"Thank you to all the staff at Antrim Area Hospital who looked after me"

About: Antrim Area Hospital / Gynaecology

(as the patient),

We found out last Monday that our baby didn't have a heartbeat. I rang the doctor because I'd been spotting over the weekend and he referred me to be seen by the Early Pregnancy Unit. We thought that we'd see our baby bobbing about, punching and kicking the sack - like I'd seen on 3 weeks earlier but no such luck - the scan picture I saw showed a still baby with no flickering white heartbeat. Brenda who scanned me, confirmed what I could see already, and went to get a doctor, Gail, to do another scan. We cried. Both of these ladies were so comforting and couldn't have made such a heartbreaking situation any more (I hate to say pleasant) but more tolerable if they'd tried. They were fantastic. They explained our options, and while in shock, their manner was so reassuring, I was able to retain the information - I'm sure, only because of the way it was delivered.

We went home, devastated, and told our families. I had a missed miscarriage, few symptoms, little bleeding, our baby was still inside me. Over the next few days, with nothing happening, I felt happy that I'd chosen the surgical management option.

I phoned the hospital a couple of times this week and there was always someone to talk to. I was asked to come in and sign forms and for a blood test and on Tuesday I decided to go on Thursday, but on Wednesday I was feeling stronger so I phoned and they saw me that day. I met Rosie, who did another scan and Ed who did the paperwork. I cried again and Rosie hugged me. I felt confident about what would happen on Friday, to me, and our baby, and I was given tablets to start contractions on Friday morning and instructions to ring in first thing.

I rang last Friday, they had a bed for me and took my tablets and headed to the hospital.

As I was walking in I was thinking nothing but terrible thoughts - that I was going to die, that I hated Antim Hospital, that I wanted everything over and done with and I never wanted to go back there again.

I arrived at C1 and was shown to my bed by Kate who assessed me and told me what was happening next. I got stockings, swabbed for MRSA, and I met a succession of people including the anaesthetist and the surgeon - all of whom put me at ease, explaining what I could expect. I was very nervous, and before long, I was being wheeled to theatre.

They checked me in to make sure they had the right person and as I cried, a lady from the ward who'd accompanied me held my foot and chatted to me. I met a nurse called Nicola who reassured me and introduced me to the anaesthetist - a different one this time and they gave me some antacid as I hadn't realised that nil by mouth included chewing gum. She put the line in the back of my hand.

At this point I really needed to go to the loo - nerves maybe, but Nicola explained that they'd drain my bladder in the operating theatre when I was sleeping.

The doors opened, I got 2 puffs of oxygen through the mask, 2 puffs of pain killer, I felt the cold drip being attached to my hand, then the anaesthetic. I looked at the lights, then the next thing I remember was the recovery room.

I woke up crying. I had the sensation that someone was at my left hand side, then I had tissues in my hand, someone on my right said they were just going to pop a pad in and then I remember Nicola talking. I was watching the clock and it seemed later than I'd expected. I had terrible cramps in my tummy and the realisation of what had happened hit me hard. I sobbed some more, a nurse asked if I was comfortable, I wasn't, so she gave me 5ml morphine and an oxygen mask. The pain eased into discomfort, so she topped me up with another 5ml.

Nicola chatted and fixed my ear, it was bent by the elastic from the mask. I told her I was scared my husband would be worried, so she got me the phone so I could get a message to him. I felt a lot better, they then took me back to C1.

On the ward, Kate gave me a glass of water with ice in it, then I had tea and toast. Someone walked me to the loo and I made my own way back - I felt on top of the world. The surgeon came and told me I was very straightforward and the pharmacist gave me paracetamol and ibuprofen to take home, I couldn't wait to get up and about - as lovely as everyone was, I felt like I was cured and healed and I wanted home for my husband coming out of work.

I can't fault the care I had in Antrim Area Hospital - I told my husband when I got home, if something bad happens, the care there is second to none - I wouldn't hesitate to recommend it to anyone thinking about where to have their baby. I will definitely go back there if we're lucky enough to have reason to go back there.

I didn't realise the emotional and physical healing would take so much out of me, I was at my doctors this morning, he assures me I'm normal, although I feel far from it. Its 3 days since the surgical evacuation and I don't know when I'll be more like myself. I rang the Tommys Help line today, who were very helpful too regarding contraception in the short term while I get my head together (I know I asked about this in the hospital, but I can't remember everything) my mind is scrambled. I also have a boss with no compassion and a husband who loves me and would do anything for me - but who is grieving too.

Hard times.

Thank you to all the staff at Antrim Area Hospital who looked after me, apologies where I've forgotten names.

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