Reader Post: Georgina’s Story

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 Georgina for getting in touch with her experience. Thank you, Georgina, and we wish you all the best.

I lost my baby boy Saul at 22 weeks in November 2016. At the 20 week scan they found heart abnormalities and this was confirmed by a specialist as tricuspid artresia, a condition where a valve in the heart does not form and this causes half the heart not to develop. We were given options but due to the severity of the problems we chose to terminate the pregnancy as it seemed the most loving thing we could do for our baby.

I had to have an injection to put him to sleep which I found the most traumatic moment of the whole ordeal and I was induced three days later. I was given a private bereavement suite in the hospital and the care we received from everyone there was amazing.

We had him blessed in the hospital and then went home to plan his burial. I couldn’t face anyone so we decided on a private burial with just myself and my husband.
We had ongoing support from the hospital bereavement Midwife and councillor and I’m still in touch with them 12 months later.

Three months after loosing Saul I had the courage to go to a sands meeting and this was like a lightbulb going off, other people were feeling exactly how I was and no one looked at me like I was crazy when I said what I was feeling and how low I had got.

A lot of friends didn’t understand or know what to say so kept their distance. I had a handful of friends who continued to keep in touch but I have lost a lot of what I thought were close friends as they just didn’t understand why a month or two later I wasn’t back to normal.

What I’ve realised is that the only people who can truly understand the emotions and pain that you are going through are people who have been through it themselves and those who work with these people everyday.

Having Saul has changed me completely, I have learnt so much about myself and have made changes to my life that I would never have had the courage to do before I lost him. It has also brought me and my husband closer together, we had real challenges in the first few months but we made it through together stronger than ever.

I would urge anyone going through this to get as much help and support as you can, it’s the most difficult time in my life by far but it does get better and makes you realise what’s important in your life.

You can get in touch with Sands here, and further resources are available on our Useful Resources page.

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.

Reader Post: Jade’s Story

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 Jade for getting in touch with her experience. Thank you, Jade, and we wish you all the best.

This year in March (2018) my partner and I found out I was pregnant. The pregnancy itself was not planned but it was however a wanted pregnancy.
Neither of us had experienced any kind of pregnancy in our relationship or any others so we were clueless on what to expect. We told our families rather early on (around 8 weeks) and planned for our future with a baby. Unfortunately this wasn’t to be. At 10 weeks I began to bleed. Light at first which then became heavier. My doctor referred me to EPU and I had a scan. The scan didn’t show a heart beat and we were told that we needed to speak to a doctor.

The doctor we saw gave me a blood test to check HCG and asked me to return 2 days later for another for comparison.

I was very anxious for my results and counted the days for my next blood test, however on the day I was phoned by my doctor and told to go in for a scan not a blood test. I made sure my bladder was full and arrived at New Cross EPU for another scan. I waited for an hour to be seen and was taken into a small consultation room. My doctor apologised and said she had given me the wrong information – they wouldn’t be giving me a scan or a blood test today. I was confused and angry, The doctor informed me that this was in my best interest and that having a blood test would only make me anxious. I requested a second opinion but was turned away.

The next day I had heavier bleeding and clots. I called 111 and they referred me to a walk in centre. The doctor at the walk in was very sympathetic and sent me to the emergency room at the maternity ward. The emergency room at the maternity ward were less sympathetic and I saw a nurse who took down my symptoms and I waited for a doctor.

The doctor arrived and looked at some notes. It was the same doctor who refused to give me a blood test the previous day. She told me that she would not offer me any other advice other than to wait for 2 weeks to see if the pregnancy was successful. I was discharged and sent home.

I was not given any advice on what to expect from a miscarriage or that I would be in pain or pass any remains. I was not advised to keep any remains for inspection so at home the night I was sent away from hospital I lost my pregnancy alone and into my toilet. All of this on my 30th birthday.

I returned to the hospital 2 weeks later which showed that my pregnancy was all gone and the only advice I was offered was that my next period may be heavier or lighter than usual due to miscarriage. There was no mention of help or any leaflets given or the process for trying again. I was sent home and that was it.

