I set up this blog as a way of expressing my emotions, to try and help me deal with how I felt about certain topics and experiences. I never in a million years thought that I would use it to open up about the horrendous time of my life, June 2014.
Why have I decided to write about this? … because I find it impossible to talk about still. Sat here writing this, is one of the most difficult things I have ever done.
Myself & my partner had found out that we were expecting our first child together, we were over the moon! I already had my daughter from a previous relationship, and finding out that I was going to have my second child meant so much to us all, especially after a shitty few years.
Finding out about our pregnancy just before the start of the 2014 World Cup in Brazil meant that I would be going solo to my first midwife appointment, as the other half had booked to go to Brazil. He was so excited for this, being a huge football fan! Obviously, I would miss him like crazy, but it wasn’t for long and I planned to keep myself busy until he got home.
A couple of days before he left, I was 7 weeks pregnant at this time, I started to get sharp pains in my stomach. To any pregnant woman, this is the scariest feeling ever!
I rang my midwife and was advised that as I had no bleeding, just to monitor how strong the pain was, and if it worsened, or any blood loss, to ring back. A few hours later, we had gone around to my parents house with my daughter for a nice Sunday afternoon with the family before my partner flew Brazil. I was still aware of the cramping pain, and was finding it really difficult to hide my fear and anxiety, despite trying to put on a smile and enjoy the afternoon. Without going into too much details, i went to the bathroom and found that I had started to lose blood. I couldn’t believe (or maybe just didn’t want to believe!) my eyes …. ‘Why me? Why is this happening? What does it mean? Is my baby okay? What do I do?!’ … I was petrified!
I went downstairs, and pulled my Mum to one side. ‘Mum, you can get bleeding during your pregnancy and still be absolutely fine can’t you? It doesn’t mean that anything is wrong does it?!’ … I will never forget the look on my Mums face. ‘Ring the hospital Laura, you need to be checked straight away!’ Of course this was too much for me to hear and I broke down. It’s normal to think the worst, and I had all sorts running through my head.
All I remember people saying to me was ‘Don’t worry, it’ll be okay, try not to think the worst.’ – I know that it is difficult to say ‘the right thing’ at times like this, but I honestly wanted to slap anyone saying this to me!
I called the early pregnancy ward and was advised to go in straight away to be examined. My heart was racing and the tears wouldn’t stop, as much as I wanted to be brave and try and believe that this was just a silly mistake. My partner and my sister came to the hospital with me. I still remember the journey. Meant to take about 31 minutes, felt like about 131 minutes!
I arrived at the hospital, and walking from the car park to the ward felt like an eternity. I felt like everybody that I walked past was staring at me, and I had this overwhelming urge to scream and shout and anyone who so much as looked in my direction. I walked up to the reception desk, and was asked ‘Hi, are you okay? What’s the problem?’ … having to explain this sensitive subject at the desk, in front of a crowded, silent waiting room, was so difficult. I gave up talking and just turned my back to the desk to hide my tears. I am an emotional person at the best of times, but I am also a very private and proud person, and find it impossible opening up. Once we had managed to string a sentence together which made any sense at all, the receptionist responded ‘Is it urgent, it’s Sunday so there is no scanning available, and there is a long wait as you can probably tell by the amount of people here?’ …
Well that question certainly shocked me! ‘Is it urgent? Are you for real?! Of course it is otherwise I wouldn’t be here would I ?!’ To which she responded ‘Take a seat and wait for your name to be called then Please.’
The lack of empathy, the stone cold attitude and sheer ‘couldn’t give a shit!’ response of this ‘woman’ will stay with me forever.
I don’t expect a big cuddle and pat on the back, but a little bit of compassion wouldn’t have gone a miss.
I waited for just over an hour, and then was called through to one of the rooms. I again had to explain what had happened. I don’t think I even managed to get two words out, and my other half had to explain for me. She said that she would need to examine me and check if the neck of the womb was open or closed to determine if I was losing our baby.
