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Pregnancy of Unknown Location - name feels dismissive of miscarriage

(12 Posts)
Woodchiponthewall Wed 20-Dec-17 20:37:08

I returned from the hospital earlier today following a miscarriage at 10 weeks having been told I had a 'pregnancy of unknown location'. I feel strangely let down by this, and the care I have received.

I started light bleeding on Friday, so got an emergency gp appointment the next day, who sent me away saying that she couldn't book me in for a scan as it was 'too early' and an EPU would just send me away, and helpfully told me to 'not hoover!' I had my booking in appt on Monday and the midwife immediately made me an appt at an EPU for weds (today). She told me to present to A&E if I was in a lot of pain or the bleeding was heavy, so I went to the hospital yesterday morning following heavier bleeding overnight. The hospital said there wasn't anything they could do to hurry along the scan, but the doctor at least offered me codeine in case the pain became severe, but I declined as I didn't want to take anything if there was even the slightest chance I could still be pregnant. Overnight I bled really heavily and passed clots so was expecting bad news on the scan.
The sonographer could not see an embryo or sac so was not able to date when the pregnancy ended, but could see some blood and tissue left in my womb. I was taken to a private room and a nurse came in and told me the pregnancy was considered a 'PUL' because they had never seen evidence of a pregnancy. She explained the risks of an ectopic and arranged for my bloods, but kept repeating the phrase 'pregnancy of an unknown location'. I used the word 'miscarriage', she said that was 'probably the case' but they wouldn't use that word because the pregnancy had never actually been confirmed. I understand I am feeling emotional and fragile, but there is something about the experience I find lacking. Not acknowledging that my heavy bleeding and traumatic passing of clots as a miscarriage seems dismissive, and as a result I have been offered no kind of management or aftercare. I asked if I could expect more pain or bleeding, but she said it was 'impossible to say'. I was sent home with a leaflet of PUL, which again I feel does not fit my experience and almost dismisses it somehow. It seems to be more relevant to very early missed pregnancies and there is no mention of how to cope with bleeding or pain, or even mentioning the feelings of grief any woman would feel at losing a baby. Surely most natural miscarriages at 10 weeks are PUL as in most cases it'll be too early for a scan? Is this the experience therefore of most women who miscarry? It wasn't deliberate on the nurses part, but her repetition of 'we haven't confirmed the pregnancy' made me almost feel as if they couldn't just rely on me saying I was pregnant, even though there is tissue left in my womb and I have given numerous urine samples each time I went for help. I am probably being over sensitive and of course I understand the strain on services, but I feel waiting over 4 days from first bleed to find out your baby has died and then leaving the hospital with no acknowledgement of your physical or emotional pain makes a terrible experience worse.

Woodchiponthewall Wed 20-Dec-17 20:38:17

Thanks if you got through that - didn't realise how long the post had become!

User24681012 Wed 20-Dec-17 21:06:06

Didn't want to read and run! I'm so sorry, that sounds awful flowers some of the terminology around miscarriages and loss seems so unfeeling! Have you got someone to talk to?

Woodchiponthewall Wed 20-Dec-17 21:12:03

Hi, thanks for your reply. Yes I have my partner here who is feeling the same. Agree that the terminology is unfeeling!

53rdWay Wed 20-Dec-17 21:20:35

I’m really sorry for your loss flowers

When I had a miscarriage I found that they were really reluctant to use that word too, although the circumstances were different to yours (they could see the pregnancy on the scan but it wasn’t growing). I think because that’s a definite diagnosis and the NHS has a flowchart if things they need to confirm before they’ll state it? At any rate, yes, I found it really upsetting that they wouldn’t just tell me what was obviously the case. “Ooooh well, you never know.” Yes I DO know and so do you, and I’d prefer to actually discuss it!

There are leaflets online from the Miscarriage Association that I found helpful, if that’s any use to you?

mustbemad17 Wed 20-Dec-17 21:26:44

I'm so sorry for your loss.

I'm appalled that nobody would arrange a scan for you - I had a lot of pain & bleeding early on & my GP got me to EPU for a scan the same day. I was 6weeks so that's utter BS that they wouldn't be able to see much to determine what's what.

There seems to be a real lack of empathy surrounding early miscarriages, I found with mine that because I hadn't had my 12 week scan nobody seemed to care much. My DD was a twin & we lost one early on; i remember being told 'at least you still have one there'

I'm so sorry you have experienced this xxx

AssassinatedBeauty Wed 20-Dec-17 21:31:18

It seems odd that they said it's too early for a scan at 10 weeks. I've had scans at an EPU at 6 weeks, with an internal scan, and they should be able to see the sac at least. At 10 weeks it should be possible to see the embryo.

I'm really sorry you had such an awful experience and that the nurses/doctors who dealt with you weren't able to be properly compassionate. Is it worth contacting PALS at the hospital to make a complaint? I would also wonder about querying the advice the emergency GP gave you about not going to the EPU?

FullOfXmasCheerOfCourse Wed 20-Dec-17 21:33:07

I had a scan at 6 weeks when nothing could be seen at all. I was 9 weeks before they saw anything.

The language used is horrendous, I was told I'd had a 'medical termination of pregnancy' because they used that for any pregnancy loss which didn't happen naturally. This was later translated to 'I see you had an abortion a few months ago' when I saw the GP.

flowers OP

deste Wed 20-Dec-17 21:40:00

The term they used when I had a miscarriage was mis-abortion which I found very hurtful especially as I was in a ward with women having abortions.

Woodchiponthewall Wed 20-Dec-17 22:44:52

Thanks all, it is really soothing to hear from people who have been through similar and I will look into some of your advice/suggestions tomorrow. Agree completely with the poster who said it almost feels that 'it doesn't count' if they have not seen a scan. As I sit at home bleeding and in pain I am finding it more and more strange that nothing was asked about the pain or how much blood I had lost/was losing. In any other circumstances such significant loss of blood would surely be significant. I have someone at home to look after me, but my heart breaks for all the women who will go through this without support.

victoriaharris Mon 08-Jan-18 10:12:28

Message deleted by MNHQ. Here's a link to our Talk Guidelines.

Bithjah5 Sat 13-Jan-18 06:53:23

I abhor the terminology as well. It is so hurtful. And i feel so sick for you too be let down so severely by the medical profession. I had to go to ER when my miscarriage started. They just sent me home with the a broken heart. They wouldn't even let me see the scan. I had to wait almost a week to see the second scan at my actual OB office. From there on i did get good care. But if i had been treated how you are describing id be looking for a better dr.

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