At the start of the year in my first post, you may remember I spoke about taking part in Dry January. Some of you will have spotted that this was out of character for me.
Dave & I found out on Boxing Day this year that it would in fact be a very dry year! After a few months of not really trying for a baby but taking the stance of ‘what will be will be’ we were delighted that the 3 pregnancy tests I took on Boxing Day showed positive readings. With everything we were about to go through with mum’s cancer treatment it was also just the kind of positive news my family needed. My mum has been asking me when I intend on making her a nanny for a while now & I just knew it would help get her through the next few months. We decided to keep it relatively quiet and just tell our immediate families, closest friends and our bosses at work. We were due to see our parents in the next few days and so I set about planning how we would tell them.
We bought both parents a card and inside were the words “Congratulations on your promotion – only the best mum’s & dad’s get promoted to nanny & granddad, love Terri, David & bump”. When we saw them we told them that we had a late Christmas present for them and gave them their envelopes. There were so many tears of joy and I was glad that I could finally talk to my mum about all the changes that were going on in my body.
I started to show quite early on, by about 10 and a half weeks I could no longer fit into my skinny jeans, I felt sick in the mornings & my boobs were really sore. I also developed disgusting teenage looking skin and went off of anything strawberry flavoured. It was getting tough to hide but my boss was great at work and luckily it was still cold so it was acceptable to wear baggy jumpers! At this point I had already signed up to various pregnancy magazines and had my first bounty pack from Boots. I was really embracing the thought of being a first time mum but it didn’t feel quite real until the day of our scan. We had been doing everything we could to give our nugget the best start in life. Preparing, planning, researching and avoiding anything that could jeopardise our little bundle of joy.
You may remember I also spoke about booking a trip to the Seychelles. This would be our baby-moon, one last baby-free holiday to relax before things got really tough. This was booked for the weekend after our first scan for some well needed downtime.
As the scan was only a few days away and I already wanted to shout from the rooftops about being pregnant, I decided I should probably email my directors at work, I would hate for them to have found out via rumours developed from Facebook and so I sent an email explaining that I was expecting and to please keep it quiet until I announced the news myself.
The first scan 15th February 2017 10.50am.
I panicked in the waiting room as I saw someone from work who was in her last trimester! She had no idea I was pregnant & luckily she didn’t spot us waiting. It was quite cool that Dave & I had this exciting secret that very few people knew about and I got giddy like a school girl when I realise the secret was almost out! I was so nervous and excited to see our peanut for the first time…
“Terri Taylor please”
I sat in the chair, Dave sat next to me holding my hand and the ultrasound lady advised that she would scan me first and then once she was happy she would turn the screen so that we could see, for a few minutes it was silent while we waited in anticipation and she scanned my belly. Then there it was, one simple question, but one that will stay with me forever.
“Are you sure of your dates?”
I was 100% sure of my dates because I took the tests & because I use an app that tells me exactly when I am due on and when I am fertile. My dates were accurate give or take 1 day. So I knew as soon as she had asked that something was wrong. The tears started to flow uncontrollably. She advised that she would need to do an internal scan to get a closer look at them. I picked up on this detail immediately “THEM” It turns our that I was carrying identical twins. We thought we were having one baby but OMG we actually have two in there. I remember thinking ‘well that explains why I look so big already‘. My mum and nan had both joked earlier that week that I must be having twins because of the size of my bump already.
The internal scan wasn’t too uncomfortable and it didn’t take too long but the blow afterwards was crippling. She explained that what she was looking at more resembled a six week pregnancy than 12 weeks and then she explained that she couldn’t find a heartbeat. How could this be? I was feeling sick every morning, my boobs were still in agony, I was developing a proper bump that was growing daily and I had all the other signs!? There must be a heartbeat. I have done everything I can to make sure I look after them properly. There must be a mistake.
“Would you like to look at the screen while I explain my findings properly?”
“If it is bad news I would prefer not to see them.”
She turned the screen off.
She explained that it is possible that I may have had what I known as a missed miscarriage however she could not confirm it at this stage. We would have to wait a week in limbo and have another scan to confirm if I had lost them. Despite her not being able to give me a solid answer as to what was going on, deep down I knew that was it, I had failed them at the first hurdle, I felt like the shittiest person in history. She explained that they have to give each pregnancy a fair chance to develop and that only after 7 days, when I have a second scan and they can compare the two, can they give me a solid answer however that she was certain that no heartbeat had been heard.
How cruel. Do we grieve or do we cling on to that tiny bit of hope?!
