#misCOURAGE story by Rachel,
Recklessly optimistic – a way I would’ve described myself prior to my experiences of pregnancy loss. After a gloriously smooth pregnancy with our first child, Lowenna, I embarked on my second with excitement and a sense of knowledge – knowledge that I had been here before, it was the most incredible journey of my life so far and I was raring to do it again.
I breezily embraced the feelings of sickness and exhaustion in the early weeks. We went on a family holiday to Devon and I even carved a table from scratch (a course that my husband had given me for my birthday) invincible and strong.
When we set foot in the sonographers room on September 2017 for our 12 week scan – hand in hand with my husband, Lowenna in his arms – we were still blissfully eager to see our wriggling baby, not even contemplating anything could be wrong.
As soon as the ultrasound image was on the screen I could tell something was different. For a start there were two shapes instead of the one we were expecting…and there was no movement. I can’t really describe that moment but it is the most traumatic shock I have ever experienced. We were given the news that I was carrying twins that had stopped growing at 9 weeks. I had had no outward sign of a problem – no blood or pain – so I was totally unprepared for such a devastating outcome.
Leaving that room was terrifying – knowing that as soon as we did I would have to face the reality that we had lost two babies.
After weighing up the options we decided on a medical miscarriage and the next day we left early for the hospital again. As we went through the doors we faced two beaming NCT friends who had just had their positive scan. All I could manage to utter was ‘think the worst and that’s it’ – when they looked at our sad faces, puzzled.
The next days and weeks and months were dark and challenging. I tried to be as open as possible with everyone around me and not shy away from the ‘awkward’ conversations. My husband’s support is incredible, and although he was distraught too he provided me with a safe space to let out everything I was feeling and even managed to sprinkle in some well-timed humour! We really have learnt a lot about each other because of the losses we have faced together.
Amazingly I fell pregnant again without a normal cycle in between. I had thought I was experiencing pregnancy symptoms and did a test ‘just to make sure’ thinking it was unlikely. I reached 6 weeks with that new pregnancy then I got some spotting. Because of the missed miscarriage I was consumed by anxiety and doing a test weekly (that got progressively fainter) in an attempt to reassure myself – ultimately I could sense something wasn’t right. A second miscarriage was confirmed with another visit to the early pregnancy unit at the hospital. I felt defeated and really angry.
I decided to go straight back to work because I was exhausted with constantly yearning to be pregnant – in a way it was a relief to get more understanding of what was going on in my body and to stop analysing and second guessing everything.
Since then we have taken a break over Christmas from trying for a baby and I have had some valuable counselling sessions to help process my grief. I have found it so beneficial openly sharing my experiences and have been touched by the connections I have forged with others who then feel confident to share theirs.
2018 is a new year and holds exciting prospects. The incredible thing is I still can’t quite erase or squash the ‘recklessly optimistic’ spirit inside me. We are keeping our fingers crossed…
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