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Becky’s story: missed miscarriage during the coronavirus pandemic

Becky shares her story of experiencing a missed miscarriage during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, which meant fewer options for miscarriage management and her husband not being able to accompany her in hospital.

The UK went into lockdown... I was going to have to do the next part on my own.

I went to my local EPAU after a very small bleed. I was 11 weeks pregnant and was feeling all of the typical pregnancy symptoms. When I was told it was a missed miscarriage my world collapsed. Luckily, at this point, my husband was with me.

We were given some leaflets and asked to return a week later. During that week the UK went into lockdown, which meant three things for me:

  1. The clinic would be moved from its community centre base to the local hospital. This created a huge panic about seeing babies and pregnant women.
  2. It more than likely meant that the option of surgical management would no longer be available. This is what I would have chosen if it was offered.
  3. Lastly, it meant I was going to have to do the next part on my own, with my husband in the car park.

Fast forward a week and I arrive at the EPAU. I first turned up at the wrong department, where the staff asked how many weeks pregnant I was. Cue tears and a fumbled answer, but I ended up in the correct department eventually. I was asked if I had any coronavirus symptoms and the chairs in the waiting room were 2 metres apart.

My fears were correct, I only had two options. Let nature take its course or medical management. I opted for the latter. Everything was explained to me and all my written down questions were answered. I wrote things down because my husband and I had discussed quite a lot and I didn’t want to forget anything. The nurse gave me the pessaries, suppositories and anti-sickness medication. I was also given codeine, industrial style sanitary pads and bed pads to take home. With that I met my husband in the car park.

Later the same day I was in a lot of pain, which I expected. I called the gynaecology ward, who assured me it was normal but that if I couldn’t tolerate the pain to go to A&E. I arrived at A&E around midnight where I was greeted by two members of staff in full PPE who checked I didn’t have any signs of coronavirus. Understandably this was checked by every member of staff I came into contact with.

At this point I was really struggling with the pain, my pads were filling up very quickly and to be honest I was scared. I was given some morphine, had a cannula put in and bloods taken before I was taken to the ward. When the doctor arrived she felt my tummy and used a speculum to perform an internal examination. It turned out that I had tissue caught in my cervix which needed to come out. The doctor was really adamant that she did not want to admit me because of the coronavirus, I appreciated her honesty. This meant she was going to remove the tissue using forceps; it was uncomfortable but brought instant relief. The doctor had a chat with me afterwards; she gave me clear instructions on what to do if the pain worsened. With that, at 6.30am, I again met my husband in the car park.

The next few weeks went by; physically I was improving every day. Mentally I had begun telephone counselling – again due to coronavirus – and I returned to work, which was difficult. With the country still in lockdown it meant we couldn’t see friends and family or do the things we normally would to make ourselves feel better, it made the grieving process difficult.

Three weeks post medical management I had to take a pregnancy test. I spent a long time before I got pregnant wishing for a positive test but now I was hoping and expecting a negative test. The test showed up two bright pink lines, it was a very positive result. Cue another call to the EPAU, an ultrasound was organised for the next day and potential coronavirus symptoms were checked. I had to buzz into the hospital which meant buzzing the delivery suite and when I got out of the lift I was greeted with a waiting room of pregnant women.

Hand gel was on the door to the department, the chairs were again spaced apart and all staff were using PPE. The scan showed some retained tissue and after a discussion with a doctor it was decided to wait two weeks and repeat the pregnancy test.

So that’s where I am currently, waiting for a negative pregnancy test whilst waiting for the lockdown to be lifted. Hopefully, both will happen sooner rather than later.