Recurrent miscarriage from a partner's perspective

Karl, 38, is a bingo caller and lives in Stockport with his wife, who he married in 2016. After experiencing a miscarriage with a previous partner, he has sadly gone on to have another 3 with his wife. Knowing first-hand the heartbreak that recurrent miscarriage can cause, he strongly believes that parents should receive emotional support after losing a baby. This is Karl’s story.
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My wife and I found out she was pregnant for the first time in 2015 and we were so happy. We’d been to see the midwife for the first appointment, and everything seemed fine. 

Off we went to the hospital for the first scan at 12 weeks. We sat in a room with other couples and everyone seemed excited, all waiting for their turn to go in for the scan. However, when it was our turn, something about the reaction of the sonographer seemed off. She said she was going to get another colleague to come and have a look. 

Missed miscarriage 

They told us that there was no heartbeat and it looked like our baby had died at around 9 weeks. We had to go upstairs to the Early Pregnancy Unit (EPU) at our local hospital – and I couldn’t believe it when we were put in a room with parents with toddlers.

When they did another scan, I looked at the screen and noticed the outline of what I could clearly tell was a baby. I remember thinking: “Why can’t they do something to help it?”

My wife had had what is called a ‘missed miscarriage’, and she had to have an operation to remove the pregnancy.

Trying again after the first miscarriage 

We found out we were pregnant again in 2017. Understandably, we were excited but nervous due to what had happened last time. At around the 9-week mark, my wife started bleeding, so we phoned the EPU and they told us to come in for a scan. When we arrived, we were asked to sit in a waiting room with a woman who was heavily pregnant, despite our history of miscarriage. 

My wife had a scan, and it was confirmed that she had miscarried for the second time. After the scan, we were put back in the waiting room with the same heavily pregnant woman. 

We went in to see the nurse and then we had a piece of paper thrust at us with places to find support – although none of these had any connection to the hospital. 

We pushed for a referral to our local fertility clinic, and after we’d both had tests done, they asked us to email to make another appointment. To get to the fertility clinic at our local hospital, prospective parents have to walk past a huge display on a wall very near to the area for the fertility clinic which says: ‘You and your baby.’ I found this to be really insensitive.  

When we spoke to the specialist, we were told that they couldn’t find any reason why we shouldn’t be able to have a healthy pregnancy. Frustratingly, we still wouldn’t be allowed IVF – despite losing 8-and-half stone between us at the time, our BMI was still too high for us to receive fertility treatment.

Experiencing the heartbreak for a third time 

We found out about my wife becoming pregnant for the third time towards the end of 2019. Again, around the 9-week mark in early 2020, my wife started bleeding, so we went to the EPU. After a scan confirmed our third miscarriage, my wife and I were put in a separate room. Unfortunately, when a nurse came in to speak to us, she seemed to focus on talking to us about the harmful effects of smoking rather than comforting us about our loss. 

I didn’t feel as though my own feelings about the miscarriage were really taken into consideration, as the nurse addressed my wife and didn’t look at me very much.  

Tests after the third miscarriage 

Now that we’d had 3 miscarriages in a row, we were told that we would be referred to a recurrent miscarriage clinic. However, due to the pandemic, we had to wait a long time to get an appointment in order to have diagnostic tests done. When we did have the tests that we’d been waiting for, though, the results didn’t offer an explanation for our miscarriages – so, unfortunately, we still don’t know why we’ve experienced 3 losses. 

Throughout our struggle with recurrent miscarriage, I have contacted Tommy’s on a number of occasions. I have spoken to the midwives over email, and I’ve always found them to be really helpful. 

Miscarriage care needs to change 

I have done a lot of research around the support for parents following miscarriage, and I have noticed through various groups on social media that it seems to be potluck as to which hospitals offer adequate support to bereaved parents and which don’t. I am determined to make things better in any way I can so that no couple should have to go through what we went through. 

To me, it is really important that no one who has lost a child should have to feel the way that my wife and I feel – and whilst we haven’t had our rainbow baby, I will do anything in my power to help Tommy’s to improve the support parents receive after a miscarriage