**Trigger warning** Details of miscarriage which may be upsetting or triggering to some.
We found out we were pregnant after just six weeks of trying to conceive (TTC) in February 2019 and we couldn’t have been happier. I’d suffered from severe Endometriosis for the past ten years and having been told I might never fall pregnant prior to having my first daughter because of my struggle with my periods, I genuinely was relieved that falling pregnant once again happened so quickly.
After a wonderful whirlwind 12-month romance, I’d finally met my soulmate; the most wonderfully kind, caring and loving man I could ever have wished to meet. Seeing those two positive blue little lines, meant our little blended family was about to be complete - with a new little sibling for my 6 year old… a first child for my partner who was fast approaching forty… and my very own little miracle egg. We were ecstatic!
Morning sickness and tiredness hit me hard and my only solution was to eat and eat and eat, keeping the sickness at bay. Despite the sickness and tiredness, I was healthy and all was as expected so early on in the pregnancy. Three weeks later, we flew to Seville to celebrate my partner’s birthday and enjoyed a couple’s weekend away – just the two of us and our little jellybean. It was a magical weekend in a beautiful city. I honestly cannot remember a time I was happier – truly happy and content with my life and excited about the future.
The weeks after that ticked by slowly, waiting for our first scan to be booked at the hospital. With my first daughter, I’d had an early scan at seven weeks - so to have to wait until 12 weeks felt like an eternity. We decided, as we approached our 12-week scan, it was time to start telling people close to us about the pregnancy – it was also beginning to be hard to NOT tell family and friends. I felt perfectly well in myself – despite the usual sore boobs, sickness and tiredness – so we happily shared our excitement with our parents, grandad, brothers and sister in law and close friends. I also decided to tell my boss and my team at work – especially when I kept retching each time I walked into the canteen and someone had been cooking something fishy in the microwave! It was just easier to tell them, than to keep it a secret. It was lovely to share people’s excitement with us and we couldn’t wait to share the news with my daughter once we had that beautiful scan photo to show her and the rest of the world.
So, at 12 weeks and 6 days we finally got to go and see our little baby for the first time. I remember feeling exited, spraying my favourite expensive perfume on me and discussing our already chosen baby names in the car, on the 20 minute journey to the hospital. As we entered the sonographer’s room, I remember being impressed with how modern the facilities were compared to seven years ago when I’d had my daughter. There hadn’t been any big flatscreen TVs on the wall then for parents to view, just a little TV monitor that we had to wait for the sonographer to turn to show us the screen. Oh how I wish that had been the case this time…
As I lay on the bed, both my partner and I were looking eagerly at the 42” TV screen opposite us on the wall, but all I could see… was nothing. A big blank womb where the baby should have been. I remember waiting and waiting and waiting. Squeezing my partner’s hand, I looked over to the sonographer waiting for her to say something… desperately praying she was going to say there was something wrong with the TV screen… or the signal… or something technical - anything other than what was about to come out of her mouth.
The silence felt like an eternity. I started to cry as it began to hit me that something was wrong – I knew from my past pregnancy you should be able to see a baby in there. My partner however, didn’t. He had no idea that there was anything wrong, until the sonographer finally said those heart-breaking words… “No, no, no, there’s no heartbeat”.
The care we received from the sonographer in what followed was pretty devasting. I had to have an internal scan (vaginal ultrasound) and saw our baby had died many weeks earlier and was tiny – the size of a lentil. But still there inside me. Still our little jellybean.
The language used throughout, and general patient care received from the sonographer just added to our heartache. She told us we’d had a missed miscarriage with no other explanation (expecting us to know what that actually meant – we had no clue and struggled to take any of it in!). She threw a box of tissues next to me and asked me to get dressed. She handed my partner a scrap of paper she’d torn off a pad with a phone number handwritten on it for the Early Pregnancy Unit, as we needed to call and make a follow-up scan appointment in 7 days - if I didn’t bleed before then. She then opened the door and ushered us out of the room. I managed to ask for a copy of the scan photo of our tiny baby – if I hadn’t asked, I wouldn’t have got one!
