The Happy Baby Project

A happy baby needs a happy mum

Pregnancy after Recurrent Miscarriage

40 Comments

Yes, the clue is in the title. The Happy Baby Project is 26 weeks pregnant!

So are the (sparkling elderflower) corks popping and the trumpets blowing? Well, no, sadly. And that is what I wanted to write about today, for all those women pregnant after suffering from recurrent miscarriage, and their friends and family who may not understand.

Pregnancy after recurrent miscarriage is a very different kettle of fish to my first pregnancy with my son, before any of this miscarriage journey had begun.

Then I was full of joy and confidence. We announced early, we posted our scan photo on Facebook with cheeky comment, we marched into scan rooms smiling and shouting “don’t tell us the sex!” as if that was the only worry we could possibly have. I bought baby stuff early, talked about it incessantly. In short, the world revolved around me and my growing baby. I was in a bubble of joy and happiness.

How innocent this now seems. How foreign.

But also, how annoying must I have been to my friends who were struggling with IVF or miscarriages or not having found the right person to have kids with, at the time? They didn’t say anything to me (what lovely friends I have) but it is only now with hindsight I see how hideously smug and self-possessed I was then, how a lot of pregnant women can unknowingly be, and how upsetting that can be for other women. Especially with the current fetishisation of pregnancy and motherhood, all baby on board badges and tight lycra maternity clothes and twee social media posts, I know well what pressure and pain this sort of thing exerts on women who are unable to have children – for whatever reason.

Because one of the greatest things that recurrent miscarriage has taught me is empathy for other women going through hardship, and what a dire slog making a baby can be for some of us, in fact – at my age – I’d say most of us.

I’d never post a scan photo again, never consider a brash pregnancy announcement, I creep into scan rooms rather than striding, and I have had my ostrich neck in the sand about this pregnancy the entire time.

The fact is, the first 12 weeks were just hideous. We thought we’d lost the baby several times, and the rest of the time we didn’t acknowledge it, so much was the pain from our 4 previous miscarriages. All I could do was try to go to bed every night and wake up every morning, head down, another day that the baby could hang on in there, until my 12 week scan.

When we heard the heartbeat, a moment’s joy was replaced by thoughts of how much harder it would be to lose the baby now we had a glimmer of hope.

Even at 12 weeks and a successful scan, I worried about later losses, and genetic abnormalities.

We told friends then (I was fed up of nursing a warm glass of wine at Christmas parties) but I didn’t want to talk about it, and peppered any responses to questions with “if this baby makes it” and “touch wood”. I didn’t feel engaged with other pregnant women who wanted to chat about maternity leave and age gaps and double buggies, I just wanted to pretend it wasn’t happening, it felt easier that way. I felt – still feel – more aligned with women who struggle with infertility and miscarriage, as I feel I am forever one of them now.

At 16 weeks I bought a Doppler and checked the heartbeat several times a day.

It was around this time my husband politely requested I stop using the word “if” when talking about the baby’s arrival and instead say “when”.

At 20 weeks, we had a great scan, and she (for I am having a little girl!) is completely perfect in every way.

And it’s STILL hard. Because I love her more than I can possibly imagine. My heart breaks for her already, I ache to feel her in my arms and play with her hair and her podgy thighs and to tell my son – finally – that his little sister is here.

And that plus my lack of confidence in my body and its ability to make babies, makes me worry still about late losses, and still births, and I still google “chance of success for pre-term birth at X weeks” every week in case I go into labour early. I count the kicks every night. I found myself at the weekend saying “if I go on maternity leave” rather than “when”. I still struggle to answer questions about birth plans or childcare options just in case it all goes wrong.

We announced then on Facebook to let wider family and friends know, but a fairly somber announcement, and I wanted to add that I’d had a tough time getting there. I wanted other women to know things hadn’t been easy because if they didn’t know about our miscarriages, brand Facebook would have made it look like we’d been living on a bed of roses for the last couple of years.

