Story of #miscourage by Sarah,
I always thought getting pregnant would be easy, you are never taught about the struggles couples face to have a baby.
So far our journey has taken two years to get to where we are, I have been pregnant twice, yet I still don’t have my baby to hold in my arms. When I first found out I was pregnant we were over the moon. We were on our honeymoon in Australia and we couldn't believe our luck and were beyond ecstatic.
Unfortunately this was not meant to be and at 8 weeks I started bleeding and rushed off to A&E.
The hospital could not confirm whether the pregnancy was still viable or not and we had to wait until the morning. The next morning we were taken up to the ultrasound department to confirm our worst fears, our baby was no longer with us. I found it so cruel to be sitting in the same room as dozens of other couples all having scans of their healthy babies. All these pregnant women around me and pictures of babies everywhere I turned. We went home, I had a week off work and then we tried to get back to normal. I was very open about what had happened to us and we both learnt that the more we spoke about what had happened, the more we discovered how common it was. So many people you talk to tell you about their miscarriage experiences.
We started trying again almost straight away.
My due date came and went, I remember sitting silently at my desk at work and crying to myself. I thought I would have got pregnant again straight away. “Just relax, stop trying and it will happen”. The worst advice you can ever give someone who is struggling with fertility. I had had enough and eventually went to the Dr who sent us both off for some testing. The results came back that we would probably need IVF in order to conceive a child. How was this possible? We had already conceived a baby, how could so much have changed since then? We gathered all of our options and sought multiple opinions.
We were denied IVF on the NHS because of our postcode, so our only option was to go private. We found our clinic, found the funds and were about to pay a deposit. The day before I put down the deposit I took a pregnancy test and to my utter dismay it was positive. We couldn’t believe it. How lucky were we to have not needed IVF in the end. The next few weeks followed worry and multiple Dr appointments. The Dr was less than enthusiastic and had told me to “prepare for a miscarriage”.
What wonderful advice we received from our really helpful Dr.
We went off to hospital for an early ultrasound. There we were again, back in the same room I had found myself in 14 months earlier being told I had lost my baby. The worry and dread is unlike anything I could ever describe. I was only 4 weeks pregnant at this stage, the sonographer warned us the baby could be too small too see, but eventually after what felt like an eternity of hunting she found our little speck. We went back two weeks later and saw our baby on the screen with its little heartbeat flickering away. How lucky and thankful we were to see our baby at such an early stage. We had further scans at 8 weeks and 10 weeks so by the time our 12 week scan approached I was feeling very confident. I had seen my baby every two weeks and each time he had doubled in size and had such a strong heartbeat. Surely lightning won’t strike twice and our storm was finally over. We had our perfect little rainbow. After that scan I was walking on air, everything felt perfect and I was so relieved to be out of the “danger zone”.
My sister was also pregnant at this stage, she found out five days after I did. Our due dates were two days apart. We spent hours, days, even weeks speaking about our babies growing up together, spending maternity leave off together, our babies being best friends. We had planned the next few years out for our little best friends that we were growing. Not a day went by that my sister and I didn’t talk, we were counting down the days to our due dates, planning our prams, planning our child care for when we returned to work.
The day of the 20 week scan arrived. I couldn't have been more nervous, for the past few days I had a dreaded feeling something was wrong, in hindsight I wish I had acted on my instincts, but what can you do? Go to hospital and say something doesn't feel right? Well yes, I wish I had and I urge anybody to go to the hospital if they are unsure. We went into the scan and I just knew what was about to be said, but prayed I was wrong. I prayed that my baby was ok and that I would see him wriggling around on the screen happy as larry. I saw the screen and before the sonographer said anything to us, I just knew. I could see my baby, but I couldn't see his heartbeat, I couldn’t see him moving, he was just curled up, completely frozen. The lady turned to us and started to apologise, she didn't have to say anymore, I knew it was over. My heart felt like it had been ripped out of my chest in that moment.
