Baby Loss Awareness Week
Becoming a parent holds its own challenges. But sometimes the journey that leads us to becoming parents can be even more challenging and emotional. We need to break the silence and talk to each other as sometimes this can be the best therapy. The blog below was written to share my account as writing it down helped me, and hope that sharing our own experiences can help others not feel they are alone.
As the date approaches I never forget the traumatic experience that I went through, but having two healthy girls helps to make the sad memory be left in the past.
This blog I have decided will be detailed as I feel this subject is something that many people experience but never really mention until you go through it yourself. It is only by talking about it that you realise you are not alone.
Monday July 7th 2014 my 12 week scan was booked in- I was apprehensive as I felt like I had been carrying this secret for so long and because you don’t know what’s going on inside, you feel like a stranger trapped in your own body.
I had told some close friends and family and I felt I had been lucky so far as I hadn’t really experienced any pregnancy symptoms - I mean I was hungry and tired but I have come to realise that is a symptom for pretty much everything in life these days.
We had tickets for the Hyde park music festival on the Friday before and we decided to stay in central London in a hotel and make the most of the weekend, I knew it wouldn’t be a big drinking event (obviously) but was still excited about going.
On Friday that week I was in school (as I am a teacher) and felt really happy as I knew this would be the last day at work where I had to keep my news a secret.
Just before I went home I went to the toilet- everything seemed normal and as I got up I suddenly saw a small amount of blood. It was so tiny but immediately my body froze. I knew I had to acknowledge it even though the amount seemed so insignificant.
The 20 minute journey home was normally my saviour where I could be wrapped up in my own thoughts but I didn’t want to think. I wanted no thoughts. I turned the radio up so loud to drown out any possibility of letting my brain turn on and go down the road I wanted to avoid.
I went to the GP and she seemed to not be over worried- the little blood had stopped and she felt my stomach and nothing showed concern.
We agreed we would carry on as normal as both triage and the GP did not seem concerned as long as I kept an eye out. We decided to go to the hotel as planned, as a little small bleeding was nothing out of the ordinary during pregnancy.
I started to relax slightly and was able to start thinking about the scan on Monday - I had butterflies again but I knew I had to keep my excitement down as this had proved to me that these first few months are a rollercoaster of emotions.
We went to Covent Garden for dinner and I just avoided at all costs going to the toilet- I felt fine but I didn’t want to go through the same experience again. We headed back to the hotel and decided to go to bed early, ready for our long day of music and dancing at the Hyde park festival.
I woke up at 5am and went to the bathroom and I knew once I had sat down that something didn’t seem right. I saw a few more spots of blood and once again my heart just stopped. I kept telling myself this was normal and flashes of the google searches from the day before when others were saying that bleeding happened in their pregnancy and now they had a healthy baby boy.
I decided to have a shower as I thought that would put an end to any bleeding- I mean blood was supposed to stop in water.. I got in the shower and at that point all hope was washed away.
I knew I was losing my baby.
The blood didn’t stop and I screamed out for my husband to make it stop. It didn’t.
He told me we needed to get to a hospital but I didn’t want to- I wanted it to stop and a very small part of me thought it may.
We arrived at the hospital at A&E and they told us to wait in the waiting area. At this point the bleeding was getting really bad and Iwas in a waiting area with other patients standing around a pool of blood. My husband asked if I could be more private and they moved me into a private side room.
To put it bluntly I was surrounded by a blood bath and at this point people were still trying to tell me that bleeding was normal and they had this during their own pregnancy. As much as I wanted to believe them, my brain and my body knew. But I did hold on to what they were saying as I wanted so much to believe it.
I ended up seeing the Dr who examined me and took blood and my husband and I were left to wait in a ward behind curtains. We tried to make small talk but avoided what was really going on- we didn’t want to use the word. We didn’t want to get to that point.
I went to the bathroom and again this was the point that I finally accepted that this was happening. It wasn’t just bleeding now. I think this was also the point which bought my husband and me closer than we had ever been before. He was seeing me in a complete state and clearing up everything around me. He was amazing and I needed him more than I ever did.
We were taken through to the Dr and she showed me what my pregnancy levels were from my blood test. The results showed that my estrogen levels had dropped and it was clear that I was having a miscarriage. She told me she needed to take me to theatre for a D&C procedure as she was worried about the blood loss at such a fast rate.
I was extremely anxious as I had never even had a blood test before being pregnant - I was now on my way to theatre. My mind was all over the place. I had no time to realise what was happening because selfishly I was now worrying about myself as was so scared about being put to sleep and having the rest of my unborn baby removed.
It was all happening so fast.
The next thing I knew I was waking up and I felt numb. Not because I was in any physical pain but I just felt empty. I can’t describe it but something was so painful but yet didn’t hurt when touched.
I went back to the ward and saw my husband and mum and we acted normally having small talk- my mum saying how her priority was me and they were so pleased that I was okay and healthy. People were talking to me but I couldn’t hear- I just responded.
When they went home I was left alone in the hospital. It was the first time that I was lying in a bed in 10 weeks where my body was a stranger to me. It was so odd as in the first few weeks of finding out I was pregnant I didn’t know my body either but I had gotten used to the new me and the house that I was building inside.
I didn’t cry at this point as I just couldn’t take in what had happened. I was so tired and tried to get some sleep. I just kept having images of the scan that should be happening on Monday.
The next day came very quickly and I was discharged from hospital. I still just felt numb. I didn’t want to respond to the comments on ‘at least you know you can get pregnant’ - I mean I know they were trying to help and say something but I didn’t want to talk to them let alone feel that my situation was okay.
We arrived at my house and my dad had come up too. He opened his arms and it was then that I couldn’t stop sobbing. I felt I had let everyone down. The excitement of telling my parents they were going to be grandparents and their little girl having a baby was making me feel this immense amount of guilt.
My body had let them down. I had let them down. That’s how I felt. A faliure to my unborn baby. I now know these thoughts were irrational and stupid but this is how I felt at the time.
I was signed off work for two weeks as my body needed to recover and mentally I felt low. I was sad, a sadness you can’t explain. I lost something that wasn’t with me for long but I was sad not just for what had gone but for what could have been.
During those two weeks I decided on some coping strategies and tried to focus on the fact it wasn’t a baby- it never was- it hadn’t been formed and I had to think like this in order to move forward. That definitely helped as rather than what could be- I looked at it as what never was.
I felt sad for the few months after but I was lucky enough to fall pregnant two months later. I was petrified during my pregnancy and didn’t enjoy it as was in complete denial. Every time I went to the toilet I expected it to happen again. We had early scans and this helped with my anxiety. But I felt I was always on guard waiting..
Polly was born in June and was a healthy little girl. It was so strange how within a year so much could change. On July 5th 2015 I was sitting in a coffee shop with the whole antenatal group introducing the babies to each other and just 365 days earlier my life couldn’t have been more of a juxtaposition.
July 5th will always stay in my mind- do I think about the miscarriage now? Yes it will always be in my memory and in my heart. Sometimes I look at my two girls and imagine what my third child would look like and feel a sadness that he or she never got to meet her/his parents or siblings, but I feel lucky to have two healthy and happy children.
Sometimes you have to accept what life throws at you and look to what you have got rather than always what you haven’t. This ethos to me allows me not to dwell and look to a happy future with my gorgeous little girls.
The key message is to remember that miscarriages are so common and it’s important that you understand you are not alone as talking to others who understood certainly helped me move forward. We shouldn’t be silent and feel we shouldn’t talk about our loss- as this blog certainly has been a cathartic experience for me. Just remember we are not alone.
Leanne Redstone - 9 Month Club