#misCOURAGE story by Sophie,
I’ve written a few versions of this and I’ve found it hard to get right - Less “woe is me” and more factual. Less “I’m one in a million and I must tell my story” and more “I am one in four and no different to thousands of others”.
So here goes…
A few weeks ago, I was so excited; I was pregnant with my first and due to have my 12-week ultrasound. The day before the scan I started bleeding – not a massive amount, but enough to make me worried, so I rang 111. One doctor’s appointment and 5 hours in A and E later and it was thought highly likely we had lost the baby.
We went for the scan and our worst fears were realised, our baby had no heartbeat. The next day I was put under general and the baby was removed by a surgeon. I was out of the hospital later that same day.
I don’t know if I’m naïve or stupid but I had no idea miscarriage could happen like this. I knew how common it is, but I had no idea that it could mean carrying around your dead baby inside of you until they take it out.
Never did I imagine that you might have the baby surgically removed or wait for weeks to bleed it out, or take pills in order to bleed it out quicker. I guess it’s a mixture of Hollywood showing miscarriage as a quick loss of blood and also lack of exposure that made me so blissfully unaware.
I’m not saying I would have changed anything (or could have) – I still want a baby desperately, but knowledge is power and without it, you feel even more useless.
The most heart wrenching things for me were the small and sometimes the most obvious. Things like…
• My pregnancy app didn’t know I had lost my baby
• I still get online advertising for maternity wear
• My boobs are still ‘pregnancy shape’
• The ward where my surgery was, was in the same place women were recovering from birth with their new-borns
• We walked out of the same doors as new parents with babies in car seats
• I felt twinges in weird places, a hip or thigh and then remembered it’s from when the surgical team probably moved me around
• I don’t feel special anymore
One in four women will experience a miscarriage in their lifetime – that’s 25% of ALL women – why is it we can’t talk about it? How is my experience the first I have to hear about surgical removal? Why are we not talking about this in sex ed, in classrooms, over coffee? I’m not saying let’s scare 6 year olds with stories of dead babies, but let’s educate 16 year olds when we talk about condoms and birth, that there’s also risk of failure and what that means. Somehow, let’s make it easier to talk about within families and friendship groups.
I told many family, friends and colleagues early on, mainly because it was over Christmas and I gave the game away by not drinking all the gin and I was stupendously excited, but also because, through my family, I knew the risk of miscarriage and I couldn’t have dealt with it without a network around me.
Telling people I was no longer pregnant was incredibly hard, but nowhere near as hard as it would have been if no one knew. We need those people around us to support, but also to talk about our experiences and hopefully make miscarriage less of a taboo and more of a discussion. As Rebecca Holman said back in 2015 in the Telegraph, we probably talk about IBS more than we do miscarriage and yet miscarriage is more common, how is that right?
25% is a scary figure, but there’s strength in it too – so many women have experienced it, so let’s talk.
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