by Kerry Smart
In 2010 we lost the first of our babies to a "missed miscarriage". I am still not sure why it is labelled this, as a miscarriage is still heartbreaking not matter what the circumstances. We had only been married a matter of months and excited that the chance to start a family has happened to soon, but it was quickly taken away from us. The feeling of emptiness and guilt was overwhelming. The doctors told us that the chance of a miscarriage in your first pregnancy was very high and it was "just one of those things". As this was the attitude that was given to us by the hospital, that's the attitude I adopted and told everyone that it didn't matter and we would try again. I brushed all feelings aside and carried on.
A few months later we fell pregnant again, but at 8 weeks I started to bleed and, during an early scan, was told that there was not heartbeat. I think hearing those words made me realise that I had lost a baby for a second time, and that having a heartbeat at such an early stage meant that there was a life that had been lost. I booked in for an operation to remove the remaining pregnancy tissue.
During a follow up appointment, I was told that there was nothing the hospital could do as help is only offered to women who have had three consecutive miscarriages. This was something that I found unfair and frustrating. What if it happened again? What help would we get? They couldn't give us any answers.
Friends and family were so supportive, but those who heard second hand what had happened didn't know how to approach the subject or what to say. Some even avoided me completely. I felt ashamed and like I had let people down. I wanted to scream at them that I didn't have something that was contagious and it didn't change who I am.
In the end I got used to the sympathy looks and whispering. But inside I was broken.
It took a lot of courage to want to try for a baby again. I was dreading the day when I had to take a test, but when that day came I felt different. I was pregnant again, this to me meant that I had nothing wrong with me and that after all it was "bad luck" as I had been told by numerous people. What did they know? At 11 weeks we lost our third baby. The pain was dreadful. Once again I had let my husband and family down. How could I go on? The hospital this time completed all manner of tests. I secretly wanted there to be something wrong so we had an answer and could deal with it. But all tests came back as no discrepancies. There was nothing more that could be done for us on their part, but we were referred to take part in the PROMISE study should we decide to try again. The study was designed to test the effect of Progesterone given to women in the early stages of pregnancy.
I was very dubious of this, but we decided to give it a go. In November 2012, our daughter Bonnie arrived. She was five weeks early, but the most beautiful miracle I had ever seen. Life seemed complete after all the heartache and pain. And taking her home after two weeks in the neo-natel unit, was the most wonderful feeling.
In 2015, we decided to try for a second baby, but at 11 weeks I miscarried for a fourth time. We were not offered any help, as it had not been proven that Progesterone had a positive effect on women and therefore had to "wing it" once again. The result were horrendous and, if possible, this was to be the worst miscarriage I was to suffer out of the four.
All the feelings came back; guilt, shame, heartbreak, grief. The worst part for me, was to have people close to me assume that there was actually something wrong with me, or worse still, with the baby that I had lost. This angered me, how can anyone assume this. As a woman, you naturally think that your body can do the one thing it is made for - having babies. But, when you can't and you suffer the loss of a child over and over again, all you want is for those around you to help you and support you.
It took a long time for me to deal with suffering from another miscarriage. But once again, I managed to pick myself up and carry on. I had to because I didn't want our daughter to know what had happened.
In April this year, we welcomed our second daughter, Emily. She was born exactly a year to the date of us loosing our fourth baby. Another little miracle that we had the joy of taking home.
Bonnie is now three and a half years old and Emily is almost two months. I feel so very lucky to have them both and don't take this for granted.
It has taken me a lot of courage to write about my experience. It is something that I have dealt with for a long time. Six years of heartache, but the fact we have two beautiful children makes up for this in some way.
Miscarriage is a very taboo subject, one that I didn't know much about until it happened to me. Even talking to doctors at the time, I realised that with all the advanced medicine and research that is available, we still are not willing to accept that miscarriage is something that women, like me, deal with every single day.
The feeling of grief never leaves you, not matter how much of a brave face you put on. But there is always help and support out there, there are people to talk to who have been through this, and there is always hope.
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