Helping myself to heal

Our wedding day last October

Our wedding day last October

Yesterday marked the end of my second pregnancy. I’ve been pregnant for 5 months of the past year but am yet to have a baby. Two weeks out from my first wedding anniversary I want to share my story of having two miscarriages, not to seek sympathy, but to hopefully help other people who might find themselves in this situation. A situation that people don’t seem to talk about, that seems to carry a sense of shame, that is only spoken about behind closed doors or on the community message boards that your friends and family won’t see. I also think that sharing my story will help me heal. If there’s any good that can come from this it will be making the journey less scary for other women and, in helping them, my own friends and family will be able to better understand and help me.

I found myself watching Beyonce talking about her miscarriage last night on tv and I identified with her. The girl who has it all, saw her first baby’s heartbeat on a screen then the following week it was no longer there. She spoke about the excitement of planning her future with her baby, choosing names, watching her body change, how excited her family were. And then it was gone. People say you were early, the baby was very small, you’ll have another one. But no one seems to really understand that in those weeks when you are pregnant, and you want it to work out, you can’t think about anything else so you have inevitably thought about the future. And then the future changes.

Beyonce wrote a song to help come to terms with it and for me I feel like I need to write my experience down. I’m in two minds whether I should even share it. What if people criticise me or don’t understand the decisions I’ve made? I’m certainly not feeling confident that I’m strong enough for negative feedback, but what’s driving me to write this is my experience that when you are in this situation, you just want someone to tell you they’ve been there too, the way you feel is normal, and this is what is going to happen. Like every first experience, you seek out people to help guide you through. Getting married last year was no different, but somehow miscarriage doesn’t seem to happen that way where everyone offers their advice. When you are in the midst of miscarriage, and you live overseas from your family, you have nowhere to turn.

I’m a rational person so look for information to understand and once I understand I can process why something is happening. With miscarriage it isn’t that easy as, while it happens in 25% of pregnancies, often there is no explained reason or fixable cure. When you look online for information you find two things, medical studies and chat rooms. In the past year I’ve poured over the academic information trying to make sense of the studies that explain the signs of a pregnancy going wrong, but also read the forums that clearly provide comfort to many. However I often found myself thinking that between the weird abbreviations, terms that seem to be a different language and graphic, often negative, stories on the message boards ‘these people are not like me’. I’ve thought to myself there must be other girls like me out there who are reading these posts, trying to make sense of it all, but they’re not the ones writing their stories. Overlay that miscarriage is only considered recurrent if it happens three times, and you’re in a situation that is essentially normal, but seems so incredibly lonely and unfair.

I should probably go back to the start. I’m originally from London, I’m 35 years old and have been in Australia for 4 years where I met my also English husband. I’m the girl from the big Irish family, the eldest of 24 grandchildren, the one that has been looking after babies since I was little more than one myself. Whenever I see other peoples children I’m told ‘you’re so good with them’. I love my nephew and Rob’s niece dearly and have never imagined that being a parent wouldn’t happen to me.

We live in Manly, a beautiful part of sunny Sydney surrounded by beaches that’s very popular with English and Aussies our age. It also has one of the highest birth rates in Australia so it’s impossible to avoid couples pushing buggies along the beach, or just hanging out at one of the many coffee shops.

Our next door neighbours in our rented apartment have changed twice this year, moving as they’ve had babies born while living here. We talk about moving suburbs to be among less young families but don’t we want to give up the water or our lifestyle where we feel like we’re on holiday every weekend. We’re very lucky in so many ways, and regularly receive messages from friends and family back home commenting on our ‘perfect life’ in Australia. What you see on Facebook isn’t always the whole story.

We talk about moving back to England, we both love home and our families want us back. But our dream is to be that couple, playing with our children on the beach and, as heartbreaking as it is to watch all the other people there now, we’re not ready to give up yet.

However when things go wrong, and you’re 24 hours or a 9 hour time difference away from your family, you feel very alone.

