Coping with a Miscarriage
An MIS member shares her experience of her recent miscarriage. Although a sensitive subject to approach it's an unfortunate reality for some. We hope that this thoughtful contribution will help anyone else who might be going through a similar situation.
"A few weeks ago I sadly suffered a miscarriage with my second pregnancy. The miscarriage was what is known as a 'missed miscarriage' or silent miscarriage, in other words there was no sign of the miscarriage until my first scan at ten weeks and as the miscarriage was not going to happen naturally, I was advised to go to hospital for a D&C.
When we went for the scan we were told that the foetus had no heartbeat and although I was ten weeks into the pregnancy the size of the foetus was only 6 weeks meaning that this was when it had stopped developing. Of course nothing can prepare you for this sort of news and we were devastated and very sad. The doctor explained that 30% of pregnancies end this way and there is nothing you can do or did do to change the outcome, but of course you can’t help feeling guilty and a sense of loss. On top of dealing with the emotional side of the news we realised we would also have to deal with ending the pregnancy practically.
My gynaecologist told me that I needed to go to emergency at a hospital with a letter from her explaining what had happened and they would do the D&C that day, she told me to go as soon as possible and to not eat anything the night before. Because we have private medical insurance she advised me to go to the private hospital as I would probably be seen more quickly than at the busier public hospital. This all happened on a Friday morning.
That afternoon was a blur, we had to put the emotional side out of our heads and start to work out how we were going to get through the next few days and what to do with our two year old daughter. My gynaecologist had told me I could go to the hospital on Saturday and so we made arrangements to drop my daughter at my business partner’s house early the next day and to go to the hospital straight after.
On Saturday morning I didn’t eat or drink anything and still feeling drained and sad we dropped our daughter off and headed to the USP in Marbella. The emergency was quiet and we were seen straight away but I have to say the doctors were ‘rude’ to the point of ignorance and did nothing to ease our emotional state. They asked why we didn’t come the day before … to which we explained because I had eaten and because we had a toddler to look after, then they said that the gynaecologist was not available on a weekend and to come back on Monday. They didn’t seem to bothered about the fact that prolonging the pregnancy could lead to an infection or our emotional state. Having psyched myself up to get everything done that day, I was very tearful and unhappy when we left the hospital.
So we went home again and my parents flew in from the UK to look after our daughter which made everything easier and we all had a rather odd weekend and then on Monday morning I didn’t eat or drink anything again and we headed off to the USP. The weekday emergency doctors were slightly nicer than the weekend staff although sympathy is clearly not one of their strong points. They gave me an emergency appointment with the hospital gynaecologist and sent us off to the outpatient’s area to wait. Finally feeling like we were getting somewhere and it would all be over today we waited for an hour and then saw the doctor. The doctor was nice and did another scan just to confirm the miscarriage and then told me we’d have to wait until the next day to have the operation. Again I was in tears, when would this be over? He explained that we would need to return at 8am the next morning and that I needed to take some tablets that night to start the process of dilation and once again we headed home to wait.
At home that afternoon it occurred to me that I had never heard of taking tablets before a D&C and so of course I did the worse thing possible and googled the tablets!!! Googling confirmed my worst fears, they had given me the new ‘abortion pill’ and I was confronted with a number of horror stories about these tablets, their side effects and what may happen to me during the night if I took them! I have to say that this was not the best afternoon for me to be reading these kinds of stories and as you can imagine being in a rather fragile state emotionally anyway, I was beginning to get seriously stressed!! I was upset that I had not been given an option as to whether I wanted to take these tablets, nor had it been explained to me properly what I would be taking.
I realised that I did not have to take these tablets, that the procedure could be done anyway, but in my fragile emotional state and after several days of waiting I was worried that if I didn't take them the hospital might refuse to do the op. I tried phoning the hospital but the 'helpful' ( not ) receptionist wouldn't put me through to anyone and told me that in her 'medical opinion' I should take the tablets. My own gynaecologist was unavailable and so in desperation I decided to ring Dr Berral.
