PART 2 – THE FATHER’S PERSPECTIVE
Two years ago I shared my personal experience of early miscarriage. You can read the original post here. I also wanted to share how this had affected my husband and, to mark Baby Loss Awareness Week 2021, he has shared how this impacted him. Here is his story:
Early miscarriage wasn’t really something that we’d even considered. Clearly these things must happen, but I’d never heard of anyone having one and it can’t be common surely? People would talk about it otherwise. Well, people don’t talk about it, just like with a lot of upsetting events; and it turns out to be more common than either of us had thought.
The excitement of the positive pregnancy test was one of those life affirming moments, this is real now; lots of unknowns, things to plan, people to tell. Sure enough we told family, friends, a handful of people at work. All very exciting.
Work was busy and going well; heading out to New York for a week soon and we’d be there together later that week so could celebrate where we’d had part of our honeymoon. We’d planned lots of things, including where we might move house to, names, what they might be like – your mind tends to go into overdrive – we’re going to be a family, there’s so much to think about and get sorted.
A nice sunny day together at Polesden Lacy the day before heading off to New York was a perfect break before the busy week coming up. The next day I headed off to Heathrow and we said goodbye; happy that we’d be together again a few days later.
I had some time to wander about in New York, Monday was a US holiday and I spent the day adjusting to the time difference, getting some work done for the next day in the office and having a walk in Central Park. We chatted on the phone and I remember Ro saying something didn’t feel quite right but sure it was fine.
Into the office the next day, I told my boss about the pregnancy and he was ecstatic, really pleased for us, nothing would be too much trouble, take time off for appointments, make sure you’re there, all the sorts of things that you want to hear and that make it all that more real. I mentioned that Ro was a bit worried about something not feeling right and he simply said, “If you need to go, just go, call me afterwards.”
A busy day followed, along with some works drinks that evening, then back to the hotel for some sleep. I was woken by what I thought was someone trying to break into my room… after a brief “it’s him-or-me” situation I established it was the guy from the front desk and my wife was trying to call me.
My stomach dropped, it was the middle of the night, this can’t be good. I phoned immediately and Ro was in tears, bleeding, this wasn’t good. It was early morning in the UK so I said to go straight to the doctors, this might be normal, or not that unusual, they’ll know.
We spoke again after Ro saw the doctor and she’d been booked in for a scan. My mother in law was heading over (a fair drive from Somerset to Brighton) so I said to call my mum, who it turns out stayed on the phone the whole time.
I waited patiently to find out more, unable to sleep. It was very early morning when we spoke again. Through the tears I could determine the scan experience was horrific, and there was no more baby. It was gone.
But I was going to be a dad….. that’s a bit numbing. I need to get home.
A quick call to reception found me a cab (well he ran out of the door and flagged one down) and I was on the way to JFK while on the phone to BA sorting out the flight.
The trip back was a bit of a blur, a quick call to my boss and a long wait for the flight, but mostly I recall the empty plane feeling almost as empty as I did.
We met in tears at Heathrow Terminal 5 arrivals, you know, the place where people are always happy to see their friends and relatives arriving… being back together was what we needed.
Over the next few days and with a little research it turns out this is very common. Grieving for the loss, plans made, all that thinking, took time… naively unaware how common this was, we’d gone full tilt into what happens next without considering what could happen. But then that felt right. It’s exciting! You can’t focus too much on the potential negatives as that gets you nowhere.
Most painful was telling everyone; realising quite how early you’ve told people and with hindsight that may have been a little too early. This culminated in me taking a week off work to actually allow time to process what had just happened. I couldn’t focus on anything else.
To end positively, the next time there were no such issues, we told the minimum of people (parents and best friend) just in case. That worry was always there, however, and stopped the forward planning somewhat…
Next came an actual baby, now what do we do with that?!
If you’ve been affected by any of the topics mentioned above, the Tommy’s website has lots of help and advice on miscarriage, plus a phone line if you want to talk to someone about it: