Silent Miscarriage: Which isn’t silent
2017 started out as a cracker of a year ahead! We were days away from celebrating our son’s first birthday and only days away from meeting our second child. Well, when I say meeting, I mean catching our first glimpse on an ultrasound TV screen.
We were due in August, which was perfect timing. My auntie - a fellow midwife - was going to be visiting and I couldn’t think of anyone better to share our planned homebirth with. We fell pregnant rather easily - we found out just prior to Christmas which made the best Christmas present to give to our family. Everything just fell into place and everything seemed to be going in our favour!
But for some reason, I couldn’t shake this unnerving feeling that something wasn’t right with my growing baby. I kept this feeling to myself. I kept reassuring myself - there is no bleeding, you feel nauseated, everything is fine! I was counting down the days until our ultrasound, to see the little peanut shape with a beautiful beating heart.
My anxiety was building. The day prior to our scan we were celebrating our son turning 1 at the Melbourne Zoo and I couldn’t keep it in anymore. I shared and spread my anxiety on to my husband. Just one more sleep and we would know!
It finally arrived, it was time to meet our peanut. We all piled into the ultrasound room filled with excitement and a hint of anxiety. The wait was over, there it was. A big black empty hole. I knew instantly but held onto hope that maybe it was playing hide n seek, and maybe I was wrong. We performed an internal scan to get a better view, but all we could see was a speck of white with no beating heart, too small to measure and too small to declare anything. It was now the waiting game, all over again. Wait 10 days, come back for another scan. Maybe your dates are wrong!
Nope! I can tell you the date, day, time and it’s not mathematically possible that this baby is younger. It’s over, my baby shall not be.
Home we go. Now what?
What we really wanted to do was curl up into a ball, cry, sleep, lock ourselves away from the world. But we have a 1st Birthday party to organise. We had to put ourselves into party mode. Party mode we did, the best we could.
It comes to party day. Up I get ready to celebrate my little man being 1 with our nearest and dearest, and then I come crashing down with cramps and bleeding. Why today of all days? I have a white skirt specifically brought for the occasion, we are going to a local park with hideous public toilets and I’m praying I don’t have to do a phantom exit from my own party. Little did I know this was only the beginning of a very long saga!
I continue to bleed and cramp for the next 7 days. I cry, I scream in frustration and I continually walk on eggshells waiting for the moment that my baby will pass. I am continually reminded with every trip to the bathroom, anxiously checking every little detail in case my baby is there. I talk to my baby letting it know, it’s ok to go. It’s ok to pass. I love you and I desperately wanted you to be happy and healthy, but your soul was not meant for this earth and that’s ok. I let my baby know, I’m ok and I’m ready when you are ready to leave my body, but you will never leave my heart. Mum and Dad love you and we hope that your soul will come back to us in a body that is healthy for you to grow.
The waiting game is becoming a huge emotional struggle and I cannot sit around at home anymore waiting for something to happen that they tell me could take weeks or until our next scan. Off to work I go, to occupy my mind and hopefully, the activity will get things moving. I survive Friday, I don’t survive Saturday.
Everything is as normal, until 10am Saturday. I have a huge cramp that takes my breath away and I’m unable to stand up straight from the back pain.
By 11am they are coming thick and fast! The activity from work definitely got things moving. It happened so quickly I was struggling to walk out to my car. I don’t know what inside me thought it was a good idea - which it probably wasn’t but I felt I had no other option - to drive home to my Mum’s house which was 15minutes away.
By this stage, I was getting pain similar to my first birth. The pain and head spins were so intense I had to pull over twice thinking I couldn’t and wouldn’t make it. My hands and face were full of tingles and I was full of fear! I remember saying to myself “fuck this is scaring the shit out of me”!
I called my sister, hoping she would be able to pick me up. She was coming to get me but I couldn’t wait any longer. I did not want to birth this baby in my car on my own. I continued to drive, telling myself, “just get to the lights, then the roundabout, another roundabout, ok only one more turn and you are there."
The whole time talking to my baby saying, “I know I said I was ready, but I’m not, please just wait until we are home and then you're free to birth. Please not now, just a few more minutes, baby.”
We did it, we made it home! I crawled out of the car and straight into a hot bath, awaiting the relief it gave me in my first birth, but it never came. My husband arrived, to find me in full-blown distress.
“This cannot be normal.”
“Surely, they don’t make women go through this pain, who have no baby at the end.”
“This is fucking cruel!”
“This is worse than birth.”
“I can’t do this anymore.”
This is the comment that struck me. Why am I saying this? I sound like a woman in labour. I sound like a woman in transition. I’m not birthing a full-term baby, I’m birthing a baby the size of a walnut. What is happening? This cannot be normal. Surely this is not what women go through. After a brief phone call with a Doctor, it’s not normal. In fact, it sounds like cervical shock.
A quick transition later we are in the hospital and everything resembles a woman in labour except for the full-term belly attached. By this stage, the pain is constant and unbearable. Give me drugs and give me anything that will knock this pain out!
I’m standing, I’m rocking, I’m on all fours. Nothing is easing the pain and nothing is comfortable. In walks my life saviours! My midwife and doctor. By now my fear is in full overdrive.
“What the fuck is happening to me?” I ask the doctor, “Is this pain normal?” “No”, she responds.
“Well, that scares the fucking shit out of me!” She assures me, it’s ok and within minutes it was. The physical pain was gone and my baby was birthed and just like normal birth, your baby comes out and the pain is gone! Hello new woman!
My cheeky little baby (must have been a boy) was stuck in my cervix. Causing me unbearable pain, dizziness and tingles by constantly applying pressure to the nerve endings located within the cervix. The only way to stop this was by having a speculum exam (similar to a pap smear) and my doctor removing the sac that was lodged in my cervix. Of course, my journey was yet to be over. With retained products noted a D&C was still required.
The physical pain, even though unbearable it doesn’t equate to the emotional pain. I had known for a while that my baby was not meant for this world, but the moment it left my body, the emotional pain was almost too much to bear! When I had my scan, I was against having surgery and a D&C and preferred for it to pass naturally. Now knowing what I know, give me a D&C any day! I believe I would have coped and managed with this whole experience better than what I did. That was a horrible and traumatic experience to go through.
I’m glad it’s now all done and finished. I’m not glad it happened and I would give anything back to have my baby back inside happily growing, but it’s not to be. All I can do now is keep on keeping on and hope that I never have to go through anything like that again and one day hopefully soon, I’ll be with baby again.