by Emily Davy
Before I had a miscarriage, I'd only ever considered the heart-break factor. How sad to plan for a baby and lose it. When you find out you're pregnant, planned or otherwise, your every waking thought is about and dedicated to your unborn child. You feel your future change. Your relationship with the father (/mother) if your lucky enough to have one that wants to stick around changes too. It's stronger, it has purpose and promise. I always thought how tragic it must be to receive such bad news.
I never really considered what happened physically. I think I just assumed that it went away. We received the tragic news after some bleeding had led me to phone the doctor. The doctor took a pregnancy test and referred me to the EPAU the next day. It was the longest 24 hours of me and my partner's life. We arrived, feeling sick and scared at the local hospital. It was small, intense and intimidating. The receptionist was hostile. I spent the time in the waiting room crying.
We were called through, told what the possible outcomes were and then they did an internal scan.
Eventually the nurse said she could see the embryo and gestational sack but that it was a lot smaller than it should be and that it had no heartbeat. I started to cry and looked over at my partner who was in floods in tears. It was the lowest point of my life.
They showed us the screen, which is still an image that haunts us both.
We were told that I was starting to miscarry naturally and that I should go home and expect to bleed and pass clots. I might see some 'tissue' and there might be some pain. That's it. No leaflet, nothing. They booked an appointment for a week's time to make sure everything was going to plan. We left, devastated. At home we started to imagine the year without the baby that, by now, we had named and welcomed into our future.
In the days that followed I started to bleed a little. Then the cramps and clots got worse.
I felt like I was floating out to sea in a little lonely boat, with no one that could relate to me. Everyone I know has a child, some had more than 1. Not even my partner could truly relate to what I was going through. Only my wonderful, courageous friend, who had suffered 3 miscarriages and two rounds of IVF, she became my lifeline. I clung to her knowing I was not alone.
Then I started the most intense cramping I had ever experienced. Searing pain, the kind that painkillers don't touch,the kind that makes you fold double, rock back and forth and moan, cry, sweat, wonder if you're going to be sick.
The pain lasted for 7 hours. The last 2 of which I found myself expelling blood at a terrifying rate. The EPAU had been phoned and they suggested we came to the hospital ward. I couldn't face it. I didn't care. Then the pain eased and I found a strange peace and calm. I knew the worst was over, but it wasn't.
We went back to the EPAU the next morning for a follow up scan. They could see more clots and bleeding to come out but told me I'd passed the sack. They gave us leaflets and said that I should now just bleed for a couple of weeks.
As we left the hospital the pain started to come back. We went via my doctor's surgery to pick up a prescription for stronger painkillers. By the time I was hand the prescription I couldn't stand, the pain was so bad. I assumed it was normal having been given absolutely no warning from the EPAU.
We went straight home and for 2 straight hours I was in the worse pain of my life. I could feel the urge to push every 10/15 mins and would have to run(waddle) to the toilet where I would pass enormous amounts of blood.
Tommy phoned the paramedics as I knew I needed help and I couldn't make it to the hospital. When the arrived
the pain was subsiding and the bleeding had slowed considerably. The female paramedic was absolutely amazing. She passed on more knowledge in the 15 minutes that they were with me than the entire EPAU staff put together.
They phoned the hospital who agreed that, at this point, I didn't need to go in but left an open invitation in case the pain came back.
I felt so much better and reassured that this really was it now. But the following itt started happening again. The paramedics had told me that, should it happen again, I should go straight to the gynaecological ward. I phoned the ward (in tears), they told me to manage it at home and that I needed somebody with me in case I fainted.
Now I was scared. Conflicting stories all round and noone to comfort me. Luckily it died down after an hour and a half and after that each day got easier.
This may sound like a horror story but this is my truth. I am an ordinary, healthy woman.
I wish that someone had given me a heads up as to what to expect. I would absolutely have opted for the D&C (a procedure where they get rid of everything in one go for you). I am truly, deeply shocked at how little information we were given by the 'professionals' that helped us and even more shocked that we were sent home to effectively cope with labour all by ourselves.
I also wish, with all my heart that us women talked about our miscarriages. Since having one, so many have come out of to tell me that they too have had one, or 2 or even 3. All these women with their easy, breezy, 2.4 kids have in fact been through the same ordeal. Why don't we talk about it?
My advice to anyone that has lost the life inside would be this :
1. Ask about your options! You will be reeling from your awful news but now is the time to decide how to handle it. If you are squeamish or single or already dealing with any kind of grief or affliction then a 'natural miscarriage ' may very well not be for you!
2. Find someone to talk to. Believe me you will worry about every twinge, clot, wave of nausea and you will need real people to reassure you.
3. Take time off work. You will need to. Don't feel guilty. You can't serve customers while giving birth now can you?
4. Ride the grief roller-coaster. Embrace it. Don't push it away.
5. Don't do any of the above by yourself. You are not super-human.
6. Please, please share your story. Goodness knows I would have loved to have read it.
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