This week is Baby Loss Awareness Week and I am sharing my story in a bid to help break the taboo – Miscarriage shouldn’t be something we are afraid to talk about and uttered under hushed voices. Speaking out helps to raise awareness of something which happens all around us but until we speak out and talk about out experiences tends to be brushed under the carpet.
If you would like more information on Miscarriage or perhaps advice on how best to help loved ones/friends/family I highly recommend you take a look over at www.miscarriageassociation.org.uk and babyloss-awareness.org
I remember those sex education lessons at school, it’s drummed into you that you can get pregnant the very first time you have sex and you have to be careful, have safe sex.
As a teen and in my early 20’s having a baby certainly wasn’t on my mind so I went on the pill aged 16 and stayed on it until after I was married aged 27. Actually, I stayed on it for another year after that, as newlyweds we were having too much fun to start a family.
The pill is around 99% effective against unwanted pregnancies but it doesn’t always work.
I actually discovered that the hard way when we were engaged. Still on the pill, I began having very strange stomach pains and very heavy bleeding. So bad that one day after work I actually took myself off to A&E, not thinking too much of it but worried enough to checked over.
“Could you be pregnant?”
“No of course not, I’m on the pill” was my reply.
Taking a urine sample and some bloods, you’ve guessed it. Yes, I was pregnant, but my HCG levels very low, combined with the heavy bleeding it was agreed I was more than likely miscarrying but had to go home and wait and see. I was to take a pregnancy test in 48 hours and if it was still positive call the EPU (early pregnancy unit) to arrange to be scanned.
A hot water bottle and a day in bed I knew I didn’t need to test again really, I was passing clots and bleeding more than I ever had before. I did of course test and it was negative. Going by dates of my last period I would have been around 6.5 – 7 weeks pregnant and I was 25 years old.
Fast forward a few years, we got married and decided it was time to come off the pill.
3 months later I was staring at 2 very strong lines on a pregnancy test. I called the doctors and got a booking in appointment for 2 weeks later.
We told our parents, a few friends and my boss (I was working as a Nanny and was already feeling sick).
8 days after taking the test I had awful cramps and began bleeding again. We headed to the doctors who saw us immediately, a lovely doctor who was so sad for us as all he could do was tell me again to wait and see and retest again in 48 hours. Once again if it was positive I would go to EPU, that visit never happened as I’d miscarried again at 6 ish weeks.
Desperate to begin trying again straight away we did.
Month after month the tests were negative and my period arrived. Then on a flight home from America with the family, I had that all familiar sicky feeling, smells were bothering me and I didn’t fancy wine.
I tested the next day and knew already it would be positive. We booked into the doctors and had that booking in appointment, we were offered an early scan for reassurance and we leapt at the chance. At 6.5 weeks we saw our babies heartbeat.
I then had a little bleed 9-10 days later, this could have been caused by the internal scan but may not have been so I was scanned again in the EPU, our baby was still where it should be. Heart beating away and measuring around 8.5 weeks. We already had the date for our 12-week scan and couldn’t wait for a proper look and to be given a due date.
All went well up to that day. I was sick a lot and my boobs so sore. I could barely stay awake and slept loads.
I was working the day of my scan. Both parents were away on a business trip so I dropped the eldest to school and took the 2-year-old with me. Paul almost missed the scan as couldn’t park but managed to arrive just as I was walking in.
My world crumbled less than 5 minutes later. I was still pregnant but my baby’s heart had stopped beating, they say around 9 weeks so just after I saw it flickering away on the screen in that same room.
What came next was a blur really and I still can’t process the emotions, walking out of that room silently crying so as not to scare the boy I look after or the other ladies awaiting their scans.
It seemed like ages I was sitting in a side room before a doctor came to talk me through options. I was booked in for a D&C a few days later as my body clearly thought it was pregnant and didn’t want to pass this much-wanted baby.
The D&C I’ve blocked from my mind. It’s not a thing I can easily talk about. I was in a day ward with 2 other ladies all having the same procedure. We were given tablets to open our cervix. I remember the nurses getting cross nearby as we were left waiting so long and the words “if they don’t go down soon you know what will happen” being uttered. We all knew. If we weren’t taken to the theatre we would Labour on the ward. I know at 9 weeks my baby was tiny but I couldn’t do that. I didn’t want to see.
I was home that evening dosed with painkillers and doctors appointments.
The doctors then began testing me to see if there was a reason I had miscarried 3 times now. Blood tests, scans, internals, more bloods. Then Paul was tested too.
Just one of those things.
I’ll never forget those words uttered by my consultant. All my tests had come back normal and there was no reason found.
I’d pinned my hopes on there being a reason because then we could begin to try to fix it.
The feeling of hopelessness will never leave me. I remember it all too well but I had researched and wanted to be referred to see the top miscarriage consultant in London. I was prepared to fight but didn’t have to, my consultant agreed and we were referred to St Mary’s in Paddington.
We had to stop trying for a baby though as they wouldn’t see me if pregnant. After all we’d been through I wanted to get answers so we stopped.
An appointment came through, I fell pregnant 4 weeks before that appointment. We had been so careful too but the wait for that appointment was a long one.
I called my consultant the day I found out and he saw me that week. He took me back under his wing and said he wanted to put me on 75mg aspirin daily. I started that day.
We had early scans booked and Emmy was born via EMCS on 4th Feb 2010, her birth wasn’t plain sailing but I had my long-awaited and much wanted baby FINALLY aged 30.
I come off the pill again when we decided the time was right for another baby and fell pregnant very quickly, the first month trying.
At 6 weeks the all familiar cramps and bleeding started and I miscarried for the 4th time.
I then fell pregnant again straight away, again making it only to 5 weeks that time.
We waited for a little while after that and I started taking my 75mg aspirin on a consultants say so.
When I fell pregnant again I was scanned every 2 weeks, put back onto consultant led care and Harry was born on 19th October 2012 via C-Section and after an awful pregnancy which I couldn’t relax during or enjoy due to sickness combined with worry.
Recurrent miscarriage has both helped me to become the woman I am today buts it’s scarred me too, it’s something which will be with me forever haunting my dreams and scaring the life out of me.
Miscarriage is one of the more common causes of pregnancy loss affecting around 1 in 4 pregnancies.
I am more than a statistic. I am a Mother to both living children and Angels.
My babies will never be forgotten, they were wanted and loved from the moment I knew about them and even before. Names picked out but never uttered, birthdays never celebrated and milestones never met. They are my babies neither less and I will always wonder what they would have looked like and who they would have grown up to become.
I am a Mother to 7.