Today marks the anniversary of our first miscarriage that happened in 2014.
I thought it was now time to share our story.
We started trying for a baby very soon after we got married in 2013. If my memory serves me correctly, I think we had a positive pregnancy test in late December. I remember taking the test in the morning and immediately showing my husband. We were still half asleep. He grabbed me for a cuddle and we couldn’t contain our excitement. We cried happy tears.
We chatted casually about future plans, as you do. Wondering if baby would be a boy or a girl, what they would look like, what names would suit them…the list goes on. We worked out that we thought our baby would be due around our first wedding anniversary. It really felt like it was fate or destiny. All very much meant to be. I was happy that I could share in my sister’s experiences and give my niece a baby cousin.
I did the usual, booked an appointment with my GP so she could refer me to maternity at our chosen hospital. We were counting down the weeks until we would have our first scan.
As I was so inpatient, I decided to book up a private scan. I was so eager to see our little baby on screen.
We went along to the ultrasound, one Saturday morning, and the synographer explained she could only see the sac. Baby was too small to be seen clearly. She asked if I was certain about my dates. I knew I was. She advised to have a further ultra sound two weeks later and gave me a print out of her findings.
Immediately, I was very worried, my husband took me to a coffee shop and I sobbed into his arms over a hot chocolate. He tried to reassure me, saying maybe we had mixed up our dates, trying to come up with an explanation of what was going on, but I knew something was not right. It just didn’t make sense. I knew baby should have been big enough by now to visible see on a scan.
I went back to my GP and they referred me to my local EGU for a scan, two weeks later.
Those two weeks felt like the longest wait ever. I was also suffering with morning sickness quite badly. I was basically sick all the time and struggled to keep food or drink down, I was told it was all a very good sign and should become less of a problem over the next few weeks.
We were very nervous and anxious whilst waiting for our scan. The midwife scanned me and looked on the screen first, before showing us our tiny baby and the heart beat. We heard the heart beat. She gave me a scan photo. We felt relief, knowing everything was ok, our little baby had a heartbeat and that was all the reassurance we needed.
I continued to be sick and trying everything to stop being sick so I could carry going to work. On one occasion it was just too horrendous and my husband had to scoop me up off of the bathroom floor and take me to A&E.
They gave me IV fluids as I was dehydrated. I was told I had hyperemesis gravidium. I was given some anti sickness tablets and some information to read with some advice on how to deal with it. Again I was constantly told the sickness was all very good. It mean’t the pregnancy was strong.
We carried on as normal. Excitedly waiting our 12 week scan and booking appointment. I was browsing pushchairs online making a mental note of the ones I loved. Then within weeks all that changed.
I had a very busy and stressful day at work covering our duty rota, I left later then usual and before going home went to the toilet. I noticed some dark coloured blood. I remember feeling dread and panic.
I called my husband and asked him to meet me at our local A&E. I was trying to stay calm on the journey.
Inside I was very stressed and worried, I was searching the internet ‘bleeding in pregnancy’ on my phone, whilst coming out of a tunnel on the tube. We got to A&E. Long story, short, they told us it was perfectly normal to experience some bleeding in pregnancy and to go home and rest. They were not concerned.
We went to bed. My parents and husband trying to keep me positive. I didn’t sleep for ages. When I did sleep, I woke up to cramping pain and more bleeding. This was around 3 or 4am. We went back to the A&E in desperation to try and make it stop.
Again we were just told to go home. A scan was booked for us a few hours later that morning at the EGU in the hope to reassure us.
We tried to get some sleep, but couldn’t really. I remember telling my husband I knew we had lost the baby. I just had this feeling. I knew. He kept telling me to just wait, not to worry. Stay positive.
At the scan my feelings were confirmed. We saw the same midwife and ward manager that we saw a few weeks earlier. The midwife broke the news that she was very sorry but there wasn’t a heartbeat. I should have been 14 weeks by now. The midwife explained that baby was showing up small on the scan and the pregnancy may have ended weeks ago although my body still thought I was pregnant. I didn’t know that was even possible.
