Last October, Mumsnet started their Better Miscarriage Care Campaign and wrote a Code of Care. Mumsnet members all helped by filling in a survey and the results were astonishing;
- Nearly two thirds (63%) of women who miscarried at home following a hospital scan said they weren't offered adequate pain relief
- Over a fifth of women referred for a scan (21%) had to wait three or more days
- Of those Mumsnetters treated in hospital, nearly half (48%) were treated alongside pregnant women
- Over a third (35%) of those who required a surgical procedure following miscarriage had to wait four or more days
- 15% of Mumsnetters who were treated in hospital rated their consultant's sympathy and compassion as 'awful'
- A fifth (19%) of respondents dealt with their miscarriage at home, only alerting medical staff after the event
- Over a quarter of those who had information from healthcare staff (29%) rated the information they received as 'poor' or 'inadequate'
- More than one in 10 (11%) women didn't tell family and friends about their miscarriage
But what are the Mumsnet Miscarriage Code of Care calling for:
- Supportive staff
- Access to scanning
- Safe and appropriate places for treatment
- Good information and effective treatment
- Joined-up care
Around my son's first birthday, I discovered I was pregnant again and we were both thrilled as we both wanted more than one baby. I found out when I was about 4-5wks pregnant and since there had been no complications with my first pregnancy, we told our families I was expecting again. I didn't suffer from any morning sickness, but this didn't bother me as I hadn't with my son, and I was looking forward to my dating scan when I was 13wks pregnant and seeing the little bean that would develop into my baby. At 10wks I had my booking appointment with the midwife and at 12wks I breathed a sigh of relief, the danger of miscarriage had passed and Christmas that year would be extra special as we would be welcoming the baby into the family.
The morning before my dating scan I noticed I was spotting so I phoned the drs as a precaution and was given an appointment that afternoon. I was nervous and anxious and I began to pray I wouldn't lose the baby. I didn't tell anyone I was spotting or I had a drs appointment as that would make it real! Finally I saw the dr and he basically told me that nothing could be done and if I was going to miscarry I was going to miscarry and advised bed rest. He then wrote the most horrendous note he could write in my notes "threatened abortion" I wanted to scream and shout at him not to use the word abortion because it made it sound like I didn't want my baby when I did! But I was too numb and too scared to say anything so finally I went home and phoned hubby who rushed home from work to look after me and our son.
That night the bleeding began to get worse and the blood brighter and I was finally admitted to hospital at around 10pm. After an exam I was taken to the ward and then told I could have an ultrasound at 2pm the following afternoon. I didn't want to wait that long, I wanted to know NOW if my baby had survived, I was even hoping I was expecting twins so that at least one would still be left because the thought of no baby was tearing me up inside. I even asked if I could go home and to my dating scan appointment in our local cottage hospital as that was 11am and early than the one they had offered.
Finally, after what seemed like a lifetime, it was time for my ultrasound and a porter pushed me to the ultrasound area. I was all on my own as no one had arrived yet to come with me, even though I told my husband and my mother I was having the scan at 2pm, all I had with me was a medical student. I was so scared but I remember the tech saying all she could see was an empty sac, but she tried using the internal scan just to make sure that it wasn't because my dates were wrong. Eventually I had to face it, I'd lost my baby! I was taken back to the ward where my mum was sitting with my 13mth old son and I just burst into tears. Someone came over to talk to me but all I could think about was going home and when she gave me my options of letting nature take it's course or having a D&C I asked which would let me go home earlier and she suggested I went home to decide which I did.
The next day I decided I wanted the D&C as everytime I saw the blood my heart would break a little more. I phoned the hospital and I was lucky that they could arrange the D&C for the following day.
Immediatly after I got off the phone, I stood up to put it back in its cradle and blood started pouring down my legs! I went straight to the bathroom and hubby phoned the drs who told me to lie on the bed and put my feet up but within 10minutes the bed was covered and I was hysterical. Hubby phoned the ambulance this time as well as the dr and they both arrived at the same time. The dr gave me something to get my womb to contract (and hubby was disgusted to find the needle the following day under my son's cot) and I was airlifted to hospital as we live over 60 miles away.
In the helicopter I was laughing and joking and putting a brave face on it, although it was very embarrising being transferred from the ambulance to the helicopter as it seemed like most of the town had come out to watch! I remember being disappointed I couldn't see out of the window of the helicopter as I tried to distract myself from what was going on! We made it to hospital in about 10 minites and 5 minutes after my arrival I passed out as my blood pressure dropped dangerously low. I came to a few minutes later with a team working on me and cannula's in both hands and elbows and then I was rushed to the trauma room as a precaution and that's where hubby and my mum found me (and where the other occupant of the room sadly passed away). I remember sitting up at one point with an overwhelming urge to push and that's when I pushed out whatever remained of my baby. My mum immediatly went in search of the doctor and a consultant came back with her, took one look at what remained of my baby and put in in a pot and rushed me straight off to theatre for a D&C.
A few days later when I was back at home I had a phonecall from the hospital saying I had an infection and needed antibiotics but they never explained what the infection was and whether it caused or was because of my miscarriage and they never answered me directly when I asked. I also never discovered exactly when I miscarried or how old the baby was, but I think it was about 8wks as I saw something on my notes one day.
I never heard anything from the midwives about my miscarriage and I assumed the hopital had told them, but I discovered when I had a new booking appointment two months later when I was pregnant with DD1 that they had not been told and had at one point tried to contact me to discover why I hadn't attended my antenatel appointment and luckily I had been out and not answered the phone. They then checked with the Drs and learnt about my miscarriage! The midwife was very apologetic at my appointment about it.
After my miscarriage, all I could think about was getting pregnant again and 2wks after my D&C I concieved DD1. In hindsight I wish I had waited longer and given myself time to grieve for my baby but I didn't and as DD1 was born at 41wks and I concieved her 2wks after my miscarriage at 13wks I was pregnant for 55wks with a 2 week break!!
I don't know whether to tell DD1 about my miscarriage, I hate that that they don't know about the sibling they almost had, but I also don't wand DD1 to suffer from survivors guilt as had I had the baby I wouldn't have her. I wouldn't be without any of my children and as much as I wish I had that baby as well, I like to think that it gave it's life so that DD1 could live instead!
How can you help? If you want to help raise awareness and how women are treated when they miscarry then you can join in. For more information see Mumsnet Campaign for Better Miscarriage Care and Treatment.