I'm left feeling utterly broken at us having to go through this all over again. I've not previously felt comfortable talking openly about this, but Tommy’s are running a campaign called #misCOURAGE and I feel like I can't keep it bottled up any longer.
Overnight I've nearly passed out from blood loss, have been throwing up a lot and have been in a lot of pain, despite the pain meds and being on a drip.
Miscarriage isn't easy in either the emotional or physical sense. Those that have experienced it understand, those that haven't, don't - which is understandable as it doesn't get talked about enough.
It's a frightening, anxious and painful time. It can depend on how you are treated - each one bringing its own risks – and can go on for a couple of weeks afterwards.
You've been growing a baby for however many weeks - in our cases 13 weeks, 9 and 9 weeks - so it's not like a heavy period and nothing prepares you for it. The contractions, the blood loss, the clots, the pain, the blood transfusions in my case, and the other complications.
A missed miscarriage is especially difficult as you think everything's ok. Your body still thinks it's pregnant and carries on growing the placenta and pregnancy sac, although the foetus has died at some stage.
It's a massive shock to discover at 13 weeks pregnant that the pregnancy has failed a couple of weeks earlier, but you've had no physical indication that anything was wrong.
Subsequently we've been seen much earlier along, but the two week wait that can sometimes occur (if, after the first scan, things aren't quite where you'd expect them to be) is especially stressful. You have to carry on and pretend that everything is ok - as no one knows while you wait for the final scans.
I keep going each day - how I do not know. I'm the person who's angry but you don't know why. I'm the one who rarely smiles and laughs, because all I feel lately is sadness. I'm the one who won't let on that the hardest thing I have to do some days is choosing to get up - when I just want to curl up and give up.
I am a mother of three – the unusual bit is that our three are not with us. A mother is a mom and a dad is a dad, be it at 5 weeks pregnant, 13 weeks, 26, 39 etc.
Although I never got to hold you, I'd imagined kissing each of your little toes and fingers, I'd imagined how sweet you would smell, what your first smile would be like and your names. I'd had hope and dreams for all my little ones, I'd loved them fiercely and wanted to protect them.
Our children would be 20 months, 7 months and a 9 week pregnancy. Although we never got to hold and love you, we will always love you and think of you and wonder what could have been.
I'd imagined our daughter to be like the person I used to be, passionate, confident and positive, or our sons to be like their father, kind, patient and a bit of a lad sometimes!
People often judge us older women (I'm 38) trying for families without really knowing how hard most of us have struggled and for how long.
Most of us have been trying for years and years, countless failed IVF, suffering multiple miscarriages, stillbirths, delays in treatment.
Saving for treatment that's expensive, test after tests, the agonising rollercoaster of IVF and wondering if you'll respond - will they fertilise? Will they embryos survive? Will they implant? and the countless two weeks wait. The waiting goes on and on, and it's incredibly stressful.
I also feel woefully inadequate as a women and wife, despite my husband’s assurances. I've briefly thought about leaving him, thinking it would be less painful that way. But then I get so upset at the thought of this - it’s the last thing I would ever want to do.
I know it's hard to understand – years ago I didn't either. We get asked/told:
"At least you know you can get pregnant." You have no idea how hard it is to get me pregnant.
"I know someone who's had 5/6 miscarriages and went on to have kids." That's great, but this doesn't make me feel any less worthless.
"Just relax and stop trying - it'll work." NO IT DOESN’T.
"Can't you just adopt?" If only it was that easy. We're lucky as we have friends who have successfully adopted, and we know would be only too glad to help us navigate what I can only imagine to be a very difficult and emotional process to go through. It is something we’ve given serious thought to.
"Didn't you have any eggs frozen before treatment?" Life's not that simple, when you have aggressive cancer and it's spread and you’re facing death and on your own it's not that easy. Despite me asking, this wasn't an option.
I know several other survivors who’ve been in the same boat as me and this is something that will always haunt me. The irony between life and death is not lost on me.
You don't have to know what to say. We just ask that you be there for us, and let us talk about it if we need to. A hug is always welcome.
Counselling won't help me - I've been there and done that. There's only so much they can do, and they can't fix the problem.
