A 10w natural miscarriage story(7 Posts)
I've decided to write this in case it helps someone. It's the type of information I was looking for one week ago. Apologies in advance for the long post, I want to provide as much detail as possible. In some places, it might be a bit TMI, with graphic details. If you're just looking for the practical stuff (i.e. how you need to prepare for a natural miscarriage), scroll to the second post. I had to split this into two because of the character limit.
I'l start from the beginning... about three years ago I was told I might have polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). This was revealed during a pelvic scan I had in another country, when visiting my parents. I've struggled with irregular periods ever since I was a teenager and no doctor was able to pinpoint the problem, so I felt somewhat relieved.
A full hormonal profile, monitoring hormones throughout at least a cycle, was needed to confirm the diagnosis. As soon as I got back to the UK, I went to my GP and explained the situation. The only thing that the NHS could offer me was a single blood test looking at several hormones, not multiple blood tests throughout a cycle (i.e. before and after ovulation). I accepted (better than nothing...). Two weeks later, they called to tell me that everything looked normal. I asked to see the results as sometimes what they consider 'normal' is actually borderline, but they refused saying they can't do that. To this day, I don't know if this is standard practice.
A few years went by, my period was still very much irregular but I was too busy with work, buying our first house etc. to give all this much thought. In late September 2016, after more than 8 years since we got together, we decided to start trying to conceive. Taking into consideration my chaotic cycles, I was convinced I might struggle with fertility problems, so I wasn't feeling very hopeful. I read 'Taking Charge of Your Fertility' (really recommend it!), started charting my temperatures using their app (a bit clunky, but very useful) and started taking folic acid on 12 October 2016.
My LMP was 19 October 2016. The app showed an 'ovulation dip' on 6 November and luckily we had intercourse on both 5 and 6 November, but I wasn't sure if I actually ovulated. Soon after, I started to get period-like symptoms (bloating, enlarged and sensitive breasts etc.). My breasts were definitely much bigger and more sensitive than what I usually get before my period, so one week after ovulation I already started thinking I might be pregnant. My DP told me to wait at least one more week before doing a test (he's the patient type, I'm not!).
I started struggling to sleep and on 22 November I woke up at about 3am, feeling quite restless. I sneaked to the bathroom and took a HPT, which showed a quite clear pink line. I was absolutely over the moon and patiently waited until DP woke up to give him the big news. We were so happy I can't even describe the feeling. On 27 November I switched from folic acid to Pregnacare Original.
A few weeks later, we decided to make an appointment for the Harmony Test at the Fetal Medicine Centre in London. I'm 31 and my DP is 38, but I'm always looking for extra reassurance and I wanted to know if the baby had any chromosomal anomalies as soon as possible. Due to my irregular periods, I was told I'd need a dating scan first and then have the blood test in week 10.
Since week 5 or 6, I've had the occasional pink / red spotting – small amounts, no cramps. I had the implantation bleeding on 15 November, so it wasn't that. I told the midwife at my booking-in appointment on 21 December, but she said there's nothing to worry about. I also told her about my PCOS diagnosis and that since week 5/6 I've had heavy yellow / orange / light brown discharge. Again, she said I shouldn't worry about that.
On 30 December we went for the dating scan at the Fetal Medicine Centre and it was the best day of our lives. The baby was active and was described as 'perfect'. We heard the heartbeat and I was told that based on measurements, I was 9w5d. Exactly what I expected based on when the ovulation dip occurred. That evening, we both told our parents via Skype. My mum started crying, it was very emotional. We initially said we'd wait until the 12-week scan, but I knew that the risk is greatly reduced if you hear the heartbeat and we just couldn't keep it a secret anymore.
Fast-forward to 3 January. When I went to pee first thing in the morning, I noticed a red-ish thing at the bottom of the toilet but didn't think much of it as it wasn't bright red and I was feeling okay. It was my first day back at work after a two-week holiday and things were a bit manic, but I just smiled all day, couldn't contain my happiness after that scan. We had a big dinner that evening and I was feeling very bloated, but again didn't think much of it. I didn't sleep much that night and for the first time in weeks, I didn't feel the urge to pee at all. I was usually getting up at least once a night to pee.
On the morning of 4 January, just before leaving the house to go to work, I went to the bathroom and saw bright red blood when I wiped. I immediately went into panic mode and told DP. However, I was still feeling okay and said I'd go to work and see how it goes over the next few hours. On the way to the train station, I felt like I was bleeding and went to the toilet at the station. Again, bright red blood. I started crying and we decided to go back home and drive to the hospital.
We went straight to the EPU and we had to wait about two hours for a scan. I was having period-like cramps at that point and I was bawling my eyes out. When we went for the scan, they took forever to find the baby (we found that really weird as the lady at the Fetal Medicine Centre found it straight away). The sonographer was a trainee and kept scanning me on the right, looking at my bladder, and I just wanted to scream 'look on the left!' (that's where the lady at the FMC looked). As soon as the baby appeared on the screen, our hearts sank. It didn't seem to move and they couldn't hear any heartbeat. A more senior sonographer looked briefly, said 'I'm sorry' and almost kicked us out of the room. We couldn't ask any questions ('we can't answer any questions, talk to the midwife').
We sat in a somewhat private area in the EPU (there was just a curtain between that seating area and the corridor / reception) and I just cried and cried while DP was hugging me. I couldn't understand how we had a perfect baby at 9w5d and now, at 10w3d, he was gone. The bleeding stopped right after the scan. A more senior midwife said 'I'm sorry', gave us a leaflet about the ERPC procedure and told us that we could either sit there trying to decide what to do next or we could go home and call back later that afternoon. We decided to go home.
As soon as we got home, I called my mum (she used to be a nurse) and asked for her advice. I've never undergone surgery and the thought of the general anaesthetic really scared me. She said that I should go for the ERPC (rather than wait for it to happen naturally), so I called back the EPU. It went straight to voicemail and I left a message. I was called back a few hours later and told to come back the following day at 2pm to talk to a consultant.
I cried a lot, but I started reading about various cases of sonographers failing to detect the heartbeat (there were some big ones in the press, at various hospitals in the UK). Crazy as it may seem, I told DP that I can't do the ERPC until I have a second scan to confirm. The first scan felt so rushed, the machine looked ancient and the sonographer wasn't very competent, so I felt like I couldn't do anything until I received confirmation. We were prepared to pay for a private scan if the EPU refused.
The following day, we went to the EPU, showed them the report from the private scan and kindly asked for a second scan. They reluctantly agreed and we had to wait almost four hours for it. This time, a registrar did the scan and she was also struggling to operate the machine and find the baby. After what felt like an eternity, she confirmed there was no heartbeat and said the baby stopped developing at 10w2d (my first day back at work after Xmas, before the bleeding). This time around, we were ready for bad news, but we were heartbroken nonetheless.
They wanted to book me for surgery, but the hospital had a bed crisis (if you're following the news about the NHS crisis, you know what I'm talking about) and I was told I'd have to wait for a call from the hospital. We went home without any further information, any sign of compassion or any leaflets about miscarriages.
I had some spotting that evening, but no pain and physically I felt okay. The next morning (Friday, two days after the initial bleeding), I started to have period-like bleeding and eliminate clots (the size of a 10p coin). The pain was quite bad, so I tried calling the EPU but kept going straight to voicemail. A midwife called that afternoon to tell me that they can't book me for surgery any time soon and that the next slot would probably be one week later. I explained that I was in a lot of pain and she called another midwife. When she heard about the clots, she said that I probably started miscarrying and that I should be ready for the pain to get much worse during the night. In terms of painkillers, she said I should take Ibuprofen and Paracetamol. I can't get rid of a headache with those, let alone what I was going through! I like to think that I have quite a high pain threshold because my periods are very heavy and painful, but this wasn't like anything I've ever experienced.
I was all day in bed, with DP next to me. I forced myself to eat so the painkillers wouldn't mess up with my stomach and I had enough energy for what was about to come. I tried to find information about what to expect online, but most miscarriages happen at the 6/7 week mark, so there wasn't anything very detailed about it. With a very much developed 10w2d baby, I was getting ready for the worst. The pain got worse in the evening and I spent most of the time on the toilet, but in the end I managed to sleep for a couple of hours. I was absolutely exhausted as it was my fourth night without much sleep.
At about 1am I woke up with agonising pain and rushed to the toilet. I was eliminating bigger clots and the pain was just unbearable. I spent a good few hours on the toilet as I just couldn't move because of the contractions. I finally managed to curl up on the sofa and kept drifting off / fainting between contractions. I just can't describe that pain, it was the most intense pain I've ever felt. After a few hours like that I managed to take an Ibuprofen and crawl back to bed. I really struggled for another couple of hours but drifted off at some point due to the exhaustion.
Early in the morning, I felt a huge gush of blood between my legs. After the second gush, I rushed to the toilet - blood was just pouring out of me. After a while, something big came out of me and fell in the toilet. I immediately went into shock and screamed for DP to come and help me. I was sitting on the toilet and crying like crazy, asking my DP to check if that was the gestational sac. I managed to move to the bathtub (I was still bleeding a lot) and my incredibly supportive DP covered his hand with a plastic bag, fished it out of the toilet and confirmed that it was indeed the sac. I just couldn't look at it, I was trembling and asked him to flush the toilet. My DP helped me wash, get dressed and move back to bed. The following hours were manageable in terms of pain and I even managed to eat, but the emotional pain was more than I could handle. My DP just sat next to me trying to console me.
