Miscarriage & Me.

So here is a blog post that I never thought I’d be writing.

In fact, for the past 12 weeks I’ve been keeping a diary, a log, if you will, of pregnancy symptoms & the experience so far, the second time round. I was anticipating the publish of that blog post this week (I’d tied in lots of information about Pregnancy & Endometriosis). (After of course, we’d gone up North and surprised our families!).

Yes, you heard read right. I was pregnant. Kind of.  No, I was definitely pregnant. Or at least my body thought I was… and had began the fruition of our second pregnancy. I had alllllllll the symptoms: extreme fatigue, nausea, sickness & diarrhea, runny nose, cough, lightheadedness,  headaches, body aches, hot flushes, scattiness (god, the scattiness was insane), I’d gone up at least two cup sizes and had that lovely bright blue vein swooping across my left breast; just like I did with Eli. I had it all, in abundance. I was around 5/6 weeks when I finally got a positive pregnancy test result.

I’d had a big, scary, bright red bleed during our holiday last week in St. Ives. The first rule of Instagram? Don’t give the honest, real life view! Why would you ever do that?! Except, I really wanted to be honest. Believe me. To me,  honesty is the best policy, I try to be as honest and real as possible across all social media – so here is what’s happened since.

I wanted to scream about how bloody marvellous it was to be pregnant. To be sat on the this beautiful beach, with my little bump! But the reality? I was indeed sat on the beach cradling my little baby bump, but it was upon a maternity pad, and I was silently crying while my boy’s went rock-pooling. I knew deep down that a bleed of this amount was bad news. I was 11 weeks. But I had a proper full-on baby-bump. I still had some symptoms going on. I was feeling pretty good! So, I spent the majority of our little ‘break’ Googling. Oh wonderful Google…

“Can you still have a baby after a bright red  bleed?”

“Does a bright red bleed really mean miscarriage?”

“Symptoms of endometriosis during early pregnancy”

“Can endometriosis cause bleeding? 11 weeks pregnant”

“11 weeks pregnant symptoms”

“Symptoms of miscarriage”

“Baby moving or miscarriage?”

“What to expect miscarriage 11 weeks pregnant”

I read SO MANY positive outcomes across forums, blogs, in the press and via medical case studies. I’d almost convinced myself that it was fine. I was fine. The baby was fine. I’d had terrible cramps with Eli and spotting at around 6 weeks. In a lot of cases, women who experience bleeds in early pregnancy do go on to have a healthy baby. Heck, sometimes women bleed throughout the WHOLE pregnancy. Which I imagine is both frustrating and worrying in equal measure.

On Tuesday 5th September, Eli went back to school – as a big Year One boy. Super proud parents, we went from the school drop off to Broomfield Hospital for what would have been our 12 week scan. I’d felt a pang of excitement – the secrets we’d been harbouring for 12 weeks could finally come out. We could finally announce our bloody brilliant and exciting news, our darling boy was going to be a BIG BROTHER! (I’d even bought him a tee… did I jinx it?!). Doubtfully.

As we drove along that over-familiar route to Broomfield Hospital,  I was getting closer to the feeling of doubt. My stomach was in knots and I felt lightheaded and sick.I definitely knew in my heart of hearts, this wasn’t meant to be.  But that certainly does not deflect from the shock of having a Sonographer say “Are you sure your dates are correct as the sac measures 7 weeks, 1 day…. unfortunately this isn’t going to be a viable pregnancy I’m afraid”.

We’d had so much trouble with Eli during pregnancy, that anything I could do to help make this pregnancy ‘smoother’, I was doing. Including zero intimacy (hoping my Ma ain’t reading this!).  I had my last alcoholic drink (I so need to do a review of non-alcoholic drinks, because we’ve had the best time trying so many out!) and caffeinated drink on my birthday, 1st June. I’ve not eaten anything you shouldn’t. I’d been taking Pregnacare for a few weeks even before that too. My dates were beyond correct. I would have been 12 weeks and 3 days pregnant.

With tears streaming down my face, I somehow managed “the baby has gone, hasn’t it?”. She then went on to confirm that I’d suffered an Anembryonic Pregnancy and showed us my full uterus with a very obviously empty sac.  An Anembryonic Gestation (anembryonic pregnancy, blighted ovum, or empty sac) is a pregnancy in which the very early pregnancy appears normal on an ultrasound scan, but as the pregnancy progresses a visible embryo never develops or develops and is reabsorbed. How utterly batshit is that? REALLY? The cells of the embryo are “reabsorbed”. I still can’t fathom it. But I know it’s nothing that I could have possibly done or could have avoided. Medically speaking? It’s “one of those things”.