We then had to go and speak with a doctor to talk further. She gave us a little more information on what a missed miscarriage is and a more realistic idea of what to expect. She explained that it is most likely that there will be no change at my next scan given how small the scan revealed them to be and how certain of my dates I was and that it would be best if we do not go on our baby-moon because at any moment my body may decide to wake up and act naturally.
A missed miscarriage, also known as a missed abortion or a silent miscarriage, occurs when a fetus dies, but the body does not recognise the pregnancy loss or expel the pregnancy tissue. As a result, the placenta may still continue to release hormones, so the woman may continue to experience signs of pregnancy.
A missed miscarriage is usually diagnosed during a routine checkup, where the doctor will fail to detect a heartbeat. A subsequent ultrasound will show an underdeveloped fetus. (Fertility Authority)
We arrived and expected to see one baby, only to find out we were expecting two babies and in the space of 20 minutes I am told to expect the worst and that we will potentially have no babies.
On the way home I checked my phone… Several messages from family & friends and one from my mum along the lines of ‘How was the scan? 🙂 🙂 So is it twins?’
That evening I explained to those who knew about my pregnancy what had happened and it was soul destroying. I have never felt so lost. I hadn’t even seen my babies and yet I already loved them so much. The next week was incredibly tough, we cancelled the holiday, I cried a lot, I couldn’t face work & I didn’t want to leave the house.
The second scan 23rd February 2017.
A week later we are back at the hospital for a second scan which revealed no positive changes & in fact nature was slowly starting to take action. This time I asked if I could see my first scan. I couldn’t get the image of two fully developed babies out of my mind and I thought it might help me to let go if I can see them as they were. The picture revealed one sack, with two small white embryos. It sounds stupid but I felt some comfort and relief looking at that picture, I expected to see hands and feet and little sad faces and in fact they were just two dots on the screen. Don’t get me wrong it wasn’t any easier to accept the hand that we were dealt but I am glad I saw them as they were rather than letting my imagination run wild. It was then confirmed that our peanuts did not develop past 6 weeks and that I had a suffered a Missed Miscarriage. We were then advised that we have 2 options, one was to wait it out or the second was to have a D&C which was their preferred choice given how long it had been.
If the fetal tissue remains in the body for a longer time, a D&C procedure is usually recommended. In this procedure, the cervix is opened and the contents of pregnancy are removed. This can cut down on infections, which may occur if the fetal tissue remains in the body.
Friday the 24th February 2017.
Arriving at the hospital at 6 am for an emergency D&C I was advised that Dave could wait with me on the ward until I went down to theatre however given the nature of the ward he would have to wait until lunch time visiting hours to come back. So after my operation I was on my own. I don’t really remember much except that when I was in the aesthetic room I remember telling them through my sobs that I was scared and asking if they were sure it was not a mistake. I woke up alone, sore and deflated. I could no longer feel them. I still had the hormones which would take a while to calm down but I felt different. Our twins were gone. It was one of the hardest things I have ever had to deal with and a moment that I will never forget. I had to wait a good few hours to make sure there were no complications and then Dave was allowed to come and collect me. He was armed with chocolate and goodies and everything he could think of to try and make me feel just a little bit better.
Until the day of my first scan I had never heard of a missed miscarriage it seems like such a taboo subject online and so I wanted to share my experience with you and some facts that I learnt. I felt so alone and blamed myself despite everything the doctors told me. It was so cruel that life would give me these precious gems and then take them away in the next breath. I couldn’t believe how my own body had fooled me into believing I was still pregnant. I was angry that it didn’t do its job properly and I was distraught that I couldn’t save them. The truth is that I will never know what went wrong but I do know that I did my best and that is all I could do. Four months down the line we have been through the worst of the grieving process. I still get the odd newsletter “Terri this week you are 28 weeks pregnant” (I have unsubscribed as and when they come up) but each time I get one or I am reminded about it or I have to talk about that day it breaks my heart all over again. It does get easier with time and I am hoping that I will get another chance in the future though I am worried that I will not enjoy being pregnant as much as I did the first time because I will be so paranoid.
1 in 4 pregnancies end in a miscarriage.
Just 1% of all pregnancies end in a Missed-miscarriage.
Most missed Miscarriages are caused by Chromosomal abnormalities in the fetus which do not allow the pregnancy to develop.
Identical twins are rare & complex.
The chances of having identical twins are approx 1 in 250 according to the NHS.
My miscarriage has not been public knowledge until now, I guess I just finally felt ready to share my story.
If you have suffered a miscarriage, I just want you to know that you are not alone & there are lots of support groups out there that you can join and talk through your concerns or feelings with, I personally found them a huge help during those initial few weeks ♥
Lastly to our angel babies: We will ALWAYS love you.
And you will forever be my favourite ‘what if’