EVERYTHING we thought was real was not

She typed up the report: MISSED MISCARRIAGE. I wanted to throw up. I had to get away from that room.

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November 2016

I became pregnant after my April cycle - so sometime in early May. Words cannot describe how happy I was to see those two pink lines. I don’t think I’ve ever felt so relieved, so happy, so in love with something I’ve never met.

The joy lasted about a week, when I took a Clear Blue indicator, and it say 2-3 weeks (which means 4-5 weeks) but I should have been 6 weeks, so the indicator should have said 3+ weeks.

I got into a panic, and called the Hospital Maternity line. They told me to come in for an early scan the next day just to be sure. We got the scan, everything was looking peachy. We saw a heartbeat. I fell further in love with the 2.5mm bean I was staring at.

We forgot to get a picture, which I am so grateful for to this day, as I can't bare the thought of just staring at it over and over again.

Fast forward three weeks. I’ve had NO symptoms, and this has been driving me insane. Everyone who knew - and this is a grand total of three people - told me it was normal. Google tells me it was normal.

But I had recently become obsessed with “missed miscarriages.” I never knew they existed before. It’s where the baby passes early, without your body realising. Your body still thinks you’re are pregnant, you have no spotting, no cramping. You are blissfully unaware.

Now, statistics say 1% of all pregnancies end in a missed miscarriage. You’d think this would put my mind at rest? Nope…

We booked in for an early scan at 8.5 weeks, as we were flying to Portugal in a remote area, and I wanted to know everything was ok.

It wasn’t.

The baby measured 6.5 weeks and the heart had stopped beating a couple of weeks earlier. In that moment, I felt so angry, so upset.

EVERYTHING we thought was real, was not, and the thing I had feared had been realised. She typed up the report: MISSED MISCARRIAGE. I wanted to throw up. I had to get away from that room. Harley Street was officially ruined.

I was asked if I wanted a picture, and in that moment I hated the sonographer. I couldn’t believe she was asking this… Of course I didn’t want a picture.

We were sent home. I couldn’t face the tube, I was a wreck, I remember I kept saying “No…” over and over again, like it would make a difference.

We got an Uber home, and it took an hour and a half. London traffic is not kind. I was stunned. I was numb. I was heartbroken. My husband held me the whole way home in a protective bubble.

I felt so sorry for my body. My poor body, was it so desperate to hold onto this pregnancy it refused to acknowledge it? Was my body protecting my mind, by trying to keep up the charade? To save me pain?

That night, we went to sleep, somehow I managed to sleep. I woke up crying. I was actually crying in my sleep, and it woke me up at 2am. I felt like my world was crashing and caving in around me. 

9am we called the Early Pregnancy Unit. They told us to come in. Again, another painful taxi ride. I started to cramp. I couldn’t tell if it was my body giving up the show. Now it didn’t need to pretend, my mind knew what was happening.

We were seen quickly and the very kind nurse, Patience, what a wonderful name for a nurse, listed three options:

1. Natural management- wait for your body to realise what has happen - not a chance in hell. The baby has passed two weeks ago, and my body needed help.

2. Medical management - You get given a pill, come back two days later for another pill and it basically brings on the above - not an option, basically an abortion.

3. Surgical management - both local and general were offered. I chose general and begged to be seen that day. I needed it “over with” as callous as that sounds… But my baby wasn’t coming back to life.

I hated the idea of my poor body carrying around something that had gone. It needed help, and I needed the assurance it was over.

They managed to get me in that day. I had blood tests, I had another scan to make sure it was indeed definitely not viable.

The sonographer confirmed that she agreed with the Harley Street sonographer, and in that moment I saw my husband's face, and my heart broke. It was when I realised that, before that moment, he still had hope.

The sonographer said missed miscarriages are NOT uncommon, the reason they can’t give solid statistics is because MANY early miscarriages are probably missed, but as we don’t normally scan early in the UK you would never know about it, and eventually the body just passes the baby. So when you think you are having a "live" miscarriage at 9/10 weeks, you could indeed have lost the baby weeks before.

We were shown to a private room and we waited for a doctor. And we waited, and waited. After an hour she arrived and I signed the sheets.

We then went to the surgical ward, where I was dressed in the gown and the slippers and they took my blood pressure and my pulse etc. I was visited by the anaesthetist, the surgeon, and they told me what would be happening.

The anaesthetist suggested the put the cannula in there and then so my husband would be with me. It was awful. I’m frightened of needles. But, looking back, it was nothing.

I barely remember it, all I remember is the pain of losing our baby.

I was taken to surgery at 3:30. I had to leave my husband and I was frightened. The procedure is a 20 min operation. I was petrified. I had never been under general anaesthetic before.

I was meant to go in around 15:30- 16:00. I didn’t get seen until 17:15, as they kept having emergency surgeries ahead of me. My husband was beside himself with worry on the other side, however, I had no way of reaching him.

