Surviving Recurrent Miscarriage

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Joined: 10/09/04
Posts: 74
Surviving Recurrent Miscarriage

I start off with a positive and hopeful title. Surviving. I'm not sure I'm surviving just yet, though I'm sure that will come in time.

*Child Ment*
To anyone who may read this, just a warning that it will include mention of my living children as well as my angels.

Joined: 10/09/04
Posts: 74

So, I guess I'll start right at the beginning. DH and I always wanted children. We talked about 'our children' within weeks of getting together. It just seemed such natural conversation. After we got married we wanted to wait a little while to have some time together, to move from our rented apartment to a house suitable to raise children in and to get some job security for me, since we got married right after my college graduation (DH already had a steady job). So, in September 2002 I had a secure job, we had just moved into our new house and things were settled. I was working in the next town at that time so we decided I would come off bc to allow my body to 'normalise' for a couple of months and then when I rotated through to the city we were living in we would start actively TTC. We read all the books, modified our diets, started prenatal supplements, cut out alcohol etc etc so that we would both be in prime physical condition to make our baby.

February 2003 rolled around, I rotated through to work locally and we started TTC. It was exciting!! To think, each time we did the baby-dance we might actually be creating a life! Wow. Mindblowing! Four weeks passed from my AF, I had a bit of light spotting. We started to think maybe this is it. People sometimes get light spotting when their period would have been due, don't they? We decided not to test just yet, but waited. After a week, AF arrived. Ok, so that was weird, but never mind. It was probably a bit optimistic to think it might happen first time around. On to March 2003, still having fun with the BDing. Spotting came again. Hmm, this didn't used to happen before BCP in the lead-up to AF, but oh well... AF never came. At CD36 I finally POAS'd and it was BFP!

26th April 2003

We were very excited. Here we are with a BFP, I thought naively, even if it all goes wrong at least I know I can get pregnant. What a strange thing to think on reflection.

I booked in to see my GP. He confirmed that my EDD was 26th December. Poor child, I thought. He/she will be mad about being born at Christmas. I figured maybe it wouldn't be too bad. After all, don't first babies usually come late. Maybe (s)he wouldn't be born until the start of January. That wouldn't be so bad, would it?

The next couple of weeks were a bit strange in some ways. We talked about 'the baby', thought about whether we should go on vacation that summer or whether it would be best not to. I had these odd intrusive thoughts about telling people we were having a miscarriage. I don't know if it was some sort of strange intuition or maybe I'm just a pessimist at heart. Perhaps my mother's history of 6 miscarriage losses had cautioned me a little. I don't know.

I had a bit of spotting around 6 weeks. Not much just the odd tinge of pink on occasions when I wiped. I worried a little, but DH and I talked and we knew it could just be normal and seeing as there was so little and it wasn't consistent, we just continued on.

The spotting continued too though and I did worry and those thoughts of telling people we were having a miscarriage just became more and more intrusive. Eventually I called up my GP. I told her I was pregnant and that I had been spotting on and off for a couple of weeks. She told me not to worry, it was really common in pregnancy and didn't necessarily mean anything was bad. However, she said, the local hospital has an Early Pregnancy Unit and this is exactly what they are for, so we might as well use them and ask them to see you and see what they say. So, we got an appointment for the next day. I was 8w4d.

Joined: 10/09/04
Posts: 74

The nurses at the EPU were really nice. We went through some paperwork first - how long had we been TTC, when was my LMP, when did I get my +HPT etc. We then moved across the hallway for a scan. They said that because I was over 8 weeks I could have an abdominal scan. The tech pushed on my belly with the probe, stared at the screen, brow furrowed. She eventually told me she couldn't see so well and would I mind having an internal scan. I popped out to empty my bladder, came back through and got undressed, wrapped myself up in the scratchy, white sheet and positioned myself on the couch.

Then came the weird internal scan wand. Looked a bit like I was about to be probed by an alien! More pushing and prodding and frowning at the screen. I wasn't feeling very reassured at this point. Eventually they told me that there was a gestation sac. Which, strangely, comforted me at the time. Hey, I'm not making this up after all! It was only measuring about 5.5w though and there wasn't any heartbeat. It was quite possible, they told me, that I wasn't as far along as I thought I was and it was just too early to see the heartbeat. Best thing to do, was to arrange another scan in 2 weeks and take it from there.

