Part 2 of 2
* This story is about the author's second miscarriage.
After a devastating first miscarriage my husband and I focused on the practical things we could do to have a better chance of success with a second pregnancy. We attended support meetings, took pre conception vitamins and had a private scan to rule out any physical anomaly which had been suggested existed by the EPU during our first miscarriage.
When we got a positive pregnancy result just over 2 months later we were emotional, happy, excited and optimistic.
This pregnancy felt like it was meant to be – Doctors, friends and family had given comforting words after our first miscarriage and we started to believe that we had just been ‘unlucky’; it almost felt like the first miscarriage was a rite of passage that must be endured before you get your rainbow.
When I started bleeding at week 5 a sense of de ja vu and dread swept over us. We were quickly back in the system; queuing in the EPU amongst other anxious mums for scans and hoping for a heartbeat to show. We saw this in our second scan after enduring a full week of bleeding; a week spent on tenterhooks fully expecting to pass our baby as I had done with our first miscarriage; a week of sleepless nights and anxious commutes spent trying to act ‘normal’. Even after the all clear was given by the EPU I raised concerns about my lack of pregnancy symptoms and the deep rooted sense that I was no longer pregnant – I was firmly told that all was ok and only to come back if bleeding started again and was accompanied by cramps.
I made it to my booking in appointment with the midwife at just over 8 weeks and promptly broke down; I was an emotional wreck and again reiterated my concern that I was not pregnant. This resulted being placed in the system for a referral to a bereavement midwife as it was suggested that my mental health had been affected by my first miscarriage and that I needed greater support with this pregnancy. I was also booked for a reassurance scan in a further a 2 weeks. Things came to a head a week later after another sleepless week convinced things were not right -I knew my body and no amount of reassurance would sway me otherwise. We decided to have a private scan and it was that appointment our worst fears were realised -we had experienced a missed miscarriage at 7 weeks. I walked out of that clinic in a haze of tears; stumbling past the heavily pregnant women who were all too aware of the news we had been given. I felt guilty for my reaction but oddly vindicated – I did know my body and I wasn’t a paranoid, over anxious mum to be as I had been made to feel. After the blur of my 2nd ERPC in the space of 3 months I had 9 days off work to recover.
Nothing could have prepared me for the grief I felt, the hollowness, the anger, the anxiety.
I experienced panic attacks, ran out of cafe’s when I saw or heard babies, cried on public transport when a ‘baby on board’ badge came into view and spent a lot of time hidden indoors trying to make sense of what had happened. To this day I still find it difficult seeing those at the same stage of pregnancy that I would have been and watching them reach the milestones that I was unable to.
I was fortunate to have friends, family and a supportive employer that I could talk to, but the overall feeling of isolation was immense. What do you say to people who have experienced a second miscarriage? After 1 miscarriage there is generally a focus on the ‘next time’, talk of it being ‘one of those things’ and the sharing of positive stories of people going on to have a rainbow baby. After 2 miscarriages I found there were fewer people willing to actively contact us – people did not know what to say anymore and months later I still haven’t heard from people that were once a key part of my friendship group. At the same time I have found support from people that I had previously lost contact with; people who were once strangers; people who have had shared experiences and those irreplaceable friends that know the power of a hug and are there to give one when needed. My husband has also been my rock – miscarriage can put a tremendous strain on a marriage/relationship and at times I wanted to walk away from everything, racked with guilt that my body had again let my husband down and failed to give us the child we both desperately want. I was fortunate that he let me talk and work through my feelings and at the same time would share his own feelings as and when he could.
Since this second miscarriage my husband and I again reverted back to ‘practical mode’; I have accessed counselling, we both took up running again with a race to prepare for and focused on researching our options. We knew NHS policy is only to test after 3 consecutive miscarriages but trying again felt like a game of roulette so we decided to finance private testing. This led to a number of blood tests and an eventual diagnosis of an immune issue. We are now in the position of being able to try again, armed with steroids, hormones and a lot of faith in the advice we have been given.
The future still feels uncertain, despite the medical testing I am all too aware that no pregnancy is guaranteed success.
I feel sad that the innocence of pregnancy has been lost; I question whether I am mentally ready to have another pregnancy but I also have a strong desire to fall pregnant before our first due date. Regardless of what happens in the future I know we will never forget the babies we have lost but have to focus on taking each day as it comes and allowing the time to grieve when needed.
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