I wasn’t trying when I got pregnant in 2005 and I was so shocked that when the heartbeat stopped at seven weeks I didn’t cry. My GP said most first pregnancies ended in miscarriage so I just accepted it.
Six months later I was pregnant again and so excited. We made it to 10 weeks before we lost our baby. I was upset, but consoled myself that we were both under 30 and everything would be fine. I could never have imagined it would be a long-term issue. Six months later I was pregnant again and did everything by the book but at our 12 week scan we found our baby had died at 8.5 weeks. I was completely floored by uncontrollable grief. I couldn’t even talk to my husband and we ended up on the brink of separation as we dealt with our pain in different ways.
I hated everyone who was pregnant.
Over the years I’ve heard every insensitive comment, ‘It’s not meant to be’, ‘At least you have your health’.
I was angry with everyone, most of all, I was angry with my own body. Even now, I still feel like it’s let me down.
I remember watching a TV show discussing medical trials in the US had found zinc in men could reduce repeat miscarriage. I got a box that day and made my husband take 200% recommended daily dose every morning.
The NHS finally agreed to do some preliminary tests and, on the morning of my appointment, I found I was pregnant again. Two weeks later they called to say the blood tests couldn’t find anything of concern. Still, I didn’t enjoy a single day of my pregnancy until, at 37.5 weeks, I delivered my perfect son by emergency C-section. I don’t know if it was the zinc, but it was the only thing we did differently.
When my son was seven months old we moved to the Middle East and a year later we decided to try again. Getting pregnant was easy, but I had another miscarriage at 10 weeks.
I almost couldn’t believe it was happening again.
Six months later we tried again, with access to private scans every week, we discovered at 12 weeks the heartbeat had stopped within the last seven days. I’d travelled to the UK on business and blamed myself for taking that trip. Two days later I started to bleed, followed by septicaemia and an emergency blood transfusion. Drained and seriously ill, people were suggesting I should stop trying but I refused to listen.
I left it two years to give myself time to heal, then got pregnant, for the third time since my son was born, in 2011. My obstetrician gave me progesterone and baby aspirin which I refused to take after reading it can maintain an unhealthy baby inside you and, anyway, my tests for blood clotting and hormone production had been fine.
I was scanned every week to 25 weeks then, at 37.5 weeks had my second son by planned C-section. I felt my family was complete.
However, I found myself pregnant last year and, though surprised and cautious, we were delighted.
The 12 week scan was fine and all tests had come back low risk, but at 25 weeks a scan revealed there was no heartbeat. They could see a small hole on the forehead of the foetus, but my body had maintained the pregnancy for seven weeks without me knowing.
I hit rock bottom following the horror of naturally induced birth on an emergency ward with only intravenous paracetemol. The funeral came and went in a daze and nothing prepared me for the cruelty of having full breast milk that had to be expelled.
The pain was like my chest had been ripped out, I don’t think I’ll ever get over it.
I met with a grief psychologist who told me the grief becomes easier to live with.
We talked about my inability to cope with the lack of answers as to why this had happened to us. I just wanted to know why.
A year and three months after the funeral my husband and I decided we needed more help and someone mentioned a reproductive specialist gynaecologist, I’d suggest this route to any woman going through something similar.
She is the first doctor in 10 years that’s truly helped, giving us a full and thorough range of tests from blood clotting to vitamin D.
We discovered I have full insulin intolerance but we’ll never know if it was an underlying issue I’ve always had, or an undiagnosed symptom in my last pregnancy.
The biggest surprise was that detailed genetic testing and chromosome analysis came back clear and, with that knowledge, we embarked on our final chapter with a final test using IVF with preimplantation genetic diagnosis before transfer back to the embryo.
We produced seven eggs, one disintegrated before fertilisation the other six fertilised and had PGD chromosome testing. The report showed we had 50% with an abnormality, two with trisomy 13. I’ve finally accepted that, with my pregnancies, I’ve been playing a 50% odds lottery. The IVF clinic can’t explain why two healthy genetic parents would have such a high chromosome abnormal rate.
So, I’m now pregnant for the final time, regardless of outcome. I can’t get excited but I pray for the best and feel that having answers has helped us come to terms more with the past and allowed us to move forward, knowing we’re blessed with our two little miracles.