We got married back in England last October, a fantastic autumn day with all of our family and closest friends. We’d always wanted to start trying as soon as we got married and remember this first try being the day we flew home for the wedding. As it turned out that first go was all it took. After the wedding we flew to Hawaii and had a gorgeous relaxing break, much needed after planning a wedding from the opposite side of the world. Towards the end of the holiday I started to feel different. My chest was definitely larger and sensitive and I was needing to go to the bathroom more. Looking at dates on my phone I recall thinking ‘surely I can’t be pregnant’, and decided I would do a test when I got home.

The flight back from Hawaii was horrible, screaming children and I had a piercing headache, something I also got at the start of my 2nd pregnancy. Rob carried me over the threshold when we got home that night, then we stepped out to the pharmacy and bought a test.

I couldn’t do it to start with as I was nervous about what it meant. I can’t explain why but I already knew I was pregnant. As a woman I think you can tell when something is different with your body, and it’s that instinctive sense that has been there throughout each part of my story. When I did the test, there it was, a dark line. I was pregnant. Rob danced around the bedroom doing a little victory dance, which was so cute, and distracted me from my sense of oh oh!!

If I’m honest I felt cheated to be pregnant so soon. We hadn’t even unpacked our suitcases from our honeymoon, work the next morning was calling, and here we were in this new world.

I didn’t know the first thing about having a baby in Australia, how the health system worked, what I even needed to do first. And how do I find out if I’m not allowed to tell anyone I’m pregnant?? I knew the options were public or private, and the only other thing everyone seems to talk about in Sydney is registering for childcare before babies are even born.

Back to dr google! Over the next few weeks we worked it out. We went to see the GP who did blood tests to confirm I was pregnant, we found an obstetrician, we even did tours of the hospitals and made a booking as everyone kept telling us that you have to book early. Everything was locked in, we just had to wait until our first appointment with the obstetrician at ten weeks. By now my original panic had turned to excitement. We were lucky we’d got pregnant so quickly, and we were counting down to June 20th 2014 when our baby was due.

I’ve always been the party girl. I make friends easily, say yes to that quick glass of prosecco after work and can be persuaded to stay for just one more. My friends at home mostly now have children starting school, yet here in Australia it’s a mix of people having babies or still partying hard.

All pregnant women will identify with the immediate sense of needing to change your behaviour once you know you’re pregnant and I was no different swapping wine for decaf tea and nights with the girls for falling asleep in the sofa at 9pm.

During my first pregnancy I was at a work lunch and a colleague said ‘do you want a glass of wine?’. I said no. She said you’re pregnant aren’t you? How do you side step that?? I was 7 weeks and told her the truth but was told ‘you need to be careful as miscarriage is really common’. It hadn’t really crossed my mind up to that point that it could be me. She’d had one herself, but I still walked away thinking surely we won’t be the unlucky ones.

In so many ways this has been the loneliest year of my life. Telling people you’re pregnant seems to still be one of life’s great taboos. ‘You can’t tell people until you’re 12 weeks so you’re in the clear’. That to me has been the biggest irony. When things go wrong you need instant support. When you’re told your pregnancy isn’t going well you don’t want to explain to anyone you’re even pregnant, you need immediate comfort and understanding. And your husband can’t be that person exclusively. They’re grieving and trying to understand too, and they just don’t know what to do.

As this year has unfolded I’ve felt guilty. I’ve left parties early with my younger friends, feeling antisocial, boring in fact. And I wonder if those friendships can last when you don’t put in the time. But I haven’t wanted to burden people with my depressing news. These girls are planning weddings, choosing dresses, they don’t want to talk about fluctuating hCg levels or acupuncture for fertility. At the other end of the scale I’ve cancelled breakfasts with friends and babies at the last minute, pulled out of my babysitting offers and been 2 hours ‘late’ to first birthday parties to avoid the reminder of our situation. Instead I’ve operated in a small circle of my four best friends in Australia who know everything, my husband and an increasing number of what’s app messages to my oldest friends in the UK.

