WARNING: If you have experienced a miscarriage then you may find this post upsetting.
I’ve always been honest on this blog. I’ve never shied away from talking about my depression.
I thought that this post would be the same. But since deciding to share my miscarriage story, in support of the Mumsnet Miscarriage Care Campaign, I have started to write this post numerous times. I have even finished it once or twice. Only to write it again the next day unhappy with my previous efforts.
My struggle to share my experience, left me wondering (in true Carrie Bradshaw style), why is it so hard to talk about miscarriage? Why (according to a Mumsnet survey) did only 23% of women who miscarried talk about their experiences to their friends?
Do we feel ashamed? Do we feel that we’ve let people down? Do we feel that we are not “woman enough” because we haven’t been able to carry a baby full term?
Are we worried of upsetting people? Are we worried that our friends won’t know what to say? Or that our friends don’t want to support us through a miscarriage because they are worried that you might go into the gory details?
I wish that none of the above were true. But I am afraid that it is.
Therefore, in the spirit of honesty…to support a campaign that I wholeheartedly support and to encourage more women to feel that they can talk to people and ask for support when they have miscarried…this is my miscarriage story.
Never forget – the story of my first miscarriage
I didn’t know anything about miscarriage until I had experienced it myself. It is not something that you want to consider when you become pregnant. It isn’t something that you want to spend hours researching on the Internet.
I certainly didn’t realise that the baby could die inside me.That my body would hold onto the baby and would still think that I was pregnant.
I was 10 weeks pregnant when we learnt that the baby had died.
I went to A&E with terrible tummy pains. Once there, I was reassured by the doctor that I didn’t need to worry unnecessarily as everything looked good. The pregnancy test came back positive, my HcG levels were good, I wasn’t bleeding and my pains had died down.
The next day, I was shocked and heartbroken when the technician told me that the baby had not grown since 6 weeks and that there was no heartbeat. My pregnancy was not viable. The baby had died.
The technician then kindly explained the three options I had:
- Wait it out and miscarry naturally,
- come into hospital and have surgery,
- come into hospital to have the miscarriage medically managed.
I remember thinking that at the age of 34 I wasn’t old enough to make this decision. That I just wanted my baby. That they should ask my parents what I should do.
After a long evening of discussions with Mr H and hours reading the invaluable information provided by The Miscarriage Association we chose to have the miscarriage medically managed. Mr H kindly said that only I could really make this decision, as it was my body. But he would support me 100% whichever choice I made.
Two days later I was back in the hospital again. I was due to be told about how my miscarriage would be handled, to sign forms and to receive the first part of my treatment. It was at this time that I received care that the Mumsnet Miscarriage Code of Care is trying to prevent women receiving in the future.
We were ushered in to see a male consultant. He obviously did not have the adequate time to spend with us. Everything he said felt like one more thing to tick off his to-do list. His comment “at this point, I have to say that I am sorry for your loss” was the least genuine expression of sympathy that I have ever hear.
He then followed this be referring to our baby…OUR BABY… as “the retained product of conception”. And the loss of our baby… THE LOSS… as “the event”. He sickened me and I had to fight back tears of rage.
He then flippantly answered my questions in a nonsensical fashion.
“It would hurt no more than a mild period.”
I actually found labour easier. Plus during my miscarriage I was offered pethidine for the pain and was physically sick continuously.
“You won’t need to stay the night.”
Ummmm…I did! I was hooked up to a drip all night and Mr H and I were bunked up in a private room on the delivery suite.
“You won’t bleed much.”
And my personal favourite:
“No, you don’t need any medication now. Go home and turn up at any point on Friday and we’ll deal with you.”
Fifteen minutes later, Mr H and I were in a taxi on our way home when I noticed that I had numerous missed calls. As we had thought, I HAD needed to take the first tablets in the treatment and we were asked to return to the hospital as soon as possible.
Apart from a brief apology when we reappeared we never saw that horrible consultant again. Thank God!
The ward matron ushered us into her office and apologised profusely. She gave me my tablet and then offered to honestly answer any questions that we had. We went over everything again but this time we received compassionate and truthful answers.
“Yes, it will hurt but you will be offered pain relief.”
“You will need to stay the night.”
“It will be hard but we will be here to help you get through it.”
The matron offered to find us a private room with an en suite bathroom. She said that she would phone us on Friday once this was organised and that we shouldn’t come to hospital until we had heard from her.
Sadly, the only private room that they could find for us was on the Delivery Suite. But we were ushered in quickly and thankfully didn’t catch sight of any heavily pregnant ladies or new babies.
The care we then received was brilliant. The midwives were kind, caring and professional. One midwife even sat with me and held me whilst I sobbed onto her shoulder. And when the time came to stay the night, they wheeled out the hospital bed and made up a double bed so Mr H and I could sleep cuddled up together. They understood that I needed my husband next to me the whole time.
After that I decided to get back to normal life. I just wanted to move on.
This doesn’t mean I forget. I could never forget. And sometimes I wonder about the baby that wasn’t meant to be.
One in five pregnancies end in miscarriage and each miscarriage will be different and will affect those involved in different ways. But the one thing that should be consistent, is the quality of care that is offered to women who are miscarrying
That is why I encourage you to support this campaign. For me and for the almost quarter of a million women who miscarry in the UK every year. To find out how you can show your support, please go to the Mumsnet Miscarriage Care Campaign’s home page.
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