In the last five months I have become a statistic. I have joined the ranks of women who suffer more than one miscarriage and it sucks. My first miscarriage was my first ever pregnancy and it hit me like a high speed train, leaving me prone on the sofa watching the Gossip Girl box set (every cloud??) and eating my body weight in chocolate whilst also cracking open a bottle or two of wine. I ambled along to my first scan at 13 weeks innocently looking forward to seeing our baby and feeling a little bit smug that we had fallen pregnant so quickly. My blasé attitude was soon shattered when we were told that the foetus on the screen had no heartbeat and that it had stopped growing at around the 8 week point. Before this experience I hadn’t even realised that missed miscarriage was a ‘thing’ and unfortunately it has made all subsequent pregnancies lose their sparkle a little bit during the first trimester. The following week saw us make multiple visits to the hospital (a 90 minute round trip) due to a myriad of administrative cock-ups with our final trip ending with me having Surgical Management before going home to wallow. We were lucky this time and after one period I fell pregnant again giving birth to a healthy (translate that as LARGE!) baby boy in February 2013.
The next part of my pregnancy story happened just as easily (ignoring the slightly stressful time we had at the beginning with dodgy nuchal fold measurements and subsequent amniocentesis) and in October 2014 I had a second healthy baby boy (who is currently creating merry hell in the kitchen with his big brother) Following a fairly horrendous first labour and birth our second son was born by C Section in the most calm and tranquil atmosphere imaginable. As they placed him on my chest I remember feeling very strongly that I didn’t want him to be my last baby. Having had a 19 month gap between my first two children I was quite happy to have a slightly bigger gap between my second and potential third baby so I therefore threw myself into enjoying being a mum of two and making a life for ourselves in our new location (we had arrived in Glasgow when I was 32 weeks pregnant and at that point I didn’t know a single soul)
And so we come to 2016 and the (mis)adventures of my womb. After a weekend in London back in late November I realised that my period was MIA and even though I was convinced I couldn’t be pregnant as we had been avoiding my most fertile days (HAHAHAHA!!!) a pregnancy test and subsequent calculations revealed me to be almost six weeks pregnant. Whilst not exactly on our perfect timeline (we would be moving house when I would be 37 weeks pregnant, I would be attending my brother’s wedding one week postnatal and then would be left solo parenting with three kids whilst my husband went away for eight weeks) we were thrilled and started tentatively thinking about life with three kids under four (needing a new car etc) On a Saturday in January I went to the toilet and noticed that there was a light brown discharge in my knickers and when I wiped after a wee. I used Doctor Google and established that it might be something to worry about but that it might also be fine so decided to keep an eye over the next few days. On the Sunday it wasn’t any better so I rang NHS24 and was told to go to the Out of Hours GP Clinic. The doctor there managed to get me an appointment at the Early Pregnancy Unit and so we had a family outing to the hospital (always a joy with a 2 year old and 1 year old!) After an abdominal and internal scan (having my hand held by an nursing assistant as my husband was looking after the kids outside) the midwife said that the foetus wasn’t looking viable and that I would need to come back in a week for another scan. The situation was obviously upsetting but I resigned myself to the fact that I was more than likely going to miscarry the baby and carried on with day to day life. That Wednesday I suffered a quick and thankfully complete miscarriage and was lucky in that my husband was able to rush home from work to sort out our boys as I was in no physical state to do any kind of parenting. My main feeling throughout this process was that whilst rubbish it was a hell of a lot easier to cope with second time around as I still had to deal with my gorgeous boys and they are an amazing distraction when feeling a bit sorry for yourself! The follow up scan revealed that everything had passed away and I was given the all clear to try again (or recommended to sort out my contraception!) as soon as I was ready.
