Miscarriage Stories: My husband called the Early Pregnancy Unit the Room of Death

We asked readers to share their experiences of miscarriage. These are their stories
Miscarriage Stories: My husband called the Early Pregnancy Unit the Room of Death

'My poor husband still had hope as he couldn't process any of this so quickly'

 ‘Men really find this all so sad and heartbreaking’ 

We lost our first baby on Stephen's Day. He should be eight now. There's obviously no good time to miscarry but over Christmas, I think the loneliness is amplified. It can be hard to find someone willing to listen. Even now I find it hard to say his name.

Perhaps due to how busy everyone is at that time of year, nobody ever remembers his anniversary. Nobody ever texts or checks in on the day. It feels like he's forgotten by all but my husband and I. But we can not and will not forget.

I had my first baby at 30, no problems, all so wonderfully easy (bar an eventful, traumatic labour) but I conceived very easily again 16 months later. We were thrilled, all seemed fine but at almost 11 weeks I had a bleed.

I went straight to the hospital and it was very busy and the midwife couldn't see anything on the screen, there was a sac but nothing in it. She suggested dates might be out but I knew they were spot on.

She booked me into the Early Pregnancy Unit for the morning after and tried to send me off with hope. I was lucky I suppose in that friends and family had shared a lot with me (and I was always very interested so I supposed I paid attention and retained the information) - I knew enough that I should have seen a baby - I rang a friend and said 'Please be honest with me, there should be a bouncing baby by now?' And she said yes.

My poor husband still had hope as he couldn't process any of this so quickly. I told him to please be prepared as I knew the baby was gone. Roll on the following morning and the bad news. It was a missed miscarriage, the sac had gotten to just six weeks but there was nothing there but a big black hole on the scan.

They offered me medication to go home with or a D&C that day and I know now that I was very lucky to have been dealt with so quickly. They were amazing. Sam Coulter Smith saw me, we had attended him on our first baby and he literally held my hand and told me he was tied up for a few hours but he would come back and do the surgery himself. I wasn't even formally his patient again yet. I will honestly never forget his kindness, I believe it helped me process miscarriage number one.

We call the procedure a D&C but really it's an ERPC - Evacuation of Retained Products of Conception - I remember that hitting me like a tonne of bricks. It just sounded heartbreaking. My husband brought me to theatre and I was taken in, leaving him looking so sad and lost broke my heart.

Men really find this all so sad and heartbreaking and most people don't pay any attention to them. Lying on that theatre bed was probably the loneliest I have ever felt in my life. Knowing what was about to happen was so hard. 

Roll on my six-week check up and all looked fine and no sinister reason for it. Go for number two.

I'm a positive person and I felt like just moving on to the end game as I knew nothing but being pregnant again really would help. I knew the stats and my brain is very logical and scientific I suppose. Why wouldn't it happen to me? It's so sad but happens to 1 in 4.

I was pregnant just over two months after the miscarriage. My son arrived 11 months after it and I always say he healed my heart. He was meant to be and I wouldn't have changed anything really.

I knew I wanted a third baby since always, I was diagnosed with Crohn's Disease 11 months after my son arrived. This delayed trying for a number for various reasons. We started trying when he was just over two and again got pregnant easily which I knew I was so lucky to do. Booked a scan for eight weeks, felt good and went in and I could not believe it when Sam couldn't find a heartbeat. It floored me. I kind of half expected that we could have one but two just was not on my radar.

I think my body went into shock for a week or two. I was functioning but I came down with a flu-like thing and really I think it was just shock. I chose not to have an ERPC that time, a decision I now regret as I took three weeks and various medications and scans before I ended up having the ERPC in the end.

I'd just had so much poking and prodding with Crohn's that I didn't feel up to it. It happened in the end anyway.

I again started trying once I got the all-clear but this time I couldn't get pregnant. That in itself was so difficult. It had never happened like this before. I did share my pain with friends really, I couldn't constantly tell my husband as I knew he wouldn't cope with my sadness and I laugh now, saying if he'd known what was going on in my head back then, he would have ran!

A friend who was going through similar stuff was my lifeline, you need people who understand and unless you've gone through it, you just can't. We held each other up and I am so thankful for her.

I had the second ERPC in May 2012 and it took me until March 2013 to get pregnant. I had such heartache during that year when I think back but I was thrilled but that only lasted about five days and I started miscarrying naturally. I couldn't believe it.

I had a follow-up scan to confirm that everything had passed and I asked to be referred for tests but I was told no because I didn't have three in a row and had two kids naturally. I really feel this is wrong.

I went off and amazingly was pregnant less than two months later. I found out on my birthday actually and it was amazing but terrifying. I had a tiny bleed at 6.5 week scan, all looked OK but then there was another terrible heavy bleed at eight weeks.

I was convinced it was gone and I remember sitting on my couch waiting for my husband to come home and take me to a private scan.

I was hysterical, a mess. I was convinced something was wrong with me and that was it, I was moving onto a fertility clinic as I couldn't cope again. We had our scan with hearts in our mouth waiting for the terrible news and yet there he was! A bouncing baby.

They could see what may have been a second sac that didn't develop or possibly a blood mass type thing. I honestly didn't care, never dwelled on that because my baby was ok. I spent the pregnancy happy but scared. Before my anomaly scan at 20 weeks I was in bits - I was so sure we would go in and it would be a Faraday Foetal Abnormality, that would be us and I just didn't believe the baby would get here safely really. The fear is terrible.

BUT, roll on a few months and our baby arrived four weeks early but nearly 7.5lbs and just perfection. It was heaven really. The second I saw him, I was complete. I knew I would never try again. We were blessed and as my husband used to say he had seen enough of the EPU (which he called the room of death as he found it so traumatic) for a lifetime.

‘My poor husband found it tough going’ 

We got married in March 2014 and I fell pregnant around early November. Everything was fine, I had no sickness, no tenderness in my breasts. I worked in retail and it was the week before Christmas and I started to spot but had a bit of a cough and had been busy so was kind of putting it down to that, but decided to get it checked out.

Myself and Mam went out to St. Luke's in Kilkenny and they did my internal scan and there was a heartbeat and everything was measuring fine for eight weeks. They told me to rest up and not to do anything at all.

On Christmas Eve I was nine weeks and one day. I started cramping really bad and went over to Mam and Dad’s, my husband was at work. I phoned the hospital they said to come in but I wanted to stay at home given the day that was in it, so was told to take paracetamol but to come in at any time.

My husband joined me that afternoon, we got a take-away with my parents. I was doing ok and just went into the bathroom not expecting much and that's when I miscarried that evening. Mam was with me and Dad was bringing me water and checking on me. I was weirdly ok, I always had a feeling I was going to lose our baby and I have no idea why even to this day. It lasted about 40 minutes.

My poor husband found it tough going but everyone was so supportive. My Mam miscarried at 16 weeks so she knew what it was like.

We went out to the hospital when things had settled.

I think the worst part of that is having to go to maternity, all you can hear are babies crying which isn't very comforting. I was checked out by the lovely nurse and scanned. I didn't need a D&C as I had passed everything myself.

The pains were still bad the following two weeks or so but as soon as I lost our baby my body felt at ease. My colour came back the odd feeling I felt had gone. We named the baby Sam.

We now have two beautiful kids, a boy who is five and a half and a little girl just turned three. And those pregnancies were fine thank God. They both felt different to my first one from the start but I did find myself dreading going to the bathroom for the first couple of months. Just in case, but thankfully everything was fine.

I don't feel ashamed about our miscarriage. I tell myself the baby wasn't well or strong enough for this earth and it just wasn't meant to be. Please don't lose hope.

‘I was informed that I had 'cervical ectropion'

At 26 the odds should have been with me not against me. After finding out we were pregnant with our first in January we were so happy! Unfortunately just before we got to five weeks we had a miscarriage. Devastated of course, we picked ourselves back up.

Luckily we became pregnant again in the February, thinking this is it! My GP confirmed the pregnancy, I was having the signs of pregnancy again things were feeling good. At nearly six weeks I started having a bleed that concerned me so I went to my maternity hospital and I saw the heartbeat. I couldn't believe I was finally seeing this!

I was also informed that I had 'cervical ectropion' which causes random bleeding through pregnancy so with this I would get random bleeds which really made me anxious and afraid through the pregnancy.

I had been given an early scan booking at seven weeks, so nervous about what to expect the heartbeat was found again I couldn't believe my luck! I ran out to my partner with such excitement and called my family and friends feeling happy and positive.

Little did I know the happiness would quickly go. Two weeks later when I was just nine weeks I went straight back into my maternity hospital with bleeding quite similar to the one in January and automatically got that feeling that something wasn’t right.

The midwives and doctors were so lovely and comforting towards me with my panic. As I laid on the bed the silence while getting the scan was just nerve-racking and scary to then be told 'Alice I'm so sorry I don't see the heartbeat'.

Because of Covid, I had to attend these three scans myself. I didn't have my partner there with me by my side to help me as I broke down crying to the doctor asking her 'how is this happening again I don't understand - I'm young and healthy.'

My partner then had to be called in to be told. Not being together in that moment was heartbreaking. The baby's heartbeat had stopped at eight weeks and one day and it took my body over a week to make me aware of what had happened. When you think the worst is over but to then have to go through the emotional and physical pain of taking these tablets that give you pain you have never had before was horrific.

I was so afraid of what was going to happen, what would I feel, what I would see. My partner and I went home to try and adjust all of this with tears, confusion and pain. How this could happen twice.

Everywhere I looked online saying 'it just happens'. And there's no real explanation. I blamed myself in so many ways thinking about what I had done wrong and it's heartbreaking. Having this happen adds again so much more anxiety for future pregnancies. You're afraid to get happy and excited in case it happens all over again. I hope to never experience that pain and upset again for me and my partner.

