by Emma Benjamin
I remember calling my mum just before taking my pregnancy test to say I was probably on my way to miscarriage number five. I just couldn’t get my hopes up again.
After every one of my miscarriages, a friend would try and comfort me with the words, ‘it was so early, they weren’t really babies’. I know she was trying to help, but it was the worst possible thing to say.
Miscarriage is such an awkward conversation, people don’t know what to say. I wouldn’t have known before going through the heartbreak of five miscarriages myself.
My first son, Daniel, in August 2009 arrived at 36 weeks after a problem free pregnancy. When he was nine months my husband Saul and I started trying again. Again, I got pregnant quickly but I couldn’t shake the feeling something was wrong.
At my six week scan the sonographer told me he could only see an empty sac
He tried to reassure me, perhaps I’d got my dates wrong, but I left in floods of tears and four days later I started to bleed. I had no idea what to do. I got an appointment at Watford General’s early pregnancy unit but their scanners had shut down for the day and an internal exam couldn’t confirm whether I was having a miscarriage. I felt so confused, I didn’t get any guidance.
I lay in bed sobbing, bleeding and suffering terrible cramps. Eventually I called a friend’s sister who had miscarried and she told me what to expect. Although devastating, I put my miscarriage down to bad luck and started trying again. Four months later I was pregnant but at five weeks I miscarried again.
I was referred to a private obstetrician but a barrage of blood tests didn’t point to an obvious reason for my miscarriages.
Three months later I was pregnant and it was wonderful to hear my baby’s heartbeat at a six week scan. Two weeks later I miscarried again.
I was destroyed and I blamed myself. I must have done something wrong.
By February I was pregnant again but lost my baby at five weeks. Heartbroken, but angry, I was desperate for answers.
I booked in with a private fertility clinic in London and tests revealed I had high levels of natural killer cells, where a woman’s immune system attacks the foetus. I was prescribed steroids. By my first appointment at the clinic I was six weeks pregnant and taking pessaries, steroid, clexane and aspirin. I had weekly scans and blood tests every two days to monitor my pregnancy levels. It was like living on a knife edge, waiting for calls to say my baby was okay.
On January 4 Olly was born at 38 weeks, and I couldn’t really believe he was here.
Miscarriage is an isolating experience, you can feel such a failure and I believe that’s partly why women don’t talk about it, that sense of shame. I ran the London Marathon for Tommy’s in 2013 because their research and the way they highlight miscarriage is so very important.
Soon after we started trying for a third child but my first pregnancy resulted in a miscarriage. I couldn’t believe it was happening again. I got pregnant again two months later and Amelia arrived naturally at 39 weeks in June 2014. We were euphoric, our family was complete.
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