Tuesday, 5 January 2010

How much is too much loss?

Over the last few days I have heard very sad news from a few people, other ladies that have been though a stillbirth who have now had further tragedy. My heart is aching for them, I am feeling their sorrow very keenly. I can't get my head around this imbalance of shit that is being heaped upon the nicest of people, who have the simplest of dreams.
It has made me think about my own previous losses, and I am wondering how much loss can you put yourself through for this dream, before you are broken and enough is enough?

Two years ago we decided to start a family. A month and one day later we were both staring at two pink lines in disbelief. Shock. We never expected it to happen so quickly. We were shell shocked for about a week. Then one day that wore off and was replaced with so much excitement! We were going to be parents! We hugged and kissed and cooed and planned.

The next morning I woke up to period pain and heavy bleeding.

And that was the end of that.

We were very sad, but we were young, had time on our side. We hadn't expected it to happen so quickly, we rationalised it was not meant to be our time yet, we would keep trying.

A month later we were looking at two pink lines again. We were cautiously excited. At 6 weeks I started bleeding heavily. I was distraught.
We were scanned and to our amazement on screen was a little flickering heartbeat. So we were sent home on bed rest and the bleeding stopped. And then at 7 weeks it started again, heavier this time.
So off we trot to the early pregnancy unit, this time expecting the very, very worst. And there was our baby, heartbeat flickering. A fighter. A trouper. Little spud. And we are sent home again, and the bleeding stops. And it doesn't come back. And my family, friends, husband, all breathe a sigh of relief.

Then, when I am nearly 10 weeks I have to go back for a follow up and dating scan. We walk into the scan room full of happiness, relief that there has been no more bleeding, excited to see our spud again.

Except this time, there is no flickering heartbeat.

I thought my world fell apart then but now, after Lucy, I think maybe it just cracked wide open. I am sent home to let me miscarry naturally. Except my stupid body doesn't know the baby is gone and I continue with the morning sickness and pregnancy signs. So a week and a half later I go in for an ERPC.

Then follows the months and months of trying and hoping, but we can't seem to catch that egg anymore. And each month we don't I lose hope. And then, on 2nd February 2009 when I am 3 days late I find myself looking at those two pink lines again.
And this time I still bleed in the early weeks but all the scans are fine. 6, 8, 12, 21, 28, 34 weeks, all show my little girl waving and swallowing and kicking and sticking her tongue out. Until that fateful day 23rd September 2009.

And so, like so many others, I find myself here again with thermometers and test strips and jars of urine loitering about my bathroom (a few house guests have had an unfortunate surprise). And every month is torture. But that is only half the battle. If I ever find myself staring down at those two pink lines again I am only just starting a whole new journey.

And one that no one can guarantee me a happy ending with. I am sick of people telling me that it will be OK next time. That sort of comment could only ever come from people who have managed to avoid a life changing event. They still have that cheerful 'won't happen to me guv' attitude. But I know it can happen to me. It has happened three times, and I am not alone in this. So don't patronise me and tell me it will be OK.

So no happy ending guaranteed, right? So back to my original question - how much is too much? When do you stop? When do I give up on my dream? What if I lose another baby? Do I give up then? Or do I try again, and maybe lose another? How much more can my broken heart take? How much more can I put John and my family through? At the moment, my desire for a baby is too strong to give up. I am almost stubborn in my demeanour - I will NOT let that absolute BITCH Mother Nature beat me. I will keep going until I get a baby in my arms to keep. But I am feeling the pain of these other womens losses so strongly, I am questioning if I can do it. I have suggested to John about adoption, but he didn't see why we would need it as "It'll happen, we'll get our baby". I wish I had his optimism. And his resolve.

I have to try one more time at least, but there's not much glue holding this heart together anymore.

I have lit a candle tonight for some very special angel babies that have gone to join their brothers and sisters. I am thinking of their Mummies, Daddies and families.

I put this on my Facebook too, I think it is beautiful:

"A butterfly lights beside us, like a sunbeam. For a brief moment it's glory and beauty belong to our world. Then it flies on again, and although we wish it could have stayed we are so thankful to have seen it at all"


  1. Lifting up your friends to the Lord. Nothing is more unfair than recurring pregnancy loss. In a world where women can have such a blessing as an "unwanted" pregnancy, and can actually rid their bodies of such a gift, it just seems so unfair. May we all feel the comfort of being cradled in God's Hands while we cry our hearts out.

  2. Oh Amy. I am so very sorry for all that you and John have been through.
    I find it very difficult when people tell me that it is bound to happen 'normally' next time.
    Glad I'm not the only one with jars of urine lurking around their bathroom! xo

  3. I think that it's very individual to decide when enough is enough. I said enough after being pregnant eight times with nine babies, having my first daughter born by emergency c-section when I abrupted and then holding my third born, my son as he died in my arms at six days old. I can't do it anymore. Yes, I would love more children but they don't come with a guarantee and I simply cannot survive another loss.

  4. Amy, your right we will never "know" if it will be ok next time ... at the moment I am just hoping for a "next time" ....... feeling for you and everyone else. When i hear of someone else's pain it's breaks another little bit of my resolve... :( - i don't have an answer on the how much is too much . I am so early into this horrid journey called "grief" ... like Margaret said I think that is a very personal decision and you will know if you get to that point hun. thinking of you xxxxxxx

  5. You never know if the next time you will have your baby or not. Each person must decide for themselves how much they can take.

  6. This is a beautiful post. Thank you for sharing your story and I am glad I found your blog.