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M is for Memory and Miscarriage

06/01/2011

This is an honest account of a miscarriage I suffered at 21 weeks and 5 days. I’m speaking from my heart and I would prefer you not to read it if you think it may upset you or affect you in any way. Tomorrow normal posts will be resumed, today I have to get this out of my system. Thank you for understanding.

I’m linking up with Jenny Matlock’s Alphabe Thursday where you can find many other M’s to discover

2006. Paul and I had been trying for a few months to get pregnant, I was due to be 40 at the end of April and aware that time was on a countdown. I had been off the pill for six months and luckily for us around the 6 month mark it happened. We were on holiday in Italy for my son’s 18th birthday at the time.

We came home with this massive secret so excited but decided to wait a while before telling anyone. The norm for spilling the beans is the three month mark but we were bursting with excitement and on a family break to Ilfracombe, Devon we decided to let the family know. We were having meals together as we were all in the same house and I was avoiding alcohol, surely they would twig?

They were all very pleased for us but I couldn’t help but feel for one sister in law plagued with polycystic ovaries and trying for years. I know our news upset her as she discovered another person was pregnant and she still wasn’t but time was running out for me and I had to grab my last chance. Inside my soul I prayed deeply that she too would have her baby soon as I felt a thief getting what she wanted so desperately.

The pregnancy was going very well, I was commuting to London daily to work at the Italian Tourist Board and evenings and weekends were spent relaxing and enjoying the feel of my swelling belly. It was probably around the 13 week mark that I started to bleed slightly which freaked me out no end. I had had no problems with my two older children’s pregnancies and couldn’t understand why? It seemed like a terrible omen but after visits to both my midwife and my GP I was told it was nothing to worry about and quite common. I could only sit and wait and pray.

I noticed the more active I was the faster the bleed so I slowed right down. I stopped lifting things and Paul took over all the housework while I lazed on the sofa.

At 15 weeks or 16, I’m sorry my memory fails the exact timings, I was upstairs in bed watching Friends. It was the final episode, do you remember the one where there is a bomb or a huge commotion in the A&E? Bodies everywhere, well my memory is sketchy here too as I missed it. Just as we were getting to the end, I felt something down below and ran to the loo. Something was coming out and I was afraid it was the baby. A blood clot the size of my hand slipped into the toilet and I was frightened like I’d never been before. I called Paul and I collected the blood clot in a Tupperware box – just in case it could help the doctors know what was happening to me and together we made our way to A&E both of us tense and worried and me ,strangely enough, a bit annoyed that I’d missed the ending of Friends(?) The weirdest thought to have at such a personal dramatic moment.

I was given a thorough check, they laid me on a bed in a quiet room away from the main ward. More blood, more clots and I cried, clutching my tummy, looking at Paul and pleading to him, ‘I don’t want to lose our baby.’ ‘Stop it.’ as if he could magically take control of destiny. They bought a doppler in and listened to my tummy, I was warned by the lady using the device that she was not trained and the baby was still small she may not hear anything. I suppose they have to cover themselves these days but I nodded eager to hear a heartbeat….and there it was. I can’t tell you my relief. I wept once again this time the tears releasing me from the tension that had steadily been building up over the past couple of weeks. I was taken to a ward and once settled Paul went home.

I stayed in hospital a couple of days, I was scanned and I discovered I was expecting a healthy little girl, the problem seemed to be coming from the placenta, there was an area that was detached and that was causing the bleeding and clots as it tried to heal itself constantly. I got a medical certificate and stayed home from work, on the one hand happy to be able to focus on my child and on the other guilty at leaving my colleague in the lurch with our shared job.

The pregnancy continued and I got bigger and bigger and with each day that passed I got more and more confident that maybe we had just had a glitch that was now over but the bleeding never stopped. I had turned 40 without alcohol and many friends had travelled from Italy to celebrate me which I was enormously grateful for.

