250,000 women a year, that is a quarter of a million women. That there is the amount of women in the UK that experience a miscarriage per year. Yet I bet if you are reading this you never knew the number was so high. I didn’t either, until I became one of those statistics.
This is my story…….
Lets start from the beginning. It’s Christmas time, what a wonderful time of the year, spending time with friends and family. Except for me, my family was on the other side of the world in Florida. I chose to spend the holidays with my boyfriend and we had a nice low key Christmas together. Not long after Christmas on the 27th of December 2019 my whole world changed. I took a pregnancy test and it was positive! I remember sitting there in the bathroom alone, thinking to myself my god how are we ever going to afford this? I sat and stared at the test for a good ten minutes in disbelief. Was this right? How could it be I had only skipped a few of my contraception pills. I couldn’t believe it. But then a thought came over me, ‘This new life has been sent to you for a reason Kelly, reasons you are not yet aware of’. I sat and cried a little before speaking to my mum on the phone, who at this stage was walking on the beach in sunny Florida. When she heard the news she was just as shocked as I was but we were both of the view that no way could this pregnancy by terminated. My whole life I have always had a firm belief that a life if a life regardless of how far along it has grown, regardless of the circumstances. It is not for me to decide the fate of my unborn child’s life. It was decided that regardless of our circumstance, regardless of our income we would do everything we can to make the best life for our little one.
A few weeks passed, I had finally booked in my first midwife appointment and booked a date for my first scan, the 25th February. I was beginning to get excited and so was my partner. This little baby growing inside of me was going to bring us so much joy and hope. I began looking at baby things, cots, prams, accessories. Me being me, wanted to read up on everything baby. I wanted to educate myself as much as possible so that when baby was here I had as much knowledge as possible to ensure that baby had the best upbringing and was provided with everything it could possibly need. I am a firm believer of knowledge is power, and knowing I was clued up made me feel a lot less worried about anything that could possibly arise. It made me feel prepared.
Working in the events industry I am on top of what events are happening and where. I work at the Excel in London a fair bit and when I found out there was going to be a baby show, I could not contain my excitement! My mum and I booked tickets straight away. It was all I spoke about. The idea of a whole venue of baby things all under one roof gave me so much happiness and couldn’t wait to attend.
The 25th February soon came round, I woke up so excited to finally see my baby on the ultrasound screen and hear its little heart beat. The scan was booked in for 11am and I left work around 10am. Before leaving I thought it would be best I went to the toilet. However upon doing so I was instantly worried. I had cramps earlier in the morning but thought nothing of them, however whilst on the toilet I noticed I had passed a small amount of blood. I left the toilet and told my manager I had to leave work now as I was worried about the baby. I left work and began to drive to get my partner so we could go to the hospital. As I was driving I felt a huge sense of concern over me, I was trying not to cry. I remember my partner asking if I was ok when he got in the car, he said I looked like I had seen a ghost. I told him my concerns and he tried to make me feel ok and cheer me up. After all it is common for women to have spotting during the first trimester. When we finally arrived at the hospital I tried to put my concerns to the back of my mind. I began to pray for my baby, hoping everything would be ok. My partner and I sat in the waiting room for my name to be called. Not long after we had sat down a nurse came out and said my name. I couldn’t wait to get onto the bed and see my baby on the screen. I was beginning to get emotional as I laid on the bed. The nurse put the ultrasound probe on my stomach and I was waiting for her to say everything was fine and our baby was healthy, however she was having trouble finding the heartbeat. My heart began to sink, but then the nurse told us not to worry, this is normal it just means she will need to do an internal scan. As I began to undress I was shaking, I knew something was not right. As I laid back down on the bed, I was worried. Time seemed to pass so slowly. The nurse turned back to my partner and I and said ‘I am so sorry but your baby has passed away, there is no heartbeat’ I instantly broke down, I could barely breath, I was in hysterics. Those are words no mother or father should ever have to hear. I couldn’t believe what she was telling us, there must be a mistake, I felt like I wanted her to just check again to make sure. Once I had eventually got just enough strength to get dressed again I stood up and had to walk into another room with a nurse who explained what will happen next. I felt numb, there were other pregnant women in the waiting area who I could barely look at. Just looking at them made me cry, I just could not stop crying. I had so much running through my mind. Why me? Will I ever be able to have a baby? What if my body was not healthy enough? Will I ever get to hold my own child? What if there is something wrong with me? The questions were just endless. I remember thinking to myself ‘I wish I could give you some of my heart little one’. I felt hopeless, I couldn’t do anything to save my baby. Although I knew I would never get to hold my little one, I had developed so much love for them. My heart just felt broken. Today was the day my partner and I planned to announce our exciting news to the world, but instead we had been given the worst news of our lives.
The nurse went on to explain she had booked me another ultrasound appointment for two weeks time, the 10th March. This appointment would be to make sure what they were seeing today was accurate, if it was they would then perform a medical procedure to clear my womb of the pregnancy. This then gave me the slightest glimmer of hope. I began to pray for my baby, maybe the heartbeat was just not strong enough. Miracles can happen, they can! I had to hold on to something.