Around 24 weeks, I bought some pretty pink baby clothes in a sale. My husband was unable to look at them. I put them in the drawer unopened.

At almost 27 weeks, I still, still now, don’t entirely feel that it’s real. I still feel anxious and think I always will until she is in my arms. There is a dark cloud of self-doubt and anxiety that creeps over my head every so often, blacking out the positivity and joy I’d been feeling, making me angry and scared.

I see that even if I felt a tenth of the love I feel for this baby now, even a hundredth or a thousandth, which I would have had at 5 or 6 weeks gestation (when I lost 3 of my 4 other babies), my heart would still have broken into a thousand pieces, which makes me realise anew how hard it is to lose a baby at whatever stage of your pregnancy.

But here I am, we’ve made it so far, me and my little girl, as we go into the third trimester. I now need to believe this beaten up body of mine can give birth again, can feed her; that I can find some confidence and self-esteem that was knocked out of me by this miscarriage journey to believe I can be a mother again.

And quite frankly I owe it to my little girl, to feel some joy now. To relax and bond and daydream and just allow myself to show her how much she is loved.

Because that’s the final thing about pregnancy after recurrent miscarriage, and it’s a good thing. The grief we’ve been through makes us appreciate what we have so much more and the happiness we feel is more than we can ever imagine feeling. I feel so lucky and so blessed, even after all. I feel she is the baby I was meant to have, the perfect age gap for my family, our destiny.

So now I must just countdown until she arrives this Summer. We’ve been waiting long enough!

Advertisements

40 thoughts on “Pregnancy after Recurrent Miscarriage

  1. Congratulations on your pregnancy!! Wonderful news after such a tragic loss!

  2. I really enjoyed reading this and am so happy for you. I wish you and this new baby all the best. I recently suffered my second loss. Both occurred at roughly 16 weeks gestation and I find myself extremely wary of even getting pregnant again. In fact, with the second one, I couldn’t get excited at all. Not when we saw the heartbeat, not when we entered the “safe zone” of the second trimester. I wouldn’t let myself get excited in case of another loss. Even if I had gotten past 16 weeks, one of my very best friends lost one at 23 weeks. So to me, there is not safe zone. Any future pregnancy will be wracked with worry and fear.

    I read all these stories of women who have been through 3 or 4 miscarriages and I don’t see how they’ve done it. How they’ve carried on. How do I find the courage to try again?

    • I’m so so sorry for your losses, particularly as they were after the ‘safe’ 12 weeks. Have they tested you and found a reason? I would have thought given the lateness they could be pushed to get some answers, please try to get as much testing as you can. The only redeeming feature of having 3 miscarriages (4 in the end) was I got the full raft of tests and managed to get an answer as to why I was miscarrying (high nk cells). I was on meds for that with my successful pregnancy so I at least knew that was covered. Although it wouldn’t help with a genetic abormality like mc4.

      How do you try again? You just do. You find hope in the good days and you carry on because the alternative to me was too hard. I just wasn’t ready to stop trying and I found a strength in me I never knew I had. Sadly the anxiety never went away, and even got worse right up until the end. I went to hospital with fears of reduced movement even after 30 weeks. I too had fears about 32 weeks and other milestones when I knew others had lost babies. It was a nerve wracking time and I didn’t enjoy the pregnancy much.

      But she’s here, she’s here! And I know she was the one I was meant to have. And even after all we’ve been through I still feel lucky and blessed. I still feel sad about the babies I lost and always will, but I don’t regret any of it, it’s made me who I am.

      I believe you will have your family one day, whether it’s not what you planned or not. Please do press for testing as it sounds like there is a recurrent pattern that hopefully they can crack. And remember you are really not alone. Mumsnet is a great forum for finding mums in similar positions.