People say that once you have had a baby, you lose all of your dignity and don’t care who looks ‘up there’, but this was not the case for me. As already explained, I am such a private person, and this was such a huge step and so hard for me to do.
My partner asked if I wanted him to leave the room. I felt awful but I said yes. I didn’t want him to have to hear the nurse possibly tell us that we were losing our baby. We had both been so excited! I felt like such a let down to him if I couldn’t even carry our baby properly.
I was examined, she looked at me and asked if I wanted my partner to come back into the room before she explained her findings. ‘I’m losing it aren’t I?! I know it!’ … She sat us both down and said that my cervix was closed, and that this was a really good sign! It meant that I wasn’t having a miscarriage! Our baby was going to be okay !!! I cannot explain how that made me feel! We were over the moon! We rang the family to tell them the amazing news, and then went back home and enjoyed the rest of our Sunday evening together.
A few days later, and the other half set off for Brazil for the World Cup! How exciting!! I tracked his flight, (in a caring and non stalkerish way) and although I felt sick at how much I missed him after such a short space of time, I was happy for him that he was getting to go on this amazing adventure of a life time.
I woke up the following morning, and remember walking back into the lounge with what used to be my morning brew, extra strong tea, no sugars, instead I had changed for Lemon Green Tea, in my attempt to cut out caffeine from my diet. I got a strong shooting pain down my side and it took my breath away. Not again! … I can’t possibly be getting more of those cramps!! I ran straight tot the bathroom and expected to be losing more blood, but there was nothing. I had a shower and got myself dressed, and the pains continued. I decided that enough was enough, and rang my midwife. I was hesitant to ring straight away, because I didn’t want the same reaction from the hospital as last time ‘Is it urgent?’ I spoke to my midwife and she told me to go to the hospital to be checked out. All of my family were at work, and again I didn’t want to be an inconvenience. So my friend came to the hospital with me.
I had been totally put off the hospital I had been to a few days earlier, and was scared to even go back there, and so went to a different hospital. The staff this time were lovely! So caring and understanding, and it helped to relax me with their constant reassurance and I was glad that I made the decision to go to this hospital instead.
They took me to a ward, and felt my tummy. They said it felt okay, and so wanted to scan me just to make sure baby was happy and everything was well. They had given me morphine to ease the pain, the physical pain should I say. It did nothing for my worry and upset obviously. I had limited contact with my other half, partly because he was in another country, but mainly due to the signal that I had in the hospital on my mobile, so I was ringing and texting to keep him updated with what was happening, as and when I could.
There was quite a long wait. My Mother in law came to see me as soon as I told her what was happening. This was quite weird for me, as my previous ‘Mother in Law’ was an absolute waste of space and we didn’t get on at all! So for my now Mother in Law to come and see me, in hospital, meant a hell of a lot! She knew that obviously my partner was in Brazil and was unable to get to me, so came on his behalf and gave me a big hug. She left shortly after, and I promised I would keep everyone informed. I told my friend to go home too, as she had children of her own to look after and collect from school., and I felt bad making everyone wait around for me.
So my wait continued.
I was seen by various nurses, gynecology teams and consultants. They had now explained that they thought that I was having an ectopic pregnancy. The fear and realisation that again, I might possibly never meet my baby kicked in. I was heart broken, and felt so alone. Why had I told everyone that I didn’t need them? Why did I insist that they all go home?
I remember watching the clock alllllll day! Finally at 7:25pm, they came to tell me that they had managed to fit me in for an internal scan to check on baby, and see if I was having an ectopic pregnancy. Lay there, in the darkened room, with no one to hold my hand, I was a nervous wreck and was shaking like a leaf. Then finally, on the screen I saw it, my little babies beating heart! Everything was as and where it should be, and baby had a lovely happy and healthy heartbeat! She told me that I was 7 weeks and 6 days pregnant. I was grinning like the Cheshire cat and couldn’t wait to get myself back to the ward and ring my partner and the rest of the family to let them know that baby was absolutely fine!
