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A Fathers Story
Miscarriage in general
Member Name: WormThatTurned
Miscarriage in general
Early June and she had her period which was a bit of a disappointment but it didn't deter us. We didn't think it would happen straight away because the pill can take months to wear off if you've been on it a long time which she had been. Into July and we kept up to our work unabashed. Mid July and still no sign and she was overdue, we didn't want to get our hopes up so she didn't take a pregnancy test. On the 19th July she went to London with my Mother and two sisters for my Mothers 50th birthday to see a show at the Theatre. By now she was well overdue and I have to admit I was getting pretty excited that she was pregnant. They arrived back home from the Theatre and were full of tales about their antics.
The very next day, a Friday night in fact, we were watching Big Brother and having a pizza when she went to the toilet and when she came back she said she had bled and that she had abdominal pains. I didn't know what It could be so I got the medical dictionary out which didn't really help as her symptoms could have been linked to any number of things.
Over the weekend no more blood but she said she had stomach cramps so Monday morning she rang in sick for work, rang the doctors and got an appointment. I arrived back home from work whilst she was at her appointment. When I heard the door go, I went to meet her to find out her news, if any. I was hoping she was going to say she was pregnant but she didn't. She said to me the Doctor had told her "that it could have been a miscarriage but we need to do a urine test to find out if you have an infection". I said that we should wait for the results to see before jumping to conclusions.
In reality the Doctor had told her, which I have since found out "It is evident that recently you have had a miscarriage, we need to do a test for an infection".
So she didn't tell me. Later that week, she went back to the Doctors and got a prescription for the infection. She told me she had a urine infection and had been signed off work for two weeks. When she told me that I felt relief that it wasn't a miscarriage. In my naivety I assumed to myself that the blood was her period.
I've thought long and hard trying to recall things that happened in the next two weeks but I can only remember snippets. I remember coming home from work and finding her on the settee under the duvet. I remember speaking to my mother on the phone and telling her how ill my girlfriend was and that she was off work for two weeks. I remember buying two CD's that week 'Muse - Black Holes and Revelations' and 'Razorlight - Razorlight' and I remember her playing a Muse track 'Starlight' over and over again. I checked out the lyrics recently "our hopes and expectations, black holes and revelations, hold you in my arms, I just wanted to hold you in my arms". I remember playing with our kitten Kev and him dashing about the room chasing a fish on a stick. I remember telling her how I hoped she would get better soon so we continue our baby making efforts. I remember going for an Indian meal one night, her being quiet and not eating much and me talking about babies. I remember her going on the internet a lot and being round her friends a lot in the evening. And I remember trying to kiss and cuddle her in bed and getting the frosty shoulder.
But basically she was grieving alone. She hadn't told me, nor her family, nor her best friend Jodie who she normally told everything. And by doing so she was shielding me from the grief and having to deal with it on her own. I was completely oblivious. Leading my life like I normally did. Thinking that my girlfriend was recovering from a urine infection. Her friend Jodie has since told me that every day she would go round her house and burst into tears and she didn't know why.
I'm writing this now and it gives me incredible feelings of guilt. It seems so obvious now that she had suffered a miscarriage, all the signs were there. But at that time in 2006 I was naive about babies and embryos and miscarriages and symptoms. I had no previous children and no previous experience of trying for a baby so I relied on my girlfriend heavily. But it doesn't stop the feelings of guilt. When she needed me most, I was nowhere to be seen and I will never forgive myself for that.
If she had told me I don't know what I would have done to be honest. There was nothing I could have done or said to make her feel better. To reverse the situation. But I could have been there for her. I could have held her. I could have listened to her. I could have cried with her. I could have tried to understand with her and I could have shared the grief with her. If isn't a good word.
She was devastated. Not only had she lost a baby and it was a baby - It doesn't matter if the embryo is a few weeks ago or months old, it's still a life. She had also lost her hopes and dreams. Her plans for the future were wiped out. And she had to deal with all this alone. If an expert was advising the father on how NOT to act he could have pointed at me. In my ignorant bliss, enjoying the baking hot July sun, singing Razorlights America at the top of my voice I don't think I could have been any less tactless if I'd tried.
I wasn't to remain unaware forever though. Two weeks after the miscarriage one Sunday morning she told me she was unhappy and was going away for a few days to stay with her Nan in Bath and to visit her friend in London. I was dumbfounded. Two weeks earlier we were blissfully happy and actively trying for a baby, four weeks earlier we had a brilliant holiday in Blackpool. I thought we were happier than we ever had been. I didn't know what had happened. Still miscarriage never crossed my mind not once. I asked her several times, something has happened, what has happened ? She still didn't tell me the truth.