She left us for a few moments whilst we sobbed, hugging each other. I got dressed and we were taken into a side room. I remember thinking this is the room of bad news, the room you see on tv programmes, where the doctors or nurses usher patients or relatives in to, to break bad news. There was a box of tissues on the coffee table and neutral art work on the walls.
We were given leaflets about what we could do next. I couldn’t bear to look at them through tears. I had a headache. I asked the midwife to tell me what we could do now.
She explained there were 3 options. One, go home, wait and let things happen naturally. Two, medical management although they didn’t have a bed at that moment but we could wait there for one to become available. Or three, a D&C but it would be days away. Maybe a week before that could happen.
I asked for time. I needed to just process what was happening to us.
Within the next half an hour I was having contractions and was bleeding pretty heavily. The midwife informed she couldn’t allow me to go home as I was losing too much blood. She found us a room. Gave me pain relief and we just waited.
Inbetween giving everyone our awful news, crying and trying to make sense of the situation, the contractions slowed down. I was seen by a doctor, their advice was to have the medical management, to help move things along and avoid any possible infection. So we went with it.
We stayed for 2 nights in total and I remember feeling so frightened. My husband was completely helpless and I cried for him everytime I went to the toilet afraid of what I might find. I didn’t know what I would see. I remember his facial expression, he looked totally sad. He was devastated.
In the fog of it, I remember feeling mortified at some of the language used to describe my baby by health professionals. ‘A foetus, tissue, aborted matter, debris’.
I was later given another scan. They said it was to be sure all the ’tissue had come away’.
We went home shortly afterwards. I don’t remember very much about what happened next except I was in total pain. Emotionally and mentally I struggled to cope. I was signed off work for 8 weeks. We were just told, it is very common and that next time things would work out for us. That we could keep trying. At least I could get pregnant.
I felt like a failure. I hated my body for failing me. I was so angry. I didn’t understand why me. Why us. I hated that everyone was talking about us. I was heartbroken. I would never get to take this baby home, never get to cuddle this baby. Never get to hear him or her cry. Never get to kiss them. Wash and bath them. Feed them. Watch them grow. Hear their laugh and meet all their mile stones. Our lives have never been the same again.
Some of the things people said to us were awful. ‘You can get pregnant though. Just try again. Move on now. Get over it. It wasn’t mean’t to be. Everything happens for a reason. Maybe you could adopt or just get a dog’.
I referred myself for grief counselling. In hindsight it might have been too soon. It did help to some degree.
This miscarriage had a big impact on my mental health. I sobbed to my GP and she prescribed me antidepressants as I was having panic attacks and suffering with anxiety, I also suffered with low mood and couldn’t shake it off. My confidence and self esteem took a battering. I went back to work, but hated it.
I also faced some discrimination from a manager at work for being off sick due to miscarriage, a woman who had never met me until my first day back. I knew I had to walk away from my job to try and save my self respect. I didn’t realise then that it would lead me to reeavaluate my entire career.
I feel a sadness every so often when I think about what might have been. Mostly, I’m just angry that miscarriage is actually quite common and most never find out a reason behind it. It upsets me that we weren’t offered very much support, in terms of managing anxiety when trying again for a baby.
I used to feel even more emotionally about my situation. Annoyed that women have to experience three consecutive miscarriages before any testing or investigations can take place. Frustrated and exhausted with having our dreams shattered, our hopes and futures now very different.
Whilst it is still very sad, I know that having those experiences have changed me. I am more anxious. I do worry more. My mental health suffers from time to time. I still get panic attacks. But on a positive note, I feel I am more empathetic, my heart aches each time someone opens up about losing their baby. I also know that I probably wouldn’t have my boys had my other pregnancy worked out.
I hope I am a better mother. I cherish more moments then before. I try not to let the less important things in life get to me. I hope I take less for granted.
Little Jelly bean whoever you are, you would be 4 years old now.
I hope by sharing our journey that others can know they are not alone.