It’s a beautiful time, for me. I’m seven weeks away from meeting my sweet little baby number three, and nesting has well and truly begun.
Life has been busy and forceful, if I look at it carefully and agree with the truth of it. Lockdown and homeschooling. Rushing to finish painting our home before baby arrives (I simultaneously love painting, and never want to see another tin of paint again.)
Beneath it all, though, lies a quiet hum. A hum so lovely, I’m certain it’s the stuff a summer breeze is made of. Lately, it’s been with me when I open the baby’s wardrobe; I stand there a little longer than I need to, just because it’s so lovely to be with my baby in that ‘real’ kind of way.
It’s the same loveliness that occasionally stands with me at my children’s doorway while they sleep. And, although I’ll never deny that motherhood aches and destroys at times, I’ll always be grateful for the quiet moments it brings my soul.
My fertility story is really quite extraordinary, when I think of all the ups and downs I’ve faced on the road from then to now.
It’s time for me to share the whole story.
To those of you who are currently struggling to conceive, or suffering through the pain, confusion and hopelessness of multiple miscarriages: this one, my darling friend, is for you.
Please take my story (and all the strength, love and encouragement I have to give) and shine it over your world. Hold in your heart this nightlight of hope.
Because there is hope.
And I am living, breathing proof.
We know what we are, but not what we may be.
Eight years ago. I was 29 when I conceived my little boy. Such fear lives in that first trimester, doesn’t it, if you allow yourself to wander down the path of what if. Of course, I repressed most of that fear. You know that thing us humans do when we sweep our true feelings under the carpet because we are afraid to look at the dark side of life: well, I did that.
But I was afraid. Deep down inside I was afraid of not making it to that glorious light we all call ’12 weeks pregnant.’ When 12 weeks came, the relief was lovely. I found myself in the sweetest little bubble of waiting for baby that, actually, I really had rather expected to be a breeze. And it was. My friends called me the magical pregnancy unicorn and I had to agree. It truly was an accurate label, to my absolute delight.
There were very few aches and pains, no health complications at all, and at 39 weeks, my precious little man was born. To say my life changed that day would be far too small a statement. My soul expanded, that day, would be a more accurate way of putting it. Because that day (and as fate would have it, three hours before I turned 30): I became somebody’s mother.
A year after our little man’s birth, it was time to start trying for baby number two. We’d conceived within two months of trying to conceive baby one, and secretly I imagined our second try would be just as simple. And it was. The magical pregnancy unicorn had done it again. Until she hadn’t. Slight spotting began at 6 weeks and I miscarried, days later. Shock. Miscarriages were something that happened to other people. And it was terribly sad for them, but it was never going to happen to me…until it did.
Over and over again.
I had five miscarriages within eighteen months, and yet, each time, I was certain this would be the one. But every time I began to bleed, and every time, my heart fell. It was the most intense frustration. I so desperately wanted to allow myself to fall apart, to grieve, to voluntarily and entirely losethe plot…but I had a little boy who needed his Mum to not fall apart.
Five miscarriages, one after the other. I was 33 by now and my body was quite obviously saying, ‘No. Brooke.We’re done.You’re going to have to accept this, soon.’ I was losing these little muffins, without good reason, and…I really didn’t want to do that, actually. The dream was multiple children. Not one, at least three. I wasn’t ready to give up. Not yet.
There comes a day when you’re gonna look around and realise happiness is where you are.
After a D and C to remove any remaining placenta from my first pregnancy, I found myself in the hands of an extremely caring, empathic obstetrician. He agreed, despite my hormone levels measuring normal, to try me on progesterone treatments, although his prognosis had been: those eggs had simply not been the ones. We will never know if he was right or not.
Nine months later, our beautiful baby girl was born.
The whole entire sun.
I didn’t even announce the pregnancy until about thirty weeks, you can imagine why. But when my little girl was born it was as though every moment of frustration, every distant day of secondary infertility had been erased.
