The Week Our Lives Changed Forever, A Year On

It's funny, the days that affect you. The specific dates; the milestones that take your breath away, stop you from thinking clearly, leaving you feeling down and confused.

18th October 2016; we were 6 weeks and 4 days pregnant.

20th October 2016; we believed we were 6 weeks 6 days pregnant.

We have had two missed miscarriages now, since the 18th October 2016. Our first, we saw his/her heart beating. Due to having fertility treatment to help make our first baby possible, my fertility nurse had booked me in for an early scan to determine how many babies were in there. It was booked for 6 weeks 4 days (6w4d).

There was one. One perfect little bean, his/her heart beating strongly; 151bpm.

You can imagine, after almost 2 years, our absolute elation. I feel silly writing 'elation' because no word comes close to describing the euphoria.

I'd had some bleeding from pretty early on through that (short) pregnancy. At the abdominal ultrasound I had on the 18th, we found the cause of the bleeding I'd experienced; a subchorionic haemorrhage. This is a pocket of blood within the uterus. Mine was an insignificant size and the sonographer was not overly bothered about it. She did not warn me that it was likely I would continue to bleed. We were so relieved to see a live baby on the screen.

Several hours after seeing our miracle, I had a heavier bleed.
I cannot explain how that felt. We'd gone out for a 'celebratory' meal, and I'd used the restaurant's toilets whilst my husband was settling the bill. My world span when I saw the blood. We rushed straight back to hospital where I had a few hours wait. We were both terrified. A mere few hours earlier, we'd seen his/her heart flashing brightly on the screen, but now, we were in the depths of helplessness. The doctor there decided not to take any action, despite us pleading with her to scan me. She stated "If the baby was alright earlier, it would be now. Babies don't just die over the space of a few hours." Which, thinking about it logically, it takes seconds for anyone's heart to stop beating, a baby in the womb is no different!

Reluctantly, we went home.My fertility nurse booked me a scan for exactly a week later. She said as I'd seen more blood than I had previously in this pregnancy, they'd rather I have another scan so we knew what was going on...

Fast forward to 25th October 2016; we believed we were 7w4d pregnant.

I was in A LOT of pain waiting for my ultrasound (unbeknown to us we had a 40 minute wait!) I was deep breathing and gripping the chair. Now, my pain threshold isn't too poor and I was in agony. One of the ladies waiting told us "you can't struggle on like that - tell them"
The unsympathetic lady on reception told us "you need a full bladder but as you have a slight wait of 20 minutes (liar) you can let some out." I said to my husband "I can't have someone touch my abdomen, I'm in too much pain, this isn't normal" I hadn't even drunk the full amount they'd recommended. I used the toilet several times after speaking to the receptionist - I was in too much pain not to.
I eventually got called in for my ultrasound scan. They asked why I was back so soon (7 days after my last abdominal ultrasound) and I explained about the bleeding.
Now, down to business. Jelly squirted. “This will be cold”. Wand waved. "Oops, bladder too full I literally can see nothing". I said "Seriously?! I used the toilet about 4 minutes ago!"
She asked me to go and let “at least two thirds out.” Delighted, I did.
Back again (more comfortable now).
Jelly squirted. “This will be cold”. Wand waved.
"How is it still sooo full?! Do you mind if I do an internal ultrasound? I still can't see from the abdominal one"
I was dubious - I'd read in my research that total pelvic rest was best when a subchorionic haemorrhage is detected. I explained my worries and she said "us and the doctors are sure that will make no difference, besides I couldn't see an area of blood. I obviously won't do it if you don't want, but I recommend." I was a bit annoyed, how could they easily see the baby with an abdominal scan at 6w4d but not a week later; when the baby was bigger now?
I turned to my husband and he straight away said "do it".
Back to the toilet I went - an empty bladder is required for an internal ultrasound. Bliss. I was grinning now. I was excited to see a less grainy image than last week too! Bonus!
When I got back into the room, the main sonographer was not in there but her assistant was. Within a few seconds, she returned and I climbed back onto the bed… Third time lucky!
I felt no discomfort at all.
Well, not physically.
"I just need a colleague to come and look at something for me"
The sonographer looked at her assistant, who then ran out of the door and brought back said colleague. What on earth is the hold-up?
"I can't see an area of blood at all but I'm afraid there is no heartbeat, I'm so sorry"
Our lives changed forever that day. My husband said he knew, he knew as soon as she'd done the first scan. He'd seen no flashing light; no heartbeat. That's why he'd encouraged me to have the internal scan; he was hoping that he'd then be able to see the heartbeat.
The sonographer went on to explain our baby was measuring 6w5d to 6w6d; suggesting he/she died around the 19th or the 20th October 2016.
I have been really struggling the past few days. I am aware that it is perfectly okay and normal to struggle, we don’t always need a reason. I am acutely aware that a year and a few days ago, I had a live baby. We had a live baby - half of me and half of him. Then, unbeknown to us at the time, he/she died. It feels never-ending how many milestone dates occur with pregnancy and baby loss. Now, we have two sets of milestone dates to contend with and endure.


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