I want to scream and run far, far away

A little over two weeks ago my life changed forever.  I was unaware this metamorphosis was happening, but it was.

For 7 long years I had wanted a third child (believe me I am all too aware of how lucky I have been to have two children previously, who despite ASD and learning disabilities are well) and finally in October my husband gave in and said we could try.

A month later on my birthday I discovered I was pregnant.  I had become pregnant at the first time of trying, considering I am now on the crap side of my 30s I was almost surprised at my good fortune.  Sore boobs, morning sickness and lethargy were soon huge parts of my life.  By January I had developed hyperemesis for the third time and was doing my best to not let it drag me down and my belly was rounding.

I had been so paranoid about mmc and ectopic pregnancy that I plagued my midwife with questions, and based on what I told her and bloodtests I was assured I was very low risk.

And so it came to be that by the time I reached my 13th week I began to relax; and then at 3pm on 18th January I went to the toilet and was confronted by bright red blood on my tissue.  I called my husband who had the day off until a show we were opening in the evening and he tried to reassure me.

After phone calls to the EPU, GP and midwife I was told to stay still until I saw the EPU team for an Emergency scan the following morning, being told I was lucky to have one at short notice as I was in no pain, and to remain positive.

Then the bleeding got heavier, clots came and by 11:30 in the evening I was in considerable pain.  We phoned 111 and I was told to get to A&E.  My experience in A&E was awful, drugged out twits trying to get change and jacking up in the toilets until security guards demanded they leave unless they wanted the police called.  The triage nurse phoned gynae and after what had seemed like an age came back and told me I had to do a pregnancy test before they would allow me on the ward.  I said “I think I’m having a miscarriage, I have my notes” as I pointed to them.  This seemed to shock the nurse who apparently had not been listening to me at all.  I pointed out why would I lie about being pregnant; she finally agreed I could go to EPU.

I cannot fault the doctors on EPU, they were amazing.  The first consultant I saw within 10 minutes of arriving and an hour later I was having a TV scan.  I couldn’t bring myself to look at the screen.  He said nothing.  I knew there could be nothing good to come from this silence.  I was told to return to my room where the doctor would soon come and see me.

Ten minutes later the door knocked “I’m sorry, I think you’re miscarrying came the response”  I cried.  I knew but hearing those words was like a dagger.  I was offered the chance to go home or stay until my scan.  If I left I would have to return in the morning.  My husband made us leave against my wishes.  Once home the pain became more intense.  My husband seemed cold and only interested in sleeping.

I could not breathe, the pain I was in was like nothing I had ever experienced before, even with a chronic illness and a chronic pain condition, I was somebody who didn’t even have anaesthetic for a root canal and yet here I was screaming in the most horrendous pain I have ever experienced.  I thought I was dying.

By 8 am I was back on my way to hospital screaming and crying.  By 8:35 I had 3 doctors in the room trying to get lines in, getting a nurse to catheterise me and giving me a large dose of morphine, and odansatron due to my vomiting everywhere.

I won’t go into all the nasty details, suffice to say I left that hospital later in the day with barely any dignity left and still in severe pain despite part of the reason for the pain being removed. Once the consultant and his team had found a speculum of the right size, my deviated cervix and tilted uterus making it difficult for them, small pieces of foetal tissue were found to be blocking my cervix and had to be removed, I was later asked to sign a consent form for them to be tested and cremated.

I had what was termed, an “incomplete miscarriage” and still had “retained products of conception”.  I felt numb.  This is what my longed for baby had been reduced to, a retained product.  I chose the “conservative” route of those being offered to me which meant going home with vast amounts of pain killers and waiting…and waiting.

That day was like a dagger in my side.  The worst part being the nasty and cruel words of the sonographer, the only person who was anything less than brilliant at the hospital, and the one person I may yet complain officially about.  When I was in that scan room for the second time in 6 hours and was crying, trying to explain how much it hurt that I was due to see my (by then) nearly 14 week baby in a few days, but here I was checking to see how much of its dead form and the related biological ephemera of pregnancy had left my body, and her response, her cold, crushing response said in a monotone voice was “No. There is no baby”.  She also argued with me when I said I wish I had had an early scan with this one like I had with my previous two, refusing to accept I had and me trying to explain to her why would anyone lie about that.

The pain continued and I continued to feel worse, constantly nearly collapsing and drifting in and out of consciousness.  By the Monday I had a UTI, by the Thursday I was back in hospital and diagnosed with a viral chest infection on top of everything.

It is now 16 days since the start of my miscarriage.  I am still on bed rest.  The bleeding is finally coming to an end.  The pain is easing somewhat but it is still there.  My chest is still uncomfortable, and I am still very weak and prone to collapsing.

Possibly the worst moment for me was last Monday when I had to return to the hospital for another scan where I was told by the consultant that my womb was empty, but due to the type of miscarriage I had had I would continue to experience pregnancy symptoms and would probably still register as pregnant on a wee test.  It cut like a knife and I don’t know why, but hearing that my baby had completely gone was worse than knowing the miscarriage was starting.

