Today is my due date.
To celebrate, I’m going to work, just like any other day. I’m working on a new client and I can’t afford to miss it. This afternoon, when I’m supposed to be wondering if that was a contraction or something else, I’ll be delivering a client workshop. I’ll be trying to instil a level of confidence, demonstrate quality and innovative thought. In the back of my mind, I’ll be thinking of him.
My baby died months ago, before he or she ever got to be a baby. In the absence of getting that far, I thought of my baby as a boy. He was a little blob (with a heartbeat), and then he wasn’t. The odds weren’t good, after 15 years of never getting pregnant naturally, after years of operations and investigations, after a long wait on the NHS waiting lists, after finally agreeing funding, our first IVF cycle – BAM! – pregnant!
That’s how it’s supposed to work. All the IVF success stories, the parents who showed infertility who’s boss. We were supposed to be those people. And then we weren’t.
A gradual narrowing down of odds.
Slow responder… 12 eggs retrieved.
Of those 12… 6 fertilised.
Of those 6… 3 were still going on Day 3.
Of those 3… 1 was good enough to transfer.
No frosties. 1 day 5 embryo transfer.
At 2 weeks… A positive test! My first in 30-something years.
At 6 weeks… A heartbeat! A blob with a flicker.
At 7 weeks (a second scan “just to see more clearly”)… My flickering blob wasn’t growing.
At 8 weeks… He stopped flickering.
At 9 weeks… Scan at EGU (Emergency Gynaecology Unit, sensitively located next to Neonatals) showed baby had died.
At 10 weeks… Baby pre-empted the planned EPRC and miscarried “naturally”.
At 11 weeks…
I deleted all the pregnancy apps. Cancelled appointments. Stowed the positive pregnancy tests in my underwear drawer, where they still reside. (I can’t bring myself to throw out the only proof that I once was pregnant.) I put the baby book I’d bought in my desk drawer. (I never filled it in – I never felt confident enough.) Put the stretchy “might fit me as I grow” clothes back in the wardrobe. Went into hibernation.
I deleted all the pregnancy related dates from my calendar. I didn’t want to be reminded when week 20 would have been. There’s no trace of what once was, and yet even so, the due date lived on in my mind. A suckerpunch last weekend – a christening; baby celebrations. I persist.
I’m quite proud of my shrinking waist. I’ve lost 2.6kg since the beginning of my diet (Jan 4 – everyone knows diets start on Mondays). I’m getting there, and I’m slowly coming back to being me. I put on a bunch of weight through IVF and comfort eating and it made me feel terrible about myself. My reasoning was “if I’m not going to have a baby, I might as well enjoy myself”. The b**** at work (who’s fatly pregnant with her second, of course – life’s fair like that) asked me if I was pregnant back in summer. I wasn’t pregnant – I’d miscarried weeks before. I’m a size 10. It’s fatter than I want to be, but it’s smaller than average. (I’m a small person.) I wanted to punch her in the face. I still do.
T is there for me, and so is Dog. But neither of them really understand. To T, the baby was an abstract thought. He’s sad for both of us, but that sadness was back in summer when he never got to tell his parents they’d be grandparents. (I had told mine due to their requirement for all people in their presence to drink wine. Retraction of pregnancy announcements suck.) Dog of course is a massive comfort but I think he’s more bothered about where the next food is coming from than empathising with me about loss. (We’re the same, all three of us – taken from our first mothers at birth and raised in another family.)
And me… I came back to life following the miscarriage. I’m still my old self, the funny one, the weird one, but something inside me cracked and if I allow myself to think about it (not often; I drown out the noise with laughter and fun and distracting work and Disney), I know there is a wellspring of tears. I don’t want to start crying because I might never stop. Nobody wants a hysterical snotbag telling them how to improve their organisation. I’ll go and I’ll talk and I’ll sit there in my work clothes and try not to think about my other life that peeled away from this one back in July. The life where I only have a short time before meeting my baby and everything changes forever.
In this life, everything changed and yet everything’s still the same.
I never thought that this week would be so hard.