What's it like going through a miscarriage?
Posted On: 14/10/2016
By: Louise Carman
The 15th October is International Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day and the theme this year is to #breakthesilence around miscarriage and stillbirth. The social stigma surrounding miscarriage is huge but 1 in 4 women will experience pregnancy loss in their lifetimes. That's an awful lot of your friends, sisters and colleagues that are carrying this pain with them everyday, trying to be strong. I even considered writing this anonymously because the thought of people I know reading this is mortifying.
Last year, I was thrilled to discover that I was pregnant. I finally saw that elusive 2nd line on the pregnancy test that had taken the piss out of me for so long with its absence. On the downside, I had only taken the test after having experienced some spotting for the past week. Light bleeding in early pregnancy can be normal but I was referred to the BEP (Bleeding in Early Pregnancy) Clinic at Whiston Hospital to be monitored. My blood tests confirmed that my HCG levels were rising as expected. Although I continued to have some intermittent bleeding, I started to get my hopes up.
On the morning of Friday 13th February, I saw my baby on the scan screen. It wasn't anything that could be recognised as a baby but the nurse pointed out the pregnancy sac and foetal pole. I didn't care that it was just a blob; that was my baby who I had waited so long for. My husband went to work and I went home clutching my scan photo.
A couple of hours later, I started bleeding heavily. I panicked. I rang my husband to come and take me to A&E. I rang my best friend and wept down the phone to her while I waited. I was convinced that I had lost my baby.
It was getting late by the time I got seen and the BEP clinic was closed but my doctor managed to catch the consultant on her way home and she agreed to scan me whilst training him. My heart soared when I heard her tell him, pointing at the screen, where the pregnancy sac was. My baby was still there!
Then she turned the screen towards us and pointed out that little blob which was now moving up and down. The movement was caused by the contractions of my uterus as my body tried to expel the pregnancy. My baby was still there but I was having an inevitable miscarriage. There was nothing they could do to stop it.
They kept me in hospital overnight but I didn't sleep a wink, just lay there all night silently crying. I was discharged the following morning and told it may take up to 2 weeks but 5 days later, I saw the teeny tiny sac and knew my baby was gone. It was confirmed a few days later at a final scan.
The early days were the worst of my life. I didn't get out of bed for days on end and I didn't eat for 4 days straight (absolutely unheard of for me, greedy bitch). I roared absolute obscenities at my poor husband. I tried to go back to work after 2 weeks but on my second day, I pulled into the Showcase car park and rang my boss in floods. I ended up being off work for 2 months.
It has now been 20 months and not a day has gone by that I’ve not thought about my baby. She would have just turned 1.
In the early days, I was pretty good at talking about my experience and how I was feeling. If anything, I wanted to shout it from the rooftops and make everybody acknowledge it. After a while though, I did start to feel like I was boring people and making them uncomfortable. I started telling everyone I was OK even though I was anything but. I’ve got pretty good at being “OK” but the truth is that at any point I’m no more than 10 seconds from tears.
I’m pretty angry at the world. I don’t understand why this happened to me. I naively thought I had been through the worst life could throw at me when I couldn’t get pregnant. It took me ages to make my peace with that and now this?! Are you fucking kidding me?! It’s like some dodgy 80’s game show “And here’s what you could have won...”
If you have announced your pregnancy to me in the last 20 months, I have probably hurled abuse at my phone and/or my husband and plotted your downfall. If we're particularly close, I may have stropped off to bed and cried myself to sleep.
I sometimes put Beam Me Up by Pink on and cry in the car while I’m driving to or from work. Big, snotty sobs that make other drivers on the East Lancs look at me like I’m mental.
I still keep my positive pregnancy test and scan photo in my bedside table. Sometimes I get them out and have a good cry.
You don’t have to go through this alone though. There are organisations such as the wonderful Honeysuckle Team at the Women's, who are being supported by this year's Scouse Bird diary, that provide a safe space for women who have experienced miscarriage or stillbirth to talk about their feelings. It's about time we opened up and said that it's OK to not be OK.
For more information on the The Honeysuckle team and the amazing work they do you can visit the Liverpool Women's Charity wesbite. On the 15th October 2016 they invite you to be part of an international 'wave of light' and to light a candle to remember all the babies who weren't meant for this world.
You can read Louise's article from last year about what happens when trying for a baby goes to shit.