It was at 21 weeks and 3 days at dinner with friends in a gorgeous country pub with a mad hatter owner that I realised I quite fancied a glass of wine – unheard of for me in pregnancy where my favourite liquid becomes as appealing as drinking petrol. We stayed the night there and I could feel a few tugs and pulls at my tummy, but nothing too drastic. I slept and in the morning whilst bathing I could ‘feel’ something at the top of my cervix. I tried to feel more and tug at the ‘clot’ but it wasn’t coming away.

‘Oh well, it’ll come away in time.’ and off we went to spend the day at the beach.

I felt dreadful and family have since told me I looked terrible so we left earlier than planned, tucking me up in bed for a good night’s sleep in the hope it would all settle. More tummy pains but my exhaustion sent me into a deep sleep. I was aware of Paul getting ready for work and after he had left the house I got up to use the bathroom, on wiping I couldn’t fail to see a tiny foot hanging out of me. In a mad rush, I called Paul from my mobile phone who thankfully hadn’t caught the coach yet. I urged him to come home immediately and as I struggled from the bedroom to the bathroom I felt my baby slip further out. I stood in the bath and caught her in my hands shaking and in shock.

My practical side took over. Tupperware box – I knew she was no longer with us and unsaveable at 21 weeks and 5 days. I asked Paul to cut the long placenta with scissors and tidied myself up as I knew I had yet to pass the placenta. Paul called the hospital and they told us to come straight in. It was the quietest, eeriest journey we have ever made and the outcome, well we were no longer expecting and our lives and dreams had been dashed in one foul swoop.

Because she was so close to the 24 weeks mark we had to arrange for her funeral, we were given the option of naming her, I didn’t then and shortly after I regretted that decision taken in haste, still in shock and trying to be practical. Elise is her name in my heart and she still lives there and the strangest coincidence I want to share with you is she was born on the 17th July 2006 – two years later on exactly the same day and more or less the same time our twin girls came into the world and that ladies and gentlemen is sooo right it makes me smile and shed a tear at the same time.

I found enormous help and support in the time following my loss at Baby Centre and Baby World where there are forums with wonderful ladies who have all suffered the same loss and help each other to come out of the misery. I made a lot of friends who are still on my Facebook account and I ‘see’ enjoying happier times. I also found many answers on the Miscarriage Association

I apologise if I made you sad. I am wracked with guilt for putting her in a Tupperware box, but I wasn’t thinking straight, for not naming her that day and for not carrying the pregnancy full term. Shortly after my loss a story hit the media of a lady who gave birth at 22 weeks – two days more and the baby survived.

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47 Comments leave one →
  1. Jean permalink
    06/01/2011 2:14 pm

    I knew that was going to upset me but read it anyway. I’ve never miscarried and that account shocked me. I can relate to the indescribable pain of losing a child though. Big hug coming over the t’interwebs x

    • 06/01/2011 3:52 pm

      Big hugs to you too, I think my thoughts and memory were triggered by the recent murder of Jo Yeats and thinking what her mother must be going through.

  2. Tracy Hepp-Walker permalink
    06/01/2011 2:15 pm

    Hi Marie,
    I remember your story so well of course. Our lives were at similar points when we met online at Babyworld and there was a happy ending eventually (you got your twins and I gave up and accepted it), but I like you will never ever forget the daughter I lost. Elise – a lovely name. I enjoy reading about your busy life and fully understand why you needed to get this off your chest and into the open. Take care and keep writing.
    Tracy (heppwalker)

    • 06/01/2011 3:53 pm

      Thasnk Tracy, it’s nice to see you over here too. I’m happy to see you doing so well and enjoying your life – big hugs xx

  3. 06/01/2011 2:24 pm

    You’re right – this was a hard read so thankyou for the warning at the start. I read it anyway even though I knew it would be tough.
    Firstly, whatever terminology they use, I would not call that a miscarriage. You have lost a baby and the grief needs to be treated as seriously as that. Secondly, please don’t apologise for writing this post. This is why we blog. We need to share these things.
    I can’t imagine how difficult that was for you. How hard it was to pull yourself through dealing with that. It is a memory that will always cause you pain because you have lost a child in what was a horrendous circumstance. My little boy was born premature at 26 weeks exactly and fought his way through 30 days of life before losing the battle. I know how much it hurts and that although you cope with it, the pain never goes away.
    I’m glad you have found support and I’m glad you are talking about it.

