I never thought I’d have children. That is to say, I never thought I wouldn’t have children either.
I just was never one of those clucky people. All my friends were having babies in their early 30’s. I liked holding their babies, visiting their babies, buying them toys and playing with them but that was it.
Biologically I think it happened when I got married, or shortly afterwards.
I was nearing my mid-30’s and suddenly decided I wanted to start a family and then bizarrely, could think of nothing else.
I became a bit obsessed about it, particularly the longer it took to conceive.
We tried and tried until finally we fell pregnant after seven months. It felt like FOREVER, but in medical terms, you don’t get any help with ‘infertility’ until you’ve been trying for a year. And for anyone who’s been trying for a baby, that IS forever.
Once I finally fell pregnant I was ecstatic. I told a few close friends, I bought “What to expect when you’re expecting”, downloaded a pregnancy app and started looking at babies, pregnant women and anything ‘baby’ completely differently.
I saw pregnant women in the street and I’d smile, like I had now become a member of the club.
I didn’t tell any family, but couldn’t wait to. I couldn’t wait to tell EVERYONE. I was having a baby! Me!
At eight weeks when I went for my first obstetrician appointment, she said I looked well and asked if I had any morning sickness. Nope – felt great!
“Hmmm,” she said, and asked if I had any other symptoms.
Nope – I felt amazing!
I didn’t think anything was strange when she didn’t react – I just thought I was one of the lucky ones. My husband was with me and we smiled together, like it was all so exciting to finally be here at the obstetrician’s office.
She put the ultrasound to my stomach. No sound. She moved it around. Still nothing. She cleaned it with her shirt, then put it back on my stomach, saying something about it being “funny” sometimes. Still nothing.
I looked at my husband with tears starting to well in my eyes. I knew. Right then, I knew.
There was no heartbeat, she told us.
She showed me the image on the screen and said it wasn’t moving. I looked at my husband again. He tried to smile at me, but his eyes were filled with tears.
How could this happen? Why? What had I done?!
She explained that the foetus hadn’t developed beyond seven weeks and that I had miscarried. No baby.
It was 10 o’clock in the morning on a Friday and everything seemed to stop. I was devastated. It was a very heartbreaking, weird, surreal experience and I felt like the only woman in the world who didn’t have a baby.
My obstetrician told us all the statistics about miscarriages in Australia. She told us how many women had them – 1 in 3 pregnancies apparently. But that didn’t matter to me. No-one I knew had a miscarriage… only ME.
For the first time in my life I thought, “What if I CAN’T have children?!”
It was scary. I felt terrified. This was completely new territory for me.
I was an organised, fit, educated, healthy woman that pretty much had had a great life up until that point.
I wanted to go to Uni – I got into Uni. I wanted to be a journalist – I became a journalist. I wanted to work in radio – I did. I wanted to travel and work overseas – I did. I wanted to buy a house in the inner suburbs – I did.
I did fun runs, I hardly drank, and I didn’t smoke, but all of a sudden I couldn’t have a baby. It turned my whole world upside down.
It occurred to me that I’d always taken it for granted that I could have children. But, what if I couldn’t?
For a time, I thought I might not ever be a mum. And that was terrifying.
After having a curettage a few days later – a horrible but necessary procedure that’s both physically and emotionally painful – I was devastated for a few weeks.
I cried a lot and I felt sorry for myself. I took some time off work and just felt really, really sad.
I called the few friends who I’d told about my pregnancy, and was surprised to learn that two of them had also miscarried. Why hadn’t they told me? Why was this the first I was hearing about it?
It made my experience a little more bearable to be able to talk about it with someone who understood. After that I decided that I was not going to hide our miscarriage from anyone. I wasn’t going to keep it to myself. It’s personal and painful and sad but it’s not uncommon. In fact, it’s much, much more common that I realised.
After a few months off from trying to conceive, a sunny beach holiday and a new job I felt more optimistic again, and after five long months I fell pregnant again. I was so excited but also scared.
After I did a pee-on-a-stick pregnant test four times (I had to be sure) we didn’t tell anyone that we were pregnant again.
It was so different this time around. I wanted to be excited but I just wouldn’t let myself be – not until that first scan.
We had an early eight week scan at my obstetrician’s office which was the longest day of my life. I woke at 5am and couldn’t sit still until my 2pm appointment.
We went through the paces again. It was 11 months after I was last there. The same room, same doctor, and same bed, but this time – thank goodness – the news was different.
There was a heartbeat!
It was loud and clear, and there was our moving baby on the ultrasound screen. Amazing! A baby. A life inside of me.
It was the happiest, most amazing moment of my life and I still get goosebumps thinking about it.
Two days after that scan I began to get morning sickness and felt nauseous every afternoon until I went to bed. But I didn’t care. I knew that this was a good sign – that our baby was developing well.
After another scan at 12 weeks that showed everything was going great, we felt confident to share the news with our friends and family. We honestly felt like the first couple to ever be pregnant. We were SO happy!
Nothing could wipe the smile off my face for months.
I was a perfect pregnancy patient. I didn’t touch alcohol. Stayed well clear of sushi, spa baths, hot showers, deli meats and pate, ensured I got plenty of Vitamin D, only did low impact exercise and ate as organically as I could. I wasn’t going to do anything to risk my pregnancy.
Two weeks before my 38th birthday I gave birth to my first baby. A beautiful daughter named, Ava Jane. She was an absolute miracle and we felt completely blessed.
I’ve since had two more daughters, and yes, I had another miscarriage.
I never complained during any of my pregnancies. I relished every moment of being pregnant with all three of my girls.
I had very quick, drug-free births with each of them and embraced every cramp, stabbing pain and contraction – as much as it hurt!
I feel in some way that I am more grateful than many people I know who didn’t have any fertility issues. They are lucky – they’ve never had to experience the pain or devastation of losing a baby before they’ve even met them.
It’s horrendous to go through – particularly that first miscarriage. Because I didn’t have any children, I wasn’t sure I could. But for me, I know that it has made me a more appreciative, thankful and grateful woman and mother.
I have three healthy, happy and beautiful girls and I know how lucky and blessed I am. I try never to take that for granted. I am a much happier, more complete person being a mother, and can’t imagine life any other way. Every bit of the journey was, and is, absolutely worth it.
Now I just have to work on my husband for another…