The first time I fell pregnant, I was already cautious. I knew too many people who’d experienced an early miscarriage and told myself to just take things as they came so that, if something did go wrong, it would be easier to deal with. Deep down, I didn’t really expect anything to go wrong, but I felt like this way of thinking gave me an element of control.
For nine weeks everything was fine. I felt disgusting; sick and tired, dear lord the tiredness, I really wasn’t prepared for it. I could only stomach carbs, actually carbs with a side of carbs and more carbs on top, which is great when you’re five foot two and already slightly porky. All the signs were good.
We’d booked an early private scan for 10 weeks, as Christmas was coming and we thought that if everything looked okay, it would be a great time to tell friends and family. But then, five days beforehand, I had a slight bleed. When I called the doctor, they were initially quite relaxed about it, but decided to get me in for a check-up to be on the safe side.
The doctor’s appointment was quick, the doctor very kind and reassuring. He didn’t think there was anything to worry about, but then became concerned about a pain I was experiencing in my side (apparently this can be a sign of an ectopic pregnancy). So we ended up travelling to hospital, completely unprepared for the trip, phones not fully charged, not having eaten dinner, just slightly bewildered by how quickly everything was happening and anxious about what might lie ahead.
We waited in Accident & Emergency for six hours before we saw anyone. When we finally got called in to see someone, we were relieved we would get some answers. Except we didn’t. The doctor gave me a quick examination, told me everything looked okay, but we’d need a scan to be sure. By now it was midnight and Ultrasound was closed, so we’d have to come back the next day at 3pm.
I don’t really remember the time between getting home and going out for the scan the next day, it’s all a bit of a blur. I do remember very clearly the moment the Sonographer’s face changed. She asked I could be wrong about my dates, but I was pretty confident they were right. It was then that she told us that instead of measuring close to ten weeks, it looked more like six and she couldn’t see a heartbeat. When prompted for her opinion, she told us that it looked to her like everything had stopped developing around six weeks, and it was likely to be a missed miscarriage (a miscarriage that takes place without your body realising, so it keeps reacting as though you’re still pregnant, making it difficult to tell anything has happened). She also explained she couldn’t be 100% sure so we’d need to come back in a week or ten days to see if there had been any growth. At this point it was just over a week until Christmas.
The sonographer, realising this, and that we had plans to go and stay with family for the holidays, was amazing. She fitted us in for another scan the day before Christmas Eve, so we would know either way before the break started (which is what we’d requested).
One of the hardest things was telling friends and family. Because we were still quite early, we hadn’t wanted to tell anyone until the 12 week scan but we decided that seeing as we would be staying with family, we should tell them. Everyone was incredibly supportive, but telling people you were pregnant but also, you might not be anymore, is something that’s hard to put into words. Although I’d been feeling relatively okay, actually saying it out loud to other people made me want to burst into tears. It was a long week and, again, I don’t remember much of it aside from the occasional flickering hope that maybe my dates were wrong and everything might still be okay.
Sadly, they weren’t. When we returned, nothing had changed. The staff were lovely, so comforting and supportive, and so so sorry for us that I remember us reassuring them that we were okay. Because although it was awful, we were. We’d had a week to get our heads around the fact that it might not happen for us this time, and although the waiting was awful, in this respect it also helped. By this point, I was almost relieved that I had a straight answer – I had been dreading being told that we’d have to come back again after Christmas if they still couldn’t be sure.
We were given some literature, and talked through what might happen (it was described to me as being like a heavy period) and I booked in for medical management after Christmas. I wasn’t sure whether to let nature take its course or not, but I didn’t want it to drag on for too long with me in limbo not knowing where or when it might happen either.
I went home, had a glass of Baileys (my favourite Christmas drink) and dyed my hair, something I’d been putting off until 12 weeks. I figured that if things weren’t going to work out, I woud try and enjoy some of the things I’d been missing – a small step in trying to make myself feel better about things. We packed up our stuff, which now included a whole host of additional extras such as maternity pads and incontinence pants (which were a blessing by the way, and believe me, that’s not something I thought I’d ever be typing). I was even joking about them as we got ready – if there’s one thing we’ve learned, it’s that we both manage to find humour even in the darkest of times! The presents were wrapped, and we headed off to my friend’s house the next day where I drank champagne and ate all the food. It was very, very surreal.
And then nature decided that actually, medical management was not to be, and everything kicked off that evening at my Mum’s house. The stomach cramps were painful but not unbearable, and the initial part seemed to happen quite quickly. I’m going to write about the physical experience quite candidly in another section, but for now I’ll just say that I didn’t expect the miscarriage itself to last for two weeks. It wasn’t constant, but it didn’t finish completely until new year’s day.
It’s safe to say that our first experience of pregnancy wasn’t the best. But we managed to pick ourselves up and get through it together. Unfortunately, our miscarriage story continues. You can read more here.