I really am struggling to know where to begin this time, but I know that in order to deal with this, I need to write it all down, I need it to become a part of our lives and not something I’m scared of talking about.
On August 12th, I took two pregnancy tests – both were positive… It was one of the happiest days of my whole life. Please watch this short video and it will bring you up to speed;
I literally just breathed properly for what feels like an eternity. On Friday 23rd October, at 16weeks pregnant, I went online and booked a private gender scan for the following day. I figured we would be able to find out the sex and put to bed my concerns over how I was feeling within myself. Everyone kept telling me that I should just be enjoying how lucky I was to not be feeling horrid during this point in my pregnancy but something told me it wasn’t right.
Friday night, despite my inner niggling demons, Gary and I sat reeling off names for our baby and laughing together with the excitement of finding out what sex our little one would be. We went to bed happy and content not realising that that would be the last time we did for quite a long time.
George was already staying with my sister on the Saturday night so we drove to drop him off and stopped for lunch on the way to our appointment. Even at that point, my worries weren’t at the fore, just excitement and love, and so much happiness, that I burst into the clinic full of joy.
We got comfortable and the wonderful sonographer began scanning my tummy making excited small talk with us about our future. There it was, our little baby, all perfect and clear as day to see on a big screen right in front of us. I had already seen the wriggly little baby at two previous scans but this was the first time for Gary.
After around 7 or 8 minutes of scanning, things were not as they seemed. The sonographer turned to us and uttered the words “I’m so, so, sorry guys, but there’s just no heartbeat or movement.” She allowed us to listen for ourselves and watch our lifeless little baby on the massive fucking screen just lying there absolutely fucking lifeless for what felt like an eternity.
My heart shattered, Gary asked her to turn it off. I told her it was okay… I mean, it was definitely not okay at all, but I had absolutely no idea what else to say. I turned to my husband who sat sobbing next to me and we just held hands and cried, what else was there… our baby had died.
I went to the toilet, Gary went outside. We walked to the car very quietly and once the doors were shut I couldn’t hold it in any longer. The tears and sadness, the devastation and total desperation of what had just happened came rushing to the surface. I had no where to hide. I was full of confusion as to why, this late on and with no signs of miscarriage, I was going through this now? Why us? What happened? Why hadn’t my body realised our baby was dead? What a cruel, cruel thing and I just fort harder than ever to keep myself together and get through the next minute, the next hour, the next day.
We called the hospital and drove straight there, pointless really because they couldn’t really offer me any help. We filled in forms and booked to return the following day (Sunday) for a confirmation scan and to set about ‘treatment’.
That night was probably the worst night of my entire life to date. Every time I slept, even if it was just for an hour at a time, I woke up forgetting what had happened and reliving the trauma all over again. This continued for most of the week that followed but luckily has stopped happening now.
Now there is SO much more that I could add into here about how royally fucked over we were by some of the archaic systems in place within the NHS, but that’s not what I want to dwell on here. The nutshell being; I wanted to be under general anesthetic and not remember anything about the process of getting my dead baby out of my body, and after some serious insensitivity and delaying, this was soon becoming an impossibility without a two week (or longer) wait! It felt as though I was already sitting on a ticking bomb, I couldn’t have sat on it for any longer.
Again, there is so much that I could go into here but I don’t think it will help me just now. I want this to be something I can read back on and not feel bitter about in years to come, I want to feel acceptance and that wont come from slagging off the NHS and the absolutely shit storm of events we faced this week.
I took two tablets on Tuesday that were to shut off the hormones and prepare my body for delivery and then come back on Thursday to take another 4 tablets to start the labour. I was so worried about labouring at home but the first two tablets (luckily) seemed to do nothing at all.
The nerves were worse than anything I have ever experienced on that thursday morning, and the fear for my life was so hard to deal with when I said goodbye to George at the childminders. I packed an overnight bag and headed for hospital, not really prepared for the day at all.
I was particularly worried about the delivery feeling like labour, it didn’t. It was far, far more mentally harrowing, and much less physically painful. By 12.30 I had “passed the tissue” as they so pleasantly and sensitively put it and the sense of relief was overwhelming. It was over, or so I thought.
Salt in the wound
Not only had I suffered at the hands of an extremely rare ‘late, missed miscarriage’, I was now at the foot of an even bigger mountain; a retained placenta. This was probably the scariest thing that has ever happened to me and something I wouldn’t wish on anyone. It is almost certainly the closest I have ever felt to my life being cut short and I definitely have a lot of mending to do in my head over this experience.
However, with the biggest thanks to a very wonderful doctor, I am still here and I am mending very well indeed – without her, I don’t think I would have ever been quite back to myself again.
Settled in for the night, I said goodbye to Gary at 5.30pm and laid in the bed alone. I didn’t cry straight away. I felt that this day, this week, the whole fucking pregnancy, had been a surreal outer body experience. I felt numb.
Here I sit, a whole week has passed since I delivered our baby.
I saw the baby when it came out, I looked when I said I wouldn’t. I looked a second time too. I have no regrets, I won’t ever forget it. And yes, I have a long mental recovery to work through.
I know people will read this with tears in their eyes for what we’ve lost, I know people will think that it’s too soon to be talking about it or too personal to share with so many people, but I’m not ashamed of my baby dying, I’m not prepared to hide my feelings and this huge secret that isn’t the ‘done thing’ to talk about. I need this to feel real, to acknowledge it happening and never feel ashamed or awkward to talk about it in order to move forward.
There are things that play on my mind, like; I wish I knew if it was a boy or a girl (we will have access to this information later on if we wanted it), I have questioned my faith a lot too and I have wondered if God has saved us from something much worse or whether he is in fact a total arsehole. Gary and I both wished for a happy, healthy baby when we stirred our Christmas cake and perhaps we got what we wished for, perhaps our baby wasn’t healthy and that’s why I miscarried? Either way, next year, I will be wishing for something much less life affirming! (As you can see, this experience has not dampened my inappropriately timed sense of humour!)
The End (is it ever the end?)
Late, missed miscarriage affects less than 0.2% of pregnancies. I have learnt so much and researched late into the night about topics and case studies that had my heart racing and my eyes streaming.
Along with my amazing friends (huge thank you to Auntie Smurph, Karla and Dr.Hannah who have listened to me crying late into the night, looked at my furry tongue and helped ease the stress of my google diagnostics) and my amazing family, I have never felt so surrounded by love or scaffolded by support. The Miscarriage Association has also been a massive lifeline for me the last 2 weeks and I honestly don’t know how I would have coped if they weren’t there. I don’t want anybody to feel sorry for me, that’s not why I’m airing this heart break, I want anyone going through this to have the support that I needed and didn’t find until it was almost too late.
I feel lucky to have found them and I hope I can help anyone who is dealing with anything like this to make it feel like you will find a light at the end, it will get easier and there is ALWAYS hope.
Never, in my wildest imagination did I think I’d be the person writing this. But I have so much to be grateful for and I will come back fighting really soon.
With so much love