Periods. Most of us with a uterus are familiar with them. They’re a common part of our lives; wading in each month, pestering us with leaks and pains and heightened (some might say, irrational) emotions. For most though, they’re little more than an annoyance. They come and then they go and we carry on because they’re not a big deal. They’re not heartbreaking. Unless you’re trying to conceive.
I’ve made no secret of the fact that we’re trying for a fourth. The decision was made in August, by September I was pregnant and in October I had my 4th miscarriage. December saw me fall pregnant again and January saw it end. Again. And now here we are, 6 weeks on and my period has just arrived. Even though we tried. Even though I was desperate to just keep on trying until we get our rainbow. I’d hoped we would fall pregnant straight away. I’d been confident that we would. It would have been due on Halloween. We’d joked about calling the bump Casper. But it was not to be. My period arrived today with a “Ha! You should be entering your third trimester right about now, but instead, you’re not even pregant anymore and here I am to remind you, just in case you were trying to forget!” It hurts.
Time is slipping away from me, just like it did when we were trying for Rufus. If I had control over this, if I had the ability to fall pregnant and to stay pregnant, every time we chose to, we’d have four children by now. The youngest would probably be Rufus’ age. That’s the family we’d planned for. That’s the family that I’ve had to grieve for over and over again because it’s been snatched away from me, so many times.
It’s impossible not to get caught up in the dates on a the calender. We were going to have “three under three” once upon a time. Now, hearing that phrase knocks me sick. Like I’ve failed where others have succeeded. Like I’m somehow defective because I can’t slot my children into cutesy little phrases about their ages, the way I’d envisaged I would. The gaps between my siblings is ever increasing. Larger than I’d ever wanted or imagined and there’s not a thing I can do about it. It really hurts.
When I fell pregnant for the 8th time, I was so hopeful that this would be it. This would be the one that stuck. Our final rainbow. It may sound silly to some, but I’ve always had this little image in my mind. A school photo. The 4 of them, in matching uniforms, grinning cheekily at the camera. Our 8th pregnancy was due at the end of August. The last chance to have all of our children at school together. Now that chance is gone. That image is no longer possible. A pipe dream, never to be my reality. And oh god, it hurts.
Now, the gap grows bigger still. Another 5 weeks (I have painfully long cycles) to wait until I might get to be pregant again. From a halloween baby, to one in early December. From having my last at 30, to 31. With each loss, with each failed attempt at conception, my future alters, irrevocably. It hurts.
My Amazon basket is once again filled with ovulation strips, folic acid and pregnancy tests (it doesn’t come cheap, barrenness). My life remains on hold. Another 5 weeks that I’ll refuse to book a holiday because I don’t want to interfere with the HCG injections that I’ll need weekly, if we fall pregnant. Another 5 weeks of only a functional intimacy with my husband because we wouldn’t want to waste the good stuff on genuine passion. Another 5 weeks of not being present enough with my children, because, no matter how hard I try, I can never fully drag my mind away from this ongoing agony. Another 5 weeks of bracing myself for each pregnancy announcement, each birth story, each newborn photo that I will try so hard to be happy about, but which I know will continue to chip away at the armour I wear. I won’t give up, I know that much. We will complete our family, but I simply don’t know when.
And it really hurts.
If you'd like to know more about my history with miscarriage, you can find my vlog The Miscarriage Diaries on youtube by clicking here.