I was discharged and made my way home, skipping all of the way! Finally, I had the reassurance that I needed. Our beautiful little baby, a happy healthy heartbeat and a ‘normal’ pregnancy. I got home and gave my little girl the biggest squeeze of her life.
With my partner now home, we got on with everyday life and counted down the days until our scan.
Wednesday 16th July, it was finally here, my partner would finally get to see our baby wriggling around on the screen. I told him what to expect and said that with my first born, I had expected to see nothing but ‘a blob’ on the screen, but it was amazing how clear you could actually see them!
I sometimes think how hard it must be for men to emotionally connect with pregnancy. A woman obviously carries the baby, and boy do you ‘feel it’ during pregnancy, but you have an automatic connection to your unborn child from the second you see the positive on that pee stick! One that you can’t really explain. It is just the most surreal and amazing feeling in the world!
But I felt like this scan would be ‘that moment’ for my other half. He could finally see how real this was and see our little creation for the first time.
We had to have our scan at the first hospital I had attended, as this was where we had booked in for our pregnancy. The journey back to this hospital for me was quite hard to deal with. I was full of mixed emotions, over the moon that we were going to have a sneaky peak at our baby, but also remembering the last time I had done this trip and the fear I had felt. I was so glad that I had my other half to hold on to.
We arrived & sat waiting patiently. The wait for scans during pregnancy is never pleasant, and seems to be a life time! We were called through to the scanning room. Eeeeeeeeeek! So excited ! I more a less ran through and jumped on the bed, pulled up my top and couldn’t wait. On went the cold gel, and the sonographer began to move the doppler around on my tummy. I stared eagerly at the screen. Then she removed the doppler. Strange, I thought, she hadn’t even asked me or my partner to look and hadn’t pointed out ‘This is babies head, here is the legs, this is a little hand’ How odd! …
‘I’m really Sorry but there is no heartbeat.’
Even just typing that, it is a moment that I will never ever forget. I can still hear her saying it over and over in my head. It is like a nightmare that I can’t wake up from. She must be wrong! I had seen the baby and the happy heartbeat a few weeks earlier and our baby was doing fine! I sat up and wanted to run out of the room. ‘I need to have someone else come and just confirm it Laura, can you lay back down for me please?’ Oh yeah, you’ve just told me that my baby is dead, but of course, I will lay down on the bed and wait for one of your colleagues to come and confirm that for me, no problem! The second sonographer repeated the scan, cold gel, doppler and remove …
‘I am really Sorry Laura, I’m afraid there is no heartbeat. Can you see here, that is the fetus. Your baby stopped growing at about 9 weeks, I’m so sorry.’
I got up and wiped myself down, quickly grabbing all of my belongings. I wanted to get out of this hospital. Then they explained that I had to sit in the waiting room to be seen by a doctor before leaving.
They ushered us out of the scanning room, at the same time another sonographer was bringing in the next happy, excited couple to have their scan and see their baby. I felt disgusting. It was like we were not important anymore. Our baby was dead and so we weren’t worthy of their time anymore. We were put in what I can only described as a ‘generous sized cubby hole’ … I was a mess. My partner was trying to console me and keep it together for me. We waited & waited & waited … but when you have just been told that your baby doesn’t have a heartbeat, the last thing you want is to be stuck in a tiny, little ‘room’ with the door open, opposite the scanning room, listening to excited couples about to and just after seeing their babies. It was pure torture. And so I ran. I made a run for the nearest exit. One of the sonographers shouted after me ‘Laura, you can’t leave, you need to wait!’ …
Why the hell should I?! They couldn’t bring my baby back to life, and I didn’t want to be surrounded by all of these happy, pregnant people. It was hell! My partner explained that I wanted to get out and go home and arranged for the doctor to give me a ring once I was home. I can’t remember much about the drive home if I am honest. I do remember stopping off at my Mum’s shop, for what should have been such an exciting time, I should’ve been stopping off to show her the scan picture of her new Grandchild. Instead, my other half said the words,’They couldn’t find a heartbeat.’ My legs gave way, and i just fell to the ground outside of her shop. I cried hysterically and just didn’t know what to do. I felt lost, hurt, upset, useless and like I had let my partner down massively.
