"Felt my miscarriage was treated as a nuisance by Early Pregnancy Unit"
About: Ninewells Hospital / Maternity care Ninewells Hospital Maternity care DD1 9SY
Posted by fls (as ),
I experienced my third miscarriage in February this year. I have a healthy toddler daughter, I had two miscarriages prior to that successful pregnancy.
I called EPAC on a Monday morning at 7 am, leaving a very distressed voice mail message as the units opening hours are 9 am - 4 pm Monday to Friday; obviously, as no one suffers a loss out of business hours. By 9.30 am I had still not received a phone call from a midwife so I called again. I spoke to someone, who I can only assume was a receptionist, as she stated she'd heard my message, and was told that a midwife would call me back.
The midwife called me around 10.30 am. The midwife sounded exhausted and uninterested in the symptoms I was describing, reasonable and consistent blood loss with no clots and complete loss of morning sickness symptoms. I had a scheduled appointment at EPAC the following Friday afternoon, the midwife said I would have to wait until then to be seen at the unit as it was so busy - a full five days. I was gobsmacked, as I was hospitalised during my first miscarriage due to blood loss; how from a two minute telephone conversation could she determine this would not happen again? Far from the physical aspects of another miscarriage, there was no consideration to the mental torture of waiting for five full days. I stated this was far too long to wait. Grudgingly she managed to find an appointment the following day mid morning. I was treated as if I was a nuisance for asking to be seen while experiencing a truly heartbreaking event in my life. My baby, even just a few weeks gestation was to me my baby, was dying/had died and no one cared. No one even cared if I was physically ok.
At 1 pm my symptoms got a lot worse. I was scared. I called EPAC again and they agreed to see me later that afternoon. The midwife, who I had met through my previous successful pregnancy of my daughter, was sympathetic when dealing with my husband and I and was very thorough in her examination. I had lost my baby.
I'm not sure why, possibly as I was grateful to be seen and finally treated with compassion, I apologised for calling the unit throughout my ordeal and thanked the midwife for making time to see me. The response I received shocked me. I was told that I was lucky I lived in Dundee, because if I lived in Edinburgh, they wouldn't have seen me. She then went on to tell me how EPAC had filled in for another clinic that morning and how the unit was so busy. I understand that the NHS is under pressure due to budget cuts etc but I, possibly naively, was very surprised how unimportant my miscarriage was considered.
I shouldn't need to write on a website like this to tell Ninewells and the midwives that work there that a miscarriage is still a loss of life to those experiencing it. It was wrong that I was treated as a nuisance on one of the worst days of my life. Although, as medical professionals like to remind me, miscarriage may be common, that does not make it any easier to deal with. It is incredibly traumatic, it affects every single aspect of the parents' life and the mental pain lasts a long time after the physical side had finished.
I have had no chance of follow up tests or counselling of any sort, due to the fact my three miscarriages have not been one after the other. I am so grateful and glad I had a successful pregnancy, as I have a wonderful child whom has been my reason to carry on after the miscarriage. I have to experience two further tragedies before anyone will investigate to why these are happening. That will be a total of five miscarriages before anyone cares.
I am pregnant again and terrified. Not only of suffering another loss but if being treated as a nuisance if this does happen.