It’s been 9 months since I last posted anything here.
Last summer our excitement at having baby number 3 came to an abrupt end when I was told I’d had a missed miscarriage.
At 11.5 weeks pregnant my morning sickness was in full swing. I was grumpy, miserable, tired, stressed and feeling fat. We hadn’t told anyone but our closest family and friends that we were expecting. As I’d had two early losses before DS1, I wanted to be sure everything was OK.
It was Sunday lunchtime when I noticed a tiny, tiny bit of bleeding. Nothing alarming, but given my history I knew it was an ominous sign. I called the midwife and went in so she could try to find the heartbeat. However as I was not quite 12 weeks she said it was going to be difficult to find. We both thought we heard something, but only for a brief second. Then nothing.
Somehow she managed to get me referred to the hospital for an ultrasound, even though it was Sunday afternoon and the usual department was closed.
I was seen by a consultant who sat at the ultrasound machine in silence for a very long time. He took lots of measurements. The minutes dragged on in total silence.
“I’m sorry to have to tell you that you have suffered a miscarriage.” He said finally.
Our baby had died at 8-9 weeks.
The thing that distressed me the most was that my body hadn’t reacted. I had been carrying a dead foetus inside me for 2 weeks and my body hadn’t rejected it, I still had morning sickness, I still felt completely pregnant.
I went home.
The next day I had to return to the hospital for a confirmation scan and they gave me the options. Wait for a natural miscarriage or opt for an ERPC (evacuation of the retained products of conception).
I went home again.
I couldn’t face the thought of the ERPC. The idea of a plastic tube sucking out the baby I’d been carrying around for almost 3 months was disgusting to me. I’d had two spontaneous miscarriages at 6 weeks so I decided to wait and let my body deal with it in its own time.
A week passed. I went to work. Then I went to my sister-in-laws wedding. I spent the whole day paranoid someone was going to ask if I was pregnant (my belly seemed huge to me under my dress, but no one said anything).
Another week passed. I went to work. DS1’s 1st birthday party was set for the coming weekend. We’d planned a small celebration for immediate family but it never happened.
On the Saturday morning I started to get contractions. It was such a relief. They were mild at first, but after two hours they peaked at something approaching labour and I couldn’t do much of anything. The last contraction was really intense, then the bleeding started.
Having had two miscarriages, and two severe post-partum haemorrhages, I’m a bit of an expert on my own blood loss, so I knew that if I lost more than a litre of blood without it slowing down I was getting into trouble.
The contractions stopped as soon as the bleeding started, and that, looking back, was probably because everything had detached from the wall of the uterus and was ready to come out.
But the bleeding didn’t stop, and I didn’t pass anything.
I sat in the bathroom, put a bowl in the toilet and caught the blood so I knew how much I was losing. After 15-20 minutes the blood was still running out and I estimated it was over half a litre.
Still no pain at all, but still nothing was passing. At this point I started to feel a bit wobbly. After a few more minutes of continuous bleeding I decided I needed to lay down and potentially call an ambulance.
I called DH upstairs and asked him to bring the phone. I tried to use my blood pressure monitor but couldn’t get a reading. My heart rate was fluctuating heavily and spiking at around 114 so I knew that my body was reacting to the blood loss (my resting heart rate is around 60).
I called the ambulance and it arrived within 10-15 minutes. Two young men carried me out of the house and whisked me off to A&E. All the time I could feel blood running out between my legs and my dizziness was coming and going. The chap who sat in the back with me seemed preoccupied with the fact that I might be sick, but I’m not a vomiting sort of person and just kept reassuring him that my stomach wasn’t going to be doing anything in the middle of a crisis like this.
In A&E they left me on the trolley bed, in a room, for probably 45 minutes. The corridors were full of people, all of them elderly, all of them with palpitations and breathing problems. I insisted on them leaving the door open as I was terrified they would forget about me if the door was shut.
The blood continued to run out. I could see it soaking through the top of the sheet that covered me. When I felt like I was going to lose consciousness I rang the emergency buzzer and they put an IV in.
Eventually they moved me upstairs to the gynae ward. Two nurses transferred me onto a bed from the trolley and they were visually shocked at the amount of blood.
Two female doctors came to see me and discovered that the pregnancy sac was stuck in the neck of the womb. They spent around 10 minutes removing it, all the while more blood coming out.
Once the sac was out it initially seemed as though everything would be OK. The doctors left, but I realized I still hadn’t stopped bleeding. I could feel the blood running out of me in warm bursts and though I was lying down I felt very close to passing out.
I pressed the emergency buzzer again and they came back. They couldn’t get a blood pressure reading at all. Everybody started moving faster and talking in low voices. They set up a second IV, struggling to get the needle into the vein. I started to get pins and needles in my hands and feet and my vision started to cloud. I said my children’s names in my head over and over and over. I was not going to leave them without a mother.
The pins and needles started to spread upwards, it reached my elbows and knees. My peripheral vision greyed out. I could feel my heart racing and I was fighting unconsciousness so hard. I knew if I passed out I might never regain consciousness.
I said my babies names over and over in my head and refused, REFUSED to give in to the drowning feeling that was washing over my whole body.
The nurse was squeezing the IV bag as hard as she could to get fluid into my veins. One of the doctors had rushed off to get an ultrasound machine so they could check for any remaining tissue. Then, suddenly the first doctor recovered the final piece that had been stuck, and my uterus contracted at last.
My contractions started at 11am. They finally stabilized me at 7:30pm.
I spent the night in a state of fitful sleep/wakefulness terrified the bleeding would start again and I would die in my sleep.
They checked my temperature and blood pressure every 30 minutes through the night and I was left on nil by mouth for 36 hours until they were certain there would be no more bleeding.
The following night I had a blood transfusion.
The following afternoon I went home.
As you can imagine, it took me a while to recover from all this. Physically I was fine in just a few days. My period even came four weeks later (they have always been like clockwork).
Mentally however, it’s been a hard thing to deal with.
I was signed off work for two weeks – I never did tell them what happened, my form simply said gynae condition and I said I’d had an operation to remove a cyst.
The months immediately following the miscarriage were difficult. I cried a lot both for the lost baby and for the danger that my life had been in, albeit briefly.
Three months after my hospitalization I felt clearer and more focused. But I’ll save that for the next post 🙂
Thanks for reading.