The lovely @mmelindor has blogged this:
This week the Mumsnet Miscarriage Code of Care campaign kicks off and women are blogging about their experiences of miscarriage and the care they received.
I decided to write my story about my two pregnancy losses. In places it maybe quite graphic so please don’t read if it will upset you.
My first ever pregnancy was very much wanted. We had been trying for 6months and I was overjoyed when I finally got the positive test. If truth be told I had allowed myself to get a little bit obsessive in the trying to concieve malarky. We had a 3 week honeymoon (delayed – we’d got married 6months before!) booked to Thailand between when I was 7-10 weeks so we were understandable anxious about this and I had had some odd pain in my left hand side so thankfully we were able to get an early scan. They do the early scans in gynae which is excellent so you don’t have to mix with pregnant women if the news is bad. I was 6weeks and three days. There was a little heartbeat flickering on the screen. I asked the midwife what should I do if I miscarry in Thailand. She replied “you won’t miscarry”. And I didn’t. Not in Thailand anyway. We had a wonderful honeymoon. I was feeling mildly nauseous but was never sick. I started to get a bump and all the Thai’s knew I was pregnant. It was weird considering how early it was but perhaps it was just because I was no longer holding my pot belly in! The night we got back from Thailand I was 10weeks pregnant. I woke at 5am with period pain. I checked in the loo and there was a smear of brown blood. I didn’t want to wake H so I anxiously worried for the next three hours and tried to go back to sleep. I checked again and there was a tiny bit more blood – red this time. I cried and as it was sunday and my first pregnancy I didn’t know what to do so we decided to go to A&E. We were seen quickly but were told it was a threatened miscarriage and they would try and scan me. We had to wait ages for the scan and everytime I went to the loo there was a little bit more blood. They took lots of bloodtests. Finally about 5hours later they took me upto the gynae ward where there was a free scanner. H didn’t come in with me, they scanned me and told me there was no heartbeat. They said the pregnancy measured 6weeks 5days and had stopped growing then (the day I flew to Thailand) They also said my blood test results showed my HCG levels (pregnancy hormone) to be too low for a pregnancy of 10weeks. It was a missed miscarriage. This is where the hospital let me down. I was treated by two young female doctors, I don’t think they can have had much experience of miscarriage because although they seemed sympathetic they didn’t really explain the process to me or what was going to happen but then maybe I was too numb to take it all in. I wasn’t given any leaflets just basically told to go home and wait it out, take painkillers and once the tissue had passed to ring and book a scan to check everything had all gone. I asked them to let the midwifes know so I could cancel my booking in appointment and my 12week scan which should have been in two weeks. H was with me at this point and he was just as devastated as me although holding it together marvellously for me. We went home. Within hours I was writhing on all fours on my kitchen floor in agony. I was maxed out on paracetamol and ibuprofen. I remember saying “if this is what labour is like I don’t fucking want a baby anyway” (and if only I knew what was coming!). We tried to watch a film but I was in so much pain I needed to go and sit on the loo. I was bleeding really heavily at this point soaking through pads every half an hour. At one point I thought we might need to call an ambulance to go back to hospital it seemed like I was losing so much blood. I was passing big clots and suddenly I passed something as big as fist if not a bit bigger. I tried to catch it but couldn’t. I didn’t want my baby to go down the toilet. I screamed and cried at the loss and H who was sat on stairs outside the toilet came to help. After that the bleeding eased up a little and the pain was suddenly so much better. I cleaned myself up and asked H about whether I should flush the loo. I had read about women who miscarried actually burying their loss and planting a rose bush or something in memory which I liked as an idea but we didn’t have a garden and actually fishing around the toilet bowl for the pregnancy sac was too much so we flushed the loo. I then wanted a bath. The bath ended up bright red with blood. After the bath I told H- “Cor it was a bit of a bloodbath” and for some reason that sentence made us laugh hysterically for ages- we just kept setting each other off, we were crying with laughter (and sadness). It was funny but I think we both really needed that laugh. After that I just bled like a normal period for about a week. I went back to the hospital for my scan to check everything had gone. It was in the same place and same room as where I had had the every first positive scan with the heartbeat and was told I wouldn’t miscarry. The student midwife who scanned me was lovely. Held my hand gave me tissues and was absolutely brilliant. Everything had passed and we were discharged. Sadly a few days later I got a call from the midwifes wondering why I had missed the 12 week scan appointment. I bawled and the midwife was mortified and so lovely on the phone to me. But that really hurt that the hospital systems had fucked up that simple thing and caused me so much more distress. I also passed on a complaint about the midwife who told me “you won’t miscarry” because of the heartbeat scan, they said they would ensure they didn’t say that again. My doctors were lovely though- they signed me off for as long as I needed and sent a “sorry for your loss” letter which was fab and made me feel looked after.
