The effects can last for many, many years

I suffered my miscarriage back in 1972 and still, to this day at the age of 67, can recount so much of that traumatising time.

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#misCOURAGE story, 25/01/2016, by Wendy

Having read the Sunday Mail’s article on miscarriage in their You magazine yesterday regarding Lisa and Yousef’s sad experience, and having experienced such loss myself, I feel strongly that more research should be undertaken into helping women who have suffered a miscarriage.

The effects can last for many, many years as indeed they have with me for I suffered my miscarriage back in 1972 and still, to this day at the age of 67, can recount so much of that traumatising time.

I was 23 years old at the time, very excited and duly waited for the 12th week of pregnancy to safely arrive which would indicate that, hopefully, there was no fear of anything going wrong and that I could finally announce it to family and friends.

We did not have a phone in those days, so I had to go along to the phone box on the corner of the street and excitedly call Mum and then the rest of them with the good news that they could all get their knitting needles out at last!

Although I wasn’t very long, my husband, who had taken the news rather grumpily, came along to find out where I was and how much longer would I be – no excitement there then!

He hardly mentioned anything about the pregnancy and, as usual, I kept a low profile on it all and only shared my excitement with those out of his earshot. It was to be many years before the reason for his behaviour would come to light. 

Tragically, it was 14 weeks into my first pregnancy when the awful happened and one afternoon at work I started to bleed. I was so shocked and wondered what was happening.

It was all too embarrassing to ask to go home as I would have to give a reason and there was no way I could ever say to my male bosses that I was bleeding and needed to get a sanitary towel, however, luckily it was a medical supplies firm and I did find the courage to ask if I could buy some cotton wool. This was allowed and I managed to stem the flow until I got home which was a bus ride away.

Sitting on that bus I was shaking like a leaf, terrified, confused and, sadly, knew that when I got home, I wouldn’t get much sympathy from my husband.

I immediately went to my doctor’s surgery and he saw me straight away and told me to bed-rest in the hope that maybe things would work out and I would not lose our precious bundle.

Sadly this was not be for later that evening my waters broke although I had no idea that was what had happened and when I pulled the sheet back, I had expected to see lots of blood.

Then the pain started, it was excruciating, unbearable and far, far worse than normal labour pains and went on for hours.

Our kindly neighbour who lived upstairs had come down and held my hand and rubbed my back and because of the obvious pain and distress I was in, sent for an ambulance.

The pain went on and on – such pain. I was later told this was due to the placenta dislodging itself.

On arrival at the hospital, I was asked if I had tried to bring on the miscarriage myself and, if so, what had I done! I was so innocent back then and mortified at that thought.

I was taken to a ward and eventually the pain stopped and, after a period of 4 days, 4 days of hope that my baby was still safe, my baby finally left my body and there, in the bedpan, I saw the outline of the foetus but before I could say anything, the nurse had whipped the bedpan away.

A short while after, another nurse came up to me and asked me if I had been told whether it was a boy or girl. I was so shocked and, suddenly, almost elated that I would know if it had been a son or daughter.

I told her I had no idea you could tell and that no one had told me so she went off to see if she could find out, only to come back and say ‘it’ had already been sent to the incinerator – that moment, those words, were so devastating, so crushing and have never left my memory bank - it’s still hard not to cry now.

I think about my lost child so very often, the pain and suffering both physical and mentally and no one came to talk to me about it and to make matters even harder, back then you had to have a stiff upper lip, not cry and get back to work as soon as possible – how cruel, how heartless and cruel.

I did go on to have a healthy pregnancy in 1974 despite a ‘blip’ in month five, but nothing, absolutely nothing can erase all these thoughts in my mind of that terrible time and my heart still aches.

Obviously I have had to get on with life as, indeed, I have, but the images, the sounds, the fear, the feelings of desolation are still there, stacked up neatly in the back of my mind labelled ‘never to be spoken about again in case I upset or embarrass someone’!!

But I need to speak about them because now, some 45 years later, the reason for my husband’s lack of enthusiasm has come to light . . . he already had a child with another woman who, on his insistence, was given up for adoption – something I knew nothing about - the pain goes on!

I truly hope that stories like mine help others and that, finally, such a traumatic experience can be recognised for what it is – a great big, everlasting trauma.

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Please note that the opinions expressed by users in Tommy’s Book of #misCOURAGE are solely those of the user, who is unlikely to have had medical training. These opinions do not represent the opinions of Tommy’s and are not advice from Tommy's. Reading individual, real-life experiences can be a helpful resource, but it is never a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment from a qualified health care provider. We strongly advise readers not to take drugs that are not prescribed by your qualified healthcare provider. If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor, midwife or hospital immediately. Read full disclaimer


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