‘Our eyes had been opened to a world we never knew existed’

Kerry Burke wanted to do something to give herself a new focus after suffering three miscarriages so she decided to take on a 10k run for Tommy's.

Kerry Burke

Tommy’s guest blog, 06/01/2017, by fundraiser Kerry Burke

Many of you who get in touch with us at Tommy’s say the worst thing about miscarriage is not knowing why it happened.

Sadly, miscarriage is by far the biggest cause of pregnancy loss in the UK, and it is also the least understood.

Kerry Burke has suffered the pain of miscarriage three times. Following Tommy’s #misCOURAGE campaign, Kerry has spoken out about her experiences. She has also decided to take on the Great Manchester 10k later this year to raise vital funds to help save babies’ lives.

Here is her story

My husband and I knew we wanted a family straight after we got married.  We’d always talked about it and imagined our first wedding anniversary we would be knee deep in nappies, happy that our dream was now our reality.

But it didn’t happen that way for us! 

It took 8 months for me to get pregnant the first time and within 6 weeks that dream had come crashing down.  I’d experienced my first miscarriage and we were completely broken.  The whole experience was traumatic and involved talks about Molar pregnancy and potentially having chemotherapy. 

Thankfully it wasn't Molar but our eyes had been opened to a world we never knew existed. 

My second pregnancy came 4 months later and again at 6 weeks, something wasn’t right.  We had multiple scans which showed different things each time, completely confusing the healthcare professionals.  The first showed a heartbeat, the second showed no heartbeat but two sacs and the third showed 3 sacs and no babies. 

At one point they were even treating the pregnancy as a new triplet pregnancy but deep down we knew the inevitable was happening again – I was going to miscarry.

8 months later I fell pregnant again and I didn’t want to believe it or acknowledge I was pregnant.  Miscarriage taints your ability to enjoy pregnancy; instead it leaves you with a complete fear that history will repeat itself – after all it had happened to us twice!  But this time I wanted to take control of things. 

I’d started spotting and feared the worse but that same night I went on the Tommy’s Facebook page and spotted a trial I could potentially get involved in.  It was for women who experienced bleeding in early pregnancy.  I was enrolled and given the pessaries, which were either Progesterone or placebo.   Unfortunately, I was to experience my third miscarriage a couple of weeks later, this time with the added complication that I ended up with Sepsis. 

Although completely heartbroken, we knew we would get the help we needed now.

Through our turbulent 2 year journey Tommy’s has been an incredible source of support.  Their #misCOURAGE campaign made me open up and talk about what we have been through.  Stories of other couples in similar positions have also eased our pain and given us hope. 

I knew I had to do something to say thank you to Tommy’s but to also give myself a new focus.  I decided to run a 10k. 

Whilst it might not seem like much to some people, I don’t run so this is a huge challenge for me – and getting fitter would surely help with future pregnancies!  I realised though that if I wanted to fundraise, I needed to get my story out there, not just to close family and friends, but to other friends via Facebook.  I needed to let people know why I was doing the 10K for Tommy’s.  So I started a blog.  I wanted to get the entire story out there and allow people to follow us through the journey of fertility testing, something we were completely unaware of before our miscarriages. 

I believe people should open up and talk more about miscarriages; it truly helps with the healing process.   The response I got was fantastic.  Friends came forwards who had gone through similar, others who were going through their own struggles.  The support we’d received was immense.  And then the donations started rolling in.  Within hours we’d already smashed the fundraising target set by Tommy’s and were well on the way to smashing our own fundraising target. 

I truly believe that without Tommy’s I wouldn’t have found the courage to speak so openly about this and I would have bottled everything up.

My blog wouldn’t have been started and I wouldn’t have an outlet for everything we were going through.  If our experiences can help just one person get through their journey, our journey wouldn’t have been for nothing! 

Next week we get the initial results of our fertility tests.  I feel quite positive that everything will be OK but I’m also realistic and know it might not be.  I feel that whatever happens, we can work on fixing it with the help of the NHS and Tommy’s!  

If you want to support Kerry’s fundraising and help her achieve her target you can make a donation to her sponsorship page here.

If you want to hear more from Kerry and follow her journey you can read her blog, Kerry vs Fertility, here.

If you are interesting in taking on a fundraising challenge for Tommy’s, you can take a look at what events are on the cards for 2017 and how you can join Team Tommy’s here.

You can read more women’s stories of #misCOURAGE here.

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