It’s like we’re living in limbo. Neither the carefree career couple, travelling and socialising, or the young family. Some days I think we should just stop trying, should pack up, move overseas and take the next steps in our career, other times I feel like I’m holding myself back at work to allow for having a baby. Not wanting to leave the job where I’m guaranteed a decent maternity package and i know they’ll be supportive of me. As it is I feel like we’ve had to lie, that my absences from work are less than ideal. Rob has been promoted to a junior partner at his accountancy firm this year and missed important events to support me, I’ve felt guilty for missing two weeks of work and not wanting to explain the real reason why.

At 9 weeks’ pregnant everything changed. Again it was the instinct that’s hard to explain but I just knew something was wrong. My pregnancy symptoms that had included sore boobs, a frequent need to go to the bathroom, a super sense of smell and an inability to sleep through the night were lessening. I spoke to my mum about it who tried to reassure me that it was normal for your symptoms to settle towards the end of the first trimester and not to worry. I looked online and found that she was right, but it wasn’t enough. The next morning, Tuesday, I woke up convinced that something was wrong and called the obstetrician and moved my appointment to later that day.

People at work didn’t know I was pregnant, and we were in the midst of a large restructure, so walking out of the office half way through the day with no explanation didn’t make much sense, but I was determined.

At that first appointment I was so anxious that the dr stopped trying to take my medical notes and said ‘lets just do a scan’. Initially she scanned over my stomach and couldn’t find a heartbeat. Rob was in the room looking at me when she said we need to do an internal ultrasound. At that point he didn’t even know that was possible. I remember a weird sense of embarrassment that I didn’t want my husband to see my like this, overlaid with a fear that there was no heartbeat. That ultrasound found the gestational sac and a small baby but no heartbeat. Could my dates be wrong she asked? I don’t think so. You quickly learn that babies have a heartbeat at 6 weeks’ gestation and so for us here at 9 weeks things weren’t looking great.

The next step was a blood test to see where my HCG level was at. I was told we needed to track it over 48 hours and if it was increasing it was a good sign, if it was decreasing it showed certain miscarriage. Those 48 hours were absolute torture. Deep down I knew it had gone wrong but you hope with every last thought that you will be wrong. Rob went back to work the next day but I called my boss and told her I wouldn’t be in. She was incredibly supportive explaining she’d had a miscarriage previously too. So I had 48 hours of my own thoughts and I did drive myself slightly crazy. The second blood test confirmed our fears, my Hcg level was dropping down from the high 20,000’s. The dr called me on the Thursday night and asked what I wanted to do. The options were to wait and see what happens naturally or to book into hospital for a D&C procedure.

The choices at this time were totally overwhelming. Miscarriage can bring labour like pain, lasting several days and extreme blood loss. My sister in law had had this and the dr said this wasn’t uncommon. The other option was general anaesthetic, my first ever operation and a thought I couldn’t shake of being put to sleep and my baby being taken away from me.

I agreed with the dr that she could book me into hospital for the following Tuesday but I would see what would happen over the weekend.

I started bleeding the following day and again I read everything I could find to understand how it was going to be. I found absolute horror stories of extreme blood loss, but also women talking of trusting their bodies and being in control.

I had bleeding all weekend, so stayed close to home but kept thinking it’s going to get really bad soon. It actually never did. I was willing my body the whole time to do this, telling myself I could and that I didn’t want to go to the hospital. On Monday afternoon I told Rob to come home as I just knew something was happening but there was never any pain worse than a period.

I went into the bathroom and completely in tact passed the sac. I fished it out of the toilet and studied it, trying to work out if this was definitely the baby.

Inside was our baby, tiny at less than a cm, but definitely a baby with a head, arms and legs. I remember feeling instantly protective of this small thing, and both of us in tears trying to work out what should we do with it. I’ll never forget a debate on what would be the best container to put it in.. And should we put it in the fridge?? Ridiculous now but until we spoke to the hospital we didn’t know what to do. Off we went to Manly emergency with our baby in a Tupperware container, before being checked out and told to go home. The D&C had been booked for the following morning and I remember a sense of relief that i’d been able to do it myself.

