Having already had a child in 2018, I really didn’t think I would have a fertility story to share. After no issues with my first pregnancy other than my son being born slightly premature, I thought second time around would be as breezy as the first. Sadly my story took a different path.
My husband and I decided we’d like to try for a sibling for our son in the summer of 2019. Sadly, I had a miscarriage at 6 weeks. The miscarriage took me by complete surprise however after doing a lot of googling I was slightly comforted that miscarriages seemed to be very common. 1 in 4 I was told. Well intended comments came in when I shared the news and although no-one wanted to obviously make me feel worse I found it hard to hear things such as ‘at least you weren’t that far along, it could have been worse’ or ‘at least you already have one’ . The comments didn’t seem to match up with the overwhelming sadness I was feeling which left me feeling even more confused. Why couldn't I seem to snap out of feeling sad?
Whilst I was really upset by the first miscarriage I told myself that it really was one of those things and that the odds of it happening again were really slim. Fast forward another couple of months and I was really happy to fall pregnant again. To my complete shock, this one ended in another miscarriage. This time I told no-one. Physically, this miscarriage was more painful than the first. My husband and I comforted each other, we told ourselves now we had two miscarriages the odds of having another one were really, really small. In hindsight I should have probably shared the news of another miscarriage with someone else other than my husband but the feeling of sadness, guilt and shame swept me away and I ended up miscarrying alone in a bathroom whilst we were staying with my husbands parents over the weekend.
We then decided to try again and I was lucky enough to fall pregnant again in December. I felt really optimistic this time and thought there was no way this could happen again. Unfortunately it did an I suffered another miscarriage 5 days before Christmas. The Christmas break was not a welcome distraction, I felt so sad and alone and had to face up to the fact there was most likely something wrong. Diagnosed with secondary infertility I was fortunate to get an appointment with Tommy’s at their National Miscarriage Research Centre. Tests showed I had developed chronic endometritis (an issue with the lining of the womb) and inherited thrombophilia (a blood clotting disorder). Both conditions were being researched and there were clinical trials available for both. I started treatment and was told to try again when ready.
In the meantime pregnancy announcements came flooding in, one after the other and there really is no word to describe feeling so elated and happy for someone but also feeling so sad for yourself. I began to avoid pregnant friends because seeing them was a constant reminder that they were able to keep their babies safe where I had failed so miserably to do so, three times. I felt like a complete failure. I began to stay at home a lot, only going out if it was to benefit my son and I avoided most social situations that didn't involve him. People stopped checking in, either because I made out that I was doing ok or an assumption that time had passed therefore I must somehow have moved on. This was when I decided to go to my first Rainbow Running Club in Leamington. It was such a breath of fresh air, to walk and eat a stack of pancakes amongst women who totally and completely understood how you were feeling. Even though our stories were different, the overall thing that tied us all together was the loss of a dream, whether that's infertility, baby loss or being in a different place in your life to what you imagined. It was so comforting to know that I was not alone.
Pregnancy in Lockdown
In March I was ready to try again and found myself pregnant, a week before we went into lockdown. Tommy's were amazing and I was lucky to have a scan at 6 weeks which confirmed the baby had a heartbeat but because of the pandemic they were unable to do any further scans until 12 weeks. Going into the scan alone without my husband was utterly terrifying but the staff were so caring and kind as they understood how I was feeling. Not being able to see family and friends was so difficult coupled with the fact I did not want to share the news of the pregnancy because I was so terrified of miscarrying again. Every twinge, symptom or cramp led to a spiral of googling and panicking with anxiety and there were days I just lay on the sofa wishing the time away so I could get to the next day. The medication I was on to support the pregnancy gave me really unwelcome side effects but I also did not have the normal pregnancy symptoms most people get, so I had no idea what the outcome was going to be. The fear of losing another baby, especially during lockdown meant the joy and excitement of the pregnancy was taken away from me. I was also really fearful of what catching covid-19 would mean for the baby and felt uneasy when we were told 'we just don't know yet'.
As time has gone on and I have moved out of the 'danger zone' I am beginning to feel more hopeful that we will finally bring a baby home. I also feel incredibly lucky to be supported by Tommy's who are an amazing charity, I will be forever grateful for them helping us get this far. I have also found it really helpful to connect with people who have similar stories. Knowing that you are not alone, not abnormal for having these feelings and knowing that there is support out there for you is a lifeline. I hope to anyone reading this who is going through something similar knows they are not alone and there is a tribe of women (and men!) who can offer you support even when you feel you are unable to support yourself.
Shared anonymously - to find out more about Tommy's please click here.
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