author, Short Story, writing

Losing A Piece Of My Heart: A Short Story

“The baby,” I sobbed, gripping my husbands’ arm. Blood was dripping down my leg as he pushed me towards the emergency room. I felt like a brick was sitting on my chest, crushing my heart.

The nurses hurried over to me and helped me into a private room. I could feel their sympathetic stares boring into my skull. The anxiety peaked as a doctor soon arrived, confirming my worst fears. Our baby was gone.

My husband and I pulled each other close, crying into each other’s arms. We knew this happened to people, but never thought it would happen to us. Miscarriage seemed so unlikely, so rare… but more common that we realised.

We were part of the 1 in 10 to lose our child before it even opened its eyes to the world. Before we could name our baby or hold it… it was gone.

I felt like I was coated in a thick fog, unable to see or process anything ahead. How could I go on? How could I get through this pain?

My husband and I barely spoke on the way home from the hospital. I had miscarried, and there was nothing the doctors could do anymore. I was given some pain medication and discharged. Sent to the depths of darkness alone, to face this overwhelming sadness at home.

We liked to have things prepared, and now that organisation hurt me more than anything. I stared into my baby’s nursery, already set up and awaiting its arrival. We were so prepared, so ready… but not ready for this.

I couldn’t sleep. I couldn’t breathe. I couldn’t feel. I curled up in the nursery at 1am, wanting to die instead of my child. My husband found my curled up next to the bassinet in the morning, clutching a little teddy bear to my chest. What was wrong with me? Why couldn’t I even carry my child safely? Why did I miscarry?

I couldn’t look at my husband for days. His face reminded me of the child that wasn’t here. The child we would never see. It hurt every time I saw him, every time he moved. I wondered if our child would have had his blue eyes or his curly brown hair.

The days turned to weeks and we slowly started to heal. It stung, and I would never forget my child, but we were moving forward together. It took time to communicate again. Time to stop crying every time he turned his eyes in my direction, but we got through the pain. We planted a tree to remember our child, and called it Charlie, after our baby. We didn’t know the gender of our unborn child, so Charlie seemed fitting.

As the weeks turned to months, we grew closer together again. The pain of losing our child still stung, but we learnt to lean on each other. We cried when we needed to and vowed to never forget our angel baby.

Several months later, I felt a pang of fear overcome me as we entered the doctor’s office. I cradled my stomach, desperately hoping that everything would be okay. When the doctor cleared us, relief rushed over me. The fear remained, but things seemed more promising. I knew there was always a chance, I knew we could lose this baby too… but a twinge of hope stayed in my heart.

We left the doctor’s office together, my hand gently resting on my slightly bulging bump.

We got out rainbow baby. A rainbow baby that was now 24 weeks, and able to survive if I went into labour now. A baby girl that would always know of her big sibling in heaven, watching over her every day.

author, Short Story, writing

Entering Short Story Competitions

“A word after a word after a word is power.”

Margaret Atwood

Short stories are so incredibly different than writing novels or poems. It can be hard to incorporate everything into a short amount of words. I am much better at writing novels and creating my characters, world and plot in at least 50,000 words. But, I do enjoy the challenge of short story writing!

I’ve set myself a goal this year to enter 5 short story competitions. It’s incredibly intimidating and hard but I’m determined to get it done. I’m still writing and editing my novel, but I wanted to do something else while getting my novel ready for submission.

I do enjoy the challenge that short stories bring. Pulling together an entire world in a small word count is a hard challenge, but extremely rewarding when you do manage to nail it. I’ve enjoyed expanding my horizons by writing short stories. It’s a good break from my usual novel editing journey and a fun challenge.

It is also, admittingly, a lot easier to write a short story while my son naps. He often only naps an hour at a time (maximum) so I don’t have a huge amount of time to sit down and flesh out my novel. I still want to write though, so smashing out a short story in those nap times works really well for me.

I have a few short story competitions picked out over the course of the year that I am intending on entering. Even if I don’t win anything it’s always a fun challenge to write and test yourself by entering competitions. I am excited to be doing this throughout the year!

First one closes in a few days – I’m almost ready to submit and I can’t wait!