On your due date.....
Words are something that have always come easy to me, but I’ve been dreading writing this blog post. This is more therapy for me, but I want women who have gone through what I have to realise they are not alone. No one should feel ashamed to share their story.
My partner and I had a miscarriage earlier this year.
I’m going to share my experience, it’s different for everyone, but this was our journey.
Nick and I had the ‘baby’ talk over a year ago, knowing that we were getting married in 2021 we decided that I would come off the pill and we’d start trying at the end of 2020.
We caught very quickly. I’d only been off the pill 2 months when we discovered I was pregnant. After the initial shock we started to settle into the idea. I went to my first doctor/midwife appointment and everything looked good. My bloods came back clear and I was classed as a low risk pregnancy.
We managed to get a 9 week scan because of a previous early miscarriage at 7 weeks. Due to COVID Nick couldn't join me, but we thought it would be a good idea to get an early scan to put our minds at rest.
I was a little nervous, but the hospital staff were amazing and kept me calm throughout the scan. My first glimpse of our baby on the screen took my breath away, even at 9 weeks I could make out the little body, feet and arms. When they played the baby’s heartbeat all I had was love for the tiny little life I had inside of me. The doctor confirmed that everything looked good and the heartbeat was strong. The relief that soared through me was incredible, all I wanted was to keep our baby safe.
Nick was waiting for me in the hospital car park and I skipped to the car with the scan photos, eager to show him. It was really happening! We were having a baby!
We got our next scan at around 14 weeks. Nick still couldn’t join me because of COVID but I was going to make sure I recorded the baby’s heartbeat this time so he could hear it. I was more relaxed this time, with the 9 week scan going so well and being past the dreaded 3 month timeline. Once again the hospital staff were amazing. When the picture of our baby came up on the screen my heart soared again. I could see how much growing our baby had done in just a few weeks. I was in awe, and that made me distracted. I didn’t hear them at first when they asked me if my partner was nearby as they needed him to come in. Panic started to take over. I could hardly hold my phone to find his number. What was wrong with our baby? The 10 minutes waiting for Nick to arrive felt like years. The midwife started to explain that there was a lot of fluid on the baby's neck, and as I noticed her eyes welling up, realisation hit me. This wasn’t going to be good news.
They had moved me into a meeting room once Nick arrived and as his worried eyes met mine, I lost it. I couldn’t be strong anymore when I could feel this tiny life inside me slipping away. I have to be honest, I don't remember much of what was said in that room. Nick remembers more than me, but our baby was given a very low survival rate due to the amount of fluid around its neck and a few other factors.
We were given a choice to just let the pregnancy take it’s natural course or I could go to Birmingham’s Women's Hospital where they could take a small sample of the baby's placenta to test and give us more answers. Not wanting to wait around for answers, Nick and I decided to get the test.
A few days later we were on our way to Birmingham Hospital. Nick held me the whole time, I don’t mean just physically, but mentally too. We knew there was going to be a strong chance that we’d have to terminate our own child. Neither of us could get our heads around that,
even though it was for the good of the child.
I was terrified. How would I make that choice when every ounce of who I was wanted to protect this baby?
My only comfort was knowing that Nick would finally be at a scan with me and have the chance to see and hear our baby’s heartbeat, as the doctor would need to locate the placenta on the scan before the sample could be taken.
Lying on the bed as the scan began, I took Nick’s hand. Whatever happened next we would face it together.
The doctor kept checking her screen as she pressed a little firmer on my stomach. I could tell she was looking for a heartbeat. Once she had tried 3 times, she turned to Nick and I. Our world crashed down at the 7 words she spoke. ‘I’m sorry there is no heartbeat’
Our baby had sadly passed away at 15 weeks.
I barely remember the drive home from the hospital. I recall taking a phone call about going into hospital to have the miscarriage induced if things hadn’t progressed after a week, but the rest was a blur for the next few days. Nick never left my side. He was my rock as I battled with my mind and feelings. Our baby was gone and I couldn’t protect her anymore.
A week later I went into hospital to have the miscarriage induced. Nick and I had our own private room that I was so thankful for. Everyone at the hospital were amazing. I’m not going into detail about the actual miscarriage as it's still very raw to me, but please reach out if you need to talk about this experience. I’m here for anyone that needs me.
I was in hospital for just over a day with my miscarriage. I bled on and off for almost 3 months. My moods were all over the place, but Nick was so patient with me.
We decided to have a full autopsy on our baby that would take around 3 months for the results. The results showed that our baby's heart hadn't formed properly and that she was a little girl.
The most difficult part was having her cremated. Nothing could have prepared Nick and I for seeing her tiny white box with a large teddy around it. Nick and I said our goodbyes alone while 'Wings by Birdy' played. It was very moving, and did help us to start the healing process.
This is advice that I found useful......
It’s not your fault. 1 in 4 women have experience a miscarriage. In reality, it’s almost never anyone's fault. They just happen.
Take time to grieve. I made the mistake of going back to work too quickly to try and get back to normality, but in truth, I should have taken time out for myself. My doctor ended up signing me off for 6 weeks.
Talk about how you’re feeling. Miscarriage is such a taboo subject, but we need to open up and not feel like we’re a burden.
Some people won’t understand, and that’s fine. There are plenty of women that know exactly what you’re going through.
If you are going to your baby's cremation take a big breathe before you enter. This, for me, was one of the hardest parts of the process but it really helped me grieve.
Be open with your partner. He is grieving to. Make sure he's getting the support he needs.
Join support groups.
I’ll never be the same after losing our little girl, and that’s okay. This way I know she existed, and that gives me comfort.
We have a fairy house at the bottom of our garden. It gives me somewhere to think of her. Maybe she is with the fairies now. My author's mind likes to think so, and I often make up little adventures she has with her other fairy friends. That way she will live forever.
Nick and I might try again for another baby, but right now we just want to get to her due date. (8th August 2021. ) We’re going to sprinkle her ashes in a special place to say our final goodbye.
It’s the last thing we can do for her by laying her to rest in a happy place. She'll never be far from my mind, though. I may not have gotten the chance to hold her, but I'll carry her in my heart forever. I can always keep her safe there.
For anyone who has lost a child, I stand with you and your heartbreak. I’m sending you all my love.