We've had countless friends share their good news, and know of those, who've also struggled, go on to achieve their happy ending. While we are genuinely happy for them, it does leave us feeling incredibly sad.
When people start subtly asking, after sharing their good news with us, if we have any news, how on earth can you tell someone who's super excited and expectant that we've had miscarriages? We can't tell them that it's not fair, so it's really hard to juggle your emotions.
I can't believe I've become the person I never expected to be. I've not consciously avoided pregnant friends but it's ended up happening, which upsets me greatly.
We want to be part of their lives. I go and choose gifts for their newborns, as we know how much this will mean to them and we know how happy they would be for us if the shoe was on the other foot.
We've had some incredible help along the way, incredible acts of kindness, but I just can't stay silent any longer, it's no good for me.
I don't expect you to really understand, but we have to end the silence around this subject.
All we need is some understanding. Infertility and pregnancy loss has been likened to the trauma an oncology patient feels. Brilliant… pity they don't give stickers for double whammies then!
I'm not brave, the only positive from this is we will now get referred for recurrent miscarriage testing. This in itself will be traumatic, time consuming and costly, as not every test is available on the NHS.
It's so frustrating and it constantly niggles away at you - it may be something else that's causing this other than poor egg quality caused by chemo. It's yet another period of waiting.
Another good thing is that today's families come in all shapes and sizes, single women using sperm donors, single men using egg donors and surrogates, a lesbian couple using sperm donors, infertile couples going down the egg donor routes or sperm donor route, adoption and fostering. So I'm lucky in that respect; 15 or 20 years ago we wouldn't have all these options.
As all of our losses have been around this time of year, we face our third consecutive festive break without much to cheer about.
By sharing this, I leave myself incredibly vulnerable to peoples’ responses, opinions and possibly negative feedback - but I think it's time to risk that.
As I wonder what the future holds, all I can do is hold my husband’s hand and keep getting up each day - without him and a few others, I'd have nothing.
I hope that by breaking the silence it may lead to a better understanding of the struggles we face, and help someone else in the same situation.
We're the 1 in 4.
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
By Naomi Alexander (not verified) on 9 Jun 2019 - 18:54
Thank you for your incredible story, I recently suffered a miscarriage. 8 weeks, the hardest part is that I was a surrogate for a couple. I have my own children and I had always felt that it was a gift I wanted to give someone else. Now I was told it would be like a heavy period and was told by the IVF clinic to go home and bleed and come back in a couple of weeks.
A week later it started, it was traumatic and due to being a GC surrogate they have to get your lining extra thick which also means extra blood. Emotionally I was not prepared to pass someone's baby and also feel the loss for the parents. And IVF is nooooo joke, so to know it was all for nothing and there is now more pain than there was before.
I now have a whole new understanding. Alot of confusion as I am grieving someone else's baby. And also the parents pain too.
By Carrie Long (not verified) on 3 Jun 2019 - 15:28
Thank you for putting this out there, and for trying to fight to STOP being silent on miscarriages. After losing my son 18 years ago in an accidental death at 5 months. I waited to have another baby, until the right time. Newly married at 41, we did IVF after years of "unofficial" trying as we were dating. After two tries, I was pregnant, after 6 weeks we lost the HB. I miscarried three weeks later as I didn't elect to take any medications to speed this process up. I was told that miscarriages are like a very heavy period, it will not be a huge deal, and to call the doctor once it is done. WHAT A MISTRUTH! I had a horribly painful experience that lead to hospitalization, then release without the baby being fully miscarried. Turns out the baby was stuck in my cervix, I then had to go into my Dr and have it removed, as the hospital did not do that. Everyone is so scared to help, but I desperately needed medical assistance. In the end, the Dr pulled out the sac in its entirety, it was the size of a very large lemon and was only six weeks developed. This is NOT LIKE A HEAVY PERIOD! I have never passed a large lemon sized clot on my period. WOMEN need realistic expectations, guidance, and medical assistance; not laws and rules on how to miscarry their baby. No one told me the truth before I miscarried, but AFTER they were all lined up to tell me my HORRIBLE experience happens all the time. HOW IS THIS OK? Thank you for this fight, thank you for being a beacon of hope in this super secret society of women.