Lauren’s story: a missed miscarriage
Lauren talks about her experience of a missed miscarriage and shares how she remembers her lost baby.
I have a box in my bedside drawer with reminders of the baby that will never arrive; two positive pregnancy tests... a scan picture... cards with kind and thoughtful words sent by friends and family... It feels important to keep these memoirs, these small tokens of a little life.
It’s been 3 months since my miscarriage.
I have a box in my bedside drawer with reminders of the baby that will never arrive; two positive pregnancy tests, pregnancy notes, a scan picture, the leaflets from the hospital on ‘expectant management’, the cards with kind and thoughtful words sent by friends and family, even the parking ticket receipt from the day I was admitted to hospital. It might seem morbid, but it feels important to keep these memoirs, these small tokens of a little life.
We had found out we were expecting our second baby in late November 2022. I’d experienced my first pregnancy during the pandemic, so I was really looking forward to sharing the happy news with our family face to face this time, which we did over the Christmas holidays.
My due date was 31st August, we joked about how I’d need to keep my legs crossed until September so the baby would be born at the start of the school year. I look back at this and feel sad. We’ll never experience another pregnancy with the cheery and light-hearted attitude that allows you to make such trivial jokes.
Following some light spotting in my 10th week of pregnancy, I was sent for a scan and told our baby had stopped growing at around 6 weeks gestation. I’ve heard lots of stories where women say this moment was earth shattering, heart-breaking and unbelievably painful. But my experience was different. When I heard the news I honestly don’t think I believed it. I left the hospital in a state of shock and don’t think I processed what had happened to my unborn baby until weeks later.
The physical process of miscarriage was a complete mystery to me. I started bleeding heavily at home 5 days after my scan had confirmed that I had a ‘pregnancy of poor prognosis’. The severity of my bleeding resulted in hospital admission, and I experienced something known as ‘cervical shock’ when I was being treated. This meant my blood pressure dropped dangerously low and I lost consciousness. I was kept in hospital overnight and narrowly avoided a blood transfusion. I had no idea that miscarriage could result in these types of complications, and the impact on my health was really significant. I was on bed rest unable to care for my daughter for about two weeks, signed off work for a month and I’m only now back to healthy iron levels 12 weeks later.
The traumatic nature of my miscarriage undoubtedly delayed my emotional recovery. The grief I’ve experienced since has been an oscillation between numbness, profound sadness and searing anger, hitting me when I least expect it. I took my toddler to a music class, and during ‘The Wheels on the Bus’ I burst into tears. It hit me that the last time I’d been there, I had been pregnant and occupied with thoughts of how I’d manage to attend the class with a 2-year-old and a newborn, delighted at the idea that the unborn baby would soon be able to hear the music from the comfort of my tummy. I couldn’t believe it had all been ripped away from me so brutally.
I’m a resilient person, but miscarriage is incredibly difficult. I’ve found enormous comfort in reading other women’s stories and talking to people who have been through it. There’s a unique bond you immediately share with a person who has had this experience.
I’m still in the process of recovering, whilst also knowing I’ll never really ‘get over’ what happened. The 31st August will always be my baby’s due date, and I will cherish the memories of the short time I carried our second baby.