CONTENT WARNING: MISCARRIAGE
As October is baby loss awareness month, I wanted to share a story from the perspective of a parent navigating miscarriage and maternity services during a pandemic.
Names are omitted for anonymity.
"In June 2020 I found out we were pregnant, in the middle of a pandemic!! I found out at about 6 weeks and based on my cycle was expecting a January 2021 baby - thinking by this point the pandemic might be over and none of the lockdown rules would affect my pregnancy.
The early weeks went by with the nausea and tiredness I had experienced with my other children, all very normal for me, and I continued my normal routine with a few extra ginger biscuits to help with the nausea. I called the midwife and booked in my booking in appointment (over the phone) and excitedly awaited the date of the 12 week scan.
I kept ordering pregnancy tests online, it became quite obsessive. I knew everything was ok but I loved seeing those little ++ lines.
By about week 9, I started to pass some dark brown blood. I called the Early Pregnancy Unit and they said this sounded normal but to ring back in the morning if it continued.
By the late evening the blood had changed to bright red and felt like a period. I chose to stay home because my only option at this point was A&E, I wasn't in pain and didn't fancy a long wait there.
By the following morning the bleeding was continuing, so I called the EPU again who said I needed a GP referral. By the afternoon the referral had gone through but the EPU was closed so I waited again another night. Minimal pain but the blood loss was steady.
The next morning I finally spoke to the EPU who said it sounds like a miscarriage but because of Covid-19 I had to remain at home, wait a week and do another test.
That following week was the longest in my life. I got signed off by the doctor and relied heavily on friends and family to look after me and my kids. I was a mess, going from blissful hope that it was just a normal bleed, to utter heartbreak that I knew what was happening.
By the time the week was up, I took another test.
So EPU called me back and said because it was positive I had to wait another week and do another test. I lost my patience at this point, desperate for a scan to know for sure. I couldn't live with the intense moods swinging from hope to grief to hope again.
I was denied a scan because of covid guidelines. The midwife at EPU offered little compassion or empathy.
In the end I paid for a private scan, where my partner could come along, and it was confirmed - a complete miscarriage.
I had bled for about 10 days but could probably pin the moment that the baby was lost, but I was so hopeful I was wrong I couldn't live without the knowledge. Seeing my empty womb on the screen, I was consumed by grief, but also relief that I knew how I had to behave. Hope was gone, I was left with the darkness of loss. I could focus my energy on that feeling alone.
A week later the EPU called me again and I informed them my scan results and they said they would like to repeat the scan, to be
certain, I told them too little too late. By then the lines on the test weren't appearing, I asked them to leave me alone.
Going through a heavy bleed in early pregnancy is terrifying and not being able to confirm for certain was absolutely awful. Made me question everything, created obsessive behaviours and affected my mental well-being enormously."
Pregnancy and baby loss, at any time, is a huge emotional trauma and if you ever need to speak my inbox is open.