So I blogged a while ago about having been contacted by the miscarriage association about helping out with some nhs training at my local hospital and then with all the drama of our threatened miscarriage and now just being in a sort of hopeful limbo until we have the 12 week scan, I kind of forgot to blog about the actual session! So I thought I’d do a little update on how it went.
It was a few weeks ago now, but it was a morning session from 9:30-12:45, and was made up of me talking through both of my miscarriages, the care I received (or didn’t in the case of my first!) and my thoughts on what improvements could be made. There was then a question and answer session where everyone got to ask me whatever they wanted (relating to miscarriage, treatment and care) and I did my best to answer constructively and honestly. The group was made up of obs and Gynae doctors, GP’s, junior doctors, nurses, and med students so we had a good mix of disciplines present.
There was then a set of three scenarios presented to the group, around three patients who were presenting with miscarriage symptoms – each with a different story, and a discussion around how to diagnose and treat each patient. I was surprised to be included in this exercise, but it’s safe to say that they really made the most of having me there and took every opportunity to run ideas past me and query their processes. It was really interesting and I’m glad I was able to be a part of it.
The last section was a presentation from a doctor about genetic testing and “sensitive disposal of remains” which was by far the hardest part of the day for me. I was surprised to hear that there are several options for cremation/burial of miscarried babies no matter what gestational age. All I kept thinking was, I was never offered any of that. I was never even told about it!
I fed back my thoughts on that, and the room took everything I said on board as they had done all day.
One of my biggest bugbears around miscarriage and the aftercare is the frankly offensive terminology that is more often than not used by medical professionals, so that was top of my agenda, and while they all took on board everything I’d said, it was interesting to hear that for most of them their reason for using terms such as “products of conception” or “pregnancy tissue/remains” was because they thought that using the word “baby” would be too upsetting for the patient. I had never thought of it from their point of view before, and although I think they’re wrong (and I told them so- explaining that acknowledging that it was a baby is more comforting than it is upsetting) I can understand now where they’re coming from. They’re not trying to diminish your much loved baby, they’re trying, however misguidedly, to avoid upsetting you further.
Anyway, I could waffle for hours and pick over every little detail, but the overall feedback was positive. Everyone said they’d felt it was really valuable to hear real experiences from a patient’s perspective, and from my end I felt like I’d done something good to hopefully help other couples in future.
I very much look upon this sort of thing as a healing experience. My losses were both very different, but both equally heartbreaking, and to be able to use that experience and turn it in to something positive can only be a good thing.
This session was hopefully the first of many – I’ve offered to come along and help out again any time, and the doctor who organised it seemed keen to plan more of the same (because as it turns out they don’t actually receive any formal training on how to handle miscarriages/aftercare) so fingers crossed this will become a regular thing, and in an ideal world something that other hospitals and health boards also take on board.