I’m Miranda. I’m 29 and I live in Cambridgeshire with my lovely husband.
We got married last year and decided earlier this year to “stop not trying” to have a baby. If I’m honest, I was more than ready. We’ve been together 8 years and in the plan I had for my life I had envisaged having a family by the time I was 30. I am an only child and always imagined myself with enough children to fill at least one side of a 5 a side football team.
My husband’s not so into football, so rather than spend our mid to late 20s baby making, we instead bought a beautiful house, went on holidays, rescued some cats, and got married.
So now I found myself with just one year left to fulfill the plan. And amazingly, getting pregnant proved a doddle! Although this was something I had wanted more than anything, when I saw the positive result I couldn’t quite believe it. I started taking a test almost every week just to check I hadn’t read it wrong (and to test the technology of the digital tests which tell you how far along you are). My husband was initially a little terrified (and probably quite proud of his little swimmers!), but over the following weeks and months he started to throw himself into our journey head first. He made me breakfast everyday and tolerated all my weird food cravings (although following “dairylea pasta gate” we began eating separate dinners!) He bought (and read!) baby books, even reading ahead to months we hadn’t got to yet.
To me, despite feeling like a train had hit me, constantly needing to fart, and spending all our money on my next weird food craving, everything was near-on perfect!
I remember going for a weekend away with my mum, and feeling pretty ropey. I got home on the Sunday and got an early night, and woke up on the Monday feeling suddenly completely normal. “Lucky me” I thought as I skipped out the door to work (that part’s embellished – I’ve never skipped to work). I had heard that your pregnancy symptoms start to tail off after 12 weeks or so, and as I was nearing this stage I just assumed that was what was happening.
A couple of days before my first scan I noticed some spotting. I consulted Dr google. This time I started to worry. Dr google spoke of spotting being normal in very early pregnancy, but I was almost 13 weeks and it didn’t sound like the “implantation bleeding” that I was reading about. I also read about the coinciding of spotting with a sudden disappearance of pregnancy symptoms, and the outlook wasn’t great.
This all happened on a Friday, and my scan was on the Monday. I didn’t think there was much I could do between now and then, so I tried to take my mind off things, but I spent a lot of the weekend crying, because even though I didn’t have an answer yet, I knew something wasn’t right.
The morning of my scan felt like an eternity. I just wanted to know either way, although deep down I had prepared myself for what happened next. I don’t think any woman who has experienced miscarriage will forget the long silence as the sonographer looks for something that isn’t there, and their eventual words “I’m so sorry”.
Little did I know that this was just the start. I thought that miscarriage was just something that would happen by itself, but clearly my body had not yet identified that something was not right and this needed to come out.
We had 3 options for what to do next: we could go home and wait it out. This could take 3 weeks and might not happen on it’s own. I could go into hospital and take a pill to cause contractions to help it pass. Or I could have surgical management under a local. The surgical management only happened on Tuesdays, and we were told it would not be happening this week.
So we went for the second option, which they call medical management. This is where you go into hospital, they insert a couple of tablets into the cervix and you wait for contractions to start, and for the baby to pass. There were 3 other ladies on my ward, all in for the same thing. By 5pm, they had all gone home, but for some reason, despite having full blown contractions and using gas and air and morphine to manage the pain, nothing was passing.
I stayed in til the next morning, when the pain had subsided. They suggested going home and letting it happen naturally over the next few weeks. So I did. I felt exhausted, traumatised, and like I’d left all my dignity in the entrance to the hospital the previous morning; after 12 hours of contractions I didn’t really care who was looking up my hoo-haa or raking through my poo (they ask you to go to the loo in a cardboard bowl so they can monitor what you pass – unfortunately for the poor nurses the only thing I passed was some explosive diarrhoea. I did have a little chuckle afterwards at the memory of the nurse who administered the tablets the previous morning commenting that it might give me a “bit of an upset stomach”).
Anyway, fast forward three weeks, the bleeding had reduced but not stopped, and I’d been going into work each day with a duffel bag full of extra absorbent over night pads just incase things started moving while I was there. But nothing did. And a pregnancy test on week 3 confirmed that I was still pregnant.
So back in to the maternity unit for a scan, past all the excited expectant parents and tiny newborn babies, the sight of which me feel like someone was crushing my chest. I’ve since learnt that most early pregnancy units (EPUs) which deal with problems in pregnancy and miscarriage, are within a maternity unit, which to me just feels like an unnecessary cruelty to add to what is already a heartbreaking and traumatic time.
The scan revealed that nothing had passed. So back we went to the same ward as before, to wait for surgical management. The waiting for this was far worse than the actual procedure, and my sense of relief when it was over was overwhelming. They kept us in for a few more hours just to make sure all was well, and sent us home, with the instructions to “wait 3 weeks for the bleeding to stop, then take a pregnancy test. Come back if the test is positive or the bleeding hasn’t stopped”.
So three weeks of bleeding, uppy downy emotions and chronic constipation caused by the cocktail of painkillers passed, and the free pregnancy test they gave us at the hospital (we’d decided to do this one first and confirm it with a digital one, given the fact that I was going through pregnancy tests like there was no tomorrow and at around £4 a pop they were beginning to eat into our wine budget) came back negative.
And so, after 6 weeks of people saying to me “you can move on now” or “at least its all over now”, it is now, finally, physically, over.
The emotional side is a different matter. Of course that is not over yet. I have absolutely no control over my emotions, which in itself if frightening ,upsetting and embarrassing. I cried at a wedding the other day, not during the ceremony or at the end of the night, when this might seem a bit more socially acceptable. No, I cried during the canapes and then felt like a horrible person for feeling so sad when I should have been happy for my friends. I cried during a lovely dinner that my parents in law took us out for on our wedding anniversary. Each time I tell someone what happened I cry.
I have felt desperately lonely at times, and simultaneously guilty for seeming ungrateful for all the amazing people I know I have around me.
But loneliness comes from feeling that something is happening to you that no one else can really understand. And of course, that is not the case. But until we start openly talking about miscarriage, people will continue to feel this way. Which is why I’ve decided to start this blog. I gain an enormous amount of peace from writing my experiences down, and if even one person can read this and feel they are not alone, then I will feel that my experience will not have been for nothing.