Today I would like to introduce you to Jo, a lady I had the pleasure of first getting to know last year when her company – Glassy Glitter, sponsored me to attend Britmums Live 2016. When I first began chatting with Jo, she was pregnant with her miracle baby. The journey into parenthood for Jo and her husband Adam was exceptionally hard, as was my own which I have shared with you a few times now. No-one wants to think of pregnancies ending in miscarriage, however, the sad truth is that 1 in 4 pregnancies will.
It is a taboo subject which until you begin talking about yourselves or hear of someone close suffering then it is swept under the carpet. This does need to change and the more stories which are shared the others will realise just how common it is, and of course know they aren’t alone.
Jo now blogs over at Miracle Max sharing her journey with others in a bid to help them, and of course to now share her miracle baby with the world. I pass you over to Jo, who is sharing her journey into motherhood with you here: Part 1:
“When I was growing up I knew I wanted to be a Mum. I’d spend hours playing with my dolls, pushing them around in a little pram, changing their ‘nappies’. One day I was going to be changing those nappies for real and I couldn’t wait.
I hit my twenties and my Sister gave me my first nephew. I adored him and couldn’t wait to give him a little cousin one day. Then one by one my friends had babies and I started to feel like I was getting left behind.
I met Adam in 2010 and much to my relief he shared the same desire to become a parent as I did. We soon became smitten with each other and set up home. We were in no immediate rush to start a family; we were still enjoying the honeymoon stage. But after 12 months together, in early 2011, I fell pregnant. Whilst it wasn’t planned we were still over the moon and naively rushed out to tell all our nearest and dearest. What could go wrong?
Just a week later I was on the train to work in London when I got intense stomach cramps. I immediately turned around and made my way to my local A&E. I was sent home and advised to rest but later that day I started bleeding heavily. A few days later, after an early scan, it was confirmed that there was no heartbeat. I’d suffered a devastating miscarriage. The next few weeks were a blur. Sympathetic messages flooded in ‘It just wasn’t meant to be this time’, ‘There’s always next time’, ‘You’ll be a Mum one day’, all believing that was what I wanted to hear but not realising it was making things worse. I became a Mum the minute I saw the word pregnant on the pregnancy test, yet I didn’t have a baby to show for it.
Over the next two years I suffered a further three devastating miscarriages, never making it past the 7-week mark. Our local GP referred us to St Mary’s hospital in London to investigate the cause of our losses. After a few tests they were baffled, and apart from offering me some low dose aspirin they advised us they couldn’t help any further. By this point we were engaged and planning our wedding so we decided to take a break from trying to conceive for a while.
However, when we were on our honeymoon in Mexico I suffered our fifth miscarriage. We decided enough was enough and on our return home I started to look into more uncommon causes for miscarriages. It was here that I came across a theory that some women have a high level of Natural Killer Cells. These are types of white blood cells which, as part of the body’s defence mechanism, fight infections. However, if you have a higher number than normal of these NK cells, or they’re more aggressive than usual, they can attack rather than protect a pregnancy and cause a miscarriage. I booked an appointment to see Dr Shehata, a miscarriage specialist and a believer of the impact NK cells have on pregnancy in October 2013. Several months and blood tests later revealed that I had a very high and aggressive count of NK cells. Whilst we were devastated to learn this news, Dr Shehata reassured us that now we had finally found the cause of my miscarriages he could set up a treatment plan to help me maintain a pregnancy to term.
I was prescribed medication to calm down my immune system. This included daily steroids, to stop the NK cells attacking a pregnancy, and pessaries, which balance the immune system and give hormonal support. I also had Intralipid Infusions which were scheduled to take place every 4 weeks to help calm down the NK cells and make them less aggressive. I was all set and we were ready to try to conceive again.
In March 2014 we learnt that I was pregnant. I was told to continue taking my medication and booked in for a scan at 6 weeks. The day arrived and Dr Shehata uttered the words that we’d never heard before ‘there’s the heartbeat’. We couldn’t believe it; the treatment was working. I had another scan at 8 weeks which showed our baby was growing nicely. We left the clinic with real hope, believing this was our turn at a chance of happiness.
But just a week late, as I reached 9 weeks, the all too familiar happened. I was at work and I started to feel funny. I went to the toilet and discovered I was bleeding. The next day we were sat in hospital. The sonographer scanned me and she didn’t even need to say anything, I knew from her face, we’d miscarried our sixth baby.
We went back to see Dr Shehata to try and make sense of what had happened. Unfortunately, there were no real answers, just that sometimes the initial dose of medication isn’t quite strong enough. My treatment plan was tweaked slightly and now also included a daily dose of a tablet commonly used to treat Malaria, and we were advised to try again when we felt ready. I’ve always fallen pregnant really quickly, after only 2 or so months, so I was expecting to be pregnant again fairly soon.”
As is a long journey, Jo will continue her story here tomorrow.