"Sympathetic treatment would have made the situation more bearable."
Posted by littlemisswednesday (as ),
I had a miscarriage at 11-weeks in October 2012; it was my first pregnancy. The bleeding started at about midday on a Saturday afternoon and I immediately went to the local A&E, accompanied by my mother. I'm not quite sure what I expected to happen at this point, but I was left to wait for an hour and a half before being seen. I found this incredibly traumatic - I was bleeding fairly heavily and crying uncontrollably as I felt that the wait could be harming any chance of my baby being saved. I was left to sit in a busy reception area until my mother begged for me to be moved somewhere else, at which point I was directed to a chair just around the corner. I was finally seen by a doctor that I felt was completely unsympathetic - he listened to my symptoms (essentially heavy bleeding) and stated that it was likely that I was having a miscarriage but couldn't have a scan until Monday as my miscarriage was not an emergency (although to me it certainly was) and they were no available staff to perform an ultrasound. He said I should go home and return on Monday. This left me completely devastated as the thought of having to wait two days to find out if my baby was alive - coupled with the idea of having to deal with it at home - was appalling. After a long bout of crying he at least booked me an appointment for the Monday, but I was told there was nothing else they could do.
I returned home and the bleeding continued all day on Saturday and through to Sunday. I returned to A&E on Sunday and again had to wait for some time to be seen, in a busy waiting area; this time though I was seen by a very sympathetic doctor who gave me an internal exam and confirmed that it was very likely a miscarriage due to the amount of blood lost. I was again sent home to wait it out. By Sunday evening at around 9pm I had been experiencing painful contractions for around 6-7hours; by the time I arrived back in A&E I was losing a huge amount of blood and could no longer stand. I was admitted and stayed in hospital until around 3am when the full miscarriage was confirmed and the pain had alleviated.
I returned at 9am for a final ultrasound to check that the miscarriage was complete; this time I waited for over an hour in a waiting area full of couples looking at their scan pictures. Again, I was very emotional - it wasn't until a nurse spotted how upset me and my partner were that I was taken in for the scan, where it was explained (very apologetically) that the reception staff had misplaced my notes so the nurses were not aware I was waiting.
Overall, I obviously found the entire experience extremely traumatic and looking back I feel that the care I received only compounded this. I understand that there is in reality little that can be done to prevent/halt a miscarriage but quicker, more sympathetic treatment would have made the whole situation more bearable. I was given very little information throughout about what to expect when I was sent home each time; I had no idea that I would experience contractions, how much bleeding to expect or what would happen when the foetus came out. Although some of the healthcare team I encountered were extremely sympathetic, I find it unacceptable that women going through something like this should have to wait two days for a scan (if you are unlucky enough to miscarry on a weekend - how inconvenient for the NHS! ) and should be treated in A&E in the same way as someone waiting to be seen for something much less traumatic (such as sprains etc). The way that miscarriages are dealt with - the speed of care, information provided and support - all needs to be drastically improved from my experience.