Back at the start of Summer, Rowan was told there was a new drug that his doctor wanted to put him on. We had been toying with the idea of throwing caution to the wind and starting a family. When Rowan had his second consultation about the drug in question, his nurse notified him that it would affect his sperm and could cause high risk pregnancy (possible growth issues and disorders). Rowan decided that if we were to give it a proper go, we would need a few months to try, otherwise we wouldn't be able to do so for at least 8-14 months. With this in mind, we set about removing all boundaries and just seeing how things went, Rowan put off starting the drug until Dec / Jan to give us a fair amount of time and if it didn't work by then, we would put it off until he had completed at least a six month session on the new drug.
Various contraptions were wheeled out: ovulation sticks, ph balancing sprays, positions, advice and research. We took it at face value, tried to remain calm and increased the possibility of it happening.
3 months later, Rowan received incredible news; his doctor told him that there was a brand new drug which had a better affect on MS, with zero side effects. It was a no brainer; with this in mind, we slowed down and allowed our bodies to do as they did. Miraculously in the same month I fell pregnant.
One day after I had expected my period to arrive, my boobs were swollen and I felt strangely different, that morning I told Rowan that I was going to get a test, he laughed and told me that we should wait. That lunch time I popped to Boots and found myself looking at a very faint Positive result. With my belly full of joy and my heart singing a merry tune I walked back to my desk and text my baby daddy the good news.
Once home, I took another test and again, the positive line showed up. We nickname him the 'little prick' due to me getting my words mixed up and telling Rowan that our blastocyst was the size of a pin prick, instead of pin head. A week later I confirmed it with my doctor.
We set about resting, taking everything at a slightly slower rate. We discussed names and parenting styles, followed a pregnancy app to see what was happening and everything seemed rather bloody good.
I would get occasional aches here and there but other than extremely swollen boobs, I had no real symptoms. It was the perfect pregnancy. We shared the news with good friends, I told a few people at work due to wanting to be able to talk to people about it and having people know, in case I fainted or something similar.
I noticed certain things changing: my stomach swelling, my hair thickening, my nails appeared stronger. I longed to drink wine or beer but found the idea repulsive, everything seemed perfect until this week.
On Monday, I woke up exhausted and Rowan insisted that I stay in bed. I was hesitant (since my tonsillectomy I only get paid SSP on any additional sickness), but he pointed out that there was something more important than money and I was carrying him. So that day I slept and rested up. The next day I still felt exhausted but went to work regardless as I couldn't afford to stay at home two days in a row, stupid as that seems, it was the truth.
Mid-afternoon on Tuesday, I started to develop mild cramping in my abdomen and asked to be excused from work early.
Once home the cramping increased and all I could do was lay in bed. I felt as though my period was starting and all I could do was cry. I visited the lavatory and thought my discharged looked a little darker. I put a panty liner in my knickers hoping I could see clearly if anything was up.
My hopeless state continued and I failed to calm myself down, if it wasn't about the pain, it was about the events of the day at work (potentially losing my job), if it wasn't about my job it was about potentially losing my baby, no matter what I couldn't calm down. I read various posts about bleeding while pregnant and eventually calmed down. Rowan came home and we tried to get some sleep.
At around 3am, the cramps became more intensive and I needed the lavatory. Once there I noticed a couple of brown dots in my knickers, as I looked down I noticed a bright red pool and some clots in the loo. With a heavy heart I burst in to tears, I returned to bed distraught, Rowan was instantly concerned insisting that we phoned NHS direct.
The lady at the end of 111 was very kind and calm, she helped calm me down and arranged for a GP to call me. Around 15 minutes later the GP called me directly, advising me that sleep was the best medicine and that she would book me into the EPU (Emergency Pregnancy Unit) first thing, 10 minutes later she called back confirming my appointment for 11:30am. I emailed work to notify them that I wouldn't be in and went back to a state of dazed hysteria.
