Kate’s diary of a missed miscarriage
Kate's miscarriage took over a month to complete, here she shares details of her experience of the physical process.
Now the physical stuff is over I have to deal with all the emotions that come with pregnancy loss. I can go though every emotion before my morning cup of tea is finished.
We found out we were expecting baby number two in early November 2020. This came as a shock – a pandemic pregnancy the year we knocked our house down wasn’t part of the plan, so it took a couple of weeks to really sink in.
As we already had one child and it had taken 16 months to conceive him, I kind of felt we were owed a really easy journey into our second pregnancy. We started to get excited and think about our future baby, who would have been due on the 27th of July.
28th November, around week 6
I had some very light spotting. After having none with my first child I went into meltdown and rang NHS 111. They put me in touch with an Early Pregnancy Clinic (EPC) who assured me it was totally normal and just to monitor. The spotting lasted around 24 hours, then back to the business of feeling sick, enlarged boobs etc. Nothing else gave me cause for concern.
Friday 7th January, 11 weeks and 6 days
I’d had a rubbish night’s sleep due to cramping. I just figured this was because of stretching, body changes etc. Then I went to the toilet and felt something move. I looked down and there was a small clot in the toilet and bright red blood on the toilet paper.
I rang the hospital maternity triage number a midwife had given me, for the hospital where I had chosen to given birth. They told me to call the out of hours number (NHS 111) as they didn’t deal with pregnancies before 18 weeks. Saying this to me really made me feel like I didn’t count, like I wasn’t pregnant ‘enough’.
After calling 111 I was given a number for a local hospital that had an EPC and after speaking to them I was booked in for a scan later that morning.
In the hospital I was given both an external and internal scan. They asked if I had my dates right as there was a sac and foetal pole, but nothing else. This put me at around the 5/6 week mark, but from the date of my last period I knew I should be nearly 12 weeks. In addition to this, I was told there was no heartbeat. I knew then that this baby wasn’t going to make it.
I was taken to a private room where they told me this was a pregnancy of unknown viability and that I needed to wait a week for another scan – despite me saying there was nearly a 7 week difference between the dates I had calculated and what the scans were showing. I wasn’t offered any other options at this point.
Saturday 8th January
I woke up to period type pains and passed some rather large clots with heavy bleeding. The pain was manageable, but I bled on and off all day. I thought I’d done it and had passed what needed to be passed.
Sunday 9th January
I woke up to some mild cramping. I went downstairs while all was quiet and made a cup of tea. On my way back upstairs I had a pain that knocked me to the floor. I crawled back up to the landing and sat on the toilet. I started to pass a significant number of clots and the pain was unbearable. These clots were similar to a tennis ball in size.
My husband had to help me change pads so we could monitor the bleeding. It was heavy but not soaking multiple pads every hour. I thought the pain was going to make me pass out. I felt every move and every cramp, then I’d pass a clot or blood and there would be a short respite in the pain.
After around 3 hours of this, I was given a few hours reprieve in the middle of the day when the cramping lessened. At around 8pm everything started again. The pain was so intense I was uncontrollably vomiting and passing more clots and bleeding. I seemed to have little control while on the toilet, I’d cough and clots would come out under pressure or would hit the front of the toilet coating my legs in blood.
We rang the emergency number who said to keep monitoring and get back in touch if the bleeding was soaking multiple pads. This pain went on until 2am. It was blinding. I’d feel a contraction of the muscles repeating every few minutes and then get about 30/40 seconds reprieve. I crawled on my hands and knees so much that I gave myself carpet burns. I missed the toilet a few times with the clots, which my husband (my rock) cleared up with no fuss. It was at this point we believe we found the sac and contents.
At around 2am the intense pain stopped as suddenly as it had started and I was left weary, exhausted and in a constant state of mild discomfort.
I was booked in for a scan on the 14th of January. By this time I knew I’d miscarried. I’d bled on and off during the week and had constant dull aches and was feeling sick.
Friday 14th January
The scan confirmed what I already knew. However, they also found that the miscarriage was incomplete.
I was then given several options – medical management, surgery or continue down the expectant management route. The consultant told me he believed most of the products left were in my cervical area (this explained the pain when urinating) and that I should pass it naturally in the next 48 hours. I chose to continue to wait under his advice. I was given antibiotics and pain killers and sent home again.
Saturday 15th January
I woke up in mild discomfort again, then as I rolled over in bed I felt something move and another large clot the size of my palm came out. To be honest all I felt was relief at this point. I managed to function on this day. I showered, got dressed and made our family meals
Sunday 16th January
I had some very mild pressure in my pelvic region, but the bleeding was slowing at this point. I’d done it. I felt proud I’d managed this at home by myself, with the support of my husband, but I was exhausted both physically and emotionally. I continued to bleed and feel uncomfortable for another 2 weeks.
Thursday 27th January
My third internal scan – foetal matter still present. Pregnancy test – still positive. I was booked in for surgical management on Friday 28th January. I’d been to hell and back only to still need surgery
Friday 28th January
The procedure was performed under general anaesthetic. I was offered a vaginal pessary to soften the cervix, however, in the end they decided it wasn’t needed. The procedure was over very quickly. There was bleeding, but very little pain.
I continued to bleed heavily on and off for another 2 weeks. At my next appointment it was found I was very anaemic and I was sent home with iron medication.
I started what the doctor believes was my period – I had 24 hours bleed-free then started my period. This felt like the beginning of the end. I did feel pretty poorly losing more blood and have now been booked in for blood tests. Once this period is over I’m hoping to go back to work and start to feel more like me, it’s been a very long road.
February 28th to March 3rd
My period has tapered off and I’ve had very heavy discharge. I’m almost 100% sure I’m ovulating. I think I’m done.
The body can sometimes be very cruel. I had 3 months believing I was pregnant, doing everything ‘right’ – no alcohol, being careful about what I ate (very difficult over Christmas!) and I had no concerning signs, when in reality the baby wasn’t growing.
Now the physical stuff is over I have to deal with all the emotions that come with pregnancy loss. I can go though every emotion before my morning cup of tea is finished. I’m very sad: sad that I’ve lost the baby. I’m very angry: angry that the hospital sent me away to deal with this on my own only to still need surgery. I’m very proud: proud at doing so much myself at home, with the support of my husband and all my friends sending flowers, cards and texts. I feel acceptance and relief: acceptance that this baby wasn’t meant to be and relief that’s it’s done.
To my baby – you were wanted, you were loved
To any woman hearing the words “no heartbeat detected” or sat crying on the toilet now, or in bed or in the bath, or gowned up waiting to go to theatre – I hear you, I feel you and you will survive this.
All my love, Kate