On October 6th 2020, we had a scan at our fertility clinic when I was 8 weeks pregnant, where we were told that our embryo’s heart had stopped bleeding. We were experiencing a missed miscarriage.
We were shocked because I had strong pregnancy symptoms – nothing had told me that my embryo had stopped growing. I was told to call my GP to get an appointment at the Early Pregnancy Assessment Unit – which I did, for the following Friday. In the meantime, the clinic told me to stop my medication, and wait for the inevitable.
I googled frantically, having no idea what a miscarriage would entail. I suddenly realised, there isn’t a lot of information out there on what physically happens, what it feels like, etc. There wasn’t a lot out there, except one woman’s experience on a blog which I found really helpful. So I thought I’d write mine out too- not focusing on the emotional toll of a miscarriage, but on what actually happened.
For the most part, things continued as normal for that week. I had quite bad nausea, which seemed pretty unfair considering my baby had stopped growing, and I was very upset. On the 9th October I went into the Early Pregnancy Assessment Unit at Birmingham Womens Hospital, where they re-confirmed what the clinic had told me had happened, but because the embryo was so small, it is procedure to wait 7 days to double check. So they booked me in for a follow up scan for the following Friday, where they would give me the options for a procedure had the miscarriage not resolved naturally. I remember sitting in the waiting room with two other women who were discussing why they were there, and being so jealous that these ladies probably weren’t going to lose their babies (I don’t remember the reasons but they were minor).
***This next bit gets graphic, so stop here if queasy!***
As the days continued, I started to feel more and more pressure – really low down, at the front of my uterus. A little bit of old blood started to come out, so I figured this would be the time – but it kept stopping and starting. By Tuesday the 13th, I had significant pressure – it felt like what I imagine contractions feel like – and in the evening, I had squatted to give my daughter something, and I felt it come out – it was a funny feeling, I actually laughed out loud (which is possibly a strange reaction to a miscarriage). It felt like a tidal wave had just come out of me – and when I made it to the bathroom, that is exactly what had happened. Blood had actually made it into my socks. I had to completely strip off and leave all my clothes in the bathtub.
The pressure feeling had gone, and because I had pants on at the time, I had both the embryo, which was the size of my fingernail, hard and dark, and the placenta, a strange deflated balloon the size of a baseball, maybe slightly smaller. So weird, and actually, I found it really interesting. Before the miscarriage, I’d been afraid of the trauma of having it at home, I wanted to have the hospital remove it for me, but it was definitely less scary than I thought, more of a relief, and kind of closure. I was also impressed at how just in those short weeks, so much blood and tissue had accumulated to hold my beautiful embryo.
I got in the shower, and let the rest of it come out – lots of clots, and more blood. It didn’t hurt, seemed fine. I thought that it was pretty much over, so went to sleep.
The following Thursday in the evening, I went from feeling pretty normal to being in SO much pain. It felt like those contractions again, but more painful than the previous time – and they weren’t going away. I couldn’t do anything because they hurt so much. I had a bit more tissue come out, but not a lot of movement, so I called the EPAU. They said for me to wait to see if it resolves itself – it didn’t, and I was in more and more pain. I went to the unit at about midnight, where I was seen by a doctor. She said that the pain was because I had some pregnancy tissue that was stuck to my cervix, it couldn’t come out.
The doctor got me into stirrups and a speculum, and worked on removing the tissue. It didn’t hurt as she was removing it, thank goodness, was just a bit uncomfortable. I left the hospital at 3am no longer in pain, ready to be back at 8am for my originally scheduled follow up appointment.
At that appointment, they scraped around on my cervix to try to grab the last of the remaining tissue – it took about 30 minutes and I spent the whole time wishing that my wife could have been there to hold my hand. It was uncomfortable and mildly painful, but in the end, she managed to get the vast majority of it. My bleeding stopped completely the next day, and the ordeal was (physically) over.
My miscarriage was one of the worst things I’ve ever gone through from an emotional standpoint, and it was very different from what I expected physically – though I think if you’re at least a little prepared for it, it won’t be as daunting, hopefully. So if you’re reading this because you are going through a miscarriage, I’m so so sorry. There’s nothing I can say to try to make it better, and I won’t. If you have any questions or need an ear, I’m always here – get in touch via Instagram or email.