Every baby counts - those we get to meet and those we sadly don't

It's not awkward or uncomfortable to talk about those we have loved and lost so it shouldn't be taboo to talk about babies who we never got to hold. They're not secrets, they are babies.

Heartbreaking stories. Devastating stories. The miscarriage story needs to change. That's why we've created Tommy's book of #misCOURAGE. Read this story now and help spread the word that miscarriage can no longer be ignored. Help us change the story to save babies' lives.

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#misCOURAGE story, 01/06/2017, by Nikki

I have had two individual miscarriages and one miscarried twin. Today I am sharing the story of this pregnancy - more specifically of yesterday.

We found out four weeks ago that we were pregnant. It was unexpected but so welcome - our fourth baby was on the way!

I told my husband by giving our youngest daughter - 17 months old - a piece of paper upon which I had drawn flowers and written "I'm going to be a big sister!". My husband's face was a picture - if his jaw could have hit the floor it would have hit it with a bang!

"I just love being a dad so much I guess my 'boys' swim faster hehe!" He laughed as he hugged me.

We decided not to tell our 6 and 4 year old daughters yet as pregnancy is a long time and we had had our heartache before. 

As tends to be the way with my body I started bleeding. Some bright red, a few black clots. It looked bleak but I have three children and have never had a pregnancy where I didn't bleed - it seems to just be what my body does.

A scan showed the sac and yolk and a pocket of blood in a separate area of my uterus. Like my second daughter, this little one was sharing space with a haematoma which was bleeding itself out.

"Come back for another scan and we will check on baby's progress and put your mind at ease" said the doctor.

So we did. More spotting, more bleeding and a little more clotting but the next scan (last Thursday) showed baby had grown - we now a had a foetal pole with a possible heartbeat (the sonographer wasn't sure if it was her eyes because she couldn't spot the flickering again and she said it had been tiny). So I was booked in for another scan the following week.

Yesterday. Bank Holiday Monday. I went to the toilet and saw brown liquid on the pad I had worn to bed. I was used to brown sludge, the old blood, but this looked like it had been thin.

It surprised me but I had seen so many different types of blood during this pregnancy, what was one more? After all, we had only just seen a progressing pregnancy last week.

An hour passed and I felt achey, not just in my belly, but in my hip bones and down my thighs. It didn't feel right so I started running a bath to help relax.

I went to the toilet again and there was the red blood with a few clots which were larger then what I had had before. I told my husband that it wasn't looking too positive and even showed him a picture of the clots - I know that seems weird, but last time he tried to stay so positive and we decided it was best all around if he saw what I saw so we were on the same page.

Worried, I got in my bath. I was in there about an hour and a half and was just thinking of getting out when hubby - who had come to see if I wanted a cup of tea - pointed out he could see the blood leaving my body under the water and the water had gone a translucent yellowy brown colour (it had begun translucent blue).

I sat up and got ready to get out and a clot the width and length of finger slid out. We knew at this point this was more than just bleeding from the haematoma.

I think we had already known but, you know, when you have an explanation that's harmless you hang onto it.

Out of the bath and once dressed the blood and clots continued to fall out of me. And the ache had become familiar - not like the previous losses, which were quite painless bar "period belly" - more like early labour after I was induced with our youngest daughter.

It came in waves and largely down through my hip bone. My husband suggested calling 111 as my body doesn't deal well with blood loss and it was still getting heavier.

I called and was waiting for a call back from the practitioner when I bent double as I felt a gush and something slimy and solid fall out.

More clots, this time bigger than 50p pieces and enough of them to cover the base of my daughter's potty, which I had decided to use in case they needed to see what I had lost, volume wise, and more coming with each wipe.

111 called back while this was happening and decided to send an ambulance. I argued that my husband could take me but they didn't want me going by car in case it got worse and we hit traffic.

As I was on the phone one of my daughters came in and looked horrified. She had seen a period before and I had explained them to her but this must have looked terrifying. And now an ambulance was coming as well. So I took our 6 and 4yr old and explained to them.

"Look at me - I am fine aren't I? You can see I am fine. But an ambulance is coming so some doctors can look me over and make sure I'm good. You saw that blood? That wasn't a period like we talked about before. You know how we said a period is the body's way of changing the sheets ready for a baby? Mummy had a baby in her tummy but the baby's gone to heaven and my body is having to work really hard to change the sheets to stop me getting poorly".

Poor things asked "So were we going to have a baby brother or sister? And we aren't now? Why did the baby go to Heaven?"

I explained that the baby must have been very poorly inside me, that it wouldn't have felt any pain at all though and that mummy had sung to it and loved it so for the little time it was in there it had known it was very special, just like they were.

