Written by Amy - one of Love Kiddo's lovely brand reps
18 months ago today, we lost our second baby.
I am finding this unbelievably hard to write, despite believing that people should talk about miscarriage and what they go through and we shouldn’t feel alone. But actually writing it down is proving more difficult than I expected.
In March 2022, we found out we were having another baby. After having struggled for 18 months to get pregnant with Harry, it was such an amazing surprise that it had happened naturally and much quicker. I had been ill for days on holiday and couldn’t work out what it was as I’d been taking tests for a couple of months and they’d always been negative.
We were over the moon but also had no idea how far along I was. I had just handed in my notice at a job I’d been in for 12 years and despite being overjoyed, I was now panicking I would be starting a new job possibly 6 months pregnant! I will admit, at the time I was so nervous about enraging my new employer that I did think multiple times, wow this is amazing but the timing is awful! I did not wish I wasn’t pregnant but that didn’t help me feel any less guilty one month later.
As we didn’t know how many weeks I was and I had a work trip to Paris coming up, we went for an early private scan to check everything was ok and find out the gestation. In fact, we were so early you could only see a small blob with a fluttering heart. I was about 4/5 weeks at the time but all seemed to be ok. I headed off to Paris to shop for baby clothes inspiration and was so excited!
Unfortunately the week after I came home, I got covid and felt so ill. This was meant to be my NHS scan week to get confirmation on how many weeks we were but I had to push it back as we couldn’t now go. I was worried about the baby but everything I read seemed to suggest there were no known side effects to pregnancy so I just rested up and waited for the scan the following week.
On 12th April 2022 we headed to the hospital for our scan. I can’t tell you why I felt nervous and off about it but I remember lying on the bed and knowing (or at least suspecting) that everything was not ok. I didn’t tell anyone I felt like this, it was just a feeling I had before the scan started. I held on to Jon’s hand and held my breath for the sonographer to take a look and let us know. Of course we heard the horrible words “I’m sorry, there’s no heartbeat”.
I don’t really remember much in the few minutes after that. I know Jon was squeezing my hand and we were both crying but I don’t remember what I said. We were taken to a room at the end of the hall, given tissues and told they were very sorry. The sonographer said he wanted to show our scan to a consultant and that he would be back. He said that as it was still very early in the pregnancy (6 weeks) there was a chance it was just too early to see anything on the scan. But we knew. We had seen that tiny fluttering heartbeat two weeks before, and now it was gone. When he returned he advised us to come back for another scan next week to see if there was anything there, apologised again and sent us home.
You could tell he hated giving that news and desperately wanted to provide some possible hope, but in hindsight, in that moment, what I needed was honesty and information. Not once did anyone say the word miscarriage or attempt to describe what I might go through. We were given no leaflets about what might happen next, and even though I know he was trying to help, he essentially sent us away with nothing.
I can’t tell you what I did for the next few days, not in any detail. I know I messaged my boss and took time off work. I know I told my parents but don’t remember the conversation. We went home to our 3 year old son. I spent a lot of time in bed during the day and a lot of time cuddling him on the sofa or in his bed at night. I honestly believe if we didn’t already have him, I would have struggled so much more.
3 days later, as I lay in a single bed next to my beautiful son, my husband read us some bedtime stories, I had to squeeze his hand so tightly because I was having contractions. In bed, next to my 3 year old, trying to get him to sleep whilst loosing my second baby. The pain was horrible. The fact that I was basically in labour for the tiniest baby ever was shocking. Essentially giving birth to a tiny foetus in the bathroom whilst sat on the toilet and then flushing my baby away was traumatising.
Although I think about her (I decided immediately the baby was a girl and that’s how I imagine her now) every day, I haven’t allowed myself to think about what we went through in this much detail for a long time so the tears are really flowing now. It’s all coming back and taking me a while to write.
The miscarriage itself was nothing like I expected. As is the case for many people, most of my “knowledge” about this horrendous event came from TV as it’s not generally talked about in society. So naturally, TV was not quite accurate. I was under the assumption that because I was only 6/7 weeks pregnant at the time, loosing the baby would be like a heavy period. How wrong was I!
I had contractions.
I have given birth to two healthy full term babies (and understand how incredibly lucky I am to have been able to do that), so I know what labour is. This was the same! Yes the contractions didn’t last as long or become quite as strong as birthing a full term baby but the pain and the feeling was the same. It was horrendous, terrifying, nerve wracking and traumatic all in one.
And the thing that adds to my misery is that no one told me what to expect.
Often people miscarry without having had a scan to tell them there is no heartbeat. As horrible as that experience was, the hospital staff then had an opportunity to explain to me what was going to happen, what to expect and maybe even give a little advice on how to deal with it. But no, they were too concerned with giving us false hope that our baby might survive and sent me off on my way. I had no idea I would miscarry before the scan the next week, no idea what my body was meant to do now my baby had died, no idea what it would be like to have a miscarriage.
This lack of information is a huge failing in our society. Miscarriage is so common!