I went on to have one more miscarriage beyond the birth of my daughter (another very early one, at only 5 weeks) and although it was sad, we weren’t really desperate for another child. I could happily come to acceptance the journey was over, now.
Only it wasn’t over, of course it wasn’t. According to the mystical forces of the universe—and despite my husband and I separating and rekindling our marriage once again—baby number three was going to be a real and actual thing for us. Unplanned. Unexpected and there it was. Pregnant. Right there in front of my open, yet smiling, mouth.
Today, I am only days away from 30 weeks pregnant with baby number three.
So tenderly grateful.
So joyously amazed.
Because, for a little over a year of my life, I suspected I would never achieve the dream of Mumming a little team, and yet every time this tiny human stretches inside of me…well. Let me just say, I am very much aware of the miracle of it all. The preciousness of life. The need to remain hopeful during even our darkest days.
Back then, in ‘my infertility days’, I searched and searched and searched the internet for stories like mine that had a happy ending. Stories to give me hope, to keep my candle burning and bright despite the pain. Now I am my own happy ending, and it is with such love and compassion that I hand my shining, beautiful story to you.
Don’t give up.
Follow the quiet voice inside.
Meditate. Do the energy work they’re telling you is bonkers. (It’s not, I assure you, it is not.)
Do whatever it takes.
Just don’t give up. Not until your heart quietly whispers, ‘Sweetheart. It’s time. And everything will be so beautifully, perfectly alright again someday.‘
When life gives you lemons, turn them into lemonade.
It’s a lovely saying, isn’t it? And it’s right up my alley in terms of the positivity it tosses in the face of life and it’s silly business.
I want to tell you a story. It’s a sad one, most would say. But to me, this story is one of my greatest sources of light in this world—and all because I’ve come to see the beauty of the lemons that were dealt to me.
I will say here, at this point, that this story involves the topic of pregnancy loss so, please—If you are going through a loss of your own and feel you are not ready to delve into the sadness of it all— know that you have my absolute blessing to skip the rest of this post. For the rest of you…let’s do this. Together.
In 2015, I experienced five miscarriages while trying to conceive my second child. There was varying degrees of trauma involved— emotional and physical— but the most devastating loss, perhaps, was the little muffin that lasted eleven weeks (as opposed to the six weeks which had been the average of the rest of the bunch.)
Anyway. Lemons. Probably the biggest, most bitter lemons of my entire life. This particular little muffin had me at the emergency department, and, given we already had a little one to look after at home…I’d be going this alone until the babysitter arrived. Ugh. Lemons.
After an hour or so of feeling like a hollow egg in a waiting room, my husband joined me and, at last, there was some comfort to fill me—he’d been relieved by our beloved brother in law, and knowing our little man was sleeping soundly in his cot, I breathed a sigh of relief. If he was to wake, my baby was in kind and gentle hands.
I often wonder who I’d be If not for those lemons. I’ll never be the girl I was ever again, that’s for sure. But now I’m this girl; this perfectly imperfect girl, who loves and laughs harder. Who falls and cries louder.
This girl— the joyously broken version of me—considers the lemons of this life and thinks thank bloody goodness for them. Thank goodness for the gifts those lemons brought me (and there were many on my miscarriage journey, despite all the bitterness. Some of them because of all the bitterness.)
Perhaps the most profound gift for me involved that night in the emergency room: the night that, at the time, I figured to be the most awful of my life. Well. As it turned out…it was one of the greatest.
Because as I sat in the emergency room, sucking on that great big ugly lemon, my little boy—chubby cheeked and two years old—woke from his sleep and realised Mummy wasn’t there. Daddy wasn’t there, either.
But someone wonderful was: his super fun uncle.
So, in the dark of my little boy’s room, comforted by the gentle sway of the flower rocking chair, uncle and nephew snuggled, heart to heart. And there was peace and there was joy and there was love.
And, though I had no idea at the time, while I was in hospital cursing the bitter taste of my lemons…those same lemons were building something beautiful. At home. In the shape of two of my most wonderful people melting into the hearts of each other.