This may seem like a very sad thing to expect.
1 in 4 pregnancies naturally end in a miscarriage
This just happened to us. I was almost 9 weeks pregnant with our first pregnancy. We conceived in the second cycle of “trying”.
We were so excited, planning for our future, reading about “things to do before baby arrives” and “hospital bag checklists”. We were wrapped up in the warm glow of expecting to be holding our baby in late November. It’s one of the first things people ask… when is it due?
At no point did anyone tell us that 1 in 4 pregnancies naturally end in miscarriage. In fact I distinctly remember someone saying 1 in 12 was the figure. Don’t get me wrong… miscarriage was mentioned. We were told not to tell people that I was pregnant because up to 12 weeks there was “a chance” of miscarriage…
Now this just didn’t sit right with me… I agonised over telling my mum and sister. Eventually I caved in and just had to tell them… justifying myself over and over that I would need them if the worst should happen. But I felt that I was in the wrong. We also told Hubby’s family at 8 weeks. But we didn’t tell anyone else, especially our local friends and neighbours.
The worst happened.
Don’t read on if you don’t want to hear explicit details.
Three days after the first midwife visit I started bleeding red blood with clots. I had already had implantation bleeding so we didn’t want to jump to any conclusions but the midwife team advised us to visit A&E to get checked out. This was late on Easter Saturday night. It’s not far and we arrived with me clutching my shiny new “Bounty” folder like some shield against “it” happening. Too distraught to speak Hubby dealt with all the details.
We were very quickly seen by the triage Nurse and I managed to shamefacedly admit that I needed some sanitary towels as I didn’t have any – totally unprepared! All I had at home were tampons and I had randomly found out after the previous bleeding that they are NOT allowed! No one told me that either!
After sorting myself out in the loo I was put on a trolley and wheeled to a private room where we waited a while for the gynaecologist to come. Eventually he came and had to do an internal exam – I hate these so so much. He said that the bleeding had stopped and that my cervix was closed. I would need a scan but that I would have to wait until Tuesday!!! What! Sorry it’s Easter Bank Holiday so no scans until Tuesday! Hang on a mo – Tesco is open… why can’t the NHS do basic diagnostics? Are we that short of sonographers? Surely in our lovely diverse society there are people not celebrating Easter?
Well they said… “there’s nothing we could do anyway so it doesn’t change anything whether you have the scan today or in three days time!” Thanks. Nothing physical to change but plenty of mental anguish and uncertainty.
So we went home in the early hours of Easter Sunday and I cried myself into an uncomfortable sleep. Imagining blood gushing out and waking up soaked. Sunday came around and I started to panic – I had two spare pads from the hospital and nowhere was open today. Luckily there didn’t appear to be any extra bleeding so hope was rekindled and we got on with some gardening. But late afternoon rolled around and it started up again. Somehow we got through the day.
Easter Monday arrived and I felt so awful – squishy belly, cramping and back pain but not much blood. Just on wiping, which I did a lot… I just had to keep going and checking.
Then at 3pm I had this sense of dread… telling myself to stay positive I went indoors to check and on second wipe… there is was… unmistakably… our baby… about 2cm long in a sack with tiny bit of cord coming out. As I turned it over I saw its little nose and possibly a leg. There is no way to un-see this.
Hubby couldn’t hear me shouting for him as he was drilling down in the garden so I tripped the power on the house and he came indoors.
“Are you ok?”
I just shook my head and pointed.
No amount of hope could push through this obvious evidence. It was over (unless it was twins… no… so unlikely… glimmer of hope… don’t be silly!).
I put our hope in a zippy bag, padded it with kitchen roll and placed it in a tupperware box in the fridge to preserve it. Poor Bean. Our baby was in the fridge and that’s just not right! Sobs wracked my body.
But we still had to wait… for the scan that should have reassured but that would now confirm. We didn’t even know what time it would be. Hubby managed to get a day off work – thank you to his workplace for being so flexible without any details. One of the benefits of working for a friendly family company.
Still not much bleeding, clots here and there but not “soaking pads” even over hours.
Tuesday rolled around and we were both exhausted and drained. The call came in that we had a scan at 11am and we started getting ready. I couldn’t eat and felt very sick. It was still early but I couldn’t be in the house so we went for a little walk on the way to the hospital.
We arrived and my fears were well founded… I had to walk through a waiting room filled with “bumps” and sit in an area with more “little bumps”. It was more than I could take and the tears started to fall. Twenty minutes later we are called into the scan room… I can barely walk through the door and the sight of “the chair” send me shaking into Hubby’s arms!
