A blog by Anne
I’ll never forget the day my daughter Lowri and her husband told us that they were expecting. They come to our house every Sunday, so their visit wasn’t out of the ordinary, but I sensed we were going to get some sort of life update as Lowri had a sparkle in her eyes. As we sat down for lunch, she handed us a little envelope. We opened it to see a beautiful embossed card with ‘Nain and Taid’ handwritten in calligraphy. This is Welsh for Grandma and Grandpa.
Imagining a future
My husband and I both had tears in our eyes. Lowri explained that she was 8 weeks pregnant. She’d wanted to wait until her scan to share the big news but just couldn’t hold the news in any longer. She explained that she’d been feeling very sick and tired. I really felt for her as I experienced horrible sickness during both of my pregnancies.
It was very special to bond with my daughter over her experience of early pregnancy. She reminded me so much of myself when I was pregnant with her. I was honoured she’d told us before anyone else.
That lunch was very special. We sat and imagined our future grandchild together. We laughed as we shared anecdotes about Lowri as a baby. We even talked about a family wedding the following year that the baby would be a guest at.
The following weeks flew by. Lowri would call me every day – she was feeling unwell with the sickness but very excited. We started talking about the baby’s nursery and ideas for names.
Before we knew it, it was the day of Lowri’s 12 week scan. She asked if I wanted to join her and her husband, but I declined. I felt it was important to let them have this special time together as couple. I knew her scan was at 2.30pm and excitedly sat by my phone awaiting her call.
At 3pm my phone rang. It was her husband. He told me Lowri was too sad to talk on the phone but wanted me by her side. The baby didn’t have a heartbeat and looked like it had stopped growing at around 7 weeks.
I felt an overwhelming rush of sadness: sadness for the loss of my first grandchild and sadness that my own baby was going through so much pain.
An awful week
Lowri had experienced a missed miscarriage. This meant that her baby had died but her body was still holding on. She had to wait a week until the hospital would scan her again and confirm this, but she was certain of her dates and knew nothing would change. She took that week off work and spent the days with me as she did not want to be alone.
We cried together. We laughed together. It was a tough time for her. I would lie in bed at night, worried about how she’d cope with this unexpected loss. I would have done anything to take that pain away from her.
The next week she booked in for medical management. Her husband and I held her hand during the process.
How I supported her
- Sometimes I just sat in silence next to her. I didn’t have anything I could say that would take the pain away, but I didn’t want her to feel alone.
- I made lots of cups of tea.
- I let her lead. If she wanted to cry, we cried. If she wanted to talk, we talked. If she wanted to be alone, I gave her space.
- I helped practically. I cleaned for her and I cooked for her. This was particularly important during the medical management which she completed at home. I also popped out to buy her things like sanitary towels to manage the bleeding.
- I binge-watched a television series with her.
- I let her close friends know. Lowri felt far too fragile to talk to her friends. She hadn’t told them she was pregnant but wanted them to know of her loss. I called round and told people on her behalf.
- I bought her a big bunch of flowers every week for a few months. I didn’t want her to feel like we’d stopped caring a week later.
- I made sure I offered support to her husband, our son-in-law, too. Sometimes, partners can be forgotten about, so I made sure I asked how he was feeling.
- I bought her a special folder to keep all her medical notes in and filed them carefully. I know she might want to look over these if she becomes pregnant again.
Reflecting, a year on
It’s now nearly been a year since Lowri lost her baby. After taking some time to heal, she started to feel herself again. It has been a long process for her. She’s taken this time to focus on herself and is feeling strong enough to start trying again soon.
My daughter's experience of miscarriage has brought us closer together in a strange way. I hope she knows that I’m going to be with her every step of the way through her next pregnancy – regardless of the outcome.
1 in 4 pregnancies end in loss – and most parents never find out why due to a shocking lack of research. It doesn't have to be this way – and Tommy’s research is finding the answers. But research into pregnancy loss is currently seriously underfunded compared to other medical conditions.
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