by Emily Waterfield
I was having horrendous flashbacks, reliving the worst experience of my life, from the moment the midwife couldn’t find a heartbeat to the birth, and the emergency surgery that followed.
An online survey at an NHS counselling service revealed I was suffering from PTSD but, with no baby loss experts amongst their staff, they couldn’t help me.
We’d started trying for baby number two at Christmas 2014 and in mid-June I found out I was pregnant. I’d been anxious through those early weeks with my daughter Bea, and this second pregnancy was no different. Everything is so uncertain and you’re so desperate to protect this tiny creature inside you.
I attended a curvy mums class at 17 weeks where they carried out my 16 week check but two dopplers failed to find a heartbeat.
They tried to reassure me but I think I knew, and a scan confirmed our baby had died.
They explained I’d take tablets, then come back in two days and take more to bring on labour. It was like living in limbo, Pete and I were shocked and devastated.
Everything from that point is a bit of a blur. Teddy was born on September 17 2015 at 5.15pm and he was tiny, just the size of the palm of my hand, but so beautiful with his perfect little hands and feet and a tiny nose, just like Bea’s.
I retained my placenta and needed emergency surgery to remove it. I still remember Pete standing there as they wheeled me away, looking so lost, not knowing what to do. I feel so bad when I think about what he must have been going through.
We left hospital the following day and life went on. The daytime was busy with Bea, but I’d wake up almost every night, relieving the worst experience of my life. I also started questioning my mortality, irrational but I couldn’t stop myself.
The PTSD survey suggests 33 points and above is an indicator, I scored 48. I can’t fault my care in hospital and my GP has been incredible, but there is no NHS support available to help me process the trauma of losing my son.
Despite scoring high on the PTSD indicator test, the counselling service didn’t reference this in their letter to my GP, just said they’d suggested I contact Sands or Pregnancy Crisis Care.
I understand the NHS is under enormous pressure but when you consider one in four pregnancies end in miscarriage, it’s disgusting there’s no support for women like me.
I’m so lucky, my parents and husband have been fantastic, but I can’t help thinking about women who don’t have that support.
In November I received a letter from hospital asking me to attend a seminar to discuss pain relief for my impending birth. I had to call and tell them I’d lost my son. The midwife was incredibly apologetic. I know this kind of admin error can happen, but it shouldn’t.
The post mortem revealed there was no known cause for Teddy’s death and we’re trying to take hope from the fact there’s no genetic reason why we can’t have a baby in the future.
Losing a child is the worst thing that can happen to any family but we know we’re lucky to have Bea.
She’s been a huge comfort. Sometimes something on TV or a memory will trigger tears and she’s there to hug me.
I already followed Tommy’s on Facebook which is how I found out about their miscarriage survey. I contacted them, and my MP, because the aftercare I’ve received, following my miscarriage, has been non-existent.
I understand there have been cutbacks to many services but when the statistics say one in four women suffer a miscarriage, they can’t be ignored.
Sharing my experience won’t change things for me, but it may spare another woman the pain of going through their loss and grief alone.
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