Miscarriage is hard no matter how many times it happens.
On Sunday, 9th September 2018, at 10 weeks pregnant with child number 2, I started bleeding. Not spotting, bleeding.
I knew I was in trouble, but I had my 8-month-old son in my care and I am technically a single mother so he was my first concern. I called my mother and said I was bringing him around, that I was bleeding and needed to go to A&E, and could she watch him.
I have written several articles now about my journey with Little C, but one thing that may not be clear is that I have never truly felt like a mother. I felt a disconnection, like I was someone very involved in his life but not actually vital to it. Kind of like a nanny or a babysitter or a very interested aunt.
That changed on September 9, 2018, when I sat in A&E and waited to be seen. I cried to myself quietly because deep down I knew. I just knew. It wasnít going to end well. I thought of Little C and realised that he was my everything.
Through the following days, the ultrasound to confirm, the D&C because Squirt was dead inside me, I clung to Little C. I bonded with him, my beautiful living miracle, my son, and for the first time, I made that leap. He is my son. I am his mother. He is my rainbow child and he is alive and he needs me.
In the hospital room, on the maternity ward, listening to the women in labour on the foetal monitors and listening to those foetal heartbeats and trying to ignore how cruel the administrators were for putting me there during my grief, I clung to the knowledge that my mother would be bringing Little C to see me. His Mum.
During the past two weeks, laying in bed and rocking him to sleep on my arm and just looking at him and giving him the comfort he needs through the pain of teething, and fighting the demons that were whispering that this pain would go away if I just did myself in, I realised that I was fighting to stay alive because Little C needs his Mummy. He needs me. I am flawed and I am broken and I have a past that I am not proud of but he doesnít see that. He sees the Mummy that he has known since he was in my womb, the Mummy who sang to her bump and talked to him and nurtured him and held him when he cried and rocked him to sleep and answered his call every time, no question.
It took the loss of a baby to realise I am Mummy to a beautiful baby boy, and I am the one person who loves him above all else. I am a mother. I finally realise that I am more than just an interested party. I am a mother, and Little C is my son.
My partner and I with two close friends gave Squirt a send-off a few days ago, a bonfire at the beach. We honoured our child who we will never hold, who I last saw lying still on an ultrasound screen, and who I will never hold or comfort and whose pictures will never be stuck to the fridge by magnets. Our heart is broken, and nothing will ever replace her. We will try again, but they will never be Squirt. That is hard.
I have carried three babies now and given birth to one. My doctor tried to tell me about another patient who has carried eight and held one, but it doesnít compare. Her pain is hers, our pain is ours, and there is no comparison. Miscarriage is hard no matter how many times it happens. Iíve lost one with no child to fill my arms, now Iíve lost one with a child to hold, and it is no different.
But I am a mother. For the first time, I understand that. And Little C is my son.
I've lost count of the number of long-haul trips my eldest (now aged 5) has made (about 5 maybe?), but along the way we've picked up a few tips and gems of advice about surviving long-haul trips with small children.
There is a taboo about the ĎMí word. People try to avoid it, or they downplay it, or they just pretend they didn't hear it. The reality is that the ĎMí word is a reality for 1 in 4 of us and we need to talk about it. We need to be allowed to talk about it. We need to be allowed to feel pain when someone talks about their healthy pregnancy when we lost ours.