Miscarriage after 40 – a heartfelt, anonymous guest post
Today I’m featuring a guest post on the subject of miscarriage. It’s from a 40-year-old lady in the North East who wishes to remain anonymous, but would like to share her story on the Of Saffron & Cyrus page after reading my account.
As it’s a subject close to my heart, I have agree to protect the lady’s identity in the hope that others also come forward. No one should feel alone when it comes to miscarriage as one in four pregnancies in the UK end this way. Here is the post:
Today I had a miscarriage. I was eight weeks’ pregnant and just had a gut instinct it was going to happen. It was a feeling I just couldn’t shake these past few weeks because my pregnancy symptoms were few and far between. Now I feel numb, emotional, sad, raw even.
I found out I was going to have a baby at 40 on New Year’s Eve. I just knew I was pregnant, so when I took a test I wasn’t surprised, but I had a flurry of emotions. This was going to be my first baby and it wasn’t planned. As it turned out it was the worst new year I’ve ever had. My partner didn’t want a baby. He said our finances weren’t good enough and he was so stressed when he found out. I spent new year’s eve watching TV at home, alone, sad and not sure what to do. I couldn’t even drink to drown my sorrows.
The start of 2017 was hard. I wanted to feel happy, I wanted to give myself some resolutions, but I couldn’t because I knew we were under so much pressure financially. We’d overspent at Christmas and the credit card bills were stacking up. I’d also been made redundant just before Christmas and no one was going to take on a pregnant worker who would only be at work for a few months before going off on maternity leave.
I couldn’t tell anyone I was pregnant because I was ashamed. Most of our friends assumed that the next step for us was going to be marriage. Now they’d just think I was trying to trap my other half as we’d only been together for a year.
After a few days of silence, we eventually talked to each other and he came around to the idea of having a baby. He said he was just so concerned and that financially it would be really tough for us to manage. I understood. Being out of work was hard and I couldn’t see the light at the end of the tunnel now I was pregnant. It would be a long time until I’d be able to work again.
He started to buy me things, healthy food, decaf coffee and make tea on an evening. I think it was his way of a peace offering. The thing was I just didn’t feel pregnant. Perhaps I wasn’t as far on as I’d initially thought.
After the home pregnancy test which had revealed a very faint positive, I had to wait two weeks to get an appointment with my GP. She was lovely though and didn’t utter a word about my age or that I was too old. I explained my fears to her about my lack of symptoms, but she said it was a waiting game at such an early stage. I expressed my worries about my age and miscarriage, but she allayed them by telling me that she’d be there for me no matter what happened.
I booked my first appointment with the midwife and also a private pregnancy scan too.
The fact I was going to be a mummy had just sunk in when I started cramping. After a bit of internet research, I knew it could go either way. My partner was adamant that I’d be OK and it was probably normal. I knew in my heart there was a problem.
We hadn’t been trying for a baby. We’d both been drinking over the Christmas period. I’d eaten A LOT of Brie cheese and I hadn’t been exercising the way I normally did. I wasn’t taking vitamins and I’d been on and off The Pill. I didn’t feel that the odds were in our favour.
A couple of days ago I started bleeding. It was pink at first, more mucous than blood, but I knew it wasn’t normal. It became a waiting game. I didn’t want to go to hospital at first. Last night the cramps stopped suddenly and I thought my prayers had been answered. Were things getting better? Then like some sort of cruel joke, they returned with a vengeance this morning.
I decided I must go to hospital. As I hadn’t had my first appointment with the midwife, the only option for me was to go to Casualty. As we locked the house up, I felt a rush of blood, possibly more down below. It startled me and I began to shake. I felt dizzy.
We got to the hospital and had to drive around the car park five times before we found a space. There was a man leaning against his car smoking. It was clear he was about to leave, but he was stalling for time. I wanted to scream at him to leave and let us have the space given that this was an emergency.
The triage nurse sent us to the ward to be seen. There was a bit of a wait, but not too long. We sat in the day room watching Loose Women on the TV. We were the only ones there.
When the nurse came to see us she was very understanding. She asked what had happened and then came with me to the toilet to check my bleed. As soon as she glanced down, she said I’m really so sorry, there is pregnancy tissue on the pad. I’ll need to take it away to show the doctor. Is that OK? I was in shock. I agreed.
I said: “It’s OK.” She replied: “It’s not OK. Don’t feel you have to be OK when you’re not.”
She offered us a cup of tea and it wasn’t long before she was back. The doctor needed to examine me. I didn’t know what to expect, but I knew it had to be done. The bleeding had slowed by this point.
The doctor was a young, pretty lady who spoke warmly to me. She was very understanding and asked if I’d like her to explain what she was doing during the examination. I said yes.
I lay with a white sheet over my lower half, my fists clenched under my bottom as she examined my cervix. It was closing up. The doctor explained that this probably meant that most of the pregnancy tissue, if not all of it, had probably passed. I was OK to go home and was given open access to the ward in case I needed to return at any point. I was told to take a pregnancy test in three weeks just to be sure.
If it was still positive in three weeks, I’d need to return to the ward for a scan. If it was negative, I wouldn’t have to go back to hospital.
I had to fill in a form to enable the doctor to send the pregnancy tissue off to the lab. I was keen to find out why the miscarriage had happened, but the nurse explained that unless I had three miscarriages in a row, they wouldn’t do tests to find the cause.
She then asked me what I’d like them to do with the tissue. Did I want it cremated? Did I want to take it home? I was numb. I told her to keep it. I wasn’t sure what the right answer was.
My partner and I left the ward armed with leaflets and a number for counselling. As I type this now I’m still numb. Part of me feels relieved, part of me feels guilty for feeling that way. I just wanted to write it down and share it with others who have been through similar experiences in the hope we can offer each other some support.
Will we try again? I don’t know. One day in the not too distant future, perhaps.
Emergency helpline numbers:
Miscarriage Association helpline: 01924 200 799
SANDS helpline: 0207 436 5881
ARC helpline: 0207 631 0285