Pregnancy and Baby Loss Awareness Month – Carol’s Story
I’m Carol and I miscarried when my first child was two years old, just before my 12-week scan.
I realised something was wrong when I went to the toilet at home and noticed a few drops of blood – I just knew it wasn’t right but wanted to stay positive as this was so important to me. I got my husband (with my son as we had no family close by and hadn’t realised what was happening) to take me to hospital. When I walked down the corridor, I was bleeding like crazy. I was seen in A&A and taken to a waiting ward where I was soaked with blood and left to wait to be seen for hours. I had to ask for some paper to sit on as I was bleeding so much. It was horrific as I wasn’t given any privacy, and no one was giving me any idea of when I would be seen. I also had the added complication of having my two-year-old son running around and not understanding why his mummy was upset.
I didn’t know I’d miscarried as it wasn’t confirmed. I eventually got seen and the doctor said he couldn’t confirm whether I had which left me confused and uncertain but advised to come back first thing the next day to have a scan to check. It was a Sunday so they couldn’t do anything. So off I went home with large sanitary towels to wait, not knowing.
The next day, I went alone to have a scan where I waited for hours to be seen and to have an unpleasant internal scan to find out the devastating news that although I should have been 11 weeks pregnant, the baby had only grown to six weeks and wasn’t growing anymore. It was not the news anyone wanted. I left the room in tears and walked out into the waiting room full of excited parents to be. I had to ask a nurse if I could go anywhere to sit before going home (this wasn’t offered automatically) and went in sat in a lilac painted room with pictures of lilies (the flowers I associated with funerals) in a room without a window and freezing. No one came to check on me and, after I’d called work to say I wouldn’t be in, I left there later still bleeding but was told this was normal.
I went home to tell my husband who had dropped my son off at nursery to tell him the sad news. I was shocked and upset. I didn’t know where to find help or didn’t want to burden anyone so felt very alone. Had I overdone it work. Was it me that had caused it? I was lucky to have my son but had always wanted two kids.
So, I took a few days off which I don’t remember. Then a few more days off as I was bleeding so badly. My mum came to visit me to help and as she had experienced loss. It was lovely but nothing eased the pain. I went to a miscarriage counsellor offered by the hospital, but it was too soon after it and I was still heavily bleeding that I wasn’t able to process it. I went home and I remember being mortified that I bled so heavily it went through my joggers and on to the bus seat. A few days later, I went to have a check-up at doctors about the bleeding and they sent me to A&E in a taxi as they said I shouldn’t be this heavily bleeding. I don’t remember much of the journey and what happened when I arrived as I was rushed up to have an operation and blood transfusions straight away as I had lost so much blood. I then stayed in hospital for a few days where I waited to feel better whilst still grieving and woken up every few hours to have my SATS taken. I don’t think I’d slept for weeks.
I just kept thinking why did this happen to me? and what had I done wrong?. I had, on top of this, been bullied at work, so my mental health worsened and took a long time to feel remotely improved. It took a long time to physically get better and mentally I don’t think I’ve ever fully recovered. It had been a nightmare rather than a joy. I took nine weeks off work, and the rest helped reduce the pain slightly.
My friends and family were amazing. You don’t know until it’s happened to you that so many others have experienced it – it’s a taboo subject and should be talked about far more than it is. It’s not your fault that it happens; it just sadly does. It happens to one in four pregnancies but that’s not talked about. I feel that there should be more support available or offered via the NHS. The Miscarriage Association is a great resource which helped me rationalise it, and although I’ll never forget, you do have to move on.
I named a star after the unborn as I’m not religious but wanted to mark the life and so every year I look up to the stars and remember. I know it sounds small but it’s my way of processing it.
My advice for others:
– remember that you have done nothing wrong
– it does get easier to deal with over time
– rest after it and take time to grieve
– it’s ok to eat a lot of chocolate at bad times
– talk about it, as you’ll get support from sometimes the least expected people
– if you had a bad experience, let the NHS PALS team know as they do want to improve
I wanted to end this with a positive story as I’ve worked to make it one – I am one of the lucky ones. I have now, years later, two children having had a successful (if not nervous) pregnancy in 2018, two years after the miscarriage. The importance of family is so key to me – I changed my life too and moved with a three-day-old baby from London to Norwich, and changed my career at 40 from marketing/advertising to founding One of a Kind Club where I make confidence inspiring jewellery.