Megan shares her story of experiencing a missed miscarriage during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. If you're looking for more information about the impact of coronavirus on your care please have a look at the link at the bottom of this page.
Every member of staff that I came across was kind, compassionate and clearly working hard in the midst of these times... I just remember letting out an awful cry and aching for my husband to be there with me.
On 11th February, I had a positive pregnancy test! This was my seventh month on Clomid fertility treatment and I was beginning to believe it wouldn’t happen. The gynaecologists had told us that we were coming to our last chances as it was clearly not working. Well, they were wrong and there it was clear as day – ‘pregnant 1-2 weeks’! I cried so much and told my husband and my mum. We all agreed to keep quiet as we knew the risks.
On 24th February, I had some cramping so went to the Early Pregnancy Unit (EPU) at the hospital. I had an ultrasound and they could see a sac, but no baby, and they couldn’t be 100% sure that it was in the right place. So, I was diagnosed with a Pregnancy of Unknown Location (PUL). They told me not to panic as I could just be earlier than expected, so I had bloods done over the next few days, which were slightly more reassuring.
I then went in a week later for another ultrasound and there was a baby inside the sac, but they still couldn’t see a heartbeat, so it was upgraded to a Pregnancy of Uncertain Viability (PUV). I was given all the leaflets and told to look out for bleeding etc, but I had nothing. The cramping pains had gone and I had nausea and aching breasts.
Another week passed and I went in for another ultrasound – there was the heartbeat! The baby measured at 6 weeks and 6 days and was strong and thriving.
Fast forward a few weeks and lockdown was introduced. I had developed a cough and raging temperature, so was isolating and doing what I could to keep my strength up. The GP told me it was highly likely that I had COVID-19, but they had no access to testing and I wasn’t poorly enough to be admitted to hospital. I was coughing 24/7, unable to keep food or water down and so weak. I was 8 weeks pregnant when the illness started.
Before we knew it, it was April! I was still not 100% and was coughing every 5 minutes, but my temperature had come down and the GP told me as it had been 4 weeks it was probably just a post infection cough and that I was safe to attend any hospital appointments. My dating scan was booked for 15th April and I knew I had to attend alone, which I was nervous about anyway as I had a funny feeling about it (I don’t know why, it just didn’t feel right!) and the hospital is 45 minutes away from my home. My husband took the day off work to stay at home with our two children and off I went.
I sat in the waiting room with two heavily pregnant women, 2 metres apart, everyone too scared to talk to each other. I was called in first. The sonographer apologised for having to wear all the gear and promised me she was smiling behind the mask and up I hopped on to the couch. As soon as the probe touched my belly, I knew it wasn’t right. I looked at the screen and the baby was tiny and still. “I’m so sorry, it’s not good news today. It looks like the baby got to around 9 weeks.” My heart shattered.
She excused herself and left me with a box of tissues. I just remember letting out an awful cry and aching for my husband to be there with me. She came back in and said that a quiet room had been set up for me, she stood 2 metres back and apologised for not being able to give me a cuddle, I could tell her heart ached for me.
In the quiet room I had a doctor come and tell me it was a ‘missed miscarriage’ and explain my choices. I took in what I could and was told to come back 48 hours later with a decision. I managed to compose myself enough to get home safely and the rest of the day was a blur.
I looked up my options and researched what I could and decided on surgical management. I understood with the current pandemic that it may not be possible, but due to personal circumstances, it was the route I had chosen if it was open to me. The hospital agreed I could have a general anaesthetic and booked me in for 22nd April to have the procedure. They re-scanned me to double check and offered me a picture to take home for my husband. The baby died at approximately 8 weeks and 6 days, when I was at the peak of my illness.
On 20th April, I had to attend the hospital for COVID-19 testing as I was still coughing. Luckily it was negative, but unfortunately it was unable to tell me if I had already had the virus.
My mum drove me on 22nd and stayed in the car. I went into the hospital alone, went down to theatre alone and woke up alone. The nurse on the pre-op ward was amazing, she was attentive, kind and considerate whilst clearly working to her full capacity. Although I couldn’t see anyone’s face in the theatre and could barely hear what they were saying to me behind the personal protective equipment (PPE), they were all welcoming and reassuring.
When I came around from the anaesthetic, the nurse explained that everything had gone to plan but that I did lose quite a lot of blood, so she had to keep an eye on me for a bit longer. I felt tears running down my cheeks, knowing that it was done. She silently got a tissue and wiped my face for me, smiling from behind her mask. Every member of staff that I came across was kind, compassionate and clearly working hard in the midst of these times. Surprisingly, the bit that upset me the most was when I went to the toilet on the ward. I saw the blood and broke down, it was the confirmation that my womb was now empty. I was discharged later that day.
The next day I felt weak but okay. I managed to do light jobs around the house and felt relieved that it was over and I could start to move forward. In the evening I experienced awful contraction like pains that I was not expecting at all. I went to bed but they lasted nearly all night. I woke up around 4.30am shivering in a puddle of sweat. I couldn’t talk, couldn’t move and felt terrible. My husband took my temperature and it had shot up to 41.7 degrees. I was violently sick and could barely keep my eyes open for more than 5 minutes at a time. The doctor was called and I had to go to a ‘hotspot’ clinic specifically for COVID-19 patients.
I could barely stand, but I had to stand in the middle of an empty room whilst a doctor examined me and decided a course of action. I had markers for sepsis and a post-op infection. I was put on a strong course of antibiotics and pain relief and sent home to rest, with the instructions that if I got at all worse, I had to call 999. Well luckily the antibiotics began to kick in by the following morning and my temperature was coming down to the 39s. I still felt weak, but I could feel an improvement so just continued to sleep. I didn’t get out of bed for 3 days except to go to the toilet and freshen up.
The EPU agreed it was probably a post-op infection and to keep an eye on it. I’m still bleeding quite heavily and experiencing pain, but each day gets better and a little bit easier to handle. The entire situation has been made ten times worse by the COVID-19 pandemic. I wanted to see my family, I wanted to hug my sisters and curl up on my mum’s lap. I wanted my children to be able to go to their grandparents so they didn’t have to experience mummy crying on the bathroom floor. But I was determined to stick to the guidelines and not risk anyone else’s health.
Emotionally, I’m glad it’s over and I am trying to move forward and look to the future. Of course I’m still upset. I thought that with all the horror in the world at the moment, I would have my very own rainbow to look forward to in October, but sadly it was not meant to be. I am one of the lucky ones in that I have two beautiful boys already and they give me hope and enable me to see the future.