They gave me two tablets to start opening my cervix. And as I had to wait so long they kicked in and it started to become uncomfortable.

The staff were incredible, and I will be forever grateful. For the last 45 mins or so a nurse sat with me, and comforted me as I just kept crying. She let me cry and just held me, she let me talk about crap, and she distracted me with other things. 

At 17:15 I went in. I was petrified. I couldn’t find words and I didn’t recognise myself. A nurse held my hand and told me she would give me a shot of vodka in my arm. They gave me something and it make me feel a little calmer, but not much.

A male surgeon helped me to breathe and gave me oxygen. They then gave me the anaesthetic and I held the hand of the wonderful nurse who helped me and I fell asleep within three breaths. 

I woke up so relieved. It was over. I was crampy, but it felt like a period, nothing too bad.

I asked for some water. After 30 mins I was wheeled out back to the surgical ward to be monitored for a couple of hours. My husband was on the other side of those doors and I’ve never been happier to see him. 

I was transferred from a bed to a chair. I was given hot tea with three sugars and I slowly ate a sandwich my husband had bought me. I knew that I had to wee before I could leave, so I was adamant to drink as much as possible. 

My first wee was a little painful. It stung a little, and there was quite a bit of blood. To be expected, I was told.

I stayed for a couple of hours, as they continued to monitor my blood pressure etc. I was frightened as it was a little low and was scared to leave. They said it was because I had been nil by mouth all day. 

I took two paracetamol for the cramps and was discharged about 7:30. We took a cab home and I remember feeling sad, but relieved. I felt guilty about the latter. I was grateful I didn’t have to miscarry naturally.

We were meant to fly to Portugal the next day with our friends, obviously we were no longer going. However Paul and I had a full week off to heal and grieve together. My work were incredibly supportive, they changed my holiday to compassionate leave. 

We decided in a couple of days, if I felt up to it, we would go away to the country. I didn’t leave the house on Saturday, and Sunday we went for a roast and a slow walk.

I hadn’t thought about how HARD it would be leaving the house. I cried the second I stepped foot outside, petrified of what I would see, what if I started bleeding heavily, etc. My husband pointed out the place were headed for was actually CLOSER to the hospital if we needed to go, I think that’s the only reason I left.

In the house I could control what I saw, I wasn’t going to bump into pregnant people etc.

The bus journey was horrible. We got into a fight with a man. I burst into tears. We managed to eat Sunday lunch and walked home through the marshes. I was happy for the peace and quiet and longed to be out of London.

I cleaned and washed and cleaned and painted and washed and polished and folded and refolded clothes. Allowing any emotion that came up to come up and to let it engulf me, wash over me, swallow me. I was grateful for them all.

I tried to keep repeating lots of reasons why I was grateful.

By Tuesday I felt well enough to travel, so we went to a hotel in the countryside near Bath. It was the perfect retreat, just for two nights.

In the middle of the countryside, nothing around apart from hills and fields and trees. Time stood still. And it rained. Rained hard, it was June and the rain was the worst on record for that month. I felt it fitted the mood.

We held each other, we ate well, we had treatments, we slept in, we had naps, we read, we listened to the radio. We were one person, and I felt grateful for him, this amazing man. 

Coming home was awful. We had been locked away in a bubble. Now it was time to start coming back to reality. Friends’ kind words helped, sometimes they made me mad.

My Mum arrived on Thursday afternoon. I didn’t want to see her, only for the fact that I dreaded her leaving me again. We brought our books down from storage, put them on the freshly painted shelves, went to dinner, then had breakfast the next morning. When she left I fell apart - again. 

In the months that followed I have felt, joy, anger, sadness, hope, anxiety, all the emotions. But the only emotion I found horrendous to deal with was jealousy. Such an ugly emotion.

I'm not a jealous person, but my god, was I jealous. Bitter. Resentful. I see now, it's all part of the process, the package, and it had to be felt. Why should jealousy have any less room to feel than anger and sadness?

We decided to wait. Controversial in this day and age. But I had to, my mind was a mess. My first period arrived 4.5 weeks after my procedure. And I seem to have settled into a 28-30 day cycle, so physically (I hope) all seems to be fine...

Mentally however, I HAD to wait. We wanted to get myself in the best shape possible and that massively includes dealing with the loss mentally. For me.

It's been just over four months since it happened. And we are in a place where we are thinking about trying. But the anxiety I'm sure will still be there, when we get those two pink lines next time, I am sure there will a whole host of emotions.

Will everything come back up again? All we can do is move forward, because the end product if what we fight for, and it will be everything.

I am 1 in 4. I didn't want to join the ranks, of the club no one wants to be part of. No one does. But we are here, we are alive, breathing and will get there.

We are warriors, with silent battle wounds. And the ONLY good thing that has come out of this hideous journey, is being able to help anyone who has/ will go through this in the future. And that is the only silver lining I can see. 

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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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