BIG TRIGGER WARNING.
I have previously explained this blog would talk about subjects such as miscarriage and loss but I just wanted to put out there I will be discussing in detail my experience.
I think it’s important to talk about that loss some more.
What I talked about in my last post was pretty hard, the thing is, it wasn’t the first time I’ve had to go through that experience before. How unfair is that? I guess the world just isn’t fair a lot of the time and we never know why the universe decides to throw unbearable things at us.
This is your story Jelly Bean
(i will always love you)
At 18 years old I fell unexpectedly pregnant with my boyfriend at the time. We had been together a few years and honestly I was shocked but not upset at all. I had all that teenage naivety going on and thought that somehow a little baby would make my life so much more complete. I’ve already explained how I’m naturally maternal and I really believed that everything was going to be okay. I wasn’t emotionally or mentally or even physically prepared to be a mother at 18 years old but my young deluded self believed anything was possible. My boyfriend was pretty excited too and with all the support in the world surrounding us, we started to prepare for a wee baby to join us.
I was truely a little school girl when it came to this pregnancy in 2014 at 18 years old (although I was out of high school). I obsessed about the growing size of the baby, the week by week developments and details. I checked out books from the library and read my midwife resources almost every day. From day dot I was attached to the tiny baby in my tummy and at the first scan I found out I was 9 weeks pregnant with a little jellybean. That was his name, Jelly Bean. Not incredibly original I must admit… but that little thing I saw on the ultrasound picture looked exactly like a sweet little bean to me and I wanted to give him an endearing name other than “it” as most mother’s-to-be do.
I remember so clearly the day it happened. I was up on holiday with my boyfriends mum and sister in Napier which is about 2 and a half hours away from where I was living. It was a beautiful day and we had decided to go to a water park called Splash Planet. I hadn’t been in years and it was so much fun to play around in the pools and do activities with these woman who after all these years I considered my family. The day was drawing to a close and in the changing room I got undressed from my swimsuit and saw it.
My heart stopped right there in my chest. I swear to you it did. I know I gasped and the moments seemed to slow down. If you’ve ever experienced a car crash, it’s that similar feeling; when time ticks by so slowly and you become hyper aware of everything around you. What I saw was big round chucks of slimy blood in my underwear. Some of these chucks were big and others small, but the fresh red color I’ll never forget. I knew exactly what was happening before I really knew what was happening. Fear absolutely consumed me and I began crying instantly. Hot tears welled up in my eyes and my instinct was to try clean myself up. Then I stopped, I had a moment of realisation that these chunks could be my baby jellybean. Something inside me told me to keep them, to protect them, so I tried wrapping up the blobs in tissue paper supplied by the Splash Planet women’s changing rooms.
Now that I think about it, I’m curious why no one asked me what was going on. Here was this half naked 18 year old hysterically crying with bloody tissues running around the bathroom. Not a sight you would usually see? Yet no body asked if I was okay or what was going on. I wish I had someone right there in that moment. Even a stranger would have been better than no one.
I realised that I couldn’t keep the tissues and I needed to go and see my Boyfriends mum straight away and ring the midwife. I had to flush the clots down the toilet and to do that was an incredibly hard process. It felt wrong to me and as an 18 year old with pregnant hormones I was at an absolute loss as to what to do.
The next few hours were a bit of a blur. I was told by my midwife that I was most likely having a miscarriage. I was told to put a pad in my underwear and if the bleeding got too much, to go to the nearest hospital. She set up an ultrasound for the Monday when I was due home and until then to rest up and take pain killers.
I just felt numb. I didn’t need an ultrasound to know what was happening. I was in so much emotional anguish that somehow my survival instincts kicked in. I felt like a robot. I walked around on auto-mode. I felt completely detached from everything, my body, my thoughts and the physical pain I was in. It seemed like my own subconscious knew that in order to survive the horror of what was going on I needed to remove myself. This meant that I didn’t really deal with the trauma at all and that really haunted me in the months and years to come.
The ultrasound confirmed what we knew, that I had a missed miscarriage in the first trimester, and had carried Jelly Bean in my tummy for about 3 weeks while he was no longer growing. I think this was the thing that really destroyed something inside of me. It was during those 3 weeks my boyfriend and I had decided to tell most people of our news. We planned and obsessed together. I had people congratulate me and all the while my Jelly Bean was dead inside me.
