First Published June 2015
OK so where to start? Usually I find the beginning works best, so let’s go from there.
Firstly who am I and why are you reading this? Well the first bit is easy, I’m a 30-something Londoner who is embarking on the road to having my first baby, I thought writing this blog might be interesting to people in a similar boat, might introduce me to some like-minded, like-situation folk and lastly sometimes you just need a bit of space to go somewhere and talk about all the things running through your mind on a daily basis.
Secondly where did this begin? Well unlike Mary I didn’t wake up one morning suddenly pregnant, in fact in many ways getting pregnant didn’t happen suddenly at all, but let’s just backtrack a bit. I got married in 2010 and babies were not at the top of the agenda at the time. We did things like go on holiday and buy a house (and fix up said house) and one day it felt that the time was right to move onto the next stage of life an try for a baby.
I knew that it wasn’t going to be as easy as clicking my fingers and ta-da I’d be pregnant, in fact I was ready for a hard slog as, as in my early 20’s I had been diagnosed with PCOS (this was after multiple appointments of being told I was just stressed and there was probably nothing wrong, when they finally admitted I had PCOS I was put promptly on the pill as that was the only thing they could do).
Flash forward a few fair years later and the pill was finally going away for good, hooray! I’m not an anti-pill monster or anything, in fact being on it so many years seemed to have helped my cycle fall into some sort reliable timing, but I was never really keen on taking them and did have a bit of a worry if it might do anything to me further down the line, but now I had something new to worry about, getting pregnant!
About six months in and no luck I spoke with my GP to see if there were any tests I could have in regards to my PCOS as I didn’t think I was ovulating as I should be (measuring your Basel Body Temperature is a great indicator as to how your cycles run) I was sent for some blood tests and just as I thought I wasn’t ovulating on a monthly basis, however I would need to try for at least a year before I got any help – so I set my reminder for January and carried on, not to say that this news wasn’t frustrating to say the least!
So the end of the year rolled around and I was waiting for my time of the month is makes its usual appearance in January so I could book my appointment in and…nothing. Due to the nature of my cycles they can range anywhere between 35-45 days average so I figured I was more on the 45 day spectrum that month and I waited some more…and nothing apart from a very small bleed one evening I was AF free. Could it be? I wondered and so like any curious soul I took a pregnancy test and it was negative. OK I was just late.
Another week passed still no Flo so I booked in with the GP and she tested me, still nothing BUT by then I was totally knackered all the time, I was weeing like a champion and my boobs seemed to have grown overnight. So I was sent off with another test and told to try in a couple of days. So at 6.15am on a cold, dark February morning I took and test and a very faint second pink line showed up.I was thrilled and happily went back to the GP a couple of days later to tell her. Another test was done but the line was still really faint – something was up, so off I went for a blood test the same day and the results came back 4 days later, I was registering as pregnant but only just, by then in my mind I knew something was wrong but I was sent along to the Early Pregnancy Unit at my local hospital for an ultrasound to check what was going on. While all this testing was going on I was also having slight bleeds on and off which was another cause for concern.
The EPU, although fantastic in what it does, is not a place you want to visit (and I’ve been inside it now more times than I would have liked), the waiting room is filled with anxious women who are all there for the same reason, they are not having a textbook pregnancy. I was called in and after a through examination nothing was found. A follow-up blood test confirmed that I was in fact suffering what is referred to as a silent or ‘missed’ miscarriage.
Now this is one of the most evil things your body can do to you because although you have lost your baby, your body still acts like you are pregnant, you get the usual symptoms and unless you suffer from bleeding etc, you will probably have no idea that anything is at all wrong. For women who only find this out at their 12 week scan, I honestly cannot think what this must be like because being told on the end of the phone that this is what had happened to me (I would have been around 8 weeks pregnant), it is like your whole world just falls apart in that second.
I can honestly say that there is no real way to describe how you feel when you are told you have lost a baby, a baby that you have wanted and tried for, for what feels like a lifetime. There was plenty of tears and a lot of wallowing but what I was needed to gear up for was what was going to happen next.
I had to confirm back with EPG that after that weekend I was testing negative on a home pregnancy test to show my levels had dropped enough for the process to complete itself, but come Monday the test was still coming up with that faint positive – cue another trip to the EPU and more testing and finally they confirmed the pregnancy was over and that within the next week or so the bleeding would begin and the miscarriage would be completed. They also sent me off with some pregnancy tests and wished me the best for my next try.
It took until the weekend but once it began there was some sort of relief mixed with extreme sadness and the wanting of the whole world to go away while I sat and went through this. Everybody tells you that it isn’t you fault and logically of course you know that’s true but it doesn’t stop you thinking, well what’s wrong with me? Why can’t I stay pregnant? Is that it now? Will this be my only chance? Am I that horrible a person that I don’t deserve this? In reality none of these concerns should even have crossed my mind but when you are in that bubble nothing seems ridiculous.
The miscarriage itself was and wasn’t awful – the whole process is draining, sad and heartbreaking but it was much like having your worst period and then doubling it – the cramps were awful and the bleeding lasted a couple of weeks. In one way I am thankful I wasn’t further along as it would have been total unbearable but once it was over it was like putting an end to a really horrible story.
Life sort of ends up going on, a week after my initial bleeding stopped it started up again, a call to EPG just confirmed that in fact my body had re-adjusted and this bleeding was in fact my time of the month. If only your emotions were that easy. Day by day you do start to feel slightly better about things but the loss never really goes away, you always end up thinking what might have been and who that little person might have grown up to be. A few weeks later I went back to the GP and as I had actually gotten pregnant (although not successfully) I would need to wait at least another 6-12 months before I would be considered to have any investigations done – this did feel slightly like the last nail in the coffin at the time, but I know how stretched the NHS is and figured if I needed to wait then I would wait.
Knowing this would be a part of me forever, a few weeks after everything had happened I got a tattoo, the design represented how I felt and I will carry it with me forever, as much as I will the memory of that little person who only lived for a short while but was very much loved in that time.
What I did find amazing during everything was when googling what was going on, how many people are in exactly the same boat as you and how common miscarriage actually is. I have to admit before this happened to me I have never heard of a MMC or even know the EPU existed, it seems that we are almost ashamed to talk about miscarriage and that is a real shame. I know I could have done with the support of somebody who has been through the same thing and we should be more open and honest with each other as women that this happens, it happens a lot and this is one of the reasons I wanted to start writing this blog – to share an honest account of what can happen when it goes wrong and to hopefully give somebody else out there going through the same thing a bit of reassurance or even somebody to talk to if they need it.
So that’s how our journey started but little did a know a couple of months later I would be back to the beginning again.