Coping with a miscarriage during lock down
As we are navigating our way through what has proved to be the most surreal and difficult time in our history, home schooling our three boys and adjusting to life at home for the foreseeable, we were thrown a huge curve ball when we found out we were pregnant with our fourth child.
This was obviously not planned and it was certainly not something that we were thinking about whilst we were coping with an, already seemingly huge change. But we spoke about how we would make it work, my partner reassuring me that we would be fine as we always are and we allowed ourselves to be happy and excited at the thought of adding to this crazy bunch.
So what happened next?
Fast forward to 3 weeks later and I started spotting, which for those that might not know what the term means, when I went to the bathroom, there was tiny little spots blood. By this point we were coming up to 8 weeks and I was already getting my weekly updates from my baby app to keep me informed of how are new little one was growing. So when I went to the bathroom that morning I was a little concerned but soon reassured by google on spotting in the first trimester being completely normal.
The next day however, in the late morning, the spotting turned to slightly heavier bleeding, almost like the start of a period. I cried. I knew. We know when something doesn't feel quite right, something in our gut just lets us know and this was that moment.
I ran upstairs, called 111 and then I booked a cab alone to take me to the hospital.
I honestly have no idea how, in that particular moment, my partner felt, as he stood in the doorway, having just held me in his arms as I cried and then having to wave me off at the door as I go and check if our baby has gone. This was the strangest and most lonely experience that I have felt in my lifetime.
As I set off in the cab to the hospital, a million thoughts going through my head, I couldn't help but run through my previous weeks to see if I could pin point anything that might of caused this to happen.
I am sure its completely normal to question every little thing, to think irrational thoughts as you try and come to terms with this trauma, because that is exactly what it is. Traumatic.
Was it the stress of the current situation? I mean living through a pandemic is not our normal. Having the kids at home every waking minute, seven days a week, is not normal right?
Was I doing too much? Inevitably having everybody at home was making more jobs for me, more washing, more work, more everything. I have my limits. Maybe it was all just too much.
Now, I know the reality is that none of the above would of caused such an awful thing to happen, but when you are in your own head, when you are panicking, its normal to have all of these thoughts coupled with the guilt that accompanies them. It all consuming.
My arrival at the hospital was such a surreal moment. Walking down the empty corridors to the Early Pregnancy Unit was something I will never forget. No visitors making their way to see family members, just emptiness filled the hospital grounds manned by security.
After having my scan with the most loveliest lady. She apologized to me for having to come in alone and did her best to fill the role of my missing partner. I was told to come back in a week. My embryo was measuring at 6 weeks when we were in fact supposed to be 8 weeks on that exact day. She advised me how to manage both the pain and the bleeding, which for me, had already started.
Having to then wait a whole week to come back alone to confirm what we knew in our hearts, well for me anyway, was the longest and most emotional week I had experienced.
The low points were really hard to manage, in particular because we had our 3 boys to continue to take care of. Aged 7, 5 and 2 years, they still have needs, they still want mummy and they did not know (thank goodness) what had just happened. My partner was amazing in making sure I was okay, being attentive and allowing me to rest by sneaking off for naps.
He was also holding onto some tiny bit of hope that we had, in fact, got our dates mixed up and that our embryo was 6 weeks because we were wrong in our workings out. I obviously knew, given my body was in the natural process of a miscarriage. For me, next week was just a confirmation that my thoughts were correct so I could move on and digest what the hell had just happened.
This is something that we had never experienced, we did not know how to feel, how to navigate our way through a miscarriage as we had foolishly thought, given our 3 previous pregnancies, that we would be totally fine, no risks. I know for me personally, this did not enter my thoughts.
We had talked about a future with four children, the potential of having a daughter, sleeping arrangements, moving into a bigger house and yes, it was early but both my partner I love a plan of and we often get way ahead of ourselves!
One week later.....
The week passed by fairly quickly, it was made much harder by having to try and continue as normal, keeping our typical routine as best we can for the boys, in particular Chase (my eldest) who has recently been diagnosed as ASD which comes with its own set of challenges.
