After giving birth to a healthy boy in 2013, Hayley experienced two miscarriages in 2016. She writes here about how talking about her experience has helped.
The doctor said ‘I am sure we will see you again.’ I know that was supposed to be encouraging but it didn’t feel like it.
I have had two miscarriages in the last year. With the first one I had booked for my booking appointment when I went to the loo and started to bleed. I was at work which made an already traumatic situation even worse. I phoned the doctor and asked what I should do. He was quite blasé about it and said don’t worry it would probably be fine and that he would call me back with an appointment. I didn’t hear so called again. By this stage, the bleeding was getting heavier.
I was sent to EPU. They did a scan but because I was six weeks it was hard to see if the baby was forming inside the sac. I was told to come back in two weeks’ time. The bleeding was still getting heavier.
My husband and I had planned a trip to Cardiff where he was taking part in the half marathon. We still went but I felt very stressed and unsettled. Waiting two weeks for the scan felt like waiting forever. On the day of the scan I felt nervous and apprehensive. When the doctor did the internal examination she said ‘Hayley, I am very sorry.’ I knew in my heart I had lost baby but hearing those words my world felt it had stopped.
I couldn’t stop crying and my husband didn’t know what to say or do, or how to feel. A nurse offered to take me into quiet room. Because it was so early I didn’t need any intervention. I was handed a leaflet and told to go home. The doctor said ‘I am sure we will see you again.’ I know that was supposed to be encouraging but it didn’t feel like it. I had just lost a baby there was no way I could contemplate trying for another one. At time we were moving house so I started to worry if the stress caused this to happen, or perhaps I lifted something I shouldn’t have? Perhaps I should not have stopped running?
I told my family and close friends. My Mum was devastated as was my sister. I found it hard to talk about initially because it was so upsetting.
Seven weeks into my next pregnancy I felt very sick, which I took as a good sign. Around 11 weeks I went to the loo and saw a little bit of blood. I talked to the midwife and she said I could go to hospital and wait to see someone. There was a lot of waiting. Eventually I spoke to a consultant and she examined me. A sonographer wasn’t available as she was dealing with an ectopic pregnancy at the time. When the consultant examined me, she said she couldn’t see too much blood which sounded hopeful. I was booked into EPU the next day.
After taking lots of pictures I was told ‘I’m sorry there is no heartbeat, the baby died at 9.5 weeks’ so it was a missed miscarriage and my body thought I was still pregnant. It hit me hard. It had felt like a good strong pregnancy. To be back there again and seeing same people, and being told again I was having a miscarriage was unbearable, made worse by seeing people come out and holding scans and happy faces.
They took me into a private room to discuss the options. I opted for it to be medically managed. A couple of days later we were back in the hospital and left in a room with no idea what was going on. They issued the medication to get everything going. I started to lose a bit of blood. Six hours in I passed the baby. It was awful, I can still see the tiny baby in the bedpan in the toilet with lots of blood. I pressed the buzzer. They confirmed it was the baby and said we just need to wait for the placenta. 12 hrs after taking the medication I was told they would have to assist me with the placenta. The pain was unbearable and I had to have gas and air.
I had to go back for a scan that confirmed there was still ‘product’ in the womb. I was booked in for surgery. By this point it has almost been a month from when the miscarriage started. I desperately needed closure. The surgery was fine and we went home. We were offered no counselling and because it was before the 12 week mark they didn’t even talk about it as if it was a baby.
I do not feel like the level of care was up to scratch and it continues to be lacking for parents who lose their babies under 12 weeks. I was given the medically managed procedure on a ward where doors were kept open and heartbeat monitors were attached to expectant mums. There was a total lack of information regarding what happened to the baby after the procedure and no support offered once discharged from hospital
I have had to seek counselling outside of the NHS as none was offered and I still have lots of questions regarding the treatment/care we received during this very difficult time. I have had to contact the PALS group to try and get answers myself which does not help with the grieving process or getting closure.