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Miscarriage after fertility issues

Erin shares her experience of losing her baby at 7 weeks after 20 months of trying to get pregnant and seeing a fertility specialist.

The trauma of that night will stay with me for a long time. I still can’t believe it happened. I know it was only 7 weeks but it was our baby. It was all the plans we’d made... after trying and waiting for so long.

We had been trying for 20 months. At 35 and 37 when we started I was under no illusion that it was going to be easy. I’d read all the stats, I’d heard the term ‘geriatric’ more times than I cared to. Still, we were excited and hopeful.

The first few months we took it easy, didn’t worry that much, but it still hurt when my period arrived every month. As the months went on I bought the usual stuff like a thermometer and ovulation strips and I downloaded apps. Following discussions with doctors, blood tests and a semen analysis for my husband I was finally referred to a fertility specialist.

Initially I had more blood tests and a HSG (to check my uterus and fallopian tubes). I then started on Letrozole to help me ovulate. After my first round, I went in for a 10 day scan and the doctor could see the egg waiting. My husband said to me “that’s the one”.

Fast forward a couple of weeks, I decided to take a test. After so many negatives, tears, frustration and disappointment, there it was, the second pink line. The feeling of happiness is something I will never forget. I cried happy tears for the first time in almost two years.

Everything was going well. I felt sick, my boobs were sore, I was tired. Despite this, I did feel very anxious and did end up in the Early Pregnancy Unit (EPU) worried about it not being there. But it was. A little sac and yolk, the start of everything I’d wanted. I followed that with another visit a week later, and there was a beautiful little heartbeat.

The pink spotting started the same day I noticed I didn’t feel sick and my boobs were less sore. I also didn’t feel as tired. When you look up spotting in early pregnancy you get two very different outcomes, it’s either ‘fine and normal’ or ‘it’s a miscarriage’. Everyone’s story is different, the same symptoms but not the same result and you hope your story won’t be one of the sad ones. I remember saying over and over again “please stick with me, please stick with me”.

I rang the EPU and I was told it was normal and not to worry and they saw it all the time. By Thursday, four days after the pink spotting had started, it turned bright red. At my booking appointment the midwife had said to go to A&E if that happened so off we went.

The A&E doctor was lovely and tried to reassure me that it was probably fine and totally normal to get cramps and bleeding. I wasn’t passing enough blood for the specialist team to think it was serious. I was sent home and told to come back if I was going through one pad an hour or had big clots. We went home, made dinner and I took some painkillers, still hoping it would all be ok.

I woke at 2am with the most intense pain that I have ever experienced, radiating from my back all the way round. They were contractions. They would come in waves, getting more and more intense then with a slight reprieve. By 4am there was barely any let up. We decided to go back to A&E. By this point I couldn’t walk. I was taken straight into a cubical and given pain relief. I hadn’t fully comprehended what was happening at that point, maybe I was still in denial, but when I overheard the nurse on the phone say ‘miscarriage’ it hit me like a tonne of bricks.

After about 2 hours I needed to use the bathroom. As I walked to the toilet I felt something slip out. I thought to myself, this must be the clots they’ve been talking about as I hadn’t had any at that point. It wasn’t. It was my longed for, loved, precious baby. I kept it together until I got back to my husband and then fell apart.

The specialist came in to see us a short time later and examined me to see if anything else was there. They then sent me for a scan to make sure everything had gone. When the nurse said the words “the womb is empty, there is nothing left” I fell apart again. She told me there was nothing I could have done, this was always going to be the outcome.

The trauma of that night will stay with me for a long time. I still can’t believe it happened. I know it was only 7 weeks but it was our baby. It was all the plans we’d made, the possibilities after trying and waiting for so long, the names we’d discussed, the excitement of how we would tell our parents, the pet name we had for it.

It sounds odd but since it happened I have felt so lonely. For those 7 weeks there were two of us, everywhere I went I felt I had a little companion who I was looking after and keeping safe. And now it’s just me.

Mustering the energy to start again feels so overwhelming and almost too much to think about right now but I am hopeful we will have our happy ending soon.