After being spoken to in the dreaded, ‘Quiet Room’, James & I were then transferred from the Antenatal Ultrasound department to an Early Pregnancy ward a few floors down. By the way, these ‘Quiet Rooms’, although decorated in a nice colour scheme and VERY clean, really do just look like 4 walls of bad news. Like, it felt like a funeral home, with a gushing waterfall print on one wall and a totally psychedelic bright mash up of randomness on the other wall. Obviously,  boxes of tissues all around for good measure.

I felt numb. Surreal. Like I was in a bubble and was crying and felt an ache in my chest…. but couldn’t quite digest words. James was speaking but it was like a blurry mumble of nothing. Likewise, when we met with Liz, the Staff Nurse on the EPU ward, she was AMAZING – and went through every step of the process. Answered questions with ease. Was very knowledgable. Incredibly sympathetic and open and supportive. But what she actually spoke about, I have no idea. It’s like I wasn’t even there. An out of body experience? Maybe.

I was given 3 options and it was emphasised that I didn’t have to make a decision straight away:

  • Expectant management – wait for the tissue to pass naturally out of your womb.
  • Medical management – take medication that causes the tissue to pass out of your womb.
  • Surgical management – have the tissue surgically removed.

As I’m particularly phobic of hospitals following my labour with Eli, if I can avoid being near one, I will do my damned best! Without  even a hint of  consideration, I wanted to be at home, in my own bed and I’m keeping my fingers crossed this will all pass naturally. I’m so far, going through the Expectant Management route. I do have a lot of tissue build up and the empty sac to pass. I have been advised to expect a lot of blood loss, tissue loss, the sac and all accompanied by proper contractions. I was given the details of all emergency contacts should I lose too much blood or be in too much pain – if that’s the case, I’ll end up on the EPU ward.

I am currently losing a small amount of blood. WAY less than a normal period, so I don’t even know if this is the start. I hope it’s the start anyway. I just want this whole thing to be over with. I think I’ll feel relief then.

I have waves of feeling completely fine. Like none of this is even happening. Happy, even. But then I notice my tummy… and its soft and squidgy again. I have the “WHY ME?” and “WHAT DID I DO WRONG” scenario’s. Then I have the feelings of what it could have been. Us Mama’s have a very easy way of getting carried away – we have excellent imaginations. Too good even. We imagine the nursery. The feeding schedules. The cuddles. The bathtime routine. The newborn smell. The ooh’s and ahhh’s. ALLLLLLL the stuff we need to buy. (I’m all over that Sleepyhead Grand btw).  Is it weird that I’m then grieving the loss of a baby… that didn’t actually exist? It’s like, the house was there, fully furnished, but there was nobody renting. I then feel all strange  – how could I even have this intense amount of grief? The baby hadn’t formed. It was cells. Cells that were absorbed. How am I this upset and feeling so devastated? I guess it’s because it took us 5 years to get to this point. A point where I felt ready. I’d dreamed so many dreams about that baba-to-be and me. And us.  And in between all this, I’m just in absolute awe of the human body – the female form. The things us women go through – its quite extraordinary. I mean, most of us can grow a baby in our tummy from nothingness (well, scientifically, no not nothingness, but you get me). And then when it doesn’t work, your body knows to expel it. It knows the drill. Just utterly bewildering and odd and funny and crazy and bloody brilliant – but also, so cruel. So although, in some ways, I feel like I’ve failed, I also know that my body is pretty epic too.

So to finish up, what has been quite a cathartic blog post, I have 2 weeks for my body to try and pass all that remains. I will have a scan on 19th September to see if the process is complete and we’ll take it from there. If it isn’t, then I guess I’ll have to have some kind of hospital management.

I want to give a shoutout to my darling James. It’s been a tough few days for him too. I know it is just as difficult a situation for a partner – I know he has felt just complete helplessness. I imagine he’s also quite scared about what can/could happen to me (he was told to monitor excess blood loss and symptoms of infection – we live 30 mins away from the hospital and in either case, he might need to call for an ambulance). I also know he is filled with sadness and grief too. This baby was tried for and very much wanted. We were both super excited. But him just being here, to hold my hand, means the world. (Thanks also, FEED family).

Have you been affected by Miscarriage? Please get in touch. I’d love to be able to speak to people now I’m able to. I just feel like I need to talk to others about their experiences and what happens and what doesn’t happen – because all I have in my mind is sheer horror. And even if it is as horrific as I’m imagining, I’m sure words of experience would be very comforting right now.

