Charlotte’s story: miscarrying at home
After a diagnosis of missed miscarriage, Charlotte miscarried at home. Her story includes details of the physical process, as well as her feelings about the future.
I felt conflicted after everything. Physically, I felt relief that it had happened. That it was over and I could draw a line under it and try to move on. Emotionally it was harder. I did and still do feel a lot of anxiety around future pregnancies. Fear of the future and a lot of ‘what if this happens again next time round?’
I feel like a completely different person since going through a miscarriage. It was my first pregnancy and although it was very much planned for, I never realised how much I wanted children until it was ripped away from me.
Since it happened, I wake up with an emptiness before the anxiety creeps in. It is debilitating at times. It manifests itself as a physical ache in my heart which is filled with all of my worries for the future. What if I can’t get pregnant again? What if this keeps happening over and over? Will I be able to carry a baby to term? Will I be able to enjoy pregnancy ever again? How will I cope?
I was told our baby had stopped growing at five weeks four days, just a few days before we should have been 12 weeks pregnant and announcing our news to the world. I was sent to the EPU after experiencing minor brown/pink spotting, mainly for reassurance. My husband was abroad with work at the time and whilst I was anxious about things, he was resolutely positive. He was due home a week later and we were scheduled for our 12 week scan the day after he landed to see our baby for the first time.
The night before, we had spoken and he’d said that the reassurance scan would just be a preview for me until he was back and we could meet them together for the first time a week later.
Sadly, that was not the case. I was seen by the sonographer and I knew the moment she pressed the scanner to my stomach. The screen was angled so I could see and there was nothing. She asked if I could have got my dates wrong, to which I replied, no. She then said she would need to do an internal scan to get a better view. It was then that she said the five words that no one ever wants to hear ‘I’m sorry, there’s no heartbeat’. The baby hadn’t grown since five weeks and four days and I had suffered a missed miscarriage.
My heart sank and my hopes for the future and what could have been crumbled and worst of all, I had to phone my husband on the other side of the world to break the news to him over the phone in the middle of the night; that phone call will haunt me forever.
Within days of the scan, I started to miscarry naturally. Maybe I was naïve but because the baby had been so small, I assumed that things would have been on the minor end of the scale. There was far more blood that I ever anticipated. Why does no one tell you a realistic version of what to expect? The uncertainty and waiting around for it to happen was crippling. I barely dared leave the house at times for fear it would start when I was away from home.
It started with passing large amounts of blood and clots quickly and painlessly over the course of a couple of hours when I went to the bathroom. For the next 3 days, I had light bleeding and cramps. I thought maybe I was lucky and that was it. Over and done with.
On the fourth the cramps increased and came in waves. Following the cramps I started to again pass large amounts of blood and clots. This was far more than anything before and lasted for a number of hours, to the point where I was unable to leave the toilet for the duration. This ended with passing the gestational sac, something I didn’t even know was possible at such an early stage and something which was distinctly lacking in all the literature I had been given about what to expect.
I felt conflicted after everything. Physically, I felt relief that it had happened. That it was over and I could draw a line under it and try to move on. Emotionally it was harder. I did and still do feel a lot of anxiety around future pregnancies. Fear of the future and a lot of ‘what if this happens again next time round?’ I don’t think I’m alone in feeling this way. I find myself looking back at the whole two weeks almost as if it happened to somebody else.
We have decided to tell more people about our loss than about our pregnancy. I feel no shame or guilt surrounding it and if by being open, it can help someone who has gone through or is going through something similar, then it’s worth it. Knowing we had all the love and support from our family and friends throughout this meant the world but nothing is the same as hearing from people who have actually been in your shoes.
All we can do now is look towards the future. Still with sadness in our hearts but also with hope that we will be lucky enough to one day meet our rainbow baby.
All I would say to anyone unfortunate enough to go through a loss: know that you are never alone. Talk. Talk to anyone who will listen. Tell them as much or as little as you need to heal. You are special and you are loved and you are stronger than you know. You will get through this and even in the darkest hours, there is always a glimmer of light that will guide you through.