Our public health system almost ruined my wedding……

I have spoken about my experience with miscarriage in the past. Unfortunately, miscarriage is something that a lot of women experience. My first miscarriage was one week before my wedding. Yep, one of the happiest times of my life is also a really sad time as I lost my first little baby just a week before I walked down the aisle. One thing I have never mentioned is what actually happened. 

For some reason I felt like I didn’t want to share the way I was treated by a public hospital right here in Melbourne but I have decided it’s time to share. I’m sharing in the hope that other women don’t experience the same (especially right before their wedding). 

I was at work just over a week before being married. So excited and 6 weeks pregnant. It was early days so only family and close friends knew. I was shocked to find I was bleeding. I had never been pregnant before but I knew this wasn’t a great sign. I immediately told my boss (she was amazing and understanding). I left work and immediately went to the hospital ER where I met my fiancée. I planned to go private to have my baby but as it was so early I hadn’t booked a hospital or Obstetrician yet. 

I nervously waited in the busy ER, I advised the triage nurse I was bleeding and asked if there were any pads I could use. She bluntly said no and said I would need to go to a chemist or use toilet paper??? I was ushered through where I was given an internal ultrasound and blood tests. No heartbeat could be found but there was an embryo. I was told to go home and return two days later so they could check again. 

I returned to the hospital after two awful days of waiting. This time I was waiting in the maternity ward, surrounded by new  mother’s and beautiful new babies. All of this, while I waited to see my babies heartbeat. I was given another ultrasound and blood test and then taken into a small room where my fiancée and I were told I had a ‘missed miscarriage’. My baby hadn’t developed and had died. Yet, my body hadn’t expelled it. My body still thought I was pregnant. I was told I could wait for the miscarriage to happen naturally or I could have a D&C. Obviously, with my wedding coming up in a week I opted for the D&C so I could deal with the grief but still move on and enjoy the wedding. It was at this point I was told I would have to go on a ‘wait list’ that could be up to a week or two. I explained my circumstances, but they told me I had to wait or naturally miscarry. Now…..don’t get me wrong I wasn’t a bridezilla but I’m pretty sure no one wants to spend the days leading up to their wedding waiting to have a miscarriage or even worse having one at their wedding??  I was given a few pamphlets and we left the hospital. 

I rang another hospital and was again told I would be on a wait list. I literally had nowhere to turn. That evening we had our wedding rehersal. I was an emotional wreck, not excited and so devastated about how everything was playing out. The next morning I rang an abortion clinic, explained my circumstances and they booked me in the next day. 

I fasted from midnight and my fiancee and I attended the clinic, people were protesting outside and I was so upset.  I was given paperwork and had to see a councillor. I was then lead to a waiting room where other women sat. Some teenagers with mothers and other older women. I was given an ultrasound before the D&C to make sure 100% there was no heartbeat. The proceedure cost around $500, took about 10 mintues and within an hour I was out of there. 

The recovery was quick and I then had a couple of days before the wedding. My hormones were all over the place and I was not in a great place. The whole scenario was also really terrible for my husband. He lost a baby too and he was with me every step of the way. 

We pulled it together, got through our wedding and enjoyed the day. Our vows meant so much more knowing everything that we had just been through and I knew I was marrying my rock, who would be with me through good and bad. 

A week after the wedding,  my phone rang and it was the hospital. They advised that I could go and have the D&C as I was now at the top of the list. Ummm too late!  

Nothing could have  changed the fact that I had a miscarriage, what could have been changed is the way it was handled. I was told over and over how common it is. I understand this, but to me it was all new and scary. I felt like a number, lost in the public health system and no one wanted to help. I can only imagine how people must feel with ongoing illness. 

Miscarriage is common but it’s awful. I don’t wish what happened to me on anyone. However, we got through. We’re happily married and now have two beautiful children.

Rachelle xx  

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