Before I start, I’m setting the intent that I will do justice to this post. To remembering my Little Spark.
Edited to Add:- This is rather long. It’s rather emotional and has some a fair amount of tree hugging hippy stuff and frankly weird stuff in it towards the end. But it makes sense to me. The practical down to earth Virgo.
I didn’t have a plan as such for this year. The general plan was, to carry on with making candles (and hopefully selling some), maybe look at developing a new range. And to try and get through this year without too much of a meltdown with it being a “big birthday year”.
I’ve never been bothered by birthday milestones before now, so why this one was getting to me was a bit of a mystery.
My dearest OH spent the beginning month or two in the year sorting out some health issues he was dealing with, and slowly but surely the pressure eased a little and I started to think about my plans for the year. I started to make little changes to loose some weight and I signed up to an online introductory course to herbalism. Slowly things started to happen.
March 11th. Just another day, nothing special. We took our daughter out for a play session at a soft play centre. When we returned home, I realised I’d been to the loo nearly every hour during the day. A fond memory of tripping to the loo every 10 minutes whilst pregnant with N. Pregnant….? Surely not…
March 12th. No two ways about it. Pregnancy test confirmed a positive result. Oh Sh#t. 3+ weeks on the indicator means the Drs would say around 5 weeks.
Now, please don’t misunderstand me. The hesitancy in leaping around the room in ecstatic rapture was down to the logistics of the situation. How would we cope? Relationship, health, businesses… our eldest daughter? All the worries and fears surfaced as I stood and looked at the test result in my hand. Absolute shock and fear hit when I realised I’d have to tell OH we were pregnant.
It seems I hid my maternal instincts really well over the years. A best friend from years ago when we met up again said “I didn’t think you were doing babies?!” Other people who were also very close to me said similar things.
The true fact of the matter is that I desperately wanted children since the hormones hit in my mid to late teens. Practicality also hit in at that time though (thankfully) and I didn’t do as many seemed to be doing around me at the time, of getting pregnant straight after leaving school (or in order to be able to leave school).
Living out of fear, I was too scared of what my parents would say or do! I kept on at Sixth form and then college as “getting a career” was the most sensible thing to do. Health wise I ended up having radioactive iodine treatment for an overactive thyroid. I was told by the Doctors to keep away from people for the weekend following, as being around people could affect their chances of having children. In my head – if I had to keep away from people for the weekend so as not to affect their chances of having children surely I was then scuppered on that front?
The belief settled in my psyche like metal rods through concrete. Babies were off the menu for me. I put on the cloak of “I don’t like babies” to protect me. For a long while I couldn’t bear to be around young children. Until my niece and nephew arrived. In particular the nephew – at which point I seemed to be hit with a very large “BROODY” bat. After lots of internal conflict about this, and a few relationship hiccoughs, the broodiness passed.
Getting pregnant with N was a dream come true that I never really dared to let myself dream. Everything about it I loved. Being pregnant, preparing for baby arriving… even labour (yes you read that right) the most amazingly intense experience I could ever have imagined. Motherhood – getting to know this gorgeous little person, her likes, dislikes, our little conversations right from the start. Both OH and I had said that we wanted another child, mainly so N wasn’t an only child. Now it had happened and I wasn’t sure I was ready.
As it turned out, OH was surprisingly happy with the news (the clue was the massive grin that spread over his face as he, like I did, tried to think back to when we’d ‘done the deed’ over the past few months). I was in shock quite frankly, and whilst my head was getting used to the idea I asked if we could wait until having the first scan at around 12 weeks before we told anyone.
Looking back at this time from now, I think I knew somewhere along the line that things weren’t quite right. No matter what I did I couldn’t seem to connect with the fact there was a little spark of life inside. Remembering back to being pregnant with N and I put it down to the fact I’d feel better once the 12 week scan had happened and we could see visual proof on a screen of baby.
Certain things started to become really important to me. It all seemed to make sense at the time. I *needed* some help to get the garden done. It hadn’t been touched for 2 years since being pregnant with N. I thought I needed the garden knocking into shape so I could enjoy it with N through the summer, and then so that little spark would be able to enjoy it.
This happened, I found an old friend who had just set up a garden maintenance business and he was able to fit in a couple of days to re-tame the garden.
The booking in appointment happened with the Midwife and again, it all felt very surreal. The differences I was feeling I put down to the fact that no two pregnancies are the same. Somethings though, I think should always feel the same.
The scan was booked for the 28th April. It seemed an eternity away.
After a few days gardening (pottering, nothing major) and I started to bleed. Just a little. It didn’t ease off over the weekend. Monday 13th April (11 weeks) I phoned the midwife and they booked me for a scan at the EPU on the 15th.They said though if it got worse or I was still worried to go to A&E.
I went to A&E. After a day of hanging around and constant trips to the loo they sent me up to Ward 14. Gynae and Surgical Assessment. Me being me, this was the last place I wanted to be. I wanted to go home. No go. They kept me in overnight.
A very long evening passed, I spent ages crocheting a baby blanket for one of my piano students who was due to have her third baby any day. Tricky when you’ve got a line in your arm attached to a drip, but I managed.
A very good friend (Marie) who I had told what was happening was texting me through the evening. Being Monday, and Reiki Night, all of Nottingham Reiki sent healing to me. I’ve never been so grateful to receive Reiki. It knocked me out so I slept. I was awoken at 2ish for Obs and was told then I’d be going for a scan in the morning.
Waiting to go for the scan was torture. I couldn’t settle. I’d wasted time with a silly game over Facebook “Guess the movie from the picture”.