We walked out, back through the maternity reception passing all the other eagerly awaiting pregnant women and partners with their wonderfully full pregnant bellies. Our heads hung low and all I remember is clinging on to my partner’s hand, tears still streaming down my cheek. It was like I couldn’t breathe. I couldn’t speak. I couldn’t take any of it in. We were both so numb. What had just happened?...
What is a missed miscarriage?
A missed (or silent) miscarriage is one where the baby has died or not developed, but has not been physically miscarried. In many cases, there has been no sign that anything was wrong, so the news can come as a complete shock.- Miscarriage Association
In my naivety, I assumed I knew the basic facts of a miscarriage. However, I clearly had not heard of a missed miscarriage before and our experience soon proved that what I had thought to be knowledge and education (mainly taken from TV and film) was in fact, mostly myth.
Myth #1 – If I still have pregnancy symptoms, I must be pregnant
I STILL felt pregnant.
I STILL felt sick.
My boobs were STILL sore.
There was still a baby inside my womb, but it had no heartbeat and had died 6 weeks earlier. My body just hadn’t registered the death yet.
Myth #2 – You know if something is wrong with your baby as you have a bleed or cramps
I hadn’t had any cramps.
I hadn’t passed any blood.
I’d had no symptoms so how could I have had a miscarriage? At the time of the scan, there were so many questions we had and absolutely no information given to us. Of course, we did what most people do and turned to Google. I wished I hadn’t.
Myth #3 - a miscarriage is 'just' a period bleed
It took just three days after our ultrasound scan result before I started to ‘spot’ with light bleeding. I genuinely/stupidly/naively (or probably all three…) thought that was all there was to it, so I’d maybe bleed for few days and then this nightmare would be over. How wrong was I?!
As the bleeding got heavier and more painful, we rang the maternity unit at the hospital and were told to ‘stay at home to pass the baby’ as there was nothing they could do for us. There was no pre-warning about me experiencing actual labour pains and we simply hadn’t been prepared for was the passing of many tissue clots (the size of a golf ball!).
I’m not going to lie, I’ve never been so scared in my life. I’ve never seen so much blood. I just stood in the shower with the blood pouring out of me as there was nothing I could do to stop it. With each wave of contraction, another gush of blood would appear. I remember catching each clot and passing it to my partner for him to sift through, searching for our baby – not sure we knew what we were looking for.
The bath was like something out of a horror film. In the end, I climbed out and was taken to lie down on the bed with a wedge of towels underneath me to try and soak up the blood. The contractions and gushing wouldn’t stop and we ended up calling for an ambulance. We placed each of the clots carefully into a bag for the ambulance medics to check through as they blue lighted me to A&E with severe haemorrhaging. I was told I’d been ‘unlucky’, as I had a clot stuck in my cervix which needed removing to stop the gushing blood and contractions.
Support for all
Our entire experience of a missed miscarriage was just horrific and pretty traumatising for both of us – I’ve found it very hard to write about and haven’t shared our story with many people before now. I worry it’s too graphic for some, too horrifying for someone to comprehend if they’re lucky enough NOT to have had a miscarriage themselves. Or maybe even overindulgent as 1 in 4 have experienced a miscarriage – why should I be treated any different?
Perhaps we were just unlucky and for others, their experience wasn’t as bad – or maybe it was even worse… But it’s important to remember, how you feel about an experience matters and you shouldn’t compare yours to others. Your feelings count!
I also think it’s important to share our experiences – real life experiences – and to remove the stigma attached to losing a baby and to ‘normalise’ it so that people can understand. So that everyone is just a little bit more educated. So that, if this blog post can help just one woman going through awful moment RIGHT NOW… then I’ve achieved what I set out to.
Now more than ever, in the midst of COVID, women and their partners need support, love and kindness from others to get them through their worst days. Pandemic or not – miscarriages don’t stop…
For more information on coping with a miscarriage during the COVID-19 pandemic, please visit the Miscarriage Association or copy and paste the following link into your browser: