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Cathy’s story

Cathy had 3 losses, including a partial molar pregnancy.

Having a partial molar pregnancy was really weird and scary. The physical and mental toil was hard.

I have experienced three pregnancy losses, with one being a partial molar pregnancy.

Having a partial molar pregnancy was really weird and scary. The physical and mental toil was hard. I was monitored for several months with the threat hanging over my head of having to be sent to oncology to have chemotherapy. We were told we couldn’t try for a baby for at least six months and that was devastating in itself.

One month after what seemed to be a ‘normal’ post-surgical-management bleed, and prior to my partial molar diagnosis, I felt really ill and passed out in a restaurant. I was sent to St Mary’s who did different tests and prescribed Heparin, because it was clear that the partial molar clearly wasn’t the ‘whole story’ in regards to my health.

When we found out we were pregnant for the fourth time between Christmas and New Year, I felt very anxious and found it hard to sleep. A lot of the current advice is to consider telling people you are pregnant early, so that you have support during the first 12 weeks. Personally, this didn’t feel like the right thing to do. For my own preservation, I didn’t tell anyone I was pregnant because I didn’t want to go through the cycle of telling and un-telling yet again.

I was tested for thyroid problems prior to pregnancy, but was not deemed at risk. I did have a diagnosis of sticky blood though, and was prescribed medication which I would take every morning. That morning ritual helped me to manage my anxiety – that I was doing something different this time. I would have a mantra I repeated every day. For example, in the morning I would say ‘these drugs have been prescribed by a really good team to help you and your baby’.

The standard of care I received when I was pregnant following my previous losses was really good. Having access to specialist support and advice made a big difference.  I was lucky to have this because I know most people get a regular midwife. During regular appointments, the midwife asks the usual questions, and, from your answers, might think you are not bonding with the baby. When I tell them about my previous losses they understand, but, I really don’t want to have that conversation at the start of every appointment. At St Mary’s Hospital, they add a sticker to your notes indicating your previous losses. This was really helpful. It made a difference not having to explain my history at every appointment.

During my pregnancy, I was scanned every two weeks and that provided me with a degree of reassurance. However, I’d find that well-meaning people would add to my anxiety, by offering advice. Especially when non-health professionals would advise me (based on an old wives’ tale) to not get stressed because it can cause miscarriage. I knew I was stressed and I wasn’t sleeping and that my blood pressure was high. What I needed was ways to help manage it, not to be told that it was hurting my baby.

I used the Miscarriage Association forum and Mumsnet and would share whatever I was worried about. Talking to others who have a similar experience to mine helped.

When I was 16 weeks pregnant I started to tell some of my close family and friends. For everyone else, I waited until I started to show, around 20 weeks.

I did pregnancy yoga and meditation, doing those activities felt very empowering. It was both relaxing and physical. I also got a hypnotherapy CD that I found useful. Whenever I started to think irrationally or feel panicked, I would listen to the hypnotherapy CD. Imagining I was somewhere safe and focusing on my breathing, would slow down my heart rate and make me feel calmer.

The closer I got to my due date the more I started to get obsessed about late loss. Counting kicks helped me to manage this. If I was at work, I would find a quiet place and count the kicks. I would do it every three hours or so.

I opted to give birth at a birth centre rather than a hospital, a place I associated more with miscarriage and loss, than babies. The fact that the birth centre didn’t look like a hospital helped me enormously.


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