Time stood still and we had no words. I looked at my husband and just said “I knew it”. The next few minutes were a blur, I went to the toilet and just sat there on my own in silence. I had no idea what was about to follow, I just wanted it all to be a dream, to wake up and everything would be perfect again. How could my baby be dead? I had had a miscarriage before and I had felt pain, there was blood. This time there was nothing. We were taken to a quiet room and a midwife came to explain what happens next. Naeve me thought I would be kept in to have an operation and that would be the end of it. There is too much at risk for this to happen and instead I was told to take a tablet to induce labour, go home for 48 hours and come back to deliver my baby. How cruel could the situation get. We were having to go home, knowing my baby was not moving inside of me and preparing to come back to deliver. The midwife gave me the tablet and I stared at it for what felt like hours. By taking this tablet I felt like I was killing my baby, what if they had got it wrong? What if he was just sleeping? All these what if’s. Taking that tablet was one of the hardest things I think I will ever have to do. That was it, there was no going back. There were so many leaflets given to us, so many decisions to make.
Thursday morning we woke up and pondered what to do. What do you do in this situation? We cried and we laughed. We had to laugh, otherwise we wouldn't have got through. We needed humour.
Looking back now, I am so thankful we had this time to grieve for our baby before we delivered him. Going into labour was not easy, but I know I would never have had the strength to get through it had I not gone home to grieve first. Thursday night I don't think I slept a wink. I stayed up, I cried, I looked at scan photos, I googled what was going to happen and I prayed. I prayed so much.
We went to hospital on that bleak Friday morning, the same hospital I had been at only two weeks earlier to greet my new nephew that my sister in law had just delivered, that same hospital I had my perfect 12 week scan at, that same hospital where I was told only 48 hours ago that my baby had gone.
Our room was huge, we were brought in tea and coffee, we had our own microwave and fridge. We joked with the midwife that we had been given the penthouse suite. She didn’t know quite how to react. We needed to make jokes, we needed to talk about anything but what was going to happen.
The midwife started off the induction almost imminently with 6 tablets. I was then told that she would come back every 2 hours for another tablet. We sat in that room and watched catchphrase. We argued over answers and we got very competitive. Before we knew it the first two hours had flown by and the midwife came in for some more tablets. I had felt some mild cramping but knew nothing had really started yet. I was sick, more sick than I have ever been.
I got onto the bed and tried to sleep, my body wouldn’t let me, the cramping came with vengeance. I text my friends, what is happening? Is this contractions or is this just the start? I had no idea what to expect, I had no idea how often contractions came, I had no idea how long I would be like this. The pain is unlike anything you can prepare yourself for, the contractions came hard and fast and I needed some pain relief.
The midwife came in with the anaesthetist and hooked me up with a morphine drip, which only made me more sick. The pain didn’t go, so in came the gas and air. The best invention ever. It didn't take the pain away, but it brought laughter, I laughed, and I spoke absolute nonsense. Everything happened all very fast after this, my waters had broke, I was expecting a little trickle but my god did they break! I lay on the bed and the pain eventually subsided. The baby had got itself stuck and with a little help from the midwife our beautiful boy Everett Walter was born at 17:17 weighing a tiny 98 grams.
The next few hours were peaceful. We were left alone with our boy. We held him, we cuddled him, we wrapped him in a blanket and slept with him in a cot next to our bed. There were no tears shed on that day. It was the hardest thing I have ever had to do and I don’t know where I found the strength but I am so glad at how peaceful those next few hours with Everett were.
Saturday morning was less peaceful, we were greeted with new hospital workers with the same look on their faces, the “I’m so sorry for your loss”, the head tilt, the funeral discussions, the post-mortem conversations, the helpline numbers and the tears. All the tears.
We had the minister come and do a little service for our boy, as he was born at 20 weeks we do not get a birth or death certificate so the hospital were able to provide us with a naming certificate. I gave birth to my beautiful son, yet he is only classed as a “late miscarriage”. No maternity leave, no birth certificate, no death certificate.
Our hearts are completely broken and I don’t think anyone will ever understand the pain of miscarriage, early or late, the struggle of infertility unless they have been through it.
I want to say thank you to everyone that has reached out to us. Our family, our friends far and wide, those we haven’t spoken to in years and those we speak to every day. I will be forever grateful for the messages, the cards, the flowers and the kind words. Thank you to everyone for looking after us and helping us through the most difficult journey.
We will never forget our first born child. Everett Walter, I am so thankful you came into our life, we will see you again soon one day.
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