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Slowly losing my baby

Jennifer shares her story of having a missed miscarriage and feelings of failure after she felt like she didn't physically experience a 'real' miscarriage.

All I could think was how my body was letting me down again; I couldn’t even get miscarriage right after already failing at pregnancy... I felt like I was stuck not being able to process my grief because I was perpetually waiting to miscarry.

In April 2021, I found out my twin sister was expecting. I was so happy for her, but the news was tinged with sadness as we were trying to conceive and it hadn’t happened yet. So in June when I found out I was pregnant, I was over the moon.

I tried not to get too excited in case something happened, I thought that would make it easier if it did. However, I couldn’t resist getting excited. My husband and I told our immediate family, I downloaded apps to track how big the baby was getting and my sister and I started to talk about our maternity leave together and our kids being in the same year at school.

We booked an early scan just before the 8 week mark (7w6d). At the scan the sonographer started with an external scan then asked if she could do an internal one to get a better look. When the internal scan started the sonographer was silent, I knew something was up.

The sonographer broke the silence by saying, ‘ok, the baby is measuring smaller than expected, you are measuring 5w5d’. My husband and I burst into tears. She asked about my dates and said it was possible I’d got them wrong and tried to reassure us. She asked me to come back the next week. That week was the longest week of our lives.

We went to the scan but heard the words, ‘I am so sorry’, the baby hadn’t grown and the heartbeat that was there before had slowed to a flicker. Our world fell apart. We were referred to the Early Pregnancy Unit (EPU) and given leaflets for the Miscarriage Association I was having a missed miscarriage.

It was Sunday, we went to the EPU, they confirmed there was no longer a heartbeat but I had to go back the following week to confirm the miscarriage. We went home and had to face telling our family, it was heartbreaking.

I started to have light cramping and some bleeding on the Monday. I was almost proud of my body that it recognised the loss and was doing what was needed. I felt thankful I had been in a position to have the early scan and see her heartbeat (we decided we were having a girl) and that this wasn’t a shock.

That week the bleeding was just like the start of a normal period. I had my next appointment and they confirmed I was having a miscarriage but hadn’t miscarried yet. I wanted to let my body do what it needed to and went with expectant management.

I passed a clot, had light bleeding, and waited for the miscarriage, but by the middle of the week the bleeding had almost stopped. I didn’t want to wait any longer as I felt like I was in limbo waiting for something horrible to happen. I rang the EPU and asked for medical management (they weren’t offering surgical due to covid).

I took the misoprostol and prepared myself for what was to come, but again, nothing. I only had some spotting, so I rang again and the following week took more tablets.

All I could think was how my body was letting me down again; I couldn’t even get miscarriage right after already failing at pregnancy.

A couple of days after taking my second set of tablets, I went for a walk. While out I passed a clot about the size of a chilli. I was relieved, something was happening at last and I prepared again for the pain and bleeding that would surely follow. Hope again turned to disappointment as all I had was light bleeding and so I made another appointment.

At the EPU I explained what had happened and they told me looking back at my previous scan there wasn’t much to come away so that could have been it. I had the scan and I had miscarried!

I felt relieved it was over but I also felt like I’d not been through a ‘real’ miscarriage as there was no heavy bleed or painful cramps. For 4 weeks I felt like my body was continually letting me down. Every wipe I longed for blood that wasn’t there and every day that went by I felt like I was stuck not being able to process my grief because I was perpetually waiting to miscarry.

I had a slow miscarriage that happened over 4 weeks. I only passed 2 clots and had what felt like light period on and off. During the miscarriage I just wanted to have that moment and for it to pass, but in hindsight I am thankful for my experience and want to share it with others as I longed to read that this is possible and I wasn’t a failure!