After a couple of hours the pain got really bad again and I eliminated some very big clots and a huge piece of white tissue (I have no idea what that was). I bled heavily for two days and spent a lot of time on the toilet as it seemed to help with the contractions.
Two days after I eliminated the sac, on Monday, we went for a scan at the EPU and they said it was a complete miscarriage. I didn't have to take any painkillers on Monday but on Tuesday the pain got quite bad again and it lasted for a good few hours. If it hurts really bad, it means that your body is trying to eliminate anything that's left. Today is the fourth day after I eliminated the sac (I was supposed to have the 12-week scan today...) and both the bleeding and pain are manageable.
A few practical things you need to remember if you're going through a natural miscarriage, especially if it's towards the end of the first trimester:
- Always have someone with you, be it your DP/DH, mother, sibling or a very close friend. It's not just about the emotional side, but the day-to-day help as well i.e. helping you move when you're too week, preparing food for you etc. It's very important to have an adult next to you as you might faint or the bleeding might get really bad, so you need to have someone who can drive you to the hospital / call an ambulance. I was extremely lucky as my DP spent 5 days (3 working days + weekend) next to me and he was incredibly supportive. If your DP/DH can't get time off work, please ask someone else to take care of you. Trust me, you need it.
- Buy a lot of big pads. I had three Always packs: Ultra Long, Ultra Night and Ultra Secure Night.
- Have a lot of toilet paper on hand. You'll use a lot of rolls during the first few days.
- Especially during the bleeding stage, get washed / cleaned at least three times a day. It's very easy to get an infection, so being clean is important. You probably won't have enough energy to stand in the shower and that's okay, you can just kneel in the bathtub and take a couple of minutes to wash your lady bits.
- Don't take baths during the bleeding stage, at least when it's heavy. Hot water will expand your blood vessels and only make the bleeding worse. Showers are fine, as long as you don't get too dizzy.
- For the first few days, every time you'll go to the toilet to pee you'll most likely eliminate clots / pieces of tissue. TMI alert: when wiping, double-check between your labia as sometimes these clots or pieces of tissue can get 'stuck' there. If that happens, gently remove them with toilet paper.
- When lying down / sleeping, make sure your pad is secure and doesn't have much room for movement. Before eliminating the sac, I went to bed wearing some tight but comfortable knickers, a big pad, leggings to make sure that everything stays in place and my pyjama over the leggings. Fortunately I also put a blanket on the bed to make sure I don't stain the mattress. When I had those two huge gushes of blood, both pairs of pants got soaked in blood.
- If you can, take at least a week off work. Trust me, you won't be able to work when the pain is severe and blood is just pouring out of you (not to mention the emotional pain...). A few days after the initial scan at the EPU, I emailed my manager and told him what happened. He wasn't aware of the pregnancy, but I felt he'd be more understanding if he knew what I was going through. I assume the first few days at work will be challenging, so I think it's better if he knows. I know that it might impact my career (getting promoted etc.), but at this point my health is most important to me.
- If the baby was quite developed when his heartbeat stopped (i.e. 10 weeks), the likes of Ibuprofen and Paracetamol won't help much with the pain. In hindsight, I should have asked for a prescription for stronger painkillers or go to the chemist and ask for stronger OTC ones, but I didn't know what to expect. I definitely wouldn't go through this again with Ibuprofen only. On average, it took about one hour for it to kick in (i.e. until I felt some minor relief), so take that into consideration if you delay taking it.
- I know that all you want to eat is comfort / junk food and you can certainly have some, but try to eat as much homemade food as possible. I spent almost three days in bed, so my DP did all the cooking. Force yourself to eat even if you don't have any appetite, you need the energy. Painkillers like Ibuprofen damage the stomach's lining, so try to take them after meals only.
- Keep eating fruit and veggies even if you don't feel like it. Your immune system is very much affected during a miscarriage, so you need as many vitamins as possible. I started taking Immunace (Vitabiotics) yesterday to boost my immunity a bit. As soon as the bleeding stops (fyi, calcium usually reduces the bleeding and I want nature to continue to run its course), I'll also take calcium for a few weeks as calcium reserves are severely depleted during pregnancy.
- Avoid unnecessary effort. During the first few days, I was very dizzy and could barely move. Try to stay in bed as much as possible (the free trial month for Netflix certainly helped in my case).
- If the EPU doesn't mention a follow-up scan, ask for it. You need to make sure that everything was eliminated, otherwise there's a big infection risk (I don't want to scare you, but some say it's even life-threatening).
