**Trigger Warning – Baby Loss**
Welcome to my new series I am the One in Four. Baby loss has become a huge part of this blog since losing my own baby in July 2016. I have received so many lovely messages saying how reading about my experiences helps them so I wanted to open it all up a bit more and include some very inspiring ladies baby loss journeys today. The charity Tommy’s states that ‘1 in 4 women will experience a miscarriage in their lifetime’ which is a huge statistic yet we still aren’t talking about it as much as we could. So let me introduce you to Lucy from the blog Mrs H’s Favourite Things who has very kindly shared her miscarriage journey.
Six months before we started trying for a baby, I was signed off work because my chronic depression had relapsed. During that time I was plagued by negative thoughts. But the one thought that haunted me more than all the others was regarding miscarriage.
I had done my research. I knew that statistically one in four pregnancies end in baby loss. But none of my friends had miscarried. Therefore I put two and two together and I made five. I managed to convince myself that I would miscarry. Not only that but that I would also miscarry multiple times and it would destroy me.
At that time, I was receiving Cognitive Behavioural Therapy. With help from my therapist I realised that I was no more likely to miscarry than any other woman. It was my mind playing games with me. So when we did start trying for a baby the thought of a miscarriage never entered my mind.
We were lucky and I got pregnant quickly. I remember feeling such joy when I saw the positive pregnancy test. And it was with great excitement that I told my husband that we were expecting.
The weeks passed in a blur. We went on holiday, I attended an early bird midwife appointment and I completed all my maternity notes. We received the date for our 12 week scan and the pregnancy went smoothly. I wasn’t even feeling that nauseous or tired.
Then one Saturday morning, at 11 weeks pregnant I woke up with mild menstrual cramps. As the day wore on the pain grew worse. But I tried to be positive and I thought that it was just my uterus making room for the baby. However, the next morning I woke up in agony and I could barely move.
We phoned NHS 111 and I was advised to go to A&E. Of course, the pain started to fade as soon as we arrived at the hospital. But we stayed so that I could be checked over. I saw a nurse who asked me to take a pregnancy test – the result was still positive. I then saw a doctor who felt my belly. He assured me that everything seemed fine. I wasn’t bleeding and so he thought the pains were just my uterus stretching. However, he decided to organise a scan for the next day.
I went for the scan with my Mum. I was nervous but I also trusted the doctor we’d seen the day before. I wasn’t bleeding so I couldn’t be miscarrying.
I’ll remember that scan until the day I die. There was silence in the room. The midwife didn’t say anything she just stared at the screen. Everything was quiet.
Eventually, I plucked up the courage to ask her if our baby was okay. She replied with seven words that changed everything:
“I’m sorry but it doesn’t look good.”
I was told that they were struggling to find the heartbeat. The baby was also far too small and not the size they would expect at 11 weeks pregnant.
Time stood still. I didn’t know how to process what I’d heard. Five minutes ago I had been pregnant. But now because of those seven words I wasn’t. I just couldn’t understand what was happening.
I wanted to scream. I yearned to hug my belly and will the baby’s heart to start beating again. Instead, silent tears rolled down my cheeks and soaked the t-shirt I was wearing. I held onto my Mum’s hand and tried to remember how to breathe.
After the scan, I sat down with the midwife and discussed my options. I needed to decide how to treat the missed miscarriage. The baby had died at 6 weeks but my body had held on to it. My body still thought it was pregnant. It didn’t want to give the baby up. Just as I didn’t want to give the baby up.
I was given literature about the choice I now had to make. I had three options:
- Have an operation to remove the baby,
- Allow nature to take its own course and miscarry in time,
- Or to have the miscarriage medically managed.
I remember sitting in the room and turning to my Mum. I longed to be a child again and have her make the decision for me. I didn’t feel mature enough to make such a choice. How could I make a decision when I didn’t actually want to choose any of the options? I didn’t want to think about how to lose my baby. I just wanted to be pregnant again. For my baby’s heart to beat and everything to be fine.