    • 06/01/2011 3:57 pm

      “Funnily” enough if you don’t make 24 weeks it’s classed as a miscarriage and I suppose that has stuck in my mind when thinking of her. I am so sorry to hear of your loss and can imagine the pain you still have when reading an article like mine. We went on to endure another two miscarriages around the 8 week mark before falling with the twins. We were just about to give up when they arrived. Thanks for commenting

  4. Hannah permalink
    06/01/2011 2:24 pm

    I also knew that would upset me but read anyway. You’re so strong to be able to write about it. An inspiration.

    I, too, have miscarried. I was 19 at the time, and struggled to grasp the concept of being pregnant. I look back now and question my motives, but I arranged for a termination. I think I got myself so worked up, that my psychological anguish translated into the physical side of things.

    I remember sitting in my boyfriends room, with him and his brother. I was 12 weeks. My termination was arranged for the following week. I felt a huge stomach twang, so I left his house and drove home. It was there that the miscarriage happened. On the loo. I didn’t know what to do, so I did nothing. I didn’t go to the hospital. i didn’t tell my mum. I was so scared.

    Fast forward a few years, and I fall pregnant with my daughter. The miscarriage, and lack of care I sought for myself, flooded back. What if my earlier decisions affected this pregnancy? What if my womb wasn’t OK? So many what ifs.

    Luckily, my daughter was born at full term and super healthy. I wouldn’t change a thing. And that makes me smile.

    Thank you for writing this post. I think you’re a strong lady to be able to do so, and you’ve helped me to recount my experience, and I’m sure there are plenty of other mums who you will also help by doing this.

    Big hugs x

    • 06/01/2011 4:00 pm

      I want to hug you, you poor thing going through that alone at only 19. I can’t tell you how pleased I am to hear of your happy ending. I know only too well the doubts and worries you have in further pregnancies and that is why the forums were such a help to me. I shared those worries with many other ladies in the same boat as me. It helped

      • 06/01/2011 8:50 pm

        I can imagine how much it helped you. At the time, I didn’t know of such things and chose (naively) to deal with it on my own.

        In a way, it has made me stronger though, and I wouldn’t be the person I am today if I chose a different way of dealing with it, I don’t think.

        x

  5. 06/01/2011 2:36 pm

    I have no words for this. So sorry you had to go through such a loss.

    And so glad you have your twin girls to comfort you every day.

    =)

    • 06/01/2011 4:00 pm

      Thank you Sue. They really are the light of my life and such a wonderful gift after so much bad luck

  6. Alessandra permalink
    06/01/2011 2:37 pm

    Oh my dear Marianne, I remember full well the deep sadness we felt when the news of your terrible miscarriage and of the horror of the circumstances in which it happened reached us here in the office. We knew how much you and Paul wanted a baby, we knew the joy and hope that you felt at falling pregnant, we could only immagine the despair and pain of loosing your little girl.
    I’m so grateful that your strength and determination to give love to another child have been rewarded and blessed by the double arrival of Bessie and Alice! Please don’t feel guilty about the little one who didn’t survive, I’m sure she knew she was wanted and loved.
    Lots of love xxx

    • 06/01/2011 4:02 pm

      Thanks Alessandra, you were all there for me back then and I will NEVER forget that xxx

  7. 06/01/2011 2:40 pm

    I miscarried too before I had my twins, and I remember the fear and the overwhelming sense of helplessness and grief.
    Your story is so beautifully written that I had to comment. Yet again your writing has touched me – thank you.

    • 06/01/2011 4:03 pm

      Thanks Jo, for coming by and commenting. I think we’ve talked before about mc. It is devastating and to bring it out into the open makes it, hopefully, easier to talk about. There are too many ladies out there suffering in silence xx

  8. 06/01/2011 3:06 pm

    My miscarriage happened at nine weeks, and though it was still in the early stages, the shock and sadness I felt was very real.

