Jennifer shares her story of experiencing three miscarriages and how difficult it was for her to talk to anyone about them.
We struggled to talk about it together because I didn’t want to upset him and he didn’t want to upset me.
I wanted to share my story to remember my 3 babies that I sadly lost but to also give hope to others, who like me have suffered baby loss and struggled to talk about it.
I met my husband 3 years ago and it was love at first sight. Both of us have been married before and neither had children. Fortunately our relationship goals were the same and we knew we wanted a family.
We soon found out we were pregnant which was to our surprise, especially as many couples we know of our age (mid 30s) struggle to conceive. We were thrilled but kept it a secret until Christmas Day 2018 when we were 10 weeks pregnant and wanted to tell our families.
Sadly on 8th January 2019 at our 12 week scan we discovered that our baby had stopped developing and I had to undergo medical management of my miscarriage. This was the most traumatic experience of our lives and something that I struggled to deal with. I felt like a failure and blamed myself for everything going wrong. We struggled to talk about it together because I didn’t want to upset him and he didn’t want to upset me so we painfully carried on with life even though deep down we were both dying inside.
In April 2019 we discovered we were pregnant again. This time I knew I was going to be the perfect pregnant lady. I was looking after myself, my diet, my mental state, but this wasn’t enough. Baby number 2 had also stopped developing at approximately 11 weeks. This time medical management didn’t work twice. I had a dead baby inside me for two weeks and this took my mental health back to square one where I simply couldn’t cope. I had no alternative but to undergo surgery to finalise the loss to give us both the opportunity to start the grieving process again.
The operation was supposed to be short, up to 1 hour long, however when I came around I had been in there for 3 hours. Panic struck and I immediately started worrying that the operation had gone terribly wrong and they had taken away all of my hopes of becoming a mother. Fortunately it wasn’t that and I was simply kept under sedation due to my stats being so low.
I was reunited with my husband and we started the grieving process again, but still struggling to talk about it. This time our families didn’t know and we kept it that way. I think for me, it was due to embarrassment and failure that it had happened again. My mum doesn’t have any grandchildren like all of her friends do and I know how much joy she would get from being a grandmother and how much love she could give to a grandchild.
We didn’t try again. We couldn’t deal with the trauma of another loss. A third consecutive loss would also mean that we could be referred to a fertility specialist. This could mean answers, but I wasn’t ready for that. What if they told us that it was never going to happen? I wanted to be ready to face this prospect of never being a mum and I simply wasn’t ready.
2020 arrived. We’d moved home, spent quality time together on a lovely holiday and focused our energy on making our new house a home. This was a pleasant distraction that we needed after all of the heartache we had suffered last year.
To our surprise, a week before lockdown we discovered we were pregnant again. I had no choice but to tell my boss due to being a key worker and found myself working from home, but two weeks later we suffered another miscarriage. This time I was only approximately 7-8 weeks pregnant and during a scan at the early pregnancy assessment unit, where I had to attend alone due to COVID-19, they discovered a large ovarian cyst the size of a grapefruit which needed monitoring. I’d never had this before and had no symptoms either. The miscarriage resolved itself this time without any medical intervention but I was asked to return in 8 weeks time to check the growth of the cyst.
The next 8 weeks I felt numb. I googled everything about multiple miscarriages and statistics of recurrence and possible success. I couldn’t understand why this was happening to us. We work hard. We can support ourselves. We have a beautiful “family home”. We have so much love to give to our children. It just wasn’t working for us. Are we being punished? Are we being pushed to know our limits? Are we being taught a lesson to be more grateful? So many thoughts went through our heads.
I returned to the hospital alone where they checked the growth of the cyst. The hospital was extremely quiet due to COVID-19. My husband went to work as normal as he couldn’t attend appointments with me but I also felt numb to any more emotional pain and felt like I didn’t need him to be there for me this time. I couldn’t hurt more than already did.
The nurse saw me first, prior to the scan and mentioned that after I’d been scanned, she would see me again before I left to discuss a referral for us to a fertility specialist. I texted my husband and we agreed this was time for us to get some answers. We were grateful for the opportunity of a referral under the circumstances where the NHS had more to deal with that people like us potentially draining precious resources.
The sonographer took me into the scan room, did the usual prep and looked confused at the screen. She turned the screen towards me and surprisingly said “would you like to take a look at this little one?”. I looked over and there was the most amazing sight I have ever seen. I was 8 weeks pregnant and the baby was alive! I couldn’t help but cry. Mainly happy tears but also worried tears. Not only did I have the worries of another pregnancy going wrong but I also had a large cyst taking up room in there and wondering what impact that would have on this pregnancy. The sonographer gave me a photo of our baby and I was asked to wait in a different room to see the nurse as the clinic was dealing with a lot of losses that day.
I was in complete shock. I waited until I left the hospital to call my husband to tell him the news. He was also in shock but we both agreed we would not get carried away in fear that it would probably go wrong. This was the first time we had a picture of our baby. This was the first time I had seen one of our babies alive on the monitor, moving around and doing what we desperately wanted our 3 angel babies to do. It didn’t feel real.
You may be wondering why I didn’t realise I was pregnant. Well, after the first two miscarriages I went a good few months before I had another period and it took a while for the pregnancy symptoms to disappear so I didn’t think anything of it, not having a period for 8 weeks.
COVID-19 meant that my husband hasn’t attended any appointments with me but we paid for private scans to share the magical experience of seeing our baby growing well. Moments that will stay with us forever.
Writing this, I am now 28 weeks pregnant!
I want to take you back to the start of my story. I am writing this to remember my 3 babies that I sadly lost but also to give hope to the parents that have been through the trauma of miscarriage and baby loss. I will always be grateful for the daughter that I am now carrying, but I will not forget my 3 babies that I sadly lost on the journey here.
I genuinely believe the stress of pregnancy in the early stages played a big part in my 3 losses. I can’t give anyone advice on how to stop that from happening because it’s only natural to feel that way, but what I believe I can do is provide hope to those that have had unexplained recurring miscarriages, who have been through baby loss. It takes huge courage to try again. Courage that I didn’t have naturally and it only came when I was put in to a position of needing to be brave.
You’re not alone and miracles can happen!