by Carol Gowans
After six months of trying to get pregnant, we went to our GP. A blood test was inconclusive but he thought we might be expecting and, sure enough, a home test confirmed we were.
When I started to bleed two weeks later I was surprised but I don’t think I’d quite got my head around being pregnant so I wasn’t too phased.
Miscarriage number two, however, changed me forever.
I began bleeding at week 11 and, a scan showed a foetus measuring just seven weeks. I’d had a missed miscarriage. I’d spent four weeks thinking everything was okay and it wasn’t. Suddenly nothing could be taken at face value and a part of me died forever.
I felt so jealous of pregnant women, not for their baby so much as their casual assumption everything would be okay and the reality that, for them, it probably would.
My third miscarriage in December 2007 didn’t affect me as badly at the time, but my sister fell pregnant shortly after and I spent nine months completely dreading her baby’s arrival yet beating myself up for not being able to support her.
A month before she was due I had a crisis and was referred to a therapist but couldn’t follow through. After her baby arrived I felt I’d reached some kind of closure, although doctors said there was nothing wrong.
I accepted I probably wouldn’t have children of my own.
A referral to the miscarriage clinic after my third failed to diagnose a problem, but they recommended I started taking low dose aspirin if I fell pregnant again.
We’d started the fostering process and our first boy, aged 17, was in placement when I discovered I was pregnant. I started on aspirin and didn’t tell anyone, I couldn’t’ bear the weight of my family’s hope and expectation.
When I suffered my fourth miscarriage in September 2010 it hit my husband really hard but I didn’t really react because fostering was an outlet for my maternal instincts.
However, when he left us six weeks later I was bereft and felt like I was dealing with two losses at once.
In April 2011 a 13-year-old boy moved in with us and he has filled the gap in my heart since the moment I met him.
In August 2012 I was diagnosed with anxiety and signed off work for four months. I went for counselling at this point to help with a combination of issues, not least coming to terms with my childlessness.
We started considering adoption, surrogacy and private medical treatment but didn’t proceed. It took me a while to understand why, but I couldn’t cope with any more uncertainty.
In December 2012 I was pregnant again and didn’t even tell my husband. I didn’t even do a test until I thought I might be miscarrying. This one was also ‘missed’ and I dealt with it medically rather than an evacuation. I’m glad I did because I feel that actually meeting the tiny wee birth sac gave me some sense of closure.
Following some concerns about the shape of my womb during scans for miscarriages four and five, I was eventually diagnosed with endometriosis and the recommended therapy was the mini-pill. I feel this has brought a natural closure because, while I didn’t want to go on miscarrying, I couldn’t quite bring myself to start using contraception again until then. It’s like fate stepped in to protect me from further hurt.
At this point I’m at peace with the situation but I know much of it is due to my on-going involvement with our foster son. Although he returned home in January 2013, we continue to support him and he remains a major part of my life.
We’re fostering four children now and I plan to train as a counsellor later this year.
If I hadn’t been through the miscarriages I don’t think I’d have developed that nurturing side of myself that motivated this alternative career.
All of my miscarriages were around seven weeks and I’ve always been thankful that they were so early. I’ve never felt like I lost or grieved for babies themselves, more my hope and sense of where my life was headed.
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