by Laura Whelan
In September 2009 I found out I was pregnant. I already had one happy healthy little boy - no problems with my pregnancy, however we had a very traumatic birth. After 26 hours in labour and pushing for three hours with a back-to-back 8lb 15.5 baby. I was rushed to theatre for an emergency C-section.
He was just too big. I’m only a small frame, around 5ft 1" in height and there wasn’t any way I could have delivered him naturally.
After 5 weeks, I collapsed at home in agony. I had an undiagnosed uterine infection, which took nine different antibiotics to clear and two nights away from my son in hospital. I was only 24 at the time, and I felt so lost and miserable.
When we discovered I was pregnant again, I was worried and scared having been through what I had with my son, only 15 months previously.
This is why I think I felt so guilty when this pregnancy ended. I had a scan at 6 weeks because I was in pain, I had free fluid around my uterus, but the baby was in the right place, and had a heartbeat, so everything looked well. We then told all our friends and family, some had guessed already as my tummy was quite big.
I had terrible morning sickness with this pregnancy, however all that stopped at around 9 weeks. I came home from work with a really bad headache, vomited a lot, and then fell asleep. When I woke up I didn’t feel sick anymore.
That is when I think it happened, I didn’t really think anything of it, I knew sickness stopped at 12 weeks, so I assumed I was lucky.
I then had the worst backache I have ever had for the next three weeks, it was the day before my 12-week-scan and I started bleeding really heavily and the pain in my back was horrendous. I went to hospital and they checked my bloods and my HCG wasn’t high enough for 12 weeks gestation.
When the scan showed no heartbeat, I was diagnosed as having a missed miscarriage. I opted for a D&C, as the thought of going home in such pain waiting for the baby to ‘pass naturally’ was too much. I had already carried a lifeless baby around for three weeks without knowing, so I couldn’t face going home with it.
I was devastated, I blamed myself for being selfish panicking about the birth, and how I would cope with two young babies
I went into a state of depression quite quickly, wracked with guilt I stopped eating and cleaned constantly. I wouldn’t sit still, I was like a Tasmanian Devil. Anything I could do, I would do, so I didn’t have to sit down and think about what had happened.
My friends and family tried to comfort me with the following well meaning, but unhelpful comments: "At least you know you can get pregnant", "You’re young you can try again", "It’s better it happens now", "It happens for a reason, it wasn’t meant to be", "You have your son, you should be grateful for that".
Some people just said 'I’m sorry,' and to be honest that's all I wanted to hear. Some people avoided me altogether, pregnant friends especially. I felt like they thought I would go crazy, and try and steal their baby off them when they had it.
I really beat myself up, although we didn’t really plan a second child so soon after our first, we wanted to try again. So in the December I found out I was pregnant, then a week later I had pains on my left side. These pains were horrendous, I was crying and couldn’t stand up, so we went to A&E.
I wasn’t scanned until the Sunday morning as an emergency. The Sonographer accidentally left the screen up on the wall, and I saw what looked like two kidney bean shapes, so I asked her, "Is it twins?"
She looked horrified and apologised for leaving the screen up, she hadn't realised it was on, she said no, they were blood clots and it looked like an early miscarriage.
I decided not to tell anyone this time, I'm not sure if this helped or not, but I felt like such a failure that I only told close family.
It then took a further 10 months to get pregnant again. This time I felt poorly, slept a lot and had a dull ache in my side.
I was so determined to stay pregnant, that when I started to lose blood, I hesitated before contacting our early pregnancy unit
I researched ways to stop miscarriages with steroids and asked over the phone when I spoke to the triage nurse.When they scanned me, I was 8 weeks and had an ectopic pregnancy in my left tube. It was quite a rare one, it was in the fimbral end of my tube and was involved with my ovary and lining of my abdomen. I had a few students come and see my scan as it was so unusual.
It had an excellent blood supply according to the scan, so I asked if there was any way it could survive outside my womb. I would have done anything to keep him or her alive.
The doctor said I was in a lot of danger and women still died from ruptured fallopian tubes in the western world. I then felt a wave of guilt come over me; had I put myself at risk and possibly denied my son a mother because I was so determined to have another child?
I had the operation the next day, and after the surgeon came to show me the pictures from the camera scope. It was interesting (I trained as a nurse many years ago, so I kind of felt like I was looking at someone else’s insides). After that I was really poorly, I was anaemic and in so much pain. I had to stay in hospital for a while, again compounding my guilt at being apart from my son. My hCG didn’t drop like they expected, so they were considering Methotrexate, but luckily it went down after a few days.
I pushed to be referred to the recurrent miscarriage team
I was initially told I didn’t qualify because the last one wasn’t technically a miscarriage, it was just in the wrong place. I was so upset, that they agreed to see me. I eventually got an appointment months later.
I then went on a bit of a healthy eating plan, I stopped drinking alcohol (I never drank a lot but I wanted to be sure I didn’t do anything wrong). I used to drink a lot of diet coke, so that was a big source of guilt for me; I thought all of the above was probably due to something I had done/drank.
In the May 2011 I found out I was pregnant. It was a total shock, frightened and excited at the same time. I rang the hospital straight away as I was told I was a high risk for a further ectopic.
I had my bloods done every 48 hours and then, I was scanned once they reached a 1000. There was a sack in the right place but no heartbeat; I was told this could be due to it being too early to see, so I continued with the 48 hour bloods which doubled nicely.
I was then scanned again at 8 weeks and all was well. No free fluid and a good strong heartbeat. I felt so happy but so worried. We had been here before, luckily this pregnancy was completely fine. I had a small bleed at 23 weeks, but it wasn’t anything serious.
I now have a healthy 7-year-old boy and a healthy 3-year-old girl. We have been so blessed to have the children we have. I know people don’t mean to say the wrong thing, but I think the fact that women don’t tell people they are pregnant until 12 weeks, makes it worse.
Its almost taboo. I think that if everyone shared their stories, however painful, people would know the things to say/not say and support would be better all round for mums and dads.
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