I had always wanted to have children but I was 35 before I met anyone I wanted to have children with. I had recently qualified as a teacher and we were in no hurry. Then, at 37, I realised I was likely running out of time so we had better get on with it.
I stopped taking the pill in January 2013 and couldn't believe it when, in March that year I had a positive pregnancy test. We were over the moon and told our family very early on. I felt a little queasy and had really tender breasts but, apart from my dog not leaving my side, had no other symptoms. At around 10 weeks the dog gave up following me and my symptoms disappeared. I had read that this could be because the placenta can take over at around this point but I still had a nagging feeling that something was wrong.
A couple of days before my 12 week scan I had some blood in my pants and when wiping but not a great deal. I called the EPU and was told it was probably nothing to worry about and just to come in for my scheduled scan. When we went for the scan I was excited but nervous. Never having been for one before I wasn't sure what to expect or what I would see.
I certainly wasn't prepared to see a black space where my baby should have been.
The sonographer said she wasn't sure what was going on and went to get someone else to assist. They told me they weren't able to see any sign of the baby. I was absolutely devastated and began crying uncontrollably. I was then told I had to have an internal scan. We had to ask to have the monitor turned off as I didn't want to see any more. To this day I can still see the image if I close my eyes, the absence of my desperately wanted baby.
To get out of the hospital I had to walk out through the waiting room, full of women at various stages of pregnancy. This seemed especially cruel and, I'm sure, would likely have been as uncomfortable for them as it was distressing for me.
Despite the results of the scans I had to return to the same clinic a week later for them to confirm that there was no heartbeat. Only then were we able to deal with my missed miscarriage. It was arranged that I would go in to hospital the following week for a D&C. I bled for weeks after that but that was nothing in comparison with the emotional aftermath. It was weeks before I was able to accept what had happened and I found it really difficult to deal with the grief and sympathy of my family although I know I wouldn't have got through it without them.
Six months later, I fell pregnant again. Once again, we were elated but all I could think about was that it was likely to end badly. I struggled emotionally and found it difficult to think of anything else. This time, only my partner and my sister knew.
When it came to my scan appointment I was a bubbling wreck in the waiting room and was taken to a private room by a midwife. However, this was a good day. I couldn't look at the screen until my partner told me it was ok. Cue more tears, this time happy ones.
I worried throughout the pregnancy but all went well and I had the most precious little boy.
Around a year after his birth we decided we didn't want him to be an only child and, given my advancing age, we had better get on with it. Again, I fell pregnant fairly quickly. We made the decision to tell no one this time. As with my first pregnancy I had a few symptoms that all disappeared around the 10 week mark. At scan we were given the bad news that there was no heartbeat.
At least the hospital we were at for this one moved things on more quickly than the first. We were taken straight away (after the obligatory exit past the expectant women) to the ward go discuss my options and I was booked in for medical management the next day.
The staff in the ward were all lovely, despite being there for such awful reasons. I wasn't prepared to actually see my tiny and perfectly formed baby in the blood I passed and I completely broke own at that point. I was only supposed to be in for a day bed but I had to be kept in overnight as I went into cervical shock and had to be connected to a drip. Before I was discharged the next morning the staff nurse took the time to explain what would happen to my baby, what I would likely experience and that I could go ahead and try again when I felt ready.
We waited a short while then tried again, getting a positive result around 6 months later. This time I miscarried at home. I had experienced some light bleeding and a loss of symptoms so called the EPU who booked me in for a scan - 4 days later. The bleeding got worse so I called back and was told just to wait for my scan.
The day before my scan I passed the sac at home. I was on my own at the time and it was truly awful. When I went in for my scan they confirmed that there was only blood and small bits of tissue left. We were then taken to a room and left on our own for over an hour before a midwife came to tell us that she had cooked with a consultant who was of the opinion that "the miscarriage was progressing normally" and we should go home and call if I had any problems.
I have never heard anything so distressing or callous. These were obviously words from someone who had never experienced miscarriage.
To add to the distress I had thought that I would now get some help to find out why I was miscarrying as I had suffered three only to be told I didn't qualify as they weren't consecutive. By this time I was 41 years old and aware that my chances of a successful pregnancy were dwindling rapidly.
I am pleased to say that I am pregnant again but I don't really feel any joy. I am constantly checking the toilet paper for signs of blood and am just waiting for it to all go wrong again. Obviously I hope that won't be the case but I won't be able to enjoy my pregnancy. I'll only believe it us all ok if I get to hold my newborn in my arms.
After a heart-breaking missed miscarriage, Clare shares the reality of pregnancy after loss and what it’s really like to bring your baby home.
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I didn't need ten days, I passed my baby the next day, I knew I was no longer pregnant, the second scan confirmed a blighted ovum, but to me that wasn't a blighted ovum, that was my baby.
On that Monday I remember saying to the nurse, "I'm worried it might be ectopic." Her reply was that it probably wasn't. And that was that.
The best thing anyone said to us was that parenthood is a roller coaster, sometimes right from the start - I think it sums up our experience perfectly.
I have always been someone who believes in everything happens for a reason but when something happens THRICE I can only try to be positive.