Newest Review: ... and then I started passing huge clots, so was rushed back into EPAU. And I think now I had their attention. A doctor was brought dow... more
Miscarriage in general
Member Name: arleek
Miscarriage in general
Disadvantages: You lose your baby
I recently suffered a miscarriage, and I have to admit it has been one of the most devastating and traumatic events in my life. I already have two children, both girls, but had been desperate for a third child. I eventually managed to persuade my husband that it was a good idea, and I fell pregnant soon after. We were both over the moon and began planning our life with a third child. I was experiencing nausea and extreme tiredness, but then at about 8 weeks into the pregnancy, the symptoms began to wear off; I didn't think much of this because I had very few symptoms with my previous pregnancies so I tried not to worry.
However, when I reached about 9 weeks I noticed some brown discharge, which went on for a couple of days, and while I tried not to worry I booked an appointment to see my GP. He basically laughed at me and told me it is perfectly normal to experience brown discharge during early pregnancy, but he booked me in for an appointment at the Early Pregnancy Assessment Unit for the following day. I left the doctors feeling relieved, but there was still a worry in the back of my mind that the pregnancy was not right. And my feelings were correct. At about 4am the following morning I awoke to find myself completely saturated in bright red blood, and so my first instinct was to go to the toilet where a massive lump fell out of me. I immediately thought I had just lost my baby down the toilet, so I rang the midwives. They told me to either go to A&E or to wait until the morning for my appointment at the EPAU. I decided to wait because otherwise I would have had to arrange care for my two young children, not something I wanted to be doing in the middle of the night. Waiting for morning to arrive felt like waiting for the middle of next year, I tried to keep myself busy but I was losing huge quantities of blood and soaking through sanitary pads every hour or so.
I arrived at the EPAU at 8.30am and was seen straight away by a nurse who assessed my situation and sent me straight for a scan. I was prepared for the worst, I expected to see a blank screen, but instead I saw my baby, my dead baby, because there was no heartbeat. The sonographer was very kind and told me that the news was not great and that the baby had died at around 7 weeks, so what I was experiencing was a delayed miscarriage. I was then escorted back to EPAU. By this time I was emotionally drained, I had already accepted that my baby was dead but it is so much to take in and extremely upsetting. I was taken into a quiet room because I was visibly upset and shaken and I suppose they didn't want me upsetting the other women in the waiting room. The nurse then explained to me the 3 options for completing the miscarriage.
The first was to let nature take its course and go home to let it happen naturally, seeing as though things were already happening. The second was to opt for 'Medical Management' where you are given some tablets to induce labour and hurry along the miscarriage. And the third was to have it all removed by surgery. I initially chose to have the surgery because I didn't really want to go home and bleed everywhere because it's not like I would be able to just lay in bed all day waiting for the baby to come away, and to be honest I did not want to have to dispose of it myself, and I also have two children who want my attention, and I would have struggled to look after them whilst I was trying to lose a baby. So I was booked in to have the surgical procedure in 2 days time, and then I was discharged, sent home anyway, bleeding as heavily as I was. I made it as far as the hospital exit and then I started passing huge clots, so was rushed back into EPAU. And I think now I had their attention.
A doctor was brought down to examine me, and again to discuss options. The examination didn't reveal much, just made me feel even worse about myself. And then another doctor was brought in. Both of these doctors were foreign and I was struggling to understand their accents, and bearing in mind I was emotionally wrung out by now, and to be bombarded with all the options of miscarriage management again was just overwhelming. I had no idea what I wanted to do, and to top it off, these two doctors were not aware that I had been in hospital all morning, they presumed I had just arrived, so they were about to take some unnecessary blood samples, which considering the amount of blood I was already losing would have sent me over the edge.
Anyway, after a lot of explanation, tears and confusion I decided (this time) to opt for the 'Medical Management' - this way I got to stay in hospital which is where I think I needed to be. I got transferred straight onto the Gynaecology ward to a private room, where I was left to wait for the ward staff to see to me. The nurse came in at 1pm and administered some tablets to induce the labour, and I was also given some pain killers. She explained to me that I would feel like I was experiencing a mini labour and that I should stay on my feet to keep things moving, and that if I needed the toilet I was to use the bedpan, so that anything I was losing could be examined. And then she left me to it.
I spent the next 5 hours in my room, without seeing any medical staff whatsoever, I was passing huge jelly-like clots; I never in my life imagined that a miscarriage could be so horrific. Every time I filled the bedpan I rang my bell and an orderly came to take it away; I think I must have had maybe 5 or 6 replacement bedpans, and I was changing sanitary pads every hour. Everywhere I sat or laid down I left a patch of red, it was completely awful. And to think that the nurse never once came to check on me during the first 5 hours, well I think that is disgusting. When my bleeding slowed, and I guess I hadn't buzzed for a bedpan change in a while, the nurse came in to see me. It was now 6pm, and she decided I was ready to go home. I was shocked she could suddenly make such a decision, I queried her choice but she made it quite clear that I had passed the 'remains of conception' and I could go home. I was feeling rather exhausted by this point and was quite ready to go home, so I rang my husband and he came to collect me.
I was not prepared for how I was going to feel over the following weeks. In the days that followed the miscarriage I felt exhausted, lightheaded, and very stiff; I could barely walk more than a few metres without feeling like I was going to pass out. And then the headaches started, my head pounded for about 3 days after the miscarriage and I didn't even realise that this was a side effect. After about a week I started to feel a bit better and I was trying to get my life back to normal, but I continued to bleed.