      Lots of love x

  3. Thank you for writing so honestly about your journey. I’m so sorry you’ve had such a difficult time but massive congratulations at this happy time and good luck with the rest of your journey x

  4. Just came across your blog – wonderful words of comfort and honesty. Wishing you a healthy pregnancy x

  5. I feel exactly the same.. Due with my first borns sister in August. If only I could have gone through your article & crossed out every use of the word ‘recurrent’. It’s unfair to take from any women who’ve had 1 miscarriage – pregnancy after any loss is hard.

    • Hi there I totally agree but recurrent miscarriage is my personal journey so I’m just writing about how I’ve found it. The miscarriage that affected me – still affects me – the most was my first one and always will. I just didn’t have a successful pregnancy afterwards so in my journey I am a recurrent miscarrier. I’m sorry for your loss. Xx

  6. thank you for writing this, I’m sure this honesty has helped lots of people :-). I never knew the blissful ignorant joy of just ‘being pregnant’ as it took me so long to even get there let alone see it through. I feel badly that we somehow don’t want to allow people that joy though & I don’t think people who haven’t been there can understand it even if we encourafe them to think of others. I wish everyone trying to get pregnant or stay pregnant every hope & peace. I don’t want to seem doomy but it took me a good 9months to accept that my twins were here to stay even after they were born such was my low expectation of ever hoping beyond hope that I’d be a mum. Only now 4 years on do I think everything is ‘ok’ X

  7. Hi, I am absolutely you – at 21 weeks and after four miscarriages (and no baby yet)… still I keep feeling this is so surreal and it will just be taken away from me at a moment’s notice.

    I just cannot wait to reach my 40 weeks and hold my baby – even then I worry that it won’t have properly sunk in.
    xxx

    http://www.findingtherainbow.net – we all need our hope of a rainbow

    • Hi Rachel, I’ve read your book – so accurate and reassuring to know that we’re sadly not on our own. Have also recently given it to a friend who has experienced her first MC – she’s not ready to read it yet but will when the time is right. Hope your remaining 19 weeks go smoothly and you hold your precious rainbow soon too xxx

  8. Oh my goodness I want to hug you sontightly right now and reassure you as if that would magically make everything alright and keep you and Baby Girl safe. We’re complete strangers and yet I am crying for you as I write this because I have some idea of how painful your losses must be, and how desperately you already love this Baby, too. I hope and pray for you that this time, all will progress smoothly and you will deliver safe and sound and healthy. I wish I could do more.

  9. Such a fabulous piece. Echoes my story almost exactly. I’m currently 27 weeks after 4 miscarriages. Thank you for sharing your story.

  10. Wow you have literally put into words how this our fifth and final pregnancy has felt from start to our current 21 week stage…
    We are very lucky to already have two beautiful and healthy boys. I too with my first floated atound on cloud 9 enjoying every new stage and development without a second thought. My second made me much more wary due to a threatened miscarriage at 9 weeks, but our little monster was and still is a stubborn fighter!
    So when we fell pregnant again I was on edge from the start not really believing we could be so lucky as to have another healthy baby but as the weeks progressed I did start to believe that maybe it would be fine. Then at 12 weeks our world came crashing down and we lost our little butterfly. Neither myself or my husband could even think about trying again or risk putting our lovely little family through it again but shortly after our first loss I fell pregnant again only to miscarry a week later. Well that was it, we were officially done. Not wanting to go through the anticipation of am I pregnant? Will I miscarry again? What ifs and why’s???? But 18 months after our first loss we decided that we would be brave and we would give it one more try…
    Amazingly we caught quickly and I was pregnant again. That is where the excitment paused and the fear and paranoia at every single stage kicked in… pains and spotting from early on didn’t reassure me. Nor did the early scan at 8 weeks even though we saw a tiny little heart beat fluttering away. I couldn’t bring myself to believe or to begin to feel any connection to this little bean. Then at 12 weeks that magical marker for most pregnancies came the big blood loss and period pains… well this is it. I was convinced my body was doing it again. So angry with my body for holding onto a baby that previously had a heart beat for so many weeks more and why? Why did it have to be on the exact same marker as the first loss??? I didn’t even contact the midwife as I didn’t see the point!
    So, when we arrived at our scan a few days later i was shocked when the sonographer revealed a healthy and very wriggly baby 😀
    It hasn’t been easy going even after that. We finally told family after the scan but I was still reluctant to tell too many people and most definitely did not and still won’t announce it on facebook. I panicked in the lead up to the 16 week check believing the midwife wouldn’t find a heart beat. My husband banned me from buying a home doppler knowing i would be permanently attached to it! I worried from 16 weeks on because I hadn’t started to feel any movements at all. Then at 19 weeks began to finally feel baby move. I was happy while I could feel baby and on edge if I couldn’t! I went a whole day without feeling anything at all and after trying all of the usual tricks and still not getting baby to wriggle I began to believe the 20 week scan a few days later would reveal no heart beat…
    I am happy to say that our scan a few days ago reassured me that baby is growing and very wriggly indeed 😀 the placenta completely covering baby from the front isn’t doing my nerves any favours but baby is perfect.
    So the next hurdle is to reach viable stage at 24 weeks. Will I relax more then knowing that if baby does come early at least I have got it this far??? I hope so but with the doubts and worries of stillbirth and complications due to the strep b I am carrying i strongly doubt it!
    Maybe, just maybe I will reach the stage of holding our precious rainbow baby in my arms and then I will finally believe.

