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Miscarriage/pregnancy loss

Diagnosed miscarriage with symptoms, then told a heartbeat - anyone had similar symptoms?

48 replies

Janus · 17/12/2002 14:53

My brother's partner is 12 weeks pregnant and on Friday at work she had an experience similar to your waters breaking before childbirth along with a loss of blood. She actually works in a hospital so went straight to the early pregnancy ward where they told her they were sorry that she had experienced a miscarriage.
Today she had a routine scan to confirm whether she would need to have a D&C (I think this is the right expression) or whether nature had taken care of everything. Today they were told there is a heartbeat afterall. It's been an emotional rollercoaster for them, and everyone really, and now they are obviously worried about this loss of fluid and some blood. They have been told there is nothing they can do and hopefully everything will continue to progress to full term but, of course, they are now very worried as to what could have happened.
Has anyone else had anything similar happen??
Of course we are all crossing our fingers for them but it would be a great help if I could pass on any similar positive experience and I thought I would try Mumsnet as it's worked so many times in the past.

OP posts:
bossykate · 17/12/2002 14:56

janus, the only thing i can think of is that she may have been carrying twins, and only lost the one, while the other pregnancy continues. this happened to a friend of mine, who went on to deliver a perfectly healthy full term baby girl.


Janus · 17/12/2002 15:08

That was quick Bossykate! Thanks but due to a previous eptopic pregnancy she had already had an early scan at about 7 or 8 weeks which only picked up one heartbeat but I suppose they could have missed the second one at such an early stage?? It's so hard to know what to put it down to and the hospital haven't got any suggestions either.

OP posts:
bossykate · 17/12/2002 15:12

first foetus died prior to 7/8 weeks??? i'm guessing now, without benefit of any specialist knowledge! how odd. any chance your friend could get a second opinion from another doctor or early pregancy centre?

Enid · 17/12/2002 16:26

Janus, I hate to be depressing, but I had bad cramping and lost blood and clots at 8 weeks. When I went for an early scan, they found a heartbeat. Unfortunately 2 days later I suffered a miscarriage.

Hopefully if everything has settled down your friend will be fine.

Good luck X E

Katherine · 17/12/2002 16:48

Janus - its so hard to know what is going on and that is partly why it is so difficult to cope with. My waters broke before my last period and it was just like when I went into labour so there was no doubt, but that was at 12 weeks. I agree with the suggestion that it could have been twins and one died before the first scan. Its quite common for the body to "wait" a bit before miscarrying. On the other hand I know from bitter expereince that finding a HB deos not mean everything is well. Only time will tell with this one I think. A horrendous waiting game. Your brothers partner just needs to take one day at a time. There are plenty of happy endings out there as well as sad stories. The fact that there is a HB now is the best thing to cling to.

Janus · 17/12/2002 17:22

There is a heartbeat and other than the initial loss of fluids, etc, she has had no pain, cramping, etc, no more blood loss either. Maybe it was a twin, that's certainly an explanation. Here's hoping so.

OP posts:
honeybunny · 17/12/2002 18:00

A friend of a friend had something similar happen to her at about 11weeks. It happened at my friends house and she said how shocked she was at the level of blood loss. The friend was seen in hospital and told she'd m/c only to be told a couple of days later at the antenatal scanning that there was a heart beat. She had numerous scans during the course of the pregnancy as they were convinced at the hospital that the preg wouldn't continue, but I'm pleased to say that she recently gave birth to a perfectly healthy baby.
Good luck to your db and partner, hope theirs is a happy ending too.

janh · 17/12/2002 20:30

I heard recently (maybe on that documentary about tiwn research at the University of Minnesota?) that most pregnancies start out as 2 but generally only one makes it through...not sure how reliable the information is but hope it is true in your brother's partner's case, Janus. Fingers crossed.

janh · 17/12/2002 20:30

Twin! Twin!

Azure · 18/12/2002 08:33

A friend of mine, who had previously had a miscarriage, had a 7-8 week scan in her new pregnancy and was told the baby had died. It was highly recommended that she have a D&C, but she insisted she didn't want one. Two weeks later, there was still no signs of a miscarriage and she still had pregnancy symptoms, so she went back for another scan. Sure enough, the hospital had made a mistake (she had a fibroid) and the baby was alive and well. My friend is now 30 weeks pregnant and everything is fine, but she went through a few dreadful weeks and still feels bitter. Imagine if she had had the D&C?

Scatterbrain · 18/12/2002 11:05

Now I'm really worried as a friend of mine had exactly this but did go through with the D&C - if she thought the baby might have survived she would be desolate - specially being a good Catholic and having taken 3 years to conceive !

Why can't we rely on doctors ?

docincognito · 18/12/2002 12:44

Because doctors are human, just like their patients/ clients. Sometimes technical difficulties (e.g. bladder not full enough, machine on the blink, NHS hasn't bought a new machine for 15 years, fibroid in the way, patient/ baby moving about etc, etc)can make a scan difficult to do. It's not always the doctor's fault.

Enid · 18/12/2002 13:11

Then they should warn people that their diagnosis may not be 100%.

Scatterbrain · 18/12/2002 13:33

Exactly !!! My friend was told categorically that her baby had died (and maybe it had but who really knows ?) and instructed to turn up for a D&C, there were no buts, ifs or maybes !

FWIW - I know several doctors very well and whilst one is super-confident about all her diagnoses another is totally paranoid, suffers from terrible nightmares and is on medication herself to cope !

I guess what we as patients need is confidence in their advice, not guarantees.

docincognito · 18/12/2002 13:38

The main reason why I changed my name for my last comment was that over the years I have noticed many "anti-doctor" comments on Mumsnet, and have for the most part bitten my tongue.

It amazes me that anyone would expect a diagnosis to be 100% guaranteed; nothing in this life is guaranteed. All that we can promise is advice based on a balance of probabilities. For example, if Ultrasound technology didn't exist, and a woman, who had been proven to be pregnant started to bleed heavily, the diagnosis would be "probable miscarriage"- not "definite"; as has been shown, sometimes the bleeding stops, and the pregnancy continues. Now that we have ultrasound we can be more certain that miscarriage has occurred, if a heartbeat isn't detected.BUT "heartbeat not detected" means just that and no more. Not "categorically no heartbeat exists" but, "I can't see one". The balance of probabilities is now in favour of miscarriage, but it does not mean that miscarriage has definitely occurred.

IMO, the problem lies not with doctors being fallible, but with the way that information is communicated BOTH WAYS. Doctors often do not say what the patient wishes to hear, and often patients do not tell the doctors what they are worried about. Patients are, of course, in a vulnerable position when in front of a doctor, and most of us would understand that, and try to comminicate effectively, but the constraints of the system are huge. I'm going to have to stop in a moment, as I have to go to a clinic where I am scheduled to see 30 patients this pm, 10 of whom have problems that are new to me. The clinic session lasts 3 hours (or should do), so an average of 6 minutes per patient, to include history, examination, interpretation of test results, explanation of any proposed treatment. If I try and cut down the number of patients per clinic, the GPs complain about the waiting times ( as do the patients). I can't win. If I do my best to explain things to a patient with a complicated problem, the next one will complain about the amount of time he's had to sit in the waiting room.

There are good doctors, and bad doctors, just the same as car mechanics, bakers, shop assistants, but even the good ones are struggling against a system that won't allow them to excel. It's not surprising that mistakes are made, even though they are devastating for the person on the receiving end.

Have to go- I've overrun my first 6- minute slot!

bundle · 18/12/2002 13:46

I couldn't agree more docincognito. I've been lucky over the years, having few illnesses but when I've needed medical advice I've found in the main that the doctor/whoever will offer their assessment of a situation and include me as part of the decision-making team, because it obviously affects me. even my emergency c-section was presented like this..when time was of the essence. there are rubbish doctors, like there are incompetent people in all professions. I really felt for the poor London Transport chap at my Tube station this morning...struggling to explain to angry commuters why one of the buttons on the automatic ticket machine wasn't working (a rude, angry commuter had bashed it so it was stuck) and he was doing his best to offer change and speed up the repairs on the other machines.

hmb · 18/12/2002 13:55

I also agree Docincignito. Nothing in life is 100%, nothing is ever risk free and medics are only human. We all need to work towards a more efficient communication between patients and doctors. An understanding of risk is vital if we are to make informed choices. In many ways the choices we have to make are harder than those faced by previous generations, because medical science can do so much more.

Enid · 18/12/2002 14:24

Surely there is a difference between the gp who sees 30 patients in 3 hours and the sonographer who is trained to sit with patients and tell them if they have a viable pregnancy or not?

And if doctors are allowed to make mistakes, then we are allowed to moan about them.

hmb · 18/12/2002 14:28

I think that as patients we have a right to a reasonable level of care. No doctor should be allowed to slip below a level of profesional care, but it is unreasonable to expect 100% accuracy 100% of the time. No-one can give that.

bundle · 18/12/2002 15:41

Enid, I think it depends on the degree of experience - as with any job - both for diagnosis and their 'style' of giving information. I had a bit of a frostypants sonographer for my 1st pregnancy (nerves?) and this time my consultant did my anomaly scan and I had much greater confidence in her interpretation (partly because she was looking for specific things and kept reassuring me they just weren't visible, so the news was good) especially as there was a trainee doc there, so the explanations were good for her as well as me.
I agree that GPs are overloaded, with little time to help constructively if the problem is complex. a number of them have told me that many patients only say what they really came in for as they leave the room (thus the title: "hand on knob" consultation...) so it's very much a two-sided thing were both parties can help. an expert called Dr Muir Gray has written a lot about this..the idea of the Expert Patient doing some work beforehand, if only so they know what questions to ask.

Croppy · 18/12/2002 16:12

"Hand on knob" Bundle???

Janus · 18/12/2002 16:19

Thanks, I've emailed some of these experiences to my brother and particularly Honeybunny as this seems exactly the same experience which may help them to feel a little bit more relaxed.
I do agree that Doctors are only human and, of course, make mistakes. However, the person that saw my brother and partner on Friday didn't even give her scan to try and find a heartbeat and automatically diagnosed a miscarriage. I think that is actually neglectful and probably if they'd been in a fit state to think properly they would have questioned it. When she told me this I thought it was really odd and secretly hoped and felt that they may find a heartbeat at the follow-up scan, I have no idea why, against the odds, I would 'feel' this would happen. It's funny how you sometimes think something but too afraid to voice it and then it happens.
Thanks again everyone, I hope in about 30 weeks I'll be able to revive this topic with a happy ending.

OP posts:
docincognito · 18/12/2002 17:12

Enid, you are welcome to moan about doctor's mistakes. I was attempting to reply to Scatterbrain's "why can't we rely on doctors?". If I was on the receiving end of one, I would moan as well, but I do have some insight into why they happen. BTW, I'm not a GP, but a surgeon, and one of the most useful things you can learn as a young surgeon-in-training is what not to cut, and who not to touch with a bargepole!

bundle · 18/12/2002 17:23

door knob, Croppy!!!
("oh and by the way doctor, I've got this rash in the trouser department" when they actually went in about athletes foot..)

susanmt · 19/12/2002 07:48

docincognito - thanks for standing up for the profession. My dh is a GP and some of the anti-doctor comments which are made occasionally can sometimes be quite upsetting.

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