Story of #miscourage by Jordan,
So today marks a year since I took the positive test and found out our little miracle baby was on the way. Little did I know then he would be here happy and healthy twelve months later. Today seems like an appropriate day to share my story and say THANK YOU to Tommys for making this happen.
I discovered I was pregnant for the first time whilst being wheeled into Theatre. I didnt know what an ectopic pregnancy was and I had been given so much pain releif that the magnitude of the situation didn't occur to me. However, months later as my body began to recover my mind didn"t. The thought of a baby haunted me and never went away. It was like I instantly knew afterwards that we would have fertility troubles so made the decision to bring our wedding forward and then we would be ready to have a baby as soon as the time was right.
A couple of weeks after our Honeymoon I was pregnant. I was overjoyed and relieved it was 'so easy'. I had been advised by the Doctor to go for testing as soon as I was pregnant to ensure the baby would be growing in the correct place following the increased risk of a second ectopic. At 5 weeks I went for a scan and the baby was in the right place.
We were elated but were asked to return two weeks later. I naively thought this was routine and felt assured I was being kept a close eye on following our initial struggles. When we returned excited to see our baby we were told there was no heartbeat. The only thing I remember of that day is hearing the most haunting sound and realising it was coming from me. I had never felt such grief and realised exactly what the term heart broken meant almost instantly. I had a medically managed miscarriage which was handled poorly by the hospital who invited us to a memorial service but told us the wrong date. It was like they had stolen our chance to say goodbye that we had built ourselves up to. It added to the pain and I didn't process what had happened I just fixated on getting pregnant again. I fell pregnant quickly but suffered a natural miscarriage at 5 weeks. Again I fixated on trying again but again unfortunately had another early miscarriage. I was heartbroken but knew now I could be referred to get some help and was determined there was light to come at the end of the tunnel.
We self referred to a local fertility clinic and both had testing that didn't shine much light. We were given special fertility aiding vitamins and told to return for prescribed steroids if we fell pregnant again as maybe that would help, although this wasn't conclusive.
I did as instructed and as soon as I had a positive test I began taking the prescribed steroids. Within days I began to spot. I was instructed to increase the dose but I knew in my heart that the baby had gone. After a few days I went for a scan but the sonographer told us that she couldn't find a baby, only an empty pregnancy sack. I didn't cry. It confirmed what I already knew and I began asking rehearsed questions subjecting what we could do next. I knew we had tried the only treatment that the fertility clinic had deemed appropriate and it hadn"t worked. I was getting pregnant so easily but the pregnancy wouldn't progress and nobody knew why.
The sonographer held my hand and asked if I had anymore questions. I only ever really had one, "will I ever be a mother?" She squeezed my hand tight and just smiled. I knew then that my mind and body were tired and I needed a break. It had been a gruellingly 17 months. The sonographer told me she had heard of a research centre for miscarriage and due to the fact I was only 25 and willing to do anything gave me the information to refer via my GP. My GP was moved by what I had been through and said she would do her best to get me seen quickly. At that point I had given up hope but I had decided that maybe I wasn't meant to be a mother but instead my body and experiences would be part of something to help women who had been through similar and help them achieve their goals and maybe that would help me accept what had happened by doing good.
Within two weeks I was sitting in Professor Quenby's office.
She was enthusiastic, comforting and optimistic. She told me about an upcoming trial called SIMPLANT that combined an endometrial scratch with medication to boost stem cell growth to assist with implantation.
I signed up immediately and began treatment with a scratch a week later and medication the same day. I was scheduled to return three months later for a second scratch but would be monitored regularly throughout.
I was instructed not to get pregnant in the mean time. I has no intention of doing so. I was broken and just wanted to concentrate on the trail and helping other women so I could close the door on my fertility issues on a positive note.
A few weeks later on 14th December 2016, following meeting Professor Quenby in the September of the same year, I discovered I was pregnant again. This time I was angry. I was trying to do good and my body had failed me again. We had been so careful and I knew it would be detrimental to my part in the trial and was convinced it would end the same as my other pregnancy's. I told the research centre straight away and they asked to see me. They offered so much support and were ecstatic at my news.
They were optimistic and gave me a number to call if I needed further support. It helped and to keep me sane I took full advantage of the support on the other end of the phone. I lived scan by scan (of which we paid to have one nearly weekly I was so anxious) & each time a midwife would call to reassure me. By 16 weeks I began to relax and discovered we were having a little boy. I was beginning to buy little things and let myself believe slightly that I would give birth to a healthy baby at full term.
At 31 weeks following a horrendous labour and emergency c section I did just that and our precious rainbow baby was born. He is everything and more I had prayed for and I am grateful for him everyday. It is only now I am beginning to really grieve for the babies we lost. To continue with our fight to become parents I had to suppress my emotions in order to have the strength to put myself through it again. I don't think I will ever come to terms with what has happened but I understand it more now. Not medically but emotionally. I can now see that each time one of our babies died a little bit of myself died alongside them. I'm not the same person I was as I took that first pregnancy test. It's like something remains missing even though I know I will never get what is missing back. Nobody understood how I felt at the time and although most friends and family simply said they were sorry others made me feel like I couldn't grieve because the pregnancies never developed far enough. To me those babies were every bit worthy of my grief. They symbolise my children, my status as a Mother and the hopes and dreams I had for the future.
After having my little boy I just didn't feel right and was concerned I had post natal depression and instantly went to see my GP who told me not to worry and that instead she believed I would benefit from counselling for post traumatic stress disorder following my experiences. I have just started to openly talk about my miscarriages and actually feel better. I was so worried that opening up would leave me vulnerable but instead I feel empowered to be assuring other women they are not alone.
I know a little part of me died along with each baby and I am far from the same woman but I now endeavour to be the best Mummy to my little miracle and be the best version of my current self and not be defined by those experiences.
My marriage has also suffered under the strain of fertility issues and I will love my husband daily and work together to reinvent our relationship to accommodate our emotions and experiences brought on by our losses. My heart goes out to any couple who have experienced loss and I am so pleased the community around such a subject begins to grow and breaks down dated stigmas to be replaced by a group of really brave and strong people that support one and other.
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