I remember leaving the hospital just feeling lost, so numb, like someone had taken a piece of me. My heart had never ever felt so broken in my life. This was not like a heartbreak in a relationship, this was more, so so much more. My baby, my first child was not ok and was still laying there inside of me. I think knowing the baby was still there made me worse, it made me morn more.
Friday 28th February 2020 – 3 days after 12 week scan
*warning contains graphic description*
Since leaving the hospital on the 25th I had done nothing but pray for my baby, pray for this to not be happening. But at 10:30pm on the 28th February I woke from my sleep in excruciating pain. I ran to the toilet and noticed I had began to bleed, I knew what was happening. My body thought it was time to go into labour, these were contractions. I began to time the space between the pain and it was reasonably consistent, approximately 45 seconds apart. I did not want to worry my parents so I tried to cope with the pain by taking some pain killers and seeing if it would subside, but it didn’t stop. The pain carried on for another 3 hours, and by this time I was bleeding so much I did not want to leave the toilet. Then all of a sudden I felt a huge release, a gush of blood I could not prevent, leave my body. I began to cry, was that my baby? My first thought was I can not flush this toilet, that could be my baby. Trying to keep calm I had to tell my parents what was happening, they told me to call 111. By this time it was just gone 1am in the morning of the 29th, and the bleeding was beginning to get worse. By this time we had been told an ambulance would be over 5 hours, and I knew this was too long. My mum and dad came to my house and drove me straight to A&E at Basildon Hospital. The journey felt so long, I knew I was bleeding even more and it felt so uncomfortable. As we began to approach A&E I knew it was going to happen again, that gush I felt at home, it was going to happen again. I got out of the car and ran straight to the toilet in A&E, I could feel the blood beginning to run through my clothing, I was beginning to feel weak and my muscles were shaking, I was beginning to go into shock. My partner went straight to the check in for A&E and began to explain what was happening to me, he also got me a wheelchair as there was no way I could walk. A nurse ran into the toilet where I had been since stepping into the door, she told me to get dressed and she would have to check the toilet to see what I had passed. I remember thinking god what if my baby didn’t pass at home, what if it passed just then? I was in panic mode, with everyone around me trying to keep me calm. I was wheeled into a side room in on the A&E ward, where they laid me on a bed and began to examine me. I could not stop getting up to go to the toilet, and by this time I had most likely lost at least 250ml of blood. The doctors had specifically told me to not walk too far or go to the toilet alone, they had also given me the most giant adult nappy kind of things to help with my bleeding. I remember sitting on the toilet praying for all of this to just stop. My partner was in the toilet with me helping me clean up and pull my bottoms up when I came over so faint. I told him I wasn’t feeling good, and the next thing I knew I had loads of doctors around me and I had been sick on both myself and my partner. I had passed out! I don’t remember a thing after sitting down on the toilet. I don’t remember fainting it just all happened so quickly. I was cleaned up by the nurses and placed back on the bed where they took my bloods, and checked by blood pressure. I felt so weak, I cried a little and thought of our baby. The questions I asked myself back on the day of the scan began to come back to me, why is this happening to me? The doctor told me I had to be nil by mouth incase they needed to operate on me. They put a Canular (a fuel cap as I named it, I had to laugh or I would cry) into my arm, to which they attached a drip with IV fluids in to help give me back some of the nutrients I had lost.
Saturday 29th 2020 – 4 days after the 12 week scan
By the time I was moved to a ward it was almost 5am in the morning. My body was so tired and weak. My family and partner had gone home to let me rest and I just wished I could sleep. I managed to get a few hours of sleep in, as difficult that was with all of the tubes hanging off of my arms. I woke up at about 7:30am, wondering if last night was all a bad dream. What the hell had happened? As I began to wake up I began to feel a little fuzzy again, but I was determined to fight this, I will be ok I told myself. After fainting the night prior none of the nurses wanted me to be left alone incase I fainted again. The nurse brought me the commode so I could go to the toilet and in doing so I felt so faint again, it was happening again! I could feel myself going but there was not way to stop it! I woke up with even more doctors and nurses around me this time, a pillow behind my head, an oxygen mask on my face, a nurse taking blood from my wrist, two nurses holding up my legs. And I barely remembered a single thing. I remember feeling so embarrassed, I was half dressed on the toilet and again I passed out! The nurses cleaned me up and laid me back onto my bed, where they had hooked me up to more fluids and put the oxygen back on my face. My blood pressure had dropped and my hemoglobin in my blood had dropped from 103 to 93. Because of this the doctor had decided it was best I was given a blood transfusion to help with the blood I had lost in the last few days. After fainting all I was wishing is for my partner to be with me. Not long after laying back down one of the nurses said there was someone here to see me. It was my partner, my god was I glad to see him. I had not spoken to him since the day before, but it was like he knew I was not ok. Seeing his face just gave me something to keep fighting for, he looked so worried for me, walking into a room crammed with medical professionals. But he remained so calm, he kept his cool for me. He sat next the bed where I lay and just held my hand, we didn’t speak we just shared each others energy. The hope he gave me just through holding onto my hand gave me peace. After a traumatic night just holding his had made me feel at ease.
The gynaecologist scanned me again and the decision was made to insert a pessary. This would basically make my body feel like it is going into labour again and will cause my muscles to contract therefore pushing any of the further tissues out of my body.
Sunday 1st March 2020 5 days after the 12 week scan
I woke up on the morning of the 1st March feeling a lot better. My bleeding had slowed and I was hopeful this ordeal was now coming to an end. The nurses and doctors were happy with how I was recovering and therefore decided it was safe for me to go home. I asked them if I needed any antibiotics or pain relief and they told me it would not be necessary. I thought this was a little odd as I was worried about infection, after all the neck of my womb was still open! They told me not to worry and said over the coming weeks the bleeding will stop and I will feel more normal again. Whatever ‘normal’ was. I returned home as they instructed and stayed with my parents for the night, just incase I didn’t feel to great again.
and then. Just when I thought the whole ordeal was coming to and end…
Tuesday 3rd March 2020 7 days after the 12 week scan
The cramping had started again. I was in the car on the way to my parents house and trying to play it down like I will be ok and they said this would happen. But I knew deep down I was not ok. My dad was driving, mum in the front and me in the back. The cramps were getting worse just like before, and then I suddenly felt another gush of blood leave my body. I was trying to keep calm as I was now worried about fainting again. My dad drove us straight to Queens hospital whereby I was passed straight through A&E and taken to a ward. At this point I was beginning to develop a severe headache and my body was beginning to ache all over. The doctor scanned me again and said there was still a considerable amount of tissue in my womb and that it was now becoming dangerous as the tissue could become infected. I then asked to be transferred back to Basildon Hospital as this was where I had spent the weekend and they knew a lot more about my case which made me feel more at ease. We got back in the car and drove straight to Basildon hospital where we waited in the early maternity unit for a few hours to be seen. When I was eventually seen, they had to examine me again to be sure the womb was still open. And as I thought it was. They admitted me straight away and put me in a room on the ward. My headache by this time was progressively getting worse and I made the nurses aware of this. Once I was finally back on the ward and hooked up to all kinds of medication again I managed to get some sleep and just laid there wondering what tomorrow would bring. Would this ordeal ever end?
Wednesday 4th March 2020 8 days after the 12 week scan
I woke up feeling so hot and my head was so much worse than the day before. The doctors were giving me antibiotics as now they suspected the tissue left in my womb was becoming infected which was now causing me to have a high temperature and a headache.
The consultant came in to speak to me and gave me two options. He said they could either perform a procedure whereby I am awake, they give me gas and air and they clear my womb of the tissue or I am put under general anaesthetic and they will perform a similar procedure that way. He stressed the urgency of it to me and said it must be done asap as it had now got to the point where my life was becoming at risk. Hearing him say this just brought a tear to my eye. I knew I had to get this done, not only for me but for my family. I made the decision to go under anaesthetic, I was terrified but I knew it had to be done.
When the doctors brought me down to the operating theatre I was trying not to cry. I hated this and what was worse my baby was not here any more. It began to all just hit me at once. As I lay there before being put under I was thinking of everything I had ever gone through in my life. This was by far the worse.
Before I knew it I was waking up again, the procedure had been done. My body felt so relived. I was no longer in pain and my bleeding had almost stopped completely. After being moved back to my ward, the doctors came in shortly after and said they had tested the tissue and it was in fact infected. I was lucky to come back when I did, as the outcome could have been a lot different if I didn’t.
Wednesday 5th March 2020 9 days after the 12 week scan
Finally I was allowed to go home. The doctors gave me antibiotics this time around to take for 10 days. I remember getting in the car and all of this just seeming like a nightmare, a bad dream! In the space of just 9 days I had gone from a women who could not wait to have her baby in her arms and who was excited to become a mum. To a broken women who had lost her baby, who wasn’t ever going to get to hold her child. I will never get to see my baby grow up, I will never know their little personality. Over the last 9 days I was focused so much on me and all of the madness going on around me I had had very little time to really process what had just happened to me. It just didn’t feel real.
A message to all of the new mums this mother’s day. Love your babies! Yes sometimes they keep you up at night, yes they cry, yes they may poo all over their new sheets, they may kick and scream. But I would honestly deal with that every single day for the rest of my life given the chance. I see too many parents take their children for granted and don’t truly realise how precious that little life really is. So next time you go to shout at them or get annoyed with them, don’t. Just remember you have been given a precious life to love and care for and it really is an absolute privilege to be able to be doing that. Not all of us are fortunate enough to even hold our babies in our arms. Look after them, treasure them and love them eternally.