Missed miscarriage and breaking the silence in the Asian community

Sarina Kaur Dosanjh, 27, suffered a missed miscarriage with her first pregnancy. Sarina and husband Vik, 28, are determined to break the taboo around miscarriage within their community as a legacy to the baby they lost.

We married in 2017 and spent a lot of time travelling then, by February 2020, we were ready to start trying for a family. Every month was a disappointment but it was actually November 12 when I found out I was pregnant. It was the anniversary of Vik proposing and it was amazing, we couldn’t quite believe it.

Straight away Vik became really protective, we were so happy. We decided to tell his immediate family but nobody else.

At 5 weeks I had some bleeding. I had to go alone to A&E because of COVID-19 but the nurse was amazing, checking me over then booking me for a scan as it was too early for a heartbeat. After 4 tense days the spotting had slowed so we were hopeful everything would be okay and that was the first time I got to hear a heartbeat which was the most incredible feeling, I’m sad Vik didn’t get to share it.

Despite the bleeding they told me there was no reason to be concerned so I went back to work, I carried on. A week later I left the midwife appointment feeling confident. 

On the 10 December we told my parents and siblings, at around 7.5 weeks, and everyone was shocked but excited.

We’d booked a 10 week reassurance scan because of the bleed but everything was okay. I’d started to feel sick, was really tired, really hungry and constantly needed to pee, all normal pregnancy stuff.

We started making lists of names and looking at things to buy

Vik had bought Derby County baby stuff as soon as we started trying! Christmas came and went and we talked about how different the following one would be. We also got little boxes with frames ready for a scan pic, t-shirts with Grandma, Granddad and Auntie-to-be. 

The symptoms started to wear off a little and I remember telling Vik I didn’t feel as pregnant but, again, you’re told that’s normal at the end of the first trimester.

On the 28 December I should’ve been 10.5 weeks and we were so excited about seeing our baby and Vik couldn’t wait to hear a heartbeat for the first time.

Feeling like something was wrong

When we went in she asked if she could do an internal scan which I was used to by that point but it immediately made me feel like something was wrong.

She asked how far along I should be, I told her and she was very quiet and then said, ‘I’m sorry, there’s no heartbeat’ and the ground beneath me opened up and I fell.

Everything I’d been doing had revolved around this life growing inside of me, I wanted to protect this child and I think I was naïve as to things that can happen. It was heart-breaking. I looked at Vik and I felt such a failure, it should have been such a perfect day and my body had failed me, didn’t give me any sign I wasn’t pregnant anymore. 

Up until that point I’d never heard of a missed miscarriage. I didn’t even know there were different types of miscarriage. So many questions. What happens next? How would we deal with this? The tears started coming and I sat in Vik’s arms, sobbing my heart out for what felt like forever. He just kept telling me it would be okay.

We walked through a waiting room of pregnant couples and I couldn’t bear to look at anyone, then we drove around, not ready to go home. Eventually, when we did, his parents came running to the door, so excited, and we had to tell them we’d lost the baby. Vik’s mum explained that she’d had a miscarriage which made me feel less alone.

I was so angry at my body for not giving my signs. I kept asking myself ‘Why?’ The clinic said ‘incompatibility with life’ but that wasn’t enough. I felt hurt, like a failure, guilty. Maybe it was something I did, was I working too hard? Questions go round and round.

We waited a week to see if everything passed on its own

I was so numb, surrounded by grief and anger. 8 days later I started getting pains and ended up in such agony I went to A&E, then to the EPU where I was scanned as there was no blood, just so much pain. The nurse was very compassionate, explaining our options and we came back the following day for medical management.

At 11am the next day they inserted 4 tablets and nothing happened. 2 hours later a second dose and nothing. I had the last dose at 11pm and by 1am I was in indescribable pain, I went to the toilet and just felt everything fall out, my legs turned to jelly, there was so much blood. They took me back to my bed and the nurse held my hand but the doctor lacked compassion. I called Vik, feeling terrified and anxious, they told me that they might have to take me to surgery to stop the bleeding but the bleeding slowed and, the next day, I went home.

Because of Covid I felt so alone. I’d spent the whole day on FaceTime with Vik and, although it wasn’t the same as having him there, I would not have gotten through without his support.

After 3 weeks I’d just started to rebuild myself physically then had to go back to hospital

Because there was tissue left behind, they did a scan and the doctor tried to pull the tissue away but it was too painful. The following day I went back to see a consultant, they gave me tablets ready for the MVA but then found I had an infection so sent me home. It was like a second medical management but at home, I remember lying on bed just crying my eyes out.

I had to go back again after my antibiotics had finished and there was still tissue, it felt never ending. The consultant managed to remove everything with forceps and pain relief and that was the end of the physical process.

The emotional process was different, you try to rebuild but get dragged back into the darkness again and again. For me it has been about accepting my loss and I found journaling helped. We also posted a video on our Facebook page sharing our feelings so others felt less alone and we had amazing support.

For us it’s been about breaking the silence, especially in the Asian community where there’s almost a sense of shame when it happens to you. We want to normalise the discussion around baby loss and turn something negative into a positive in memory of our baby’s life.