I can’t believe I am writing this again. We have just lost another baby, and we are totally heartbroken.
It feels kind of hard to express all of our thoughts and feelings about this in person right now, so I thought I’d write a bit about it instead.
I’ve titled this blog ‘And then there were three’ because, well… three miscarriages, and also because for the third time running, our family of four has shrunk back to three.
It all began so well…
It all began at the end of April, when we discovered that we were pregnant again.
I was so excited about it, because when you’ve been trying for a while, a positive test result already feels like a huge win. And after months of tests and unknowns, finally it was happening for us again!
Of course, our joy was also tinged with a slight dread as well. Having already experienced two miscarriages in the previous 12 months had long since suffocated out any real sense of excitement about pregnancy for us both. So now the first trimester just felt like an ordeal to try and get through as best we could.
We were also about to head off on a three week family trip to Florida, and it was never far from my mind that I really didn’t want to miscarry whilst we were travelling, and found ourselves thousands of miles from home.
But we reasoned that I was on medication and under close hospital monitoring this time, and we had to dare to believe that this time could be different for us. Otherwise what was the point?
So armed with lots of pregnancy vitamins, folic acid, baby aspirin, and healthy eating plans, off we set for America, where we did the only thing we could, and just took it one day at a time…
And in the end, being away did actually prove to be quite a good distraction from the constant worry of the first trimester.
At this point we also chose to share the news with a few of our immediate family and closest friends. And my parents in particular, supported us amazingly, and prayed for the health of my pregnancy every single day.
And do you know what?
It was all fine.
Better than fine in fact.
We had a wonderful time on holiday, apart from the small heart palpitations I would get with every toilet visit. But despite the constant low level anxiety we both felt, no spotting or bleeding ever appeared, which is a pregnancy first for me.
We took every passing day as a small win, and slowly the days grew into weeks.
And by the time we returned home from Florida, we felt reasonably confident that this pregnancy was developing well.
Everything felt different this time.
I was even feeling some waves of nausea, and starting to grow a baby bump.
Our first scan
We arrived home from our holiday on 30th May, and were due to attend an early reassurance scan at our local hospital the very next day.
We went along to the appointment still slightly apprehensive about what we would find out, but it turned out that we were needlessly worrying.
There was Baby Kettle, about eight and a half weeks in size, with a strong and healthy heartbeat. Everything looked great. We were absolutely over the moon!
And by now I was just about over that very high risk first eight weeks, when all my previous miscarriages had occurred too.
So although we were still mindful that no point in pregnancy is ever really ‘safe’, especially when you’ve got a history of losses, with every week that passed, our hope and confidence grew.
And as we passed the 9-10 weeks mark, we even dared to allow ourselves to begin to talk about and plan for our future with two small children.
Here’s the but…
Under the care of the recurrent miscarriage clinic at Liverpool Women’s Hospital, I was scheduled to have a reassurance scan every two weeks in the first trimester.
And so a couple of weeks after our scan we returned for a second one. But we weren’t too worried this time. Everything seemed to be progressing well. I was now somewhere between 10-11 weeks and it felt like we were pretty much in the clear.
So we breezed into that appointment with hardly a care in the world…
Just imagine our shock and disappointment when a few moments into the ultrasound we discovered there was no heart beat to be found.
Just stillness and silence.
I couldn’t quite believe what we were being told, even though we were looking at the screen with our own eyes.
Less than two weeks ago everything had been fine!
And I hadn’t even had any bleeding or discomfort since then. It just didn’t make any sense.
But there were the facts in front of us, as clear as day. My baby had died in the womb sometime over the previous week.
My body just hadn’t got the memo.
We were both in total shock.
I couldn’t quite take it in.
I needed a few minutes to process.
For all of the reasons above, and a few more personal ones as well, we felt sure that everything was going to be fine this time.
But instead we were being ushered into a quiet side room by nurses, and offered surgery to remove my dead baby.
How could this be happening to us again?? This wasn’t supposed to happen!!
The unfairness of it all felt overwhelming.
I literally had no words.
I was flawed.
We both were.
‘Missed’ miscarriage is just the worst.
It’s what every parent-to-be dreads most; thinking that everything is fine, and then in an instant discovering that it’s not.
There are simply no words to express how crushing that moment is.
I may be a writer, but I simply can’t find the language to even begin to capture the degree of devastation we feel right now.
There are no answers to be found in any of it either.
We will never know what went wrong.
What keeps on going wrong.
So what now?
Right now we are both heartbroken and it will take us some time to heal.
A lot of friends have already kindly offered us both practical and emotional support, and we may well take up some of those offers over the coming days.
But we really don’t have a whole lot of words for any of this right now, and we really don’t expect anyone else to either.
Neither do we have any prayers left to pray or much hope remaining now at all, but we do still so appreciate all those around us who continue to carry us with theirs.
The truth is that losing three pregnancies in a row has been pretty brutal emotionally on us all as family, and right now we feel unsure that we will want to try again. We have always felt that this would probably be our last attempt.
Medical tests haven’t been able to provide us with any answers yet, and close monitoring hasn’t got us any further either, so it’s hard to see how any further pregnancies would be any different.
On paper at least, we are really only facing an ever decreasing law of returns as time moves on.
Less than 1% of women experience 3 consecutive miscarriages in a row. And since we both turn 40 next spring, age is no longer really on our side now either…
So in short, the prognosis does not look good. And right now, it’s hard to imagine ever wanting to put ourselves through this ordeal again, even though we would very much still like another child as a sibling for our son.
I know that some people who have never experienced baby loss struggle to understand the depths of grief that it brings. But this unravelling process has been a several year pursuit, and we are both just left so tired and worn down by it all.
To me, the past two years feel like a seemingly endless cycle of waiting to conceive, enduring early pregnancy, then miscarriage, grieving, then starting all over again…
And all that living in limbo really starts to take it’s toll after a while.
I know some people will probably also be reading this and thinking, “You’re still very lucky to have one child” – and that is absolutely true, particularly since we almost lost our first son Ben during his birth as well.
We feel so very grateful for our beautiful boy every single day. And now, probably more than ever, we realise just what a miracle his life actually is.
But that doesn’t in any way lesson the pain of losing three other babies. Each of those losses still feel impossibly cruel and unfair…
And in many ways, this loss has been the hardest one of all because we were much further along, and there were just no warning signs of anything being wrong.
But perhaps the biggest reason that the pain has cut so deep this time is because it wasn’t just the loss of a pregnancy that we had to contend with, but also the loss of hope.
Because although every loss has felt sad, in the past there’s always been a glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel in the idea of trying again, which helped to carry us through.
But this time, there’s only this dawning realisation that we will probably never have a healthy second child. My body just doesn’t seem able to do what it should. And that will take us some time to process.
Right now, our grief feels heavy and unavoidable. And the only real way forwards, is simply to walk through it, one foot in front of another, one day at a time.
There’s still so many unanswered questions for us, that we will need to sort through in time.
But for now, we are just trying to take some time out to rest and recover as best we can.
Please bare with us if that takes us a while…