4 in 1 is not just a statistic, it is me.
I find writing about sad or difficult moments in my life particularly cathartic as often when it is discussed I find it hard to open up about all my emotions. Sadly, with some occasions you often don’t get the chance to express your feelings and unfortunately it seems having a miscarriage comes under that as people don't like to talk about it or simply just don’t know what to say. I was probably one of those people until it happened to me. At 23 years old and in to my second year of being a qualified midwife I discovered that I am expecting with my fiancée. After the initial shock, and being informed from my brother that I was now a ‘real person’, I became so ecstatic about being pregnant and in some ways obsessed with it.
I was constantly analysing every feeling that I had and figuring out if they were pregnancy symptoms or in fact a figment of my imagination. I probably stressed myself out over those moments way too much but it was all completely worth it.
At around 5 weeks I started experiencing some spotting. As I think anyone would I automatically thought the worse. But with also being a midwife I had seen plenty women spot throughout their entire pregnancies so although I was worried, I expected that things were okay. I went down to EPU, had a scan and although it was too early to see the baby, they could see the little sac and confirmed that the pregnancy was viable.
2 weeks later I went back for my rescan. To my delight we saw the little bean which was my baby and the strong (as the sonographer put it) heartbeat fluttering away. Absolute bliss. I hadn’t been spotting for over a week either so now felt convinced that everything was fine. So I carried on, as you do, day dreaming about what our little baby would look like, discussing names and even buying the occasional item which was on offer. At just over 8 weeks I started to spot again and the following day I passed two clots. Sadly that evening, two clots turned into heavy ‘period like’ bleeding. EPU had informed that if this happens then I should go to A&E. My advice to you – don't go to A&E however painful it seems to wait out the dreaded night until you can be seen by EPU the following morning. A&E consisted of a doctor prodding my stomach and asking where the pain was, he didn't seem to understand that the pain was period pains and continued to ignore the fact that the pregnancy was NOT ectopic - he would have been able to see this from my previous scans, had he bothered to look. Furthermore I was asked to perform a pregnancy test. I told him that of course it would come back as positive as even after a miscarriage the hormone stills stays in your body for up to 2 weeks, again he ignored that fact and I self discharged.
Anyway, the next day my bleeding was heavier and the scan at EPU sadly confirmed no heartbeat. After being told this I then had to wait for 30 minutes to be seen by a doctor who recognised me as a midwife and said how I ‘probably knew more about this than her anyway’ and would I like to take part in a study as to why women miscarry. Speechless doesn't even cut it.
So as reality kicked in so did the worst week of my life. I won't go into too much detail but the bleeding was horrendous as I passed a ridiculous amount of clots. Half way in to the week I experienced what I can only imagine would be early labour pains. It was hell. The only small blessing was that I managed to pass the baby naturally, a day before my follow up scan which would have suggested if I required a d&c or not. Ironically it was the best news I had received all week.
But the reason I wanted to post what happened to me was really to do with people’s reactions to my miscarriage. I had a small but brilliant support network whilst I was going through this but what really struck me was how little people knew what to say to me. So little that it was barely even mentioned at all. It felt like I was suppose to not talk about losing my baby for the fear that people didn't know how to respond. I think no one can ever really understand unless they go through it but what I want to say is that you should never feel like you cannot talk about this. There was a life and that deserves to be treated with every respect as any other living creature and if you (like me) need to talk about it then do.
I didn't choose to hide what happened to me from anyone. If they asked what was wrong or why I had been away, I just said. I understand that some people cope through not talking about what has happened but for me by people not talking, it made me feel like it didn't happen or that I should be expected to just carry on like normal.
I never realised miscarriage was a taboo subject until now and I think it is a very sad, sad thing. As a woman, this is probably the worst thing we can ever go through. I am angry about how people just ignored what had happened to me and it was not me wanting to be centre of attention at all, it was just me wanting to be able to grieve for my baby as you would for any other family member.
Today would have been my 12 week scan and it still hurts. It gets easier but nothing will ever truly heal that pain. That’s why I like this quote, ‘1 in 4 women is not just a statistic, it is me’ because if you are reading this then it is probably you too and it does matter what we have been through. You are not just a statistic and your loss does matter, don’t be made to feel like it doesn’t.
Editor's CommentThank you so much for writing this painful account of your loss. It is a sad fact that people often don't know how to respond to loss and grief, but your explanation goes to the very heart of the issue and I am sure many women will identify with your experience. Giving yourself time and permission to grieve for your loss is a necessity not a luxury, and you cannot hurry that process or change those painful landmarks that you face ahead of you. What you can do is plan for them and make sure you do significant things at those times to help you to work through your grief. Please contact CareConfidential if we can support you further. You can call the national helpline 0300 4000 999, or log into Online advisor.
This story was sent in on 03/06/2014