by Lucy Clark
As I write my story, my beautiful 15 week old baby girl is sleeping next to me. A year ago I would never have imagined to be where I am now. I feel truly blessed and want to share my story to give courage to those that are going through or have been through the heartbreak of losing a baby.
I remember the excitement I felt when I got that first positive pregnancy test and couldn't help but imagine what the future would be like. At 7 weeks I started bleeding but had a scan and everything was OK and even got to see a little heartbeat. I went back a week later for a follow up scan (the bleeding had stopped) and heard the news that nobody wants to hear. My baby had died at 7-8 weeks. My body still thought it was pregnant and so the week before Christmas I had a D&C.
Following the miscarriage, I was determined to get pregnant again. Lots of people go through a miscarriage once and then the next time everything is OK, right?
I caught fairly quickly and booked in for a reassurance scan. I was fairly confident that everything was OK, I'd had no bleeding and felt really well. I remember the silence from the sonographer and after what felt like an eternity, she broke the news to me that my baby had died inside of me. I felt like my body was a failure. Women are designed to support a pregnancy yet mine couldn't. I opted for a D&C, not being able to face the thought of medication to help me deliver my little baby or waiting for it to happen naturally.
At the time of the second miscarriage, I was diagnosed with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome. I did not have much knowledge on PCOS so did a lot of reading on it. I also read about a link between Metformin and supporting a pregnancy so asked my G.P for it. I had just found out I was pregnant again for the third time (I caught straight after the miscarriage). My G.P would not give me a prescription for Metformin so I was once again facing an uncertain pregnancy with a newly diagnosed PCoS and no change in circumstances. I was nervous for this pregnancy, a feeling I hadn't had really before. I felt I couldn't enjoy it truly. I felt the pregnancy was so fragile. I had a reassurance scan and saw a heartbeat at 8 weeks. This was it, this would be a good pregnancy, or so I thought. I went for another follow up scan and heard the news that my baby's beating heart had stopped. We discussed what would happen next but I felt so drained and in shock that I decided to go home and think about it. Within a couple of days whilst home alone the cramps started, the bleeding started followed by me passing my little 9 week old bean. I sat and I sobbed. I sobbed that I was alone whilst my partner was working, I sobbed for my 3 babies lost and I sobbed for my future that looked so dark and lonely.
I took my little bean in to hospital for a examination to see if they could identify a reason for the miscarriage. I sat in the busy waiting room with other women that were still pregnant or facing uncertainty whilst my little baby was in a container hidden in a bag like a secret.
After three recurrent miscarriages, I was allowed to see a specialist consultant.
It's so cruel you have to lose three babies before seeing a specialist. The consultant told us that my last baby had been a molar pregnancy and so would have always miscarried. For a short period, I had the uncertainty weighing on my shoulders of a molar pregnancy - 2 weekly blood/ urine tests, possibly needing chemotherapy and not getting pregnant for what could be a year after. She later informed us it was only a partial molar pregnancy.
The consultant was not able to tell me how the other babies died as they don't routinely offer examinations until you've hit that third loss. She also told me that she thought it was just bad luck and I would get there eventually - not the words you want to hear ever when it comes to your babies.
After seeing the specialist, I was commenced on Metformin. My partner and I had blood screening which checks for things such as genetics and blood clotting disorders. All of which were normal.
We left the specialist feeling mixed emotions but tried to be positive that at least things were being done differently now and we were in the system for the next pregnancy. We starting trying again immediately after we told we could.
Breaking the news to my partner that we were expecting a baby had become hard. It no longer was exciting and happy news to hear as it meant sadness and uncertainty. I rang the specialist consultant immediately and had a scan. The scan was normal for that gestation and we were offered weekly scans. This was it, weekly scans surely would detect if anything was wrong. At 6 weeks and 7 weeks we saw a heartbeat. We weren't scanned at 8 weeks as the consultant was on holiday.
My partner and I decided to go for a weekend away with the in-laws. On the day we were coming back home I woke up bleeding heavily. I had no cramps but this bleeding was not normal. I told my partner in the bathroom whilst we could hear his parents enjoying the sun outside. My partner did not tell his parents what was going on, he said goodbye and we left. We felt numb. I rang the specialist up but was told I needed to wait a couple of days for my booked weekly scan. I tried to remain positive and was on bed rest until that scan but I think in my heart, I had already accepted that this baby had gone.
I had the scan and the consultant confirmed what I thought.
This surely was not just bad luck? There must be something wrong with me? The sole purpose of a woman's body is to reproduce so why can't my useless body do what millions of others can? Would I ever have a baby? How many more times can I lose a baby? How can I carry on living? Why me? What happens next? These are all things I've thought and felt. I know the babies have all been early in pregnancy but they have still had a heartbeat at some point. They've all been a part of my partner and I. They've all been inside my womb depending on my body.
It took over a year to get pregnant after the fourth miscarriage. I had considered IVF and surrogacy and had a meeting with a social worker arranged to discuss adoption. The excitement of a positive pregnancy test was quickly clouded over with the uncertainty and sadness that could follow. I booked in to see the consultant specialist at just over 4 weeks pregnant and so the weekly scans started. I asked for Clexane and Progesterone medication as this is something the specialist had mentioned before. I had read a lot of good things about this medication supporting pregnancy. I was also signed off work as soon as I found out I was pregnant and on bed rest. At 8 weeks, I felt sick with worry before the scan. At 9 weeks I sat there expecting the worst. At 10, 11 and 12 weeks my little bean was doing fantastically. I couldn't help but get a little excited now, I had never got this far in to a pregnancy and so tried to remain positive. I counted each day as a blessing and when I got to the point of feeling movements I started to believe that this really was happening and my wishes were finally coming true. At 24 weeks gestation when my little baby girl was viable I started to relax. My partner was very late on to show excitement, positivity or any attachment. This was his way of emotionally preparing for the worst I think.
I had lost all hope of this ever happening. My relationship had become strained at some points. I had felt like giving up. Felt pain and an aching empty heart. Felt incomplete. Felt a failure. Felt suicidal. Felt my dreams seeping away. And now I'm at such a different point of my life. Please, don't ever give up. I don't think it was just bad luck that caused my other miscarriages and I truly believe the medication and bed rest helped. I never believed that after four miscarriages I would have a baby in my arms but I do. Please have faith and belief.