Reader Post

As part of this blog, we invite readers who have experienced pregnancy loss or stillbirth to share their stories with us. You can submit your story on our Share Your Experiences page.

We’re very grateful to this reader for getting in touch with her experience. Thank you, and we wish you all the best.

My story is of two losses.
In 2007 I had the life skills, experience and knowledge to bring up a child but at the time I had just returned from travelling (cut short by my knowledge of the pregnancy).  Without a job, home or support network around me the baby’s father and I decided to terminate the pregnancy.  I am resolutely pro-choice that women should decide what happens to their own bodies.  My decision at the time was the right one but the profound sense of loss was huge.  Unfortunately in Guernsey doctors (£50 fee) can refuse on their own personal grounds to not support your wish to terminate.  I went to see a specialist who was rough, mean and emotionally hostile to my vulnerable and fragile knowledge of being pregnant when he examined me. To be able to terminate the pregnancy I had to travel to the UK, at the cost of the baby’s father and myself, as Guernsey doctors refuse to carry out terminations after 12 weeks.  I was just over 11 weeks when I found out I was pregnant, therefore by the time I had receive the consultants ‘second opinion’, it was too late.  I told few people other than those closest to me, travelling was difficult having only had a termination less than 24 hour earlier to return to the Island.  That sense of loss still lingers today and when I did fall pregnant years later I often thought how old that child would be, the sense of loss will always be there and yes it still was the right but difficult choice.
In 2015, my husband and I had been married for four years.  We fell pregnant and waited for our first 12 week scan (at 14 weeks), we skipped down the hallway super excited as all the tests had been positive.  To say that it felt like the world imploded when we found out our baby did not have a heartbeat would not really do justice to us trying to fall pregnant for three years.  When the ultrasound technician held the sonogram to my belly she didn’t say anything.  Not for a long time and when she did she lacked any emotional intelligence.  We had to get a second opinion at another hospital across town.  When we got there the second sonographer confirmed that our baby had died at around 8 weeks old.  For 6 weeks I had been carrying our baby and there were no symptoms, side effects or inclinations that anything had gone wrong.  We soon learnt what silent miscarriage meant.  I decided that I wanted the foetus to be medically removed, rather than wait any longer as my body had no sense of normality even after 6 weeks.  Because it was Thursday we had to wait till the Sunday for an appointment.  Those four days were like a living hell.  Waking up crying knowing our baby was dead was one of the worse waiting experiences of my life.  There was little anybody could say to comfort us.  Insensitive people would say ‘it’s common’, ‘at least now you can eat blue cheese’, ‘did you not take vitamins?’ were all horrific to respond to.  The insensitive nature of people only grew.
At the hospital arriving on time we waiting four hours for the operation, in those four hours the sister came in and said ‘are you here for the womb cleaning?’.  I was shocked, I didn’t even reply, it was so brazenly insensitive and repulsive what she had said.  Signing the forms for our baby to be cremated on the Thursday the NHS then lost these whilst I had my operation on the Sunday.  When I went to be discharged from hospital the O&G consultant asked how long I needed as a sick note and when I said two weeks she told me one was ‘enough’ and gave the back the form IN ANOTHER PATIENT’S NAME. I was given no antibiotics after the op so went on to get an infection.  The sickening lack of care we received at NHS Wexham Park Hospital was horrendous.
When I later went to the doctor as I knew I had an infection I asked to please be taken off of the midwife calling list so that I could please not be reminded of my loss at each missed appointment.  Again this was not done so the midwife calls kept appearing as did the 3 day health visitor checks for when our baby would have been due.  It was shambolic.
The emotional support from people was really 50:50.  Those that did decide they wanted to ‘help’ made horrifically insensitive comments, others pretended like it had never happened, few genuinely knew through first experience how raw grieving for an unborn baby was.  We were offered no counselling or support, my husband had an enormous sense of loss too, we both cried many times a day.  Good news followed not so long after and we found ourselves pregnant.  The service and support we received from the NHS when we moved to Hampshire was profoundly different – caring staff that spent huge amounts of time quelling our phobias and prior traumas of our NHS treatment in Berkshire.  We will never forget our first baby, the trauma of our treatment in Berkshire or the care and attention we received in Hampshire.  Gardening and planting new things, I went to a garden centre not long after we lost our first baby, the grape vine, olive tree and snowdrop bulbs all remind me of our first baby at different times of year.

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