Sunday, 23 April 2017

Refusing to let go

Hi everyone, I hope you are all well and continuing to enjoy the nice weather. This weekend has been a tiring one as I walked just over 20 hilly miles with my dad, uncle and mother-in-law over the North Yorkshire Moors. It's fair to say I am aching today but it was a stunningly pretty walk, although very hard and I had to be patched up throughout, thank goodness for compeed blister patches!

My last post covered probably the first week or so of the "two week wait" leading up to Christmas 2015, I'll carry on from there...

Our Christmas of 2015 was the worst of my whole life, in fact it didn't happen, to us it was another day there was no cheer or celebration. We had no Christmas dinner, no presents, no Christmas tree, it was dire. We were deep in grief and I was on the hunt for answers why we had miscarried. I am a biological scientist and as a scientist I naturally need answers and understand why things happen. I'm one of those people who search their symptoms on the internet for example. 

I found the common causes of miscarriage - mostly a defect in the genetic or chromosomal make up of the embryo either caused by a dodgy egg or sperm where nothing can be done. But I did come across other websites stating that too much Vitamin C can cause miscarriage and there were even websites giving instructions on how to bring on a miscarriage for unwanted pregnancies. It basically said to overdose on the fizzy multivitamins and it would cause a miscarriage. I must admit I did try this method as the two weeks wore on but it did not work. I was pretty shocked there are these websites out there basically saying how to have a home-made abortion in my opinion. I found other websites claiming menthol caused miscarriage, this worried me greatly as I'd had a terrible cold the same day as I started spotting and I had used menthol crystals the help with my congested sinuses, although I had researched before using them and had mixed reviews I'd taken no other medication and was suffering greatly so I used the crystals. That played on my mind quite a bit, I couldn't forgive myself if Bean had died because of something I did. But Bean had stopped growing 2 weeks before that point so that couldn't have been the cause. I also researched into miscarriage-causing foods in case I had eaten something I shouldn't have and it came up with cinnamon as a possible cause, again this brought up a lot of concern for me as I had eaten porridge with cinnamon on almost everyday of my pregnancy. I was becoming frantic trying to find a reason, something or someone to blame. Of course I blamed myself entirely even though there was nothing I could have done. Luckily throughout this frantic period Rob was there all the time, he gently brought me back down to earth giving me the facts that there was no one at fault, we both did everything we could have done for Bean, his  genetics just weren't compatible with life, no one is to blame.

While I was making unhealthy internet searches Rob on the other hand was making much healthier ones, at the hospital I'd been directed to the Miscarriage Association website but had failed to go on there, Rob however had made an account for the forum for me to get support from others who had suffered loss. The people on there really are amazing, each message is moderated and the moderators themselves sometimes send personalised messages to you via email. I would guess all of the people responding to forum posts have experienced loss whether it be miscarriage, missed miscarriage, blighted ovum, chemical pregnancy etc. Although it was a little while until I used the website myself once I did it really did help me hugely and because it was linked to Rob's email address he saw my posts once he had a notification that it had been approved. So even when I was very closed off it allowed him to see what I was feeling at that time. 

The two week wait drew to a close, the new year was approaching, our property contract was almost signed, my last day of my job was on its way, but my body refused to give up our Little Bean. We went back to the hospital on the 30th December for another scan via the park and ride as the parking situation at the hospital was so bad. They scanned me and confirmed what I already knew, I had not miscarried naturally, I still retained Bean even though I had had a few more spotting spells. The gestational sac was steadily breaking down, Bean still measured 4mm no more than 6 weeks gestation, in normal circumstances I should have been around 11 weeks. It broke my heart anew when I saw him again on the screen, why was life so cruel? I couldn't believe we had to go through this pain. 

After the scan the Doctor gave us our options again, we could wait another two weeks, have medical management, or surgery. The idea of waiting another two weeks was not an option now as I was soon to start my new job in Cambridge on the 11th January. Surgery frightened me having never experienced anything like that before and we'd have to wait a few days so we opted for medical management, equally terrifying but I couldn't let this linger on for much longer, I needed some sort of end so I could start to grieve properly and process everything that had happened and start to rebuild myself. 

We were sent off and I had some bloods taken, I don't remember what for, possibly to determine pregnancy hormone levels and blood type but not sure. Then we waited around two hours for those blood test results. We came back to the Early Pregnancy Unit, we were the last to be seen for the day, the nurse explained the tablets to be inserted vaginally cause the cervix to dilate and bring on the miscarriage. Another tablet would be inserted anally, an antibiotic to prevent any infection. And strong painkillers to be taken anally and orally. She explained I could experience period-type cramping that could feel quite severe and will obviously have heavy bleeding. Any very severe pain or very heavy bleeding and we should go to A&E. I signed a bunch of stuff saying I understood and agreed to the procedure. We were almost ready to go, in passing she asked where we were parked and we explained we had used the park and ride as that was advised since the parking at the hospital was so terrible. She stopped dead and said she couldn't allow me to go through with the procedure then travel back to the car via bus. I totally accept that and it was nice she was looking out for us but why couldn't she have explained that beforehand!? We'd just been waiting over two hours. It was just another stress on top of everything else, Rob had to get back to the car as quickly as he could and get back to the hospital again which took over half an hour. 

