I assumed that miscarriage happened like on tv, you find out you’re pregnant, you bleed, you go to hospital, you come home and try to get on. However mine lasted what seemed an absolute age.
I didn’t feel pregnant, I took the test because I was late. It was positive. I didn’t get any symptoms and after having 5 previous pregnancies I kind of knew what to be looking for. I went to the doctors anyway, Emily made me, and they did a repeat test and bloods. After having a previous ectopic they wanted to keep an eye on the hormone level as it can indicate ectopic if it doesn’t get above a certain number. A week later I was back with spotting and lower abdomen pain and a slight fever. My GP taking no chances sent me straight to scan to check it was where it should be. It was and everything looked ok except I still didn’t feel pregnant. I was booked in for the following week for another scan when they would be able to see a heartbeat. In the mean time they drew new bloods. I phoned for the results and the numbers didn’t work. Pregnancy hormone usually doubles every 2/3 days and mine didn’t sound high enough. I could hear the nurse on the end trying to do a positive voice “I’m sure if we sat down with a calculator it’s high enough” but I knew then that this baby was never going to happen. No one thought I’d have coped anyway.
At the next scan the blob had grown but I had a “bulky” uterus. “You may have got your dates wrong, come back next week and we’ll see” accompanied by a sympathetic head tilt and smile. They put your results in a brown envelope to take back to EPAU (they eventually got their own scan machine so you don’t have to sit with pregnant women) and who wouldn’t have a look at their own notes? Gestation was 5 weeks. I knew that wasn’t right. I went back, and I told Leon that there’d be a heartbeat, I know how cruel the universe can be, he didn’t think so. There was. Very slow, the sonographer had to have it confirmed by a colleague. The doctor talked to me and said I may start bleeding at any time, I told her I hadn’t stopped. And then I stopped bleeding, so I thought maybe, just maybe I did get my dates wrong, maybe his heart had only just got going and it would get stronger.
The following Tuesday I was back at the unit again. They had changed floors and the scan room hadn’t been set up so I was sent down to the pregnant women bit to wait my turn. Oh I should mention that Emily had come with me on every visit. She was working at a hotel at the time so changed shifts to fit in with my appointments and my mum had the little ones. She is someone you want to have with you at times like this as she is amusing- not always on purpose which is even funnier. We were in the waiting room and a woman was staring at Emily whilst sucking on a juice box. It wasn’t just looking it was staring and aggressive sucking. She was whispering to me “why am I being stared at in that way” but I couldn’t reply as I was sniggering with my face turned away. I suppose you had to be there. Anyway scan time came and there was no heartbeat. She got a colleague to confirm and asked if I wanted to see, I did as it was going to be my only chance. Then they put us in a room with sofa’s – a bad news room- and did her report. I had seen gestation 5 weeks, gestation 6 weeks and this one said Gestation 0 weeks. I was offered 3 options, wait and see, medical management with pessaries or vacuum. I wanted to go home so took the pessary option. I had to have bloods done first and they’d take an hour to come back. Emily phoned work and said she may be late, explained the situation and told them to “fire her then”. I asked what was wrong and she said they’d been “nobs” but I know she would have risked her job for me. She needed to be there for me. Leon had been phoned and told to pick up the little ones etc. I got the pessaries eventually and given a shed load of codeine then sent home. Come back in 2 weeks for a check up.
So on the 24th November, I had really bad, what felt like labour pains and copious amounts of bleeding. It was truly truly awful. The codeine didn’t really touch the pain, and I couldn’t sleep, probably because I’m a self recriminator and I was trying to figure out what I did wrong.
2 weeks later I had a positive pregnancy test at the hospital, scan sent home come back next week. We watched some good Christmas films, me and Emily. She kept my spirits up, and the littlest vampire was on which was a trip down nostalgia lane for us. They Kept coming back positive, and on the 29th December I had a scan that showed a small “mass” that the doctor said would pass naturally. Hurrah! Finally discharged. Errr……..no. After a Consultant had seen the file he wanted me in for an extraction the next day- buggered up Christmas, now New Year too. Dropped off- no one allowed to stay, picked up a couple of hours after surgery. I’d given Leon my engagement ring to keep hold of and he’d lost it somewhere. No big deal. In the car, nothing to say. Got home, nothing to say. Took codeine, went to bed. Spent the next few days in a fog. My mental health did get progressively worse (that’s a different tale) but I never realised how long miscarriages last. And just how emotionally draining it is to go back week after week, to be given hope then it be taken away, not to mention the physical toll. Feeling like a failure, again. Being given a number of a counsellor you’re never going to call. Feeling so alone. Crying over nothing.
“It’s probably for the best” “you can try again” “you’ve got four already- be grateful” are phrases you don’t really want to hear. I don’t know how couples go through it, time and time again. They have my admiration, they must be so strong.I plant another tree and plan another tattoo. Maybe I’m just daft- I know not everyone even sees it as a baby til a lot later, but I do. I saw him on screen, his heart tried so hard to beat. He just couldn’t do it. In my darker moments I think “maybe he didn’t want me to be his mummy, maybe he heard people saying I couldn’t cope, maybe he felt unwanted” I know it’s stupid thinking but it’s when I’m low these thoughts come. I have four beautiful, healthy children that drive me insane at times. I love them and am so grateful for them but it doesn’t mean I can’t take a moment every now and then and think on what could have been. I know that without my parents, my partner, Emily and my aunt and uncle I couldn’t have got through it, I may not have a large support network, but what I have is small and mighty.
I looked around that waiting room every week and hoped and prayed that those women would have a different outcome and that they’d get to hold their angels. I really hope they did.