On New Year's Day 2018 Daniela Rollings and her husband Ben got onto the subject of having children and decided they'd start trying for a baby. A month after trying, Daniela noticed some bleeding and immediately thought this was the start of her period, not expecting to be pregnant.
During the next few days Daniela noticed that her period-like blood had turned spotty, so she decided to do a pregnancy test, which came back positive. "I think from that point I already thought something was going to be wrong, because I’d already started bleeding quite a bit. I told Ben and he was thrilled, though I did warn him I don’t know what’s going to happen because I have started bleeding," Daniela explained.
While attending Harlow hospital, Daniela was told she may be experiencing a 'threatened miscarriage' and was asked to have a blood test, which confirmed she was pregnant. Across the next two weeks, Daniela had two more blood tests and each time she was told 'her levels were going up and down'.
'I went to the toilet and felt the urge to push'
After this and amidst the blood tests Daniela tried to continue on with her normal life and was due to attend a friend's tea party, "I got dressed up and then I started having the biggest stomach cramps, similar to when you have an upset tummy. I went to the toilet and felt the urge to push – I was pushing, pushing, pushing (as if I was trying to do a number two) but nothing was happening - I didn’t understand. My body just felt like I wanted to push. I thought it was just tummy cramps but then when I stood up I saw this blood clot. I immediately thought ‘what the f*** is that?’ I called Ben because I didn’t know what to do, and Ben said I think you need to go to the hospital now, because he was at work."
Daniela took a cab to the hospital and thought, "oh gosh I have to go to the hospital by myself, Ben’s still at work. At this point I was being very matter of fact, I didn’t cry."
The triage nurse at the hospital assumed that Daniela had had a miscarriage and asked her if she was OK, Daniela again calmly responded and said, "’I'm fine’. To be honest I thought I wasn’t pregnant anyway. You know, so many people go through miscarriages, I wasn’t going to think ‘I’m having a miracle baby and everything’s alright’. My mum had a miscarriage before she had me, so I was just very matter-of-fact about it, it’s fine these things happen it wasn’t meant to be. You know, that’s it."
During her time in A&E Daniela had more bloods taken and her levels went up again, at which point she was discharged and told to go home. The advice she was given, was that if she didn't feel well or had any future pains, to come back, but otherwise to come back in a few days for more blood tests.
This time around, Daniela's blood test showed her levels hadn't moved and she was sent for a sonogram.
"This was now coming to the third week. The sonographer was lovely. She said, 'I can’t see anything there, it’s safe to say you’ve had a miscarriage. Go home, go have a big piece of cake, go and relax a bit. I can’t see anything, I think that’s it'. So I thought, ‘that’s great, it’s done. I went back to the unit for a debrief about my scan, but the doctors had changed shift so after waiting for an hour we decided to just go home. I was starving.”
While waiting for food on the way back home, Daniela’s phone rang. It was the hospital. “All they said was, ‘we need you to come back to the hospital now’. I said, ‘OK, why?’ But they told me, ‘we can’t discuss that over the phone.’ I said, ‘what do you mean you can’t discuss that over the phone, why do you need me to come back, what’s happening?’ They said, ‘you just need to come back to the hospital now.’”
'I was told I might be left infertile'
By this point Daniela was spiralling into a complete meltdown, “I’m thinking something’s shown up on my scan, you know a lump or something, I freaked out. What the hell is happening. Ben was distraught in the car with me on the way there. I hadn’t cried through the whole thing, but that had really set me off, I just didn’t understand what was going on. I didn’t understand why no one could tell me over the phone. That was just horrible.
“I went back to the hospital, spoke to a doctor and they said, ‘basically we’re classing it as a pregnancy of an unknown location, we can’t locate the baby’. I told them, ‘well I can tell you that, it went down the toilet’. The doctor said ‘we can’t guarantee that’s what happened, there may be parts of it left inside of you. We need to be careful, it could be ectopic.’
“What they wanted to do was give me an injection they give to cancer patients, which goes into your body and destroys anything that’s left. I think this was ‘over the course of 2/3 weeks this would need to happen’. I was told I’d feel ill, and I might even be left infertile. I was like, ‘absolutely not, there’s no way I’m doing this. There’s got to be some other way.’
“The doctor said, ‘ I thought you’d say that. How do you want to proceed?’ I said: ‘Well you’re meant to be telling me, you’re the doctor.’
“I had another blood test to check my levels and this time the levels had dropped. The doctor said, ‘We’ll do a pregnancy test and if it’s negative, you’re fine.’ So I did the pregnancy test and it came back negative.”
Thinking back on her experience Daniela says, “The most stressful thing about the whole situation was the hospital and not knowing what was going on when I got the call telling me that I had to come back. That was the worst bit. The miscarriage itself was like having an upset stomach and wasn’t that bad and I was very straight-headed about it. But the hospital side of it was awful.”
A year and a half after her miscarriage, Daniela and Ben welcomed a daughter, Sophie.