Recurrent miscarriage, ectopic pregnancy, and the toll baby loss takes on relationships

Chloe and her partner started trying for a baby in October 2018, but sadly after 18 months of trying they hadn’t fallen pregnant. They decided to visit the doctor about their infertility, and this blog details the roller-coaster journey that followed.

The doctor handed me a blood test form to begin infertility investigations, and I was utterly terrified - not only of needles and being prodded and poked, but of what they were going to find! What if there was something seriously wrong with me? Was I going to need IVF?

Fortunately, we had a holiday booked to Mexico, so we decided to just unwind and enjoy ourselves before having the test when we got home. I was shocked to receive a phone call the very next day from my doctor, who sounded very confused: my blood work showed that I was pregnant.

I could not believe it, the stars had well and truly aligned for us. What a wonderful story to tell, that after 18 months of trying and being put forward for infertility investigations, miraculously we just so happened to be pregnant! 

Early miscarriage and trying again after loss

Sadly, life had other plans for us. My HCG was low, and I lost our little baby a couple of weeks later. We were completely and utterly crushed - but I was still over the moon to know that I could get pregnant naturally, so we decided to try again right away. 

The very next cycle, on Christmas Day, I got another positive pregnancy test. Again, what a gift! We were wary, as you are after miscarriage, but also excited. Perhaps the first time was just bad luck? It happens to 1 in 4 women after all…

After a couple of weeks, the cramping started, followed by the bleeding. History was repeating itself, and I knew in my heart that I was losing the baby again. Even before the hospital confirmed the miscarriage, I felt so low. 

2 back to back losses left me without any self-esteem, doubting my worth and whether I would ever be able to carry a baby to term.

In the months that followed, I went through a period of depression, which in turn put strain on my relationship with my partner. I was acting out, very emotional, and couldn’t bear to see pregnancy announcements on social media - they made me so resentful. Why me? 

A few months passed, and we hadn’t fallen pregnant again. I was desperate to give my partner and I the family we so desperately wanted, so began to do some research into natural remedies to increase chances of conception. I started to take a herb and within a month I was pregnant again.

Again, this pregnancy ended in exactly the same way as my other 2. What on earth was going on? I felt empty and depressed; I just had nothing left.

Searching for answers and support

We were referred to the hospital so that they could investigate us for recurrent miscarriage, which meant more blood tests, scans, examinations… all of which found absolutely no answers. By September 2019, we had been offered IVF - which threw me, because it was something that I had been scared of all along. I feel silly for thinking that way, given what I’ve learned now.

 When faced with difficulty to conceive, in the end, you’ll do anything just to hold your baby in your arms.

Everything had been so difficult to process that we decided to take a break and tackle IVF in early 2020, but December came and I started to feel funny, the kind of funny that I only feel when I’m pregnant. I took a test and sure enough: 2 beautiful dark pink lines. Symptoms were coming at me thick and fast, my HCG was sky high and rising well, all of which hadn’t happened the previous times. We started to look at names and plan how we would tell family and friends.- It felt like it was finally our turn. 

A dull ache on my right side

At 7 weeks pregnant, 2 days before Christmas, I started to have a dull ache on my right side. I’d read about ectopic pregnancy and decided that, even though this was my only symptom, I was going to push for an early scan. Thank goodness I did. I’ll never forget the feelings that rushed through me when the sonographer said there was nothing in my womb and a mass by my right ovary. 

To be totally honest, I screamed and cried and that experience will stick with me for the rest of my life. I was admitted to hospital on Christmas Day ready for laparoscopic surgery to remove my tube, but surgery was pushed back 3 times due to the festive period. I saw the New Year in from my hospital bed with my Mum and partner by my side and was finally taken to theatre 2 days later.

Learning about endometriosis, ectopic and molar pregnancies

During surgery they found severe Endometriosis, and when I woke up they told us that trying to conceive naturally again would almost certainly result in another ectopic pregnancy. I was relieved in a way, because after 3 and a half years of heartache we finally had some sort of answer, and knowledge of how to keep me safe for future pregnancies.

A couple of weeks after surgery, I got a call from the hospital and they asked to see me that day. Having run tests, they were certain it hadn’t just been ectopic but also a molar pregnancy. The gynaecologist said she’d never seen a molar ectopic before in her 15+ year career, and I’d need monitoring every fortnight for at least 6 months to make sure everything had been removed, as if not there’s a risk it can become Choriocarcinoma (a rare form of cancer).

I couldn’t believe it. Just when you think it’s over and you can begin to heal, the plot thickens! Every 2 weeks I had to send another sample off to the hospital to check my HCG - it was just a vicious cycle of anxiety and dread, waiting for results to come back and wondering if I was going to need chemotherapy. 

From that point on, I was constantly terrified, and started to realise just how much everything was affecting my mental state. I struggled with my sleep and spent most days feeling like I couldn’t breathe at all, with my heart beating out of my chest and physically hurting.

In March 2020, I got a call from the specialist hospital in Sheffield that were looking after me to say that I was being discharged. An expert had looked at things again and found it was a complete misdiagnosis, it was never molar at all. I remember falling to my knees and sobbing, out of relief but also out of anger that I had spent the last 3 months living in fear for absolutely no reason. I couldn’t believe I was finally free.

Recovering and moving forward

We’ve decided to put babies on hold so that we can heal and process what’s happened over the last 3 and a half years. I’ve learned so much from everything that’s happened, but there are definitely a lot of emotional and mental scars that I have to battle with each day.

I go through phases where I can’t sleep and have nightmares about what’s happened, and days when it feels like there’s an elephant sat on my chest, but for the most part I feel strong and determined.

I conquered a lot of fears and came out of the other side feeling more grateful for my life than ever before. I focus a lot on fitness, eating well and personal development, which helps me immensely. I also talk openly about what has happened in the hopes of raising awareness and normalising being able to speak freely about baby loss.

In what’s already a living nightmare, nobody should feel alone.

You can follow Chloe's journey on Instagram