by Catherine Boyle
My first miscarriage was the worst thing which has ever happened to me - until the second came along four months later.
The only explanation I've had so far is 'bad luck'. The medical profession has, as yet, no more sophisticated explanation for why I had a healthy first pregnancy, but both pregnancies which should have resulted in a much-wanted second child didn't make it.
The first miscarriage was a 'missed miscarriage', where the baby stops growing, but your body still thinks it's pregnant. I had to have him or her removed through a process known as an EPRC, under general anaesthetic.
When I think of the innocence and insouciance with which we waited for the 12-week scan we assumed would show our healthy second child, I desperately want to still be that person.
Hoping it was just spotting I went to work and talked about Barclay's full-year results live on air
As advised, we took three months off before trying again. This time, I was pregnant for less than six weeks before I saw the blood. Hoping that it was just some spotting, I went into my work as a financial reporter. I went into hair and makeup and talked about Barclays bank's full-year results live on air before realising that I was being completely insane and had to get to hospital.
Now, I am left wondering when to try again and expose myself to the entire cycle of joy, hope, fear, grief and anger all over again. I can already feel myself becoming more anxious and strained as a mother - which is only natural when I feel as though I have failed twice to look after my child at its most vulnerable. At this moment, it feels as though I will have a permanent little grey cloud following me around for the rest of my life. I don't even want to tell my friends, many of whom are at the stage where they are just starting to try to get pregnant, as I feel like a hex, an omen of bad luck further along the way.
To get any further investigation through the NHS, I have to have a third miscarriage, and brace myself for the emotional and physical devastation which will follow.
Perhaps I should accept this.
There is something about this acceptance and repetition of the "bad luck" explanation which seems wrong
After all, I have had a lot of good luck: being born to parents who loved each other and their children; meeting someone who I wanted to marry who wanted to marry me, at an age where it seemed we had forever to start a family; having a lovely, healthy two-year-old who makes me laugh even more than her father does. Maybe I should just accept that a second healthy pregnancy would be a surfeit of luck, a brimming over of my cup of happiness.
Yet there is something about this acceptance and repetition of the "bad luck" explanation which seems wrong to me. It is, I think, part of the near-mysticism with which we infuse the process of conception, pregnancy and birth, when sometimes, rather than talk of miracles and wonder, we need some actual scientific facts.
I want a better answer to my questions
What if I shouldn't have had that glass of prosecco five weeks in? What if I shouldn't have given in to a toddler strop and carried two stone worth of small girl back from the park? What if my 32 year old womb or ovaries are a worse place to be than they were at 29?
What if there is something I can do next time to tip the odds in my baby's favour? Because right now, if someone with a medical qualification told me I had to spend my entire pregnancy hopping on one foot while only eating broccoli and wholemeal bread, I'd do it if I thought it would raise my chances of giving birth to another healthy baby.
I want clever doctors, scientists and researchers to give me some answers. If we can send people to Mars, surely we can work out a better answer than 'bad luck' to why so many pregnancies end up this way.