  11. Massive congratulations. I know exactly how you feel. Praying that your baby girl arrives her safely and then you can put the worrying behind you xx

  12. Wow – your post is absolutely how I feel so thank you for not making feel “odd”. I’m 27 weeks tomorrow with our much longed for baby. We’ve been trying for years and lost our first pregnancy (natural triplets) between 5-7 weeks – we were heartbroken. Little did we know that we’d go on to lose another 3 single babies to miscarriages all before 9 weeks.

    Thankfully, after too many tests to even mention, we were lucky enough to find out that I’ve got an auto immune condition and now that I’m on regular treatment, this pregnancy has gone smoothly so far (apart from a scare at 5.5 weeks) …..but there I go again…it’s that “so far” comment – I struggle to look to the future and believe we might actually have our little girl in our arms in July.

    Wishing you all lots of love and luck on your journeys to your rainbow babies.
    xxxx

    • Congratulations to you after your difficult journey and totally get the ‘so far’. Turns out I also have an auto immune condition and this pregnancy is on (v expensive!) treatment. Thanks for your comment and best of luck X

      • Same here – loads of medication including daily injections of clexane to thin my blood, since I was 4 weeks pregnant. But I’m sure we’d all do whatever it takes to get our babies.
        xxx

    • Hey do you mind me asking what you auto immune condition is? They’re trying to find out what mine is :-/

      • No I don’t mind at all. I’ve been diagnosed with Antiphospholipid / Anticardiolipin Syndrome – took a long time to get a diagnosis as GP didn’t refer me for the correct tests but I did my own research and took a list of blood tests I believed I needed and hadn’t had, to the GP – turns out I was right. Had to have repeat blood tests 12 weeks apart but they confirmed the diagnosis – turns out I was already 1 week pregnant at that stage and didn’t know – we’d stopped trying. Am sat here now at 31 weeks pregnant, still in disbelief that it’s truly happening for us.
        Wishing you lots of love and luck – it’s a tough journey but keep fighting xxx

  13. Can totally relate to this. Very similar to you I had an easy 1st pregnancy resulting in my 4 year old daughter. Then 4 miscarriages, one a late one at 17 weeks.

    I am now 38 weeks, and having gone through so much of what you have written about, always saying if and not when, praying to get through the next week, not even daring to think about what it might like if my baby arrived safely, let alone start getting things ready until I was about 35 weeks and that was after bursting into tears when trying to choose baby grows!

    We are so nearly there, I have a c section booked in 8 days, and won’t relax until he or she is safely in my arms.

