20 years ago, on Valentine’s Day I stood in my kitchen in Manchester sharing a cigarette with a friend, something which I hadn’t done for almost 10 years.
I’d just suffered a miscarriage and she’d come over to comfort me.
I was 31, newly married and desperate to have children.
I’d fallen pregnant fairly easily, almost as soon as we’d planned.
When I took my first (of many…it became an addiction) pregnancy test and it was positive, I was absolutely elated!
I couldn’t have been happier.
The lines on the test were quite faint, however, something which I’ve never forgotten. Was it a sign of what was to come?
I was reassured by all the health professionals that it was nothing to worry about. It didn’t matter.
I embraced my newly pregnant state. I finally had that which I’d always yearned for.
I was ultra careful about everything. I made sure I ate properly and got enough sleep. I even refused to dye my hair in case it affected the foetus’s development. I was one of those irritating women, pregnant with her first child.
I was careful not to tell too many people about my condition. I’d wait until my 3 month scan before doing so.
Sadly, that scan never materialised.
At around 10 weeks, I started to bleed. Nothing major, just a bit of spotting.
I panicked and immediately phoned the hospital. They told me to come in straight away for a scan.
In order to prepare for the scan, I had to drink an inordinate amount of water beforehand.
By the time my appointment came around and I was led into the scanning room, I was absolutely bursting for the loo.
I lay there, desperately trying to hold it in, while I watched the screen as the scan got underway.
I then turned my attention to the radiographer’s face. It was blank.
She stopped what she was doing, left the room and returned a short while later with another radiographer. Together, they studied the screen. I don’t actually think they were looking for signs of life. I think they both knew that the life inside me had gone, and they were trying to find the words to tell me.
When one of them confirmed my worst fears, I was devastated. Devastated by the loss and devastated by the embarrassment of having just wet myself.
I never wanted to leave that room.
When I eventually plucked up the courage to do so,I was forced to make my way through a waiting room full of pregnant women.
That part was the hardest. Seeing all of those women sitting there with their swollen bellies.
I don’t remember much after that.
I was given various options and opted for the one which seemed to be the least invasive. I took something which caused my body to expel the embryo.
The pain was unbearable. I joked that I wasn’t even going to have a baby at the end of it all…my husband who’d remained at my side throughout it all didn’t laugh.
Later that evening my friend came over. She gave up her Valentine’s Day evening out with her husband to see me. We stood together in the kitchen and shared a cigarette.
My husband and I only had 1 Valentine’s Day together before my miscarriage.
It’s hard to believe that 20 years have passed since that horrendous day.
20 sad Valentine’s Days together.