Recurrent miscarriage, ectopic pregnancy and cultural taboo around loss

Doreen is 40, a career coach and trainer, living in Hampshire with her husband Reggie. They sadly experienced 5 miscarriages and an ectopic pregnancy before being able to bring home their beautiful rainbow Arielle in 2017.

When you hear the statistic that 1 in 4 women will experience a miscarriage, you never think you will be ‘that one’ - let alone that one who experiences it several times.  

Reggie and I started trying for a baby a couple of years after we got married. We were so excited at the prospect of being parents and shared the news with family and a few close friends.

Three early miscarriages, and a late miscarriage

That excitement soon turned into a nightmare after being told the devastating news that we had had an early miscarriage. We went on to have 2 further early miscarriages, and then fell pregnant for the fourth time in 2014. By this time, pregnancy had stopped being a joyful experience.  

Something as simple as going to the toilet filled me with dread, and was instead replaced with fear, anxiety, self-blame, and a weakened hope that we’d make it to 9 months. When we got to the 12-week scan and were told the baby was strong and doing well, we thought we’d made it; we were going to have a baby! 

However, about a week later, I started having the most terrible cramps. I was told it was constipation, but the next day I was taken to hospital in an ambulance, and passed our baby on the way there. It was one of the worst days of our lives.

The sadness you feel, the questions you have, the loss you experience – it’s hard to explain.

Cultural taboo in the black community

On top of it all the cultural stigma and taboo that surrounds miscarriage in the black community made it even harder to share how I was feeling.

You want to know why it happened - what is it that's preventing us from having a baby? In our case, nobody was able to tell us. There seemed to be no reason why I was miscarrying and, in my mind, that didn’t make sense; there had to be a reason why.

I got pregnant for the fifth time and miscarried again. Our sixth pregnancy ended up being an ectopic pregnancy, where I was again admitted to hospital with internal bleeding and had to undergo an operation. Still, no one was able to give answers, and I didn’t know what to do or where go.

Our seventh pregnancy and our rainbow

I held on to my faith in God but decided to take a break from trying.

Reggie and I threw ourselves into things we loved, like travelling, and in 2016 I got pregnant again for the seventh time. In 2017 I gave birth to our rainbow baby Arielle.

Throughout those years, the Early Maternity Unit almost felt like a second home. The staff were kind and supportive and were amazing during my time at hospital. However, the question as to why I was having multiple miscarriages remained unanswered, and this is where the work of Tommy’s becomes so important.

Tommy's work is so important 

After I had Arielle I wanted to learn more about baby loss and see what I could do to support. 

I came across Tommy’s and was inspired by the work they do and felt encouraged in knowing that I wasn’t alone in my journey.

For Arielle’s first birthday I decided to take part in the 2018 Virgin Sport 10k run and fundraised for Tommy’s. The support they offer to families like mine, and the tireless research and campaigning work they do into baby loss, is so important.

I continue to support Tommy’s through regular giving and, thanks to organisations like theirs, I am more confident in sharing my story of recurrent miscarriage. I really want to be able to support others who are going through a similar experience. You’re not alone.