Jane’s story: a natural miscarriage at home
Jane shares her experience of having a miscarriage at home. She talks about the physical process and hopes her story will help others feel better prepared.
Now I'm not angry that I had a natural miscarriage. I am proud I survived it, and I am hopeful about our future as a family.
I found out I was expecting our second child after a holiday to Spain. I had been really sick with my first child so I took some time off work in preparation, but the vomiting didn’t come. I was relieved but became suspicious. I had all the other symptoms of pregnancy though, so I carried on and hoped I was just lucky not to feel sick this time.
I met my midwife and became excited for our next baby, thinking about pushchairs, working patterns etc. However, just as I was approaching 11 weeks I had some spotting. It was a small amount but I also started to develop period pain. I knew in my heart it was a miscarriage.
I called for an appointment and was booked into the early pregnancy unit (EPU) in 2 days’ time. The midwife on the phone was very kind, but she did tell me, “The EPU will only want to see you if you are pregnant. If you miscarry before then you should talk to your GP”. As if it would be as simple as that.
I went to the EPU and the staff were pleasant, but my baby only measured 5 weeks – and I was 11 weeks pregnant at this point. The sonographer and nurse I saw both thought I could have got my dates muddled up as I couldn’t quite remember the first day of my last period, but I knew it was nearly 3 months ago. I found it a bit patronising.
I was very frustrated and disappointed that I didn’t have the option to end my pregnancy at this point, instead I was booked into the EPU in 1 weeks’ time for a repeat scan. I felt like I had lost control over my body. As I had my birthday coming up, I had already decided before the appointment that I wanted either surgery or medically assisted miscarriage.
I started bleeding heavily 2 days later. I passed clots but I was not in much pain, and I wondered if this would be the extent of the bleeding. All the advice I read was very vague so it was hard to know what to do. I was on holiday that week, and had a guest. I wanted to take her out and have fun with my son.
The next day I had bad cramping and period pain. After lunch I felt I needed to lie down. Then I went to sit on the toilet as I had an urge to push, a bit like being in labour. There was a lot of blood, and a lot of pain in my vagina. This continued for 3 hours. I found it more painful than labour, and far more frightening as I wasn’t sure where I could go if it became too much. But I found that by drinking sugary drinks and being on the toilet I could manage. Eventually I passed a very large clot and I felt immediate relief.
I was tired for days afterwards. And I was very angry. I felt I had been spoken to about my feelings about miscarriage, but not about the physical process itself.
I wish I had planned childcare for my son in the days after I started bleeding. I wish I had taken regular paracetamol. I wish I hadn’t tried to carry on as normal. I would advise anyone in this position to make life as easy as possible for yourself. Tell trusted friends, colleagues and family. Don’t try and carry on as normal. Take it easy.
The following week I went for a repeat vaginal scan. When I went back to the EPU, I was surprised to be asked about the miscarriage by the sonographer – and surprised too that I couldn’t talk about it without crying. I felt I had been through a deeply traumatic experience, and to talk about it casually was diminishing it.
I would advise ladies going back to the EPU for a repeat scan to write all the clinical details down – when the bleeding started and finished etc. So then you don’t have to talk about it. I felt I had lost control again when the male sonographer told me a natural miscarriage was best for my body. I was so angry with a man for telling me this, especially when I had no choice over my miscarriage.
I was further annoyed when the very understanding nurse got my dates wrong when I saw her afterwards. She told me I was only 8 weeks pregnant when I saw her, but I was nearly 12 and this was very important to me. She was very kind though, and explained to my husband and me that the miscarriage wasn’t our fault. She also gave us a teddy bear as a keepsake. I didn’t want this but my husband found it comforting. I think we grieved in different ways; I felt very angry and he was probably more sad and disappointed.
I found it so helpful to discuss my story with the Miscarriage Association helpline afterwards. It was so good to tell someone my experience without them being defensive.
I wanted to share my story with ladies like me who would not have chosen a natural miscarriage, but who have to go through it. I was so annoyed at the time that I couldn’t chose the way I would have liked to have miscarried, but now I’m not angry that I had a natural miscarriage. I am proud I survived it, and I am hopeful about our future as a family.
When I reflect on my miscarriage I can see I could manage the pain at home, but I do wish I had been better prepared. I hope sharing my story can help someone and that they may have a slightly easier time physically than I had.
I would like to say to anyone reading this in a similar position, I am so sorry, but it does get easier. There is hope.