Wednesday, 18 June 2014

My Three Babies - Miscarriage Care



Joseph is an only child.

But I've been pregnant three times.

First miscarriage I had wasn't, as far as miscarriages go, that traumatic, in a strange sense. My then husband was unstable and violent, the baby wasn't planned, and he was furious. I spontaneously miscarried. My marriage ended. I was traumatised by it all. The miscarriage was just one brick in a wall of trauma. At the time, it hurt like hell, don't get me wrong, it all did.

My second miscarriage was deeply traumatic. With a new partner, the situation and timing wasn't entirely ideal, and I began miscarrying in the doctor's office having my pregnancy confirmed. This was in Australia and I was a private patient and it was sorted, a D and C and sent home. I had privacy, dignity and warmth. And $1000 shortfall in anaesthetist bills for 20 minutes work, but that's another story.

When I fell pregnant the third time I spoke to my midwife about my miscarriages "oh because they happened in Australia they didn't really happen."

I'm sorry what? I was hurt, scared, upset. And actually in retrospect, I should have been angry.


The thing is, this is largely indicative of how miscarriage can be handled in this country. Practitioners often don't know what to say. "Oh well at least you know you can get pregnant" one said to me. "Well you can go home and try again".

Even worse huge mistakes can be made, catastrophic things happen in miscarriage care that just shouldn't, that are too painful to even write about. 

To a medical professional a miscarriage may just a be a collection of cells, a fetus, but to the vast majority of women a miscarriage is a baby. You already have hopes, dreams and fears for that little being.
I later learned that actually, the fact I had two miscarriages and then early onset pre eclampsia could have been significant.  It's another of the reasons I wouldn't try to have another baby. I couldn't handle a miscarriage as much as I couldn't really handle another NICU stay.

The state of miscarriage care in this country is shocking. That's why I'm joining the Mumsnet campaign to pledge to improve miscarriage care by 2020.

Compassion, counselling, timely care, "caring care", care with real heart as well as good sound evidence base, is absolutely essential.

Miscarriage is brutal. Your body's betrayal, failing what it is meant to do. Don't let the system fail us the same way.

Please follow the link to see how you can help. 


8 comments:

  1. Very eloquent and very true. Having feet in both camps as a nurse and having experienced loss in very similar circumstances, you are spot on with your observations about how bad some staff are are having difficult conversations with basically grieving and bereft people. I too had my fair share of awkward comments, the worst being the nurse who misread my notes completely and thought I had 3 children already and maybe the loss of this one 'wouldn't be missed'..... I was too numb with emotion to correct her but when I saw her flush scarlet later when the older and wiser nurse had hugged me so tightly and literally cried with me about my loss of my 4th lost soul

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  2. Deeply angered that you would have been told your previous miscarriages didn't count because they weren't in the UK, you still have the same body and you are the same woman so what does it matter if it happened in another country? My mother had 3 miscarriages before having me and has told me how she was left in a hospital bed in the same room as new mothers with their newborns whilst she was left with no baby when no longer pregnant. It's sad to hear that over the 30 or so years of this happening to her very little has changed.

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  3. Well put Kylie. I have only 1 miscarriage. I remember it like it was yesterday. They would be nearly 2 years old . but God had other plans. I remember them taking blood and urine which would confirm my heartbreak and them looking at my pee in the pot and saying oh you have blood in it can you do another one. To which I snapped with disbelief course there's blood in it. I'm losing my baby. They scuttled away obviously realising there mistake. No scan for 48 he's unit busy with real mums. But no apology. No curtious nurse comforting me. Shocking really

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  4. It's a huge issue. When I had my emergency scan at 27 weeks it was painful seeing all the happy parents and I didn't know whether my baby would survive. I am not sure what the answer is but a portable ultrasound that goes to the mum in a quiet room doesn't seem much to ask. They use portable ultrasounds in NICU all the time

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  5. I was incredulous. And slightly worried, because I was only 8 weeks or so then and you can have investigations after 3 miscarriages, so I was terrified that if I had another, I wouldn't be able to have investigations until I had 3 UK miscarriages.

    I'm so sorry for your mum. It's a loss that never goes away, and unbelievable that we haven't moved on as much as we would like to think.

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  6. One in four women have had a miscarriage I think the statistic goes, so I guess a lot of staff have had their own story so depersonalise it maybe to get them through? Just a thought. It's still taboo and we don't talk about it much as a society.

    I am so sorry for your losses, and you too Laura

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  7. And I am sorry for your loss, I remember this well. Sending you a huge hug

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  8. I've lost 6 babies, so I understand your anger, hurt, grief and loss.
    As a way of dealing with our grief, we asked God the sex of our babies and then we named them all. It helped us to given them an identity.
    I have a photo on the wall of all their names written in the sand at the beach.
    Hugs to you, Kylie xx

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