Over the last two lockdowns I have been struggling with my depression and anxiety and just the overwhelming feeling of what has happened this year. My counsellor thought if I talked about my miscarriage with you guys then this might help so here we are.
So this is my story about how my baby who we named Robin and how they came into my life and how I am dealing with the grief.
December 2019, I found out I was expecting and despite it being a total surprise it was very much welcomed. I found out in the A&E department of my local hospital when I was admitted with ovary pains thought to be a cyst. I suppose I should of known that the pain wasn’t right as soon as I found out I was pregnant but the nurses said they think it’s nothing. It is your womb stretching, your body adjusting, it will be fine.
I wish it had been fine..
I saw our bubba now known as Robin on the screen and they looked healthy and with a good heartbeat. The man doing the scan said it looked okay and it wasn’t ectopic which was their main concern. I started to imagine a future with them. I started thinking how we would tell Ethan and the dad’s kids and how we would tell our families.
Early Days I know but big dreams and I can’t pretend I wasn’t excited.
I allowed myself to dream of the happy family, the big future, the normal life I thought I wanted so badly.
I was told to come back a week later for a scan and just to date the pregnancy properly and do all the checks etc as by this time I would be 8 weeks. I had the same scan with Ethan due to not knowing I was pregnant, so didn’t think anything of it.
Within the week I had notified work (due to heavy lifting), seen the midwife team at my doctors and finally allowed myself to believe this was real. I was happy but of course a little scared. I was more scared that Robin would be early like Ethan who was born at 32 weeks. I hadn’t even let the thought of anything going wrong before that point cross my mind. I now realise that until it happens to you, there is this feeling of disbelief that anything can go wrong or will go wrong. You don’t even realise that everything can change within minutes until that fear is brought into your life.
I returned to the hospital on the Friday for my scan and I had brought along my best friend as Robin’s dad was unavailable. It felt like it was going to be a good day but I was scared, anxious and just not relaxed. I felt like something was wrong, off even but I had no idea what. I was OK until the scan started, the nerves, the panic rose and I knew something was wrong.
Whilst she was scanning I was given the awful news that nobody wants to hear of “there is no heartbeat”. I didn’t believe her, I argued with the scan lady, she asked me to go to the toilet and come back and she would check again. There was no compassion in her voice or even care, she was like a robot with the bad news. She tried to tell me there was no heartbeat the week before when there was and I saw it with my own two eyes. I remember thinking how can you be so cruel and emotionless.
I remember walking to the toilets, they were just down the hall. I was holding in these big fat tears and wanting to vomit all at the same time. I knew I couldn’t crumble until I was somewhere private. I slumped myself again the door of the toilets so hard it made a thud. I fell to the floor and cried so hard I wanted to throw up and die all in about 60 seconds. When I felt like I couldn’t get anymore tears out I got up and walked back into the scan room. My face was all blotchy from tears and my best friend was sat there with no emotion on her face as she didn’t know what to say or do. I just wanted a hug but the lady demanded I got back on the chair/table/ultrasound bit.
The silence was deafening, and it made it worse. I wanted to cry, scream and shout but the silence was so much worse. I can still see the room in my head, the smell, the colours and the lighting, it is the worst nightmare.
The next few weeks were a blur if I’m honest. So many blood tests for hormone levels – which kept rising not falling, weekly scans, early pregnancy unit visits and lots of sleeping. I had to pretend life was normal and I don’t know how I kept that image up. I did school run and chatting to other mums, I worked on my social media posts for my blog. I remember being sat here hugging my stomach and hoping each scan would be different and reading everyone’s stories online of hope and positivity.
I didn’t cry much as I still had to be mum and Christmas was coming up so I had to act “normal” for Ethan. I should of cried more and screamed more and really sat down with my feelings if I’m honest now I look back.
I couldn’t of got through it without Maggy and Victoria – my best friends, from baby sitting to taking me to appointments to just listening to me. Even now they are the ones who remember dates and just listen to me when I can’t cope much more. I made a new friend along the way too with this journey someone who has experienced the same and she has made it easier to talk as she understands. I never thought talking about it would make it easier but it has.
I remember not wanting to believe that it was happening and at each scan I thought the heartbeat would just be there and that Robin was playing games. I googled and googled and only read the positive outcome stories.
I finally had an appointment at the EPU and they gave me two options, either tablets or an operation. I chose the operation as I wanted my body to have a chance to do it naturally. It was booked for a weeks time roughly, it was the 27th December 2019. I had the choice of Christmas Eve but that wasn’t going to happen. I couldn’t ruin Christmas for any of us.
Christmas was a blur but Ethan loved it, he had a great time full of family and presents and food. I tried to keep it normal for him and we told him I was going to work on the 27th so he didn’t realise I was going into hospital.
I had to wake up early on the 27th and get the bus to the local hospital. It was a cold morning and I remember just feeling like I was going through the motions and not really engaging in what I was doing. I went into hospital alone as everyone was either with family or working including Robin’s Dad. I told everyone that it was fine but in all honesty I regret it. I wish someone had been there by my side especially when I came round from the operation. It was very lonely and emotional and as much as the nurses were amazing, they weren’t family.