I then found I had an inkling to write – write what? There was the beginnings of a poem but surely not now? I’d not written anything in hmm… nearly 2.5 years (spotting a theme here..) and now I was getting the itch to write? I tried to pass it over and thought I’d write it later. Something stopped me though. I’d never be at this moment again. After the scan I’d know – one way or the other but I’d know. I’d never be in this uncertainty of unknowing again. I needed to write now.
I wrote. I still need to finish the poem, but once I’ve done it I will put it on here. Shortly after putting the pen down I was taken off to have the scan.
“I’m really sorry, but I think you already know don’t you? There is a baby there, but I’m really sorry Zoe, there’s no heartbeat. It looks as though the baby stopped developing at week 7”.
The world shattered around me as it shatters around me again now writing and reliving that moment. Never was anything clearer to me than it was then. My baby had died and I was never more ready to have a baby than I realised I was now. If that makes sense.
The chemical changes that had started to happen through my body had affected my thinking too. There’s a “Mum-gene” that appears in women once they have children to some degree or other. This particular element of “mum-gene” imparted its wisdom to my fears of how on earth would I cope with two children plus OH (and everything else…?)
“Of course you’ll cope. You just will.”
The same way you “just cope” after night after night of broken sleep, something deep down inside rises up and lends you strength to get through the day. You might not manage to get dressed, but as long as nappies are changed and baby and yourself is fed – that’s all that matters.
I phoned OH and all I could say in between tears was “Get here, Now”.
What did I do wrong? It was my fault, of course it was my fault. There must have been something I did wrong. Waiting for OH to arrive I went through each day since finding out, trying to find one thing that could have maybe possibly contributed to our baby dying.
The staff on Ward 14 were amazing. They were absolutely lovely to me as I was in bits waiting for OH to arrive. I tentatively voiced my fears of it being my fault.
“Listen to me Zoe, these things are no-one’s fault. Please, promise me you won’t ever think that.”
At the time I promised, but I promised because she asked me to, not because I wouldn’t. Of course I’d blame myself. Its what I do – the moment anything goes wrong – it’s automatically my fault. (Its an ongoing life lesson that is being slowly but progressively learned). As I tried to focus on breathing without crying I put everything into bags so I could go (hopefully) as soon as T arrived.
Just after he arrived a Nurse from Gynae arrived. To deal with the practicalities of the situation and the options that were open to me. I could decide what to do now, or go home and decide at home. Of the options that were open to me, only one made sense. To let things happen naturally. The other things (surgical and medical) seemed wrong, like a quick fix. No – if I couldn’t carry this baby to term, then I’d carry it as long as I could whilst it left.
I just wanted to be at home. Granny said she’d keep N for a little while and that she was fine. T drove me home and as soon as I arrived home, I headed for The Park – the bit of our garden that is just grass, nothing done to it except mowed and we spend hours upon hours skygazing from there.
As upset as I was, I knew I had to do this on my own. I’ve struggled in the past with the lessons of Letting Go. Letting go of situations, people, memories, things is not something I’ve really done. I’ve been so scared of forgetting some memory or other that I used to keep hold of as much as possible to remind me of those memories. Well this was one heck of a life lesson in letting go of something I wanted so much.
I woke up the following morning with lower backache. “This bloody mattress!” No matter which way I turned or lay, that ache would not go. Then I remembered we’d had a new mattress and that it was like being carried on a cloud. The backache wasn’t from the mattress. I got dressed and went downstairs. After making a drink I headed outside again. The early sun was just peeking over the fence and I realised that as I stood with it shining on my back it eased the backache.
I found myself swaying and moving like I had when I was in labour with N. And I realised what was happening. Another friend had told me that when she lost a baby at around the same time that I had (stopped at 7 weeks, miscarried at 11), that she went through a kind of mini labour. I’m so grateful for her telling me that as I was able to recognise what was happening and encourage it to keep happening by keeping moving.
I looked around the garden at that moment and realised why I had been so adamant about getting it “started” so quickly. It was so I could do this here. I mentioned earlier that some part of me knew this pregnancy wasn’t going to be textbook as the first had been. I looked at the last patch of dandelions outside the back door and stopped with a shock.
Before the bleeding started I’d been gardening – uprooting dandelions and using my tried and tested method for getting the whole root up. My “Make it So” post written back in August 2009 tells how I first discovered this technique. Basically, the soil is loosened around the dandelions enough for me to be able to grab the top of the root just below where it turns to leaf. Using energy, reiki, magic – call it what you will, I ‘feel’ down through past my feet into the ground, and through down past my hand, into the plant, through the plant and see in my minds eye the roots of the plant becoming loose in the soil. This time the word that came to mind as I was de-dandelioning was “Release”. So – loosen the soil, grasp the dandelion, ‘feel’ down into the earth and say “Release”. Feel with every part of my being to the very core of me. At some point during this once I’d remembered how to do it I found a sentence popped into my head. It seemed to make sense, so I repeated it.
Not here. Not now.
Either some part of me knew, or the energy that was with me in the paragraph below was preparing me for what was to come. Not here, Not now.
Wednesday the 15th April. In the morning sunshine, with blue skies and wispy clouds, stood next to the black bamboo gently moving and “Sssshhhing” in the breeze, the cherry tree in next doors garden kept showering me with cherry blossom petals through the whole morning. I wasn’t alone, I’ll be forever grateful to the energies with me on the morning of the 15th April. I’d not felt this energy before, definitely female, and older than the hills.
She stood with me.
I felt safe.
I let go.
Goodbye Little Spark.