TRIGGER WARNING: Baby loss. The post “Medical Management Of A Missed Miscarriage” contains details of miscarriage and baby loss.
This week is Baby Loss Awareness Week 2018.
Our first miscarriage was over four years ago, yet I can remember it as if it were yesterday. Baby loss stays with you. And though time passes the memories still haunt you and the heartbreak remains.
But the loss of a baby isn’t just an emotional experience. It’s also a very physical and traumatic experience. As soon as I was diagnosed with a missed miscarriage, I wanted to know what a miscarriage involved. And although I found lots of articles about the emotional and mental impact of miscarriage. I found very few articles that actually detailed the physical side of a miscarriage and in particular the medical management of a missed miscarriage. So I’ve decided to share the story of my miscarriages and to start with my first missed miscarriage that occurred in June 2014.
I wrote about the symptoms and diagnosis of the missed miscarriage earlier this year and you can read that post here. At the end of that post, I had just decided to have the miscarriage medically managed. And I phoned the hospital to inform them of the decision I had made. This is the story of what happened next.
Medical Management Of A Missed Miscarriage
On Monday night, I’d decided that I wanted the missed miscarriage to be medically managed. I phoned the hospital the next day to tell them my decision. I was told that I needed to come into hospital on Wednesday to see a consultant, sign the consent forms and to be given the first lot of medicine that would bring on the miscarriage.
So Mr H and I went to the hospital on Wednesday morning. We both felt sick to the stomach and didn’t know what to expect. But we certainly weren’t expecting to be treated as we were.
Discussing The Medical Management Of A Missed Miscarriage
We were unlucky and saw an absolutely horrid consultant. He referred to the baby as the retained products of conception and the miscarriage as the event and the process. It was all hideously scientific and cold. Yet, that was our baby that he was talking about. It was our hopes and our dreams. And he was talking about our baby in harsh and clinical terms. I just wanted to scream at him. But instead, I nodded when needed and stared at my feet. Desperately trying to stop from bursting into tears.
The consultant was also dismissive and rude. And his only words of sympathy were uttered under his breathe as a cruel afterthought. It was a box he needed to tick off on his miscarriage checklist.
I’d been told that I would need the first lot of medication that day. That the induction of the miscarriage would begin on Wednesday and then if it hadn’t taken place at home then I would need to come into the hospital and receive the rest of the medication. So I questioned the consultant about this and he told me that this was incorrect. And that I would just be given the medicine in hospital on Friday.
I’m a person who doesn’t like surprises. I need to know what to expect. So I questioned him about the miscarriage and he flippantly told me that it would be no worse than a bad period. He also mentioned that I could just turn up at any point on Friday and that they would sort me out. There was no need to bring anything and I would be home within a few hours.
The Taxi Ride
Mr H and I left the hospital feeling shell-shocked. Once again, I felt like my heart had been ripped from my chest. I was finding it hard to breathe and I couldn’t believe that one man could be so insensitive.
We were halfway home in a taxi when we received a phone call from the consultant. Without even apologising, he told us that we had to go back to the hospital for me to take the first lot of medicine.
The taxi took us back to the hospital. I was in tears and Mr H was livid. He was furious about how we were being treated. And like always he just wanted to protect me from experiencing any more pain.
The First Lot Of Medicine For A Missed Miscarriage
When we arrived back at the hospital, we were taken to the office by a senior nurse on the Gynaecology Ward. She gave me my first medication. I was asked to remain in the room for at least half an hour as they had to monitor me and make sure that I kept the medicine down. And the nurse, kindly and sympathetically, talked us through what would happen on Friday.
She told me that the management of the miscarriage would be very unpleasant. She mentioned that she wouldn’t go into great details about what would happen as it is different for every woman. And also I probably wouldn’t want to go through with it (and by then there was no turning back). She promised me that she would try and find me an en-suite private room on Friday. And that she would try her best to make sure that the room wouldn’t be near any pregnant women or women with newborns.
She ended by telling us that on Friday, I should wait at home until she called me and had a room ready for me. And that I would need an overnight bag as I would most likely be staying the night.
On The Delivery Suite
On Friday morning, we got a phone call and the nurse told us that the only private room they could offer me was on the delivery suite. She asked me if that was okay. And of course, I said yes. I had no other choice. But the idea of miscarrying in the room next to women giving birth to healthy babies made me feel sick. I was so fearful that I would hear a baby cry and in an instant, my whole world would shatter.
But we packed my bags, including an overnight bag and got a taxi to the hospital. I was fearful. I had no idea what to expect. Despite my questions, no one had really explained what the medical management of a missed miscarriage would involve.
The Beginning Of The Medically Managed Miscarriage
The first lot of medication had made me start spotting a little bit. In some cases, it can bring on the miscarriage but it hadn’t with me. Once we got to the hospital, I was taken to our room in the delivery suite. I was then given the next stage of medication, the pessaries, at about 11:00. It wasn’t long after that that I started to get cramp like pain and I began to bleed. I was then hideously sick.
Mostly the midwives that were with me during the miscarriage were amazing. One even let me just cry on her shoulder and she was lovely. But at that point, the midwife with me was quite unsympathetic. I vomited and then came out of the toilet and told her I’d been sick. I asked her if that was normal. And her reply was yes, it happens.
