Geoff and I had gone to high school together and reconnected back in 2015. I had 4 children and he had 2 surviving children. We made the decision pretty early on that 6 children were enough for us but we did say that if we had a surprise neither one of us would be disappointed.
In the summer of 2019 we got married. It was one of the best days of my life. But, that’s when the biological clock started ticking... loudly. I really wanted a baby with my husband, we would be giving up on our child-free weekends, our city breaks, weekends away but it would be worth it. A baby that was part him and part me. My husband was the one to bring it up and I was over the moon. We were going to do this! I stopped drinking straight away, downloaded ovulation apps, read up on whatever I could do and within 2 months I was pregnant.
We found out in a Tesco car park, we’d been away visiting Ilfracomb and had been to see the Damian Hirst statue Verity. We couldn’t wait until we got back home so pulled into a Tesco and bought the test. We were both thrilled when the test showed that we were 2-3 weeks pregnant. We sat in the car and cried tears of disbelief and happiness. We were having a baby!
A few weeks after that, one morning and I started bleeding, it was quite pale and very light but I was scared nonetheless. We went to the Early Pregnancy Assessment Unit (EPAU) where a scan showed that everything was ok, a nice strong heartbeat. Again I cried tears of happiness.
The next few weeks went along well, I had the usual pregnancy symptoms of nausea, tiredness, aching boobs etc. And although exhausted I was thrilled with my lot.
Then suddenly on 21st December, I started bleeding again, but this time it was very red and quite heavy. I stood up and a huge clot (about the size of a plum) fell from me. I started shaking and crying. My husband rang the out of hours Dr who advised us to ring an ambulance. The ambulance service told us to go to A&E. At this point I wasn’t having any pain, just bleeding like a heavy period.
We arrived at A&E and were seen more or less straight away. The nurse told us that there wasn’t a lot they could do as it was the weekend before Christmas and they didn’t have a scanner in A&E but she rang the EPAU and they booked me in for a scan on the Friday after Christmas.
We went home numb, not knowing what to do.
I spent most of that day in bed. On Sunday I started having pains and this continued for most of that day and the next. They were like contractions, coming and going, gradually intensifying. By the Monday evening my husband kept asking if I needed an ambulance. I didn’t want to spend Christmas in hospital so we made a deal that if I was still suffering the next day we would ring the hospital.
I remember feeling really hot and stripped to my underpants and opened the window even though it was December. At around 10pm that night, after the pain had stopped I felt what can only describe as a volcanic gushing of blood. And it didn’t stop. Some of what I’m about to describe came from Geoff’s recollection as I was so out of it.
I told Geoff that now was time for the ambulance. He rang 999 and we were told that an ambulance was on its way. I live 5 minutes from the hospital but the blood was literally gurgling out of me at that time. I started feeling light headed and very scared. My husband rang the ambulance service back but they had no idea how long the ambulance would be. My husband said that my hands were icy cold and I began drifting in and out of conciseness. I thought I was going to die. My husband decided that enough was enough and that he was going to take me to the hospital. He ran next door to get the help of a neighbour. When I tried to stand I felt like I was going to collapse. My husband carried me to the car, leaving huge pools of blood behind.
We arrived at A&E, they took my blood pressure which I can’t remember but my husband said was 26/13 and we were immediately rushed to resus. My blood pressure was dangerously low. They started treatment, I remembered that I started to feel freezing but I was beginning to feel better, the bleeding had slowed down and my blood pressure wasn’t as dangerously low as when I had arrived. The gynaecologist consultant came to examine me and I was told that I’d probably had a miscarriage and there was nothing left in my cervix. I was allowed to go home some hours later after convincing the doctor that my blood pressure had always been a bit low and under the proviso that I attended EPAU on the Friday as planned.
Over the next few days we tried to get on with things, it was Christmas after all. I was in a lot of pain with cramps and was bleeding on and off but I tried to put a brave face on.
Friday morning arrived and we went to the EPAU for our appointment. I was scanned externally and then internally and was gently told that my baby had stopped growing but that the sac and baby were in the cervix.
I was led into a side room filled with Christmas decorations and was told the consultant would be along shortly. It felt like the longest time although in reality it was about 45 minutes.
I was given 4 options:
1: wait and see
2: manual extraction
3: medical management
4: surgical management
I struggled to make a decision, I spoke with the consultant, all options could mean that I could suffer an enormous bleed again and that scared me. We decided to go for the manual extraction as that could be done that day and if anything untoward happened I was in the right place. I was moved to another room where I was asked to undress my lower half. I started to undress but felt so overwhelmed by the whole thing that I started shaking and crying. I didn’t know if I could do it. Geoff was really good and calmly talked me through the options and the pros and cons of them all. I decided to go for it, I didn’t want to wait. The consultant inserted a speculum similar to those used when having a smear test.
I tried to block out what was happening internally reciting flavours of soup, I don’t know why but it was something to focus on. I felt my amniotic sac burst and that’s when I realised, that the baby was still there and I was about to give birth to it. I don’t think I’ll ever be able to forget the feeling of the warm water as it hit my feet and being hit with the reality of what was actually happening. When it was done, I was bleeding again quite heavily, I was told I was being transferred to a room to see if the bleeding would stop. Before being cleaned up and moved though, I was handed a form to fill out asking what I wanted to be done with the foetal remains (my baby’s body). I felt so overwhelmed. I asked if I could take the form and read through it properly but I was told that they needed the form back there and then. I did however notice an option to think about it for up to 6 weeks so that’s what I decided to do.
I was transferred to a side room where there were some tablets waiting for me. I was told that they should help any retained tissue come away as that’s why I might still be bleeding. I took the tablets and laid back and waited. A doctor came to insert a cannula to give me fluids and as he finished I suddenly felt very unwell and the next thing I knew my husband, who had been holding my hand, had been replaced with the doctor. He was calling my name and had told me that I had passed out. My blood pressure had dropped quite low again. My husband later told me that I had started fitting.
Not long after I was told that I’d have to have an operation to clear everything out as I was still bleeding quite heavily. They couldn’t tell me if it would be that evening or the next morning as they had to have the anaesthetist and the surgeon available at the same time. I asked if my husband could stay with me, I was so sacred but luckily I was told that he could. The anaesthetist visited me and he asked me lots of questions. I told him that last time I had an operation I had a particularly sore throat afterwards which ended up with me having an infection. He promised to use a smaller tube this time to help prevent that happening again.
We spent a sleepless night in the side room, neither of us having eaten since about 1 o’clock that afternoon. Although I wasn’t allowed to eat as they didn’t know when I would be going for surgery they did offer Geoff some food but he was too polite to accept until I overruled him!
The next morning I was told I was going for surgery. Geoff decided that he would go home during that time to get some clothes for us and some chargers etc. He was told I’d be gone for about 3 hours. I was wheeled down by a nursing assistant (NA) and was met by my surgeon who told me that the anaesthetist had been called to an emergency in A&E. She went back to the ward whilst the NA and I sat and waited. Luckily it wasn’t long before the anaesthetist and my surgeon were back and I was ready to go in.
I woke up not long after. I wasn’t in any physical pain and the bleeding had slowed down a lot. I was told that everything had gone ok.
My husband arrived a little while later. We spent a few hours where I was made to eat, drink and they made sure I passed urine too. I had a bowel movement which was a huge source of embarrassment as I was using a bedpan. My blood pressure was checked and had improved.
A few hours later I was discharged and left with a prescription for iron tablets. I was told to do a pregnancy test in 3 weeks to make sure that everything had cleared.
In January we returned to the EPAU to fill out the form to decide what we want to do with our baby. We had a private cremation. The crematorium picked up the baby from the hospital and provided the whole service free of charge. The officiant also provided his services free of charge. I am humbled that services went out of their way to provide us this at no cost.
A few weeks later and I find myself feeling lost at sea. I have no navigation skills and am terrified of this new world around me. I jump every time I hear a loud noise. I cry every single day. Sometimes full on sobbing and sometimes just slow, silent tears. My anxiety is through the roof. This all seems so unfair. I didn’t drink or smoke. I stopped slimfast as I heard it had a high vitamin A content and that could be harmful to the baby. I missed out on meals as I wouldn’t eat rare steak, certain cheese, pate etc. I read up on everything I could. My diet was amazing, lots of healthy fruit and veg. I constantly wonder why us? I did everything I was supposed to. My baby wouldn’t have been addicted to heroin or abused or neglected. My baby would have been born into a loving family home and instead now I find myself looking for somebody to help counsel me through these difficult times. 4 months waiting lists or £50 an hour!
I did the pregnancy test 3 weeks after losing the baby and it was showing that I was 1-2 weeks pregnant. I wondered if I could be pregnant again or whether I still had any remaining tissue. I rang the EPAU on the Friday and they booked me in for a scan on the Monday. On the Monday the pregnancy test that they’d done in the hospital came back negative. I had another internal scan but was assured that everything looked ok.
Through this whole ordeal I have struggled with the lack of support and the lack of anything tangible. Because I was before 24 weeks we don’t have a birth or death certificate, nothing to say baby Morgan ever existed. I do have a copy of the scan I had when I was 5 weeks pregnant but feel there needs to be more that’s done to recognise that no matter what age a foetus, embryo, baby or child, a loss is still a loss. I think when people miscarry, society often thinks that it is trivial but I have found it so hard. I just want some sort of recognition that baby Morgan was real.
I swing back and fore in regards to trying for another baby. The reason that I wanted Morgan is still valid. I know that we will never, ever replace baby Morgan but I want a baby with my husband. On the other hand I am absolutely terrified. What will I do if this happens again? I don’t think I could stand the heartbreak but if I don’t try then I will spend the rest of my life regretting it. I’m 41 now, and I worry that I may not have many baby making years left in me.
Update: Four months on and I am beginning to feel stronger. I still have days when I feel emotional and overwhelmed but these are getting fewer and farther apart. Losing Baby Morgan has been a real turning point in my life. I have started Morgan's Wings and am undertaking a diploma in Bereavement and Grief Counselling. I am committed to helping other parents so that they dont feel as alone and helpless as I did.
My pregnancy with my daughter was a really difficult one with countless emergencies and eventually resulting in severe preeclampsia, a fast labour and then an emergency caesarean, after which, I haemorrhaged so badly a doctor later told me I had been minutes away from dying.
Such a difficult and frightening experience meant that, along with my family, I made the decision not to have any more children, so three years later when I found out I was pregnant, I was shocked and scared.
Quickly, I saw this pregnancy as “fate” and “meant to be”. I focussed upon how lucky we were for this to happen, yes I was scared but I wanted more children more than anything. As the pregnancy progressed, I began having day dreams about future family events, having a family of four, future Christmas’s, holidays and so on.
We went for our first scan and saw the heartbeat on the screen and it felt even more real, shortly after that scan, at around 13 weeks, I started to bleed. Scared, I went for another scan but again saw the heartbeat and was told to rest. The bleeding never really stopped but a week later, I felt intense pain and lost a lot of blood. I knew there was no way I could have kept my baby but as we drove to the hospital a small part of me was hoping that I could. The doctor who treated me was cold and uncaring, giving me an examination and then sending me home before returning the next day for another scan.
The gentleman that scanned me was kind and compassionate and upon doing the ultrasound, gently told me I would have to go to see the midwife at the antenatal clinic as there was still “evidence of conception”. I had no idea what this could mean so went to the clinic with a tiny bit of hope in my heart. Sitting in antenatal clinic was awful, surrounded by pregnant women and posters showing baby’s development through the weeks. A midwife called me into a side room where I handed over my notes and I told her what the radiographer had said, she opened the file and said “Evidence of conception? The baby is still there!” My heart leaped and in that moment I thought we had been granted a miracle, but when I asked, she said “Oh no you’ve lost the baby.” I felt crushed and wanted to run out of the office as soon as I could, the posters on the wall felt even crueler now. But I couldn’t run out, she explained that as I had lost everything except for the baby, I would need to take a tablet, wait for an hour or so in the room and then have to go home to wait for a forced labour.
I swallowed the pill, waited and left. Feeling dazed, scared and grief stricken. Knowing my baby was still inside me was horrific and knowing I had to wait for signs of labour was frightening. Eventually, I began to have contractions and finally passed the baby (I could say fetus but it was not that to me). Horrifically, as all I had to pass was the baby, I saw it and knew I could not just flush it away.
We managed to gather him (I’ve no real idea of the gender but have always felt like it was a boy) and placed him in a small box which we buried the next day.
I was totally shattered. All of those dreams I had created in my mind of future family events now felt as though they had someone shadowed out of a photo. I felt angry and confused as to why I had been given the gift of this surprise pregnancy only to have it torn away from me.
I felt lost and unsupported, friends and family were kind and caring but they had either not been through it or their experience had been very different.
For a year I felt grief stricken and, if it was not for my daughter keeping me going, I think I would have spiralled deeply. My husband at the time was unsympathetic and asked me why I was “always such a miserable *****” so I felt I needed to put a face on. I even had someone say to me once that it wasn’t like it was a “real baby”.
Eventually, I knew I needed some help and went to speak to my GP, I was lucky, he offered for me to speak to an obstetrician who was also a counsellor. I met with her six times and she helped me process the whole thing, of course she couldn’t take the pain away, but she did help me accept that it was nothing I had or hadn’t done, that in fact miscarriage is incredibly common and that the way I felt was totally normal and acceptable.
Years later, I will always consider I had another child in my life and I do sometimes wonder “what if?” but I am also able to look back at that time with pride in how strong and how resilient I was.
I’ve since met lots of women and men who have experienced lots of different forms of loss of a child and have learned that everything you are feeling is okay
We all know that when the pregnancy test turns positive, our lives are changed forever.
When I got my first positive result, I was a newlywed in my early thirties. We hadn’t been trying for too long in the grand scheme of things and of course we were thrilled. I found out two days before Christmas so it was a fantastic present. Morning sickness hit around five weeks and so the physical symptoms began. I felt awful but happy at the same time. I looked forward to the following summer with baby being due at the very end of August. Then at just over six weeks pregnant, I had a bleed. I was devastated.
The GP sent me for an early scan and I was overjoyed to see baby, however tiny, with a beating heart. I was immediately reassured. February came and so did our dating scan. We were both excited at seeing our first baby and we laughed and joked around in the waiting area. Then it was our turn. As soon as I saw the screen, I knew it wasn’t good news. Instead of a twelve week sized baby, there was just a fuzzy blob. My heart sank and I turned to stare at the wall. An internal scan confirmed our baby had no heartbeat and hadn’t made it past eight weeks’ gestation.
Devastation hit me like a massive wave. I kept apologising to my husband and began thinking what had I done wrong to cause this. So many emotions kept washing over me. I was angry. I remember saying to the midwife that this kind of thing happens to other people, not me. It was grief talking. I was given the options to complete the miscarriage and to call the hospital with my decision after the weekend. I went home and immediately began scouring the internet for a reason why. Of course, I didn’t find one. Then I researched the options of completing the miscarriage and I chose medical management.
The day I was admitted was Valentines Day. Waiting in a room for the procedure to begin was surreal. This Morning was on the television and they were chatting about Valentines Day and love and all that other mushy stuff. I wanted to hurl something at the TV. Why was the world continuing when mine was about to come crashing down even further than it already had? I had the procedure explained to me by a lovely nurse who also discussed our options about what to do with the baby afterwards. We decided to let the hospital deal with it and we were told what they do and then where the baby’s ashes would be scattered. So then came the pain. I’d never felt anything like it. I was given gas and air to help and within the hour it was over. I felt slightly relieved that it wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be however I did feel sore and very fragile.
Then came the grieving. I would wake in the night and for that brief moment, forget what had happened. Then the tears would pour out of my eyes as reality crashed around in the darkness. I would howl with the pain I was feeling in my chest, a sound I’d never uttered before, but sadly would experience again, too many times.
However, life goes on and within a month, I was back at work. I had read so much information online that it helped me come to terms that miscarriage happens to so many women. It’s so very common yet it’s barely spoken about. People did ask how I was but in hushed tones. I was quite nonchalant by this time because I thought that the next time it would all be okay.
We began to try again and within two months, I was pregnant. I was overjoyed once again. I thought this time we would be okay and with a due date in the New Year, it would be a great start. However, this time it was so different. I became very sick and incredibly tired. It was like I was being drained daily. When we got to nine weeks, I bled. I couldn’t believe this was happening yet again and of course, miscarriage was the first thing I thought. We got another early scan and received news neither of us expected. I was carrying twins but one had no heartbeat and had probably died within the last two days. The other baby looked a good size with a strong heartbeat. So we had one baby alive and the other one dead. That was weird. I felt so sorry for the baby that hadn’t made it but I still had another one alive and growing inside me. I had to keep positive for him or her. I went to the dating scan filled with fear and trepidation, but there was our baby, growing well, measuring perfectly and a good heartbeat. I can’t explain the relief. I was overjoyed and elated. I began to get a tiny bump and I was much more relaxed. We were on our way.
At the end of August, I was just over 18 weeks pregnant and looking forward to the anomaly scan where we would get to see baby again. I was in work when I began to experience cramping. I called my midwife and she said it was pretty normal to experience cramps and as long as I wasn’t bleeding then things should be ok. The morning continued but the cramps kept getting stronger. I was unnerved. Surely this shouldn’t be happening. I stood up out of my chair and I felt I was bleeding. Sure enough I was. I became hysterical. Surely I couldn’t be losing my baby at 18 weeks? No way could this be happening. I was taken to hospital and scanned. I couldn’t look at the screen because I knew. I just knew. There was no heartbeat. I became numb. I didn’t cry. I sat in stony silence as the doctor explained the procedure.
I chose medical management again and took the first tablet there in the hospital and was booked in two days later to complete it. However I didn’t have to wait that long. I was admitted to hospital the next night in horrendous pain and bleeding. It was so much worse than the pain I experienced the first time. My waters went in the hospital foyer and I begged out loud that I wouldn’t miscarry there. We made it to the ward and things progressed fast. Both babies were delivered and after a scary few moments where one of the placentas got stuck, it was all over. We got to see our babies and I could see a big family resemblance in the oldest one. So perfect and so very tiny. The nurse practitioner who delivered them told us they were both boys. I don’t know how she knew with the youngest one, but I took her word for it. It brought me a tiny bit of comfort. I did manage to sleep that night, mainly due to exhaustion.
When morning came, so did the storm of grief. Only this storm didn’t pass. It stayed with me, day in and day out. I became angry and bitter. I hated the world. I hated pregnant ladies and ladies with children. I became convinced they were silently tormenting me with the fact they could carry a baby and I failed. Failure. That’s how I felt. I’d failed my husband and I’d failed my children by being unable to nurture them as a mother should. On the outside I convinced people I was ok; on the inside I was falling apart. When my father in law died, it occurred to me that I had never said goodbye to our three babies so I thought it would help if we did a balloon release, just the two of us. It didn’t help at all because I was already in the grip of depression but I didn’t know it. I found out when I began to develop suicidal thoughts. Well, it was just one suicidal thought but it scared me so much that I immediately called my GP for an emergency appointment and the next day I spent twenty minutes sobbing in his surgery and filling in a questionnaire which confirmed depression. I was prescribed anti-depressants and given a number for a pregnancy loss counsellor at the hospital.
I began counselling within weeks and slowly realised how badly I’d been affected by losing three babies in the space of six months. I had counselling for four months and by this time, life was looking and feeling a lot better. It did feel like I had come out of darkness into the sunshine and I could appreciate all I had once again. However, it didn’t miraculously end when I finished counselling or when my GP agreed I could come off the anti-depressants. I was terrified of trying again. I had to overcome that fear before we could even consider it.
By the end of that year, I felt we could try again. Due to the last miscarriage being in the second trimester, I had been given an appointment with a consultant obstetrician/gynaecologist to discuss possible reasons. He was a fantastic man. Very sympathetic but at the same time, very matter of fact. He ran one or two blood tests, which came back normal but he advised that the next time I became pregnant, then I was to get booked in to see him.
On April Fools Day, I found out I was pregnant for the third time! No joke there. I was pleased but it was no tinged with fear. I found I couldn’t get as excited as I had done previously. I tried hard but it was so difficult to remain positive. I had an appointment with the consultant at seven weeks. He scanned me and there was baby with a heartbeat. That’s a relief in itself however I now knew that miscarriages happen after the first trimester so I set sights on passing 18 weeks before I could relax. He booked me in again for three weeks’ time, to scan me again for reassurance. By the time the next appointment came around, I was ten weeks. I can’t explain the fear as I laid on the bed, waiting for the cold gel to hit and then praying baby was okay. Baby wasn’t okay. Baby’s heartbeat had stopped probably a few days after the first scan. I couldn’t believe it was happening again. I was angry, so angry. I remember doubling over in the chair, sobbing and shouting out that it was meant to be different this time. I even had the nurse in tears. My lovely consultant calmed me down and immediately began to outline everything he was now going to do because this was my third recurrent miscarriage and that’s when the NHS start looking for possible reasons why I kept miscarrying.
Once again I went into hospital to lose a baby. Strangely I was quite upbeat. I remember pacing the floor, in total pain, and said to my husband that the next time I would be pacing a hospital floor in pain, I would be getting ready to deliver a live baby. After it was all over, I had to sign so many forms as they were going to test the baby to see if there were any anomalies. The consultant came to see me and said that once I was healed and mentally able, they would begin the tests on us. Due to the possibility of getting a reason for recurrent miscarriages, I was buoyed up and this helped with the grieving process. I knew we would get answers. A scan of my womb showed some small fibroids but the consultant said they wouldn’t really cause an issue. Blood tests on us for chromosomal abnormalities came in normal as well as those of the baby. Our consultant told us I had been carrying a little girl. However, one of my blood tests came back abnormal. Thyroid. He advised that this may cause problems in pregnancy and he immediately referred me to an endocrinologist. I was diagnosed with an underactive thyroid and I began medication and monitoring. It took ten months to get it under control and during that time we had been told not to try and conceive because they wanted my thyroxine levels to be under good control with medication.
As soon as we got the green light and three months’ worth of stable thyroxine levels, we began to try for a baby again. This time I was desperate. Surely after everything we had gone through, the next time would be different. It was different.
I had been told to book in with the consultant as soon as I found out I was pregnant. The day I found out I was pregnant for the fourth time was a whirl of phone calls and explanations. I was booked in to see him the following week. He wanted to try me on a mixture of medications but he was adamant in that it would be empirical only. He couldn’t guarantee a successful pregnancy because that’s impossible. I was fully aware that no pregnancy is guaranteed. So at five weeks he decided to scan me. There wasn’t much to see. A sac and the possibility of a foetal pole so he wanted me back a week later. A week later and there was no progression. He told me miscarriage was imminent. By this time, I was immune to it all. I was sad but in all honesty, I was now used to miscarrying. It had become normal to me. The next day I miscarried naturally. The day after, I was back in work.
How miscarriage can become normal to someone still baffles me even though it happened to me. I suppose the brain needs to become accustomed to loss and grief and pain otherwise, surely a person couldn’t survive it! I had lost five babies in the space of three years. With every loss, I lost a piece of me too. After the second miscarriage, I wanted to go and be with my babies. I didn’t care about anything or anybody else. I wanted to be with them. However, how could I leave my husband? How could I do that to my mother? I had lost my children; how would she cope with losing one of hers?
A year after our last miscarriage, we went on a holiday to the Norwegian Fjords. It was breathtakingly beautiful and it made me realise that, if we didn’t become parents, it wouldn’t be the end of the world. This was the start of me letting go of the dream of motherhood and I was okay with that. We were still trying but it was more of ‘if it happens it happens’. When we returned from holiday, I began looking at where in the world we could go to next. Two months after arriving home, I had a positive pregnancy test. Amazingly, I still got excited when the word PREGNANT flashed up on the test and I screamed! Not so good at 5.30 in the morning! I spent that day on the phone to my GP who arranged the appropriate medications and an appointment with the consultant who I’d seen previously. A week later, I sat in his office and sobbed so much I couldn’t speak. My anxiety was out of control. I fully expected to lose this baby as I had the others. Once he’d done his best to outline what he was going to do, he got me to sit in a side room with a nurse so I could calm down. It took twenty minutes! Two weeks later I was once again in the early pregnancy unit, practically hyperventilating with anxiety. This was the viability scan to see if all was where it should be. Baby was there with a heartbeat. Relief flooded through me but it was short-lived. I had weekly scans with the consultant mainly for reassurance and if I lost the baby again, at least I wouldn’t have to go weeks before finding out at the usual scans. Week after week went by and baby was doing well. At sixteen weeks, I was able to drop down to fortnightly scans. At seventeen weeks, I began to feel those tiny flutters of baby moving. At twenty weeks, I found out I was having a healthy girl. At twenty four weeks, when I hit viability, I was able to drop down to monthly scans. At thirty two weeks I finally began to believe I would have a baby alive and well in my arms. At thirty eight weeks and two days, I held my daughter in my arms and all my dreams had come true. I was so proud of myself for trying again because if I hadn’t, then I wouldn’t have her.
Nobody tells you about the pain of miscarriage, both physical and mental. It can be something people feel uncomfortable talking about. Death isn’t discussed freely and the death of a child who hasn’t taken a breath is even more difficult. Talking helps. I was lucky, I had counselling. I could tell the counsellor all of my thoughts and feelings, no matter how awful they sounded to me. She didn’t judge me or feel uncomfortable. She listened and guided me through my emotions. People find it hard to relate or they just don’t know what to say. “Sorry” always helps. It’s better than saying nothing or ignoring the person it’s happened to. My counsellor told me that grief is personal. There is no right or wrong way to do it. Grieving is very important. Never feel like you should do or feel something if it doesn’t feel right to you just because it is ‘expected’.
Look after yourself because you have lost your child and your hopes and your dreams for the future. It takes time to rebuild those again.
I always knew I was meant to be a mum. When I first got together with my partner 10 years ago we very quickly decided what name we liked and it stuck. We talked about it for years and couldn't wait to have a baby.
We got married in May 2014, but didn't honeymoon until September of the same year. I'd been on the pill since I was 15 so I figured it would take us ages to catch so we waited until we got home from Portugal to try. It didn't take long. By November I found out I was expecting our first. We were over the moon!!! Christmas became more magical, us dreaming that the following one would be our first with our little baby.
Monday 12th January 2015 is when my world started to crumble. We were a week away from our 12 week scan and I started bleeding. It was very light to begin with, and the doctors said it was quite normal. By the Wednesday afternoon I was in agony. My GP asked for a urine sample to check my kidneys as I suffer with lots of UTIs. That would take a few days to come back. By 8pm Wednesday evening we decided to head to A+E. I'd never been in so much pain and the bleeding was only getting worse. We were there for 3 hours and when we finally got seen they told us nothing could be done until the following morning at the Early Pregnancy Unit.
That was the longest night, I don't think I got a wink of sleep. Thursday morning we headed back to the hospital for our appointment. The screen faced away from us as they did the ultrasound. There was no heartbeat, and the baby had stopped growing at 8 weeks. We didn't even get to see our Moonpie (bump's nickname). We were told to come back the following week to make sure everything had come out. The nurse and sonographer had offered us no other information on what to expect in the coming days. I was crushed. I fell to the floor in front of my mother. I was inconsolable.
The next few days were awful. We had to visit the hospital again Friday evening because the pain was unbearable. We were in a different room to the day before and this is where we saw all the leaflets we should have been given, and where the Dr said it was labour pains.
The Dr said to expect to pass some tissue, so I figured it would all break down. Little did I know that my body would actually pass my teenie tiny little baby whole. As soon as Moonpie came out the physical pain stopped. But that was just the beginning of my emotional pain.
It has taken years for me to come to terms with losing my darling Moonpie. My rainbow baby came exactly a year after we lost his big brother/sister, so that week is bitter sweet. My husband and I went through a separation in 2018, but we found our way back together.
One of the biggest issues I think for me personally is that we have nothing to recognise that our little Moonpie ever existed. I wish I'd had more people to talk to, to share my experience with, who would recognise that I'm a mother of 2 even if one of them isn't with me.
If you asked me 2/3 years ago if it would ever get easier I would have said no. But the more time I've had the more I've come to terms with it. Please allow yourself to grieve for as long as you need, and if you feel like you can please talk to someone. It really does help.
Only four months into our marriage we found out we were having a baby!
We were both thrilled! We already have children from previous marriages, but this was our first together and we both cried tears of joy. The test said 2-3 weeks, so we knew we had a while to go.
Fast forward a few weeks and we were doing all the right things to help the baby grow and be healthy. My wife, Jude, is an experienced and fantastic mother already so she knew what to do to give us the best chance.
Then one day she started bleeding. Now, I don’t know too much about all this of course, but I could tell from her face that she was worried. I comforted her as best I could and we decided to go to the dr the following morning.
We went to the Dr and she made an appointment for us at the Early Pregnancy Unit. They did a scan to make sure everything was ok, and miraculously it was!! We actually saw our baby’s heartbeat as well. We didn’t see much else because they estimated that we were only six weeks along. But a heartbeat!! That was enough to bring the tears back. This time it was joy mixed with relief. Everything was ok.
Fast forward another month and as Christmas approached we were getting ready for our 12 week scan on 30 December. This was pivotal because after that scan was when we were going to tell our kids that they would be having a new brother or sister. We were so excited about that. I still think about what that would have been like. Hopefully one day I will find out.
Saturday morning, 21st December and she started bleeding again. This time it was a lot more heavy and we both knew immediately that something was going wrong. I jumped into protection mode and quickly got her to the car to drive to A&E. They did some checks and said that we were probably having a miscarriage but as it was the weekend, and so close to Christmas, there was no one there to scan. They made an appointment with the Early Pregnancy Unit for the following Friday (27th December) so that we could have a scan.
I remember walking back to the car, helping Jude who was now in a lot of pain as well (with what we now think were contractions), and it just came over me like a wave. Total devastation. I cried. Proper messy uncontrollable crying in the car park. We hugged. Eventually I was able to calm down, I remembered thinking how I shouldn’t be crying, I needed to be strong to help my wife with what was on its way.
We went home and for the next couple of days Jude was in pain (both physical and emotional) pretty much constantly. We both knew that we were having a miscarriage and we both felt awful. Then on Monday night it got bad. Really bad.
She started bleeding again. This time it was different though. This time it was more than I have ever seen. It was dark and thick and literally gurgling. It was truly horrific. That vision is one of two that still come back to me from this situation. Anyway, I phoned an ambulance trying to stay calm and they said they were on their way. Five minutes passed and she hadn’t stopped bleeding. Her skin was turning very pale. I rang back and they said they had made the call and the ambulance was on it’s way.
I was starting to panic. My wife was losing consciousness. She was literally dying in front of my eyes. We couldn’t wait any longer. I phoned to cancel the ambulance and went to get a neighbour to help me. I carried Jude down the stairs, she was fading fast and could barely keep her eyes open. I carried her to the car and my neighbour helped me get her comfortable. I drove to A&E, talking to her all the way and begging her to stay with me. The hospital was only minutes away from our house and as soon as they saw her they rushed us to resuscitation. Slowly over the course of the next 30 minutes she came back to me. I must admit that at this point I had forgotten about the miscarriage, I was just relieved that Jude was ok.
I realised that I was (we both were) covered in blood. God knows what I must have looked like running into A&E covered in blood. Like something from a horror movie!
After a couple of hours Jude’s blood pressure came back up and they were happy to let us go home. We arrived home in the early hours of Christmas Eve. We had an appointment with the EPU for a scan on Friday 27 Dec. This was to check that everything had come away in the last 24 hrs. Needless to say Christmas went by in a blur. I think the kids enjoyed it (we told the older ones what had happened so that they could make Christmas fun for the younger ones).
On the 27th we attended what we thought would be a routine scan to just confirm that the miscarriage was complete. The scan revealed that the baby was still in Jude’s cervix. They sat us in the waiting room and gave us four options. We opted for manual extraction, which sounds horrific but it was that or ‘sit and wait’ basically. It meant the doctor was going to try to remove the baby using forceps. While this was happening I was holding Judes hand. I could see it was awful for her but she was being really strong. Then there was a big splashing sound and I realised that it was her waters breaking. I was not expecting that! I think this is one of the moments that went on to haunt her the most afterwards.
The dr removed the baby and immediately presented us with a form to fill out saying what we wanted them to do with the remains. It seemed a bit tone deaf to do this immediately but I do understand that they needed to know how to proceed. Anyway, we chose to defer the decision (which is one of the options on the form).
This wasn’t the end though. Jude was still bleeding so they decided they would need to operate to make sure everything was clear and to try and stop the bleeding. By now it was early evening, we only went in for a scan, and we were facing an overnight stay. I didn’t want to leave her to pick up overnight stuff because I was afraid they wouldn’t let me back in. I don’t think it is normal for a husband to stay in the EPU overnight so I didn’t want to push it.
I slept on and off in a chair by the side of the bed most of the night. Jude dozed on and off as well. We were both exhausted.
The following morning they took her down for the operation and I went home to get some stuff. They said it would take about three hours. I left it two and a half hours and went back to find Jude back, and awake, having gone through the procedure.
After a few hours, once they were happy that Jude could eat and drink, we were allowed home.
The next few weeks were taken up with looking after her. I was off work (who were really supportive throughout) and was talking to the cemetery, the vicar and the hospital about the funeral arrangements. Family were really supportive as well, although it was me who saw and spoke to most of them.
In a story like this, at this point, you might hear people say that “they all asked how she was doing but not how I was doing”. But I will say, that my family and friends actually did ask about me as well which was nice. However because I was in ‘protection’ mode I would just reply with ‘I’m fine’. That wasn’t true then, just as it isn’t now, but I am getting through.
The thing I found hardest about this period was that I couldn’t ‘fix it’. Jude was in real emotional turmoil and there was nothing I could really do except hold her. I slowly encouraged her to get up and eventually go out for little walks which seemed to help.
I returned to work on a phased basis, half days for a couple of weeks. Eventually Jude did as well although it was only a matter of weeks before Lockdown.
I think about our baby, Morgan, every day, even if it is only for a few seconds. And I always will. Jude is getting better all the time too which is positive.
We started Morgan’s Wings to help other couples who are going through the same or similar situations, but also to raise awareness and fight the stigma that surrounds miscarriage. It has helped us come to terms with what happened as well and is continuing to do so.
If you’re a dad reading this then I hope this helps you see that what you are going through is normal and that literally thousands of dads are going through or have been through it too. We made it through and so will you.
You are not alone
I drank too much tea.
No, it was probably the running – but what was I supposed to do, not run after my daughter? Maybe the chicken was off. I shouldn’t have had so many late nights. It was stupid to think that I could do this, at my age.
All these thoughts are going through my head as I sit in the ultrasound waiting room, holding a welding mask to my face, surrounded by women eagerly waiting to see their baby for the first time or get an update, heading to the machine to buy photos of their milestones.
I try not to look at them. I mean, it’s strange enough, all sitting here without our partners, all with different masks on – or nervously not – waiting to be treated by people in full PPE. They don’t need my grief to become part of their story; their joy. I know it’s too late. I know my baby is leaving me.
It was hard to decide what to do, having a miscarriage in the early stages of a lockdown during a global pandemic. I wanted to make sure that I wasn’t getting things wrong. That I had done everything I could. I wanted to make sure I was going to be healthy for the daughter I have already. The lady on the end of the phone wasn’t sure what to do either. She eventually gave me this ultrasound appointment as it may help me psychologically – after all, at ten and a half weeks, I hadn’t had anything like this, in this pregnancy.
Eventually my name is called. I try not to look at anyone and I go into the room and take my trousers and underwear off. My belly’s not being looked at today, the ultrasound will be from the inside.
The screen is still right in front of me. I thought they might have moved it or something. I imagine I can see all these shapes – is that a nose? A foot? A flutter of a heart? I’m told it’s not; my womb is empty, and I should wait for something to pass. It may take a couple of days. I need to go for more tests now to see what my body is up to. I was right to come in, I’m told, so I guess that’s something.
I head downstairs and it seems strange to be doing a pregnancy test, while there’s so much blood. A lady eagerly chats away as she takes me down the corridor, to a little cubicle. She asks why I’m so red. I tell her it’s not the virus. They talk about lunch plans and take my blood pressure, tell me that I should get a period in 4-6 weeks, and we can try for another baby after that. Let’s move on.
Everyone around me is too happy.
I go over to A&E to have a blood test. They have to check my hormone levels to make sure my body doesn’t still think it’s pregnant. There are too many labels for the number of blood test tubes. They tell me I can keep them as a souvenir. I wonder why no one can see I’ve been crying.
I need to come back in two days and have another blood test, to make sure my hormone levels have gone down, and my body knows the baby’s gone.
I get back to my car. I really want to go for a walk and just be on my own for a bit but the government has said we can only have one walk a day and we always go for a walk together, my partner and daughter and me. I’ll just have to deal with it another time.
There’s so much blood. I was told to keep the towels, when I called 111, but I’m not sure what for or where to store them. I miss how I felt last week.
I have my repeated blood tests and go home for a nap. I’m woken by my phone. My body knows it’s not pregnant. I’m asked if I know what happens next. I said that something should pass, but I don’t know what to expect from that. Neither do they. I’m told I can try again soon.
The next morning it starts. Childbirth pain wasn’t like this. This is sharp. I can’t sit down. I feel like my cervix is getting stabbed. I go to the toilet and there’s a plop. I stand and take a look. That’s it... down there. My pregnancy. My baby. And... everything. I can’t flush it away. I just can’t. I fish it out of the toilet and hold it in my hand. It’s surprisingly solid. I think I can see where the baby is. I imagine I can see ribs. I wonder if they would have been a boy or a girl. I wonder what I would have seen on that scan screen, if they’d just stayed with me for another week and a half. I wonder if they would have the same nose as their sister. I don’t know what to do. I wrap them in tissue and put them in the bathroom cabinet. I’ll come back. Don’t leave me.
I go on Twitter. I found it really weird, during my first pregnancy, that I couldn’t talk to anyone about it for 12 weeks, so I started an anonymous Twitter account about being pregnant. I haven’t been on for a long time, but I give an update on what’s happened, and ask for advice on what to do with the remains.
I receive lots of love and offers of support, which I’m not sure how to process right now. Really, I just want my mum. I haven’t told her about the loss because of the lockdown. It doesn’t feel fair to burden her with something she won’t really be able to react to. She won’t be able to give me the hug I need.
Someone tells me they buried theirs in a pot, so that if they move, their baby will come with them. That sounds comforting and better than a bathroom cabinet. The next day I go to a nursery to pick up my online order of pink Saxifriga and a plant called Heavenly Blue. They’re perennials which should come up around this time every year.
That evening, after putting our daughter to bed, my partner and I head into the dark of our garden to fill a pot with compost, the new plants, and our lost baby. As we tuck them all in I say “Nu-night”. He gives me a hug.
Tomorrow should be a check up call for my pregnancy. I hope they still ring. I’d appreciate someone to talk things through with. To get it out of my head. To work out how to repair.
The days pass and there’s no call. My scan appointment comes and goes. The pink and blue flowers grow on in the sun.
Different pregnancy. Different baby. Different story. Different outcome! Right?
Not for us unfortunately. We had been trying for months to get pregnant following losing Morgan. Then in July just before our 1st wedding anniversary my period was late. I took a test, my husband and I sat nervously on the edge of the bed, side by side, hand in hand, but it was negative.
A few days passed, eventually, after what felt like a lifetime my period arrived, 4 days late. Another month without a baby. When would it happen? The next month was slightly different. I have been using two different apps to track my ovulation and periods and for the first time the apps didn’t agree on when my period should arrive. One said Monday and the other said Tuesday. Apart from last month my periods are generally like clockwork.
So Monday evening with no visible sign of my period Geoff and I discussed when we should do the test and agreed to do it the next day. The next morning I woke up and went straight to do the test. I sat on my bed, my husband across the room at the computer. I turned the test over and those words “Pregnant 2-3 weeks” hit me like a punch. I could hardly talk. Geoff thought I was messing around and came straight over. We were petrified and exhilarated all at once.
We told our parents the next day, we wanted to share our joy but we weren’t ready to tell the whole world. I did another test this time a dye test, as if things went wrong at least I’d have visible proof of my pregnancy. The results showed clearly before I’d even washed my hands. Maybe that’s where I went wrong, almost like I invited fate in.
A week later, one evening I’d gone to the bathroom, wiped and inspected as I was prone to do these days and there it was, a streak of pink. My heart raced, I asked my son to get Geoff and I climbed into bed. He didn’t even need to ask, he knew instantly. There I stayed, I rang my GP the next day and she contacted the EPAU on my behalf about 9:30 am. They said someone would ring me. I stayed in bed, a luxury I know not many people have, waiting for that phone call. By 3pm and with no phone call, I rang them, explained my history and they booked me in for a scan on the following Friday.
Saturday and with no further signs of bleeding I got up and went about my business, that day ironically we were delivering care packages to hospitals for women kept in unexpectedly due to a miscarriage. By Saturday night I’d convinced myself the bleeding had been nothing, if I hadn’t been looking, I probably wouldn’t have noticed it. I struggled to get to sleep that night and when I awoke the next day and went to the toilet, there it was, the red blood. I wiped and wiped until it seems that there was no more blood and climbed back into bed. Half an hour later, when I got up, it was on the sheet too. Again. I spent the rest of the day in bed. I know that I was lucky that I could do this to try and get some rest. I was already exhausted.
I wanted to hear positive stories about how things, although seemingly heading down the same road, turned out differently. The scan day arrived and due to COVID my husband wasn’t allowed in with me until the actual scan. But, all was ok. A nice healthy heartbeat and the baby was exactly the size it should be. I asked about being prescribed progesterone as I’d read a report from Tommy’s that suggested that it could help and was prescribed that as well as baby aspirin. Our baby looked just like a bumble bee at this stage and we decided to nickname it Bee.
My pregnancy progressed. I had my 8 week booking appointment with the midwife via telephone and she booked me in for my 12 week scan on Tuesday 13th October. I booked a private scan for Saturday 19th September. We were told the baby had a good heartbeat and that the baby was measuring 8+6. We were thrilled. We told our siblings that day, we wanted to share our joy.
Tuesday 13th October arrived and we set off for our 12 week scan, I was feeling anxious but hopeful. Due to COVID Geoff wasn’t allowed in until they were ready to scan me. The sonographer put the gel on my belly and started looking. She was very quiet and I couldn’t read her facial expressions. I kept looking from her to Geoff. She asked us how far we were on our last scan, I knew then. She looked at me with compassion in her eyes and said those dreaded words, “I’m so sorry, there’s no heartbeat”.
She said it looked like the baby had stopped growing around 9 weeks, a day or so after my last scan! She then said she’d like to double check with an internal scan. I needed to go to the toilet and had to walk through the waiting room with tears flowing down my face. I returned to the room for the internal scan. Again there was no heartbeat and she requested another sonographer to check with the same outcome. We were led to another room and we were talked through our options. I just wanted to go home and try and process what we had heard. I was told I could go home but I needed to ring to arrange an appointment the next day.
Geoff and I again had to walk through the waiting room of women waiting for their scans. I had tears streaming down my face and bloodshot eyes, I just stared at the floor. Once we got home we discussed our options, it didn’t take long for us to agree that after last time surgical management was best even though we both hated the thought of me being there without Geoff. The next day I rang and was booked in. I had to arrive on the ward at 8pm on Thursday 15th October (Wave of light Day) for surgery the next morning.
On Thursday about 2pm I went to the toilet and wiped and there was blood again. Later on that evening I didn’t feel great, I had a bit of a dodgy belly and had to run to the toilet as I thought I was going to throw up a few times. I had a sleep, we lit a couple of candles for the end of Baby Loss Awareness Week (BLAW) and my husband drove me to the hospital.
We said our goodbyes and I was placed on a Gynaecology ward with a few other women. I was in a small amount of pain and just being in hospital meant I was restless. The staff gave me some codeine and paracetamol I tried to settle down and get some sleep.
Shortly before midnight I felt a pop inside my lower abdomen and a warm feeling spread across the bed. I felt my pyjama bottoms and they were wet. My waters had broken, something that had never happened in any of my pregnancies. I called the staff and they told me to use a bedpan every time I went to the toilet from then on.
I went to clean myself up and to use the toilet and that’s when I passed my baby. I could see it in the bedpan. A tiny baby, with a head, body, 2 arms and 2 legs. I went and found a nurse and handed my baby over whilst crying and shaking, I couldn’t believe that I’d just given birth to my baby in a bed pan on my own. The staff placed me in a side room and that’s when the bleeding started. Just like last time I lost a lot of blood, I kept fainting as my blood pressure was so low.
I was hooked up to an I.V drip with fluid being pushed into me as quickly as possible. Around 3 o’clock in the morning the doctor tried a manual extraction as she could see tissue stuck in my cervix and thought this may be the cause of my bleed. She couldn’t get it all out. I was physically shaking so much, they asked me if I wanted them to ring Geoff but I thought about how he would feel being woken at 3 in the morning by the hospital and decided against it.
Around 5 o’clock the consultant came to see me and repeated the procedure. He then scanned me and thought he’d removed all the tissue but could still see blood clots. He said he didn’t want to take me off the list for surgery yet but suggested we see how things went. He prescribed some medication to help contract my uterus and pass the final blood clots and I was also prescribed a medication to help stop the bleeding. At 7 o’clock whilst being helped to change just in case I needed surgery I fainted again, this time I woke with an oxygen mask on. I came around quite quickly. At around 9 o’clock I had a very jolly consultant (too jolly for my liking) request that I have another scan to see how things were.
He told me that my cervix was closed and that although there was still blood in my womb that he was happy for me not to have surgery and told me that I could go home after having a cup of tea and moving about a bit. And so that was it, the end of my interaction with the hospital.
On the Saturday I had horrific pain in my lower abdomen, this intensified over the next day and so I visited my GP on the Monday, she’d asked me to do a urine sample but I was in such a fog I forgot to take it with me. She thought I had a urine infection and prescribed me some antibiotics. Monday night I was in so much pain that I could hardly sleep. On the Tuesday lunchtime I passed a huge blood clot, probably the size of a tennis ball and after that the pain seemed to ease somewhat.
A couple of weeks later we had Bee’s funeral. We chose the same songs as we had for Morgan. Due to COVID we couldn’t hug our family nor get together after the cremation.
It was such a sad day.