My partner and my Mum took me into the shop and I can just remember them holding me and saying nothing. My Dad rung as well to see how our scan had gone, and I could hear my Mum explaining. I didn’t know what to do. It was like I had been punched a million times over. The pain is one that you honestly cannot explain, and I genuinely wouldn’t even wish on my worst enemy.
Once I was home, the doctor called and spoke to my partner. I couldn’t speak to anyone. I closed up and just wanted to shut the world away. They explained that I had had what is called ‘A Missed Miscarriage’. This was why I hadn’t had the usual sign of heavy blood loss, and why upon inspection, my cervix was closed. This was evil, and cruel, and I had never heard of this before now. What a mean and twisted way to lose my baby, without giving me the obvious signs as a ‘heads up’.
I couldn’t believe it, and kept flicking between the pain and torture, and then denial. They must have gotten it wrong. I had seen my baby! I had seen the heartbeat! I hadn’t had any more pains or cramps or bleeding. They had made some kind of mistake.
But once explaining to my partner what everything meant, they gave us options …
(1) I can either wait for my baby to pass naturally from my body, but they can’t tell me when that would be.
(2) I could take a pill which would ‘encourage’ the passing of our baby.
(3) I could have what is called a D & C (Dilation and curettage). This is a procedure to remove tissue from inside the uterus.
They wanted to take what was left of my baby. I couldn’t come to terms with it at all. That morning, I was all excited and super happy to be going to see our beautiful little baba, and that afternoon, doctors were discussing how to remove what was left of my baby as soon as possible to avoid risk of infection. I don’t know if it was denial or just my emotions being all over the place, but I didn’t want them to take my baby out. This would mean that it was real, it had actually happened, and I was no longer growing my baby inside of me. Either way, I refused. There was no way I was letting them do this!
My poor partner, who at the end of the day, was going through the same pain as me, was so supportive and explained how important it was for me to go and get checked out. I couldn’t let myself get ill by increasing the risk of infection, I needed to stay strong for my little girl.
The next morning, we were asked to return to the hospital. The journey was long, again. And then we arrived, we asked for directions of where this specific department was where we needed to be. Little did I know that it would share a waiting room with all of the lovely, heavily pregnant women who were there for their antenatal checks!
Yes, I was at the hospital to have my baby removed, and they sat me with all of these gorgeous baby bumps! I couldn’t cope with it at all, and ran out of the hospital. Why the hell would a hospital be so inconsiderate?! Do they not take into account how it feels to have lost your baby, and be there to discuss ‘your options’ of removing your baby, and at the same time, looking at how happy and healthy and perfect all these growing bumps are?! It is sick if you ask me!
The other half was right by my side, and somehow talked me into coming back in to the hospital and we waited for our appointment. Eventually, my name was called, and we went into the room. The doctor, who did not have English as his first language, said, ‘Alright, so you have had some sad news, it’s okay though!’ … no, it really isn’t ‘okay’, I am far from ‘okay’…
He explained all of the options available to us, and also our options of what to do with our baby afterwards. We were told we could either sign for our permission for the hospital to ‘Discard of the remains’, or we could ‘take the fetus away with us.’
He gave us a few minutes to talk privately. We spoke about how it was best for me if we opted for the D & C, as it may bring a certain amount of closure to the situtation and help me start to deal with the loss. If I am 100% honest, I was still telling myself that they were wrong, and that my baby would’ve made its own way out of my body if there was something not right. To me, my baby was still alive. Of course, this wasn’t the case, and I was just giving myself false hope and clinging onto a baby that had already grown its angel wings and was so cruelly taken from us.
