After my post earlier today in which I tentatively announced that we are pregnant for the fifth time, it might seem strange that my thoughts have immediately returned to miscarriage but unfortunately it is a subject which is never far from my mind, particularly when I have recently had a BFP. It is for this reason that I was delighted to see that Mumsnet has launched the Miscarriage Care Campaign which is aimed at getting politicians to pledge to improve miscarriage care, based on the principles of the Mumsnet code, by the end of the next parliament. Some of the results from the Mumsnet survey were heart-breaking so I wanted to add my own thoughts so that the decision makers can see that, even after repeat miscarriages, good hospital care can make a huge different to how women feel about their miscarriages.
Waiting for a scan
I am very lucky that I live in an area with a fantastic new local hospital which has a dedicated Early Pregnancy Assessment Unit (EPAU) and single rooms for every patient which I have greatly appreciated during my three ERPC operations. The Mumsnet survey showed that 46% of women had to wait over 24 hours for a scan to determine if their baby was still alive. Whilst I did have to wait this long because I started bleeding at the weekend and scanning is only available Mon-Fri, I spoke to a lovely woman on the 111 service who arranged me an appointment for the Monday morning and even followed-up later in the afternoon to check that I was still ok. The waiting was horrid and I would have liked there to be the opportunity to have a scan at the weekend but I was still happy with the care which I received and think it helped ease some of my anxiety.
I have experienced a real mix of staff but I have to say that I remember the good care for far longer than the bad. I have put the bad experiences behind me but I will always remember the kindness that was shown to me by the nurses in the EPAU when my molar pregnancy was discovered and I had to stay in hospital for three days after Christmas. Having had repeat miscarriages I know a lot of the nurses at the EPAU and I feel like they want me to have a successful pregnancy almost as much as I do. I really hope that I am able to carry a baby (hopefully the one I’m currently pregnant with) to term and I look forward to writing a letter of thanks to those women to tell them how much their kindness has meant to me.
Being treated alongside women with on-going pregnancies
This is something which is particularly difficult. The times when I was at a different hospital and had to wait with women who were having successful pregnancies was awful. I felt that bad that I was obviously upset and I think it was as horrid for me as it was for them. If you are having a successful pregnancy, you don’t want to be faced with the reality of miscarriage and for those going though a miscarriage, it can be awful to see women who are pregnant, particularly if they don’t appear to be at all thankful for the amazing thing their bodies are able to do.
Miscarrying at home without adequate pain relief
My at home medical management wasn’t too bad (although it also wasn’t successful as it turned out I had a molar pregnancy and some cells remained) but I did feel a bit unprepared for what to expect. I was given the pills (virginally) and was then told that nothing should happen for at least an hour; which was a concern as I was alone, had driven myself to the hospital and lived over 2 hours away! I was asked if I had any questions but as I was then desperate to get started on the journey home I said that I didn’t and left. I would have really appreciated a detailed information leaflet which explained what to expect as my experience was quite different from what I had been told. I also had to collect the ‘products’ from my miscarriage, keep them in the fridge over night and drive the 4 hour round trip to the hospital to deliver them the next day. Whilst this was unpleasant, I was pleased to be able to go home rather than having to go through the miscarriage experience in hospital and I appreciate the importance of testing the ‘products’ so I don’t see an alternative option is available.
58% of respondents wanted counselling, but only 12% were offered it
Despite having had four miscarriages, including a molar pregnancy, I have never been offered any counselling. I have always been made to feel that once the miscarriage is physically over, I am on my own to ‘try again’. I am told to only come back if I am able to get to 6 weeks. My last pregnancy was a chemical pregnancy which ended at 5 weeks so I haven’t told my GP or the hospital as I doubt they’d be interested.
Only a quarter (23%) spoke of their experience to friends
I have been lucky to have supportive friends who know about my miscarriages. However, I haven’t told them about the last one. Every time it happens, I find it harder to struggle through but I fear that, for my friends, this drama has become repetitive and boring. With each miscarriage I need help more, yet I feel I can ask for it less.