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Instead she’s dreading the due date that wasn’t to be.
Natalie, from West Derby, lost her baby when she was 13 weeks pregnant, halfway through lockdown last summer.
The grief of miscarriage was made even worse by Covid restrictions which meant she couldn’t see friends or family face-to-face to help her come to terms with what had happened.
Just getting through the months since has been difficult, she admits, endlessly searching for explanations and struggling to believe medical experts who tell her that nothing she did or didn’t do was to blame.
But Natalie is determined to that something more positive should come out of her sadness.
That’s why, on the day she’d hoped to be meeting her new baby, 35-year-old Natalie has decided to share her experience.
“I’m changing it from being a negative to a day when I maybe help someone feel better,” she says.
“So rather than thinking about the baby not being here, and about what didn’t happen, I wanted to say, ‘If there’s anybody out there who’s been through or going through this, you didn’t know about me and I don’t know about you, but we should talk about it.”
Talking is something Natalie’s realised is so important, especially when restrictions can make everyone feel more isolated.
“I think because I haven’t had the chance to see so many people, when I do talk to them I don’t want to put too much sadness on them,” she says. “I don’t want them to feel awkward or sorry for me. But you should talk about it and that’s what I want to encourage more people to do.”
Natalie and her partner of almost four years were over the moon when they found out in July last year that they were having a baby.
“We were in a position in our lives where we were ready for that next step so we thought if it happens, it happens and even though we weren’t really trying it actually happened right away,” she remembers.
“As soon as I did the test and it was positive, it was like something came over me. Everything in my life before didn’t matter; the size of the house we got didn’t matter, the job and the salary I had didn’t matter, all I thought about was the baby. My whole outlook in life changed.”
Natalie phoned her GP and was told, because of Covid restrictions, that she would be referred straight to the hospital to wait for her 12-week scan.
Concerned that her partner wouldn’t be allowed into the hospital with her for the scan, the couple booked an early one privately, which is when the first signs of a problem with the pregnancy were revealed.
“I thought I was about 11 weeks pregnant but they told us the baby was quite small so maybe it was earlier than we thought and we should come back in a few weeks. I think then I wondered if everything was alright but she said the pregnancy was confirmed so I tried not to worry too much.”
When they went back at around 13 weeks, even though Natalie had suffered no bleeding or pain, and everything felt like a normal pregnancy, she was told things weren’t right. They were referred to the hospital where they were given the news that the baby hadn’t developed.
“They said I’d had what’s called a missed miscarriage so I’d have to have the baby removed.
“Normally it would be done under general anesthetic, but because of Covid they said I’d have to go home and isolate for 14 days first and I’d continue to have pregnancy symptoms. I didn’t want that so they took me in the next day and I had the procedure done while I was still awake. Marco was able to come in with me and he was amazing, and they obviously gave me a lot of painkillers, but then that was it.”
In the months since, Natalie has agonised over whether something she did during her pregnancy caused her to lose the baby.
“The first thing I asked was, ‘was it because I was anxious and didn’t sleep enough?’ Was it anything to do with what I ate or the wine I drank before I knew I was pregnant? I kept thinking ‘is it my fault?’ and because I couldn’t get an answer as to why it had happened, I couldn’t accept that it wasn’t.
“I felt like they’d taken something away from me and I couldn’t control it. Every day, still, I feel like something’s missing. That’s what I struggle with and that’s what I bury, that I couldn’t say ‘don’t do this’ and I couldn’t protect it.”
Natalie also says she was overwhelmed with a feeling of shock after speaking to other friends and people she knew who she learned had also been through the same devastation. “That’s what speared me on to speak out about what I had been through, so many of my friends had been through the same and kept it to themselves and I felt so sad that they couldn’t have opened up before, so I knew it was time to let them and anyone else know that they aren’t alone”
With what should have been her due date now here, Natalie says she doesn’t want to keep her feelings to herself anymore.
“We’d talked about it loads because we were so excited and March is my birthday as well so March 24 is just stuck in my head. For the last few months I’ve been dreading this date.
“I’m not one for doing emotional posts on social media, I wouldn’t have put the scan on Instagram even, but I kept thinking I should do something to acknowledge that this was the day me and Marco were going to be mum and dad for the first time.
“That’s what I want the day to be about. I didn’t tell anyone about my miscarriage for a long time – you think you’re going to be a parent, then you’re not, so you blame yourself and you don’t talk about it. And the longer you go without saying it, the harder it gets to tell people ‘this is what happened’.
“But It’s not something to be ashamed of or embarrassed about. I just hope me talking about what happened to me can help someone else going through the same.”
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