    My sister miscarried at 21 weeks, and I went to the hospital with her and her husband… she actually had to deliver her little tiny baby boy, Liam Patrick. It was heartbreaking. Her three other children kept her focused though, and three years later, we still think of him often – especially on his “birthday,” which was St. Patrick’s Day.

    Thank you for sharing such a sad memory… so many people share similar experiences, and understand your pain.

    • 06/01/2011 4:08 pm

      Just because you lost at 9 weeks doesn’t make it any less or more painful than anyone else. The minute you discover you are pregnant you have a date, you have dreams, you start to plan and think ahead and then from one day to the next it’s all taken away. It takes an awful lot of strength for anoyone to come to terms with that and accept it. We went on to endure 2 more miscarriages at 8 weeks and although not as dramatic as Elise they were equally disappointing and painful.
      I’m so sorry to hear of your sister’s plight too and it’s lovely to celebrate Liam Patrick every year

  9. taylorsoutback permalink
    06/01/2011 4:32 pm

    Your ability to put into written words is all part of the journey – years ago one never shared all the feelings and we were told to move on and “forget.” Our first son was born 2 months early & was with us for 10 days. When he was gone I was basically told to “get it over it – there will be other children.” That was 37 years ago and those words still haunt me. We were blessed with a very healthy son 3 years later and he is the miracle in our lives. Each child, however brief they may be with us is a gift and is a part of us. How could we ever forget?
    Thank you for sharing.

    • 07/01/2011 10:40 am

      It’s dreadful to think how women were treated years ago, the harshness and misunderstanding of what was such a harrowing time. I’m so sorry to hear your story and completely understand you can never forget. Thank you for sharing

  10. 06/01/2011 5:17 pm

    That’s certainly a very sad story, but I think you acted right you shouldn’t blame yourself for anything. Of course you will never forget, but time heals everything.

    • 07/01/2011 10:46 am

      You’re right about time healing everything, you’re right about never forgetting, I accept I was acting out of shock and being practical sometimes I just wish I had done differently but I can’t go back and change that so it remains a memory. Thank you for commenting

  11. sally permalink
    06/01/2011 7:14 pm

    YOU MADE ME CRY…SO HAPPY YOU HAVE EACH OTHER AND YOU GIRLS XXX

  12. 06/01/2011 7:26 pm

    Thank you for writing this, I hope you feel a tiny bit better for getting it out. I am so sorry for your loss. (((you))) x

    • 07/01/2011 10:04 am

      Thank you Sandy. I do feel better having written it down and I’m also happy to have dedicated a post to little Elise at long last.

  13. 06/01/2011 7:29 pm

    Wow what a tremendous story. I work for neonatologists and am constantly overwhelmed with stories like yours– some that end well and others that don’t. I have such tremendous respect for you and other mothers who have had this dealt to them.

    • 07/01/2011 10:07 am

      ..and we parents have enormous respect for all the good hard work you guys do in helping to save and look after our little ones at such a difficult time, without you there would be a lot more stories like mine so thank you and carry on the good work x

  14. 06/01/2011 8:22 pm

    Big hugs to you and thank you for sharing, I know it probably wasn’t easy to do it and I hope you feel some relief having it ‘out there’ and for us to support you. I feel very sad for you right now but I also feel like cheering about the twins being born on the same date because it is a lovely tribute to Elise that your three little girls have the same birthday. Jen xxx

    • 07/01/2011 10:09 am

      Isn’t it just perfect? It means I will NEVER forget her and although I never mention her or dwell on her story on the girl’s birthday in public, it’s there in my heart for me and for her. Thank goodness the girls came along or my blog could be quite different to what it is today. Thanks Jen xx

  15. 06/01/2011 8:29 pm

    You took such care in your words. I felt your pain in this loss despite never having gone through it myself.

