"Pregnancy Loss"

About: Airdrie Community Maternity University Hospital Wishaw / Maternity Care (Wards 21-24)

(as the patient),

Whilst going through my first experience of pregnancy and suffering a pregnancy loss, what I feel most is disappointment in the level of support that is available around miscarriage.  From my very first contact with my midwife I was advised that official contact would take place after 8 weeks as this is the timeframe in which women most commonly suffer a miscarriage.  A time when women may need the most support of all is when they are left alone to experience a loss that is traumatic not only physically but emotionally and mentally, with little communication or information.

Following some bleeding at 9 weeks I was offered an early scan at the Early Pregnancy Assessment Unit.  At this scan I was informed that my pregnancy had likely stopped growing but I would need to come back in 7 days to confirm.  The midwife who spoke with me on this day was very professional however 3 key elements were missing for me - Care, Compassion and Communication.  I left feeling very confused and felt the whole experience was very cold and impersonal.   I therefore contacted my allocated midwife the following day who only upon receipt of my call checked the system and realised my situation.  Again I found this very impersonal and if not for a phone call from me would I have had any contact from her?  In fact, from this date I have never again heard from my midwife.  I feel like I was only a number, and not a human being who was going through a traumatic experience.  I've never received any results from blood tests, which I requested and the notes on my Maternity Notes App are sparse.  These may have not given me any answers but I felt it was my right to know the outcome.

Following a second scan a week later, I was again left confused as it appeared that the pregnancy that had stopped growing at 6 weeks had infact grown in the 7 days since my last appointment meaning that I had to wait another 7 days for confirmation of miscarriage.  During this scan, I would like to highlight that the midwife I dealt with was very empathetic, supportive and interested in my wellbeing and this made the world of difference to my experience and how I was feeling.  She was very informative and if not for her input my whole experience would have been a negative one.

The day after my second scan I began to experience severe cramping and bleeding and contacted the Early Pregnancy Assessment Unit for advice.  During this conversation I was advised to take paracetamol and have a hot bath.  I was also asked to take a pregnancy test the day prior to my next appointment and if this was negative to cancel my appointment.  I was horrified by this and whilst the information was again delivered professionally, I found it cruel to ask a woman suffering a miscarriage to take a pregnancy test and to end care at that point should a pregnancy test be negative, taking into consideration the fact that nothing had been officially confirmed to me prior to this point and the only closure I would get would be from a further appointment.

After, I guess what you could call lucky, a further pregnancy test was positive, I attended my final scan appointment to which I was met by the same midwife again who was able to confirm my miscarriage and showed me the care, compassion and support that had been missing from most of my pregnancy experience.  The only saving grace from my whole experience was the contact I had with this midwife and her ability to shine light at the end of a very dark tunnel.

On the whole, I do not feel that I was appropriately supported throughout my pregnancy experience and feel this issue needs to be highlighted and a change of practice implemented so that women like myself are not made to feel pushed aside when their pregnancy is no longer viable.  A miscarriage is a very lonely and harrowing experience which is only made worse with a lack of communication, information and support.

Whilst I appreciate the impact that Covid-19 has had on front line services and the pressures that comes with this, I don't feel this is an excuse for a lack of care, compassion and communication.  These simple steps are all it took for me to feel better informed and more supported and the fact that it was not common practice in my experience makes me sad, especially for those women who may be going through what I have gone through.  I can only hope that by sharing my experience, that someone else has a more positive experience that I did.

Responses

Response from Lesley Mallon, Quality Improvement Co-Ordinator, NHS Lanarkshire Headquarters, NHS Lanarkshire last week
Lesley Mallon
Quality Improvement Co-Ordinator, NHS Lanarkshire Headquarters,
NHS Lanarkshire
Submitted on 18/11/2020 at 17:14
Published on Care Opinion at 17:14


picture of Lesley Mallon

Dear Miss J 85

Thank you very much for taking the time to share you feedback on Care Opinion. I was very sorry to hear about your miscarriage, and that you felt unsupported through your pregnancy and acknowledge that you felt let down by our service.

It is the aim of the Early Pregnancy Unit team to ensure that all women are given excellent care, shown compassion, and feel well informed. We know that good communication is essential, especially when women are going through a traumatic or difficult pregnancy journey and would apologise that this was not what you experienced.

We really appreciate the feedback you have shared, at such a difficult time for you, which will allow us to review our service, to make improvements and provide a higher standard of care for all our patients experiencing early pregnancy complications or loss.

If you would like to discuss your experience further, to have a chat and get more information and support, please contact Michelle Clarke or Louise McCabe on 01698 366353.

Best wishes.

Lesley

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