I had been bleeding heavily and without wanting to make you feel uncomfortable (apologies if it does) I was also passing clots and scar tissue. It was exhausting, both emotionally and physically. I was heartbroken enough and then there was the physical changes and the natural process that I had to deal with day to day for what felt like an eternity.
Sunday morning soon came and off I went to my appointment. I already knew what was going to be said, having gone through my week and seeing what my body had been going through, it would be something of a miracle to receive anything but bad news.
I was hoping to see the lady from my previous appointment but in walked a new lady. She was lovely but having already spoken to the loveliest lady last time, who took the time to get to know me, it would of course made this process much more comfortable for me, given I was alone, again.
The worst part of it is having to get undressed, preparing myself for another internal scan. Wearing nothing from the bottom half down and being covered with nothing more than what felt like a paper towel, was only made worse by the fact that my partner had to stay at home. I would of given anything to have him next to me, making me smile, distracting me with his silly comments and most importantly, holding my hand.
The scan confirmed what I already knew, my body had gone through the process naturally, which I guess was the silver lining, a small positive to come from such a heartbreaking situation. No further intervention needed, was the only good news to come out of that consultation. In that moment, it was over. So final.
Within 15 minutes, to be given the worst news and to be back home within the space of 30 minutes. It was all so quick and just a complete blur.
Home. Safe and sound....
The worst is over I guess. If I was trying to find clarity in this situation, then I would say that there was a reason that this happened, that age old saying (which I hate in this particular situation) of "it's just not meant to be."
I guess we have to try and move on, because ultimately life does in fact have to go on. This doesn't mean that I am okay with it, that I am not angry or questioning myself constantly but what I have discovered, during this traumatic few weeks, is to let myself feel all of the emotions, however hard. I cry when I want to, be quiet and in my own thoughts when I need to be, to mope if I feel like it and to give myself full permission to feel how I need to feel.
When I had my 3rd son, I suffered with my mental health and if I am completely honest, I still do. It is critical in a situation like this, to feel, to talk. It is imperative in fact, to reach out, seek professional advice even, and to not be ashamed in doing so.
During the lock down period, my partner and I have been at home together, forced to spend time together like a lot of others during this pandemic. I actually anticipated more arguments, slammed doors and quiet treatment, but for us, quite the opposite has happened. We have pulled together, become closer and now having to go through a completely surreal and excruciating time, it has bought us even closer, forced us to open up. To talk. For Cory, talking about his personal feelings is not his strong point, so this was huge for us.
Having to cancel appointments after receiving a call weeks after our miscarriage, from the antenatal department was a kick in the gut. You forget that you had an up and coming 12 week scan booked and your first midwife appointment that you forgot to cancel....
Reach out for support....
Miscarriage is something that is barely talked about. Having not gone through this before and now coming through the other side, I can not understand why we don't speak about it more. It's bizarre to me.
If you go through any traumatic event in your life, you speak about it, why is miscarriage such a taboo subject?
Its irrelevant in my eyes, how small your embryo, how many weeks you were before losing your baby, because the point is, it was a life you created, you grew up until that point and so it is important to remember and grieve your loss.
All I have left of this tiny embryo, a potential life, stopped short, is two pregnancy tests. Those 2 lines to show it even happened. So if I don't speak about it, to my partner, my friend or my mum even, it would simply fade into the past like it never happened. And it did happen.
I just want to speak about my personal experience, which in itself is like therapy, writing my thoughts and train of events is cathartic. Sharing with you (if you have got this far) is a bonus, raising an awareness for others and in the process, offering my support.
If you have or are going through this, particularly during a pandemic, it will be hard, really difficult in fact, but you will come through it and with time, it does get better. In the meantime, reach out.
I am happy to listen and help if I can. Drop me an email (see contact form) or alternatively you can message me using my contact number which is also on my website.
There are also other forms of support if you are feeling alone and need to talk to someone. See the links I have shared below.
Stay strong, stay safe,
Below are the useful links which offer extra support: