Over the past week, I’ve written a number of blog posts in support of Baby Loss Awareness Week 2020 which culminates tonight (15th October) in the global Wave of Light. I’ve already shared my story so I thought I’d round off the week by letting you share yours.
We experienced two heartbreaking late term losses: Jack (20 weeks) and Amelia-Rose (21weeks). We had to fight to have investigations into why we lost them as the NHS guidance at the time stated three losses must have occurred before further investigations take place. I was diagnosed with incompetent cervix and once we fell pregnant with our third baby Lilly-Mae, I had a small operation at 12 weeks to place a stitch with hope I could carry her to full term. At 24 weeks I went into labour, as we had reached viability we were transferred to a Liverpool where the nearest neonatal bed was available. Sadly she passed away nine minutes after being born. For my husband to register the birth and death of our baby girl in a strange city on his own is the hardest thing he has ever had to do.
By some form of fate, the consultant looking after us that day was involved in a revolutionary trial for my condition and within six months I was back at Liverpool having an operation called a trans-abdominal stitch. This stitch allowed us to go on and have our two beautiful rainbow babies. I also very sadly suffered a loss at nine weeks in between my two rainbows.
I don’t think loss is any less heartbreaking at nine weeks than 25.
I had an inverted uterus. I was told that the uterus would turn during pregnancy and I would miscarry. I was advised to have an abortion to make it safer, i.e. to lose the baby earlier in pregnancy. I regret following medical advice. I wish I’d risked it. People think that because I chose abortion, that I didn’t feel the loss.
Loss through medically-advised abortion is still loss.
I lost twins a week apart at 17 and 18 weeks, a baby boy at 13 weeks and my daughter’s twin sister at 14 weeks. The twins were really difficult as I had hoped to carry the 2nd to term. Losing my daughter’s twin set me into a deep depression; I was scared every day that I’d lose her too. During her 20 years I’ve almost lost her countless times. She’s a fighter!
We went to our 20 week scan (which was late) and our baby was found to have abnormalities with no stomach, no bladder, only one kidney and very little lung tissue. We were sent for a further scan and to see a consultant. After what felt like an eternity, we were given two choices: to end the pregnancy then and there, or continue to full term where our baby may not survive that long or even survive delivery. We decided to end her suffering and then ours began. I was given a small tablet to take to slow things down and to stop her heart. Then home we went to return in 2 days.
Sunday morning, we arrived at hospital to begin the induction process. I felt sick, heart broken and oddly calm. Hours and hours passed and I slowly went into labour, wandering around, watching television and struggling to make small talk with my husband. Things reached a stage where I was in serious pain and then suddenly it hit me – this was actually happening – our baby was coming into the world but would not be coming home with us.
Our little tiny girl was born a short while later. She lived for just over four hours; a teeny tiny 23 week baby girl, pure perfection. Our hearts were broken and my soul destroyed. In that moment I just wanted to run away. She passed away in my arms, knowing warmth and knowing love. As much as my heart is broken and always will be, my baby girl knew love and that’s all that matters. We had a funeral for her two weeks later where she was cremated and laid to rest in a local cemetery.
She was my third baby; both previous pregnancies went smoothly with a normal labour and delivery. Her pregnancy was heading the same way or so I thought. No matter how normal it may be, if you are in any doubt, reach out for advice.
Nothing can prepare you for the loss of a baby irrespective of the gestation.
I started bleeding one night at 11 and a half weeks and started Googling what it could be. I rang 111 who advised that I had to go in for a scan the next day.
I went in for my scan and unfortunately there was no heart beat. They explained to me my options: I could let it pass naturally or I could have the operation. They explained to me that passing it naturally would just feel like a bit more of a painful period.
I decided to let it pass naturally, however, it was a lot more painful than they had explained. My husband called an ambulance as I was doubled over and in a lot of pain (and I think shock). The ambulance took me into hospital where I had morphine. I booked in to have the operation whilst I was there.
After I’d had the operation i then started to grieve for the baby. It was a week before my stepsons birthday and I really struggled with that. I ended up calling the Samaritans one night as I had gone out on a drive where I had convinced myself the only way I could stop the pain was to kill myself. The lady I spoke to honestly saved my life.
It took me a good two weeks to get out of bed after that, but I slowly got back to normal and decided to try again. It’s been around five years since then, so I don’t know if things have changed. I would have gone for the operation straight away if they had described the miscarriage as more painful than period pains. It was more like labour for me.
With my first loss I was barely aware of being pregnant so I didn’t really see it as a loss at first. I got to nine weeks with my second loss before the bleeding started. I was utterly heartbroken. We went to the emergency out of hours unit at Gloucestershire Royal Hospital where the doctor who saw us told me to ‘go home and try not to think about it’ and ‘not to worry because I was young enough to conceive again’. Two days later I was admitted to hospital with severe bleeding.
My third loss was a complete shock. I started bleeding very suddenly when I thought I was ovulating and with an imminent trip to the states on the horizon, we again went to the out of hours unit where we saw a wonderful doctor who confirmed I was pregnant. Bloods over the next few days confirmed another loss. My world dropped out and I remember thinking ‘How is this fair? How can this happen to us again?’.
We then sought private help and were prescribed medication for a number of issues. We finally fell pregnant again a few months later and were blessed with our beautiful rainbow baby.
It took us 14 months to conceive this time and we had a private scan just before eight weeks to calm my anxiety. A day before I hit 12 weeks I started spotting. EPU couldn’t see me for three days so paid for another private scan which confirmed a missed miscarriage. Baby was measuring eight weeks.
I’ve passed all my pregnancies at home with minimal support from the NHS. I’ve never received follow up after care. I’m a practical person and someone who just cracks on but four losses has left me broken and bereft.
There needs to be a better system and support structure for grieving women and their partners.
We went on our honeymoon when I was 8 weeks and when I returned I felt uneasy as I wasn’t feeling any pregnancy “symptoms”. At 12 weeks I began to have some spotting and contacted my community midwife. She was pretty blasé so I carried on going to work and the spotting continued. A few days later I began to bleed heavily, I contacted the midwife again and she booked me in for a scan. By the evening I was bleeding so heavily, with large clots, that I couldn’t leave the bathroom. We went to minor injuries at Cheltenham and the nurse on duty said I could go to A&E if I thought I should, or I could just go home as they “wouldn’t do anything”. I was bleeding so much I was filling the super pads in minutes. I didn’t want to “make a fuss” so we went home. Within an hour I collapsed in the kitchen due to loss of blood and had to be taken to Gloucester via ambulance. The paramedics and staff at Gloucester were amazing. I stayed in overnight and was given a scan in the morning to confirm what I already knew. The miscarriage had to be medically managed and I wasn’t discharged until the procedure was complete.
Losing Jamie was very hard indeed. He was our third pregnancy and third loss. The first pregnancy was ectopic and the second an early miscarriage so, as you can imagine, when we got to 22 weeks with Jamie, we didn’t expect anything to go wrong. All they could tell us from the biopsy of his placenta was that it was fibrous and there had been clotting problems. I went on to have another ectopic pregnancy after Jamie and one failed IVF.
I decided after so many years of trying that enough was enough, and eventually came to terms with the fact it wasn’t mean to be for me.
It helps to talk about Jamie; I feel like it keeps his spirit alive.
I had various miscarriages which eventually led to me getting tests and it turns out that I am unlikely to ever carry to full term if I were to get pregnant in the future. It’s hurtful, especially as I’m getting older and the questions come in from all different angles. I also have to share this with partners and prospective partners very early on to avoid a hurtful conversation later. It is so taboo to even speak about to those who can’t bear children and especially with friends who are having/had children.
My fourth miscarriage started when my eldest son was having surgery for his hearing. I knew straight away what was happening and that I wouldn’t be able to stop it. I tried to ignore it all day. Once my son had recovered from his surgery and was comfortable at home, I took myself to the GP, who sent me straight to A&E. At A&E, I was put into a cubical and a lovely nurse gave me some pain relief while I waited to be seen by the gynae team. The surgeon arrived with the worst bedside manner I’ve ever experienced. I was examined and told ‘You’ve lost your baby’. I had to be admitted to make sure everything ‘came away’ and to have further bloods/scans etc. The pain I was in from both losing the baby and the mental/emotional pain was just unbearable.
I was taken to the gynaecology ward and put in a room with two other ladies who were in the early stages of pregnancy and were being treated for hyperemesis gravidarum (dehydration/morning sickness) and this made the pain much worse. After two nights as an inpatient, all the tests came back that the baby had gone and I was sent home.
I had a miscarriage very early on following our first round of IVF. With not being able to conceive on our own, the whole experience of trying to fall pregnant just became numbing – and then hugely exciting when it does work. I had a huge bleed which was just another blow and yet another fail for us. Thankfully the second round of IVF worked and we have two beautiful twin girls.
Thank you to everyone who contributed to this research. It’s certainly been eye-opening and I hope that by sharing some of your stories and the key themes surrounding baby loss that it may just provide support to someone who needs it. If you’d like to keep up with all the latest articles and content, follow me on Facebook.
Please join us in the global Wave of Light at 7pm this evening (15th October 2020) by lighting a candle for an hour to remember all of the babies who died too soon.