- Don't expect the NHS to be of much help. I haven't really had any medical issues before (I've only seen a GP three times in 8+ years), but I was expecting something completely different. Not necessarily compassion (I know that doctors need to remain as objective as possible), but competence, knowledge, professionalism and willingness to help. Just a side note: while we were waiting for our second EPU scan, there was a young couple and tests revealed that she might have some major problems. She really was in distress and the registrar didn't take them to a private room (two were available!), she kept talking very loudly behind a curtain and everyone in the waiting room could hear her. No privacy or confidentiality whatsoever. We tried to close the waiting room's door, but that didn't help. We were all speechless. I've never experienced anything like it in a medical institution.
- Finally, make sure you have someone to talk to. Those who haven't experienced this can't properly understand what you're going through, but loved ones will always be willing to listen, hug you and take care of you. Throughout all of this, I kept talking to my DP and mum and they both helped an awful lot. Even if they don't say much, being able to talk about it and cry helps with the grieving process.
I have a final piece of advice for those who think they might have a hormonal imbalance (PCOS, thyroid etc.) and want to start trying to conceive. Please, please go see a doctor first (for ideally both an ultrasound and blood tests). I'm 90% convinced I miscarried because my progesterone levels weren't high enough to sustain the pregnancy and I blame myself for not getting my hormones looked at before conceiving. The NHS is pretty much useless when it comes to hormonal imbalances, so you might need to pay for some private tests. It might seem much at first, but I would do and pay anything right now to have my baby back.
Apologies again for this long story, I do hope it helps someone going through something similar. I haven't told anyone else about the miscarriage (only my DP, parents, in-laws and manager know), so in some ways this was also therapeutic. The emotional pain will never go away and we'll always keep Poppyseed (our baby's nickname) in our hearts, but I do hope that as each day goes by, we'll start getting that flicker of hope back. Sending baby dust to you all.
Im so sorry to hear of your loss. Your a very brave and inspiring woman, thank you so much for sharing your story with your advice. I miscarried at 7w and can relate to some of your story and it has touched me. I wish you well and hope you all the best in your next TTC journey x
I'm so very sorry for your loss op thankyou so much for this information. It sounds like the epu at your local hospital is about as informative about miscarriage as mine is! I had a miscarriage at 6 weeks last February and I was under the impression that it would just be a heavy period! I didn't realise I would pass clots and a sack which was the most awful thing I have ever experienced! It is so traumatic- and there is no information or preparation from the hospital for something that is very common! Please don't give up hope though - I got pregnant in may after my miscarriage and I'm awaiting my little boys arrival in the next couple of weeks! Sending lots of love xx
I'm so sorry for your loss
Have you been on the miscarriage forum on here? It was really helpful when I lost my baby.
I lost my baby (heart stopped 11 +3 and had an emergency d&c 13 weeks. It is a absolutely horrific experience.
I also feel I had a hormonal imbalance that contributed to the miscarriage. I took Royal jelly tablets after as it's means to improve egg quality. Was worth a shot.
Anyway, there is light at the end of the tunnel. It might not feel like it right now, but things get better.
Please do talk through your feelings with your DH or a friend if you find it hard.
Thank you so much for the kind words ringroads, eastcoastmum2014 and Snowflakes1122. I'm so sorry for your losses.
ringroads, your message got me all emotional and I showed it to my DP as well. It meant a lot for us.
eastcoastmum2014, the EPU at my local hospital (not sure if I'm allowed to mention which one) was pretty useless, no information whatsoever. When the miscarriage started and I was on the phone with a midwife, I basically had to beg for some information, kept asking questions but only got laconic answers. They also implied that it would be like a heavy period, but it was so traumatic and shocking that it will take a lot of time to recover emotionally.
So happy to hear you'll have your bundle of joy in your arms in a few weeks, huge congratulations!!! I hope the labour will go smoothly. Wishing your family health and happiness.
Snowflakes1122, thank you for the tips. I've just created a Mumsnet account so I haven't explored all the threads yet. Have the Royal Jelly tablets helped in your case? I haven't used anything for conception, just the Conceive Plus lubricant as I've always struggled with dryness. I'll beg my GP to refer me to an endocrinologist once I've recovered, I really want to check my hormone levels before TTC again.
I think the Vitex and Royal Jelly helped. My acne is had for over a year vanished completely post miscarriage.
I also completely cut out sugar as it can add to a hormone imbalance. I just wanted to feel I was doing something.
I got pregnant 7 weeks later, and now am 17 weeks.
Sounds a good use to ask to be referred to the endocrinologist. Would your doctor run a basic set of tests to check your hormones in the meantime? It might be worth asking when your cycle settles back.
Just be kind to yourself right now.
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