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Sara’s story: honeymoon miscarriage followed by rainbow baby

Sara shares her experience miscarriage and pregnancy after loss.

We found out we were pregnant again... My anxiety went through the roof. The complete opposite experience to my first pregnancy; this time I couldn't really consider reaching full term and was convinced it would end at any moment.

Me and my husband found out we were pregnant shortly before our honeymoon to Kenya in February 2023. I hadn’t realised I was pregnant and the news came as quite a shock. I panic googled what I shouldn’t eat, vaccine safety and ‘travelling while pregnant’ – but more than anything I was excited that our baby would be with us on the trip of a lifetime.

I knew I was early and the risks in the first trimester. But, I’m sure like most people, I assumed it wouldn’t happen to us. I packed a pregnancy test in my luggage so I could take a photo of the ‘positive’, fully convinced I would one day show the photo to our child. I ended up using that test to confirm I was no longer pregnant.

We planned a safari for the first week and some time by the sea for the second week. The first week was truly spectacular and I kept thinking of our little baby ‘on the safari’ with us. Then on the final day of the first week I started bleeding. We were in the middle of nowhere so I asked a stranger for a sanitary towel, cried with my husband and knew there was nothing I could do. I continued to bleed for the rest of our trip; when we finally had access to a hospital a few days later, a scan confirmed I was no longer pregnant.

It was incredibly hard returning home without our baby. It was hard trying to sound upbeat when people asked us about our honeymoon. I felt guilty I hadn’t been more present when we found out we were pregnant – I thought about the practicalities of travelling and not just embraced the simple joy of being pregnant. I felt guilty that I had ‘left’ my baby on another continent. It was a rough time and I didn’t cope with it well.

And then… We found out we were pregnant again. I felt unbelievably lucky to have conceived again so quickly but my anxiety went through the roof. The complete opposite experience to my first pregnancy; this time I couldn’t really consider reaching full term and was convinced it would end at any moment.

I checked for blood every day. I was hyper vigilant of my symptoms stopping, trying to spot any warning signs. I worked to milestones – 6 weeks, then 12 weeks, then 20 weeks etc. – rather than to my due date. The resources available on the M.A. website helped so much during that time – I needed facts and statistics and a community of support.

A number of friends were pregnant around the same time as me, and I was so jealous of their excitement and certainty they would meet their babies. I wished I could share the joy but felt like I couldn’t really let myself embrace it. I spent most of the year either dealing with the loss or fearing another loss. It took its toll.

However… My daughter arrived in December 2023. She arrived on time, unmedicated, weighing 7lbs 2oz, healthy and safe and well. I didn’t really believe she was real until she was in my arms – and then I just stared at her for hours overwhelmed by how beautiful she was. The pregnancy and birth were exactly what I’d hoped for. My daughter is the sweetest, happiest little girl. I’m so lucky. She’s now 11 weeks old, snuggled into me feeding.

I had very little time to recover between my pregnancies and it’s hard to think of them as distinct rather than one singular experience – so a little bit of my first baby is in my little girl. I will never be able to think of my second pregnancy without thinking of the first. Our first baby won’t be forgotten and will always be part of our family story. I’m so proud to be mum to both my children.