If I had known why I'd lost my babies, I could've trusted my body more
“We’ve given each baby a name. As soon as we got a positive pregnancy test, each baby had a life. We had hopes and dreams for all of them.”
We lost four babies before finally giving birth to our rainbow baby in October 2018. We needed fertility treatment for all our pregnancies as I have polycystic ovary syndrome. We lost our first baby, Lucy, at five weeks. Soon after, we lost baby Jacob at seven weeks. We were completely devastated.
Our clinic decided to run some tests for immune diseases to see if this was why I had lost two pregnancies, but all my tests came back normal. We went on to have another fresh round of IVF which resulted in another pregnancy. This time I was put on progesterone pessaries and blood thinner injections until 12 weeks. All was well with this pregnancy until at 22 weeks and 3 days I went into preterm labour. Oliver was born the next morning at just 22 weeks and 4 days. He was too small, and his organs were not developed enough to sustain life. The only medical explanation I’ve been able to have is a possible placental abruption, where the placenta separates from the wall of the uterus before birth.
“There was no naive unadulterated joy in pregnancy anymore, every trip to the toilet was filled with fear of blood, every twinge was preterm labour, every scan was being told my baby had died. If I had known why, if there was a reason, maybe I could have enjoyed it more, trusted my body and myself more.”
Later the next year we felt ready to try again. Unfortunately, history repeated itself and, at eight weeks, we lost baby Kate. It was at this point my doctor discussed screening our remaining frozen embryos for genetic disorders. We decided to go ahead with this. Of the six tested, two were ‘abnormal’ and one was ‘inconclusive’. Could this have been why we lost the other pregnancies? We went on to have one embryo transferred in February 2018 and I was once again pregnant. I was put on progesterone pessaries until 12 weeks and a low dose of aspirin and blood thinners for the entirety of my pregnancy. I finally delivered a healthy baby girl, Evie, in October 2018.
A cycle of self-blame
We blamed ourselves for the losses. We still don’t have a conclusive reason as to why we lost my four babies.
If I knew a reason maybe I wouldn’t blame myself so much. Did I lose Lucy because of an ovarian cyst? Did I lose Jacob because I was working in a toxic environment with a lot of stress? Did I lose Oliver because I carried my niece up a flight of stairs? Did I lose Kate because I was so scared of losing her that I didn’t relax enough? After every loss it made the next pregnancy harder.
Anger and jealousy
During pregnancy and between losses I would look at other pregnant women and be filled with anger and jealousy. Parenting after loss brings its own challenges and I’m often filled with fear that Evie has suddenly died. It’s getting easier but it’s still there. I worry that people think I have forgotten my other babies because Evie is here. She hasn’t replaced them; she is their little sister.
“Research is so incredibly important for people like us. The research that has already been done enabled my clinicians to screen our embryos and to prescribe me blood thinners, aspirin and progesterone to help support my pregnancy. I truly believe that is why I now have Evie to hold in my arms.”
1 in 4 pregnancies end in loss – and most parents never find out why due to a shocking lack of research. It doesn't have to be this way – and Tommy’s research is finding the answers. But research into pregnancy loss is currently seriously underfunded compared to other medical conditions.
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