Dr Berral is a British trained Gynaecologist and Obstetrician who I had visited twice at his private clinic in Marbella. The first time for a 4D scan during my first pregnancy and the second time when I was having some gynaecological problems last year. Both times I found Dr Berral very helpful, professional and kind. I was still worried about calling though as with regards to the miscarriage I wasn't his patient and it was late at night by this stage.
When I called however, Dr Berral couldn't have been more patient, helpful or kind. He talked me through why the tablets were given to me and what would happen if I took them, he reassured me that if I didn't take them it shouldn’t make any difference and spent a good ten minutes or so calming me down and making me feel better about it all. Just after I spoke to him my own gynaecologist ( who I had left about 15 messages for ! ) rang back and also reassured me as to what would happen. Having spoken to both these doctors I felt much better. The theory was that taking these tablets would dilate my cervix and may cause some pain and bleeding in the night but would mean that the dilation part of the D&C would be avoided which is apparently safer for the patient as it makes the operation quicker and safer. The dose I was given was a lot lower than the ‘abortion’ dose and so my worse fear that I’d miscarry on my own during the night shouldn’t be realised. So in the end I did take the tablets before bed (but naughtily a lower dose than I was supposed too ) and as expected had some pain and bleeding in the night but nothing too major. ( Typically the hospital didn’t even mention the tablets the next day so I had a whole night of stress for nothing! )
So on Tuesday morning, five days after the first scan we got up at 6.30am, again I didn’t eat or drink and we made our way to the USP. We checked in at 8am along with a few other couples who looked like they were in the same situation as us and were told to wait in reception. At 10.30am we were still waiting and I was in considerable pain from the second tablet I’d been told to take in the morning. My husband was getting very cross with the staff as were the other husbands and nerves were getting very fraught. Finally at 11.30 I was taken to the ‘operating area’. I think it’s important to say that while the emergency, reception and admin staff at the USP ( on this occasion ) were not particularly helpful or kind, the nurses and doctors once you made it into the actual hospital were excellent. I was given hospital clothes to change into and then a bed and my husband was allowed to stay with me while we waited. The male nurse looking after us was friendly and informative. At around 12.30 I was finally taken to the theatre. I was given a local anaesthetic and remember dropping off at around 12.40 … at 1pm I woke up as they wheeled me out and it was all over.
I was taken to a ‘recovery room’ where another lovely nurse monitored me for a couple of hours, I was mainly dozing but remember her constantly asking if I was okay and taking my blood pressure and giving me painkillers. Having had a C section at the Galvez, I’d say the aftercare at the USP is a hundred times better. After a few hours I was taken back to the first room and the male nurse called my husband. I was feeling more awake by this stage and was able to sit up. After another hour or so and when the male nurse was sure I was okay he allowed me to get dressed and we went home.
We were home by around 4pm … finally it was over! I spent the rest of the day on the sofa watching TV. I’d been warned there would be some light bleeding and maybe some pain but I didn’t suffer any pain at all. Perhaps those tablets did have a purpose after all! I felt weak from the anaesthetic but that was all. On Wed I remained on the sofa, but was starting to feel a lot better. By Thursday I was up and about and by Friday life had returned to normal.
Obviously coping with a miscarriage is difficult and emotionally very fraught. I feel that if we had known we would never have been seen on the Saturday and that it was unlikely the hospital would have done the op on the same day as first going, the whole process might have been easier for us to deal with, but as with all things you live and learn. A few weeks on I feel a lot healthier, the ten weeks of this pregnancy were difficult, I felt ill for most of it and so maybe it just wasn’t meant to be. Luckily I had wonderful family and friends around me who were supportive and caring. Having been through this experience I’d urge anyone in the same position as me to really question their doctor as to what exactly is going to happen and when and to gather as much support around you as possible."