I guess I knew it was happening before I even went to the hospital for a scan. I knew I had lost our baby and the chance of becoming a parent was slipping away from me.
October 2012, the month I suffered our first miscarriage. I was attending a teaching in-set course. It was lunch time and I was to meet my teaching friend for lunch. I finished my course before her and was waiting in the hallway when I could feel liquid between my legs. I tried to brush if off in my mind and pretend it didn’t exist but it began to intensify so I made a quick dash to the toilet. I wiped – blood. My heart sank. My eyes were pricked with tears, hot stinging tears. I pushed them back and felt like I couldn’t breathe. I flushed, washed my hands and phoned my mum. She advised me to excuse myself from lunch and come straight to her house. She phoned David for me so by the time I arrived at her house David was there. I was too heart broken to call the maternity department myself so David did it for me. “Can you come in at 4pm for a scan?” It was 2pm. I had two agonising hours to wait till I would see if my baby had a heartbeat
4pm came. We followed the midwife into the scan room. The cold gel hit my tummy. I couldn’t bring myself to look at the small screen. Then came the phrase, that phrase I would hear another two times to come: “I’m sorry I can’t find a heartbeat” No longer could I fight back the hurt, the pain, the stinging tears and I exploded. The scan finished and they ushered us into a side room within the maternity department. This was degrading. I could hear babies crying through the walls, I could see families carrying balloons of congratulations and I was sitting in a pool of my own tears bleeding out my dead baby.
The options were explained to me and it was agreed I would have a surgical procedure to remove our baby. “Report back in two days time and we will remove the remains”.
Two days came and my physical pain had intensified. I arrived back at hospital at 8am and was shown to the same room as before. I had to remove all my clothes and put on a surgical gown. I was wheeled down to Theatre. There I was asked my name, date of birth and what procedure I was here for. “To remove my dead baby” I whispered through choked up tears. An hour later and I was back up in the ward recovering. I was given lunch, my BP was checked, my cannula removed and I was free to go home with a handful of leaflets.
I was no longer in any physical pain. The operation was not sore and no one would have known what I just suffered as I was left with no physical scars. I was however scarred mentally and emotionally. I spent most evenings on my couch in tears with David hugging me close. I would have to turn away if I saw a woman on the street pushing a pram and the most disturbing of all was the hatered I had towards women who announced they were pregnant, especially if they already had 1 or more children. Why do they get to have children? Why do they get to have a straightforward pregnancy? When I closed my eyes I would relive the trauma of the experience. I felt so utterly alone. I had no close friends who already had children so no one to talk to. I knew no one who had been through the experience. No one could answer my questions of: why me? What did I do wrong? Was there something wrong with my baby? Was it a boy or a girl?
The whole experience only intensified my need to be a mother and as soon as I was fit and able we started to try for a baby again. It took five months for us to conceive. Five long months.
In 2013 I gave birth to a 7lb15oz baby boy we named Finlay. Finlay’s birth brought a lot of healing to the pain of my first miscarriage.
Like the first time this experience intensified my need for a baby and a month later we found ourselves pregnant again. I will always be envious of the women who approach their pregnancies with excitement and expectancy. This was never me. Each pregnancy brought its own fears and worries. What should be a happy time in people’s lives became a time of great anxiety for David and I.
Christmas was fast approaching and I was looking forward to having both my brothers home for the ocasssion. My brother’s then girlfriend (now fiancé) from America was joining us and I was eager to show her our British traditions. I was also nervously excited to tell them all about our pregnancy.
On the 22nd of December I was getting ready for my last day of work before the holidays. I was washed and dressed and had eaten my breakfast. I was brushing my teeth when I felt it again, the feeling of blood. I went to the toilet and wiped, blood and lots of it. How can I be experiencing a miscarriage for the third time?! I dialed the maternity department who booked me in for a scan. I then left the bathroom explained to David we were going through it again and called my mum to ask her to come and look after Finlay while we went for the scan.