It was the hardest chat I have ever had with them, not like when their great grandad died because they could see him get poorly and see his grave and frankly because as much as I cried when my husband's grandad died and as much as I wanted to cry now, I needed them to see I was ok.

The paramedics came. Two ladies who were amazing (I already sent a thank you to their employers) and reassuring. I had to be taken into hospital unfortunately as I had lost a lot and had continued to lose large clots which the paramedics had witnessed.

My husband stayed with the girls and they were so well behaved and brave bless them. Once in the hospital it was harder to keep it together. In the waiting room where all the chairs face each other I felt more like I needed to cry and less like I could. There was no privacy.

Paracetamol had taken the edge off but the waves were still coming and I felt conspicuous - sitting there looking fine and suddenly having to breathe differently or waddle into the toilet I felt like a neon arrow was pointing at me.

"Miscarriage" "Failed pregnancy".

"Heartbroken".

And I am. I sat for a few more hours, was taken to a ward and given a bed but only when a porter suddenly arrived for me. I was told nothing. Over an hour and a half on the ward and still nobody had spoken to me.

It was nearly the end of visiting time and I didn't know if I was going to be kept in for some reason (I had had a blood and urine test - maybe something had been picked up on?) and if that meant I wouldn't see my girls again that day.

Of all the days for my first night away from them I knew this could not be it! I had had one baby taken away from me today, I couldn't not have cuddles with them either.

I went to the desk, apologised for pestering and timidly asked if someone could tell me what was happening as I needed to let my husband know as our daughters were with him and he would need to arrange someone to look after them if he would be late coming out to get me or if I wouldn't be there for the morning as he had work.

The two nurses rounded on me "The doctor is very busy! She is splitting her time between two departments - maternity and this one!".

I knew this, I had seen her dealing with everyone else on my ward but me before vanishing and then returning to the nurses station (where she currently sat).

I told them "I am sorry, I'm not rushing her I just would like someone to give me a rough idea what's happening next or at least that I am in the right place as nobody has spoken to me since the porter left me here. I am sorry!"

I felt so timid and so bad as I never implied she should come to me now or even that I was impatient - I had said I had been there about an hour and a half with no obs or acknowledgement from any staff and it seemed reasonable to ask at that point.

The doctor actually stood up at this point and asked if nobody had spoken to me at all and I said no, not since the porter, but many had walked past me and fetched cups of tea and fresh water for other patients so I wondered if I had been taken to the wrong place.

She apologised and told me "Set your watch - I will be there in 5 minutes". It was probably less than that to be fair.

She apologised again and said that someone should have come to at least tell me a doctor would be coming to check me over when available, they weren't usually in the business of leaving patients that long with no contact at all.

She tried to reassure me after I told her about the previous few weeks that it could still be the haematoma but said she would give me an internal and check the bleeding had levelled off and if my blood work looked ok I would be able to go home. When she did the internal she said very little except that the bleeding has lessened.

I had heard her tell others that their cervix was closed. It was a statement conspicuous in its absence but then clots that size couldn't have fallen out of a closed cervix so this was no surprise.

She told me to still come in for my scan on Thursday to check and see the state of play. Having been through this before I know we are now looking to confirm a complete miscarriage rather than an incomplete one.

The clots have slowed down now, the bleeding too though not enough really. My head is still spinning.

My husband and I stayed home today, we have just cuddled and he has held me as I cried. I have given myself a wicked headache with sobbing, my chest and tummy ache from it and my jaw is throbbing from clenching my teeth to keep from fresh outbursts as I type this.

It has been cathartic in its own way, writing all this down. I guess that is why it's so long - it is the longest time since dropping off our girls that I have stopped crying because I am thinking rather than just feeling.

I am angry. We ask for so little. If we won the lotto you know our plan? Buy a caravan in Weymouth to go on holiday each year, pay off the mortgage and make sure our families were comfortable. We are very happy with our lot. We just wanted that little one more. To be given a surprise baby and then have it taken away having just seen it growing.

Mostly though I am just heartbroken. I wasn't ready to say goodbye - I had only just said hello!

And everyone around me is having babies so I don't even get a chance to regroup. I want to hide away for a while, maybe sleep for a week and wake up to find out this was just a nightmare. This is all part of the process, I know.

I still think about the others I have lost but it doesn't hurt as much as it did when it was fresh. As I am hurting now. I know it will be the same for this one too. I will forever be a mummy of 6. Three down here and three up there.

My advice to anyone - find people you love, people who care about you, and talk about your baby. Every baby counts - those we get to meet and those we sadly don't. It's not awkward or uncomfortable to talk about those we have loved and lost so it shouldn't be taboo to talk about babies who we never got to hold.

They're not secrets, they are babies. And they were ours. Xxxx

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Disclaimer

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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