by Jo Payne
When you lose a child you’re still a mummy, but nobody celebrates the life you created, no matter how short.
I’ve been a children’s nurse for 20 years and always wanted babies of my own. Gareth and I started trying in 2013 and I fell pregnant within that first month, which left us a little shocked, but so very happy.
I was at work one Thursday, trying to give a three-year-old 10 puffs on an inhaler when she kicked me in the stomach. I didn’t really think anything of it, but at 4am the next morning I woke up in pain. I then went to the toilet and there was blood. The antenatal ward said to see how I felt in the morning and the bleeding stopped. But by 6am it had started again and it was heavier so we went to A&E.
My experience completely changed my outlook. I work in A&E and I felt ashamed. They treated me like a neurotic pregnant woman and after a three hour wait they sent me home without advice or any painkillers.
Overnight I suffered horrendous cramping and the next morning I knew my baby had died.
There was no sickness and I just didn’t feel pregnant anymore. We were having a family BBQ, so I put a brave face on. I didn’t tell anyone, not even my husband.
At around 6am the next morning the cramping began again. Gareth ran me a bath and when I got out there was fresh blood, so we went back to A&E. After another three hour wait, they called me and two other women through to the surgical assessment unit. As a nurse, I knew they wouldn’t be taking us there unless we were miscarrying.
Another three hours and I finally saw a doctor who said that my HCG levels had dropped; they believed that I was having a miscarriage. They couldn’t book me in for a scan for another 90 minutes. By this point I was hysterical and just couldn’t stop crying.
We waited for that scan in a room full of pregnant women, and then the sonographer confirmed what I already knew. I was asked to come back a few days later for another scan, to be sure that I’d passed everything. That time I refused to sit in a waiting room with heavily pregnant women and the sonographer kindly said that she would see me first. They told me everything was gone, and that I should take a pregnancy test in a couple of weeks to confirm my HCG levels.
We went away for our anniversary and when I went back to work someone took my bloods, which were still positive. I then had a massive haemorrhage at work, and five weeks after miscarrying I went back to the hospital for a D&C. It was traumatic. As soon as you discover you’re pregnant your life changes overnight. At almost 12 weeks I’d felt like we were getting out of the woods, like we were safe, but we weren’t.
We started trying again in the August, a month after the miscarriage and by October I was pregnant again.
I didn’t enjoy a second of it; I had sickness right through until the day I delivered. I was also desperately worried. As a nurse, you’re painfully aware of all the things that can go wrong. We think of getting pregnant and of having a baby as easy, but it’s not always.
At 42 weeks I was induced and our daughter arrived. It was the most amazing feeling after all the worry and fear. I know that without losing our first baby, the one we never got to see or hold, I wouldn’t have my cheeky and wonderful Cora. But I still feel guilty about the little one that I couldn’t protect, like I failed them.
I think Tommy’s #misCOURAGE campaign is important because we need to talk about miscarriage. When you’ve suffered baby loss, you can end up trying to make everyone else feel better because they don’t know what to say to you.
We talk about death and miscarriage is a death, not ‘just one of those things'.
My husband gave me a necklace, a crystal angel for the baby that isn’t here so Cora could be.
I had my first Mother's Day with Cora last year and I was spoilt rotten. But as I celebrated with my beautiful girl, I remembered the baby that I never met. I’ve never forgotten and I never will.
Cora and William took part in the #splashface filming for Tommy's Splashathon and you read about their experience here
A team from JMW solicitors recently took on the three peaks challenge in support of Tommy's.
Owen, co-author of parenting blog 'Love amongst the stars' opens up about navigating the emotions he felt after the loss of his son Kaspar.
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