And then what? That week was horrible. Every time I thought I was ok, I’d break down again. Walking round the streets of Manly, people on holiday, having fun. Nobody seemed to understand and I just wanted to be back in England. I’d never felt so alone, Rob was grieving too and couldn’t find the words to comfort me, and I didn’t know what to do with myself. One of my close friends from work had had a baby two weeks previously and I found myself at her house one afternoon telling her the full story. Such a strange experience where she was telling me the gruesome details of giving birth, compared to my story of miscarriage. But at least I was telling someone, who could relate on some level, and that helped.

I stayed off work until Thursday and went straight in to a meeting with the new MD. He wanted to meet me to discuss his plans for restructuring the business. He was making several senior managers including my boss redundant, but he was building a new team and he wanted me to be part of it. The whole meeting was a complete blur, I was exhausted from just getting to the office so walked away not knowing what job i’d been offered yet scared to ask for clarification for fear of looking like I didn’t have my act together. I’ve since found out he knew I’d had a miscarriage, but at the time this was the new MD that I was meant to be trying to impress.

I never take time off work so having been away for 8 days prompted a lot of questions that I wasn’t prepared to answer. The deputy MD was concerned about me and asked to meet me yet within seconds I was in tears in her office. Here I was being offered a promotion yet I could barely hold it together. She was shocked and offered me more time off but I knew the best thing for me was routine and trying to get busy again. It took two weeks for the symptoms to stop and until they did it was impossible to heal. I hadn’t worn sanitary pads since I was 14, I found the whole thing messy and a vivid reminder every time I went to the bathroom of what had happened.

And so I got busy. I threw myself into planning Christmas, I saw friends that i’d been meaning to catch up with for ages, I was headhunted and got offered a new job that I eventually turned down and secured the head of marketing role in my current company. I have worked really hard in the past year to move on from what happened but outside of work it has been hard.

When I found out about the miscarriage I called my best friend at home and I know now I gave her news that turned the happiest occasion of her life into one of torment. She listened to my story on the day she was going for her 12 week scan. We would have been due the same week and this news was so hard for us both to process. I was delighted for her but devastated at the thought of what could have been. Sharing our pregnancies together, our babies first moments and the years to come wasn’t meant to be. Her son’s birth this June brought those memories back but by then I was feeling much stronger and able to feel nothing but happiness for my friend.

Fertility is meant to resume within 1-2 months following a miscarriage but for me that wasn’t to be. Another twist in the story was my cycle that had consistently been 32 days was all over the shop, 39 days, 52 days, 26 days. My skin also broke out and in April this year I was referred to a fertility dr for further investigations. I had a series of blood tests and an ultrasound scan, along with tests to find out if there was a reason for the first miscarriage. The results came back, I had polycystic ovaries, 3 fibroids and a tilted uterus. But there was no chromosomal reason for the miscarriage. The dr suggested we start a drug called chlomid to kick start ovulation and regulate my cycle. We were heading back to England for my friend’s wedding so decided to delay but instead bought ovulation kits to try to work if I was able to fall pregnant. In April and May each of those kits came back negative. I also tried acupuncture, spending two hours each Saturday with needles in me while a great-intentioned Chinese lady with limited English taught me peculiar exercises and told me to not let my stomach get cold. Each session involved burning herbs in a box that heated up on my stomach, but the smell of burning herbs can only be compared to a Saturday night when smoking was allowed in bars and immediately after needing to wash your hair and all of your clothes to get rid of the thick smell. She tried to convince me to take Chinese herbal tablets and one I time I did buy the black chicken feet tablets, but I never could bring myself to take them.

In June of this year, just as we were preparing to go back to the fertility dr and start the chlomid, we had a breakthrough. My cycle was back at exactly 32 days. That week we bought another ovulation kit, this time upgrading to the most expensive digital kind, and on the 1st of July it worked, we had a big smiley face in the window of peak fertility. So that was our weekend sorted! However, there is nothing romantic about trying for a baby on a schedule and my husband and I found that hard. We argued over that week about ‘this not feeling nice’ but after the 6 months of tests, kits and disappointment it really did feel like we had no choice.

