybe tomorrow the day will seem a little brighter and I’ll feel a little lighter. Maybe tomorrow.
Special thanks to Lewisham Hospital and the Early Pregnancy Unit for their incredible care, kindness, and support. Support our NHS x