They sent me off with a bunch of paperwork, telephone numbers, what to look out for and who to call if I had any problems. We got to the end of the corridor before I burst into tears. DH tried to comfort me. He had taken what they said about it being too early to heart. I knew my dates weren't wrong by 3 whole weeks though. They just couldn't possibly be. I knew it was over.

I was 8w5d and it was my mum's birthday.

Joined: 10/09/04
Posts: 74

We went home - I had the day off work for the appointment and DH stayed off because I seemed so upset.

That evening I started bleeing heavily. It was happening.

Next morning I sent DH off to work. I needed to be by myself. I phoned my boss at work and told her what was happening. She was very sympathetic and told me to look after myself and that she would tell people I was off sick and there was no need for them to know why. At the time that seemed like a good idea, so I went along with it. I called up the EPU to tell them what was happening. They asked if I wanted to come in. I told them not unless they really felt I should so they told me to look out for excessive bleeding or pain and call them back if I needed to.

I sat on the couch most of the day, a heat pack on my belly and another on my back. The cramps were horrible. I was bleeding and losing clots. I called my mum. I hadn't called her the day before because I didn't want to ruin her birthday, but I wanted to talk to her now. We hadn't told anyone about the pregnancy apart from one very close friend, and my parents. Because of my mum's previous miscarriages, I figured I wanted her support if anything went wrong, so I told her when I was 6 weeks. I called mum and told her what was happening and I told her I was ok and not to worry. My poor mum was devestated. I think at that time she was more upset than I was. That evening DH phoned our friend, the one who had known about the pregnancy. I felt really sorry for him having to make that phone call, but I could not bear to do it myself.

I stayed home the next two days as well. More bleeding, more clots. Pain was less though and I figured, this isn't too bad. I went back to work after the weekend. My boss, true to her word, hadn't told anyone why I was off. That turned out to be the killer for me. My colleagues welcomed me back with a cheery 'feeling better now?'. How can you answer that question? I was SO mad at them, but they didn't know. How could they? I couldn't bring myself to tell them, so I just nodded and smiled, all the time thinking, no I'm not better, I'm dying inside and my heart is shattered.

I had great support through this time from my auntie. We kept in touch by email and had been really close when I was little. She had lost a baby to stillbirth at 26w the previous year, so I turned to her for solace and she was really comforting.

About a week after the first bleeding I was home from work studying for a postgraduate exam when I got a sudden increase in pain and bleeding. I rushed to the loo and there I passed the pregnancy sac. That was a real shock. I had thought that because the baby had died so early on there would be nothing to see and that the bleeding and clots was all there would be. I didn't even know what to do with this, my baby, still wrapped in his/her amniotic sac. I decided to bury my baby in the back garden under a magnolia. I was absolutely crushed. It was my 26th birthday.

Joined: 10/09/04
Posts: 74

Soon after I took my exam (and passed), went back to the EPU for a follow-up scan which was clean and DH and I started to pick ourselves up again. We figured, hey, miscarriage really sucks, but it's common and it just so happens that it struck us first time around. We will be ok.

We both did a lot of research online and found lots of statistics relating to the good odds of having a successful pregnancy following a miscarriage. We both felt ready to start TTC again right away and we knew that although they recommended waiting for the next AF, that was really only for dating, not for any medical reasons in the type of m/c I had had. So we half-heartedly started trying whilst waiting for AF.

I had a follow-up appointment at the EPU where they said all the same things and offered me the chance of having an early scan next time around for reassurance. They also checked my beta to make sure it was back down to normal, which it was.

Joined: 10/09/04
Posts: 74

AF arrived the following week and so we got back on the TTC wagon with gusto. We felt quite positive. Work was keeping us both busy. Life was good. I had started temping and found it quite reassuring to see the post-ovulation temp rises and know my body was doing what it should.

Three AFs came and went and then on 10th October 2003 I had again reached CD36, so I POAS'd

BFP!! I even did it a second time to make sure. Still BFP! In fact, if anything the lines were darker than last time. Maybe that was a good sign. A sign that this bubs was sticking properly.

I hadn't told my DH I was going to POAS so I called him at work and asked if he could meet me at lunch. We met in an indoor ornamental garden and I showed him the peesticks. He said as soon as I'd asked to meet him, he knew what I was going to tell him!

We were both excited, but a bit more cautious this time around. We worried that we might lose this little bean too, but we thought, no, it isn't going to happen to us twice. Things seemed much better anyway. The lines had been darker on the HPT, I had sore boobs and was even feeling waves of nausea on and off. This was a much better sign!

