This is an honest account of a miscarriage I suffered at 21 weeks and 5 days. I’m speaking from my heart and I would prefer you not to read it if you think it may upset you or affect you in any way. Tomorrow normal posts will be resumed, today I have to get this out of my system. Thank you for understanding.
2006. Paul and I had been trying for a few months to get pregnant, I was due to be 40 at the end of April and aware that time was on a countdown. I had been off the pill for six months and luckily for us around the 6 month mark it happened. We were on holiday in Italy for my son’s 18th birthday at the time.
We came home with this massive secret so excited but decided to wait a while before telling anyone. The norm for spilling the beans is the three month mark but we were bursting with excitement and on a family break to Ilfracombe, Devon we decided to let the family know. We were having meals together as we were all in the same house and I was avoiding alcohol, surely they would twig?
They were all very pleased for us but I couldn’t help but feel for one sister in law plagued with polycystic ovaries and trying for years. I know our news upset her as she discovered another person was pregnant and she still wasn’t, but time was running out for me and I had to grab my last chance. Inside my soul I prayed deeply that she too would have her baby soon as I felt a thief getting what she wanted so desperately.
The pregnancy was going very well, I was commuting to London daily to work at the Italian Tourist Board and evenings and weekends were spent relaxing and enjoying the feel of my swelling belly. It was probably around the 13 week mark that I started to bleed slightly which freaked me out no end. I had had no problems with my two older children’s pregnancies and couldn’t understand why? It seemed like a terrible omen but after visits to both my midwife and my GP I was told it was nothing to worry about and quite common. I could only sit and wait and pray.
I noticed the more active I was the faster the bleed so I slowed right down. I stopped lifting things and Paul took over all the housework while I lazed on the sofa.
At 15 weeks or 16, I’m sorry my memory fails the exact timings, I was upstairs in bed watching Friends. It was the final episode, do you remember the one where there is a bomb or a huge commotion in the A&E? Bodies everywhere, well my memory is sketchy here too as I missed it. Just as we were getting to the end, I felt something down below and ran to the loo. Something was coming out and I was afraid it was the baby. A blood clot the size of my hand slipped into the toilet and I was frightened like I’d never been before. I called Paul and I collected the blood clot in a Tupperware box – just in case it could help the doctors know what was happening to me and together we made our way to A&E both of us tense and worried and me ,strangely enough, a bit annoyed that I’d missed the ending of Friends(?) The weirdest thought to have at such a personal dramatic moment.
I was given a thorough check, they laid me on a bed in a quiet room away from the main ward. More blood, more clots and I cried, clutching my tummy, looking at Paul and pleading to him, ‘I don’t want to lose our baby.’ ‘Stop it.’ as if he could magically take control of destiny. They bought a doppler in and listened to my tummy, I was warned by the lady using the device that she was not trained and the baby was still small she may not hear anything. I suppose they have to cover themselves these days but I nodded eager to hear a heartbeat….and there it was. I can’t tell you my relief. I wept once again this time the tears releasing me from the tension that had steadily been building up over the past couple of weeks. I was taken to a ward and once settled Paul went home.
I stayed in hospital a couple of days, I was scanned and I discovered I was expecting a healthy little girl, the problem seemed to be coming from the placenta, there was an area that was detached and that was causing the bleeding and clots as it tried to heal itself constantly. I got a medical certificate and stayed home from work, on the one hand happy to be able to focus on my child and on the other guilty at leaving my colleague in the lurch with our shared job.
The pregnancy continued and I got bigger and bigger and with each day that passed I got more and more confident that maybe we had just had a glitch that was now over but the bleeding never stopped. I had turned 40 without alcohol and many friends had travelled from Italy to celebrate me which I was enormously grateful for.
It was at 21 weeks and 3 days at dinner with friends in a gorgeous country pub with a mad hatter owner that I realised I quite fancied a glass of wine – unheard of for me in pregnancy where my favourite liquid becomes as appealing as drinking petrol. We stayed the night there and I could feel a few tugs and pulls at my tummy, but nothing too drastic. I slept and in the morning whilst bathing I could ‘feel’ something at the top of my cervix. I tried to feel more and tug at the ‘clot’ but it wasn’t coming away.
‘Oh well, it’ll come away in time.’ and off we went to spend the day at the beach.
I felt dreadful and family have since told me I looked terrible so we left earlier than planned, tucking me up in bed for a good night’s sleep in the hope it would all settle. More tummy pains but my exhaustion sent me into a deep sleep. I was aware of Paul getting ready for work and after he had left the house I got up to use the bathroom, on wiping I couldn’t fail to see a tiny foot hanging out of me. In a mad rush, I called Paul from my mobile phone who thankfully hadn’t caught the coach yet. I urged him to come home immediately and as I struggled from the bedroom to the bathroom I felt my baby slip further out. I stood in the bath and caught her in my hands shaking and in shock.
My practical side took over. Tupperware box – I knew she was no longer with us and unsaveable at 21 weeks and 5 days. I asked Paul to cut the long placenta with scissors and tidied myself up as I knew I had yet to pass the placenta. Paul called the hospital and they told us to come straight in. It was the quietest, eeriest journey we have ever made and the outcome, well we were no longer expecting and our lives and dreams had been dashed in one foul swoop.
Because she was so close to the 24 weeks mark we had to arrange for her funeral, we were given the option of naming her, I didn’t then and shortly after I regretted that decision taken in haste, still in shock and trying to be practical. Elise is her name in my heart and she still lives there and the strangest coincidence I want to share with you is she was born on the 17th July 2006 – two years later on exactly the same day and more or less the same time our twin girls came into the world and that ladies and gentlemen is sooo right it makes me smile and shed a tear at the same time.
I found enormous help and support in the time following my loss at Baby Centre and Baby World where there are forums with wonderful ladies who have all suffered the same loss and help each other to come out of the misery. I made a lot of friends who are still on my Facebook account and I ‘see’ enjoying happier times. I also found many answers on the Miscarriage Association
I apologise if I made you sad. I am wracked with guilt for putting her in a Tupperware box, but I wasn’t thinking straight, for not naming her that day and for not carrying the pregnancy full term. Shortly after my loss a story hit the media of a lady who gave birth at 22 weeks – two days more and the baby survived.