With my pregnancy yoga teacher training coming up next week, I’m filled with trepidation. The excitement with which I booked the course is now gone. Lingering in its place is an empty womb and anxious heart resulting from a miscarriage.
I booked this course over 2 months ago when I was pregnant. Almost as soon as I found out about my pregnancy, I was scouring the internet for pregnancy yoga courses near London. I didn’t necessarily have a desire to teach pregnancy yoga, but I wanted an in-depth course to teach me about my body, what it was going through, and how yoga could play a part in all of it.
What I didn’t count on was everything that followed that first pregnancy test confirming what I had already suspected. You see…my pregnancy failed in its 7th week.
At some point during my pregnancy, I started bleeding. Not the heavy bleeding the internet describes as miscarriages, but light spotting. The kind the internet says is normal and goes on to have healthy babies. Then, I bled some more, but it still wasn’t the heavy bleeding people described online for miscarriages. I booked an appointment with the doctor and went in. She gave me a pep talk about how common miscarriages are and how nothing is my fault. I think they tell you this to make you feel better, but it didn’t help me at all. I already knew this. No matter how much I told myself that it wasn’t a big deal if I miscarried, I knew I was lying to myself.
She gave me a pregnancy test to take again. It came back as two strong lines. Positive. Pregnant. Relief. Then she said: “I want you to undergo further testing at the hospital and get an early ultrasound.” Panic. Wave of emotion and tears. Meanwhile the doctor was reassuring me that “there is still hope. It was positive. Still hope. Still hope.” And I believed her.
We went home that day and then got a call from the hospital asking me to come in—so off we went. I had an invasive scan. It was not pleasant. Watching the screen, I had no idea what I was looking at. It was all a mass of black and grey blurs. The doctor didn’t say anything. She just kept scanning, searching. After sitting uncomfortably in silence, the doctor finally spoke up. She found signs of a pregnancy, but could not locate a heartbeat or signs of life.
“It’s too early to be sure of anything,” the doctor said. “I’d like you to come back in a week before we determine anything. There’s still hope.”
The most agonizingly slow week passed by. We were back at the hospital. Over the past week, I tried my hardest to come to terms that I was going to miscarry. I didn’t want this hope they kept falsely offering me, I wanted a healthy pregnancy. I tried to tell myself that it wasn’t going to happen, I wasn’t going to have this baby. Subconsciously, however, I still believed. I still held tightly onto that hope. Sometimes the heart betrays the mind and reason gets snuffed out.
During this second scan, the words “rare” “can’t be sure” “need a second set of eyes” reached my ears. The doctor asked if she could get another doctor for a second opinion, I nodded. The second doctor came into the room, performed a scan, and nodded to the other doctor. They agree. But on what? I tried to calm down enough to listen and understand as the doctor’s told me what they saw. They guessed that it was either a partial or a full molar pregnancy. “I’m sorry,” the doctor said, “but your pregnancy has failed.”
It all feels like a haze now. I barely remember how I got out of the hospital and made it home. All I remember was my husband half carrying me through the ante-natal ward filled with happy, pregnant women and then sitting in the car sobbing as I waited for him to pay for the parking.
Once home, we allowed our grief to consume us. I don’t know how long we lay in each other’s arms crying. Tears spilled until my body had no more tears left to give. I walked around our flat in a daze. My husband made some calls to rearrange his work travel schedule. I had a decision to make. The doctor had given me some pamphlets and brochures to take home with some choices on it about what to do next. They could not recommend a natural miscarriage as my placenta was not recognizing I was not pregnant and continued to grow. I could opt for either a tablet or surgery. However, because of the type of pregnancy, taking a tablet meant there was a risk of everything not being cleared out and turning into cancer. Though this cancer is treatable, it would mean undergoing chemotherapy.
If I was one of the lucky ones to have this rare pregnancy, then I was also probably one of the lucky ones to get cancer from it. I opted for the surgery to minimize the risk of cancer…it was in two days.
Waking up from surgery, tears immediately filled my eyes and streamed down my cheeks. There was nothing left inside of me. My hands reached for my womb. Empty. All I felt was empty.
Now here I am, over a month later, and can still feel that sense of emptiness and loss. I’m reading my pregnancy books in preparation for my teacher training and typing up my assignments. I’m back to work photographing maternities and newborns. There are ups and downs every day. Some days, hearing about another person becoming pregnant brings tears of sadness and on other days, I’m in a client’s home in London happily photographing their newest addition without a thought in my mind about my own loss.
So, while next week holds a lot of trepidation, I am looking forward to it. It will be an emotional roller coaster of a week and there will be ups and downs. However, knowledge is powerful and I will learn so much about pregnancy and yoga. And who knows, maybe I’ll even teach it one day?