by Amy Salmons
I had already fallen pregnant twice before, had straightforward pregnancies, and delivered two beautiful little girls. Peyton is three (four in February) and Lydia is one (two in February). February is a very expensive month for me, as it’s my fiancé’s birthday in February too!
In November last year, my partner and I discovered we were pregnant for the third time. We were over the moon - another little member of the family. The thought of losing the baby never entered my mind.
We chose not to tell anyone, as we wanted to wait till we were out of the ‘danger zone’. This is exactly what we had done with our previous children.
We'd registered at the local GP, and had the typical initial consultation. For a while I kept saying to my partner that I didn't feel pregnant, but he reassured me, saying that not every pregnancy is the same.
At my 12 week appointment, I asked the midwife if she could try and find a heartbeat, as I didn't feel like I was pregnant and something didn't feel right. She fobbed me off saying I was just being silly, and it was too early to detect a heartbeat. I asked about my 12 week scan, and she said it should come through the post any day.
We waited a further four weeks, and I had a small bleed. I didn't think too much about it, as I had one with my second daughter.
And by now, we were out of the danger zone.
I tried to call my midwife to chase my scan, and after a number of calls and transfers, I discovered my midwife hadn't sent off my details and so no scan had been booked.
Just to put my mind at ease they sent me to my hospital, to the maternity ward. It was the first time we’d been to this maternity ward, as the one we'd had our other two children in had been closed for financial reasons.
We were made to wait for an hour downstairs in the main foyer, then a further hour in another waiting room. We weren't worried at all, and just thought it would be a routine scan to check all was ok. We were just excited to finally see our baby for the first time.
We were taken into a side room, where a midwife asked me to let her listen to my stomach. She tried and tried but couldn't find a heartbeat, and said it was probably due to not being far into the pregnancy.
She went and got a portable scan machine. She put the gel on, and there he/she was, our little baby. She was very quiet and said she was struggling to find a heartbeat and needed a professional to come and check for her as she didn't think the machine was set up right. We weren’t panicking at all.
Then another midwife arrived and explained that they were waiting for a second person to come and confirm there was no heartbeat.
This was the point we started to have that feeling of dread.
I asked if they had ever got it wrong first time, then found a heartbeat second time around. The midwife said it had been known, but not to get my hopes up. That was it: I had my hopes pinned on the small chance that everything was still ok.
The second person came in with a colleague, and in what seemed like seconds confirmed that there was no heartbeat and that we'd suffered a missed miscarriage. I broke down uncontrollably.
Then I froze, I felt numb. My partner tried to snap me out of it, but he was struggling just as much as me and started to get nasty (verbally) which snapped me out of it, as I realised it was happening to him just the same as it was happening to me.
We were given some time alone. Then a doctor came in and explained our options:
1. We could leave it and let nature take its course, but they couldn't tell us when this would happen.
2. I could have a vaginal tablet that would make me dilate and pass the baby naturally within 24 hours.
3. I could have a womb evacuation.
We asked what the third was, and when it was explained to me, I wanted to scream. It's was explained that the baby would basically be vacuumed up, and would not remain intact.
The way in which we were treated was so matter of fact. We were made to feel as if it was a normal occurrence and that it happens to everyone. We never thought it would happen to us, as we already had two beautiful children.
We had the "it'll never happen to us" attitude.
After a lengthy discussion, we decided to go for the tablet option, mainly because that way we knew our baby would remain in one piece. We went home that day, and were booked to come back the following day for the procedure.
We turned up and were booked in. The tablet was inserted and so the waiting game began. It took what felt like hours.
After about four hours I started to feel cramping, and the thought of what was going to happen dawned on me. After a further two hours, I'd started to pass blood, which is part of the process, and was asked to use a tray to collect it so the nurse could check when the baby had "passed".
After a further hour, the moment came. I knew when it happened but refused to look. I pressed the alarm and broke down. My partner just grabbed me in his arms and hugged me and didn't let go.
However, it didn't end there. Throughout the whole time we was in the hospital, the nurse kept pushing us to sign some papers to say what we would like to happen to the ‘tissue sample’ once it had passed.
After a lot of discussions and questions, but no explanation or leaflets being given to us, we told them that we would take our baby home. At no point did the hospital staff acknowledge our child as a baby, but either tissue or a fetus.
Then, when we thought we could now start to grieve for our baby, I didn't stop bleeding and had a clot stuck which meant my uterus wasn't closing properly. I collapsed in the toilet, but luckily had enough time to press the buzzer before I did.
From there it was a blur.
