"I miscarried at 12 weeks of a donor egg IVF pregnancy"

About: Lister Hospital / Accident and emergency Lister Hospital / Gynaecology Lister Hospital / Maternity

(as the patient),

I miscarried at 12 weeks of a donor egg IVF pregnancy. I had been threatening to miscarry from the start with spotting and scans measuring small for dates. My IVF clinic was abroad and the doctors I had access to in the UK didn't seem to understand the immune issues I was being treated for. In retrospect I think the pregnancy could have been saved if I could have received treatment from someone who understood about these issues. However from the start it was treated as an inevitability, in the lap of the gods, with no converted effort to save it and no advice apart from that which my IVF clinic could offer remotely.

I went for a late booking in appointment at 10 weeks, and asked to see the consultant and have a scan as I was concerned given the earlier scan results. This wasn't granted, and I was booked in for a routine scan some weeks away. I was admitted to A&E with bleeding the night before the scan was due. The scan the following morning showed the baby had died. I was given the option of an operation or awaiting the miscarriage. I think I asked to have the operation if the miscarriage hadn't happened naturally within a few days, and ended up miscarrying at home 4 days later.

I was only really aware of what might happen during a miscarriage because of a Mumsnet thread on the practicalities of miscarriage. The information from the hospital was quite sanitised. One piece of advice from a nurse confused me, as she said to come to hospital if I haemorrhaged, with the blood running like a tap. I lost so much blood I fainted twice on the bathroom floor, but since it was coming out in clots not like a tap, I didn't think this counted. In retrospect, I should probably have gone in, and was anaemic for months afterwards.

Most people who were involved were kind. The junior doctor who admitted me was fantastic. I was usually seen in a private room in the EPU. Low points were a nurse in the EPU asking me why I was crying, was it because I didn't like having blood tests, and I had to say I was crying because my baby has died. My GP, when I called him to ask whether I could have a medically managed miscarriage (which wasn't offered at the hospital) saying brusquely that most people just go for the scrape. Scraping my previous baby seemed unimaginably cruel. And about a month after the miscarriage, I received the paperwork for the urgent consultants appointment I had requested at my booking in appointment in an effort to save my pregnancy for a months time away.

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Response from Ruth Bender Atik, National Director, The Miscarriage Association

I'm so sorry to read of the loss of your baby, Mojangled. What a very tough journey this must have been, from the IVF decision and process through to the sadness of miscarriage.

It's impossible to know if your baby might have been saved if you had earlier scanning and care - in most cases there is no intervention that can change the outcome. Even so, given your history, a scan at 10 weeks might have given you an earlier indication that things weren't progressing properly and prepared you better for the outcome.

Wishing you gentler times ahead.


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Response from Peter Gibson, Associate Director, Public Affairs, East and North Hertfordshire NHS Trust

Many thanks for getting in touch and although it's not entirely clear from your comments listed above, we are presuming that your care was at the NHS Lister hospital in Stevenage?

If so, there is much in your feedback that we feel would benefit from one of our senior maternity colleagues sitting down with you and listening to what happened and thus hear it all from your perspective. We know that this is a lot to ask at what is a difficult time for you, but if you are willing to do so then all you need do is email us at generalenquiries.enh-tr@nhs.net and we'll take it from there.

At the very least, where our service was not up to scratch then we can apologise to you personally.

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