The only explanation I've had so far is 'bad luck'

My first miscarriage was the worst thing which has ever happened to me - until the second came along four months later.

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Catherine and her baby.

by Catherine Boyle

December 2015

My first miscarriage was the worst thing which has ever happened to me - until the second came along four months later.

The only explanation I've had so far is 'bad luck'. The medical profession has, as yet, no more sophisticated explanation for why I had a healthy first pregnancy, but both pregnancies which should have resulted in a much-wanted second child didn't make it.

The first miscarriage was a 'missed miscarriage', where the baby stops growing, but your body still thinks it's pregnant. I had to have him or her removed through a process known as an EPRC, under general anaesthetic.

When I think of the innocence and insouciance with which we waited for the 12-week scan we assumed would show our healthy second child, I desperately want to still be that person.

Hoping it was just spotting I went to work and talked about Barclay's full-year results live on air

As advised, we took three months off before trying again. This time, I was pregnant for less than six weeks before I saw the blood. Hoping that it was just some spotting, I went into my work as a financial reporter. I went into hair and makeup and talked about Barclays bank's full-year results live on air before realising that I was being completely insane and had to get to hospital.

Now, I am left wondering when to try again and expose myself to the entire cycle of joy, hope, fear, grief and anger all over again. I can already feel myself becoming more anxious and strained as a mother - which is only natural when I feel as though I have failed twice to look after my child at its most vulnerable. At this moment, it feels as though I will have a permanent little grey cloud following me around for the rest of my life. I don't even want to tell my friends, many of whom are at the stage where they are just starting to try to get pregnant, as I feel like a hex, an omen of bad luck further along the way.

To get any further investigation through the NHS, I have to have a third miscarriage, and brace myself for the emotional and physical devastation which will follow.

Perhaps I should accept this. 

There is something about this acceptance and repetition of the "bad luck" explanation which seems wrong

After all, I have had a lot of good luck: being born to parents who loved each other and their children; meeting someone who I wanted to marry who wanted to marry me, at an age where it seemed we had forever to start a family; having a lovely, healthy two-year-old who makes me laugh even more than her father does. Maybe I should just accept that a second healthy pregnancy would be a surfeit of luck, a brimming over of my cup of happiness.

Yet there is something about this acceptance and repetition of the "bad luck" explanation which seems wrong to me. It is, I think, part of the near-mysticism with which we infuse the process of conception, pregnancy and birth, when sometimes, rather than talk of miracles and wonder, we need some actual scientific facts.

I want a better answer to my questions

What if I shouldn't have had that glass of prosecco five weeks in? What if I shouldn't have given in to a toddler strop and carried two stone worth of small girl back from the park? What if my 32 year old womb or ovaries are a worse place to be than they were at 29? 

What if there is something I can do next time to tip the odds in my baby's favour? Because right now, if someone with a medical qualification told me I had to spend my entire pregnancy hopping on one foot while only eating broccoli and wholemeal bread, I'd do it if I thought it would raise my chances of giving birth to another healthy baby.

I want clever doctors, scientists and researchers to give me some answers. If we can send people to Mars, surely we can work out a better answer than 'bad luck' to why so many pregnancies end up this way.

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Disclaimer

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

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