#misCOURAGE 22/08/17 by Susan
There will always be a piece of my family missing, but it feels right to share my story with others. Even within my own family no one talks about it, and sometimes I just want to shout it out from the rooftops – just to have it acknowledged that it happened.
My story happened 6 years ago, yet it still feels as raw now as it did then. It’s the little things that remind you, or the unexpected things that trigger a memory and I’ve learned that over time it gets easier, and you find coping mechanisms to deal with it. I hope by telling my story it helps others, even a little.
From around week 10 of the pregnancy, I had issues. One Saturday morning, I started bleeding very heavily. I quickly got myself to the hospital, to be told that they could not do a scan until the Monday morning. I kept being told that bleeding can be normal in early pregnancy.
The Monday came, and the scan showed that there were 2 heartbeats – very weak but still there. As this was our second pregnancy, and the previous pregnancy had been uneventful, I was given an appointment for a further appointment with a consultant, and told to return for my 12 week scan.
During this time, I was still bleeding, sometimes quite heavily, but continued with the morning sickness and other pregnancy symptoms.
We got to the 12 week scan, and all looked OK. There were 2 heartbeats and both looking as they should at that stage.
I was told I would have extra scans, as I was still bleeding, and told to come back at 16 weeks.
Over the weeks in between, I was still bleeding, and I continued to tell both my midwife and consultant. I knew something was not right, but just kept hoping that the bleeding would stop at some point. I had the reassurance that the scans were still showing a heartbeat.
The 16 week scan was a horrible moment for me. We went in, and the sonographer seemed to be struggling to see the babies. I kept asking, are there 2 heartbeats but she kept saying yes yes… but never showing us. We came out not 100% convinced that our babies were still with us.
4 weeks later, we were back for the next scan, and we were finally told the truth. Twin 2 had died, but twin 1 was still with us. A whole list of questions came into my head at this point, mainly what would happen to this twin. I was given real reassurance that at this stage, Twin 1 would thrive, and the pregnancy would continue. At this point, I was told that it was a little girl twin. Having had a little boy in my first pregnancy, I was overjoyed.
Yet I was still bleeding…and something did not feel right.
On a Sunday in late February, I went to bed feeling my normal exhausted. As I lay down, at 21 weeks pregnant, I felt my first kick from the remaining twin. I was elated that I could finally bond with my baby. Up until this point, I had been very distant from the pregnancy, convinced that it was not meant to be.
As I lay down, I started talking to my baby, and tried to get some sleep.
Just before midnight, I woke with excruciating pain. My husband called an ambulance and they were very quick in getting to me. I soon realised that the pains were contractions, and that my baby was coming, far too early…
I gave birth to both my babies in the early hours of a February morning. The midwife asked me if I wanted to hold my baby. I did for an all too brief time. I had lost so much blood that I needed a transfusion, so I was pretty out of it. My husband went into shock, not speaking and never ever holding our baby girl. That now, is one of the hardest things to deal with, as neither of us ever got a chance to bond with our babies.
The midwife that looked after me was brilliant, and arranged for some photographs of my daughter to be taken, and her hand and footprints to be taken. At the time I was in so much shock, and everything happened so quickly, I had nothing with me. I had no clothes, no phone etc. Now these photos are the most precious thing that I have.
I agreed to tests on both babies to try and find out what happened. I was still in shock, but knew it was the right thing to do. I was transferred to the end of the maternity unit where day admissions came in, which was the most distressing part of the whole experience. I was there overnight until they checked that I was OK to go home the following day. During that day I was asked to fill in mountains of paperwork, which thank goodness the midwife helped me with. Decisions that I was not really in a fit state to make, but I knew had to be made. Being left alone that night just to cry was the worst feeling ever.
I was given the most beautiful baby box when I left the ward, with 2 blankets for my lost babies. I keep their birth bands and pictures in the box. Some readers may find this strange, but I never named my babies. They were always twin 1 and twin 2. I have lots of names in my head for my 2 girls, but could never bring myself to name them.
The hospital arranged a funeral for me, but on the day it was all too much and I could not go. Again, some readers may not understand this, but I just froze the moment I tried to leave the house. A few weeks later, I contacted the crematorium to make enquiries about what had happened. They put me in contact with the minister who helped me through my grief. He did not judge me for not attending the funeral, nor did any of those involved. A few weeks later my husband and I went and asked to see the site where their ashes were scattered. The staff could not have been more kind and understanding. They fully understood why it had taken me so long to come to terms with the loss.
Now, 6 years on, my babies have 2 birthdays, which I try to so something significant on. Their real birthday and their due date.
It took me around 6 months to get back to full health. The doctors concluded that there was no reason as to why it happened. I went through the same questions as most people who have been through a miscarriage - what did I do, what could I have done differently, did I cause this, and why me. Not having an explanation is hard, but I decided to take the positives from it. Our consultant confirmed that it was nothing I did, nothing I could have prevented and any further pregnancy would be carefully monitored.
Talking about my late miscarriage is important to me, as I felt there was a lack of information online about what I was going through, and during the events, I really did not want to talk to anyone. No one warns you that you will produce milk, and all the joyous things that happen to help you feed and nurture your baby still happen, as your body things you still have your baby.
I hope this story helps just one person know that they are not alone. I know that my angel babies are safe until I see them again one day. I will tell my children what happened one day, especially my rainbow baby who we had a year later.