When you are really trying you are so aware of every date. My friends and I often joke that we are each a Sex and the City character and I seem to have changed from identifying completely with Carrie’s thoughtful free spirit to being Charlotte, desperate to get pregnant and doing everything in my power to make that happen.

The following week I went away to Melbourne with work and on the Tuesday morning found some bleeding. Could this be the start of my period? They were so erratic that it was possible, but I also remembered reading before about implantation bleeding. Of course the first time I was pregnant I wasn’t looking for it so have no idea if it happened, but this time I was, maybe I could be pregnant. On the Thursday morning while still in Melbourne I took a pregnancy test. It was negative. My period wasn’t actually due until the following Tuesday, and the instructions said if you test too early it won’t show up, but I was impatient. I did another test on the Saturday and this time Bingo! We had a faint blue line.. I checked the instructions again.. Does faint blue definitely mean positive? It does. But to be totally sure I did another test on Sunday! We were so excited. This baby was going to be due in April, and surely we wouldn’t be so unlucky to have two miscarriages in a row, this is it!

I waited a week before going to the GP as this time I just didn’t want to book anything. I was so nervous about things going wrong again that I was determined to be healthy, take things steady and try to relax. That wasn’t easy. My first blood tests came back with a hcg level of 1025 at 5w 3days, that is the low end of the scale, but the scale is enormous so the GP assured me I was worrying over nothing and to be happy i was pregnant. I called the obstetrician’s office and made my first appointment, she wanted to see me at 8 weeks just to check I was ok based on what had happened before. I asked if I could have another hcg test just to confirm my hormones were rising as they should and they agreed. I had the test 4 days after the first one knowing that your hormone level is meant to double every 48 hours. I called the drs office that Friday at 6 weeks’ pregnant to find that my levels had risen to 1900. They hadn’t doubled but they were going up, again I was assured not to worry as it was the upwards trend that is important.

A week later on the Sunday I woke up again with a sense that something wasn’t right. My pregnancy symptoms were never very strong with this pregnancy, I was feeling well, tired but not as exhausted as the first time, the extreme sense of smell that’s meant to protect your baby from bad things wasn’t there, and I wasn’t needing to go to the bathroom as much as before. That afternoon I noticed some bleeding and slight cramping. It was just two days before my 8 week appointment with the obstetrician, but I couldn’t bear the thought of waiting 48 hours to see if something was wrong. I took myself back to emergency room at Manly hospital where I’d gone after my first miscarriage and tearfully explained to the dr that I thought something was wrong. Rob was out with friends so I went on my own hoping that they could just do a scan and show me baby’s heartbeat but they couldn’t. They took my hcg level and gave me a referral for a scan the following day. I waited 2 hours for the blood test result to come back and in the meantime my friend came to join me at the hospital. When the result came back my hcg level was 3100, the test was taken 10 days after my last one and the level still hadn’t doubled. The drs tried to assure me that everything was fine, that my dates were probably a week or so out as they measured more like 6 weeks than 8, and to go home and practice active relaxation, but how could I relax knowing I was bleeding, and my hormone level that should have been around 20,000 was just three?

I messaged my boss that evening and told her I wouldn’t be coming to work the next day and instead went for the scan. I can’t explain the relief when the sonographer found the baby and the heartbeat, but we weren’t out of the woods yet, baby only measured 5 weeks and 4 days. She said the heartbeat was good for that size and the sac looked healthy, but deep down I knew something wasn’t right as I was certain on my dates because of the ovulation kit and date of my pregnancy test. My mum also tried to reassure me that it was very easy for dates to be out. We were talking just millimetres after all, and all of the information says that having a heartbeat is the most important thing. Most pregnancies don’t miscarry once you have a heartbeat.

The next day we went to the obstetrician and she wasn’t so positive. I was told to prepare myself that this wasn’t looking good. We should come back again on Thursday and by then we should have seen growth in the baby which will give us an indication of if it was healthy. I was also sent for another hcg test so that it was done in the same lab as my other ones just to rule out any variation in testing environment.