I was close to be taken to theatre and treated for blood loss, but luckily the doctor was able to remove the clots. The following day we were discharged and handed our baby in a plastic tub in a green bag. The only advice we were given was to keep the tissue refrigerated.
We got home and were, for lack of a better word, deflated. We put our baby in a plastic container in our fridge, as we didn't know what else to do.
The following day I started to make phone calls to find out what we needed to do to have a small service to say our goodbyes. Then we hit another obstacle: We were in the Staffordshire region but our new hospital was in the West Midlands. And as they were in the middle of the transfer of service, people who lived in our area weren’t covered by either.
We were told we were the first people in this situation since the split of the services between the two trusts. So in a nutshell, we were no one's problem - or that was how we were made to feel.
I ended up organising everything myself. Luckily we found a crematorium and funeral directors that could help and didn't charge us either. It was perfect. We got our goodbye.
While I was trying to sort it all out, I spoke to the ward sister, as I hadn’t been given the relevant details I should have been. She referred to our baby as a thing, an object which belonged to us. I broke down again. How could they not see our loss?
We started to feel like we were beginning to get closure.
I was desperate to become pregnant again. I researched how common it was to become pregnant straight after a miscarriage. It was almost all I could focus on.
After six weeks I took a pregnancy test, and it was positive. I was so happy. My GP referred me for a scan, as recommended by the specialist. We went thinking we would see a baby. It was not the case; it was retained tissue.
I felt broken.
My body was just not doing what I wanted it to. We were booked in for an evacuation the following day. We went back again, and I felt unbelievably numb. I blamed myself - my body was to blame. I started to think of all the things I could have done and eaten, and stressed about what could have done all of this.
We had the procedure. It took a couple of weeks for me to start feeling human again, and to start thinking more positively. I spoke to some people from Tommy’s and the Miscarriage Association. They helped a lot.
Members of my family thought it was just "one of those things", a "common" thing. People believed that "it wasn't even a baby yet". What they failed to realise was that to me and my partner, it was a baby. He/she was our baby. We'd planned where he/she would sleep. We'd bought clothes. We'd made plans for him/her.
We put a complaint in to the Trust and received a detailed response. They were very apologetic, and told us that they were putting measures in place to make sure it didn’t happen again.
In one sense, it was nice that we'd stopped it from happening to anyone else. In another, however, we were angry that it had been allowed to happen to us in the first place.
It’s now nine months later. I have no immediate plans to get pregnant and have started to make plans for a new career, to help better both myself and my family.
We have a cherry tree in our garden, which is planted in an individual pot, and when we planted it we put our baby’s ashes in with it, so we would always have a beautiful reminder of our baby.
The seasons it bloomed coincided with our due date.
We have done a number of things in memory of our child. We brought two balloons, me and my partner wrote individual messages to our baby and released them over a near by nature reserve.
We also have a small box of items that was either brought for baby whilst we was pregnant, it also has the CD with Christina Perri - A Thousand Years, the song played at the service we had for our baby. As painful a memory it can be, we do not want to forget our child we never met, because he/she was ours and was loved.
I would not wish what happened to me and my partner on my worst enemy. All I wish is that people are educated about miscarriages. Yes, one in four pregnancies ends in miscarriage. However, to the people it happens to, we are not a statistic. We have just lost our baby.
Regardless of how far along we were, we had already planned in our minds what they'd look like.What they'd grow up to be like.
So many details are planned in your head without realising.
The thought of holding your baby in your arms. The smallest things that are now never going to happen. That is real, not a statistic.
For some, seeing a pregnant lady can be heartbreaking, as you feel that should be you. Sometimes you find yourself resenting people because they're pregnant or have a newborn baby. You can’t control it.
The main thing I learnt from the whole experience was that it wasn't just happening to me - it was happening to my fiancé too.
I am grateful that I have two beautiful babies, and hope one day in the future to possibly have another. But I truly feel that miscarriage and infant loss are so misunderstood, and not acknowledged as a loss in the way they should be.
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By Carl Salmons (not verified) on 27 Oct 2017 - 09:25
Amy is my daughter, and what she went through was devastating to her and her partner, and was something we had not experienced before. Because of this we were not sure how to react and did the best we could to support our daughter. It hit home to me when we were at the crematorium and they brought in the tiny coffin - my heart broke at the thought of a baby we never saw, or held or loved the way we love our other granddaughters. Last December Amy gave birth to a third daughter, who we love dearly. The education of the nursing staff and relatives is something that should be improved - the loss of this baby is very traumatic and upsetting for all our family