Miscarriage is a lot more common thank you think. Sadly, it is not often talked about. It is difficult to understand the impact of miscarriage if you haven’t experienced it. It is the most horrible thing, often a complete shock and no matter how many times you go through it, it affects you every time (not always in the same way though). You can also have a backlash around the time your baby would have been born. Most women blame themselves; it is quite normal.
If you suffer from recurring miscarriages, it can be particularly difficult seeing your relatives and friends having children around you. If you already have a child and you can’t get pregnant again, or struggle to keep a pregnancy, it can be even harder. Especially when people around you have their second and sometimes third child. Life can seem very unfair. When on top of this, you are constantly asked by anyone and everyone when you are having another one, it can be extremely difficult.
The sad thing is you have to have had three miscarriages before the NHS will send you for testing.
Remember you can always speak to your GP. It is worth getting investigated. Sometimes it can be a fairly simple solution.
Below are some links to websites and clinics that have been very helpful to me and friends of mine.
Miscarriage/Recurring Miscarriage Specialists
Mr. Raj Rai and Professor Lesley Regan at St Mary’s Hospital are two of the leading researchers into recurrent miscarriage. They have helped several friends of ours one of whom came across him at the Zita West Clinic.
Mr Hassan Shehata helped my husband and I. He is based in Epsom, but also has a clinic in Harley Street.
Is Your Body Baby Friendly by Alan E. Beer MD
I found this book particularly interesting and helpful.
Late Miscarriage/Terminating A Planned Pregnancy
Perhaps one of the worst things is losing a child way into your pregnancy, or being faced with terminating a pregnancy. I don’t believe you think terminating a pregnancy is a decision you will ever have to make. Going for your scan only to have such horrible news, is worse than anyone can ever perceive of. It is the darkest place ever imaginable.
If you are in this situation, one of the best places for help is Antenatal Results and Choices (ARC).
If you lose your child or have to terminate past 14 weeks, you are induced and have to go through labour (here in the UK at least). Something to be aware of is that your body goes through the same thing as it would have done had the outcome been a positive one, i.e. a healthy child. Your hormones go crazy, your milk may come in and if you are prone to depression, watch out for postnatal depression. Your GP will be able to help by offering counselling for instance.
Please know you are NOT alone in this, and as hard as it is, try to talk about it with the people you feel you can trust! This is a particularly touchy subject and it is easy to feel that others judge you for all sorts of reasons. It is so hard to go through something like this as it is anyway, and you really don’t need to feel or hear the opinions of others. I always try to remind myself of how easy it is for others to judge, but how many have really been faced with the same situation? I have gone through this. I am not a therapist, but please feel free to contact me confidentially if this is happening to you/has happened to you, and would like someone to talk to.
Dealing with pregnancy after many miscarriages and suffering perinatal & postnatal depression – one of my newsletters
I would like to share something that is quite personal. It is not to get pity. It is in the hope that my story can help some of you who are struggling right now.
Today is a very emotional day for me. Yesterday, my baby boy who is not really a baby anymore, turned 15 months. Today, I had my last session with the perinatal psychologist at UCLH, Claudia da Campos, with whom I have spent almost two years after starting to see her when I was 11 weeks pregnant with him.
When I went for my booking-in appointment with him at 10 weeks, I completely broke down. It was the first time I had been back in that part of the hospital since my previous pregnancy. That last time on 10 August 2012 in the middle of the London Olympics, we learned that the baby girl I was expecting wouldn’t survive outside the womb. It is something you never ever think you will go through. It simply doesn’t exist in your mind. But, there we were. And, what we had to go through was simply too horrible to put into words. It will never completely go away and it is in me forever. I have learned to live with the pain and loss.
We never thought we would have the guts to try again, but we decided over a year later that we would give it one try. A last try. I was supported by my amazing acupuncturist all along.
This was to be pregnancy number seven and it was to be my little boy who is now snoring away in his cot in the next room as I write this.
Going back into that part of the hospital where we had learned that horrible piece of news brought it all back again and more vividly than I had ever imagined it could. My midwife was simply amazing. Her name is Carol Pitterson. I will never forget her or her name. Not only did she refer me to the perinatal psychology team, but she also referred me to the fetal medicine unit where I was taken care of by the wonderful Dr Fred Ushakov. All of this without me asking. They helped carry me during this extremely difficult pregnancy. It was emotionally sometimes too much to cope with, but knowing I had my weekly session with Claudia was my lifeline as well as my many scans with Dr Fred.
The fact that I was suffering from hyperemesis gravidarum (HG) didn’t help and I had already been hospitalised, on a drip etc at 8 weeks. I was bed bound and couldn’t care for my daughter. My husband was a single father for most of my pregnancy with our son.
Once it became clear that everything was going well, I was terrified something would happen during labour. I couldn’t connect with the boy I was carrying because I was too terrified that I would lose him just like I had lost the little girl and the other babies.
Labour – on the due date just like his big sister five years earlier – was so unbelievably fast compared to the 26,5 hours in 2009. And then something did happen. I just couldn’t get him out. He was stuck. What had been very calm (and quick), became an emergency. I had no idea that he had been born, I didn’t hear him scream and I couldn’t hold him for about 20 minutes. We also didn’t know if he would be fine for 24 hours. It was extremely traumatic.
My therapist Claudia came to see us in hospital the following day and I saw her regularly again from when my son was a month old.
I had had a very traumatic and horrendous pregnancy with my daughter suffering from HG, hospitalisation etc with her too. I had also had perinatal depression and bad postnatal depression after having her.
With my son, I was lucky enough to realise that I was getting postnatal depression again, and because I already had the support from everyone, it didn’t get as bad as after having my daughter. But, the reason it didn’t get that bad was because I was able to recognise the early signs and ask for help.
For the past year, I have seen Claudia at first every two weeks and then once a month. It has been such an important part of my recovery, together with having a great GP and health visitor who have looked after me. I have also tried to take extreme care of myself to help myself recover.
The moral of the story is this: please speak with someone if you are worried. Even if you don’t think it is bad. If there is something nagging you (even if it might seem tiny and insignificant), speak up about it if you can. Don’t try to be superwoman, because it doesn’t work (at least not in the long run). Ask for help. We can’t do this alone.
There is NOTHING WRONG with asking for help! You are not a lesser person or less able to cope; rather the opposite. If you can, try to let people help you. Even if it is sending you off to have a nap while they look after your baby. I will always be grateful to my dear friend Becky for doing that for me.
There is support out there! Cocoon Family Support and Jessica Warne got in touch with me after I wrote a newsletter about this. Jessica offered to come around to see me. In the end, I didn’t need it, but perhaps because I knew she was there, it gave me a bit extra strength.
Lastly, don’t be afraid to tell your midwife, GP or anyone you are struggling. There is help available on the NHS (all of mine was on the NHS), but often you won’t get it unless you ask. Persevere if you have to! If you struggle to do it yourself, ask someone to champion for you.
I hope that for those of you who are struggling right now, you might feel less alone. I hope you feel there is hope after all, and that this might help give you the strength to ask for help. This is for you!
Karin x (founder of NW8-mums)