Words fail, Hubby takes over and then hands them the box.
Yes… that is the baby. It’s gone.
Obviously I’m distressed and they offer to rebook my scan for later in the afternoon!!! What… wait some more? NO. NO. NO. I pull myself together enough to “get it over with” but can’t control all of the body shaking sobs.
It was an internal ultrasound scan which is unpleasant. That thing is very long! I did think that it hurt quite a bit but the tension in my body was pretty bad so that might have made it worse. She kept saying “I’m not moving it” but it was pushing in all sorts of directions that felt very uncomfortable. She verbally confirmed that my womb was empty and that the lining was down to “normal”. This is called a “complete miscarriage”.
After that ordeal we got cleaned up and were taken to a quiet room to wait to speak to the Doctor. I was given paracetamol to help with the cramps that were ramping up their actions as if in protest to the invasion that just occurred. We waited perhaps an hour, the nurse kept popping her head in to see if we were ok. I could have done with some water but there wasn’t any there and I refused to let Hubby leave me.
Eventually a kind face in green scrubs poked his head into the quiet room and asked if we would like to come through. He started with some paperwork in a quiet and respectful way and I was a bit confused to start with… he was talking about what we wanted to do with the Baby? Oh boy. We couldn’t really think and he had to go through it a few times as my brain just kept tuning out. We decided to go with the cremation with other babies but were a little distressed to find out that we couldn’t go to the scattering of ashes, which will be at the Worthing Cemetery, Children’s Garden of Remembrance. Which seems so so far away even though its not really.
So with that difficult decision done we then got to discussing what was going on with me. We went through all the scans and bloods: nothing out of the ordinary, the only explanation offered was that it was probably a chromosomal error that would have meant that they baby couldn’t have survived. So a small blessing in this time of sadness, I can’t imagine getting further along and having to deal with it. It’s bad enough at this stage. My blood counts were normal and the ovary that they could see was also normal. He reassured us that it was the best type of miscarriage to have as my body had “efficiently” done what was necessary – I wouldn’t need any medical intervention. He reassuringly said that “It’s the kind of miscarriage that I would hope for my partner if she was in this situation.”
We also talked a little about anxiety and depression, especially my experiences with the contraceptive pill… and refreshingly he said that there was definitely a link between the two. So nice to hear a medical professional say this outright. I’ll need to be aware that this loss and the grief is likely to take a toll on me that may need professional support. Mental health is such a fragile thing and needing support is not a failure (yes I do keep having to say this over and over to myself).
So we returned home… very very sad… not knowing what to do next.
Easter will never be the same again.
Then the main bleeding started. Not Armageddon but disgusting none the less. Big clots and goo, stringy bits, dripping directly into the toilet, cramps and jumping motions that were probably contractions. I kept jumping in the shower to “get clean”. Yesterday the smell made me feel sick but Hubby assured me that only I could smell it when in the loo. I was very confused by the scan results showing that my womb lining was back to “normal” at 4.9mm… but then to bleed heavily for two days. If it’s back to normal then what was coming out now?
I’ve dropped 2kg in weight over 6 days! Most of this will be retained water but it’s still quite scary.
Today is Friday, 6 days after starting bleeding. It would have been 9 weeks and two days today. The bleeding has reduced and I’m hoping that I can drop down to liners rather than towels. My legs are rubbed raw from the stupid wing things on the sides of the towels. Don’t dare have no wings through as worried about slippage.
- Do we want to try again?
- How are we going to cope with this heartache?
- What do we do to remember?
- How to tell people who didn’t even know we wanted kids?
- How do I face doing my job when it’s all about working with kids?
Whatever happens I have to buy pregnancy tests and test every couple of days until I get a Big Fat Negative!!! Yeah. That little stick of hope is now a test to prove that my pregnancy is over! Another thing that sucks. Once its negative it is possible and ok to start trying again, if we want to and are ready…
We’ve learnt a hell of a lot from this experience and I hope that my story is helpful to those who have read it. I’m always open to questions… please do ask away… but do remember that I’m not a medical professional.
Check out my “two blue lines” checklist of things to do and prepare – just in case… so you don’t get caught unprepared either physically or mentally!
Many thanks to @rhymingwithwine and @Me2Mummy for their support over the last week. Your messages, reassurances and condolences have been a special source of solace and I thank you so deeply for all of your thoughts and words.