My husband, Chris, and I started trying for a baby soon after our marriage – I was 34 and Chris was 35. To our surprise and joy, I fell pregnant straight away. Sadly, I had a miscarriage at 6 weeks. The next 2 and a half years were filled with frequent sadness and disappointment. I had another 3 miscarriages, all of which happened between 8 and 10 weeks of the first trimester. We had some of the embryos tested, and a couple of the results showed chromosomal abnormalities.
During the 3 years before having our daughter Sophia, we saw various doctors and consultants, and visited a number of different clinics. We had every blood test you can imagine and just before having Sophia, visited a few IVF clinics to explore further options.
I'm thrilled and fortunate to say that after our first 4 miscarriages, our daughter Sophia was born in 2014. I then had 2 further miscarriages before falling pregnant again and giving birth to our son Thomas in 2017.
Whilst we were upset after our first loss, we were able to pick ourselves up, believing it was just a blip. However, as time went by and we suffered another miscarriage, we found ourselves questioning whether we would be successful in being able to have a baby. I became obsessed with ovulation test kits. We researched all the potential causes of miscarriage and asked our doctor if we could carry out some basic hormone tests. After the third miscarriage, we were relieved to be referred to St. Mary’s Hospital, London.
We underwent certain tests to rule out common problems. The conclusion was that the issue was probably something to do with the quality of my eggs. As far as I knew, this was something I was unable to change, and I felt incredibly helpless.
I remember the dread I felt every time we went for appointments and scans. Being told that there was no heartbeat is the most crushing news I have ever received. Having to hear it 6 times is unfathomable. It’s the fastest I have gone from being on cloud 9, and living in hope, to crashing down and hitting rock bottom. It was hard to accept the loss of the little one who we had already started to love unconditionally.
My sixth miscarriage
My sixth miscarriage was my most painful and traumatic. At around 11 weeks, we had a scan which showed that the heartbeat had stopped. We were told that we would not be able to go into hospital until after the weekend, which at the time seemed forever. I thought my body would wait and that I would have to have surgical management. Instead, I started to have very painful and continuous contractions for about two hours. We called an ambulance as I was in so much pain. I was taken to hospital and eventually my body passed the small sac and embryo.
I immediately had an overwhelming sense of emptiness and grief for someone who I had never met but had become so attached to.
Trying for a second baby had already consumed our lives. We felt like we had been either trying for a baby, pregnant, or going through miscarriages for the 5 years since we’d been married. Whilst we were delighted and fortunate that we had Sophia, we felt completely exhausted.
Trying a final time
In the end, following the 2 miscarriages after Sophia’s birth, we decided we would try one more time. We then conceived Thomas. By then, we knew we would not enjoy any pregnancy, but remained positive. We were so happy each time we heard his heartbeat. Thomas came into the world in 2017.
Support and remembering
In terms of support, our experience differed depending on the hospital and its staff. After receiving upsetting news, we were always shown to a private room where we could be alone, but it often felt as though we needed to leave quickly and deal with the experience on our own. Chris was amazing and was a huge support to me. I knew he wanted to fix everything and make it all okay, but neither of us could do this, so we had to find the best way to cope and be there for each other. I think men are often forgotten when it comes to baby loss – we have to remember that they are grieving too.
We have had a happy ending and know that we are extremely lucky to have 2 beautiful, healthy children. I think some people expect us to forget about our miscarriages, but it’s not possible. Every year we plant sunflowers to represent the members of our family. This year we planted 10 – representing the 4 of us, and the 6 little members of our family that we lost.
I didn’t contact Tommy’s when I had my miscarriages, but I wish I had. I think at the time, I wasn’t aware of the amazing research that Tommy’s does regarding miscarriage. Tommy’s is important for that reason. I appreciate all the hard work that they do.
Nicola sadly experienced a miscarriage just before her 12-week scan. As a doctor, she was not used to being in hospital as a patient - but has been inspired to share her story by the support she received.
Jag and her husband coped with the loss of their son in very different ways. In this blog, she reflects on the grieving process and the support that has helped her to manage the pain of her ‘favourite what if’.
Lara and her husband Joseph went through 9 rounds of IVF and experienced 2 miscarriages before making the decision to stop trying to conceive. In this blog, Lara reflects on the journey she has been on to find meaning and happiness in a life without children.
I had 3 miscarriages before being referred to Tommy’s National Centre for Miscarriage Research at University Hospital Coventry. Now I’m pregnant again, but the coronavirus pandemic means having to find new ways to get the care and support you so desperately need when pregnant after loss.