Story Time – I Miscarried my Baby after Losing my Granda to Cancer
Oh, this is going to be hard to write, I can feel the tears forming already and I haven’t even started. I just wanted everyone to know before I start that this post may contain content that people may find upsetting or triggering so if this is you then please don’t read this post as the last thing I want to do is make anyone feel the way I do writing this.
I suppose the purpose of this post is to get it off my chest, to help me start to grieve as I haven’t yet and because if I write any more in my journal today my hand will fall off (I’m only kind of kidding, it’s so sore. Who knew you could get a repetitive strain injury from writing, I didn’t). I probably shouldn’t be listening to heavy metal whilst writing this, but it’s the soundtrack I choose for writing reviews, and I just posted my review on Eli Roth’s Clown. If you are interested in reading the review or like in-depth movie reviews, then you can check it out, here.
Starting from the Top
I met my partner over 10 years ago, we were in our teens when we started seeing each other. I didn’t think he was “The One” as I was a teenage girl, a bit of a promiscuous one at that, and don’t remember wanting to be in a relationship given everything going on with my biological mother. Most of you know my story by now, but if you are new here, then take a read of this post.
Anyways, we ended up going steady, things were great, but we argued a lot because we were totally different. I was a typical, moody, teenage girl who wanted to party with her friends but wanted to see her boyfriend 24/7 at the same time. I had major trust issues and I have no idea why as I was fortunate enough to not have been cheated on at that point. My friends didn’t like him in the beginning, but the sex was good so I stuck it out, years passed, we both matured and things became so much simpler, no arguments, it was just easy and I began to think maybe I could see myself marrying him down the line.
I never wanted to get married, it was never my “plan”. I wanted my career, at the time this was as a Social Worker or Nurse and I was in university. When we were in our twenties, he proposed. I accepted, we talked about getting married and whether or not to have a long engagement and both decided that we’d take the plunge and get married within the year, but it would be a small affair. Just our families, my four best friends as bridesmaids along with other family members as part of the wedding party.
The First Time
I remember my first miscarriage like it was yesterday. I was working whilst studying at Queen’s. I was at work when it happened, the cramping, the most intense pain I’ve ever felt in my life. I remember thinking, “What the fuck? What is this?” I hadn’t had any strange food, I hadn’t been out the night before, I didn’t get hangovers anyway as I didn’t get drunk. I ended up feeling so unwell I took myself to the toilet, my colleague who was a mother herself, had taken one look at me and followed me to the bathroom.
I remember the pain making me sick, I just about made it to the stall. This is something that happens to me often, if I am in pain, no matter where the pain is, if it’s intense and excruciating then I’ll vomit regardless. That’s what I did, I vomited in the stall, between the pain ripping through me and vomiting I managed to tell my colleague who we will call Marion, what the pain felt like. She asked when my period was due and I told her I’d been up to my eyeballs with university, work, planning my wedding and partying (I was still into the party scene) that I couldn’t remember.
She asked when I’d last had sex, I told her that my partner and I would have sex quite a lot, so the last time I had sex was the night before. I was on the Pill as I am allergic to the material condoms are made from. Despite everything, I was religious with my Pill, I never, ever missed it because at that point I was so paranoid about becoming pregnant and ruining the plans my partner and I had that I just wasn’t prepared for it to happen.
We weren’t religious by any means, both of us are Atheists which I talked about on my friend Karen’s blog. You can find that post, here. I recommend you do go read that post and the rest in her series as it’s very interesting especially if you are into reading about different religious practices. It’s actually how Karen and I became friends and she is probably one of the first people I’d go to for advice or just for a chat, now.
Back to it, basically what I was getting at is that it wouldn’t have caused any issue to be pregnant, I was in a committed relationship, we lived together, and we were getting married in mere months so worst case scenario if the baby had of survived I would have had to get my dress altered and that was the gist of it. Our families would have been fine about it, if not surprised it hadn’t happened sooner. Partner and I would have come to terms and been happy about it and I don’t believe in abortion so regardless we would have made new plans.
Then came the blood, that familiar warm, but a horrible feeling of blood pooling out of me. I just about managed to get my tights down and on the loo before it reached my legs and clothing. At this point I remember having a panic attack, I became hysterical because I didn’t recognise these pains and couldn’t remember my last period, but claiming I just couldn’t be pregnant, it just couldn’t happen. Marion asked me to open the door, I had run into the disabled toilets (I don’t recommend anyone does this and to this day I don’t know why I ran there as it wasn’t the first toilet).
Marion and I weren’t close, but at this point, I was too overwhelmed trying to get the panic attack to cease that I didn’t care. She came in with toilet roll and pads (the place I work was great and had free tampons and pads for the ladies). I was sitting there, head in hands, doubled up, sobbing and trying to breathe. Marion asked me to stand so she could see down the loo and I was mortified. “Why would you want to look down the loo?” I asked her, she told me she needed to see the blood, to see if it was clotted and what sort of state it was in.
She helped me stand and I clung on to the metal toilet roll dispenser with my tights and knickers round my ankles. She took a quick look, then set me back on the toilet. She took my hand and told me she thought I’d miscarried. Back then the internet wasn’t exactly the beast it is now, so she told me to sit there and she was going to go to HR and get my doctor’s number. I had lifted my mobile but had no service. Marion was brilliant and I was forever grateful for her and how she handled me that day as I was a complete mess.
The miscarriage was confirmed, I was okay about it and remember telling my dad later that you couldn’t miss what you never knew you had. How wrong was I?
Several Years Later
Fast forward to 2018, my mental health was in the gutter, relationship with my now husband with it because I wasn’t the strong, independent woman he fell in love with. Those pains, those pains haunted me again. This time, though, for some reason I didn’t think anything of it. I had been diagnosed with PTSD in May of 2018 so was so hellbent on getting rid of my so-called demons and returning to university to become a Psychologist that nothing else mattered.
That was until, August came… and I lost my hero, my amazing, perfect, funny and loving granda. My world came crashing down around me, I knew it was coming, in fact, I was prepared for it, my granda had been fighting cancer for over 10 years. That’s not an exaggeration, he’d cancer everywhere you could think of, and some of the cruellest places if you’re a man (if you get my drift). I was bereft, my cousin told me the news, not my dad (my granda’s son), but my cousin. I had avoided my granda’s house like the plague because I just couldn’t see him in pain.
I had witnessed his pain before, when he lost my granny, then when his cancer started to kill him. I’d hear him yell when he went to the loo, I’d see him grab the areas that hurt. This was the man that was built like a brick shit house, but who cried at Call the Midwife, the one who taught me the phrase, “My eyes are leaking”. The man who had me in fits of laughter because he thought he’d basically created Atheism in my family and that he was the only Atheist in the village. The man who was genuinely shocked when I told him that every single one of us is an Atheist, the man who was my hero.
I remember bursting into tears after calling my dad and getting the confirmation my granda was gone. My dad and I had a disagreement about my avoidance during those last few months, as he felt I should have been there, but for once I took the selfish route and avoided it for my own benefit, I couldn’t see my granda weak. I sat down on the sofa, my husband beside me, trying to hug me, I remember pushing him away. I’m not a touchy feely person and I hate people touching me when I’m crying. I remember the pain coming out of nowhere, knocking the wind out of me and me just yelling out.
My husband asked if I was okay, but I just clutched my stomach, doubled over. I think he thought it was just the grief hitting me. The blood came then, I ran upstairs mumbling to him my period had arrived, thinking that’s all it was and not bothering to check for clotting (which is quite natural anyway) or anything else. The pain went as soon as it came and I got on with contacting work to let them know my granda had passed.
I was due to start a new job on the 1st of September, it was currently 29th August. I told them my granda was being cremated 5 days after the 29th. For those of you who aren’t aware, it’s a tradition in Northern Ireland and Ireland for the families to bring the bodies back home in their coffin’s. The extended family visit and pay their respects, it’s common practice no matter the religion. The coffin is usually open unless there is a facial injury, or if like me and my granda you just don’t want people staring at your dead body and sobbing over it.
Work agreed to just start me after the funeral, and the funeral fast approached. My husband was out of the country on business, and to be honest, the relationship was on its last legs at this point so I hadn’t wanted him there anyway. I noticed that my period was very heavy, which was unheard of for me, but there was no pain.
I remember on the day of the funeral I had to keep asking my cousin if I had leaked through my dress, he kept saying I hadn’t, but at that point, I’d four Always ++++ pads on. I thought it was just stress, that my body was trying to cope with everything happening, between mental health, marriage problems, the stress of getting a new job, arguing with my dad who is my best friend, then losing my hero. I thought nothing on it, I didn’t care about how I felt, all I cared about was getting through the funeral.
I remember sitting in the pew of the crematorium, listening to my favourite aunt on my dad’s side, talk about her dad, how he was her best friend. I listened as she told stories of how naughty my dad and his siblings were as kids, I learned that my dad, who never talks about his childhood, was a bit of an arsonist/firebug. We laughed, we cried, I got hysterical when my dad cried as I’ve never seen him do that before. My cousin and I clung to each other, we cremated my granda and that was that.
