Over the last 5 years, my wife Laura has been pregnant 7 times.
Back in 2017, Laura fell pregnant for the first time, but unfortunately, we miscarried at 8 weeks. Laura fell pregnant again that summer, and in March of 2018, we were lucky enough to bring our healthy baby boy Luca home.
Back then we knew that roughly 1 in 4 pregnancies end in miscarriage, so we assumed our loss in 2017 was just unlucky, little did we know what life had in store for us.
We began trying for another child in 2020 and Laura fell pregnant, only for the pregnancy to end in another early miscarriage. This was very disheartening, but again, we knew the stats, and at that point, Laura had given birth to a healthy baby boy, so we decided to try again. We got pregnant again in December 2020. When we saw the positive test we didn’t jump for joy, we just looked at each other and it was as if we could read each other’s mind: “I hope this pregnancy works out”.
Thankfully the pregnancy progressed, and all was well when we went for the 12-week scan. It’s fair to say it was a challenging pregnancy for Laura. She spent a lot of time in bed and felt very poorly, she just couldn’t settle into the pregnancy. But all the signs were positive, we went for a checkup at 17 weeks and thankfully heard a healthy heartbeat.
The 20-week scan quickly came around, the “anomaly” scan. I hate that word. I remember arriving at the hospital and Laura looking at the scan photo token machine and saying “we won’t buy a token yet, I don’t want to tempt fate”.
We enter the room and joke with the sonographer as the baby's due date was Aug 21st, my birthday.
He starts to scan Laura and a few seconds go by. Then a minute passes. He starts to look uncomfortable. Laura squeezes my hand. He says “can you let me know the due date again?”.
I’m well aware that at this point, 3 minutes in, he knew. It’s as if he was just figuring out how to break the news. He turns to us both. “I’m sorry, it’s not the news you were hoping for today!”. I sank into my chair. Laura shot off the bed inconsolable. Then we looked at him just to clarify and check it wasn’t just a bad dream. But no, there was no heartbeat, our baby had died.
There are very few moments in life where the world is swept up from underneath you. This was one of those moments. I couldn’t comprehend what was going on, but Laura knew immediately what was to come. “I’m going to have to give birth to our baby, is this really happening to us?”. From this point, our life changed forever.
I can’t quite describe the feeling. I don’t know how we continued through the day. Laura remained inconsolable and in complete shock. We had to drive to another hospital to see a doctor, then we returned home to our 3-year-old son.
How on earth were we going to tell Luca? At 5 months pregnant Laura had a beautiful bump, Luca loved the bump, and we talked about his new baby brother or sister every day. And now, out of nowhere, it’s over.
Not only is it over, but we also have many traumatic events to come. Laura has to give birth, we have to arrange a funeral, and we need to figure out our new normal.
Baby Noa was born on April 2nd 2021. We were lucky enough to spend a magical few hours with her. We took photos, talked to her, told her how loved she was and told her all about her big brother Luca. Then it was time to say goodbye, after a big kiss they took Noa away.
Although we didn’t get a life with Noa, she continues to make a positive impact on our lives every single day.
The days, weeks and months that followed were the hardest of our lives. Watching Laura struggle to get out of bed was difficult, but with the support of our family and friends, we slowly began to find our new normal.
After some time we decided to start trying again, only to suffer a further 2 miscarriages. We had so many questions. What do we do? Is it reckless to keep trying? Do we just keep trying and keep losing babies? How on earth did Luca arrive safely? At this point, we had suffered 4 first trimester miscarriages and Noa died when Laura was 5 months pregnant.
It was a 13-month wait to see someone on the NHS, so we decided to see a private consultant. After many tests and finally getting to the bottom of what might be going wrong, we asked our consultant, “will we ever be able to have another child?” His reply was brutally honest, “Yes. But for parents in your position, it comes down to how much heartbreak you’re willing to endure.” That message hit home.
Trying for a baby is mentally challenging, from trying to conceive, tracking ovulation, hoping for that positive line, and praying that the positive line remained, only to be left heartbroken time and time again.
We knew if we were to ever have another baby, pregnancy after loss would be a traumatic journey, one with lots of stress, worry and anxiety. So we paused and tried to have a stress-free Christmas as a family of 3; it was our first Christmas since losing Noa so we knew we had to try and be as kind to ourselves as possible.
With our consultant on hand, a plan of action and hopefully the right combination of medication, we started trying again in 2022. It was a daunting start to the year – what further heartbreak could we be letting ourselves in for? Unlike all of our previous attempts at trying to conceive, Laura was on medication from the get-go. We quickly fell pregnant in March 2022, finding out just days after Noa’s first birthday.
Whilst we had mentally prepared for what might be ahead of us, pregnancy after loss was harder than either of us could have ever imagined.
Laura was on medication throughout, the first few weeks involved multiple blood tests to measure HCG levels, Laura taking countless pregnancy tests to track line progression, an early scare and a 6am panicked call to our private consultant resulting in some additional medication to hopefully save the pregnancy.
The following 9 months were anxiety-ridden for us both – we had weekly scans and appointments with our consultants, who were keeping a very close eye on Laura and the baby. Finally, in December 2022 we welcomed baby Mia into the world. I can’t believe I’ve just summed up the pregnancy in one paragraph. Because pregnancy after loss is no joke, it was tough, really tough. But we got through it together and are so thankful Mia is here.
If I’m honest, neither of us wanted to admit she’d arrive safely. We journeyed through the entire pregnancy saying things like “if she arrives safely”, “hopefully when she’s here”.
The support we had through Mia’s pregnancy was amazing, the weekly scans, the monitoring, the reassurance. It was such a challenging journey, one filled with lots of worries, but we got through it. And now we’re lucky enough to be navigating through those newborn days with baby Mia.
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