Around 5pm the pain had settled on to my left side, I freaked thinking I might be experiencing an ectopic pregnancy, I called back the GP surgery and was told the GP would call me back. As I settled back into bed, I felt an almighty snap in my womb and then a rush of fluid. A couple of minutes later the GP called me back and put my mind at rest and told me if I needed too, I could visit them but they wouldn't be able to tell me anything until the scan had taken place at the EPU.
Myself and Rowan eventually managed to fall asleep.
I was woken at 8am by a call from work, I ignore it and noticed that the cramps appeared to have subsided. I eventually went to the loo, there was more bleeding and more clots but nothing too big. I called work back, explaining that I thought I may have miscarried and wouldn't be in until I knew what was going on.
Around 9am I went back to the lavatory and that was when the worst thing I could see came to view. I heard a tiny splosh and looked down to see a small sack of fluid lying in the bottom of the lavatory. The GP had asked me to collect everything I could to take to the hospital and the idea of scooping out my potential baby was soul destroying, I convinced myself it was the placenta or mucus plug and just got on with it. It was horrific and all I could do was crawl back into bed with Rowan and have a good old cry. Helpless to do anything else. I started to barter, hoping that maybe I had been carrying twins and maybe lost one, all sorts of random things came through my brain, although I knew deep down, there was no other ending for us.
Later that morning we were at the hospital for our appointment, a kind nurse called Patience talked to us, I explained everything and she said that it sounded like a miscarriage. I then presented the tiny mite to her and we were put in a quiet room to cry and console each other. About 15 minutes later a friendly faced Sonographer called Bee came to see us; she led us through and the internal examination started. She confirmed that I had had a clean miscarriage and that I seemed in full health. Patience came back to see us one last time, advising us of do's and dont's.
I am so grateful to the Woman's Health Department at Homerton University Hospital, they were extremely gentle and kind, involving Rowan in the full process and with his support I feel as though we could get through anything. I don't think I could have dealt with it alone and I have nothing but pure awe for women who do. He's been my rock from beginning to end and knowing that I have his constant support is phenomenal. I'm not the only person who experienced my miscarriage obviously, Rowan did too. He lost his potential child too and our future has changed together through this dreadful happening.
One of the hardest part about miscarriage is that it is a very common occurrence. One in four pregnancies result in it and yet we are not supposed to speak about it. I spent a lot of yesterday and today telling people about it and have found out that various friends have suffered the same fate. It seems utter madness to have such a common devastating experience be felt by so many people and yet, "shh, don't tell people".
I guess one of the biggest things is that you can feel like a failure as a woman. I instantly apologised to Rowan for failing to keep his offspring safe. I'm lucky that Rowan wouldn't accept it and kept on reminding me that it was a failure of development and wasn't anything I did or didn't do that caused it. There is still a small doubt in my mind that stress caused it but for now I have to cling to the fact that it is simply a case of bad genetics and that there was nothing I could do.
I feel that this is a subject that should be spoken about; just how abortion is more commonly mentioned in media nowadays. It's not exactly the most wonderful of subject but with the affect reaching so far, you would assume that it could be more openly discussed and people could be more openly consoled about it.
As with any loss, the grieving process is dire but you get through it because you have too. It may seem like a cliche but I feel that there is comfort in statistics, some of my friends who have had similar losses have said they found no comfort, I can not help but fear this is society letting them down by not allowing them to feel as though they can openly discuss this subject and grieve publicly.
It's a dreadful thing but it happens everyday. Nurses, like Patience and Bee, have to break this frightful news over and over, day after day to numerous different faces. I hope one day that miscarriage becomes a more approachable subject, less of the taboo that it currently is, but until that day, I will continue to discuss it in an open manner, as that is the only way I know to deal with these things.
And to our 'little prick' who we lost, I will always think of you and I'm sorry that you weren't intended for this world. Thank you for being with us while you were, we loved you so, so much.