Chantelle’s Story

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In 2018, 18 months after the birth of our first child, Finley, we were delighted to be expecting baby number two. Excited at the prospect of a new addition to the family, we had a private scan at six weeks and were overjoyed to see a heartbeat and our tiny baby.

Six weeks later after experiencing all the usual pregnancy symptoms, we attended the QMC for our routine 12-week scan. Here, we were told that they couldn’t find a heartbeat and things weren’t developing as they’d expect. We were obviously extremely shocked and devastated as until this point, there had been no sign that anything was wrong.

Unfortunately, the hospital was unable to take our first scan into consideration, as it had been carried out privately, and we were told we would have to wait a couple of weeks before coming back for another scan to confirm what we already knew in our hearts was happening. I had suffered a miscarriage.

Ironically, we’d taken my mother-ln-law along to the scan in an attempt to cheer her up following the recent loss of her husband, little did we know that we’d receive this devasting news.

It was that this appointment that I had my first experience of A23. I was sent to the ward to discuss next steps with the team on A23. Whilst sat waiting, a couple behind me were calling their friends and family to inform them that they’d just found out that they were expecting twins. It was at this point, and in tears, I asked to be moved to somewhere more private. The staff quickly sorted me an alternative room to wait in.

After speaking to the doctor, I was given instructions to return in 10 days to confirm that I’d miscarried and – if things hadn’t happened naturally – to discuss the next steps.

Those 10 days were horrific and when returning to the hospital it was confirmed that I had suffered a miscarriage. At this point there was still no obvious signs that I’d miscarried, I actually still felt pregnant.

I opted to have a pessary to encourage my body to do what was needed and after a few hours was sent home. Unfortunately, a few days later I was experiencing agonising pain and returned back to A23 where I had to undergo a D&C to remove the baby.

Once I returned home, I found that there was very little support for people who had experienced miscarriage, I felt lonely and isolated and an overwhelming sense of guilt for what had happened.

A year later we were delighted and slightly nervous to be expecting again. However, at six weeks I started spotting. I rang A23 in a panic and was reassured that light spotting is quite common, but due to my previous miscarriage they offered me a scan just to check everything was ok. At this scan our fears were confirmed, and they said we should prepare for the worse as things didn’t look quite right.

Again, we had to wait two weeks for another scan to confirm. At this point they could see that the baby had grown, but things still didn’t look quite right. We waited another week before it was confirmed that I’d suffered another miscarriage. We were devastated. At this point, I was also worried about the future and whether we’d even be able to have another child.

This time, I decided to opt straight for a D&C before returning home to recover and come to terms with another loss. After both miscarriages I suffered from pelvic inflammatory disease,which although was just a case of bad luck, certainly didn’t help things.

After this second miscarriage, my mental health declined. I was extremely anxious and had this constant fear that something would go wrong. As a result, in 2019, I was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder, which required therapy sought through the NHS.

The support for families who’ve experienced a miscarriage is really limited and I believe if there was more support available after my miscarriages, this may have been avoided. I know people who have received more mental health support following abortions than that offered to those who experience miscarriage. More needs to be done.

However, although I’m still working on my mental health, our story does have a happy ending and we welcomed our rainbow baby, Archie, in 2013, completing our family. This has enabled me to get to a place where I’m ok talking about what we went through and allows me to share my story in the hope of helping others feel less alone.

Supporting 1 in 4 in 2024

I think the Forever Stars ‘Supporting 1 in 4 in 2024’ campaign is fantastic. Anything that encourages people to be aware and talk about miscarriage is a good thing as it will help people feel less isolated and break the taboo that seems to surround miscarriage.

Revamping A23 will also make a difference to families. The staff work hard to treat people from a clinical perspective, but the environment could be better. When I used the ward the waiting area was quite sparse and not particularly comforting or inviting. It felt like a typical clinical hospital ward. I didn’t spend any time in the garden as it was winter and it wasn’t a great space, although it certainly has the potential to provide space for reflection at a distressing time.

Advice for others experiencing miscarriage

I think it would’ve helped me to hear stories from others who had experienced miscarriage. So, I want to share a few bits of advice that might provide comfort.

  1. Don’t feel ashamed or afraid to talk about it. Talking to family and friends will help you to feel less alone. You’ll probably be surprised how many people have been through something similar.
  2. Don’t feel guilty – it’s not your fault.
  3. You’re not on your own, it’s more common than people realise. Charities such as Forever Stars can help provide the support you need to help you come to terms with your loss.

Find out more about the ‘Supporting 1 in 4 in 2024’ campaign.

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