by Natasha Adams
My first miscarriage was, in the doctor's words, 'to be expected'. You see, I'd already had one loss, our third child Honey, who was stillborn at 36 weeks and 6 days, fourteen months earlier. In that time I'd been diagnosed with Factor V Leiden, and had a rainbow pregnancy. My world came tumbling down around me again; the clotting disorder put me at a greater risk, and it felt so unfair.
A few months later I had another positive test, this time I got past the gestation of my last miscarriage, and I hoped a little bit. Then I started bleeding. I went to the doctors and I was referred for a scan. Again, there was a stillness to my womb, one that is instantly recognisable, but you hope against all hope that your instinct is wrong. That is until their words tell you otherwise, and in that moment the world stands still.
At this point I went back to my GP and asked for help. I was told, like so many other women that you need three consecutive losses. This is such an awful place to be; to think that there could be something wrong with either you or your babies, but there is nothing that you can do to prevent it happening again, and feeling like there is not a professional in the world who cares.
I miscarried three more times before my situation was taken seriously, as my clotting disorder was always assumed to be the cause
When I had my first appointment at the recurrent miscarriage clinic, I wasn't given any testing because it was assumed that it was the Factor V Leiden. I agreed to try aspirin and blood thinning injections, from as early as possible.
I had hope with this pregnancy, for the first time in a while. I had hope that I wouldn't miscarry again, and hope that we would bring home another baby. I had a scan and was told that it was a good scan. I had one a week later and there was no heartbeat. Doctors tried to reassure me but I just knew. A week later they finally admitted defeat, and I waited to miscarry again.
This time it took a bit longer to get pregnant again. Then there was concern it was ectopic, and eventually it was confirmed that it was in the womb, but it was clear from my hCG and the sac that this pregnancy wouldn't last long either. A week after my first scan, it was confirmed that it was another miscarriage. Although, this one was different, usually I begun bleeding pretty soon after confirmation, but I hadn't done this time, so I was offered surgery, but I was too scared to have it. From June 2010 until September 2010, I carried a baby, just waiting to miscarry. It was soul destroying.
I got pregnant again that November. This time I was on progesterone and high dose folic acid, as well as the aspirin and clexane. The specialist was optimistic at my first scan, and again at my second. My third brought a heartbeat. I made it to 12 weeks. I wasn't in the clear, but I allowed myself to fall in love. At 16 weeks I found out that we were having another girl. I chose a name and a blanket. Eventually Riley Rae was buried in that blanket after she, too was stillborn, at 24 weeks. I cried so many tears, and screamed in anger at the world. We had had our fair share of pain.
At this point, anyone who knew our situation, would give us advice: "try again as soon as possible", "don't keep putting yourself through it", "you're lucky you get pregnant"
The words were well meaning, but they stung. I turned to those who had been there, and those who would just listen without judging. I knew I couldn't give up as I would regret it forever. That's not to say that there weren't days where I told myself I couldn't continue trying; there were plenty, but the longing always outweighed the fear.
Just a few months after Riley Rae, I was pregnant and soon miscarrying again. I wrote to my friend that I wanted to cut my womb out because then it couldn't hurt me anymore. I knew I either had to stop, or find someone who would be proactive. I chose the latter. I went to one hospital and had testing, but I miscarried twice more.
I went to a recurrent miscarriage clinic over a hundred miles from my home. I was diagnosed with elevated natural killer cells. So we added in steroids, but it didn't help me like all the stories I'd read.
I found another clinic and tried with them, but I still miscarried.
By the time I finished with this clinic, I was six years in to trying to bring home a baby, and had had sixteen miscarriages and a stillbirth
I heard so many times that an early loss wasn't really a baby, but what ever the books said, whether their heartbeat had stopped, whether I got to meet them or not, they were still my baby, and I loved and wanted them so much.
I was no longer the person I once was, in fact I didn't recognise the person I had become. My husband and I talked and decided we needed one last shot, but then that was it. I couldn't keep putting my body or mind through it.
I decided to go back to the clinic, over a hundred miles away in Warwick. They gave me a really strong protocol and lots of medication, but my first scan wasn't good. I cried all the way back to London. That was it, over. There would be no rainbow.
I went to a hospital in London to confirm a miscarriage, but a week later they were surprisingly positive. A week after that and we had a heartbeat. It was a milestone, and those milestones kept coming until Orion Rudi Beau was born at 36 weeks in June 2015.
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