I’ve found a lot of useful practical information on The Miscarriage Association website – and also Tommy’s Baby Charity, who work tirelessly to obtain funding for the crucial research into pregnancy loss. I haven’t contacted either of them directly, yet, but just wanted to highlight their websites as theres a huge amount of information about the different types of miscarriage (I definitely didn’t know how many different types there are), also details about how to approach your work, how pregnancy loss affects your partner and a shed-load of additional research. Though, I am feeling overwhelmed with all this information, just glancing at paragraphs here and there is easy enough as and when I need to access it. I’ve also read so many stories that families affected by pregnancy loss have shared using the hashtags #SimplySay (The Miscarriage Association) and #misCOURAGE (Tommy’s).

Thank you for reading.

The Briston-Hill’s
✖️✖️✖️

9 thoughts on “Miscarriage & Me.

  1. Claire, I’m sitting here in tears reading this because of how proud I am of you. Of course I’m sad too, for me, for you, for James and Eli, for Mam and Dad. But more than that I’m so proud of the strong, brave woman you are for doing this. Love to you all xxx

    1. Oh Lynsey. You’ll set me off crying again.

      Thank you. I really appreciate it. I don’t feel brave, or strong – but I always find bashing things out on the laptop helps. Most of the time I don’t hit PUBLISH. But for now, I felt I needed to publish. Hopefully more people can see that it’s not something that you’ve done to cause it. Science just doesn’t play ball sometimes. Trying to keep that at the forefront of my mind, above all else.

      All our love to you too, Auntie Lynz
      xxx

  2. Thank you so much for sharing this. It captures so much of what I’m feeling right now. I miscarried on Sunday at ten weeks. It was my first pregnancy. Right now it feels like the whole world is pregnant apart from me (by which I mean Kate Middleton, Kim Kardashian and my sister-in-law).

    I’m so sorry for your loss, and I’m so glad you’ve shared your thoughts and feelings. I hope the expectant management works for you – take care of yourself and keep talking xx

    1. Hello Alix,

      I’m so sorry to hear of your miscarriage too. I certainly know how it feels to feel like the entire world is pregnant. Just walking out of the hospital on Tuesday was traumatic – seeing all the newborn baba’s leaving hospital for the first time. It’s a bloody cruel hand we’ve been given. But I think the best thing I’ve so far learned, is that it’s not something we could have avoided or prevented. It was science, gone wrong. I’m a firm believer in “everything happens for a reason”. And in our instances, it wasn’t meant to be – whether that be because the cells weren’t strong enough or science just wanted to not go to plan this time. I hope you have a good support system around you – and it definitely does help to talk. Please do message me privately if you would like to talk further – or do try The Miscarriage Association as I mentioned. They have so much information on their website, I understand they have a helpline too. Sometimes its just easier to talk to a complete stranger too. Weirdly, I always tend to overshare with people I’ve met for the first time! Sending you lots of love xxx

  3. Hi Claire.

    I went through this early Feb, and started bleeding the day my sicknote ran out (ironically I’d been unable to work for a month with morning sickness). We tell a similar story but the baby had died at 6 weeks but everything else had carried on at the rate it was meant to hence my symptoms carrying on as normal. “Nature playing a cruel trick” as someone put it. The bleed was the only sign anything was wrong and a night in A&E with an early scan to follow was how we found out properly. I was like you where I didn’t want medical intervention if it was avoidable and thankfully I had the physical miscarriage at home but had to be checked up on on hospital due to the blood loss.

    I’m so deeply sorry to hear you’ve had to go through this too and I’ve found talking has made things a bit more manageable. Look after yourself, as in my experience although you and your partner are going through your loss together, you will have the extra physical bit to deal with including the hormones and the physical experience which I found my husband couldn’t relate to in the same way. I mean, how could he?

    You are amazing for speaking out about your experience x

    1. Hello Natalie,

      Thank you so much for reaching out and sharing your experience too. I’m actually shocked by how many women have gone through this – yet its such a taboo to speak about it?! I hadn’t intended to publish the blog post – I often bash things out at the computer and never hit publish. I find it cathartic. But on this occasion, I’m more than glad I did ‘go live’ because the amount of people to contact me has been overwhelming. So if its got people talking or reaching out for additional support, then thats only a good thing. You should be very proud to have spoken out too. Thank you.

      Us women, we’re stronger than we realise – I think! Sending you lots of love xxx

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