"I struggle to know where to begin when explaining my journey to motherhood. Now that I have my rainbow baby it feels like a lifetime ago that I was going through the horrendous ordeal but it still impacts me day to day. Trying for a baby was the most isolating and heartbreaking period of my life and there were times when I could not imagine ever succeeding in starting our family.
We started trying for a baby in 2012 but didn’t get our first BFP until Christmas Eve in 2013. At the time this wait seemed like the longest time of TTC, little did we know! We were so relieved as we had just started to think there was something wrong with our fertility and had booked an appointment with the GP to discuss this. We sobbed when we saw that plus sign on the pregnancy test and we so were thrilled about it. We had an exciting Christmas that year, but this soon turned to sadness when we miscarried in January. We were devastated as anyone would be but we got straight back to baby making and fell pregnant on the next cycle, only to miscarry again. 2 early miscarriages.
We were convinced that the next BFP would be our third time lucky and following an early scan which revealed a heartbeat, we began to get excited. This was almost 2 years after we started trying. It was all still looking good at the next scan so we began to tell people that we were finally expecting. My mum came to the next scan with me, it was the last one at the early pregnancy unit and only one week until I was due to have my dating scan. I was excited to show off my baby's beating heart to its grandma for the first time but that wasn’t what happened. No heartbeat could be found. It had stopped growing just after the previous scan. I had no bleeding because my body still thought I was pregnant so I was booked in the next day for an operation to have the 'products' removed so they could be sent off for testing.
This was the hardest miscarriage to deal with. I was almost 12 weeks pregnant, we had heard the heartbeat, let ourselves get excited and told lots of people our happy news. The operation made it all seem so real and we were now part of the 1 in 100 couples who experience recurrent miscarriages of 3 or more consecutive losses. At least we would now get some testing done and we hoped there would be an answer to our problems.
6 weeks later I received the results of the testing of the ‘retained pregnancy products’ and was informed that it had been a partial molar pregnancy which required fortnightly monitoring. This went on for over 5 months. During this time our family plans were put on hold as we were not allowed to TTC (try to conceive) until the blood and urine hormone levels returned to normal. This was to ensure that it was not cancerous as can sometimes be the case. It was a frustrating and scary time.
Over the next couple of years we saw 3 specialists and I had an operation on my uterus to remove a septum. We also got married in this time, it helped distract us for a while from the obsession that is baby making. I went on to have 3 further miscarriages, one of them requiring another operation to remove the products.
At Christmas in 2017 I was at an all time low. We had been trying for over 5 years, had 6 losses, seen 3 specialists and still were no closer to finding out what was causing the problem. In the meantime it felt like everyone around us was having babies. Recurrent pregnancy loss had taken over my life and been my main focus for years. It knocked my confidence and impaired my ability, drive and ambition in every day life. I did not recognise the person I had become and that change is permanent. The trauma of losing those 6 pregnancies cannot be erased. I felt awkward, paranoid and anxious around other people and preferred to shut myself off from the world. We so desperately wanted to have a family but I reached a point where I didn’t believe it was possible. This was the worst bit, there was no guarantee it would ever happen for us. I think that if I had known that we would have a baby one day then I would have coped with the losses better. We looked into adoption but I realised that I was not quite ready to let go of our dream of having a baby ourselves but equally I was not sure if we had the emotional energy reserve to be able to put ourselves through it all again. I was waiting for an appointment with another specialist. He was my final shot at this and I was pinning all my hopes on him.
While waiting for that appointment I experienced another pregnancy loss. This time it was an cornual ectopic pregnancy. A rare and dangerous type of ectopic pregnancy that occurs at the junction of the fallopian tube and the uterus. I had an operation to remove the Fallopian tube and the affected part of the uterus. As if our struggle to have a baby was not difficult enough... now this.
The appointment with the specialist was a few months later, it went well and 6 weeks later I got my results. It turned out that I had an autoimmune condition that seemed to be causing my body to reject the pregnancies. Treatment for this is simply tablets, that said they wanted to repeat the tests a few months after to be sure of the treatment plan. However I fell pregnant during this time and was started on the treatment anyway at 5 weeks. I feared that I would lose this pregnancy too. I bled during early pregnancy and waited for it to all go wrong. It was the most anxious time ever but we finally graduated from the EPU. I did not enjoy the rest of the pregnancy one little bit. Pregnancy after loss is super tough but it was all worth it when our rainbow baby Albert was born via emergency c-section at 37 weeks in March 2019. He was our 8th pregnancy but the first one we got to meet. He is here and he is wonderful. It did happen for us and I truly hope it happens for everyone else who is waiting for their rainbow.
It was such a difficult journey with many set backs along the way but it was with the support of others that we got through it. The online pregnancy loss and infertility community was what kept me going in my darkest days. I decided that I wanted to give something back to the warrior women who helped me so I started writing a book, a memoir of my journey through recurrent miscarriage and pregnancy loss. It’s almost done and I am planning to publish it later in the year so keep an eye out for it. I hope that ‘It Will Happen’ can provide some guidance, support, companionship and hope to those currently navigating their own journey to motherhood. Sending positive healing vibes out to everyone who need them."
Laura has recently launched a fabulous new Podcast with Bex Gunn- The Worst Girl Gang Ever, a podcast discussing miscarriage and pregnancy loss. To find out more please head over to instagram; @the_worstgirlgang_ever
I am very excited to be featured in their episode which will be released on Sunday Night sharing my story and more about the Rainbow Running Club.
You can also follow Laura on instagram @it_will_happen_19