I don’t do well with general anaesthetic and I warned the nurses of this before I got put under. I was so cold from nerves that I was shaking and they covered me in loads of blankets, I remember feeling the nurses stroking my face as I was counting backwards. When I came round I was crying so hard they had to give me oxygen and apparently I had been crying like this for 45 minutes but nobody could get me to wake up. I woke up feeling empty and angry with the world.
I wanted someone to hug me tell me it will be okay and it wasn’t my fault Robin had died. The nurse said they would find out why Robin had died but of course they didn’t. It was just natural causes and it was just another thing. Nobody seemed to care that it was my baby that had died.
I felt like I had to pretend everything was okay, my partner picked me up and we went for food and he took me home. I felt like I had to be normal straight away, that I wasn’t allowed to grieve and that I just had to get on with it. I tried to do my washing, my house work, just be “normal” almost straight away. I should of been grieving.
I quite quickly went into an angry, upset state and I took it out on everyone. I wouldn’t talk to anyone for days, wouldn’t eat properly and I couldn’t move off the sofa without pain. I would snap at anyone who spoke to me and I just wanted to die. I had got into such a bad place that I couldn’t see a way out of it.
Oh the pain, it was the worst feeling I have ever had. Take a period and times it by 1000 and it still wasn’t enough. Painkillers weren’t touching it, and I was under the influence that this was normal. I was sent home with no paperwork explaining what to expect and I was told just to take paracetamol. I got some oral morphine and it didn’t touch the pain but it helped me sleep. I believed I was being punished for failing and that the pain wouldn’t go away ever.
It got to New Years Eve and the pain was horrendous. It was vomit educing pain that wouldn’t leave and that is when I asked my local mum’s group if this was “normal”. I was soon told I shouldn’t still be in pain and to call NHS direct and get advice or go to A&E. It was NYE and in my mind there was no way I was going to hospital so I stuck with the pain. I got myself up to bed and eventually fell asleep for maybe an hour max. I think I saw every hour on the clock throughout the night. I still wouldn’t call an ambulance but I knew I had no other choice.
New Years Day 2020.
I can’t move and I call for advice from the NHS helpline. They advise getting to A&E but of course I can’t. I call them back and get say they will get me an ambulance. I get myself downstairs to the sofa and I wait 8 hours for my ambulance. They arrived and didn’t know my case, they thought they were there for a child. Once I had explained they agreed I needed to come in and that was my FIRST ride in an ambulance for myself. It wasn’t blue lights but it meant I could get there without using public transport. I couldn’t of got the bus even if I wanted too because I was doubled over in pain.
I remember the paramedics talking to me about loosing Robin and how I had Ethan at home and how life is crazy unpredictable. They weren’t a local crew and they had been called in from over an hour away for my call. I felt so guilty and yet so grateful for the NHS. They made me smile for the first time in a week as they spoke about random stuff that had happened that day.
I will be forever grateful for those two paramedics.
I got admitted back to the ward I had been on at the start of the this journey and the nurses came and said hello and asked how I was. I remember explaining that we had lost Robin and I cried and they held me until I could catch my breath again.
I had the bed next to the window and I just stared out at the Christmas tree when I was awake and I remember thinking this year can’t get any worse. It came to light that the operation wasn’t fully successful and I had to have the tablet option too. There was also a minor infection which they gave me tablets for. I was in for less than 48 hours and again sent home with no aftercare.
I felt better pretty quickly after that second visit and I returned to work which was hard. I had to explain to a lot of people that I had the lost baby and that was hard. I got asked a few times when I was due as well as they hadn’t heard I had lost the baby so that was hard. They never meant it horribly just rumour mills and nobody had corrected them.
I didn’t allow myself time to get down or upset as I felt like I couldn’t. I felt grateful for Ethan and I was under the impression I couldn’t get upset over a loss so early. I was wrong.
When the pandemic hit, I crashed to rock bottom as it was too much time spent alone with my thoughts and not distracted. I will admit that in the last year I have tried to kill myself twice.
Within the six months I have found help from Petals which is a charity who help with loss. They set me up with a lovely counsellor and talking about the events and the loss has helped. My doctors didn’t listen to me when I said I didn’t want to be on anti-depressants and they didn’t listen to my cry for help. Petals and my friends have saved my life this year, more than they probably know and I am lucky for that.
It is now 27th December 2020 and I am sat at home writing this for you. I have lit a candle for Robin and I will go lay flowers at their spot in the woods later. I miss them and they will always be my favourite what if.
We chose Robin as we have seen a robin every day since they passed and if it’s not a robin it’s a rainbow.
Miscarriage and baby loss is hard and not spoken about enough, I want to change this. I don’t know how yet but I don’t want anyone else feeling as lonely and lost as I did.
If it wasn’t for people listening to me I wouldn’t of seen this year come to an end. I probably wouldn’t of even seen my 27th birthday and that is a scary thought.
Please reach out to someone if you are struggling I have left some details for charities below.
Mind – Mind | Mind, the mental health charity – help for mental health problems