Ellie’s story: pregnancy after miscarriage
Ellie shares her experience of deciding to try again and being pregnant after a miscarriage, and finding support.
As I entered the second trimester I started to think more and more about the baby we had lost. I felt torn. I was thinking about the child we had lost but felt guilty for doing so whilst being pregnant.
On 23rd June 2022 I heard those words, “I’m so sorry, there’s no heartbeat.” My partner and I were then guided through the whirlwind process of appointments, scans and then the procedure to remove the baby. Baby was 8 weeks and 4 days old.
What followed felt the hardest – learning to process the miscarriage. I knew I wasn’t feeling like myself and it scared me, but I didn’t know what to do so I tried to just carry on as before.
My partner and I decided to start trying again in the August. In hindsight, I think this was too soon. I had healed physically but hadn’t healed emotionally. I was trying to bypass my feelings by falling pregnant straight away – but I needed to process our loss.
I spent my evenings thinking about our lost baby and quietly crying, sometimes trying to hide it from my partner, trying to pretend I was fine when I wasn’t. We went on a last-minute holiday, perhaps I was trying to run away from the situation – but I could not escape it.
Following a friend’s recommendation, I self-referred for counselling. I was referred to a grief counsellor for 6 sessions and these really helped me. Counselling enabled me to process my feelings, the grief, the anger, the disappointment and the feeling of being a failure.
Come October I was in a better place and we decided to try again without putting pressure on ourselves. I threw away the ovulation tests and early detection pregnancy tests.
I fell pregnant in November, I was excited, but it was overshadowed by a cloud of anxiety. The naivety I had in my first pregnancy was gone. I knew things could go wrong. It wasn’t until we went for an 8-week early scan that my nerves were eased slightly as I got to see what the sonographer called, my “little gummy bear”.
I thought about not telling anyone in these early weeks but we decided we would. Our family and friends were so supportive during the miscarriage, if we were to experience another loss we wanted them to know.
I lived scan to scan in the early weeks. Never really letting myself get excited, my pregnancy was tinged with the constant thought of, “what if it happens again?”
I was most nervous at my 12-week scan. I felt my chest tighten as we walked in the hospital. There was silence as she turned on the monitors and started to scan. Part of me was prepared for the worst – but everything was fine, baby had a heartbeat, he was strong.
Everything that then followed the scan was new. Going for blood tests, midwife appointments, health visitors – I kept on thinking how we hadn’t got this far before.
As I entered the second trimester I started to think more and more about the baby we had lost. I felt torn. I was thinking about the child we had lost but felt guilty for doing so whilst being pregnant. I was increasingly aware of these feelings, so I referred myself again for counselling. I was scared my anxieties would negatively impact this pregnancy.
As I attended sessions and attended my midwife appointments and scans I steadily became less anxious and no longer had feelings of guilt. From week 24 I felt I could look forward and be excited, albeit cautiously.
My son arrived in July 2023 following a problem free pregnancy. He was happy and healthy. It was both the hardest and most amazing thing I’ve experienced. I feel so lucky.
My miscarriage did impact my second pregnancy. It made me more anxious, more hesitant to tell people and more aware or anyone who may be going through a miscarriage or fertility problems. It did however make me appreciate everything so much more and also contributed to a calm approach to the birth – I learnt that some things are ultimately out of my control.
I still think about the baby we lost. They will always be my first child. The health visitor gave me some good advice when I found myself struggling, “Allow yourself time. Time to think about the baby you lost, be it 5 minutes or a full day” and I do.
It’s scary deciding to try again for a baby after experiencing a loss. You are vulnerable and exposed to all the pain you suffered before. It takes strength but it is worth every moment when you get to hold your baby.