Early miscarriage

Can you describe your situation?

Having had two pretty uneventful pregnancies, we went into the third one with our thoughts turned towards how I would cope with two children while dealing with morning sickness and what the early days of having three children would be like. We didn't really consider that this pregnancy would be any different from the others. Obviously I knew that things could go wrong but assumed that this wouldn't be the case with me.

When at seven weeks, I started bleeding, my views changed. I knew I was losing the baby. People kept saying that some women bleed in pregnancy and go on to have healthy babies but I kept saying that I just felt I was losing the baby. At eight weeks, after numerous hospital appointments, I learned that I had miscarried.

How has this made a difference to your day-to-day life?

Obviously we have been sad but it really has made us look at what we already have and be grateful for it. We have two lovely young boys and are a strong family unit. God knew this would happen to us and to our child but also knew we would be strong enough to be ok.

The miscarriage has set my husband thinking of heaven and how any child who didn't get a chance at life or who didn't live to be old enough to hear about Jesus would be there being loved by God. I began to think about how good can come of these things on earth.

I think we will have more understanding now of people who have been through similar things. We know something of a new kind of sadness we haven't had to deal with before.

I am learning to adjust my thinking from assuming I would be pregnant until the summer and then be blessed with a new baby to being not pregnant again with just two children. This is an ongoing process and the sadness keeps hitting me in waves. I hadn't realised how much time I had spent planning and thinking through the age gaps of my three children and how it would fit into other things we had planned for the year and even thinking of names, until I had to begin to undo it all again.

What would you want to say to someone who was about to be in the same situation?

From the experience we have had, I would say that telling some trusted people what was going on was one of the best things we did. I miscarried quite early in the pregnancy so most people didn't know I was even pregnant until things had gone wrong. Those people we did tell prayed for us and rang and emailed to find out how things were going, remembered appointments and prayed through them, brought meals round, offered to have our children and were generally very loving. The fact that I remained so calm through it all is testament to the prayers of those people.

Also, ask questions of the medical staff who are dealing with you. Don't be left in the dark. Whether the signs are good or bad, if you know about them, you can begin to deal with them. You don't need to be in great pain or to be bleeding heavily to ring the number they give you, you can just ring with the questions you have formulated since you have been home.

What would you want to say to someone who has never experienced this?

People have been saying to us that we can always try to have another baby. This is well meant but difficult to take sometimes. It feels a bit dismissive of the fact that we did want the baby that we had. Having said that, though, it is the only slightly encouraging thing I can think of that you could say to someone in my position. For this reason I don't feel badly towards people who do say it, as I'm not sure I wouldn't say it to someone myself.

When my dad died, I did feel that people were only sympathetic for so long and then, after a comparatively miniscule time, expected me to be myself again. After almost five years I still consider myself to be grieving but many people gave me a couple of months before they started wondering why I was sad and still finding things hard. For someone who has had a miscarriage, the allotted time to feel sad is so much shorter. I would encourage people to be gentle with people in this situation for some time.

Most people have assumed, after a short while, that I am ok again unless I show myself to be otherwise. This, I'm sure, is partly because they don't know what to say to me about it and so if I am smiling they just feel relieved that I am 'fine'. Someone who I knew had been through more than one miscarriage just gave me a hug and that said it all really. 'I know you are hurting and sad and I've been there too.'

Can you recommend any resources to people wanting to know more about this?

My main resource has been talking to other women. You just have to mention losing a baby in a group of women and you find that so many other people have been there too or know stories of other people in similar situations. Just knowing that other people have been there is comforting.

The Miscarriage Association have a lovely website. It is very supportive and has a lot of information about everything to do with miscarriage. They aim to deal with not only the factual side of things but to provide support for people in a situation that can be isolating. They also have support groups set up around the country, details of which are also on the website.

Miscarriage: What Every Woman Needs to Know by Lesley Regan
is widely thought of as a good book to read, especially if you have suffered several miscarriages. It explains at length some of the reasons why miscarriages happen. It is not just a medical book though and does address the fears women have and what you can do to try to prevent another miscarriage happening to you. Article written by Hilary Cockshaw