    Good luck with the rest of your pregnancy.

    • Wow 8 days! I almost booked a c section too as liked the idea of control. Sorry for the journey you’ve had and congratulations for your soon to arrive rainbow X

  14. I couldn’t have said it better myself. I’m currently 20wks with twins & this is exactly how I feel. Even tho I have to have fortnightly scans it does nothing to reassure me & im constantly anxious. Glad I’m not alone in this! Xx

    • Congratulations on your twins! I wish I could say it will get better but not sure that’s true! It’s just the case of moving forward each day and counting down! All the best X

  15. Following 4 miscarriages my little ray of sunshine (Raphael – give from above) was born healthy, and thankfully now a 14month old little monkey.

    I hope you are able to relax and enjoy some, thought I totally understand the feeling.

    I couldnt go to nct classes, hear of going over my due date etc.. I did find a book called ‘Effective Birth Preparation’ by Maggie Howell brilliant. Nothing to do with miscarriage, but about positive visualisation of giving birth.

    It was brilliant, and I managed a natural calm labour with just gas and air, and only 5 real hours of pain.

    Sending you much love and positive thoughts.xxx

  16. This is such beautiful news. And such a humble, poignant post. Thank you. And huge congrats to tuck away for the day you feel able to safely let them in.

    A school friend posted one of those flashback photos to FB earlier tonight. A tee hee, look at us, reunion meal of old friends. Two with babies on their laps.

    That entire afternoon was bittersweet for me for reasons you are all too familiar with. That day followed loss number 3. It was shortly before number 4.

    I have a beautiful little girl now. She is 5. 5 pregnancies preceeded the one that stayed. Your sensitivity towards other women’s journeys is admirable. It matters xxx

  17. This article is like my entire thoughts and feelings written down. I am 36 weeks after a miscarriage last year, this is our first baby. The anxiety was initially too much for me that I had to be referred into mental health services BUT it does get better. Only recently have I found myself say ‘when’ not ‘if’ and have been able to bring myself to start organising baby clothes, washing etc and dare I say it…I’m actually enjoying it! Maternity leave was a big shock as I had convinced myself I would never get there but I am second week in and trying to relish the extra sleep.

    Congratulations on your wonderful news 🙂

  18. I identify with so much of what you’ve written here. I’m also 26 weeks and suffered a miscarriage prior to this pregnancy. I have worried (and still find myself panic stricken from time to time) all along. Every appointment stressed me out. Every scan terrified me. We also thought we’d lost the baby a couple of times before we made it to the 12 week scan, and even after hearing the heartbeat at 16 weeks I found myself panicking that what if next time there wasn’t a heartbeat. This pregnancy is a blessing, and I have worked really hard at making sure I appreciate that and not lose sight of it in spite of a painful past. I understand your worries, but I’m glad you’ve found some peace and are able to get excited now. Enjoy it, as best you can. I hope you have a happy, healthy and uneventful third trimester. Xx

  19. Reblogged this on babydroppings and commented:
    Beautiful thoughts on pregnancy after loss.

  20. You just brought tears to my eyes. My husband and I lost a baby early in our pregnancy seven years ago, and last fall we finally welcomed a little girl into our family. Her name is Phoenix in honor of everyone we lost before she arrived. I googled and prayed my way through those forty weeks as well. I didn’t even dream of buying baby clothes until seven months in. I didn’t even start a baby book or planner until third trimester because what if…
    Thank you for your bravery in sharing, and congratulations on your daughter 💗

  21. This is very familiar – I had two miscarriages before my first baby and it is so very very hard to let go of the worry. I wish you a healthy, happy pregnancy, a safe birth and a joyous time with your newborn and her big brother.

  22. Congratulations!! I honestly feel like I could have written this post myself – I’m almost 35 weeks pregnant after 5 losses. You’ve absolutely hit the nail on the head with everything. Hoping for a calm third trimester for you and a beautiful baby girl, such wonderful news xxx

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s