I want to begin by starting this blog with a note that this story may be sensitive to some people and may contain TMI (too-much-information). So please feel free to stop reading here.
I want to share my miscarriage story with you as not only does it help to get things off my chest, it could potentially help and comfort someone in a similar position. If you're going through it, know that you're not on your own. Miscarriage is still seen as a taboo subject, and whilst it's an entirely personal decision whether you speak about it or not, I've decided to share my story.
I never would have thought that I'd be writing a blog on this subject, let alone go through it myself. My heart goes out to every single mum, dad and family that have experienced this type of loss or similar. No words can describe the emotions, feelings and pain of losing a baby. With one in four pregnancies ending in miscarriage, it's more common than I ever thought.
The minute you see that positive pregnancy test a feeling of shock and panic, mixed with happiness and joy overcomes you. That's exactly how me and Greg felt when seeing ours on September 8th 2018, which showed we were three to four weeks along in this pregnancy. It was 5.30am and I knew I was 'late', so Greg rushed to our local supermarket to buy the tests. Once we got over the initial shock of the positive test, we began planning what our life would be like with George's new little brother or sister. We told our parents the follow day as we couldn't hide the excitement.
My sickness with George was so bad that I was in and out of hospital various times during the first trimester. This time round however, the sickness wasn't as bad. It didn't even cross my mind that this could mean anything was wrong, I just thought maybe it was a sign that it was a little girl instead. I had my booking-in appointment with my midwife and everything was running smoothly, or so I thought.
On October 17th (at 11 weeks) I began to notice some dark brown spotting when wiping and to be honest, didn't really think much of it. I'd heard that bleeding in pregnancy can be normal and isn't always something to worry about. But when I began to see the spotting every time I wiped, I started to worry. That evening, when Greg came home from work, I rang my midwife who said to pop a pad in over night and if I'm still spotting in the morning, to give her a call.
When I woke the following morning, there was a bit more spotting so I called my midwife, who referred me to the local Early Pregnancy Assessment Unit (EPAU) to get examined. Greg came out of work and we made our way to the hospital. We spoke to a lovely nurse who ran through my details and booked me in for a scan exactly a week later. This seemed like a lifetime away. We just wanted to know if our unborn baby was ok.
The morning of October 20th (George's first birthday), the bleeding had become bright red and there was a lot more of it, with cramping - but nothing that needed painkillers really. We took a trip to A&E, where I had bloods taken and had an internal exam at the EPAU. The internal exam showed that my cervix was closed - a good sign - and my HCG hormone levels came back as 8,000 which told us that I was around seven weeks from conception, which worked out about right. The doctor managed to get us an earlier scan appointment, on the following Tuesday, but we still had to wait three nerve-wracking days.
Soon after this appointment, I came down with a horrible cold. I've never experienced anything quite like it, where the aching was that bad I had to go to bed to feel better. Now I have no idea whether this had anything to do with the following events, but I've read other stories where other mums also came down with fevers before finding out that they'd lost their babies.
The day of our scan. October 23rd. By this point, the bleeding had got worse and I'd started passing small clots. In our minds, we knew what the outcome was to be. But there was still a tiny bit of hope that everything would be ok and that we'd have a healthy 12 week old baby in there.
I could tell by the face of the sonographer, as she was running the ultrasound device over my belly, that something wasn't right. Surely she'd have found something by now. The words we dreaded to hear "I can't see anything in the sac" came from her mouth. But she wanted to do the internal scan to double check - as this device can see things a lot clearer. Sadly, this also showed an empty sac and no visible heartbeat. We were taken to a quiet room where me and Greg could have some time alone. We cried, grieving for the baby we lost and never got to meet.
The doctor explained the scan to us and informed us that we'd need to return in a weeks time for another scan to ensure that nothing had changed. I had more bloods taken to see whether my HCG levels had fallen or risen, but they had dropped by almost half to 4,500.
We returned a week later, driving back from West Wales (where we were on holiday for the week) for the appointment. The scan showed the same thing. Baby hadn't grown and it was confirmed that we'd had a "silent miscarriage", where baby had stopped developing a few weeks ago and my body had only just started going through the process of miscarriage.
The doctor started going through my options of medical management. Wait and pass everything naturally. Take tablets to encourage the passing of everything. Or be put under general anaesthetic for a D&C. Personally, I didn't want to see or feel what was to come naturally or via the tablet option, so I opted for surgical management. I was booked in for surgery the following week. The next few days (and week or so previous) were a complete blur to be honest, experiencing every emotion possible. Fear. Sadness. Anger. Confusion. Why was this happening to us?
My surgery was November 6th 2018. I dreaded it. I'd been passing bigger clots and hoped one of them had not been the sac, as I had no idea what I was looking for. Even though I knew baby was gone, it was definitely going to be gone after today. But whilst I was frightened and dreaded it, I wanted it all to be over so that I could accept reality, start moving forward and heal. Greg took the day off work to be with me. By 4pm that day, I was at home with my little family.
Most pregnancy losses this early on are usually due to chromosomal abnormalities, so it does give me some comfort in knowing there was nothing I could have done. My body was in charge and decided now just wasn't the right time for us, so took the necessary steps it needed to.
However, there really are no words to describe this utterly upsetting experience and how heart-breaking it is. I remember saying to Greg one night "It's amazing how much you can miss and love someone you've never met". And it's so true. We'll never forget this precious baby.
Whilst the experience (I had the surgery three days ago) is still incredibly fresh, I wanted to write this now instead of revisiting the memories and emotions a few days, weeks or months down the line.
I count myself incredibly lucky each day to have such a loving and caring husband, and one year old little boy, our special gift, that keep me smiling. I love you both so much. Without them (and also my parents, sisters and in-laws), this experience would have been a lot harder.
I learned a lot through this experience and it's made me and Greg so much stronger. I now appreciate how it feels to go through a miscarriage and the people who help those who've gone through it such as The Miscarriage Association.
If you're going through or have recently gone through a miscarriage, stillbirth or infant loss, know that you're not alone. No one can make the pain go away, but it will get easier. It helped me by talking to friends and family members. It was shocking to hear how many have actually been though it too. If you're looking for someone to talk to, even just for a bit of comfort, you can email me here.
Thank you for following me on my crazy mummy journey so far. Hopefully we will have good news about a new addition to our little family in the future, but for now, it's time to concentrate on us.