You realise once you have one and start talking about it, just how many of your friends and family have suffered the same in silence. That’s why I’m writing this and why I’ve told anyone who asked exactly what happened. No one should be blind sighted when they’re going through something no person should have to suffer.
After the miscarriage came the feelings of regret, shame, disappointment, sadness and fear. I regret that I didn’t think before I flushed my baby away. She may have only been cells at that point but I feel sad that I didn’t think to look and acknowledge her presence. I also regret that we never got a print out of the first scan with that tiny blob and fluttering heart. I can still see it in my head but I wish I had a copy just for me. Shame, that I was so worried about my work situation when I first found out and wished the timing had been different. Disappointment, that I couldn’t keep her safe and healthy. Sadness, at the loss for myself, my husband and my son. And fear that we might not be able to have another baby in the future. To me it was a miracle we’d got pregnant in the first place after the treatment we needed to get Harry, I was worried this was a fluke and it wouldn’t happen again for us. But on the flip side, I was also terrified of getting pregnant again and loosing the baby again, I wasn’t sure I could take it.
The next week we headed back to hospital for the check up scan. Unfortunately we were let down again by this experience. Don’t get me wrong, I love the NHS and think it’s fantastic. Free healthcare, amazingly hard working, understaffed and underpaid people and I have huge respect for everything they do for the rest of us. But on this occasion, there were so many things that could have been done better.
We were sent to a different unit for our scan and I was grateful for that as I didn’t want to sit next to pregnant women with healthy babies 4 days after having a miscarriage. However, we had to wait in a hallway which had a lot of pregnant women walking up and down, made to wait ages to be called in and then sent back out to wait for even longer before the scan. It was agony sitting there with tears slowly rolling down my cheeks, waiting to be taken in for confirmation that I had lost my baby, whilst watching all these happy people walk by.
Add to that, the immense lack of tact from the midwife we saw and it was a pretty traumatic experience on top of an already traumatic week. When we were called in, a student midwife sat with us and took notes on everything that had happened since our scan the previous week, details of the miscarriage, and typed it all up on the screen. Eventually the midwife came in to see us and complete the scan and without even glancing at the notes (bear in mind it had taken us 10 minutes to go through the horrendous details as I sobbed), turned to me with a smile and asked “how many weeks are you?”
To which my response was, “I’m not.”
She looked at me surprised and I was forced to re-live the horror by explaining to her that there was no heartbeat on the scan, I had miscarried and was now here to check it had all gone.
Why on earth did she send in the student midwife to get the history and details if she’s not going to use them?! I have had fantastic experiences with the NHS and particularly midwives with the birth's of both my son’s but this was a real low point.
I was so upset and disappointed. Of course she was apologetic and I understand they’re extremely busy, but my god maybe just take a quick glance at someone’s notes and the reason for an appointment before you go bouncing in to the room talking about the baby they could have had. Suffice to say, the scan was clear and there was no baby. As crushing again as it was, it was also a small relief to know the miscarriage was complete and I didn’t need surgery. We went home to learn how to carry on.
I took 6 weeks off work in total (half my notice). I did try to go in a couple of times before I was ready, but each time I only got so far on the motorway before I broke down and cried so much I couldn’t see to drive. It is incredible how your body just knows to shut down and protect you but eventually you can heal enough to continue with your life.
If you are going through or ever do go through a miscarriage, make sure you allow yourself time to deal with the loss before you try to move on. It took me weeks to feel remotely ok again. I spent a lot of time in bed, a lot of time crying and then slowly I started to do DIY projects around the house that gave me something to focus on.
And thank god for my son, without him I would have spiralled completely. My husband was amazing and supportive, but there is something about children that makes you push through even the worst situations of your life. You don’t have a choice because they need you. I was so lucky to have him already and can’t imagine the pain of going through this with your first pregnancy and not knowing if it will ever happen for you. To anyone who has suffered or is suffering this at any stage in their life or with any number of children before or after, I send you my love.
Thankfully for us, 3 months later (and after giving myself time to heal enough to consider trying again) we got pregnant for a third time. Though the pregnancy was terrifying, painful and incredibly hard, we now have a second healthy baby boy. People have said that our miscarriage cleared the way for our son, and maybe that’s true. But to me, that makes it sound like she wasn’t a baby but more of a medical procedure/cleansing my body was performing.
I’m not religious, but I like to believe that my baby girl is with my Grandad on the swings at the park with her hair in pigtails, laughing and giggling as he’s pushing her higher and higher. We always knew if we had a baby girl she would be called Lily Jane, so that is what I call her and why I wanted the Lily of the Valley print for the house. As well as the necklace of her star sign that I wear everyday, I wanted to have some subtle reminders of her around the house just in case I ever need to feel her with me.
I also like to believe that when I asked my Grandad to send us another baby, he did. One week after we had a “chat” I had a positive pregnancy test, and 9 months later had a healthy boy with my Grandad’s name for his middle name. We lost my Grandad just over a year before our miscarriage so he’s still very much in my thoughts every day and I miss him like crazy.
To be able to think they’re together somewhere, makes the losses just that little bit easier to bear.