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Siobhan’s story: second trimester loss

Siobhan talks about her feelings, finding support and the kinds of decisions she and her partner had to make following the loss of their baby during the second trimester of pregnancy.

Miscarriage in the second trimester can feel like a very lonely place because it isn’t widely spoken about and there aren’t many stories openly out there, but please know that you’re not alone.

I had my first child in 2017, despite being classed as high risk everything went fairly smoothly. It never really crossed my mind that miscarriage might be in my future.

After my first miscarriage, I grieved quietly and didn’t tell many people.

When I became pregnant for the third time I was anxious, but after a few reassurance scans and making it past the ‘safe’ 12 week mark I tried my best to relax. We began to tell people and I started to believe that maybe everything would be okay.

I was almost 17 weeks pregnant and hadn’t been feeling great but put it down to pregnancy fatigue. When I saw blood after I went to the toilet I realised something was wrong. I phoned the midwife unit who said that because I wasn’t 18 weeks they wouldn’t see me and that I should instead call 111. By the time I had made it through that process my waters had broken and I ended up in A&E.

I gave birth in an A&E bay with just my partner with me. The medical staff all said “sorry for your loss”, telling me how shocked they were and how they didn’t see this very often, but no one actually told me that my baby had died.

I struggled to comprehend what was happening and when I was then placed in a bed on a ward surrounded by pregnant women, I struggled even more. The hospital did have bereavement rooms but, just like the midwife unit, because I was under 18 weeks, policy stated that I should not be given access.

I remember lying in the ward searching for stories that resembled mine or helpful insights about the decisions that we were being asked to make. Should we see the baby? Should we agree to have a post-mortem? Should we have a private funeral or a group service? What name should we give when we didn’t even know if the baby was a boy or a girl? The little I could find all said that it’s different for everyone (which I know is true) but I desperately wanted to understand how other people had made these decisions.

I’ve done my best below to outline how we tackled our decisions, in case you’re reading this hoping to find the same.

I realised that I needed to see the baby to help me to understand that this was real. I was scared that I would be left more upset, but asking the bereavement midwife to describe what I should expect really helped me to feel more prepared mentally. Meeting my baby didn’t really bring me comfort, but I felt glad that I got to acknowledge the life that had grown inside me.

We also decided to have a full post mortem, again, a decision I was scared of. We were fortunate that the post-mortem debrief gave us answers that explained why this happened and will help to shape my care if I do get pregnant again, along with confirming that our baby was a boy.

We chose to have a private cremation service and on my due date we’re going to plant a tree and inter the ashes.

Choosing a name was difficult. We ended up agreeing on a gender-neutral name that we had considered for our first son – we view it as the only hand me down we were able to give the baby.

I’m writing this with what should have been my due date 2 weeks away. I still haven’t figured out how I’m supposed to exist in my life where, on the surface (daily routine, work etc.) nothing has changed, but everything has changed within that life for me.

The grief still doesn’t feel any easier either. When I get hit by a wave of it, I’m still left struggling to breathe and struggling to understand that this is my reality. The only thing I can say is that the waves have gotten further apart and therapy and yoga have helped me to develop some coping mechanisms.

If you’re reading this because you’ve found yourself in this horrible situation then I’m sending so much love. Miscarriage in the second trimester can feel like a very lonely place because it isn’t widely spoken about and there aren’t many stories openly out there, but please know that you’re not alone.

Joining online support groups and reading the stories that I could find has helped me to realise that there are others out there who can understand what it is I’ve gone through. I’m doing my best to be open about my experience because the more it’s spoken about, the easier it might make things for others in this situation in the future.