Bouncing back from… miscarriage – Juliet’s Story

Juliet, 34.

Mother to 2.5 year old daughter and 8 month old son.

When I was about 30ish I decided I wanted to come off the pill. To be honest it wasn’t working as well as it used to in preventing pimples/being a cow once a month and I didn’t need it as much as when I was 16 so I figured giving my body a break would be a good idea. That also lead to the inevitable thinking that of course I was going to have a baby immediately. This was an idea that I wasn’t so upset by and deep down both me and my finance were ready for 2 to become 3.

So I stopped taking the pill and started googling. I was a real newcomer to this pregnancy carry on and didn’t know the most basic of things… like you have to wait after you do-it for 2 weeks before you can do a pregnancy test. As you can imagine the first couple of months were a steep learning curve for me! Fast forward a couple of months, loads of tests and we were pregnant. I called my GP and listened very hard to her advice. She said to sit tight and wait till the hospital got in touch. The hospital, it’s getting serious. I was excited.

A couple of weeks later while we were at my friends place a little out of town and I mentioned I was pregnant. Having had 3 children I considered her a pro at such things and again listened hard. She told me all about the first 12 weeks being a bit of a touch and go kind of thing. I agreed as this agreed with my googling findings. I tentatively mentioned that I had a small amount of brownish discharge after visiting the ladies. She said that if I was worried to go to the A & E and they would be able to check if everything was ok. Unfortunately her comment, which was supposed to make me feel at ease, made my blood pressure sky rocket. I hadn’t thought it was a big deal, Mumsnet had said it probably wasn’t a big deal and I realised only afterwards that I really wanted to her to say it wasn’t a big deal. Instead she said to go to the hospital, it was getting serious again. I talked it over with my partner and I finally said that I thought I should go to the A & E just to make sure. If not for the baby’s welfare, then definitely for my own. First time pregnancy nerves are something else!

We went to the hospital A & E, waited a bit, saw a parent of a child I taught (brilliant timing) and then saw two of the most lovely humans to walk the earth. Both were men and both could clearly see I was probably in too deep. After urine and blood tests they confirmed I was indeed pregnant (yay) and I was going to have a scan in a couple of days to check for a heart beat. I was on cloud 9, a heart beat! The next few days went pretty slowly. When scan time came I was a bundle of nerves and butterflies. Watching the scan, seeing a little black and white blob and finding the faintest little flicker of a heart beat was the best experience of my life. I was in love. So was my partner. We were going to have a baby.

We had another scan booked for the normal 12 week check in a couple of weeks. This was to check everything was going according to plan and until then I just had to hold tight, not tell anyone and keep googling.

The scan was booked for the same day as my birthday which I took as a good sign. I had to book sometime off work and sheepishly told my boss it was just for a hospital appointment, nothing special. I think I even chickened out of telling her directly and just booked it in the diary and left the paper work on her desk. I didn’t want to jinx it by telling anyone and wanted to wait until after the scan to start saying anything to anyone.

Off to the hospital for a birthday surprise… No more A & E for me. I was going straight to Prenatal care (another word I didn’t know existed until now… more googling confirmed it was the right place). I jumped on the chair, pulled up my shirt and waited for the fun to start. Except it didn’t. The Sonographer was pretty quiet and even I could see on the screen that things weren’t right before she politely tilted it away from my eyes.

Had I had any signs of bleeding? Not since the last scan. Had I had any cramps or discomfort? Nope, none at all. Everyone was sorry but unfortunately the baby had stopped growing and I had what is called a missed miscarriage. What? I’d missed it? How had I done that? What had I missed? Sh*t I’d missed googling that. My fault. Definitely my fault.

Would I like to wait in a room and call anyone? Um… Yes thanks. Um… no thanks. I’d like to sit and cry thanks. Then I’d like to do this all over again but with a different ending. No baby. I’d missed something. It was like a broken record going over and over in my head… missed. I’d missed something and hadn’t been able to protect my little baby.

I must have called my partner (who I had told didn’t need to come to the scan, it was just routine). He knew the time of my appointment and answered on the first ring. I lost the baby, sorry. I missed something, sorry. I don’t know what happens next but I’ll call you back. Then I had to call my boss to tell her I wasn’t able to come back to work. Yes I was pregnant, but I missed something and now I don’t have a baby anymore. Her response, I thought something might be wrong. Ouch. Yip, I missed something. I’ll call you back when I know more.

Lots of questions from the doctors and nurses later, I decided to say goodbye to my tiny little baby naturally but with medication to help make sure that I didn’t miss any baby and have to come back for an operation. I had missed the baby dying, I didn’t want to leave everything to chance and then I miss getting rid of it too. I had a tablet inserted into my cervix to help the baby come out and some tablets to take for the pain and again to help my body expel the little foetus. To be honest at the time I googled all about what each of the different pills I was taking did but now it’s a bit fuzzy. All the nurses were very nice and they had so many questions to ask and forms to fill in. At one point I was asked if I was okay with a pregnant doctor coming to see me. Thanks for asking and that would be fine.

After all the paper work was sorted and I was told what was going to happen over the next week or so. Thanks and off I go home. No googling just home to bed. Home to bed to cry and cry and cry. My partner came home early from work and I didn’t really know what to say. We watched TV to try and fill the silence. We went out to dinner to celebrate my birthday. I wanted to a glass of wine with dinner. I could now so why not. Expect I was only drinking it to take the edge off and make everything a little hazy instead of crystal clear like the rest of the days events were and deep down inside always will be to me. We went to bed with heavy, heavy hearts.

Over the next couple of weeks I cried at spontaneous times, finally googled again and gradually came to terms with the aftermath of having a miscarriage. I talked to my mum, sisters and extended family and found out that all but one of them had had miscarriages themselves. It was bittersweet but I felt like one of the gang. I realised it wasn’t my fault and that the causes of a miscarriage so early on in a pregnancy are numerous. Although losing our tiny little baby was heartbreaking it started me learning all about my body. I found out my monthly cycle was between 35-40 days long and that the irregular periods I thought I had, were just my body not fitting in the 28 day norm. I started taking folic acid daily as part of a really good ‘wanting to have a baby’ multivitamin. In the short term my partner and I decided not to actively try for another baby. It would have felt like we were putting too much pressure on ourselves and it felt like we were just trying to replace something that we couldn’t. However, I did find out about supplements like Angus Castus, which I took with my subsequent pregnancies to try an avoid another miscarriage. Did it work, I don’t know. Did it make me feel better to be doing something positive, absolutely. In hindsight having a miscarriage taught me a lot about pregnancy and my body which I will forever be grateful for.

 

 

 

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