Sitting the same side room for a third time I was not given the option of surgery. This time they suggested I “pass” the dead foetus myself. They gave me two pills to swallow and told me to come back two days later to get another dose of pills. “What will happen?” I asked. “You will just pass your baby out as if you’re going to the toilet” was the response. I didn’t want that. I didn’t want to go through that experience. It sounded painful and traumatic. That night I cried myself to sleep. I was extremely angry. Why did this have to happen so close to Christmas especially when I had planned so many family activities?
The next day I was in physical agony. The pain was so bad it felt like I was in labour. I was doubled over on the toilet as I couldn’t move due to the amount of blood I was losing. David called my mum who took one look at me and phoned the maternity department. They admitted me for the night and gave me a shot of diamorphine to take away the pain. The next morning I was given two pills to take which would expel what was left of our child. I was told it would take about 6-8 hours to work. 12 hours later and nothing had happened. I was pacing the floor listening to mothers being rushed to the delivery room and hearing them return with their precious newborn babies. That should be me. Why do I have to be in this ward? Why not another ward where I wouldn’t be faced with newborn babies?
The next morning was Christmas Eve. The consultant realised I wasn’t going to “pass” our baby myself and so he decided surgery was the best option. I wished he had decided on that three days earlier and I wouldn’t have had to go through such a traumatic and painful ordeal. So here I was waiting again to be wheeled into surgery to remove another dead baby. Lying in the pre-op room I burst into tears. The whole experience became too overwhelming and I could hear my heart beating so fast on the machine. The anethetitst gave me a shot of something to calm me down before asking me to count back from 10. Three hours later I was back in my flat with my husband and son, snuggled on the couch watching a Christmas movie.
This time it didn’t seem as sore (or so I thought) as I already had my baby to hug and draw close. I pushed all my feelings aside and decided to enjoy Christmas and New Year. It was only when January began and the festivities were behind us did my dam of feelings begin to burst. I could be doing anything: showering, watching TV, making dinner or driving to work and I would be hit with flashbacks of our third miscarriage experience. It would be like a cinema reel running through my mind. I would relive certain aspects of it right down to the feelings and emotions I felt at the time. I couldn’t turn it off. I was an internal mess. People wouldn’t know from the outside just how hurt I was on the inside. I would meet people on the street who I knew and they would ask me when I was going to have another baby. I think because Finlay was 2 years old they thought that was an appropriate age gap between children. That question would rip me up inside. “If only you knew what I’ve been through. I’ve suffered two consecutive miscarriages. I’ve had surgery to remove my dead child and I bled for nearly a month because of it” was what I wanted to say but miscarriage isn’t a subject openly spoken about. I hadn’t even told my best friend as I was worried how to approach the subject or what to say.
It all came to a head and my mum and David encouraged me to seek help. I went to counselling specifically aimed at pregnancy and child loss. I attended four sessions and the sense of relief I felt was amazing. I had someone to talk to. Someone who had also been through the same thing. Someone who understood completely. At the end of my four sessions it felt like a weight had been lifted off me. I entered the counselling room as a broken women and came out healed. We also found out we were pregnant with the twins in that time.
Having researched miscarriage I came across the Tommy’s charity Facebook page. Here I could read stories of women who had suffered miscarriage too. I took great comfort in the differences each story held. No two miscarriages were the same. The work Tommy’s do is fantastic and their leaflets and statistics gave me more comfort than the leaflets I received from the midwife. 1 in 100 women will experience recurrent miscarriages. Sadly I am 1 in 100. I will forever carry the pain and loss with me. The thoughts of what if: what would they have looked like? Would they have been a boy or girl? And then there is the guilt for feeling heartbroken over our loss because if I hadn’t had the miscarriages I would not have had Finlay or our twins. One thing it has taught me though is to be open about it and talk it through. You never know how your experience can help another.
I would not have gotten through all of this if it was not for the help and support of my mum, my husband, counselling and God.
May we break the silence surrounding Miscarriage.
If you would like to know more about the work Tommy’s do then you can visit their website here: