BY MECHELLE MOORE | WRITER
I have lost 8 babies. At 20 years old, my first, destroyed me for such a long time. I died inside that day. I stopped living and started existing. I no longer felt unique or special or loved. I felt abandoned, by God and by my husband (yes I married young and we are no longer together).
I was newly married. I went to the emergency room one morning after work. I had started bleeding. After a long time and some tests, I was told “no heart beat”. Those 3 words together I still to this day hate with every fibre of my being. It was a long weekend in Canberra, so I was sent home with my dead baby inside me and was told nothing could be done without an official ultrasound, so I would have to wait 3 days. We finally found a private hospital that would do a scan and although I knew the truth I was still hopeful. Again I heard those 3 words “no heart beat”. We now had the scan and the hospital begrudgingly agreed, so I was scheduled for surgery the next day.
That night my body went through labor. The worst pain I have ever endured, but my body wouldn’t release my dead baby. I went to the hospital early (around 0500h) due to the pain, but they would not give me med’s because it was a pregnancy. I was put on the maternity ward YES THE MATERNITY WARD!!! and for hours and hours before my surgery I listened, as other women screamed and yelled during labour in their birthing suits. I listened to new born babies crying as they took their first breath. I listened to women complain that they had to breast feed their babies because they were tired or didn’t want to. I tried to shut out all that and focus on my breathing, on just taking the next breath. I was in a room with another woman, so I asked her how she was. Turns our she was there to have an abortion as she didn’t want to be pregnant …. and that is the very moment I stopped being friendly. I was trapped in hell.
After surgery I remember waking up and for hrs all I could do was breath and cry. I had no clue what was happening around me and I couldn’t stop. My body took over and I sobbed for what felt like forever. I couldn’t look at my step-daughter at the hospital. For months after I would hold her and tears would start streaming down my face. How do you explain that to a 3 year old? I tried to move on, but i didn’t know how.
I wrote a letter explaining my experience to the hospital. My father pushed it through and some policies were changed. Now at the Canberra Hospital women who need surgery for miscarriages are put on a general ward and no longer on the maternity ward. They are also not placed in rooms with women who want abortions. A small win, but hopefully that has eased the experience for some women since those changes were made in 2002. I shuttered to think how many women have endured that scenario.
People have said many things to me since my first and most with good intentions. With things like miscarriage and death it is hard to know what to say or to know if you are saying the right thing. My dad, my twin and my little bro understood I didn’t need words I needed silence and safety. They said nothing and hugged me. My mum held me and cried with me. I was told, “it’s not your fault”, but it happened in my body. I was told, “don’t worry! you’re young, there is plenty of time to have children”. I was told, “you need to move past this, life will not stop for you”. I was told, “well I’ve had a miscarriage too, so you’re not the only one”. I was told, “if you loose weight and take having children seriously, then this wouldn’t happen every time”. I was told, “well it’s not me, I have a daughter, so that only leaves you”. My absolute favourite was being told, “don’t worry this is all part of God’s plan for your life”. Seriously, what the fuck??? That part really fucked me up and was the ‘nail in the coffin’ for my faith for such a long time.
I was wounded, angry and alone. Most days I felt like I was in the middle of a large crowd, screaming at the top of my lungs and no one could hear me. Then around number 4 or 5 I went numb. I no longer felt the stinging pang of gut wrenching pain when I realised there was another loss …. I simply wept and died a little more inside.
Days, weeks and years passed … with time comes healing. The loss is not forgotten, but the wounds slowly heal. Now I am left with scars, on my body and inside my soul. They remind me I am human and that I am resilient. At 35, I am not one of the lucky ones. I don’t have my own children or even a partner to share them with. I don’t wake up every morning and have my other children to hold. I am ok with that, but that is certainly not where I thought my life would end up.
I wanted to share part of my story with you to bring awareness to these issues. So many women endure pain, loss, grief and stay silent because of the stima attached to death/miscarriage. We need to encourage each other and stand together in support as mothers, as women, as human beings!