I'd guessed that the bleeding would last for a couple of weeks (because I was never told by the nurse what to expect when I was discharged), similar to what you experience following giving birth. But when I was still bleeding 3 weeks later I began to worry so I telephoned the hospital, and they advised me to see my GP who would refer me to the Emergency Gynaecology Unit (EGU). Unfortunately the GP that I saw had no idea what to do, and he referred me to A&E, which I was greatly disappointed about because I knew for a fact that the doctors in A&E would not be experienced in dealing with problematic miscarriages, and I knew I would be wasting their time.
So off I went to A&E, where I spent 4 hours before being transferred back onto the gynaecology ward where I was when I first had my miscarriage. They did a pregnancy test and it was still showing positive, then they examined me, and basically said that if I had been bleeding for 4 weeks then there would be intervention, but because it was only 3 weeks then I would have to go home, but I should come back in two days for another blood test to make sure the pregnancy hormone in my blood was dropping. Trying to arrange this blood test was like pulling teeth, the doctor had left it to me to telephone the hospital the following day to make an appointment, and of course nobody knew who I was or what I wanted, I was transferred through 5 different departments before I managed to get an appointment.
I saw the nurse before I had the blood test, she was confused as to why I was there, and she told me that I should have been told to 'expect to bleed for 7-10 days' - she'd failed to notice that I was now on day 23 of bleeding, but anyway I was sent straight home again. I was then telephoned and asked to come back into hospital because the hormone level in my blood was not dropping as quickly as it should be. I went back, but the doctor told me to come back after the weekend for another blood test - they could have told me this over the phone. I was spending a fortune on bus fares!! I went back on the Monday for another blood test, only to find out there had been a lot of confusion about when I should have returned, and it should have been Sunday, not Monday as I was told, and in fact the doctor had written in my notes that I was to return in a week. As you can imagine I was now beginning to get a bit fed up of everything, all the medical staff through their lack of communication were causing more confusion than necessary, and the plain fact was thatl I was still bleeding way past the recommended amount, and nobody seemed in the slightest bit bothered by this. I felt like they were more concerned about why I was wasting their time coming in and out of hospital asking for blood tests.
The blood test they took on that day showed that my levels were still dropping, but still not as much as they should, so I was asked to come back on the Friday for another blood test. By Friday I was on day 30 of bleeding and it was showing no signs of stopping, and the nurse I saw on this particular day was really quite shocked that my condition had been allowed to drag out for this long. She arranged for me to have a scan straight away which revealed some 'retained products of conception' were still in my uterus. She wanted this to be sorted for me once and for all and was quite upset by the way the other doctors and nurses had been messing about with blood tests when they could have scanned me for a clearer picture.
I then had to wait to see a doctor, where once again my options were discussed. She offered me tablets (the same as I had almost 5 weeks ago when I first miscarried) or surgery, which would be at least another week's wait. I insisted that I did not want tablets again because they obviously hadn't worked the first time round, and I most certainly did not want to wait that long for surgery. I explained that I had been through quite enough and wanted it over and done with. The nurse said she would arrange for me to come in for surgery earlier than anticipated and ring me later that afternoon. I did not receive a phone call until the following Monday when she explained to me that surgery was not an option because there was not enough left inside of me to warrant a surgical procedure so I could either let things carry on naturally and have a camera in 3 weeks to check everything was okay, or come back into hospital for more tablets. I chose tablets; I did not want to wait another 3 weeks - what if I carried on bleeding for that length of time!
I went into hospital the following day and had the tablets straight away and then I was sent home. Nothing really seemed to happen and my bleeding had practically come to a stop anyway, so I am wondering whether the tablets were too little too late. I have stopped bleeding now, and it is over 6 weeks since I first started miscarrying my baby. It is not a time period I would have associated with an early miscarriage.
I really did not expect a miscarriage and the after affects to last this long, and I felt like my life was put on hold until it was all resolved. I wanted to grieve for the baby that I lost, and then put the whole episode behind me, but it was just staring me in the face every time I went to the toilet, and I could not stop thinking about what might have been, and the child I would never have. What makes matters worse is the care I have received from the NHS has been, to say the least, not what I expected and really quite disappointing, especially since most of the doctors/nurses I saw had not even read my notes so they were not prepared for my situation. It seems that once you have a miscarriage then you are more of a statistic than a person who requires sensitive care.
The range of emotions I have felt since miscarrying my baby has been huge, at first it was sheer devastation, and then it went onto anger that my baby had died, why did it have to happen to me? Then I felt guilty about wanting a third child, and as people keep reminding me I should be thankful that I've got two gorgeous girls already, but why shouldn't I want a third child? (So far I have provided a healthy happy home for my two girls, so I would love to bring another child into the home, and I have always wanted at least 3 children). And then as the bleeding dragged on I just became depressed and fed up that I could not move on with my life, and thoughts of trying for another baby were just being pushed further and further to the back of my mind.
If you know anyone that has suffered a miscarriage, do not be afraid to talk to them about it. Some people have shied away from mentioning it to me, but I have found it quite comforting when people have asked me about it; it's quite therapeutic to be able to talk about my experience and get my feelings off my chest. Miscarriage should not be a taboo subject, especially since I recently learned that it happens to around 1 in 4 pregnancies! If it happens to you, make sure you get the correct care you need and whatever option you choose, make sure you get a call back appointment so they can double check that everything has come away, do not sit at home festering like I did, because it will only prolong the situation.
Thank you for reading this, I have had little information available to me about what happens during and after you have a miscarriage, the side effects, and the length of time you may bleed for, so one of the reasons I have written this is to make other people aware that you do not just bleed for a few days, it can last for weeks, and there are unexpected side effects! If you experience any sort of bleeding during your pregnancy, please go to your GP as soon as possible, do not sit at home wondering if you are okay, because one way or another your GP should be able to advise you and perhaps even help you.
Summary: Could have been less stressful with better care from the NHS
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