by Francesca Dresner
By November 2010 I was pregnant again and we were so happy, but just days after a positive test I started bleeding. We went to the doctors and I was told I’d miscarried. I was devastated but put it down to bad luck.
By February I was expecting and I can’t explain how thrilling it was to hear our baby’s heartbeat at our eight-week reassurance scan. But when the sonographer wired me up at our 12-week scan I couldn’t hear anything, I actually asked her to turn up the volume. Andrew put his hand on mine as the sonographer said, ‘There’s a problem’.
I spent 24 hours carrying my dead baby which was unbearably traumatic.
I remember, when we’d arrived, I’d seen a little room off to the left, with sofas and tissues and wondered what it was for. It was for us.
I cried and cried on the journey home and kept saying I needed to see Harry. At home I ripped off my maternity trousers and threw them in the bin, I was so angry and confused. I felt like a fraud. They couldn’t do the ERPC until the following day so I spent 24 hours carrying my dead baby which was unbearably traumatic.
The one positive to come out of the nightmare was that I was referred to St Mary’s recurrent miscarriage clinic in Paddington. Just before my first appointment we discovered our baby had Turner’s syndrome, a chromosomal abnormality which 99 per cent of foetuses would not survive.
That eased the terrible guilt I’d been feeling. I hadn’t done anything wrong, it just wasn’t meant to be.
St Mary’s discovered I had antiphospholipid syndrome, or ‘sticky blood’, which can cause problems with clotting during pregnancy. I was put on a treatment programme of daily aspirin and clexane which put trying for a baby on hold for six months. It was frustrating but, ultimately, I believed we’d found a solution.
In November I had a positive test and started treatment immediately. With successful six and eight-week scans behind us, it was devastating to learn at a 10-week scan that our baby had died.
This was the lowest point of my life. When they told me there was no heartbeat I went into shock, screaming and crying. This was, for me, my most devastating miscarriage. I’d been so sure that, this time, it would all work out and I lost all hope.
After, we learned that the pregnancy had been a ‘partial molar’ which meant I had a very low risk of developing cancer but it wasn’t the thought of cancer that bothered me most, it was that my dreams of a baby would have to be put on hold for six months. It had taken a lot to bring myself to try again and having to wait was a huge blow.
With hindsight it was probably just what we needed. For so long we’d been in a cycle of anxiety and disappointment, it was good to have some time to enjoy ourselves, and our son.
I got pregnant again but a 10 week scan in the January found our baby was too small and had a very slow heartbeat. The doctor said he or she was unlikely to survive and I left hospital carrying a child that I knew was dying. A few days later I’d started bleeding and a scan showed our baby was gone, yet another chromosomal abnormality.
Somehow we managed to pick ourselves up and by April I was pregnant. I’d spoken to my doctor and we’d put in place a new treatment plan including folic acid, 2,000 iui vitamin D, aspirin, clexane and cyclogest.
I was so sure I would lose this baby too
I remember sitting in the waiting room for my nine-week scan, texting my friend to say I was about to be told I’d had another miscarriage. I was so sure I’d lose this baby too that I was making plans for someone to care for Harry while I had an ERPC. I’d even packed an overnight bag.
I guess I’d just got to the point where I couldn’t allow myself to hope but miraculously there was our daughter, kicking away. I can’t explain the terror of my 12-week scan, crying hysterically and shaking. The sonographer held my hand and I heard her heartbeat.
I was dogged by anxiety throughout my pregnancy. I had a bruised stomach from prodding to make the baby move, my poor girl probably got no sleep at all.
As they wheeled me in for my C-section I still daren’t believe it would be okay but after nine scans, 323 injections and months of anxious waiting our beautiful, longed-for baby girl Poppy was born in December 2013. I was elated.
Looking back, I don’t know how we kept going but I’m so grateful that we did.
Without this struggle I would not have my two beautiful children.
Miscarriage is a devastating experience which is why Tommy’s work is so vitally important. Their tireless research will ensure fewer women go through the agony I did.
I’ve always talked about my experience and I’ve found, as I opened up, so did others. A few of my best friends have had miscarriages and I didn’t know, sharing our stories was a source of comfort.
I still remember the dates of every miscarriage I’ve had because they are the day I lost a child. Every year on Baby Loss Awareness Week I light candles for my four lost babies, they will always be a part of my life.
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