Again, in Northern Ireland/Ireland wakes, are mostly held in the home of the deceased. We had headed back to granda’s house, I told my cousin to cover for me as I had to go and change my pads (yes, pads, plural). I was covered in blood, covered, it was up my back, down my legs and even then, as I had to strip and shower down at my own granda’s wake, I didn’t comprehend what was happening. I didn’t flinch at the huge clots in the pads, in the toilet. I barely noticed that the shooting pain had returned, I just put it down to not eating and drinking properly.
I ended up leaving the wake early, apologising to my dad and making an excuse to go home as I felt so drained and by this point knew without a doubt that my dress was covered in blood.
I started my new job the next day (I think), we were in Autism training all day in Carrick. Again, I was too busy to pay attention to my body screaming at me that something bad was happening. I still had no clue I was miscarrying, I didn’t think I could be pregnant as my husband and I had been told we would probably only conceive with IVF as we had fertility issues after we found out his sperm count was low.
I ran back and forward to the toilet the whole day. I’d brought a full pack of heavy Tena Lady pads with me because they were the only thing that seemed to stop me from leaking all over my clothes. I ran out towards the end of the day, they aren’t cheap to buy by the way. I remember I had stood up to look at something on the computer, my new colleague was giving me a quick overview of my new job. Another colleague noticed a stain on the back of my grey woollen dress, she mentioned to me that I must have sat in chocolate.
I knew immediately it was blood, it was 10 to 5 and I decided to take my leave as I couldn’t stand around for another 10 minutes, trying to hide my bloody dress behind my (thankfully) large Michael Kors handbag. I made my excuses to leave and ran out the door, running until I reached my car. I had brought a black dress coat with me and ended up using that to sit on so I didn’t stain my car seat.
When I got home I finally realised something was really wrong. I called my husband and told him I was going to A&E (he was still on business). My poor dad and mum, I roped them into taking me as I didn’t want to pay the extortionate parking fees that my local hospital charges (absolutely disgusting and disgraceful by the way. Government gives them money, yet still sick people are robbed of more). Dad dropped me off, he asked if I wanted him to stay but I said no.
I waited 4 hours to be seen by a doctor, 4 hours. My friend ended up coming to sit with me, I gave up after 4 hours. I was exhausted, had been crying on and off and just wanted to see my dog and my own bed. I promised my friend I’d come back the next day and sit.
The next day, I went down myself in my car, biting the bullet and deciding to pay the extortionate parking fees at my local hospital. The same process happened, blood taken and I was made to wait. The nurse called me in to find out what had happened the night before and I told her I’d given up waiting. She was worried about my blood count, I looked like complete crap, she told me I was very pale and went to find a junior doctor. I was finally put in a cubicle.
The junior doctor told me no specialist was available to see me but asked me questions about the blood loss. I showed him pictures of the pads, the clotting (which I had only taken the day before), and I explained how long it had been going on for. At this point it was close to a week, a miscarriage can last up to a month. I didn’t know that at the time, the doctor confirmed the miscarriage after further tests. I was utterly devastated, I’d just lost my granda and now my very much wanted baby.
I was 8 weeks gone when I miscarried for the second time, I was heartbroken. I had been given tablets to slow the bleeding and painkillers for the pain. I was a complete mess of a person, I sobbed and sobbed. I didn’t leave my bedroom, my husband hadn’t bothered to come home and I spent the full ten-day miscarriage on my own, with only my dog and one of my friends (the one that had attended A&E with me).
Work was amazing and gave me the time off. I told my male boss what had happened and he was so good, offering counselling, and other methods of support for me if I needed it. I didn’t take up the offer of counselling, I’m a counsellor myself, I know the drill.
Even now, as I sit here writing this, I still haven’t fully come to terms with losing my baby. My relationship has improved somewhat but still isn’t great. I started blogging more and writing more. I started university to follow my dream of being a Psychologist, but I still haven’t fully accepted what happened.
I have done everything in my power to avoid getting pregnant (not that it would happen anyway), again. I just can’t face the thought of losing another child, for a long time I thought it was because I always said I didn’t want to be a mum, that I didn’t like kids. It was clear when you saw me with my many godchildren that I love kids. I thought that the universe was punishing me for not realising before that I wanted to be a mum, that this was karma at it’s finest.
I thought maybe it was because I chose not to see my granda fade away in his own home, that I wasn’t there for dad and I should have been as his eldest child. That the baby was taken from me because of the state of my relationship. So many negative and horrible thoughts went through my mind in those early days, and even now if I’m having an emotional day, or if I get an IBS pain, I’ll think of my baby and feel so sad, I’ll blame myself, for not taking better care of myself in those few months I was with child.
