M is for….

Miscarriage, the unspoken pain that affects so many women. They say that 1 in 6 pregnancies ends in a miscarriage and that many people don’t even know they are pregnant, but sadly this wasn’t the case for me.

We wanted to have our second child quite quickly after our first for a variety of reasons – our ages, situation in our jobs and to be honest, we liked being parents. So when I discovered I was pregnant just after my son’s first birthday, I was overjoyed. I remember not having the same feelings of sickness and tiredness that I had experienced first time round, but I just put it down to every pregnancy being different, but I had an early scan at 8 weeks, just to be sure and we saw a strong heartbeat. At around 10 weeks pregnant we were out for the day at a country fair and I realised I was bleeding – we went to the nearest hospital where we were luckily offered a scan and I was told what I already knew – there was a foetus but there was no heart beat – in effect it had died. I can’t begin to describe the feelings of devastation, fear, anxiety and terror than accompanied that scan, and the aftermath was very distressing. I had to wait days until I was given tablets to effectively rid my body of the pregnancy and I can only say, if you are offered this option DO NOT take it. After hours of agony I was forced to return to hospital – I won’t go into what happened next but horrifyingly the only bed available was in the maternity ward and I had to deal with a photographer asking me if my baby had been born yet. Harsh.

Five months on, and still traumatised from my first miscarriage, I discovered I was pregnant again. Fear accompanied the joy I felt but this time was different – I “felt* pregnant; sickness, tiredness, the whole shebang. Just to be sure we paid for an early scan at 8 weeks. Everything was fine, there was a strong heartbeat and the baby was growing as normal. We were relieved and at ten weeks told our families on Christmas day that we would be blessed with another child.

Two weeks later we went for the dating scan and I felt a little anxious, but reassured by the earlier scan. However within minutes the sonographers face at Airedale said it all, she called for a colleague while I cried silent tears as we were dealt the devastating blow that yet another pregnancy had ended, and our hopes and dreams with it.

This time I immediately asked for an ERPC which meant going under general anaesthetic, again I had to wait days for this to happen, which I think was the hardest part of it as it felt so cruel.

I knew that I had to be strong and if we wanted another child I was going to have to start asking questions and doing my own research – the guidelines for the NHS is that you have to have three miscarriages to be taken on by a consultant. I felt my case was different as the miscarriages had shown earlier heartbeats and had been later on than *normal*, I felt sure they were also connected to the placenta praevia I had suffered with my first son as well.

After hours and hours of research, phone calls, pushing for something to happen and hassling my GP I was referred to a consultant at Airedale who suggested a fertility drug called Clomiphene plus weekly injections of the pregnancy hormone HCG to see if that helped. This took about three (wasted) months and if I hadn’t had the drive to make this happen, I think we would still be a one child family today.

I became pregnant in the second month of taking Clomiphene and learned how to administer the injections myself (much to my husband’s horror) and gave birth to a healthy baby boy weighing 8lb 7oz in February 2011.

What I learned from my experiences and if you are going through this yourself:

– it is cruel to have women who have had miscarriages and those who have given birth in close proximity
– scans should be offered immediately following bleeding
– ERPC should be offered immediately
– it is not *normal* to have a miscarriage, it is not necessarily “natures way” and can happen for a variety of reasons each of which has a cause. It is no comfort to a women if people say, “it’s just one of those things”.
– if someone has had a miscarriage, don’t ignore it and pretend nothing has happened. Just say, “I’m sorry, that was a terrible thing that happened to you”. They may get upset but they will never forget your words.
– referral to consultants should happen after 2 miscarriages not 3, the drug I took was very cheap for the NHS yet me having further miscarriages and going under general anaesthetic is comparatively expensive.
– ask about clomiphene and whether it is suitable for you – as far as I am concerned it is a miracle drug that helps strengthen the egg and get your hormones in order.
– don’t be afraid to push and ask questions, sadly that’s the way to get what you want.

If you’ve been affected by miscarriage and would like help and support please contact the Miscarriage Association. If you would like to contact me about your own or my experiences please use the contact form below.

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