Knowing I was pregnant for the second time, I tried to remain hopeful.
I was worried though that another miscarriage was inevitable as I had yet to start taking progesterone tablets to sort out my short luteal phase.
Sure enough, six weeks in and I started bleeding again. This time I felt something come away. I was at work so I headed home to sit it out. It was the evening on a Friday when the pain reared its ugly head and so the box ticking 111 service was the only place to call. We were rung back by a doctor who said I was probably miscarrying and there was not much I could do as the scanning department would be shut at the weekend. A big fat ‘deal with it’ basically.
Although my first miscarriage was later, and I was on my own in a different country, it was this second miscarriage that really brought home the importance of understanding from those you have to deal with during the process and the after care treatment offered.
I was shocked by the lack of concern and empathy from most of the people in the medical profession here. Particularly as this was quite an early miscarriage, I was treated as if it was nothing more than an uncomfortable period – and made to feel very much like I should shut up and go away. It is a very lonely place to be, especially when you are already feeling vulnerable.
When I was able to visit the Early Pregnancy Unit the next week, bloods were taken and I was asked to take another pregnancy test, which was negative. One of the nurses actually said to me ‘did you actually have a positive pregnancy test before?’ ‘No, I made it up including going through a fucking miscarriage at the weekend,’ is what I felt like saying, but obviously didn’t.
I wasn’t offered a scan after that and received absolutely no advice about how to deal with either the physical or emotional effects of miscarriage.
The experience was made even better when for the SECOND time I was rung up by the midwife to try and arrange my booking in appointment, about two weeks after I’d already had the miscarriage. This exact same thing had happened after the first miscarriage. On that occasion, I had only been to the GP to let him know what had happened that day and it had been in Germany so I had made allowances. But doing it for a second time was pretty shit. Doesn’t anybody update the notes? It was simple things like that, that with a little bit of thought and more effort to join up the dots, would have made such a difference to how I felt.
I spoke to others about the experience, and learnt that I had gotten off relatively lightly, with other women experiencing the agony of having to sit on labour wards after they had miscarried, getting infections because they had not been looked after properly, the list goes on.
At that time, Mumsnet had launched the Miscarriage Code of Care campaign to encourage all hospitals to deal with miscarriage in a better way. I wrote to my local hospital to complain about my experience and enclosed a copy of the document. The Patient Advice & Liaison Service wrote to me to say they were sorry to hear about what had happened and had passed on my letter to Women’s Health who would respond. That was four years ago…I’m still waiting.
Image from Pixabay