After the positive test, we excitedly visited our parents to share our news – we weren’t ready for the world to know, but we were far too excited to keep it to ourselves. We went and bought pregnancy books to read and prepare ourselves for what was to come.
I felt quite queasy but, bar one episode of sickness and a lot of sleepiness, I felt generally well. We tried really hard to temper our excitement, but after all the trying and waiting, it was hard. We were excited at every new symptom; nausea – check, bloating – check, tiredness – check…
At 8 weeks and 6 days I went to the toilet at work and was devastated to discover I was spotting. I went down to the nearest Early Pregnancy Unit (EPU), who agreed to scan me the following day. The waiting was hideous and we spent the next 24 hours scouring Google for success stories, of which there were many. It seemed spotting in early pregnancy was really common, and we were buoyed by the fact that it wasn’t bright red bleeding, nor was it getting any heavier. We didn’t really know what to expect from the scan the following day, but tried to remain hopeful.
As the appointment came around, we were extremely anxious and nervous – our first scan shouldn’t have been at the EPU and it definitely shouldn’t have been under these circumstances. As I lay on the bed and the gel was applied to my stomach, we held our breath waiting to see our baby on the screen. After what seemed like a lifetime, the sonographer broke the news that there was no baby. I’d never known despair and heartache like this. The machine was turned off. The gel wiped from my stomach. We were shown to a consultation room and clung to each other as the news hit us in waves. A nurse came in and explained that we had a blighted ovum / anembryonic pregnany. Whilst the egg had been fertilised, she explained, the pregnancy had failed very early on, but my body had yet to catch up.
There was no baby. Our baby, the one we’d dreamed about, had never had a chance to develop.
We were told this was extremely common, and sometimes it just takes a while for the body to realise. She explained our options from here – we could wait for things to happen naturally, have a medically managed miscarriage (attending hospital and being administered medication to help things along), or come back and be admitted for surgical management (an Evacuation of Retained Products of Conception (ERPC) – such a cold way to describe our baby). At this point, we were a mess. In the space of a day we had gone from believing we were finally on the way to getting our family, to having to choose how to go about miscarrying. I was really scared of the medicalised options, so opted to wait for nature to run its course. We were given a leaflet and sent on our way.
That night, we had the task of ‘untelling’ our family. Our hearts were broken and we wept in each others arms all evening and all night. We didn’t have the words to speak our grief and cried ourselves to sleep. This isn’t how things should have been.
I withdrew and found it difficult to do basic things – sleep, get up, eat, get dressed. Whilst society allows for this in the woman, poor Matt had to go about his normal business.
As we waited for something to happen, the spotting continued but lighter, definitely not heavier, as we were told would likely happen. Our lives were in limbo waiting for something to happen. A week later, and still nothing was happening and we made the difficult decision to get some help. After research, I knew I couldn’t bare the medical management and despite being terrified of the surgical option, this is the one we opted for. I rang the hospital and explained and I was booked in for 1st July 2011 (when I should’ve been 10 weeks and 2 days pregnant).
Over the week we were waiting, I Googled extensively (I guess you’ll find stories to support anything when you want it bad enough), and found stories of misdiagnoses, so was adament I needed to be scanned again before being taken to theatre. The ward were happy to do this and I clung on to every single shred of hope… until the second sonographer confirmed there was definitely no baby.
I was prepped for surgery and, in tears of grief and fear, taken down to surgery. I can’t praise the medical staff enough for the gentleness with which I was treated. I remembered coming round in recovery just sobbing my heart out, telling the nurses I needed my baby back. On discharge, it was reiterated how common early miscarriages were and that, once ready to try again, it was very likely that we’d conceive our much wanted baby. There’s no follow-up after ERPC, and we were informed to wait a cycle before trying again.