Assisted Miscarriage: What happens?
What happens after a silent miscarriage is something, I struggled to find information about. It may be wrong to title this ‘what they don’t tell you’ but in my experience and what occurred, I literally knew nothing about what happens and wasn’t told any of this. This is for those who may be unaware or be preparing to go through the same process.
**Please note this may be triggering for women with previous experiences**
On October 12th we were buzzing. On route to the midwife centre, FINALLY the day had come we got to see little bean. Everything had gone perfect and to plam. Sickness and symptoms were strong and frequent, and this was finally our moment after 3 years of heartbreak.
Today was the dating scan. Under the excitement was anxiety. That niggly feeling something wasn’t going to go well but It was brushed off as of overthinking.
Thinking back, the heartbreak of the moment of being told ‘there’s no heartbeat’ is still the worse thing to ever happen. Lying on the bed the ultra-scanner not picking up bean the nurses looking worried. That little voice of ‘I KNEW IT’ screaming repeatedly. That day began and remained hellish.
From the heartbreak scan the on-duty doctor came for a chat. She let me cry and held my hand, remaining calm when the world was shattered. In this meeting we had a discussion about my past loses, our medical history, the pregnancy and if anything had been wrong in the last few weeks. There was nothing. it had all been perfect.
The doctor referred us to another hospital for a ‘reinsurance’ scan to just check if the dates were correct and to see if Harry was ok and possibly smaller than expected. My best friend drove us in sicking silence, and on arrival the 5 hours wait began.
James saw Harry at this other scan, a tiny person. Too tiny. Harry didn’t have a heartbeat. Part of me had guessed this, the other part denied it. I walked out that room and fallin into Becky’s’ arms and cried the pain unbearable.
Once calmer and the tears stopped we was sent up a women’s ward to discuss what happens now. The midwife took us into a counselling room and asked if we wanted to talk about it. I was too numb and tired to talk. I didn’t care about what happens next and didn’t want any of this to happen now or ever.
The midwife told us the baby could be a lot younger than expected so, arranged for another scan the following week. The idea of this was to see If Harry was a few weeks behind and wait to see if a heartbeat began beating. The waiting game. We then discussed my options of what happens if Harry was confirmed passed. The options were natural, medical and surgery. I was given a booklet and asked to read them.
The problem with a silent miscarriage is that the body doesn’t register the baby has passed. So, all the hormones and symptoms remain as they were, feeling so very pregnant. At this point none of us were sure and lived in an emotional limbo of expecting heartbreak but hope that all’s ok. We decided to do a baby bucket list with the thought of what ever happens, the memories are not all tainted.
We visited to our favourite places, gave our bean a name (Harry Hendrix Heatley), took photos knowing our little one was in there and shared him with our family and friends. That week was so hard, a constant battle mentally, of hope and grief. A short process of spending our last possible moments with bump.
As torturous as that was, It felt good taking Harry places and doing things with him. Telling people our story. On the final day we went for a walk to our favourite place, where I’d imagined walking him in a pushchair on autumn days. I imagined Harry playing in the river with the other kids on the hot summers days, playing ball with Raven and having family picnics and with his big brother.
Returning to the hospital again to find out was awful. I didn’t want to know. Nor did I want to think about what happens after. It was better not knowing and living in this world where Harry was safe and warm and still with us, growing away.
There was Harry. Small and still. No heartbeat. He was measured. There were no changes. Harry had passed. Heartbreak again, I felt cheated and disappointed with the false hope.
We were taken back to the women’s ward (situated next to the children’s ward, ironically) and put into a counselling room with a senior midwife to discuss our feelings and what happens now. I defiantly wasn’t in the mood to talk. As concerned as the midwife was I wasn’t interested in what they had to say to me. ‘It happens’ It’s not your fault.’
In my head everything leading to that point was my fault. Everything I’d done, eaten, drank was the cause of Harry’s death. I hated myself, I hated the situation, I hated these people and I especially hated the women downstairs having their scans and seeing a healthy baby on the screens.
We had to discuss what happens next. Reading the booklet we had decided I wasn’t going to naturally wait to Harry pass. Talking to friends in the week, a friend of mine told us her sister had waited and it had taken almost 8 weeks for her body to catch up. 8 weeks of waiting. No. The idea of surgery wasn’t great either. A hoover sucking Harry away. No. The last option sounded best, but we were so unprepared.
The day before preparation
Here’s a list of must takes if you’re going in for a procedure:
- Something to do. Its not going to happen straight away. You’ll need a distraction for the waiting periods. A book, tablet with movies, audiobooks, puzzle books anything like that..
- A change of clothes, if you stay in. Wear something loose fitting. Take some spare leggings/jogging bottoms and underwear..
- Pads, the bigger the better.
- Chargers for devices.
- Headphones (especially for nights)
- Food: If you do stay in you do get hospital meals and obviously there is a shop. Pack some snacks, once it starts you won’t be wandering far at all. Best to have something don’t forget drinks.
- Your phone. Its obvious but you’ll want it when you need to hear a familiar voice.
Going into hospital
The morning of admittance I packed a backpack, said goodbye to Rowan and family then headed to hospital. I felt sick, tired and wanted this terrible ordeal to be over.
