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Between then and now (Part 1)

Mental Health and Trauma Blog | Noisy

TW: Domestic Abuse / Miscarriage A lot has happened since my last blog post over a year ago. One of the biggest changes in my life was losing my unborn baby. This is the story of how I lost Mal. I didn't plan on getting pregnant, as we all know it takes just one time. I'm happy to hold my hands up and say I wasn't careful enough and as a result I found myself pregnant. I remember the day I went to the local supermarket to get a test, as if it was only yesterday. I wasn't late on my period, I wasn't experiencing any noticeable difference in my day to day life or how I felt in myself. But I had a gut feeling that was telling me to do a test. A feeling that I couldn't shake off, as if it was screaming at me. I gave into it and bought one, with every confidence it would be a negative result. Looking back, that was more than likely wishful thinking. That evening I did a test, still expecting it to be negative. But there was some doubt, as soon as I placed the test on the sink my heart starting beating so hard it felt like it was going to burst out my chest. I walked downstairs and poured myself a double gin, added a few ice cubes into the glass and took it back upstairs. Although the doubt was still lingering, the confidence of a negative test was drowning it out. Pregnancy tests usually take three to five minutes to show an accurate result. It would have been no longer than two when I grabbed hold of the test and saw the undeniable positive line. As I looked at the test I was taking a sip of the gin I'd just poured. I stared at the test for a few seconds then spat my drink back into the glass. "Fuck!" It felt like an eternity but I must have only been staring at the positive test for a few minutes before I threw it on the floor and grabbed another out the box. This time I kept the test in my hand and watched as another positive line appeared. There went my theory that it was just a dodgy result. I video called my mum, not something I would usually do. She answered straight away with a smile on her face. "Mum, I'm pregnant." Looking back, I should have probably eased her into that news, but I am known for being straight to the point. She took a few seconds to take it in and asked what I was going to do. She wasn't disappointed or angry, just shocked. I told her I wanted to keep the baby, even though it wasn't a planned pregnancy, and I was in no way mentally prepared to bring a baby into the world. She asked how I was and if I needed anything. I reassured her I was okay and we agreed to talk about it later that evening. As overwhelming and terrifying as it was being pregnant, it was undeniably exciting. Granted, carrying another living being is strange. You find yourself going about your day to day business and there's a tiny human just chilling in there. I had a brilliant midwife who was extremely supportive and reassuring throughout my pregnancy. I always bombarded her with questions and not only did she have an answer to all of them, but she made me feel safe and more confident within myself. My mum was my rock, she explained everything from the different sizes of nappies, to sterilising and making up bottles. The first trip down the baby isle was certainly intimidating, but I took it in my stride and she was with me every step of the way. Everything was going really well, we were happy, healthy, and I was adjusting to being pregnant as if it was a walk in the park. Although the morning sickness was horrendous and I felt unwell most days, I wouldn't have changed it for anything. I had an unbreakable bond with my baby. I hadn't met them yet, I didn't know what they looked like, but that connection was like nothing I'd ever experienced. This story should have had such a different ending. The day before my birthday I had a scan booked in at the local hospital. I was so excited to hear that little heart beat. My mum accompanied me, and it wasn't long before we were called into one of the rooms. I skipped down the corridor and could hear my mum laughing to herself. The midwife didn't need to ask me to get on the bed, I hopped straight on. She told me to pull my trousers as low as I could and to put some of the paper she handed me along my waist band. She warned me that the gel she was about to put on my stomach would be cold (she was right, it was very cold). I looked up at the ceiling tiles with a huge smile on my face while I waited to hear the heartbeat. The room was silent. I was trying to breathe normally but found myself holding my breath a little with anticipation. There was nothing. "Give me a moment please." I looked at my mum for reassurance and she looked back at me with a comforting smile.

My own heartbeat drowned out any surrounding noise as I stared back at the tiles above me. It was deafening. A few more seconds had passed and nobody had said anything so I looked at the midwife. She had a concerned expression on her face. She then turned the screen away from me. "No, please no." My whole body began to shake as adrenaline took control of me. I looked to my mum and I could see her fighting back tears but still trying to give me the same comforting smile. "I'm so sorry, there's no heartbeat." I doubt I can articulate what it was like in that very moment. A high pitched noise started ringing in my ears. My mum and the midwife were talking but I couldn't hear anything, surrounding sounds were muffled. Every single hair on my body stood up, my heart was pounding out of my chest and it felt like there was no air in the room. My legs starting shaking, my eyes began to fill with tears as I stared back at the tiles on the ceiling. The midwife placed one of her hands on my right leg in an attempt to stop it shaking, and in that moment I snapped back into reality. I screamed. Like I never had before. I let out the most painful scream. My mum rushed over to me from her seat and grabbed my hand as the midwife kept her hand on my leg. The only time I stopped screaming was to gasp for air. I kept asking why and pleaded with her to check again. I couldn't compose myself as my body shook uncontrollably. Tears poured from my eyes and I begged my mum to help me. I knew the midwife wasn't mistaken. I knew there wasn't a heartbeat. I knew because my ex assaulted me. I knew because he pinned me down on the bed and strangled me. I knew because he had the tightest grip around my neck as he looked into my eyes while I struggled to breathe. I knew because when he finally let go, he beat me so hard I thought he was going to kill me. I knew there wasn't a heartbeat. He assaulted me and I lost my unborn baby. I knew when I was skipping down the hallway there wouldn't be a heartbeat. Or in the car journey on the way to the hospital. I knew when I leapt onto the bed there would be no heartbeat. Denial can be a comfortable blanket to wrap around yourself.

That night was playing over and over in my head while my mum spoke to the midwife, they both asked me questions but I couldn't speak. All I could do was watch that traumatic memory play over and over in my head. The midwife left the room and told me when I was ready to go into the private room next door and she would come and talk me. I wiped the gel off my stomach and sat on the edge of the bed. My mum was asking if I was okay but I remained silent. I pulled on my boots and walked into the private room, she followed. We both sat down and I stared at a chair directly opposite. No matter what my mum said I didn't answer. I felt numb. Not angry, or sad, just numb. "He killed my baby." That's what I said as I looked my mum in the eyes with an emotionless stare. She couldn't speak. What could she say in that moment anyway? We sat in silence until the midwife knocked on the door and entered the room. I didn't look at her, or my mum, once. I continued to stare at the chair opposite me. I don't remember a lot of what was said. She mainly spoke to my mum since I was so unresponsive. I just wanted to leave the room. "Do you have any questions?" I snapped back into reality again. I continued to stare forward as I answered her question with a blunt no. The midwife handed me paper work but I didn't acknowledge her. Instead, I put my hand out, grabbed the paperwork, and walked out the room. Not a single word was spoken as my mum drove me to my house. When we pulled up outside she made a desperate attempt to engage in conversation with me, but before she could I grabbed my keys and left the car. I didn't look back. Reading this you may think it came across as quite a harsh response, but there's no right or wrong way to deal with a situation like that. I wasn't angry at her, although it may have come across that way. I wanted to be left alone. That night I didn't cry, I felt too numb. Instead I chose to go for a walk with Alfie. We walked for hours. We weren't going anywhere in particular, we walked the streets until I felt it was enough. When we got home he was tired, we both were. We collapsed on the sofa and I watched films all night while he slept on my lap. I barely slept more than a few hours that night. I had so much running through my head. I had no idea how bad things were about to get.


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