Because it was in the hospital, they wanted to collect whatever I passed. And so I had been given a number of cardboard bowls to use when I sat on the toilet. For some reason, when you’re miscarrying there is an urge to sit on a toilet. I still to this day don’t know why.
I then began to have terrible bouts of diarrhoea. As well as the diarrhoea, I was passing large clots of blood and I was also in a great deal of pain. I sat on the toilet and sobbed from the pain and the atrocity of the experience. I was in so much pain, both emotionally and physically.
There was one moment, that I still remember as if it were yesterday. My head was resting on Mr H’s knee and I’d managed to get in a position where the pain had eased for a second. And then Mr H moved just slightly and the pain returned. And I was mortified. It was such a hideous experience and I just wanted it to end. But the pain, bleeding and diarrhoea continued for hours.
I’ve been through a number of horrible experiences in my life but nothing could prepare me for the frightfulness of the medical management of my missed miscarriage. And although I had needed to go through the physical pain of miscarrying, I couldn’t face it any longer and I just wanted it to be over.
The Possibility Of Surgery
Because I was having such severe bouts of diarrhoea it was hard for me to tell if I’d actually passed the baby. So the consultants decided that I should be prepped for surgery. As I needed to have an ERPC if the medically managed miscarriage hadn’t been successful.
I was then fed tea and toast before becoming nil by mouth. I had a cannula inserted. The wonderful midwives then wheeled the hospital bed out of the room and pulled down a big double bed. So that Mr H and I could sleep snuggled up together. And we went to bed that night not knowing if the ordeal was over or if it was going to carry on into the weekend.
In the morning, I was sent for a scan and they found out that I had actually miscarried. That at some point the day before I had lost the baby. So we were able to go home. I can’t describe how relieved I felt to be leaving the hospital and putting the missed miscarriage behind us.
Arriving Home After The Medical Management Of A Missed Miscarriage
I got home and ran a hot bath and sat in it scrubbing my skin raw. I was desperate to wash away the experience and to try and forget. So Mr H and I made plans to buy a bottle of wine and get a curry takeaway. But we then received a phone call from the hospital to say that one of us had to go back. As I needed antibiotics to prevent an infection.
So Mr H went to the hospital to pick up the medication and I sat in the bath and sobbed. My chest heaved, big fat tears rolled down my face and I howled. I cried because of everything we had just been through. And I wept for the little baby that we would never get to meet. I also cried for me. I just wanted to move on but taking the antibiotics meant that moving on wasn’t possible. Not yet anyway.
And that was our first miscarriage and the horrific beginning of our baby loss journey. It was also my first experience of a missed miscarriage. As sadly, our fourth pregnancy also ended in a missed miscarriage at 11 weeks.
A week after the miscarriage I went in to have a scan. The scan was to check that everything had been passed. It would also rule out whether I needed an EPRC to remove anything that remained. While there, the midwife advised us that we could start trying for another baby once I’d had one normal period.
So that’s exactly what we did. Thankfully I got pregnant very quickly. And it wasn’t long before I was back in the room with the midwife for an early scan. But this scan ended happily and our baby had a heartbeat.
Pregnancy After A Missed Miscarriage
Eight months later Little Miss H, our beautiful, beautiful daughter, was born. But I was anxious throughout the pregnancy. I attended my booking-in appointment with the midwife and sobbed. I just wanted reassurance that everything would be okay. That at the end of nine months we would have a baby in our arms.
I hadn’t expected to get pregnant so soon after the miscarriage. Because I hadn’t recovered from the miscarriage. Instead, I pushed the pain away and carried on with my life. This was a cycle that I continued with our second, third and fourth miscarriages. I buried the heartache and got on with life and the process of trying for a baby. But now that has come back to bite me in the bum.
Yet, we were so thankful when our daughter was born. With her birth, we thought that baby loss was in the past. We’d managed to start a family. So we automatically assumed that when we decided to try for a second child that it would all be okay. But it wasn’t. And we had three more miscarriages before our darling rainbow baby boy was born in July 2016.
If you’ve had a miscarriage then my heart goes out to you. But I want you to know that you don’t need to go through it alone. And hopefully, this post has given you some idea of what to expect. Because I found that the unexpected nature of the medical management of the missed miscarriage was one of the hardest things to cope with.
Other Resources About Miscarriage And Baby Loss
If you would like to read more of the posts that I’ve written about baby loss and miscarriage, then you can read them all here.
You can read the first post about The Diagnosis And Symptoms Of A Missed Miscarriage here.
And my most read posts about baby loss, miscarriage, recurrent miscarriage and pregnancy after baby loss are here:
Other Resources About Baby Loss And Miscarriage
Tommy’s fund research into stillbirths, premature births and miscarriages. They also offer advice to parents-to-be.
Their website and their Facebook page are run by midwives and are packed full of practical advice. However, if you would prefer to speak to a human being then you can call their midwife run PregnancyLine on 0800 0147 800.
The Miscarriage Association
They’ve produced a very helpful leaflet called Thinking about another pregnancy. This leaflet has lots of hints and tips on how to look after yourself and reduce your risk of having another miscarriage. They also have a helpline on 01924 200 799, which is open Monday to Friday, 09:00 to 16:00.
MAMA Academy is a charity which supports mums and midwives to help babies arrive safely. All the content on their website has been approved by The Royal College of Midwives. They also produce Wellbeing Wallets which are full of easy to understand information that will guide and help you in pregnancy.