Tommy’s guest blog, 13/03/2017, by Sam Jones
Many people assume that falling pregnant again after having had a failed pregnancy is cause for celebration.
Whilst this is true in many ways sometimes going through pregnancy after loss is not simple and can be an extremely anxious experience.
Sam from Storms and Rainbows lost her rainbow baby Guy at 25 weeks.
‘Guy was our first rainbow after suffering a miscarriage earlier the same year. My pregnancy with him was filled with anxiety as we weren’t so naïve the second time around, we had learned that miscarriage can happen to anyone. We were terrified that it would happen again.’
At their 20 week scan, Sam and her husband Martin were told that Guy was measuring too small and were referred to Tommy’s Maternal and Fetal Research Centre in Manchester.
The team here, headed up by Dr. Alex Heazell, specialise in the role of the placenta in causing stillbirth and support parents who are pregnant again after loss.
Sam and Martin were given the heartbreaking news that Guy’s placenta was insufficient and failing. He was severely underweight and would not be able to survive.
‘Our world was turned upside down, a hole left in our hearts forever.’
In January, Sam found out she was expecting for the fourth time, news which prompted a range of different emotions.
‘The usual wave of mixed emotions went round; denial, numbness, happiness, anxiety.’
When she was 6 – 7 weeks pregnant, Sam went to the miscarriage clinic for a scan.
‘The scan was uneventful. They could see the pregnancy sac and the beginnings of a flickering heartbeat. Roughly dating baby at 5-6 weeks (not the 7 weeks I thought I should be). Que the anxieties setting in, then me trying to battle them with logic. My periods have been irregular since the last miscarriage, 5-6 weeks. So I decided I could accept some discrepancy with dates at this stage.’
Following her appointment at the clinic, Sam went to meet her Tommy’s midwife Louise.
It was decided that Sam would go back under the care of the MAVIS clinic, a clinic for women at high risk of hypertension in pregnancy. She would also be under the care of Tommy’s placenta and fetal medicine team.
‘This would fit in with my needs based on our history with Guy, and provide continuity of care with the team we already know.’
Sadly, at 8 weeks Sam and Martin were given the news that there was no heartbeat.
‘Here we were, 8 weeks in and history repeating itself. My initial thoughts – ‘well why wouldn’t it happen again?’ and ‘please don’t send me to the Emergency Gynae Unit’. Jenny and the midwives could feel our pain and were very empathetic. After all, they’ve been on this journey with us for the last 3 pregnancies. I was just grateful we were in our safe place, surrounded by professionals who knew us and knew exactly how to support us.’
It is so important that you are in a place where you are supported and cared for by the medical staff throughout your pregnancy. We want to say a big thank you to Sam for shedding light on the subject of pregnancy after loss.
It is so important that people realise future pregnancies does not eclipse the pain of earlier loss, and that rainbow pregnancies do not always result in that much wanted baby. We must make more people aware of this so that woman and their partners do not feel pressured to act happy and excited about a pregnancy that is actually causing them a lot of anxiety.
We want women to feel supported, whatever the outcome of their rainbow pregnancy.
Sam and Martin so far haven’t been given any answers as to why they keep losing babies. They’ve decided to weather the pain for ever and not give up on their dream of having children.
‘I am so grateful and lucky to have the best, most supportive husband. We both agree that we can survive these early miscarriages, for now.’
If are you experiencing anxiety in pregnancy and need to speak with someone, our midwives are trained in bereavement support and are available at our free pregnancy line 0800 0147 800. They are on hand from 9 – 5, Monday – Friday with any support, information or advice you may need.
Seeking help in pregnancy if you’re suffering with anxiety is important; you do not have to cope on your own. You can read our information about mental health and pregnancy here.
If you want to read more about mental health in pregnancy you can read these stories from supporters who have shared their experience of anxiety in pregnancy after loss.
If you want to read more from Sam you can take at her blog, Storms and Rainbows.
One mum has helped us compile some tips to help women pregnant again after a loss get through what can be a difficult nine months.
Charnjit lost baby Zara at 27 weeks due to intrauterine growth restriction. Her following pregnancy, which she writes about here, was a time of great anxiety for her and her family.
Shelley's baby Joseph was stillborn at 37 weeks. A post-mortem found that Joseph was suffering from intrauterine growth restriction
I didn't need ten days, I passed my baby the next day, I knew I was no longer pregnant, the second scan confirmed a blighted ovum, but to me that wasn't a blighted ovum, that was my baby.
On that Monday I remember saying to the nurse, "I'm worried it might be ectopic." Her reply was that it probably wasn't. And that was that.
The best thing anyone said to us was that parenthood is a roller coaster, sometimes right from the start - I think it sums up our experience perfectly.
I have always been someone who believes in everything happens for a reason but when something happens THRICE I can only try to be positive.