‘I lost a baby, and my partner lost his life’ 

My partner had an emotional breakdown when I was around 13 weeks pregnant, despite his being delighted about the baby. There's a very serious history of miscarriage and child loss in his family and it seems he became very scared about what might go wrong with our pregnancy.

It was an unplanned pregnancy, we wanted a family but we thought we’d be more secure by the time we started family planning, but despite that it was cherished and welcomed. I don’t think I was ever so proud of anyone as I was of him and how he rose to this new challenge and jumped into “attentive Dad to-be mode.

We had some concerns about our finances but we were happy. I didn't know the extent of his family experience with pregnancy and child loss back then, and he tried to keep his fears from me but gradually I saw fears and worry get in on him.

I was dealing with something very serious in my personal life at the same time and I didn’t have support or anyone to talk to, and he needed support and reassurance too.

I started having some spotting bleeding in week 12. I think he was told by a relative that it inevitably meant miscarriage and he became depressed and referred to my bleeding and talked about feeling grief and loss, he disappeared within a week and was found dead of suicide a number of weeks later.

I did lose the baby, the initial spotting was a threatened miscarriage but not a miscarriage. I was waiting a little longer than average for my first antenatal hospital appointment due to the pandemic but I suspect my blood pressure was high.

I am in my mid-thirties. I think the shock and distress of my baby's father's disappearance caused my miscarriage. I think misinformation and scaremongering frightened him and his mental state spiralled out of control.

Potentially none of this would have happened if we as a society spoke freely and comfortably and openly about miscarriage.

‘Telling my husband his baby had died was the most difficult thing I ever had to do’ 

From the moment you take that pregnancy test you have become a mum. That baby will always be part of you and your journey. I became a mum in 2018 after three short months of trying. We were absolutely thrilled and when we became parents we were so grateful for our daughter, it really was the closest thing to winning the Lotto.

The want to give your child a sibling is very strong. You watch them play and picture your family growing.

We were faced with the restrictions in March 2020 and decided to try for number two. On Good Friday we were thrilled to see a positive test result.

An eight-week scan showed a good heartbeat and I felt so damn lucky to walk out to the car park to celebrate with my husband, the little baby's Dad.

On my husband's birthday at 11 weeks we lost our little baby. The biggest comfort I got was coming home to my own baby and holding her tight.

I had an amazing circle of support with my family and friends but the loss I felt was so intense. I felt after hearing my baby's heartbeat we were out of the woods. I had just started to show and overnight my baby had gone and the hardest thing was we had no answers.

I blamed myself asking was it because I drank a half a bottle of Lucozade... My husband, who would not be one to be self-critical of his driving, wondered if it was because he drove too fast on Saturday.

In August I discovered what would change my complete outlook on fertility and miscarriage, acupuncture. It opened up a whole new world for me. I had two sessions and by the second session, I was pregnant again.

This time I felt I was ready to be pregnant again. The eight-week scan came again with my consultant that delivered my Jane. All good, that healthy heartbeat. Thumbs up, you're rocking out that door so relieved, again alone.

I went back for my reassurance scan on November 9 alone. The incredible silence that I was met with, the usual noisy train sounding was utter silence, it was deafening. My only consistency was my consultant in the whole process saying he was so sorry. Words he must utter on so many occasions.

Telling my husband his baby had died was the most difficult thing I have ever had to do. You are the mum you try to protect your children and to lose another baby is heartbreaking.

This time I knew what I needed to do, I had a plan to find out what had happened to my baby.

I know so many people in my life that have been through a miscarriage and it's such a deep loss in the couple's life. Self-care is the most important part in pregnancy loss and taking the time to grieve and mind your mental health.

A lot needs to improve in the maternity settings to combat the conveyor belt aspect to miscarriage.

We need to offer investigations after two losses, not three.

All of this will help women and men get closure and give them confidence again.

‘The Silence’ 

I scuttled inside the old grey hospital walls, Head held down for fear of recognition.

Down the cold ceramic steps, baltic air breezing against my flushed cheeks.

Cradling my little parcel, a secret to the outside world.

Hushed hellos greeted me from staff remembering when I was one of them.

A creaking door peered open, my doctor smiling, almost ready to congratulate.

The doctor who had presented my little girl to the world all of 2 years ago.

Holding her high for all to see from the gaping cut in my belly.

Cutting the cord releasing her to the world.

Now, laying on the couch, twirls and knots danced about inside my gut.

The cold jelly colliding with the probe as we both stared at the screen.

And nothing..... Just Silence, And the tears began to flow Never forgetting.

More in this section

ieStyle Live 2021 Logo
ieStyle Live 2021 Logo

IE Logo
Outdoor Trails

Discover the great outdoors on Ireland's best walking trails

IE Logo
Outdoor Trails


The best food, health, entertainment and lifestyle content from the Irish Examiner, direct to your inbox.

Sign up