Eventually, I decided to have the miscarriage medically managed. And so two days after my scan I was back in hospital signing forms. Then on the Friday, less than a week after my pains started, I walked in to a private room on the delivery suite to have the medicine that would encourage my body to deliver the baby.
What happened then was hideous. It was truly one of the worst experiences of my life.
Until you have had a miscarriage or have experienced baby loss, it is impossible to understand what a physical, mental and emotional experience it is. It is an experience that you will never forget and it changes you.
After the miscarriage, I decided that I needed to move on with my life. I didn’t even give myself time to process what had happened. A week after the miscarriage was medically managed, I was back at work. And as soon as I’d had one normal period we began to try for a baby once again.
For the second time, I got pregnant quickly. And our darling daughter was born in May 2013. I held her in my arms when she was born and felt the pain of the miscarriage dissipate. It was amazing. Her birth was healing.
When she was less than a year old, we decided that we would like another baby. And it wasn’t long before I got unexpectedly pregnant but within a day I began to miscarry.
They call it a chemical pregnancy. But it doesn’t feel like that when you’re experiencing it. It’s still baby loss.
We were shocked. We had stupidly expected that after the birth of our daughter I would be fine. That another pregnancy would go smoothly.
However, we put it down to bad luck. And we assumed that everything would be fine once we properly started to try for another baby.
But it wasn’t.
At ten weeks pregnant, I began to get spotting. A scan confirmed that the baby’s heart had stopped beating at seven weeks. Once again, we decided to have the missed miscarriage medically managed. And I was given the medication in hospital and sent home to miscarry.
This time the loss of the baby was easier. Tragically it seemed that my body knew what it needed to do.
That night I sat with our darling daughter in my arms. I knew that I needed to put her in her cot to sleep. But I couldn’t. I needed to watch her breathe. To feel her little body against mine. To see the little smile that crossed her mouth as she slept peacefully. She was our hope. We had her and hopefully we could have another baby.
We decided to wait a few months before trying again. I needed to put myself back together again – mentally, physically and emotionally.
When the time felt right we started to try again. I got pregnant within a few months. But at 10 weeks pregnant I began to miscarry naturally.
That was our fourth miscarriage but because it was our third miscarriage in a row we were referred to the local Recurrent Miscarriage Clinic. As we’d been lucky enough to have a child the tests we were offered were limited. I desperately wanted these tests to show that something was wrong. A problem that could be easily fixed.
“Take this tablet once a day and in nine months time you will hold your baby in your arms.”
However, the tests proved inconclusive. The consultant said that there was a possibility that the miscarriages could be as a result of chromosomal disorders. But the only way to test that was to examine the baby if I happened to miscarry again.
I was told to go away and that we could try for another baby whenever we wanted to. I was also advised to take a baby dose of soluble aspirin. And that is what I did. I took a soluble aspirin from the moment I got a positive pregnancy test until I was 28 weeks pregnant.
Our second rainbow baby, our gorgeous little boy was born in July 2016. And he is perfect.
I remember lifting him out of the water after he was born. I smiled at his face and felt the weight of all the miscarriages lift from my shoulders. Until that moment, I hadn’t let myself believe that we would ever have another baby.
Of course my pregnancy with this precious boy had not been easy. It had been fraught with anxiety. And at eight weeks pregnant, I had a heavy bleed.
But our little boy held on and he is now 18 months old. He is a force of nature and every day he brings joy into our lives.
Both our children are truly precious. And I would go through all the pain again, just to have them in our lives. Because when you hold them in your arms you know that there is nothing you wouldn’t do for them.
I am the one in four. And as painful as it was, I’ve been blessed with two rainbow babies. They shine in my life everyday. They wash away the pain and the tears. And they have made me more than just a statistic. They’ve made me a mother.