We got there at 12pm. Waiting, it was hard watching other women, heartbroken, sad and almost ill looking patrol the corridors. I wanted to take Harry and James, run and come back another day. (Yes, your partner can be with you throughout just to clarify.)
Before anything started, we had paperwork to cover. The doctor came in to our room (not ward) to discuss health, mood, the options again and briefly the process.
In the paperwork we read that Harry will be entitled to a funeral if we wished to arrange one for him. If we didn’t have anything planned yet the options to arrange one there and then were available. If you wanted the hospital to take care of the baby after, they assured each baby was cremated individually with care (in boxes) but all cremated together. No ashes can be returned though. If religious they have option for blessings and religious services to be preformed.
This is something we didn’t know. If I had known we would have had something in place for Harry, a small burial close to us where we could visit and remember him.
Another option was (which we choose) for Harry to be sent to have tests ran to see what had caused us to lose him. These are genetics tests with a 50% chance of results. We wanted to know what had happened. We were also in the knowledge, we wouldn’t get Harrys ashes returned. They can’t be sure Harrys ashes would be his. It was a hard decision, but we wanted to know what went wrong and maybe get results that could help our future child.
Beginning the process
Medically inducing is getting your body to release the hormones to recognise that your baby has been lost. Two are inserted in the cervix and two are swallowed. Then the waiting begins. It can take up to 6 hours before anything happens.
We waited the 6 hours, and nothing had happened. The midwife returned with more tablets to take. At this point I hadn’t felt anything at all. It was 9pm when it started properly.
It began with my waters breaking. Something they never told me would happen either. I was so scared I didn’t know what was happening. When they broke the midwife came and took me to the bathroom. When you’re being induced, they ask you to collect all your urine and stools (if any) in a cardboard toilet pan to be examined every time you go. It’s awful. After dealing with that I was told it has begun; the body now recognises what we needed it to. I was given what I call a giant nappy and told to put that on and then suggested to go and lie down.
James had to leave shortly after it began. At 10pm, when he left, the bleeding and pain had begun. I won’t lie or cover it up, but it hurt. It hurt a lot. Its labour pains.
Lying alone in pain was the reality that Harry was officially leaving me hit. My heart hurt as well as my body. It lasted all night. I think I cried all night, messaging friends and family for some comfort while laying in the dark wide awake wondering when it would stop. At 2am I was given pain relief, to hope to ease it enough to sleep. It didn’t work at all.
**GRAPHIC WARNIG SKIP THIS PARARGRAPH TO THE NEXT HEADING IF YOU’RE SQISMISH**
At 3.50am Harry was ‘born’. The pain still strong, I waddled to the loo and sat down did my business. As I wiped, I accidently pulled all the placenta away where it was being ‘flushed out.’ There was so much blood. It was all up my arm all over my hand.
Then I saw my baby boy, nestled in my palm. In shock I was sick. and rang for a nurse in tears. The midwife came and calmly assisted. She let me place Harry in a dish and then helped clean myself up. I was an emotional wreck.
Once sorted, back in bed she made me a tea and stayed for a while. The pain had eased a lot after the ‘arrival.’ A few hours of rest, I was ready for home. As heartbroken and traumatic the experience was, I was grateful for it all to be over.
James came in the morning, and after 1pm I was allowed to leave, making sure I wasn’t bleeding too much or in too much pain. They confirmed that the placenta had come away. I was told you bleed for up to 2 weeks and to expect pain and clots or even the loss of more tissue. Not nice.
The first few weeks were a struggle. I didn’t go out; didn’t talk to people and didn’t leave the bedroom. All the baby stuff was chucked in the loaf and the baby journal binned. I was lost in my own world of pain and misery for about 3 weeks.
Two weeks later I went in search of people who felt the same pain. People who had been through the same . I found a community of miscarriage mums who found the strength even now after 7 or 8 losses to carry on and keep trying. Inspirational and the knock back into reality that was truly needed.Those stories stopped the pointing fingers and gave me strength to carry on.
I decided then to make this blog, in memory of Harry and the one toy he had. The aim to post honestly about my experiences especially with this and taboo subjects that are similar. Not a lot of women would be aware of the process, what happens or the mental impact it has on you.
For more information on miscarriage Click here
I made Harry a memorial at home. We regularly light candles for him and think or the little boy we could have had. We talk about him to Rowan and my family. I made him a Christmas tree ornament and have planted flowers for him. I take Harry’s cow with me most places as I feel connected to Harry. We bought a memorial necklace and I never take it off. I make it my mission daily to not forget or hide the fact that Harry existed and what a traumatic time we went through. I have also vowed that whatever happens, if we are blessed with kids in our future, they will know about their rainbow brother.
Five months later, I still struggle. I won’t lie, Harrys loss hit me a lot harder than I cared to admit. I get very low moods and I find a lot of baby stuff and talk very triggering. Harry cow is still at my side, although now looking a little grey from his travels and adventures. My feelings now to then haven’t changed much. I am still angry at the situation, and still crave to hold my small human. I still wan to raise as much awareness of miscarriage as possible and continue to talk about it.
Sadly, I even now haven’t got the answers to why we lost him, I am still undergoing tests a procedures to see if I can have children. It’s a long journey but one I hope will lead to a happier, more positive path.
I’m now booked into counselling to talk about what happened and make a plan for what happens next. I have no idea yet but I hope my future holds a small person in it.