When I fell pregnant again with munchkin without having a period, I was terrified. A week or so in (5weeks pregnant) and again on a sunday I started to bleed very slightly. I had been awake alot of the night with a bad pain on one side so we decided to traipse off to A&E again. This time I was classed as a suspected ectopic and they hooked me up to a drip incase I needed surgery. Finally they did the scan. It was the same doctors on duty. They didn’t remember me. They couldn’t see a heartbeat but they could see the sac was in the right place so it wasn’t an ectopic and they took bloods to see about my HCG levels which were in normal levels so asked me to come back on tuesday to check for the doubling. I did and thankfully they had doubled and by that friday I had started puking so I kind of knew munchkin was a keeper as I had never felt as ill. I think I had a scan at 8/9weeks to check and all was fine. So second pregnancy but threatened MC around my care was better than first time.
My third pregnancy ended in an ecoptic in January this year. We had moved out of London and away from the hospital that dealt with my first and second pregnancies (partly brilliantly partly horrifically). It was unexpected. H was working in city we were moving too but I was living an hour away with Munchkin. I was numb when I found out I was pregnant and I was really angry. It wasn’t really planned although we had talked about it and I really couldn’t face a labour (as my PTSD had got quite bad in that time). I knew I was pregnant for less than 24hours before I started to bleed. The relief I felt scared me. I genuinely wasn’t that bothered. The bleeding stayed very light for 24hours but I was in a bit of pain so I decided to go and stay with H in the flat he was staying in. That night the pain got worse and worse but the bleeding never did. This worried me as I knew what to expect from last time. Again I ended up on all fours in pain. H looked up the early pregnancy unit timings and saw they were 8.30-9.30 so we legged it round to the local hospital. There was no-one on reception and absolutely loads of women waiting. I wasn’t sure I could sit with them in so much pain waiting for my turn. The sign on the wall said waits of up to 4 hours. I filled in a form and finally the reception opened. I went straight there burst into tears and said “please help I know I am miscarrying but I am in too much pain to sit here”. The receptionist was incredible- whisked me straight to a nurse who found me a side room it took a while to get the strong pain relief but they managed it, and they took my history. I was scanned quickly at which point it showed I had an ectopic pregnancy and needed surgery. I saw the registrar and she explained the procedure and I was scarily calm, numb calm but absolutely fine about what was happening too me. The registrar even said to me “I don’t want you to get upset but I am amazed at how composed you are”. I just shrugged and said “It’s the way I deal with things”. Little did she know how relieved I was that it wasn’t a viable pregnancy because it meant I didn’t have to give birth again. She did put her foot in it once- she made me take a pregnancy test before the surgery as they have to verify the pregnancy before they open you up. She said about the result. “that’s good you are pregnant” and showed me the test stick. I think I did feel sad at that point- no it wasn’t good because I was losing another baby. I was taken up to a ward and prepped for theatre and then wheeled down. H, Munchkin and my mother in law were about through this. I remember feeling a bit scared going into theatre and again they explained they had to remove the pregnancy but they would try and save my fallopian tube if they could. The next thing I know I am waking up and a lovely nurse is beside me. The first thing I asked about was my tube. She held my hand and said sorry but my tube had ruptured and had to be removed and I had been bleeding internally. She said they had checked my other tube and that was clear so there was no reason I couldn’t conceive again. I think I cried alot at this point and in my off my face on general anaesthesia state I told her all about munchkins birth and she was so lovely and listened and reassured and was just generally brilliant. I was taken back up to the ward and H, Munchkin and Mother in Law were all there looking worried, apparently I was white as a sheet but I felt i was waving away and absolutely fine. I stayed in overnight and was discharged the next day. I can’t really fault the hospitals care of me since I was seen and treated so quickly but I was saddened that I had to chase the hospital 4 times for my discharge notes for my GP who needed them. That was a stress I didn’t need. It took me about a week to feel like I hadn’t been hit by a truck. I couldn’t lift Munchkin and H couldn’t take time off work so my incredible step mother in law flew in from Dubai to look after me for a week. We are fairly close in age so having her around was lovely that week and although the whole episode was sad it wasn’t nearly as devastating as the miscarriage, this is partly because of the PTSD stuff but also I think partly because of the nature of the loss. Surgical removal seemed so much less traumatic. I think women who are miscarrying should have their options very clearly explained to them and be offered surgery if they would prefer rather than miscarrying at home.
Anyhow that is my story, but as you know there is always hope- 2months later I fell pregnant again with Womb womble despite only one tube and I am now 26weeks pregnant with her. I worry alot about stillbirth since sometimes I think I am playing “my uterus hates me” bingo- miscarriage, traumatic birth, ectopic so what’s the next thing? But I touch wood and hope all will be okay.
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