#misCOURAGE story, 17/05/2017, by Nicola
Without my miscarriage my son would not be here. It feels strange to put it that way, but it is true.
My husband and I wanted two children, and so had we not lost our baby to a late, second trimester miscarriage in August 2015, I would be sitting here as the mother of two daughters, aged 4 and 1. Family complete.
The reality is that our family was eventually completed with the birth of my son in September 2016, the most cheerful little rainbow baby you could ever hope to meet.
Now my relationship with the miscarriage is a strange one. I simultaneously wish that we had never had to go through such an awful experience, yet would not change my current situation for the world, and that current situation exists because of the miscarriage...
We got pregnant with our second child as soon as we started trying. It felt very different to my first pregnancy, with no symptoms like the horrible sickness I'd felt with my eldest.
Looking back, I think I subconsciously knew something wasn't right. I desperately wanted another child, but couldn't invest in the pregnancy or bring myself to feel excited.
At our 12 week scan, we were told that the baby was only measuring 10 weeks old, and was too curled up to be able to measure fully anyway. I knew I had my dates right, so felt uneasy, but accepted an appointment in two weeks time.
The evening of that first scan I had some light spotting. I was terrified and rang the early pregnancy unit for advice. They reassured me that spotting is quite common in healthy pregnancies, and advised me to rest, wait, and see.
The spotting lightened and disappeared, and we went back for our second scan. Again, the baby remained too curled to measure properly, and discussions started about further investigations.
The following week we headed off on our family holiday to Wales. Driving down I had a heavier bleed than last time, and so spent most of the first day of our holiday, also our wedding anniversary, in a strange, unfamiliar hospital waiting to lose our baby. I didn't.
There began several weeks of almost continuous bleeding, sometimes heavier, sometimes lighter, and numerous trips to the early pregnancy unit for scans, to be told that our baby still had a heart beat, but was still unusually curled up. It was horrendous.
Eventually we were referred to Birmingham Women's hospital and an appointment for an amniocentesis was made, but we never made it to then.
One day the bleeding got heavier and the cramping closer to what I'd previously experienced as labour pains, and so I was admitted to hospital overnight.
I had to wait for a scan appointment the following afternoon. At that scan, yet again, our little girls heart was still beating merrily away.
I remember sobbing at the doctor that I couldn't bear to wait any more in limbo. I knew I was losing her, and it just seemed cruel that I had to keep waiting another two weeks for the amnio. That evening we were sent home to wait and see some more.
Driving home the cramping became worse, and I had barely been home five minutes before I was screaming in agony on the bathroom floor, passing huge clots of blood, and my husband was phoning for an ambulance.
I know what I had is technically classed as a late miscarriage, at 17 weeks, but I gave birth to my little girl, sitting on our stairs, holding my husband's and a paramedic's hand, high on entonox. I can still tell you the exact step she was delivered on.
I am eternally grateful for the wonderful NHS staff, who treated her as a baby, not "products of conception".
She had a post-mortem, and then a funeral, and now her ashes sit in my wardrobe because I don't know what to do with them and want to keep her close to me.
We found out that she was a she, and that we lost her because she was triploid, meaning she had three sets of chromosomes instead of the usual two. We were also told that we had no greater risk of it happening again than the general population.
I am grateful that we managed to conceive my son so soon afterwards. This meant that the sadness of our daughter's due date was tinged with hope, and the anniversary of the miscarriage could well have been his birth date. As it happened, he arrived two weeks late, obviously determined to be the oldest in the school year and not the youngest!!
I am unbelievably grateful for the handful of amazing friends, and of course my husband, who knew exactly how I wanted to be treated.
Whilst most people, including my family, were busy favouring the "let's just pretend it didn't happen and never speak of it" approach, they were there sharing their own experience of miscarriage, or asking me for details of mine, or offering to attend the funeral, or asking me if I had named my daughter, remembering her due date and calling me that day, referring to my son as my third child, the list is endless.
I love them for either knowing what to do and say, or for asking me when they didn't.
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