Tommy's guest blog, 16/03/2017, by Harpreet
Harpreet was treated by the Tommy's Centre for Early Miscarriage Clinic at Birmingham Women's Hospital and thanks to their care had a healthy baby daughter.
Here's her story
Harpreet first found out she was pregnant in August 2014. The first trimester went well and at eight weeks she had her first midwife appointment and there was no reason to be concerned.
But the picture was very different at the 12 week scan.
This should have been the first opportunity for Harpreet and her husband Amandeep to see their baby but the couple received the unexpected news that their baby had stopped growing.
This came as a complete shock as Harpreet had not had any signs or symptoms that pointed to any problems with the pregnancy. It was believed that the baby had stopped growing at about six weeks, but that the sac had carried on growing. Harpreet waited for a further week when a re-scan confirmed a miscarriage.
Harpreet describes the one week wait as 'the week from hell.'
The pregnancy was removed via surgery under local anaesthetic a few days later at Birmingham Women’s Hospital (BWH). Harpreet returned home after this and was advised to carry out a pregnancy test a few weeks later, which would confirm that the pregnancy had all been removed. But three weeks later the pregnancy test came back positive and Harpreet had to return to BWH for further tests and scans, which confirmed that the pregnancy had all been removed but that it was taking some time for her hormones to return normal.
Regular monitoring and blood tests followed for a number of weeks, the process of which Harpreet found emotionally draining and upsetting.
It was recommended that Harpreet wait a while before trying again, allowing her body to return to normal, and as Christmas came and went it all still felt very raw for Harpreet and Amandeep who were desperate for a family of their own.
In March 2015 they started trying again and a pregnancy test in the 1st week of May 2015 confirmed that Harpreet was pregnant again, but the excitement was short lived when one week later Harpreet experienced some spotting (Friday). She nervously rang her GP and went straight to hospital for a scan and investigation. As she had only had very minimal bleeding and no other symptoms she was advised to return home and rest, and by the next morning (Saturday) to her relief everything seemed fine.
But later that afternoon she had further bleeding and at the hospital it was confirmed that she had experienced an early miscarriage, at only 5/6 weeks, which she returned home to manage. Following this natural miscarriage her body returned to normal quite quickly and within 2 weeks she had a negative pregnancy test.
Harpreet said: 'Caroline and Jenny in EPAU were fantastic and became like family almost. They have seen me at my worst, at my lowest point and they were there supporting me and holding my hand the whole way, along with my husband.'
'I really wanted a baby more than anything in the world. My career was sorted, we were financially secure, I was in a loving relationship, together for 9 years and married for 5, having a baby seemed like the most natural next step. I felt like we were in a perfect position to provide for our own family.'
But all I could see wherever I went, whether it be the cinema, shopping or buying milk, were babies, families and pregnancy bumps and I felt like I was starting to become quite bitter and depressed about my losses.
I couldn’t help but blame myself, what was I doing wrong? I didn’t drink, I’d never smoked and I looked after myself. Why was this happening to me?”
In June 2015 Harpreet fell pregnant for a third time, and booked a private 8 week scan for reassurance.
At the scan their worst fears were confirmed when they were told that it looked like the baby had stopped developing at 5-6 weeks again, whilst the sac was measuring 8 weeks but there was no heart beat.
There had been no signs that there were any problems.
Harpreet said: 'It was like my whole world had collapsed, how could it happen again?'
In August 2015 the clinical team at Birmingham Women's Hospital (BWH) onfirmed that Harpreet had miscarried and she opted to have the pregnancy removed under general anaesthetic, having found the first time emotionally traumatic. She describes the pain of feeling the pregnancy come out but knowing that there would be no baby at the end. Three weeks later Harpreet had a negative pregnancy test.
It was at this point that Harpreet was referred to the Tommy's recurrent miscarriage clinic for further tests.
The results from the tests for conditions such as sticky blood syndrome would take three months to be returned.
On New Years’ Day 2016 whilst waiting for the test results Harpreet discovered she was pregnant again: the news was exciting but – remembering previous experiences – also very nerve-wracking.
Keen to know if there were any medical reasons why she had previously miscarried, and if there was anything she could do to help this time, the family chased the test results. A few weeks later the clinical team at BWH was able to confirm that they were all clear.
From 6 weeks they had fortnightly scans and for many weeks the family were hesitant about sharing their news with others, scared of going through the heartbreak again.
At 11 weeks Harpreet began to feel panicky but a further scan reassured her. At 12 weeks she was discharged from the recurrent miscarriage clinic.
Harpreet and Amandeep now have a healthy little girl.
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.