I went back to work on Wednesday and returned to the dr on Thursday lunchtime for the scan. I have a new team so was so conscious about taking time off. Monday and Tuesday were ‘sick leave’ and as I never get sick I was flooded with well wishes to get better soon! Thursday I worked from home for a meeting and felt guilty about lying to people.

The scan on Thursday showed the baby had grown appropriately for its new age of just under 6 weeks and its heartbeat had got stronger. The hcg level was also a little bit higher at 3900 but still a long way off where it should be. The dr was surprised by the growth but said we needed to go away again until the following Tuesday to see what baby does. We were told that we had to go by the new dates that didn’t really make sense. It was 50:50 if the baby would make it and if it was looking good on Tuesday we can maybe start to be hopeful of a good outcome. This is the first time that she mentioned the term molar pregnancy, but corrected herself as soon as she said it saying ‘forget I just said that, don’t go and google that’.

Waiting 5 days was agony. I went back to work on Friday, tried to keep busy over the weekend but had been told to rest so that was difficult and I really wanted a glass of wine to calm my nerves that I couldn’t have!

I also started bleeding on Sunday, a dark brown thick discharge that was only there when I went to the bathroom.

I called the dr on Monday morning and told her about the bleeding and she said it sounded as though I’d started to miscarry. This time I felt like being in control probably was opting for the procedure as it would give me the option to have the baby tested to understand what was happening. I also wasn’t coping very well with all of the waiting and found each appointment one where I tried to stay composed but always broke down before the end. We tentatively booked a D&C appointment for Wednesday morning, but would keep our doctors appointment for Tuesday afternoon just to be 100% sure.

Our appointment on Tuesday was at 4:30pm which meant a whole day of waiting. I worked from home and got loads done as I was determined to keep busy. The scan showed our baby was still alive, it still had a heartbeat, but had only grown by two days in five days. They’re meant to grow a millimetre a day and by now it was measuring just over 5mm. But it still had a heartbeat, telling us that ‘I’m here and want to stay’.

The dr told us that this wasn’t looking like a healthy pregnancy and asked what we wanted to do. I asked if it is always the case that a baby dies before you have a miscarriage but was told no. My body had recognised that the baby wasn’t healthy and was trying to end the pregnancy with the bleeding. She was certain that a miscarriage was inevitable so asked if we still wanted to go ahead with the procedure the next day, but we were told that if we did it would be considered a termination as the baby was still alive.

Again, more seriously this time, the doctor mentioned the idea of a partial molar pregnancy and explained that this is very rare but when two sperm enter the egg at the same time so a baby starts to form with two sets of male chromosomes. In these pregnancies an embryo starts to form and has a heart beat but they are identified by very low hcg levels, a smaller than normal gestational sac and thick dark brown bleeding. These pregnancies never survive, but in some cases can turn cancerous if not removed with a D&C.

We opted to cancel the procedure the next day and rescheduled it to Friday. We understood that our baby wasn’t going to make it, but we couldn’t face the idea of a termination. We wanted this baby so much and we wanted it to pass away before any procedure. Having a termination has never been something I would want. We went home and researched molar pregnancies which is easier said than done as they’re so rare. 1 in every 1500 pregnancies is molar, which means that about 300 happen each year in Australia. Of those only some are a partial molar where a baby starts to develop, a full molar creates a cluster of cysts and no developing embryo.

We went back to the dr on Thursday morning certain that we had no choice but to go ahead with the procedure the next day. I’d now been bleeding for 4 days and was getting increasingly worried about the thick dark brown blood, that was very different to my first miscarriage. Dr Woodbury asked if I wanted to go ahead with a scan just to be sure and initially I said no, but Rob thought we should and Dr Woodbury said I’d probably feel better knowing the baby had passed.

We did the scan and had the final cruel twist, the baby had grown again and the heartbeat got stronger. Normal growth for the two days that had passed. But the sac was measuring half what it should be and was too small for the baby inside. We were also now at just 6.3mm which measured 6 weeks and 3 days, over two weeks behind the 8 weeks and 6 days I should have been at that point.