Apparently my pregnancy hormones went into overdrive and were doing their job.  So I did have hyperemesis, my belly was growing, my boobs would be sore, I would to all intents and purposes seem to the outside world like a woman at the end of the first trimester.  However, pregnancy is not one harmonious system, but two that work in partnership, most of the time.  The other part of the process, the development of the embryo is what went wrong in my case.

Despite being 13 weeks pregnant at the time, the baby itself barely got past the embryonic stage and had died many weeks before.  The good news was that it means that I am very likely to be ok when we try again as it is not my system that wasn’t doing what it should, that worked fine.  It was just the baby didn’t grow.

The hospital (with those 2 exceptions) have been great.  I have been given a special letter that gives me access to the clinic if I need it again without having to go through the GP, and when I think I am 6 weeks along next time, I need to see the last lovely consultant I saw as they do not want to leave me hanging in case this happens again due to the cruelty of this type of miscarriage where all outward signs are that you are very healthily pregnant.

In all honesty I don’t know how I feel: crushed, lost, sad, grief stricken, different.  These are all words that can explain how I feel now and I know I will never be the same.  In 13 months I have handled more loss than I can bare at two different ends of the spectrum.  My father died in terrible, agony filled circumstances 13 months ago, my beloved 14 year old dog had to be put down last April with me being the person who had to agree to it (I did not want to) and now my baby who as far as I knew was just fully formed and getting ready to grow over the next 6 months has gone.  After all this I will never be the same person again, and right now, although I am contemplating doing some work from home, such as writing my PhD proposal, I do not, at this moment in time want to ever leave the house again, though I am sure at some point that will change, through necessity if nothing else.

Along with my miscarriage I had a terrible experience this week at the hands of my mother in law.  This woman who I have known for 15 years this September and who I have fought hard to have accept me (my husband was the Golden child and I was the terrible woman taking him away from her and Bournemouth), had been acting funny with me for months, forgetting my birthday and then giving me a belated gift of a passive-aggressive mug that said “Queen Bitch” was the start of it; then making snide remarks to my husband when he told her just before Christmas we were expecting (her own daughter who lives with her husband on their second floor recently having twins); and then cancelling on us and not seeing my children at all over Christmas; and now this (actually it feels quite good getting this off my chest, I’m starting to see why people blog, it is I guess like the modern confessional, the unburndening and cleansing of oneself).

Anyhow, I digress.  I had not heard from his parents at all since my miscarriage (and my husband had heard very little).  I was not expecting wailing and crying, but I was expecting at least a text saying the usual “we’re so sorry for your loss. Let us know if we can help in any way”.  I got nothing.  Then she phoned me out of the blue last Tuesday.  Asking how I was, not mentioning my miscarriage and saying I sounded like I had a cold.  I numbly explained to her I was very unwell and how on top of everything our washing machine had blown up (literally insides had gone melted and black).  She made some mumbling noises and then proceeded to start telling me all about her 2 month old grandchildren, she didn’t ask how my children were dealing with losing their unborn sibling.  When I explained I could not talk about babies right now, instead of being understanding and apologising for her insensitivity she started to have a go at me as this was “family” and essentially how dare I.  This was the point I began to shake with shock at her ongoing outburst, tears streaming down my face and so I screamed, I screamed so loud down that phone:

“What is wrong with you, of course I don’t want to hear about babies [she continues to shout at me about her grandchildren] I have just lost mine I don’t care what her babies are doing and you. YOU!!!!! Couldn’t even be bothered to see how I was, not once in nearly two weeks.  I do not want to speak to you now Fuck Off”

I continued to shake for half an hour, crying to my husband who luckily was not back at work properly until the following day.  He was stunned into silence. Angry and apologetic for his family not being like “normal” people.  After reassurances from those closest to me that I was definitely not the person in the wrong I calmed down slightly, although I have now decided this woman is far too toxic to be in my life.  So I will not stop my children from seeing her (when she finally realises she has 4 Grandchildren), I will not stop my husband but I am done.  Soon she will realise the only reason we saw her every month until recently was because of me (they barely ever come down here), the only reason she had cards and presents on her Birthday and Christmas was because of me, but no more. I am done.

It is 17 days since my miscarriage now and I am broken, and in  pain and sad but I am beginning to realise I deserve better and I do not have to let my past define me or accept the terrible behaviour of others.

If you find yourself in a similar situation, if you somehow stumble across this then I want you to know.  You Are Not Alone.  It is scary, it is cruel, it is hurtful and agonising but you will find a way through, and like me you will find you are stronger than you thought and though some people will let you down, you have more people who care about you than you can imagine and you will find a way through.  There is a whole community of women who have been where you are.  We are the 1 in 4 and our babies mattered.  You Are Not Alone.

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