I didn’t even know what a silent miscarriage was

Sarah, 30, is a teacher and lives with her husband Luke, 33, in Worcestershire. After her first pregnancy ended in a devastating missed miscarriage, Sarah turned to the Tommy’s website and midwife helpline for support. She sadly had another miscarriage before welcoming her son, Theodore, in November last year. This is Sarah’s story.

Being a mother was something I had always dreamt about. I am a teacher with an early year’s degree, so not only did I love my career of working with children, having my own children was an absolute must for my future. This perfect family was also a dream for my husband, Luke, who I just knew would be the most wonderful Daddy.

In 2020, we started trying for a baby

After almost 10 years together, we decided it was time to start our family. We were very fortunate and conceived very quickly. We were absolutely thrilled and couldn’t believe how lucky we were. 4 weeks later, the first lockdown hit. Although the world was a scary place at that time, we were in our own little bubble dreaming of all the things we had to look forward to.

It felt like we waited forever for the 12-week scan

Due to Covid, I had to go in alone. I kissed Luke goodbye and left him waiting for me in the car. I sat nervously in the waiting room. I desperately needed the toilet but understood I needed a full bladder. I started to think all about how we were going to announce the pregnancy to everyone – I was so excited.
That day, the team were running late, and I remember vividly having no signal on my phone to text Luke to let him know there was a delay. When I was called in, I remember feeling so excited that I was going to meet our baby for the first time. It was my first ever ultrasound and after watching so many soaps and films, I knew exactly what was coming – except I didn’t. 

As soon as I saw the screen, I knew it didn’t look like it should

The room was so quiet and the ladies performing the ultrasound looked at one another. I suddenly felt angry. “Is something wrong?”, I demanded. Then the words came: “We’re really sorry Sarah, but we think you’ve had a silent miscarriage.”

I didn’t even know what a silent miscarriage was.

The transvaginal ultrasound showed an 8-week baby whose heart had stopped. I felt hot, sick, angry and confused all in one. I was alone, I felt vulnerable, and the worst part was, I didn’t understand. I always considered knowledge to be power and right now I was powerless.

Then I had to decide what to do next

I got up to leave and said I wanted to go home, but the midwifes explained I needed to decide what to do next. I was so confused; I didn’t know what they meant. Wasn’t this done? Little did I know, the nightmare had just begun.

I was given several booklets – medical management, surgical management, or natural management. It was my decision, they said. All had risks, they said. Luke was told in the car park. I couldn’t tell him myself; I asked the midwife to tell him. Finally, while driving home, the tears came, I remember screaming out loud. 

For a while, I blamed myself for what happened

For a long time, I couldn't process that our baby had died at 8 weeks and for 4 weeks, I had carried them without realising.

I was angry at myself and tried to think of any signs I’d had, but there honestly hadn’t been any. I had morning sickness; I had sore breasts; I felt very pregnant!

Then, I thought it must be my fault. It’s because I carry weight; It’s because I started taking my vitamins a couple of weeks late; I must have done something. The blame I placed on myself was horrendous.

Tommy’s was a big help when I was struggling

4 weeks later, after 2 failed rounds of medical management and waiting to see if naturally things would happen, I opted for the surgery.

Due to my stress and anxiety, my period didn’t come back for 3 months. I was frustrated because I just wanted to try again. I diagnosed myself with all sorts thinking that I would never be a mother. I would say between May–August 2020 was the worst time of my life.

It was during this time I reached out to Tommy’s. Just having someone listen to me and show sympathy and understanding was so helpful.

In October, we found out we were pregnant again

2 weeks later, I began to bleed. We’d had another early miscarriage. In hindsight, I don’t think my body was quite ready. Healthcare professionals advised me to wait for 3 months before trying again. 

Friends and family all around me were announcing their pregnancies. Life was moving on but ours was standing still. 

In April 2021, Luke and I were going for a walk. 5 minutes in, I felt exhausted, and needed to turn back. I started to cry; I knew I was pregnant. The pregnancy test later that evening confirmed what I thought. 

Pregnancy after loss is so hard

The anxiety was absolutely unbearable. I couldn’t face going through another miscarriage. We were fortunate enough to be given an early scan which confirmed the baby was growing in the right place and had a heartbeat. I remember thinking I wouldn’t relax until I had got past the 12-week scan.

The 12-week scan came and went, and I was still riddled with anxiety.

The 20-week scan came and went. The anxiety didn’t improve. We paid for countless private scans just so I could breathe for a while. But in the end, a private scan would give me reassurance for about 1 hour before I was worried again.

At 24 weeks, I felt my first movements. I had an anterior placenta which didn’t help with my anxiety, as it was harder to feel the baby moving. From 30-38 weeks, I had an arrangement with my day assessment unit to come in for monitoring a few times a week due to lack of movement.

The whole way through, I convinced myself something was going to happen. At my own baby shower, I said to my friend “I can’t believe I could have a baby soon.” I said could, not will.

The whole pregnancy was overshadowed with anxiety and doubt. For me, the anxiety and uncertainty never stopped, even though the pregnancy was going well with no hiccups.

Our rainbow baby

Our son, Theodore Luke Atkinson, was born on the 24 November 2021. He is the most beautiful, perfect, happy little boy in the world.

Luke and I look at him every day and we cannot believe how lucky we are. We are so in love with Theo but also so in love with each other as we went through hell and back.

Was it hard to get there? Absolutely. But was it worth it? 100%. Would I go through what we went through again if I knew this would be the outcome? Of course! I have gone from the darkest time in my life to the brightest.

Worcester Day Assessment Unit is filled with the most wonderful, compassionate, brilliant midwives. They got me through that pregnancy and the birth.

I do think about having more children in the future and I don’t know what my experience will be like – sometimes I feel sick, just thinking about it. However, all I know right now is Theodore is everything we could have hoped for and more. I can’t imagine my life without him.