I left the Dr’s office in tears and called my parents back in the uk, waking them up in the middle of the night to ask what I should do. I’m 35 years old yet suddenly needed my mum and dad to decide for me. Should I go ahead with the procedure or just wait and see if the miscarriage would come? We were on the phone for over an hour, me sitting at Manly beach on a gorgeous sunny morning watching people happily exercising, mum and dad in bed at 1am trying to make sense of this horrible situation too. My mum wanted to jump on a plane but she wouldn’t get here fast enough. We agreed that we needed to go with what the dr was saying. This wasn’t a healthy pregnancy, and above all else the most important thing for us was the chance to have the tests done to identify what has gone wrong. If I had a miscarriage at home as before we would potentially lose the chance of those tests. A molar pregnancy brings a risk of cancer if not detected and treated properly, and I couldn’t take that chance.

That was the first day that I couldn’t cope and was overwhelmed with sadness. Rob stayed at home for the rest of the day and my two best friends came round that evening to reassure me that going ahead with the procedure was the right thing to do.

I couldn’t sleep properly the night before, scared of my first ever operation, scared I wouldn’t be able to cope without breaking down, and worrying if I’d be able to forgive myself for going ahead with the procedure.

We were up at 5:30am the next morning to have breakfast 6 hours before the procedure. The idea of fasting also scared me as I get very shaky and panicked without breakfast or water in the mornings, yet can happily skip dinner. I got to the hospital and couldn’t stop thinking about all my years as the marketing manager of a women and children’s hospital back in London. I’d always felt a huge connection with the women having babies but I suddenly realised just how many women must have passed through our doors struggling on their journey to have a child and staying on the gynaecology ward for the same reasons as I was today. I wish i’d known about this then and been able to help those women more.

The last thing I remember saying to Dr Woodbury in the theatres is ‘you will make sure the baby is tested for everything won’t you?’. That search for answers is the only thing that has kept me going. She was also there when I woke up and I asked her if everything still looked bad? She told me it definitely wasn’t a healthy pregnancy and that I had done the right thing.

After the procedure I expected to feel that same sense of extreme grief that had accompanied the first miscarriage, the indescribable pain that caused me to cry for hours, but that hasn’t come yet. The dark brown blood had gone and was replaced by a much healthier looking red which reassured me that the baby wasn’t healthy.

I didn’t sleep very well last night, waking up in the middle of the night trying to process what has happened to us. We have to wait a week to find out if this is a molar pregnancy, and if it is that may mean we need to put all plans for trying again on hold for up to a year. That will mean I’ll be almost 37 having my first baby which was certainly never my plan, but one that I know now is out of my control.

After the procedure I actually feel ok, no major pain or bleeding. And on some level there is definitely a sense of relief that the decision is now made. Perhaps it’s because my hormone levels weren’t as high as before that I’ve not had the same emotions, I’m also worrying about whether it will come tomorrow, and feeling guilty for not crying today. It really is a roller coaster and you don’t know what is right.

When I was in recovery in the hospital yesterday I received a text from a girl in my team. I have won a marketing award, a campaign that I developed in April has been awarded the best digital campaign in Asia Pacific at the Sabre awards. I’m proud of this achievement. But can’t decide whether I care or if it’s a sign that maybe I need to focus on stuff other than trying to have a baby..

I’ve taken comfort this week in talking to a couple of people who have approached me with their story of having two miscarriages, being advised to nurture myself and that some people’s journey to a family is just a little more difficult than others.

I know I’m lucky by most peoples standards. I’m healthy, have a husband who loves me, friends and family, a great job and I live in an amazing place. So I don’t feel sorry for myself or think I’m worse off than other people. But I do feel sad at what’s happened and have a sense of frustration. I’m scared about what the future looks like and know I’ll need to be brave to try again. I know I’m not the only girl that’s been in this situation, but it can become all consuming and I don’t like that. So for now I’m going to concentrate on getting stronger again. I’m looking forward to my wedding anniversary in two week’s time, to Christmas back in London and summer now on its way in Sydney. I want to find answers for what has happened, I know your chances of miscarriage increase with each one you have and I’ll do whatever I can to not be in this situation again.

 

 

 

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