I’m due back to see the specialist in a few weeks time to see if surgical intervention is needed. By the time I see him, it’ll be nearly 6 months to the day since I lost my child. I would be 8 months pregnant by then and I’d be around 7 months pregnant, today if the baby had of survived. I think of her often, I decided she would have been a girl. I named her, rightly or wrongly.
You Aren’t Alone
I suppose another reason for this post was to let others out there know that you aren’t alone. That there is far too many of us going through this, or that have experienced this at some point in our adult lives.
I’m still not okay, I don’t know if I will ever be okay. However, I am looking to the future and trying to be positive. I find comfort in the fact my little girl will be with her great granda and granny, that she’ll be with my childhood horse, dog and my Honey. All of whom will love, protect and care for her.
I don’t believe in Heaven and Hell, but I choose to believe that there is somewhere that our souls go, somewhere where lost loves reunite. I have to believe that because if I didn’t I don’t know if I could cope with never seeing my granda, dogs or baby again.
Help if You Need it
If you think you may have miscarried then you should go to your A&E department, first and foremost. it could be dangerous to leave it.
If you are unfortunate enough to miscarry, there are plenty of great charities local to you. I have listed the U.K, EIRE and a main one for the US as the majority of my readers come from these countries. However, there are dozens out there and a Google search should bring one close to your area.
These are just in case, I understand, like myself, not everyone chooses to go down this road. what I don’t recommend is that you go it alone. It was very tough and I’ve certainly changed as a person because of it. Go to those you trust, that is close to you and will look after you (emotionally and/or physically) until you are ready to pick up your life, again.
There is also absolutely no shame in seeking help, in fact as a Counsellor, myself I highly recommend it. What I did was completely wrong, I should have taken up the offer when I could. I’m lucky enough that I have an amazing Psychiatrist that is on speed dial if I have a wobble, even though she was furious at me for doing it alone.
If any of this post has maybe triggered some emotional or trigging feelings and you want to talk to someone, please make use of the charities below, as well. My DM’s and emails are always open to anyone needing a bit of support, but I am not a qualified bereavement counsellor and do not specialise in miscarriage in any way. I could merely only draw from my own experiences of miscarriage. Symptoms are different for everyone, as is the process of getting through it.
Miscarriage Association of Ireland
North Brunswick Street
Telephone (Central Lines): 01- 873 5702
Telephone (Direct Lines): Morning – from 10.00 a.m. to 12 Noon Deirdre on 087 9239217 Evening – from 8.00 p.m. to 10.00 p.m. Eve on 087 3571164
If they don’t answer, leave a voicemail and one of the lovely ladies will call you back as soon as possible.
They will always try to respond to your email within four days
Promotes the well-being of bereaved people and enables anyone bereaved by death to understand their grief and cope with their loss.
T: 028 9079 2419
Foundation for the Study of Infant Deaths (FSID)
Provides information on how to reduce the risk of cot death and offers support to bereaved families.
T: 028 3833 2985
Remember Our Child
A project within Cruse Bereavement Care – a network of organisations providing support for bereaved parents following the death of a child.
T: 0289079 7975
Stillbirth and Neonatal Death Society (SANDS)
Sands works to support bereaved parents and families, and to press for improvements in care during pregnancy and when a baby has died.
T: 020 7436 7940
NI dedicated mobile #: 077 4099 3450
285 High Street
England & Wales
PO Box 12285
The Miscarriage Association
17 Wentworth Terrace
Telephone: Helpline – 01924 200 799 Admin – 01924 200 795
Opening hours: From 9.00 am to 4.00 pm, Monday to Friday
- Montreal: The Centre for Reproductive Loss
- Saskatoon: Empty Arms Perinatal Loss Support Services
- Compassionate Friends
- Empty Cradle
- Ending a Wanted Pregnancy (after prenatal or maternal medical diagnosis)
- Faces of Loss, Faces of Hope (Miscarriage, stillbirth & infant loss)
- First Candle
- Glow in the Woods
- Glory Babies
- A Heartbreaking Choice (Pregnancy termination due to prenatal diagnosis, selective reduction, maternal health, etc)
- Helping After Neonatal Death (HAND)
- MISS Foundation
- Missing Grace Foundation
- Mommies Enduring Neonatal Loss (MEND)
- National Council of Jewish Women Pregnancy Loss Support Program (Miscarriage, Stillbirth, Newborn Death)
- Sarah’s Laughter Infertility & Miscarriage Support Center
- Share Pregnancy & Infant Loss Support
- TEARS Foundation
- To Full Term: A Mother’s Triumph Over Miscarriage
- UNITE – Grief Support after Miscarriage, Stillbirth, & Infant Death