by Claire Houston
I’ve had six miscarriages. I’ve had complete miscarriages, missed miscarriages and threatened miscarriages. I’ve had unexplained miscarriages and a miscarriage caused by a chromosomal defect. I’ve miscarried boys and girls, singles and twins. I’ve miscarried naturally, with medical management and with surgical treatment. I suffered five miscarriages over 13 months; the sixth occurred over 2 years later. I lost seven babies.
I never met any of these babies but I miss each and every one.
I miss them most when faced with the important milestones reached by other children – I wonder how old each would have been when taking first steps, what first words would have been, how they would have coped with teething, how good at swimming they could have been, what first days of school would have been like….
Even though I didn’t know any of these babies, I loved them from the very second I knew they existed. I loved the idea of being their mummy. And when I lost them, I was completely heartbroken. I do not know what they would have looked like or even if they were a boy or a girl in some cases. I do not know whether they’d have been cheeky, or clever, or funny. But I can guess and I can imagine – and in doing so, I feel that I did know them.
I think about them all - sometimes individually, sometimes collectively - every single day. I always will.
I still mourn their loss. When someone announces a pregnancy at 8 weeks, you share their joy; you don’t tell them to tone down their excitement because it is still only a ball of cells. Yet, this was often the reaction to my miscarriages – don’t grieve, it was just a few cells. Perhaps so, biologically speaking, but that ball of cells was mine, it was going to become a precious baby, full of life and potential. My hopes for that baby were snatched away, my dreams for us as parents shattered and I was left mourning a lost future as well as a lost baby.
Aside from the sadness of miscarriage, I experienced an overwhelming fear - fear that I would never become a mother.
This fear was made all the more potent through the realisation that there was something wrong with me, with my body. Despite all the tests finding no cause for my first five miscarriages, I knew that not only was my body unable to stop the babies from dying but it was actually the cause for each loss.
A mother’s fundamental role is to keep her child safe and I felt utterly inadequate because I could not protect these tiny babies - even from my own body, the very vessel in which they should have been safest of all. My sixth miscarriage occurred because the baby had additional chromosomes (triploidy) and that diagnosis brought with it the most unexpected feeling of relief – it wasn’t my fault.
As my miscarriage tally increased, I began to feel increasingly helpless. I became obsessed with learning as much about miscarriage as I possibly could. There had to be a reason for my miscarriages and in discovering that, there would be a way of preventing further miscarriages.
I trawled the internet for information; I read books; I studied research statistics: I attended GP appointments armed with academic journal articles: anything to help me feel a little more in control.
Fortunately, there was a solution – twice daily progesterone for the first twelve weeks of pregnancy. So simple! It was a “let’s try this” approach and whatever effect this progesterone had on my body, it supported three pregnancies beyond that first crucial – terrifying - trimester. And I now have three amazing children.
I will always feel sad about my six miscarriages. I will always wonder what might have been and I will always remember those seven babies that I lost. However, I shall never stop being thankful for them because without them, Fraser, Isla and Katie simply would not exist and for that I am eternally grateful.
If I could turn the clock back to 2010, would I go through it all again? Absolutely! The reward was completely worth it (I just wish I could tell my 2010 self that!).
Please note that the opinions expressed by users in Tommy’s Book of #misCOURAGE are solely those of the user, who is unlikely to have had medical training. These opinions do not represent the opinions of Tommy’s and are not advice from Tommy's. Reading individual, real-life experiences can be a helpful resource, but it is never a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment from a qualified health care provider. We strongly advise readers not to take drugs that are not prescribed by your qualified healthcare provider. If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor, midwife or hospital immediately. Read full disclaimer