Georgina talks about her experience of having a missed miscarriage, the physical process and what helped her recovery.
As time has gone on I've realised that there is happiness after a miscarriage, even if it's not the obvious version of being pregnant again.
My husband and I always had a quite relaxed approach to starting a family. His job takes him away for months at a time and we decided last year that we would start trying when he returned home in early August and just ‘see how we get on’. To our surprise we caught the first week he was home! It was a wonderful shock filled with excitement and happiness, but most surprising was the way it made me feel. The moment I saw the positive result that was it, I instantly felt I was a mum, not ‘going to be a mum’ as I thought I would feel, I WAS one and I can only describe it as the best feeling in the world.
My pregnancy continued over the next few weeks with all the reassuring pregnancy symptoms: nausea, fatigue (I could fall asleep at 7pm every night!), cravings and breasts getting bigger and bigger. I really felt pregnant. I naively avoided reading too much about miscarriages. I was aware of the risks/signs of a miscarriage, however I just thought ‘keep positive, keep willing your little peanut to grow, get to the twelve week mark, get to the scan and then everything will be fine’.
October 12th — the morning of my twelve week scan arrived and I was overjoyed. I truly believed that we had done it, we had got to the milestone mark, no pain, no bleeding and I was still feeling so pregnant. With all my familiar symptoms still present I confidently told my husband to travel to work for the week in Scotland. Due to Covid-19 restrictions he couldn’t come to the scan appointment anyway, but I knew I’d be fine—I was going to see our baby for the first time that day.
In the scan room I was nervous and excited. The screen flashed up and there was our baby. I was so happy, however the sonographer was silent. Pressing harder, she asked me to confirm my dates and then said she needed to leave and get a second opinion. Another sonographer came in the room, took one look at the screen and shook her head, ‘Sorry, there’s no heartbeat.’.
The utter devastating shock is something I don’t think I could ever describe. Left alone in the scan room, trying to understand how or what has happened. I saw our baby, how can it have died and I have no clue?
The first time I heard the term ‘missed miscarriage’ was as it was being explained to me in the quiet room at the hospital. Even though my baby had stopped growing my body continued to think it was pregnant. I was in disbelief. I was given a leaflet outlining my options, and told to take my time before I let myself out.
There are no words at that moment, just an overwhelming feeling of loneliness and grief. Crying, I then tried to make it back outside without much success. Luckily two lovely nurses found me wandering the corridors and walked me to my car. All I could keep saying was, “I’ve had a miscarriage”.
Phoning my husband to tell him the news was the most heart-breaking thing I’ve ever had to do. How could I explain something that I myself didn’t understand? Our future, our child, had gone in an instant.
The next few days after that were a blur. The realisation that I was carrying around something that was no longer living and hadn’t been for some time was particularly hard. Part of me was humiliated, in truth. I was told that ‘medical management’ at the hospital would be the best option since this was my first pregnancy. After a Covid test I was then booked for October 15th, 2020 — which, as I saw on the TV when lying in my little ward room that day, was National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day… How apt, you couldn’t even write it!
I was told I would be in and out within a day and luckily my husband would be allowed in with me. Looking back, I don’t think you can prepare yourself for the physical effects of a miscarriage, which for me was the pain, the intense side effects of the medical management, the plummeting exhaustion. What was advertised as a ‘within the day’ procedure turned into three days after the medical management failed. It took repeated doses and eventually I remember wishing for the very thing that I had been terrified of just a few days before — all so the pain would stop. On day three I was told ‘if this next dose fails again we will have to prep you for the ‘surgery option”, the one thing I was advised not to have. However, that morning I finally passed what the nurses and doctors called the ‘product of conception’, which even now feels like a coldly clinical way to describe what my husband and I had just lost. For us it was nothing less than our first child.
In the weeks afterward I found myself crying for no apparent reason on several occasions. I felt guilty that somehow I had caused this — that I wasn’t healthy enough, that I wasn’t giving my baby enough nutrients to let it grow and be strong. I felt a failure, especially towards my husband; and naive and ashamed that I allowed myself to think that I was a mum.
I became obsessed with getting pregnant again as soon as possible, trying to get that initial happiness back. I remember thinking that if I could just get pregnant again then this would all go away. However, as the months passed with no sign of pregnancy, I realised this was only keeping me in a continuous cycle of disappointment and sadness.
As time has gone on I’ve realised that there is happiness after a miscarriage, even if it’s not the obvious version of being pregnant again. Just focussing on what you already have, on loved ones, friends, family and doing the things that make you happy are the biggest help in your recovery.
I don’t know if or when I’ll be pregnant again, nor will I ever forget what’s happened because the memory will never go away, but I just wanted to share this story and hopefully help others to know that it gets easier. You will feel happiness again.