    • 07/01/2011 10:10 am

      I’m sorry on one side but I’m also happy I managed to get the experience over well enough to create that emotion in your heart. Thasnk for commenting

  16. 06/01/2011 8:39 pm

    Thank you for sharing something so personal for you to write. I suffered a miscarriage at 9 and a half weeks and that was hard enough but losing a baby after the “Safe” stage of 12 weeks must be extremely difficult to handle. And how wonderful about the twins and their birthdate!

    • 07/01/2011 10:48 am

      Yes, the fact the twins share the same date kind of made everything ‘all right’ again, I was elated at their safe arrival and stunned by the coincidence, it did heal a lot of wounds that coincidence. I am sorry to hear of your loss, it’s such a dreadful thing to go through and I hope you had many lovely people around you to restore your confidence in life again. Big hugs

  17. Dan F permalink
    06/01/2011 11:16 pm

    Hi Mari, very brave of you to write this. Having you and Paul as close friends makes it harder to read and remember, yet easier to understand how you both coped. We’ve shared similar such experiences and have been able to help each other get through them despite the anguish and pain. Pray our collective bad luck has run it’s course now………..

    • 07/01/2011 10:59 am

      Cheers to that Dan! I remember your own TTTS twin loss only too well as in date it was so close to ours, again coincidence would have it that at the right time you also went on to have a healthy twin pregnancy and I have the joy of watching them grow … and keep you up at night 🙂

  18. 07/01/2011 1:39 am

    This happened to me at 6 months. I knew the very minute it happened. I knew the very minute my little boy died. I made an appointment with the OB and he made arrangements for a d & C. By the time I had the procedure, there was only necrotic tissue left, but enought stuff to know that it was a boy. I had two boys at the time, and obnoxious people reminded me of that. It didn’t make me feel any better, of course. Nothing does. I later had my third boy, but I will never forget Albert, the son that was not to be.

    • 07/01/2011 10:30 am

      Oh Judy, I am so sorry to hear that and to have reached 6 months when you think it’s all going to be fine. It must have been a harrowing experience for you all. Albert is such a lovely name too. Talking of obnoxious people, there are so many around and sometimes I wonder if it’s ignorance and lack of depth that bring them to say such hurtful things at such a sad time. Big hugs to you too xx

  19. 07/01/2011 2:19 am

    Firstly, HUGE hugs, it must have taken A LOT of ….courage (that’s the only word I can think of) to share this very moving part of your life. Words fail me (and THAT usually takes a lot lol) at the grief you and your husband must have gone through. Thank you for sharing this. xxx

  20. kathryn (ex ourprivateblog) permalink
    07/01/2011 9:23 am

    There are no words xxx

  21. 07/01/2011 1:27 pm

    I am so sorry for your loss. Thank you for sharing your story, I really admire your courage in doing so. I know grief never really goes away, but I hope it has helped to write it down. Virtual hug, and congratulations on your beautiful twin girls.
    ~M

  22. 08/01/2011 6:08 am

    That was such a sad thing that happened to you and a loss I am sure you will never forget. Thank you for sharing it and I think you deserve to take a day here and there and just recount her little short life. I bet Elise would have been just fine with Tupperware!

  23. 08/01/2011 4:36 pm

    You have nothing to apologize for. You write from your heart and from real life, which we had no control over of what would happen. I never had a miscarriage, so reading your Raw post, it gives me some understandings on what you’ve went through. Elise is a beautiful name, and she will be in your heart forever.

    I’m also glad that you have your twin girls now!

  24. 08/01/2011 11:23 pm

    I can’t even imagine. I hope maybe putting things in words will help lift the guilt off of your heart.

  25. 10/01/2011 10:25 pm

    What a heartwrenching post this is.

    I’ve been through that guilt and sorrow and I’m sorry you have suffered so much with this.

    Please let go of the guilt. You did nothing wrong. You only loved and wanted a baby.

    Forgiving yourself is the first step for finding acceptance of this tragic loss.

    I hope the telling starts the healing for you.

    Sending you a hug and prayer.

    Thank you for sharing this.

    • 11/01/2011 3:17 pm

      Thanks for coming by and taking the time to read, back on form for next week – I promise

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