Miscarriage after IUI and IVF

A partner tells of her wife’s miscarriage at thirteen weeks of twins, conceived after several rounds of IUI and then IVF.

We have been devastated, emotionally drained, numb, tired, angry, frustrated…

As I write this it is 5 days since we had the scan at which the sonographer told us that our long awaited babies had died. Tomorrow we are meeting with the funeral directors to arrange the cremation of our 13 week gestation identical twins.

My partner and I have been together nearly 10 years, married/civil partnered for 3 years, trying for a baby for 2.5 years. We have had 8 rounds of IUI and then had one round of IVF, which worked. We were delighted and so excited when the pregnancy test finally showed positive and even more so when the first scan revealed two heartbeats. We had another scan at 9 weeks and could see the two of them moving around. After we got past the 12-week mark we started to relax, thinking that the hard part was over.

We went to the clinic last week excited to see our babies and excited to finally be able to share with everyone our amazing news.

We met a lovely doctor and had the consultation first before the scan due to the clinic being busy. We went into the scanning room and as the sonographer scanned and the shapes of our babies came on screen, I thought it odd that there was no movement. She took some measurements and then turned to us and said “It’s not good news I’m afraid, your babies don’t have any heartbeats”. She ran a quick trace to confirm and then walked out to get the doctor.

I immediately broke down in tears, which must have seemed strange to the staff seeing as my wife was the one carrying, but I am a much more emotional person whereas she likes to take a rational and practical approach to situations like this. Only once we are alone and it has sunk in will she break down. The doctor talked to us about possible reasons for miscarriage and then said that there were three treatment routes – surgical, medical and natural. He recommended that we went for the medical route in order to try and avoid any damage to her womb and any possible side-effects that may cause future fertility issues. We agreed with this, then walked out of the hospital shell-shocked.

We didn’t really know anything about miscarriage – we both mistakenly thought that at this early stage in a pregnancy, they would just dissolve into the body. But when the doctors talked us through the process I suddenly realised that she was effectively going to have to give birth to them. I was absolutely terrified, but she remained calm. When I asked her how she could be so calm about everything, she said that whereas I was seeing this as losing them, she knew that they were already gone and had been for a little while. The medical miscarriage was therefore something she just had to do.

36 hours after taking the first dose we had to go back to hospital early in the morning for the pessaries to be applied. I had in my mind horrible images of lots of blood and my wife being in horrendous pain. My only wish at that point was that it would be quick for her. As it turns out, the whole process was not as terrifying as I had anticipated. We watched a film whilst waiting for the drugs to take effect and when she started having cramps the nurses gave her paracetamol, then codeine, then pethidine and finally gas and air as the pains got more intense. She remained on the bed and when the nurse came in to check on us, she looked and said they had come out.

……

I wrote that 7 weeks ago – I couldn’t finish it because I was too upset. The whole physical experience itself in hospital was nowhere as bad as I feared. The hospital staff were amazingly caring and we came home the same day. Our friends and family have been so supportive. I have been in contact with a local miscarriage group who have also been very supportive and full of help and advice and understanding.

We have gone through a lot of emotions, which I think any couple regardless of their sexuality, will go through. We have been devastated, emotionally drained, numb, tired, angry, frustrated… I went through a stage of feeling extremely strongly that I wanted to be pregnant the next time – partly I think so that I could protect my wife from a miscarriage ever happening to her again and partly to fill the massive hole in my chest.

The first time I laughed at something a friend said I immediately felt guilty. I was scared to leave my wife alone as I was waiting for her to fall apart. I felt pathetic that I kept breaking down and didn’t want to cry around her when she needed me to be strong. She has her moments of upset, where she’ll shout for no reason or cry and cry and cry but she is pulling through, she says due to me being her rock though I feel completely useless!

I feel partly a bit of a fraud for having not been the one to physically go through the miscarriage, as if I don’t have a right to be as upset as she is. But I know that this is a journey we are both on and having seen our consultant again (test results showed that the miscarriage was due to chromosomal problems) we have been told that if her blood tests come back with normal levels, we can try again in the new year with another blastocyst. So we’ll be back on the roller coaster, and hopefully this time end up with a healthy happy baby at the end of it. But we will never forget our first pregnancy or our first babies, Drew and Kenzie, who we will forever hold in our hearts.