As today 15/10 marks the end of Baby loss awareness week, I thought I would share my miscarriage story, so a bit of an emotional one this week. I totally understand if you do not want to read this blog entry.
I haven’t actually spoken about this much at all, it has sadly been pushed to the back of our memories but I think that is due to the circumstances that surrounded us at this time. We were very happy to, like the other three fall pregnant fairly quickly with our fourth child after we decided we would like to expand our family. We took getting pregnant for granted as we have three healthy children so didn’t think about any issues occurring. Due to this we told the other three, and family fairly early as we were so excited and happy. We were currently living in a rented house, but sadly my contract at work was not extended so money became very tight meaning we had to move out, initially to stay with my mum for a while until we could afford to move on again. I joined the midwife bank so was able to pick up shifts here and there. We had a property lined up but it was not ready for a few months so all 5 of us were going to stay with mum. We were also going through a bit of challenging time with Wil, his behaviour had taken a bit of a dip, so the household was a bit stressful.
During the mad tidying of a rental house and packing up to move for our 7th time (renting is a bum when landlords decide to sell) I started to very slightly bleed, being a midwife I obviously know that any blood is not a good sign, but it was old in colour so I told myself it was ok, and to be honest I was so busy I didn’t really want to think about it and tried to ignore it. I finally rang my community midwife to arrange a booking appointment as I was ten weeks and mentioned the bleeding, so she arranged a scan for me just to check it out. We moved into my mums house and during this time Stuarts dad who was in a nursing home suffering with extreme dementia and Alzheimer’s, had taken a turn for the worse, so we were all very worried about him.
My scan was arranged and Stu was unable to get time of work due to having time of recently seeing his dad, but I told him not to worry as I’m sure all would be fine and I could manage on my own. The difficult thing with our local trust is the scan department is fairly small, so whilst I was sat waiting for a scan there are also people waiting for their 20 weeks scan so it can feel very uncomfortable. Never experienced this before, I was unsure what to expect, I went into the scan, the lady was very nice and started the scan, she could not see anything clearly, so I had to have an internal scan. Even with this, she said it was difficult to see, there was a gestation sack but not clear if this was a pregnancy starting or finishing. I was sent away to return in a week to see what changes had happened. I was obviously very upset with this news, but was trying to look at it positively and hope it was the start of pregnancy, deep down I knew it wasn’t good news, I’ve never bled before in my pregnancies and being a midwife I have sadly heard all these stories before, but obviously with Stus dad so poorly I wanted to try to remain positive. One of the hardest things was, that night I had a bank shift on Cheltenham Birth Unit, I couldn’t not go as we desperately needed the money, but it was very hard knowing that I was almost definitely miscarrying whilst caring for women in labour.
During that looooong week, Stus dad really took a turn for the worse, the family were sadly spending all their time with him, just waiting for the inevitable. Our re-scan was the day after Stuarts dad sadly passed away. I was still spotting so knew it wasn’t going to be good news, but Stuart was adamant he wanted to come to the scan, I tried to reason with him, thinking it would be too much but he wouldn’t listen. I love him so much for that and realise how hard that must have been. Sadly the scan was bad news, no baby, we had lost our baby, it was too much for Stu and he rightfully left the scan room. We were so sad, but next came the discussion of what happens next and the processes that happen. Do we wait for nature to take it cause and miscarry naturally or have a surgical procedure to finish the process for us. The natural way can take up to six weeks, where as the surgical procedure is fairly imminent. We decided on a surgical procedure, as sadly I had to consider the funeral and grieving with our family, so I felt that having a set day would make it slightly more manageable, and the last thing I wanted was to prolong this event, especially during this difficult time for us.
The day of our D&C (dilatation and curettage) was nerve-wracking, I have not had an operation as an adult so the thought of being put to sleep and the operation taking place was not a pleasant one. That evening Stuart already had a pre arranged social event and as much as I did not want him to go, I know that he needed a release from everything, although this made the whole day a little more tense. The operation went as well as could be expected and luckily, we were still at my mums so she was able to look after me and help with the children that evening whilst Stuart was out.
We are very lucky that a couple of months later, we fell pregnant with our rainbow baby (baby born after loss) Olivia, although I was the most nervous I have ever been in any of pregnancies, not telling family until later on and friends and work until I was at least 20 weeks, as I didn’t want to jinx anything. Now I get so worried and anxious for women who announce their pregnancies early as I begin to worry for them and just think what if it doesn’t work out. I remember when we told Madison we were pregnant with Olivia, and all she said was “is this baby going to die like the other one” and I felt so bad that we had let her experience that loss at such a young age, when we could have kept it to ourselves and she would have been none the wiser (she was 5). Luckily we had an early scan and were able to show her the pics to reassure her that all was ok, and luckily it was. I never really mention this, as I think that miscarriage is common and I know many people have been through it, rather than excepting we lost a baby no matter how early in the pregnancy and we should grieve that baby. Baby loss is difficult at any time whether it is during, pregnancy, labour or after birth. Tonight at 7pm light a candle in remembrance of all those tiny lives taken too soon.
Thank you for reading. Below is a quote by Gabrielle Rose that I can really relate too, and think others may too:
Do I count as a mother, when my body never gave birth, when my child never drew a breath on this beautiful earth.
Do I count as a mother when my belly never grew, when I never heard your heartbeat or your cries the whole night through.
Do I count as a mother when you don’t even have a name, never knowing if you were a boy or girl, no one knows this pain.
Please let me count as your mother you are my baby for as long as I live, I have been robbed of so many moments you were my baby, and too much to give.