Monday she went to Bath. When I returned home I found a note detailing the things that she was unhappy with, mainly it seemed she was unhappy with the area we lived in and my lack of commitment. It seemed to me she had scrutinised our relationship and drawn a line through it. But I knew something had happened. I knew a loving relationship couldn't just fall apart in two weeks. I racked my mind trying to think what it could be. I spoke to Jodie for ages on the phone trying to get an inkling because she told her everything but she didn't give me any answers. She just said she wasn't the same girl she knew and loved and had changed over the last two weeks and that she was crying all the time. I rang my Sister who is the best listener I know and I distinctly remember her asking me "Could she be pregnant ?" to which I replied no because she's just had her period and has had a urine infection.
She came back home on the Friday and for a day or two things were good. I had that week off work and I assured her I was committed to her 100%. We went upto Yorkshire to spend a day at the races with my Sister for her birthday and we spent a weekend away in Manchester. But as time went on, the more plain it seemed to me, things weren't right. It wasn't about commitment. Now it was me scrutinising the relationship. I loved her more than anything but I wasn't feeling loved back and I wasn't going to accept anything less. Nothing I seemed to do would please her. She would have a a go at me over the smallest things. And she offered very little in the way of love. I didn't think I could ever make her happy again. Our relationship was very stressed and we argued and that's something we'd never done. We were crumbling and there was nothing I could do to stop it. I now know that she had already decided to split for a second time before we actually did. She was looking for flats and jobs and had bought her train tickets. And then one afternoon I was in the garden and she asked me if I thought me buying an engagement ring for her was the right thing to do. I asked her if she still loved me and she said I don't know and I said we should part.
I didn't want to. I was still deeply in love with her, it was the last thing I wanted to happen but I wanted her to love me too. When she left the next afternoon it devastated me. But when we parted she said she had a feeling she would be back soon and I found solace in that but it didn't take away the hurt.
Over the next 24 hours she texted me a lot. I was missing her so much and I got the impression she was missing me too. And then I got a text message "Jason, I've made a huge mistake, please can you come and get me, I want to be your wife and mother to your baby and I love you so much". Talk about ups and downs. I was elated but I needed to know her heart was in it.
The next day I collected her and I could tell straight away her heart was in it. By the way she looked at me and spoke to me, she was the same girl I knew and loved and it was the best feeling. Later that night we went for an Indian and were talking openly about everything when suddenly she said casually "after the miscarriage..." she stopped mid sentence once she saw the look on my face. That word hit me stone dead. Suddenly a million and one thoughts were going through my head. My initial feelings were for her. I tried to be sympathetic and as loving as I could. I would have done anything to take away her pain but I couldn't.
Over the next few weeks I couldn't stop thinking about what had happened, the miscarriage, the break ups. I was always looking for answers, trying to remember what happened at certain times. Looking for explanations. But I was acutely aware that I was hurting my girlfriend my dragging up the feelings she was just getting over. My family found out about the miscarriage and naturally they asked after my girlfriend, asked how she was, felt for her because she hadn't told anybody.
So I was alone in my thoughts. I thought more and more about how I felt myself and how it was affecting me, the knowledge I had been a father to a baby and that it had died. I didn't know why it had happened and how. I felt confused and angry and hopelessly disappointed at what might of been. I kept asking myself why, questioning myself, feeling a failure and all the time very tearful. Because I desperately wanted to be a dad and I had been for a while. I cared about nothing except my partner and the feelings of guilt were incredibly strong because I knew however hard it was for me it was worse for her because she was the one that actually carried the baby and was the one that miscarried. She had the bond that I didn't. Thats not to say fathers don't grieve because they do.
As time went on I thought about it less. Thesedays I might go for days without thinking about it at all but then other times like now whilst I'm writing this I do and the pain returns and it hurts like hell. It never totally goes away, I don't think it ever will. I
Two years after the miscarriage almost to the day we have a baby boy - Caleb. He is just over a year old. He makes me feel blessed and so very lucky to be a father. And I love him so much I couldn't contemplate life without him now. He was the one really who helped me more than anything to turn the corner after finding out about the miscarriage. But I still wonder sometimes about what if, if his older brother/ sister had lived. I told you if is a bad word.
My advice more than anything is to not deal with it in silence. I know the pain and grief can almost push you away from each other, make you feel distant, you may be scared about what it's doing to your relationship but you must talk and you must share the grief for your sakes. Everyone deals with things differently but if you share the grief, you share the burden. Tragic things happen, People will struggle to talk about it, people will be embarressed and say things you find tactless like "it's just natures way" "times a healer" "at least it was early" etc. They are just trying to lighten your load. Don't take things personally.
I give this advice yet I followed none of it myself but having gone through it subsequently I feel my advice is sound. We didn't go to counselling but that could well help a lot of people because there may be others there who are in the same situation and you may find you can talk openly to someone and that is a good thing.
Summary: Fathers tale