My story of pregnancy loss
I fell pregnant really easily for the second time which was a huge surprise and everything seemed to be going smoothly. However, at a regular scan at 10 weeks, it showed the baby no longer had a heartbeat and had stopped growing at around 8 weeks. It was a huge shock. At that time, I didn't even know that 'silent miscarriage' or 'missed miscarriage' was even a thing. I assumed that miscarriages are sudden, painful and involve a lot of blood - after all, that's how they are on TV. I really struggled to believe it was real and although I was sent to have it confirmed at hospital, I still felt pregnant, I didn't feel like anything could be wrong.
The hospital suggested booking me in for 'surgical management' of the pregnancy the next day, but it was too much for me to go from believing I was having a healthy pregnancy one day to having it surgically removed the next day. I decided to wait it out and let my body catch up with what had happened. That took a long 20 days. I know this decision to have a natural miscarriage seems strange to some people, and it does even to myself now, but it was the right choice for me at the time. I miscarried at home, and it felt very much like a mini labour and birth. We buried the sac with the tiny fetus in a quiet place in the park we can see from our balcony. We imagined the baby was a boy and called him Bodhi.
My third pregnancy was conceived even more easily: without particularly trying on the second cycle after my first miscarriage. However, I had a spontaneous miscarriage at 7 and a half weeks. I started spotting first, then cramps, and then I knew it was going to be over. My husband had imagined this baby to be a girl and already called her Sara immediately after our pregnancy test! We buried Sara next to Bodhi.
Losing two pregnancies within the space of a few months was really, really hard. I was extremely down and couldn't understand why this was happening. Miscarriages were things that I assumed happened to other people, not to me. I am forever grateful that I had a mindfulness practice before this stage of my life as it was an excellent support and I would almost certainly have fallen apart without it.
I desperately wanted a second baby but knew that I had to be prepared for all pregnancy outcomes. The prospect of a third miscarriage was more than I could handle, so we took a few months break from baby making before I felt ready to try again. It took us a few months of trying, but this time it was a keeper and Nora was born in June 2019.
I thought our family was complete. I'd always wanted two kids and I also didn't want to risk having any other losses. I was also 38 when Nora was born, so already getting on in years ;-)
However, while I was in the process of producing the Mindful Way through TTC course, I fell accidently pregnant just a few weeks before my 41st birthday! It was a happy surprise. We hadn't planned on more children, but I was very grateful for the gift. I also felt like my Mindful TTC course must have excellent side effects on fertility! And I felt secretly pleased that I'd managed to fall pregnant at 40 without issues and it was the first early pregnancy when I wasn't taking supplementary progesterone - my body could do it by itself after all! I had a number of scans in my first trimester and everything was perfect until the 12 week scan. All I was interested in was whether the baby was alive - it looked perfect to me, wriggling around, heart beating, arms and legs kicking. However, the doctor said it didn't look vey good: he recognised all the markers of Edwards syndrome. Even at age 41, there is only a 1 in 1,000 chance of having a baby with Edwards, or trisomy 18. I went for CVS, a procedure where they take tissue from the placenta to test for chromosomal abnormalities. The results showed that our baby did indeed have three chromosomes number 18 - Edwards syndrome. The test also told us the baby was a boy. A one in one thousand boy. We called him Felix.
Knowing that Felix would likely not survive until birth and would have no quality of life if he did, I decided to end the pregnancy with surgical management. I wanted to be able to be back to 'normal' and take care of my two girls as quickly as I could. The tests and the waiting and the suspecting and not knowing were really the 'bottom of the pit'. Having the termination was the first step on the ladder out of that pit and actually easier than I thought it would be. I was prepared to feel terribly down afterwards, but I'm incredibly fortunate that that didn't happen. I felt even greater gratitude for the two healthy girls that I do have.
While I do at times feel very sad that I have more lost babies than living ones, these experiences have definitely helped me to grow, become stronger and also more appreciative of all the things I have to be grateful for.