The second part of my 2016 pregnancy story begins in March with another positive pregnancy test. I was thrilled to be expecting again so quickly and rang the Early Pregnancy Unit to book in for an early scan (I had been told to do so after the previous miscarriage) At 7W3D I went in for my scan. Once again I was told that it wasn’t looking viable and that I would need to come back in ten days for another scan. However this time around was different as there was only a gestational sac and no apparent foetus. I went home and used Doctor Google again to find out more about the situation. Through my research (I hasten to add that I did look at official sites as well as the doom and gloom chat rooms) I established that it could either be a blighted ovum or that my dates were wrong and that was why there was no visible foetus yet. I started feeling nauseous (not something I’ve really had in any other pregnancy) so was hopeful that it was the latter rather than another loss. I also looked at the statistics for recurrent miscarriages and told myself I would be unlucky to be in the 1% of women (Mayo Clinic Statistics) who have more than one miscarriage. However it turns out I am in that 1% and it is a really rubbish club to be in. My follow up scan showed no further growth and so I was booked in for Surgical Management the following week. Rather inconveniently my husband was going away so we had to call in the support of my Mum to fly up and look after the kids whilst I underwent the procedure and then had all of 24 hours rest before normal parenting responsibilities resumed. I’m quite a robust person and pride myself on my get up and go attitude to life (something that is very useful when your husband is in the forces and not always around!) and I dealt with this loss in the same way as the previous one in that I was upset but life went on and we decided to try to conceive again as soon as the post op bleeding had stopped.
My 2016 story so far ends with the unexpected events of this week and to be honest at the moment I’m in limbo not knowing how things are going to turn out. Last week I had a missed call from the Early Pregnancy Unit asking me to ring back regarding some test results following my procedure. Alarm bells immediately rang (being a bit melodramatic I imagined all sorts of horrendous issues….) as I had not had any sort of follow up after my first miscarriage and first Surgical Management. I eventually got through yesterday and was told someone would ring me back as soon as possible. I received the phone call whilst having lunch in M&S with my boys and was told that the test results showed that I had had a Partial Molar Pregnancy and that it would need to be followed up by the specialist unit in Dundee. Feeling more than a little bit bewildered I managed to reign in the tears whilst in public but the last 24 hours have seen a lot of uncontrollable sobbing whilst I come to terms with the fact that this third miscarriage is by no means resolved and that I am probably going to be told that I can’t try and conceive for at least six months (and this is only once I have started the actual monitoring that you have to have after a molar pregnancy and had satisfactory results) Typically my husband is away and so he has suffered a snotty weepy wife on the end of a long distance phone line whilst I try to sort out the logistics of starting the follow up monitoring in one place and then potentially transferring to another location if I need to. I am now waiting for my consultant at this end to respond to the specialist unit so that they can then send me out the relevant information, process and equipment (basically having to send blood and urine samples in for testing for as long as it takes for my pregnancy hormone levels to reduce thus making sure that the issue is resolved and isn’t going to need to be treated with something more invasive)
I have cried more in the last two days than I have throughout the whole process of this particular miscarriage and I think that this is for two reasons; because I thought that it was physically resolved once I’d had the Surgical Management and had stopped bleeding and because I hate the idea of being prevented from trying again straight away. In both my previous miscarriages I have known that the way I will be able to move on (as much as you do anyway) is by falling pregnant again. I am so blessed to have two healthy boys and I know that there are plenty of people in this situation that don’t have this but I can’t help feeling sad at the thought of my third baby not being something that will happen. I look at my boys and don’t feel that my tribe is complete even though they give me more happiness, joy and love (and frustration!) than I ever thought possible. I tend to mentally plan my life away and I imagined having my third baby at some point during the next academic year (ideally fitting neatly between a number of family weddings including one where I am a bridesmaid!) and then being able to go back to work the following year knowing that my family is complete. Instead I find myself in a situation where I want to apply for jobs but would hope that in reality I can’t work all of next academic year because I’m expecting another baby at some point. With a CV looking increasingly full of gaps due to army postings I’m torn between going back and potentially looking flaky or staying at home for another year and being even more out of the education loop. At the moment everything is a bit confusing and up in the air and coupled with our imminent house move and related stresses and preparing the children for changing nurseries and a new house I feel a bit overwhelmed by everything. I’m generally a firm believer in things happening for a reason but at the moment I’m struggling to see why this is happening to me and for what reason. So I finish this (epic!) blog post facing an unknown couple of weeks/months and hoping that at some point in the future I have the opportunity to carry one final baby in my belly and to enjoy the delights of a newborn once again….