Gilly shares her story of three miscarriages, including two losses after starting fertility treatment.
I seem to always be waiting for test results or the next scan.
I have been pregnant three times, but never managed to complete a successful pregnancy. I first got pregnant after six months of trying. I actually found out I was pregnant during the miscarriage. I had a lot of bleeding, but I did tend to spot a lot between periods. I only did a test because my breasts felt sore. We had one day of celebrating, but the next day I had to call NHS Direct, who told me to speak to my GP.
My GP was wonderful. She had experienced several rounds of IVF, so understood how I was feeling. She did my bloods three days apart and confirmed I was miscarrying.
After my miscarriage, I went to a consultant who diagnosed me with PCOS. I was also told they would need to remove one of my fallopian tubes. This was totally unexpected and especially worrying given my concerns about my ability to conceive. I was put on metformin.
Throughout all of this I have found that being prescribed a new drug or having a new medical intervention has given me hope. Hope that by doing something different this time, the result will be different.
One of the worst things about trying to get pregnant is the waiting; I seem to always be waiting for test results or the next scan. I was referred for IVF. The cycle was a success and we were pregnant. Every day I did a pregnancy test and the line got stronger. Then I did a Clearview test and saw the weeks were not progressing as they should.
We were warned before our six week scan that it may be too early for a heartbeat. Because they had told us that before the scan, when there wasn’t a heartbeat we still had a faint glimmer of hope. A week later we returned and there was a heartbeat. The nurse said that was sufficient in order to be signed off, but offered us another scan a week later just to check everything was okay. That scan showed a very weak heartbeat and the embryo had shrunk. It was mortifying.
Because there was a faint heartbeat it meant I had to continue to take progesterone. I had to wait another week for yet another scan. I was now nine weeks pregnant. Sure enough, the scan showed I had had a missed miscarriage.
The only positive I could take away was that at least I didn’t have implantation issues. The fertility clinic contacted the hospital, where I went for a D&C. Before making my decision, I had read all the Miscarriage Association materials and personal stories, and eventually decided on a D&C. I didn’t want to waste time and wanted to keep on the IVF treadmill.
Talking to others going through the same thing is so helpful, and I have found the Care Forum particularly helpful. Online forums have been a huge help. I have also attended support meetings. Being able to speak to people in the same situation is hugely valuable.
Walking around town is really hard, seeing a swarm of children everywhere. There is this constant question going around my head of ‘why can’t I have a baby?’. It is also hard to hear some people’s response to my miscarriage. One that was particularly hard to hear was from a pregnant friend telling me how common miscarriages are and that people often need to do a few rounds of IVF to get pregnant. A wedge has developed with some friends. I keep reminding myself that they just don’t understand and to try and not be too hard on them.
After my IVF cycle I was lucky and managed to have some embryos frozen, so I went into the next cycle feeling quite chipper. I had heard that some people respond better to frozen cycles, so I really felt optimistic that it would work. When it didn’t it was such a blow. I had tested early and saw it was negative. I was gutted, but I thought at least this is better than having another miscarriage. The next day I did another test and saw a very faint positive.
Following my last experience this was very worrying. I phoned the GP and asked for my bloods to be done to check the levels were rising. Sadly, the levels didn’t rise and I had a chemical pregnancy. I wasn’t surprised, I could see the tests weren’t getting darker. I try not to obsess too much about pregnancy tests, but I do push for blood tests because they are much more accurate.
Now was my time to get referred to the Recurrent Miscarriage Clinic. I had been desperate to be seen at the clinic and hopefully try to find some answers, or something different to try. When I spoke to the consultant about wanting to be seen after two miscarriages, she said she would have seen me. That taught me not to be afraid to pick up the phone and get an appointment. I asked to have all the tests done to try and figure out what was going on. I thought that after three miscarriages, there must be more to this.
We are eagerly awaiting the tests results. I would say to anyone going through this to ask your GP to do whatever tests possible to help you build up a picture of what is going on. I asked for a thyroid test after hearing that it can have an impact on your fertility, but also can be very easy to treat. Looking back at my cycles my husband and I believe we have actually had at least two early miscarriages.
I find statistics reassuring and that just because I have had previous miscarriages, I still have a good chance to having a baby. I think it would be so unlucky to have another miscarriage and that thought keeps me going. Also, I am very happy to adopt, and that offers me a degree of reassurance. But, I do understand that a lot of people don’t want to even consider adopting when they are trying for a baby. However, I find it reassuring that I know we will have a family one way or the other.
At the moment, I am taking aspirin once a day. Once again, it is about doing something different to try and get a different outcome. Hopefully we can try again in January.
It is quite stressful phoning and chasing the GP, fertility clinic and hospital. It can be totally exhausting. Also, with taking all the drugs and anxiety it can be hard to know what to attribute the tiredness to.
It is a rollercoaster, where you go from bouncing off the walls one minute and to then finding out it hasn’t worked and hitting rock bottom. I find meditation has helped me to relax. I also have massages. It is important to be kind to yourself. There as so many things I have stopped doing, like horse riding, so it is important to find things I can do. You can feel very lonely going through this process. I have received counselling through my fertility clinic and that has been really helpful.