#misCOURAGE, 05/07/2017, by Melissa Hardman
Good Friday was not Good Friday. It was Bad Friday. It was the day we found out our baby had stopped growing and didn’t have a heartbeat. We had been for the first early scan the previous week and we were asked to go back a week later as it was to small to see anything properly. Maybe I had my dates wrong? I don’t get dates wrong so I knew something wasn’t right. ‘It’s not good news I’m afraid, the baby hasn’t grown and I can’t see a heartbeat, we would expect significant growth at this stage, I’m terribly sorry’.
Honestly my initial reaction was ‘OK, I totally understand, I had a feeling something wasn’t quite right when I started wanted to drink tea again, I get it, its no ones fault’. I’m pretty stoic you see and can be a little cold at times. But when the sonographer left the room, the tears came, no idea where from but the tap was well and truly on. I was so lucky to have my wonderful husband Max with me, he was ace, still is ace. He just hugged me and helped me get dressed. Tearily I went into reception and had another heart felt hug from the lovely receptionist at Clarion Health in Bath.
I guess the only way to describe the feeling was that of emptiness and sadness. Of course totally normal but that doesn’t make it any easier. Max made all the calls and told all the family. You see, even though I was only 9 weeks I’ve never been precious about telling people I’m pregnant, I will tell you why:
1: I smoked, so naturally when I give up people automatically assume I’m pregnant and I’m not a good liar.
2: I get real fat real quick.
3: I’m of the opinion that if something were to go wrong I would want all the support I could get, I would need all the support I could get.
I’m lucky, I have a child, but I can’t tell you if that makes it easier. All I know is that the one thing I really wanted to do next was get home to see my beautiful daughter Isabelle. Little Iz is 2 and she’s a hoot! Never would I have thought someone so little could make you laugh so much and make you so mad at the same time. Parenting is a real conundrum, I have no idea if I’m doing it right but who does! She’s a happy, healthy, strong willed, stubborn, funny child, which is the way it should be, at least she has character right?
I didn’t know this… when you talk of miscarriage, (which in my opinion isn’t talked about enough) you expect to have cramping and bleeding. That didn’t happen for me. Didn’t get any of that. I think the term that is used for what happened to me is ‘missed miscarriage’. Where you have no physical signs that something is wrong. Now although I didn’t have any cramps or bleeding I felt like I started loosing those pregnancy signs. I went off tea and coffee in a massive way when I was pregnant with Iz and I did in the beginning of this pregnancy too but then I started wanting it again, which I did think was weird. You know the biggest sign for me? The lack of tiredness. Any pregnant woman will tell you those first few months of pregnancy literally hits you like a ton of bricks and you cannot escape the tiredness. Now I’m tired, I share a bed with a toddler but I wasn’t as tired as I should have been. Does that make sense? The only reason we definitively knew that things had gone really wrong were the early scans. Thank god for the early scans. If it hadn’t been for those we would have found out at the 12-week scan which would have been, in my eyes, even more devastating.
So what happens now? Off to the EPAC (Early Pregnancy Assessment Clinic) at the RUH (Royal United Hospital in Bath) we waited and were seen by the most amazing and understanding Sister. Luckily for me, Clarion sent over my scans so I didn’t have to have another one; seeing it twice was hard enough. Because of my lack of bleeding and the 2-week time frame between the scans, it was thought unlikely that I would miscarry naturally so my option was surgical management of tissue. Sounds so nice! Get me in, book me in, I just want it gone, were the thoughts running through my head. They did, they heard me and I was booked in the next day thank god.
First though let me tell you a funny story. The lovely Sister obviously and quite rightly had to explain the procedure to me in quite a lot of detail; honestly all I kept hearing was ‘perforated womb’ so naturally I very nearly hit the deck! The second time it’s happened to me in my whole life. I’m not a fainter. But here I was lying over Max in a very clammy heap! The poor sister couldn’t find a wheelchair so of course I was wheeled out to a bed on her office chair - I tell you it was like something out of Phoenix Nights, Peter Kay would have been proud! Needless to say half a pack of bourbons later and I was good as new again, well not quite but you get the gist.
Back again in the morning. Here we were, 8am sat in the waiting room. 8.10am I was called in. 9am given medication, painkillers and cervix softening stuff. I was seen by the surgeon, two nurses and an anesthetist. This type of surgery is done under general, which by the way, I recommend to anyone. 9.10am I’m taken down to theatre, a very painless cannula was put in along with a few drugs to make me feel woozy. Then I’m given the hard stuff and I’m gone. I’m out. The next thing I remember is being in recovery with a very sore throat, I looked at the clock 10.10am, all this is done very quickly. The nurses assured me it all went well. One of the first things the nurse said to me was ‘So Melissa you have to tell us where you get your brows done they look amazing’. Honestly, this tiny little comment made me feel really good seeing as I looked like proper shit! ‘They are microbladed so so easy to maintain’ I replied ‘one of the best decisions I have ever made’.
Back to see Max and drink sweet tea by 10.30am. He hugged me and gave me a kiss, which he wasn’t a huge fan of as the chemical they use to sedate you is very strong (apparently it was all that he could smell and taste). We didn’t cry, in fact we did a crossword. We stayed there for a few hours, had a sarnie and then we could go home. I did bleed, its normal and to be expected but luckily I wasn’t in too much pain. Felt a bit fragile but apart from that I felt pretty normal. I went straight to bed when we got home, I don’t think I slept, just dozed. Max was with me just pottering around; I found that really comforting, every now and again popping his head in offering me tea.
So that’s my story. My first blog I guess. Not the one I had hoped it would be but it’s honest and hopefully might shed some light on what actually happens. Miscarriage is something that affects 1 in 4 women and in my opinion its not talked about enough. You never think it’s going to happen to you but it can. There is no shame in it and there is no right or wrong way to feel about it. For me, I found it cathartic to write this; it’s a reflection on how I feel. I do just want to say that the NHS is worth its weight in gold so thank you all.
One thing I didn’t know is that the tissue that is collected from all the women having surgical management of a miscarriage is sent with a chaplain to the local cemetery, cremated and scattered in a garden there. I found that bit quite difficult but when the time comes I think I will go just to have a little cry and think of what might have been.
Iz did say to me after the operation ‘Mummy’s got a baby in there’ I just said ‘the baby isn’t there any more Iz’ she said ‘oh the baby’s disappeared, it’s gone home’.
I guess in a sense she’s right, oh to be a 2 year old!
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