Nadine shares her story of a missed miscarriage, including details of medical and surgical management.
I hear the words "I am so sorry Nadine, there is no longer a heartbeat". My world fell apart and my heart was broken. I was experiencing a missed miscarriage... I couldn't even try to start repairing my broken heart because I was STILL dealing with it physically, mentally and emotionally.
Wednesday 9th Feb 2022 – I thought ‘I can’t be, I’m only a day late’, but within seconds there it was right in front of me, a positive pregnancy test. I was so happy, I couldn’t help but feel so extremely blessed, my partner and I already have a 3 year old boy and to be able to bring another baby in to the world felt incredible.
The weeks went by and the pregnancy symptoms were getting stronger and stronger. I had never felt so nauseous in my life, so of course straight away I thought It must be a girl because I wasn’t sick once through my first pregnancy. My partner and I had spoken about names and we were thinking of ways to tell our little boy he was going to be a big brother. I was so excited and I could not keep it a secret. Due to the nature of my job I had to inform my colleagues for safety reasons. Although I know everyone says not to tell anyone until after the 12 weeks scan I wasn’t worried. Why would I be? I had an almost textbook pregnancy with my little boy so why would this one be any different?
And then one morning I wiped and there was a small amount of dark blood on the tissue. I panicked and called my GP who referred me to the EPAU where they saw me that afternoon. I had a transvaginal ultrasound, they confirmed conception but too early to see a heartbeat and I was asked to come back in 2 weeks. During the time in between I didn’t have any further bleeding.
Fast forward 2 weeks and I’m back on the ultrasound bed patiently waiting for what feels like hours for the sonographer to finish her checks. She finally turned the screen and said “here is your baby’s heartbeat”. I couldn’t be happier seeing my little baby’s heart flickering away there in front of me. I was told baby measured 6 weeks and 3 days, which I thought was odd because my dates suggested I was 8 weeks and 3 days. I mentioned this to the nurse who reassured me that sometimes conception dates are wrong and that I should be feeling positive because baby was fine and had a strong heartbeat. I was told to continue my care with my midwife and that they didn’t need to see me again at the EPAU. I was still a little concerned about the 2 weeks difference but I tried to put it to the back of my mind and accept that I could have simply got my dates wrong.
After the reassurance scan the excitement just grew. I know it was still early days but my partner and I had chosen a girls name and a boys name, I was looking at baby clothes, adding things to my online wish list or my ‘save for later’. I had my 12 week scan letter through the post, the countdown was on.
March 18th – the bleeding started again, It was only when I wiped but it was every time I wiped. I didn’t have any cramps or pain. The EPAU couldn’t see me that day and I was advised to go to my local A&E. I sat in the waiting room for hours before I was finally taken to the emergency gynae unit. Bloods were taken and were normal, my pregnancy hormone levels were positively high. The doctor examined me and reassured me that my cervix was closed. I was diagnosed with a threatened miscarriage and booked me in for another scan. Over the next few days I tried to rest as much as possible and to remain positive. The bleeding didn’t get any worse and I wasn’t in pain at all during that time.
March 22nd – I was back on the ultrasound bed with my partner by my side. Only this time I hear the words “I am so sorry Nadine, there is no longer a heartbeat”. My world fell apart and my heart was broken. I was experiencing a missed miscarriage. After a long discussion with the doctor about the options I had available to me, we opted for medical management. I was admitted 2 days later for an overnight stay. Usually they allow you to go home to miscarry however I lived further than 30 minutes away from the hospital and had to stay in case of any complications. Thankfully with covid restrictions being lifted my partner was able to stay the night with me, right by my side.
The nurse inserted 4 misoprostol tablets and within 30-60 minutes I had started cramping and passing big blood clots. The period pain cramps they tell you to expect are a lot worse and more like early labour pains. This went on for around 6 hours and then once again the bleeding and pain stopped. I was so confused. I’d been told that during and after a miscarriage you experience heavy bleeding, but I wasn’t. Why wasn’t my body bleeding?
The next morning I requested another scan but with it being a Friday and the weekend coming up they couldn’t. They booked me in for the Monday.
I tried so hard to mentally deal with what we had lost and what my body had been through. On the surface I had hoped all the pregnancy tissue had expelled and it was over, but deep down I knew something wasn’t right because I was still only bleeding when I wiped.
March 28th came around and I was back on the ultrasound bed being scanned transvaginally again. It was even more uncomfortable than before, mainly because I was waiting to be told if the medication had worked or not. Honestly, you couldn’t write what I’m about to say… Once again I was told “I’m so sorry Nadine, the sac and baby are still in your uterus, the medication hasn’t worked”. Medical management is 90% effective but how could I be this unlucky?
So we were back to square one. This time I opted for surgical management, also known as a surgical evacuation or a DNC. I was sent home after blood tests and told to return on Thursday morning to be admitted for surgery that day. Those 3 days, whilst I waited for Thursday, were horrendous. I couldn’t even grieve my loss, I couldn’t even try to start repairing my broken heart because I was STILL dealing with it physically, mentally and emotionally.
March 31st – I was admitted for surgical evacuation. They only perform this surgery under general anaesthetic so I don’t have a lot to say about the procedure itself apart from it went well according to the surgeon and now I can finally heal. I had to stay in overnight due to the blood loss and size of the clots I was passing. However, this did slow down after a few hours and the doctor was happy to send me home the next day with a course of antibiotics. I haven’t been offered any professional help to come to terms with what my body and my mental health has been through. I found comfort in reading others’ stories which is why I decided to share mine.
Writing this, I am now 6 days post-op and I have very light bleeding for which a panty liner is suffice, and no physical pain. I have no doubt that my body will heal quickly but that my emotional state will take longer. I hope that women out there can find comfort in my story and know that in time everything will be ok, as that is what I’m hoping for.
Pregnancy loss is tragic no matter how many weeks pregnant you are. There is no right or wrong way to deal with such loss and it is important to take all the time you need to grieve, heal and recover. I will never forget the baby that I lost. I am a mother to 2 children but only 1 made it earth-side. One day, when I’m ready, my partner and I will try again and when our time comes I will always include, and never replace, the angel I lost.