The procedure itself, physically was fairly straight forward, and I wasn’t awake throughout, which was definitely for the best. I remember coming back around after the operation, and that realisation hit. I no longer carried my baby. My baby was no longer part of my body and had been removed and taken away from me. It may sound daft, but it is like I never got to say bye. I had met my baby, I had watched the flutters of its beating heart, and I was already so attached to them.
I couldn’t wait to leave the hospital. It carried nothing but terrible memories for me. The staff had been so heartless, showed absolutely no compassion to our situation and dismissed us like we meant nothing. From the moment of ushering us out of the scanning room and sticking us in a little room and leaving us there to think over and over again about what they had just told us, to torturing us and making us sit in a waiting room full of bumps and babies whilst waiting for ours to be taken from us.
I have never returned to this hospital, even for my following pregnancies I was encouraged by midwives to book in there, but couldn’t bring myself to it.
From leaving the hospital, I had no follow up checks or appointments or calls, nothing, not one person from the hospital thought to check if we were okay, how we were coping with our loss. I feel like unless your baby is born or past a certain stage of pregnancy, then you are just expected to ‘get on with things’ and like you haven’t actually lost anything, as you never ‘had it in the first place,’ This is totally incorrect obviously.
I remember a few weeks later, having a family meal and my baby niece getting passed around the table, I struggled big time to even be around her, which sounds awful, but then she was passed to my partner. It is a picture which I can never forget, he looked so perfect holding her, the way he looked at her, he looked so natural. I should’ve been able to give him that, and I had let him down. I had to leave.
Even still to the day, I know I haven’t dealt with our loss. It pains me to be writing this, but given that it is ‘Baby Loss Awarness Week’, it felt like the perfect time for me to try and make a start on being honest with my feelings.
This year, charities running ‘Baby Loss Awareness Week’ want to talk about better bereavement care for people affected by pregnancy and baby loss. This is so important, and could help so many people out there. They believe that there should be high quality bereavement support services and care available for everyone wherever they live in the UK. Everyone should have the chance to have the support they need, when they need it, for as long as they need it.
I definitely bottle up my feelings when it comes to our baby loss. I find it so difficult to talk about how I feel even now.
Yes, I have 3 other beautiful, healthy, amazing children, but it doesn’t ever replace that feeling of loss and pain. I often sit and wonder about if it would’ve been a girl or a boy, what they would have looked like, what they would have been into. I remember my baby every single day, i can still see the fluttering heart on the screen, and each year on what would’ve been their birthday sit and think how we should be celebrating.
Then I feel guilty because I had fallen pregnant with our son, when I should’ve still been pregnant with out first child, so I start to think how he wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for our loss, so how dare I be so upset?
I feel awful when I think of how I treated the people closest to me at the time. I snapped at people because they didn’t react the same way as me. Shouted at them because they didn’t cry and show their emotions like I did, told them they obviously didn’t care because they weren’t expressing themselves like I was. I have learnt that everybody reacts differently, and just because they don’t cry and kick and scream and shout, doesn’t mean that they don’t care. That is just ‘their way’ of dealing with the pain.
This is a pain that will never go away and even now sitting here writing this, I don’t know what to do next or how to deal with how I feel, how do I cope with all of the questions that I will never be able to answer, and will I ever feel like I can talk about my loss with my family or friends? Right now I feel selfish, because although we all suffered, I was the only one to see my baby alive and healthy and so how can anyone else ever understand my pain? Everything was ‘fine’ and ‘normal’ and ‘healthy’, what did I do wrong between then and losing our baby? Was it my fault? Was it because of the stress and upset I put myself under because I worried too much? Did I cause this loss …
It is SO important that awareness is raised of pregnancy and baby loss, and that the correct support and aftercare is provided for people needing this.
I feel massively let down by the staff at our first hospital, and although I understand that cuts have been made to the NHS, and may not be entirely their fault, little things like compassion go a long way and mean a lot to people in situations such as ours, their actions and attitudes are inexcusable.
Don’t suffer in silence and don’t ever feel like you are alone x