For a number of personal reasons, I wasn’t able to start properly trying for a baby until I was a bit older. I work as a performer, and the industry is not geared up for people who want to have a career and also have children. Low pay, along with unappealing hours and resistant attitudes, make it difficult to work in the performance industry and be a parent.
Despite this, I refused to accept having to make a choice between my career and being a mum. In early last year, my husband and I started trying to conceive. In August, I was delighted to find out that I was pregnant, and began to attend my midwife appointments.
The weekend before I was supposed to have my 12-week scan, I started bleeding. I immediately felt that things weren’t right and struggled to get my head round it. At that moment, all I could do was hold on to the hope that things would be okay.
We went to A&E, but were told that nothing could be done because it was a Sunday. I was sent home and told that I’d probably get a call the following day to arrange a scan. I was beside myself, and couldn’t stand the thought of waiting, so we paid to have a private scan.
I saw straight away that there was no heartbeat. The sonographer told me that my baby had died.
The things that I’d regarded as certainties from the moment I’d fallen pregnant were suddenly ripped away from me. It was awful – my husband was in pieces too.
On the Monday, my GP gave me an emergency referral for a hospital scan. This was initially scheduled for the Thursday of that week, the day which would have been my 12-week scan. I felt completely bereft, and very angry. I didn’t know how they expected me to go on operating as normal. Having expressed this upset, they managed to find me a same-day appointment.
The hospital scan confirmed that my baby had died, and I had to have medical management. I felt that there was very little information given about what would happen after I had taken the medicine – when it might start, what it would feel like, and what to expect.
I ended up in 8 hours of absolute agony. No-one had told me that it could be that bad and what to do if it was. I think there is a common attitude that having a miscarriage is like having a heavy period – for me this was not the case.
I never found out the reason why my baby died. When you don’t get an explanation, you naturally start to blame yourself: ‘did I pick up something too heavy?’; or ‘was it because I drank a diet coke?’. Whilst the professionals reassure you that it wasn’t your fault, in the absence of a concrete explanation, it’s hard to stop thinking about it.
You continue to torture yourself with possible explanations, your mind going around in circles with every little thing you can think of.
My partner also feels terrible, believing that it was somehow his fault. He struggles a lot, and I know at times he probably feels like he doesn’t know how to help me.
Lack of support
We’ve been trying to fall pregnant again, but my cycles have been all over the place. As of yet, there has been no sign of an appointment for the clinics to which the GP referred me. This disappointment is made worse by the fact that I still receive calls from the hospital, asking me if I would like to arrange my post-natal appointments, even though we have informed the staff several times about my miscarriage. My pain is triggered every time, and I am exhausted and angry at having to explain everything again.
I feel like my time is running out. I have so many questions, and I don’t know who, if anyone, is going to help me find the answers. My overriding feeling is one of abandonment – a lack of emotional and practical support.
Raising awareness and changing attitudes
Miscarriage continues to be casually regarded and easily dismissed. I think there is so little understanding of how heavy the burden can be – how you blame yourself, how raw it all is, and how you don’t feel like you belong anywhere. I feel left behind, trying to piece together something different that has enough meaning. It’s a daily challenge.
I lost my baby early, but it was still a part of me. The moment you find out you’re pregnant, you have an entire future laid out before you. When your baby dies, that entire future dies with it.
I chose to share my story with Tommy’s because it was ‘something’ – in a sea of nothingness, it felt like something to hold on to. I hope by sharing my story I am making a small difference in raising awareness and changing attitudes.