My story does have a happy ending. I am currently 19 weeks pregnant and the support I have received from NHS is much better the second time around.

Reader Post: Charlotte’s Story

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 Charlotte Dawson, who blogs at The Mummy with Empty Arms, for getting in touch with her experience. Thank you, Charlotte, and we wish you all the best.

I have had three pregnancy losses, one in each trimester. Each one has been completely different but equally heart breaking.

My first pregnancy loss was at 8 weeks. Following going to A&E after having a small bleed, I was sent home with no information about what was going to happen to me. I remember having really severe cramps that kept on getting worse. I went to the toilet and then the pain subsided slightly. Looking back I realised what had happened, that I had passed my first baby in the toilet and flushed them away. That memory still plays on my mind today. I had support from friends and family afterwards but no help from my GP or the hospital.

My second pregnancy loss was at 16 weeks. My midwife couldn’t find a heart beat at a routine appointment. I was sent to triage in the maternity unit of Carlisle hospital. A lovely doctor and midwife looked after my husband and I whilst we had a scan to find out what happened. They needed to have further advice so a different doctor came in to look at the ultrasound screen. He simply commented “I think it’s obvious isn’t it.” There was no apology or empathy from him at all. Luckily, this was the only negative experience I had as the rest of the maternity team were phenomenal. I came back to Carlisle the next day where my husband and I were given the bereavement suite to stay in. The staff explained everything that would happen to me and the post mortem process as my husband and I had asked for one to be performed. I was induced in the morning and my son was delivered in the evening. We chose to only see him once and then we went home in the evening. The staff at the hospital were absolutely fantastic and gave us a memory box with our son’s blanket in. Our son was cremated after his post mortem and we chose not to have his ashes sent back to us. With hind sight I wish I had spent more time with him and asked for his ashes but I have to understand that we made those choices at a very difficult and confusing time for us.

After returning home from hospital, I was supported by my midwife, my bereavement midwife, family and friends. I was receiving counselling for my anxiety during my pregnancy and so this continued after my son had passed away. Once again, my boss was incredible and extremely supportive. I went back to work on a phased return after being off work for around 6 weeks. I knew I had a safety net and if I had any worries, I knew I could tell her and that she would support me. We received our son’s post mortem results around 10 weeks after he was born. Our consultant was fantastic, he explained the detailed report to us and was extremely kind and caring.

Unfortunately I recently had my third pregnancy loss at 35 weeks. Even though I had been monitored very closely by my midwife and the hospital, we found out that my daughter’s heart beat had stopped after being concerned about not feeling her move since the night before. She was delivered the next day by c-section and I stayed in hospital for a couple of days. Once again the staff at Carlisle were incredible and very supportive. They explained what would happen during my operation, my recovery, spending time with Alice and the post mortem process. My midwife gave us a memory box with keepsakes of Alice. The memory box had been provided by the charity 4Louis and is a huge source of comfort for us.

My husband and I spent lots of time with Alice making important memories. Our parents also spent time with her too, it was only after losing Alice that I realised the impact that our pregnancy losses had on our families too. We had a funeral for Alice and then scattered her ashes around a tree that we planted for her. The funeral director was very supportive and explained what would happen during the service and answered all of our questions.

We have received incredible support from our midwife who still texts me and comes to see us every week. My bereavement midwife has been lovely and has called me regularly to check how we are doing and my GP has been great. We are still waiting for our post mortem results which should come back in the next few weeks. Once again my boss has been incredible and is supporting me even though I am not back at work yet.

I have learnt that it is vital to talk about what has happened to us, be it with medical professionals, family, friends and/or colleagues. I have also found that writing is an excellent way of processing what has happened especially when I can’t vocalise how I am feeling. My husband and I have written in a diary to Alice since we came back from hospital. It doesn’t take the pain away but it allows us to reflect on what has happened and remember the memories that we made with Alice whilst we were in hospital. I have also started writing a blog about my experience of pregnancy loss. I have done this as I firmly believe that it is important to make others feel like they are not alone going through pregnancy loss. There is always support out there for them.