It was so wrong, so unfair and so incredibly painful.
It was like slowly dying. With every clot that left my body and ever drop of blood I bled I felt more and more empty.
Looking back I know that my hormones and my age had a lot to do with the intensity of the pain I was experiencing, in saying that, I still experienced that pain. It left a scar on my soul that can never heal over. There is nothing in my life that has come close to being as devastating as that.
Then somehow it got worse.
Because this miscarriage was missed and my body did not complete the process on its own, I had the have a type of procedure done at the hospital to removed what was left inside of me otherwise I was at risk of getting very sick. This procedure in New Zealand is called a D&C (dilation and curettage). During this procedure you are put under a general anesthetic and taken into theater. While your under, the cervix is dilated and the lining of the womb is scraped with a curettage. It’s as nasty and invasive as it sounds.
My boyfriend didn’t come to the surgery with me and I felt absolutely abandoned. I had lost Jelly Bean and he thought it was some kind of joke. He continued on with his life as if nothing had happened, going out with friends to parties while I was passing blood at home.
I had my mum and his mum with me and they were really supportive. I felt so scared and I really didn’t want to have it done. Some part of me wanted to hold on even though I knew Jelly Bean was not alive anymore. It was completely irrational but that how it was for me. I remember coming to consciousness after the surgery and feeling so empty. My first thought was, “my baby is gone” I was wailing and crying hysterically and moved to a private area to cry. And then days later the bleeding began again.
It turned out they didn’t complete the procedure correctly and they’d have to do it again. It was just trauma after trauma for me and I was becoming so battered down mentally I hardly had any will left in me to continue caring. It was an incredibly low point in my life. I saw no light at the end of the tunnel. The pain wasn’t passing
It was me swallowing thickly and blinking away tears in public or around the people who remind me of the baby and his absence. There was a hole in my chest causing my breath to become shaky rather than normal. I think a few people notice those breaths and could see I wasn’t the girl I used to be anymore, that the loss of him felt like it ripped away some fundamental piece of myself as if the essence of who I was had been scraped out along with him in that surgery. I felt like an empty shell and I just didn’t know how to fill myself back up again. Never having the chance to meet him or make him proud or love him in the flesh; it made everything in life so unsatisfying and void.
But there was. I somehow got through it. If you asked me how I honestly couldn’t tell you. I cried for what seemed like months. My eyes were swollen shut every day for a long time. My boyfriend dealt with the loss in his own way, smiling and distracting himself and although this enraged me at the time I know realise he just had to get through it that way.
I owe it to the family that lavished me in the most unconditional love. I don’t just mean my immediate family either, Mandy, my boyfriends mum was such a pivotal part of my healing and to this day I have her in my life continually supporting me, My Aunty who is my special, would ring me and check on me and brung me endless comfort. I had family members tell me their experience and though it didn’t make me feel any better, I felt less alone. My mum, my sister, they are angels sent down from above I swear to you, they looked after me and dealt with my pain as if it was their own. I cried with them and it meant everything to me.
I didn’t talk very much about it and I wish I had of. True healing has come only with time and all these years later I still think of my Jelly Bean and feel sad, I feel like I miss him, I have so many questions about who he could have become but somehow I just know that what happened, was what had to happen. I have found a real peace knowing he is in heaven, safe and comforted by all of the children who never touched the earth with their flesh but only their tiny beating hearts.
I know what grief does, how it strips you bare. It shows you all the things you don’t want to know. It is a sort of loss that seems to have no end. There isn’t a moment where you are done, when you can neatly put it away and move on. At least it hasn’t happened to me yet.
So let me be crystal clear: if you’ve faced a tragedy and someone tells you in any way, shape or form that your tragedy was “meant to be” that it “happened for a reason” that it will “make you a better person”, you have every right to remove them from your life! Until you come to that conclusion on your own, no one has a right to debase what you are going through.
So I’m going to repeat a few words I’ve uttered countless times. These words are so powerful and honest they tear at the ego of every ignorant person who participates in the debasing of grief:
Some things in life cannot be fixed. They can only be carried.
I got Jelly Beans Due date tattooed on my forearm on my 20th birthday and that really did something for me. I have a piece of him with me forever and it had brought me so much comfort. I’m glad I did that. I carry him with me every day and I love it.
To think that I went through this 4 years ago blows my mind.
You can heal,
You will never forget but you can heal.