Depending on the hospital you are in depends on how they handle medical management of miscarriage, where we were the nurse explained to me how the tablets should be inserted as I had to do it myself. She put us both in a small room with a bed and a curtain, laid out the tablets, left the room and locked the door. I inserted the tablets with tears steaming down my face soaking the pillow behind my head while Rob held my hand standing by the bed. I couldn't believe this was happening. My brain could not process the situation at all. When it was done I was given a large square pad to sit on and a thick pregnancy sanitary pad, I was told to expect the miscarriage to start in the next two hours.

As mentioned earlier we were nearing completion of buying our first home while all of this was going on. On this particular day Rob and his dad were meant to have been packing up all of our furniture to temporarily store. We were due to get the keys and move out of our current place on Monday 4th January, the 30th December was the only day they could hire a van in time. We were moving two and a half hours drive away and the van hire was in Rob's name from a depot where we were moving to. It's a little complicated but a long story short it meant that I would end up being on my own at home while the tablets were taking affect, having been quite a solitary couple we didn't have anyone nearby who could look after me while Rob was gone. Luckily though one of my best friends Vicky came to the rescue, she travelled down from Leeds at short notice to make sure I was ok, we watched Bridget Jones' Diary and laughed and cried. She got me talking about other things whenever I became quiet, I was scared of the pain and what I will see in the next few hours, there was going to be a lot of blood, would I see our Little Bean? Will I miss seeing him? I think I was more scared of missing him and not seeing the foetal tissue. 

Rob and his dad were packing away our furniture while me and Vicky watched films, slowly our rental house became more and more empty. By the time the van was packed up we only had a couple of camping chairs and a blow up mattress left. About 4 hours passed before the bleeding started, I passed a small handful of clot rich with blood which plopped into the toilet, even though I didn't have a lot of pain it was a very frightening experience seeing all of that blood in the toilet water. It physically felt odd as well, I would feel a clot begin to make it way down and get the the bathroom in time pretty much every time. After the first clot I even caught the others in my hand before looking at them closely to see if there was any grey foetal tissue there. I really don't know if that was healthy behaviour or not, I think it was a mixture of scientific curiosity and the fear of not seeing our baby after effectively giving birth to him, I think there was an element of still not wanting to let go as well so catching what was leaving me seemed to make sense. I did see some jelly-like substance during that night with a tiny Bean-shaped blob nestled inside, we believe that was our Little Bean. I didn't keep the tissue, parts of me wish I did, but I threw it down the loo. I must admit I feel pretty guilty about that. But I take comfort in believing we saw our Bean.

After the van was packed and Rob's dad had driven away, Vicky left us, I won't be able to thank her enough for what she did for me that night. She was truly amazing and made me laugh while I was going through the most awful procedure. We slept on a blow up mattress that night, I awoke often and bled steadily. The smell of blood was strong in the room and Rob had to wake me once because of the smell and I passed a large clot, again into my own hand then into the toilet. Up to this point I hadn't required the strong painkillers but during that night I had experienced stronger cramping and in order to try get some sleep I took some of the codeine.

The next day was my last day of my job, of course I wouldn't have normally have gone in after the medical management but I needed to clear my desk and say goodbye to my work colleagues as I'd not seen them in two weeks. I still can't believe I went in at all but I even did some work as well, I can't have been in my right mind. I was still bleeding but it was much like a normal period now, all of the clots had been passed the previous night, I still felt some tenderness and took the codeine as and when I needed. 

That takes us to the end of 2015, needless to say New Year's Eve was much like Christmas, there was nothing to celebrate and I was in bed (the blow up bed I mean) and asleep by 9pm. I was exhausted, my body had finally shut me down, I'm surprised I'd even got as far as I did. The amount of stress was enormous with the moving house stuff on top of the miscarriage. 

Phew! That was a really long post, apologies for that, I thought I'd make up for the shorter one from last week by getting to the end of 2015 in this one. It covers only a week or so but so much happened in that week. It marks the end of the first part of my story. As always thank you so much for reading and if you have any similar experiences feel free to comment. I'm particularly interested in whether others have had to administer their own miscarriage tablets for medical management like I had to.

Thanks a lot,

Love, Adele xxxx


  1. Just wanted to let you know I'm still following your story, Adele.
    I haven't gone through a miscarriage, only one stillbirth, so this is all new to me. I think you're doing a great job telling your story.
    -Maggs <3

    1. Hi Maggie, you amazing, saying "just One still birth" blows my mind. I can't even begin to imagine the emotions you've been through.

      Thank you for reading as always xxx

    2. I suppose I just meant that, though our situations are different, I haven't gone through more than one loss as you have. I don't see my loss as small, but I don't see yours as small, either, just because it was earlier. If that makes sense. :P

      Of course. <3

    3. Hi Maggie.

      Yes I understand. A baby is a baby at any stage of its life. Even as a bundle of cells it's still half of it's mum and dad. And is precious no matter what.

      I wanted to describe the physical loss in as much frank detail as possible. I don't think I've achieved that yet but hopefully I will eventually. Not everyone wants to read about it but I don't think I would have been as terrified if I'd read something like this before I started the medical miscarriage. The feelings are very strange. And catching the clots was a sudden and spontaneous urge that I couldn't control. I frightened myself when I did it.