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How long can we keep trying for our second child?

Leanne talks about her experience of having 4 miscarriages and an ectopic pregnancy. She also shares her concerns about her age and how long she can keep trying for a second child.

As an older couple trying to conceive we were more than aware that our dream of having a child might never happen.

As an older couple trying to conceive we were more than aware that our dream of having a child might never happen. But during 2016 my husband (49) and I (37), both fit and healthy adults, thought it’s now or never.

I fell pregnant in November of that year. We were in complete shock, but elated, and decided not to tell anyone and to announce it to our parents on Christmas day.

Sadly, a week before Christmas, I started bleeding and after a scan my first miscarriage was confirmed. We were both devastated, but after reading so many articles saying that numerous first pregnancies end in miscarriage it gave me hope. So we began trying again.

I was maid of honour at my best friend’s wedding in April 2017 and found out on the day of her wedding that she was pregnant and expecting her first baby. I was so pleased for her, but felt absolutely broken inside. We are the same age, so how could her pregnancy be fine and mine be all over before it even started. I didn’t know then that I was actually pregnant again too.

But yet again, a few short weeks later I started bleeding, and my second miscarriage was confirmed. I was completely inconsolable, my best friend tried to comfort me but I just found being around her so hard. My husband found it very hard to talk about and kept telling me ‘if it’s meant to happen it will’, which at the time was something I definitely didn’t want hear.

After my second miscarriage I fell pregnant for a third time straight away. I was on a mission, I was so desperate for a baby. I was doing everything I could to help our chances – a healthy diet, exercise, no alcohol, vitamins, the works. So I was over the moon to have a positive test straight away.

I had my hormone levels checked to make sure everything was on the right track. I was also sent for an early scan at 7 weeks, after light bleeding made me start worrying (I kept telling myself ‘it’s implantation bleeding’), only to be told they couldn’t find anything. They asked if I was in pain, which I wasn’t, not physical pain anyway.

My hormone levels were checked again and they had risen again. But a week later, after another scan, I was rushed to hospital for emergency surgery for an ectopic pregnancy. I had my right tube removed.

As you can imagine, my world fell apart yet again. I had got to the stage where I was terrified to try again, but was so desperate for a child, my mind went into overdrive. My next stop was an IVF clinic as I was told I was now unable to conceive naturally.

Thousands of pounds and five failed rounds of IVF/ICSI later, we finally came to the conclusion that this was never going to happen. So in August 2019 we stopped treatment and decided to give up on our dream.

In October 2019 my period was late. I was in complete denial when I saw the two lines on the pregnancy test, but even though I was completely and utterly terrified, my instinct told me this time it would work.

Following an early scan at 6 weeks we were told they couldn’t see anything again, but not to worry it could just be too early and to come back the next week. It was the longest, most anxious week of my life. When we returned a week later I was so distraught, I couldn’t stop myself trembling – and then we saw a heartbeat. It was the best and most emotional moment I had ever experienced and even though I knew this still might not succeed I begged her for a photograph, this might be the only scan photo I’d ever have.

As the weeks went on we were both waiting for things to go wrong, this would not be real, until I held our beautiful baby in my arms. In June 2019 our miracle baby girl was born. We were in hospital for 6 days due to my rise in blood pressure and I didn’t sleep for the whole time, I just couldn’t take my eyes off her. The relief and disbelief she was finally here was unimaginable.

I knew straight away that I wanted another child, so we decided to try again. I thought my body finally knew what it had to do, so we were completely overjoyed to fall pregnant again in April 2020. Then in June, a week before my baby girl’s first birthday, we were told that our baby had stopped growing at 9 weeks.

This time I needed medical management due to the Covid outbreak and I had to go alone. I didn’t stop crying for weeks, even though I had my perfect little princess. Why had my body let us all down again? I later discovered I also had an infection which just prolonged the misery.

Everyone around me was getting pregnant and I was going through loss all over again. I felt so appreciative that I had my rainbow baby, but so sad that she might grow up on her own.

We fell pregnant again in November and yes, you guessed it, yet another miscarriage 6 weeks later.

I’m at the point now where if it doesn’t work this year we will both be too old, but the thought of giving up makes me feel like I’m giving up on my daughter’s future which is even harder to take. So I feel like I have to dig deep for whatever’s left and try again.