A diary of a miscarriage – This is family

Posted on 25 May, 2022.

My miscarriage was shocking (to me). It was painful. And it was more than the loss of a baby that I hadn’t given birth to or ever known. It was the loss of a child I’d imagined growing up and being a mum to.

Emma shares her diary of a miscarriage. And how hard she found it. She is sharing her story because she knows that it is something that so many new parents will go through but also something that we don’t talk about enough. Here’s her story:

According to recent statistics by Tommy’s 1 in 4 women in the UK will miscarry a baby. I was one of those four. And I want to share my story because it’s something that we still find hard to talk about. And something we don’t talk about enough. It’s really understandable why it’s so very hard to write about and to talk about. Writing this brings back a lot of locked up pain. But – unless we do – miscarriage remains a hushed up and taboo subject. And many new parents may suffer in silence. Feeling that their stories are not being told and their voices are not being heard.

The day of my scan: Please don’t let me wet myself!

Waiting for my 12 week scan was like waiting for Christmas Day as a child. Time seemed to slow down in the days leading up to the first time I would get to see my baby growing in my womb. My husband and I had kept this secret hugged close to our chests for so many weeks. We’d already planned in our heads the excited phone calls to announce our big news to family and friends.

We took our seats in the waiting room, passing shy smiles to all the other waiting couples (delighted at last to be part of this whole new club). We clutched each other’s hands. We had a small, hushed argument about whether we’d pay to get a photo of the scan (We didn’t know that was a thing! He said it was a rip off, I said it was a priceless memento! I was always going to win!!).

And we sat on uncomfortable waiting room chairs to wait our turn.

And – as the minutes ticked by until my name was called the most pressing thought in my mind was ‘Oh please – don’t let me wet myself!’ I’d been drinking so much water (as I’d been advised to, to get a clear scan) and at that moment I was more worried about peeing my pants than anything else!

Moments away from seeing our baby for the very first time!

Finally (and, thankfully before I’d given in and peed on the waiting room floor!) my name was called and we went through for our scan.

The midwife was friendly and put us at ease. She explained that the gel would feel cold on my tummy. Not wrong there! She pressed the scanner down and we caught our breaths as we waited to get that life-changing first glimpse of the baby we’d created.

The screen was turned away from us at this point. She moved the scanner up and down. I was staring at her face and it was at this point I noticed a flicker of something pass across it. She said that she was just going to step out and ask a senior colleague to come into the room. And – at that point – I knew.

I knew. I just knew.

‘I’m so sorry to tell you that your baby has died in the womb’

The senior consultant turned the screen round and showed me the scan of my baby. She gently explained that sadly my baby had died in the womb. From what she could tell and the measurements that were taken my baby had probably died in my womb one or two weeks ago.

I looked. I listened. But I found it hard to hear or comprehend. I know now that already I was in shock. And all the hopes and dreams and imagined future I’d been holding so close to me had been taken away in the time it took for her to say those few words.

‘What do you want to do next?’

That’s what they asked me. Kindly. But all I wanted to scream was ‘I want my baby. I want this not to have happened and I want my baby’.

I was given the choice of going home to see if a I would miscarry naturally or take tablets or have a surgical procedure.

I chose to go home and see.

And I was ushered back through that waiting room full of expectant and excited parents. It felt like the cruellest thing. It felt like walking through a new club I was so nearly part of. But one I now had to leave.

‘Lie still, I have to remove the product’

Diary of a miscarriage - woman holds head in hands

Back at home after those painful phone calls to our parents to tell them in one conversation that I had been pregnant but had now lost our child (and after so many tears) we finally fell asleep. I woke in the middle of the night with cramps. Cramps that caused so much pain that I began to feel that I needed help.

And so went into the hospital.

It was 3am. The doctor who saw me was kind and calm but one thing I remember to this day. She was just using the right ‘medical terminology’. But it really hurt.

She told me try and lie still because she needed to ‘remove the product’.

Those words cut me to my very core.

To me what she was ‘removing’ (with some sort of long tweezers) was not a ‘product’ but the remains of my baby. Our baby.

Why does nobody want to talk about miscarriage?

My miscarriage was shocking (to me). It was painful. And it was more than the loss of a baby that I hadn’t given birth to or ever known. It was the loss of a child I’d imagined growing up and being a mum to.

Because we’d kept our pregnancy secret telling people about our miscarriage was harder.

Very few knew what to say. Or whether to say anything at all.

I wanted – NEEDED – to talk about it. To help me process it. To understand.

And I found this wall of silence hard. I understood why it was hard to talk about but I needed to talk about it and not being able to made dealing with it so much tougher.

Diary of a miscarriage: The grief and loss

After my miscarriage I felt grief. A painful and very real grief for our loss. For my baby and also for the future that we had imagined. But because I hadn’t given birth or buried my baby it felt like I should hide the grief I was feeling. Well meaning comments such as ‘At least it happened early on’ and ‘You can always try again’ really hurt me and made me feel like the overwhelming grief I was feeling was somehow misplaced.

Miscarriage is common but still unique

It was only after I had a miscarriage that I found out how common it was. Indeed several family members and friends shared stories of their own miscarriages. Which they’d never spoken much about. And which I hadn’t known about. It was like a big secret. Something that just happened and was to be brushed under the carpet.

But that made each miscarriage feel unimportant. And belittled it’s significance.

Why don’t we talk about miscarriage more? And why don’t we recognise the loss and the pain so openly?

The answer – probably – is because it’s so hard.

A happy ending

I miscarried my first baby several years ago. I am now the mum of two happy and healthy girls. I miscarried another baby in between both those successful pregnancies. I know I am blessed and lucky to be the mum of my two lovely daughters. I still think often of the two babies that I carried in my womb for too short a time. My angel babies. The ones I knew for such a short time and never got to hold in my arms.

I’m sharing my story because it’s a story that one in four mums (and dads – let’s not forget how it affects dads too) may relate to. At least in part. This is my story. But I hope it opens up a conversation and the chance for others to reflect on and share their own stories too.

My miscarriage: What didn’t help:

Diary of a miscarriage - woman holding help sign
  • Blaming myself. I did. What if it was something I did (or didn’t do) that caused it? I soon realised there was no space in my head to start blaming myself and going down that rabbit hole just wasn’t going to help.
  • Shaming myself. I felt like I’d somehow ‘failed’ at my first chance at motherhood. But, again, I soon realised that feelings of shame or failure were both not warranted and not fair to myself.
  • Hiding my feelings. It felt better to open up and talk about how I was feeling and cry when I needed to.

My miscarriage: What did help:

  • Taking time to grieve and recover. I was lucky that my employer gave me time off work to grieve and to recover. That really helped. I needed that time to just process the trauma and the loss and to take care of myself.
  • Having company. My saviour was my mother in law who was there for me day after day. She took me on walks or for lunch. Sometimes I cried and she held me. Sometimes we talked about what had happened, and she listened. Sometimes we didn’t talk about it but she just was there for me – giving me company and a reason to get up and get through the day.
  • Talking. I needed to talk about it. And talking really helped. I was lucky to have family and friends who let me talk and listened. I think that if I hadn’t had them there talking to a counsellor would have really helped me. If you have had a miscarriage and are struggling – do reach out and get help. Please don’t suffer alone. The Miscarriage Association is a great place to find help and support.

Would you like to share YOUR story?

We’d love to hear from you. This Is Family is all about sharing family stories – especially from families who feel like their voices are not often heard. Every family has a unique story to tell. We’d love to hear yours. Find out how you can feature on our blog and get involved. So that other parents can feel less alone.

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