by Lucy Golder
I've read many of the #misCOURAGE stories and feel ready to share my own. Whilst it's not easy to do so, I support the campaign and feel strongly about encouraging more open talk about miscarriage.
We hadn't been trying for a baby for very long when I found out I was pregnant. We were ecstatic and terrified in equal measure. We tentatively told our best friends and closest family reasoning that if something went wrong we would need their support. I became obsessed with statistics and every day felt a little better that I was creeping closer to twelve weeks.
At seven weeks I had a tiny amount of spotting. I knew it could be nothing but was seeing my doctor anyway so I mentioned it. My doctor was very supportive, said it was probably nothing to worry about but sent me for a reassurance scan. The sonographer could see a pregnancy sac but no fetal pole and said my dates must be out. I was sure they weren't. I was told to come back in a week. Seven long days later I returned for a second scan which showed some development. The sonographer wanted to do an internal examination to be certain but a second sonographer came in and said "there's your baby, we'll print the screen shot for you mum!".
The midwife told me it could still go either way and to return in a week. I came away feeling confused that one person had casually said it was all fine and another said I could miscarry. I had more spotting and felt my symptoms fade a little. I went for the third scan at 10 weeks where the sonographer who had been so casual the week before grimly stopped poking around inside me and quietly said there was no point prolonging it, there had been no development, it wasn't a viable pregnancy. I was led into a small room and a kind nurse spent time with us explaining the options. I chose surgical management and was booked in for a few days time.
We left the hospital that day just as a group of people ran past to get outside and make frantic phone calls shouting "It's a girl! It's a girl!". It felt particularly cruel but of course they had no idea and I stood and cried out of sight.
I went in for the day procedure and was told there may be a delay if an emergency came into the theatre. I waited nine hours in the end and stayed in overnight. Whilst I was devastated, I had been quite matter of fact about the procedure and was not overly emotional but the wait, which was clearly unavoidable, was very difficult. With so much time to think I became more anxious and scared. I cried as they wheeled me in to the surgery preparation area and a wonderful surgical assistant held my hand and assured me the surgeon would treat me with the same respect they would wish for.
I came home the following day feeling relieved, exhausted and empty. I felt useless. Our hopes and dreams for our baby snatched away so quickly and I was just me again. It seemed unfair to me that I had understood and feared the possibility of miscarriage from the start, and yet it had happened to me. I desperately searched for a reason, but eventually had to accept there was no reason. "It's just one of those things" provides little comfort but that's all there is to it. Bad luck. I avoided social media for weeks because all I saw was baby photos and pregnancy stories. Nobody had shared a miscarriage story because people just don't talk about it. Our friends and family rallied round, and it was then that I heard stories from friends and colleagues who had been through the same awful experience.
I have a fantastic support network and I got through it, but I wonder if my husband had not coped so well, if my parents had not been as supportive as they were, had I been a little less secure or a little more sensitive, then perhaps I wouldn't have talked about it all. I'd never have known it had happened to so many women around me, and I'd have suffered alone.
A well meaning colleague said "you'll move on & forget all about this". I'll never forget about it and whilst it's difficult to rake over it, I strongly believe we should talk about miscarriage more and break the taboo. So many women have shared this awful experience and no-one should have to suffer in silence. Tommy's #misCOURAGE appeal is a great place to start.
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