I made the appointment with my GP again. My EDD would be 11th June 2004. A summer baby. Perfect. I would get to have time off in the nice weather and the baby would have a birthday half-way through the year. Things were definitely looking up.

I had a random telephone call from a midwife at the local hospital the next week. She had looked through the information my GP had sent, noticed that I had had a brother with Down Syndrome and asked whether I wanted to go in and talk about extra screening tests. I don't know why this didn't come up first time around, but, I guess that isn't important. Off I went to meet with her. She explained that on rare occasions there can be a problem with a parent's genetic make-up that makes them more likely to have a baby with Down Syndrome. On hearing about my mum's recurrent miscarriages she thought there was a chance that might have been the case with my parents as many babies with Down Syndrome don't develop until term and are lost to miscarriage. She offered me karyotyping which is a blood test where they examine the chromosomes and see if they are normal. She said that they would primarily be looking for the problem that would cause an increased risk of Down Syndrome but that it was always possible that they would see other abnormalities and that if they did, they would tell us about them too.

DH and I talked it over. I spoke to my parents who said they had been genetically tested and hadn't shown up the problem in them. I decided to go ahead and have the test anyway. I figured it would be nice to have it come back negative and know I was in the clear from that. I had the blood test a few days later. The results would take two weeks to come back.

Things with my pregnancy were progressing well. My boobs were starting to look a little swollen, the nausea was still there on and off and, most importantly, there was no spotting. I made my first appointment with my midwife and received my hand-held maternity notes. Oh the excitement. All these things I never got to do first time around. Finally I was 'properly' pregnant. I called up the EPU to tell them I was pregnant and ask whether I could get the early scan they had mentioned in my follow-up appointment after my miscarriage. They booked that in for 4th November.

Joined: 10/09/04
Posts: 74

We duly rocked up to the EPU for our appointment. It was a bit strange to be back there in the place where we had received such terrible news before, but we were positive that things were going well. I was nauseous, my boobs were big and sore, I had had no spotting. This was a reassurance scan. As before, we filled out the paperwork with dates of LMP and +HPTs. The nurse was very bright and cheerful. She told us she appreciated we were nervous and should we just get on and do the scan. Once again we opted for the abdominal scan since I was 8w4d. They put the lights out, I squeezed DH's hand, the tech pushed and squinted at the screen. I was fixed on her face, searching it for any hint of what she might be seeing. Then my heart sank. She told me she couldn't see very well and would I mind having an internal scan.

I crossed the corridor to the bathroom with my heart in my mouth. Surely this couldn't be happening again. Surely when she did the internal scan, everything would be ok. The wand went up, more pushing and prodding, then she said the words we were dreading. I'm very sorry, but I can't find a heartbeat. She spun the screen around and showed us our baby. There was the sac, the little bean blob in the middle, but no flickering in the middle where the heart should have been. I looked across at my DH. The poor man was sitting with his head in his hands. I have never seen him look so crushed in my life.

Joined: 10/09/04
Posts: 74

They showed us into the little side room again - the one where they take people who have had sad news. They asked us to wait and speak to a doctor. We waited, probably for an hour, but eventually someone came to talk to us. They said they were sorry, they asked us whether we wanted any treatment and they reassured us that 2 m/c was still in the category of just bad luck and the odds were still in our favour. They offered us genetic testing of the baby to see whether there was a reason for the miscarriage.

I knew I didn't want to have surgery if I could avoid it and I figured that the option of waiting 2 weeks to see what happened was just too much. I felt like we had wasted enough of our time with this pregnancy when our baby was already dead and I just wanted to be able to move on. We opted for medical treatment which involves taking a pill to block the pregnancy hormones and then 48 hours later having vaginal pessaries to start the contractions (a bit like having an induction). They asked if we wanted to go home and think about it, but I just wanted to 'get it over with'. They gave me the tablet that same day. Swallowing it was the hardest thing to do. Although I knew there was no hope, that the baby's heart had stopped beating, it still seemed a betrayal to be 'evicting' him/her from my body.

We went home and I cried and cried and cried. I sat in the rocking chair that we thought might one day be moved to the nursery to rock an infant and I just wept. We had told our close friend from before and SIL had guessed I was pregnant when we saw her the previous week. We hadn't told either set of parents. My mum had been so devestated after my first m/c that I couldn't bear to tell her about another pregnancy until after the reassurance scan. I had to tell her now. I called my parents. They were completely devestated. My mum couldn't believe it was happening all over again like it had for her.

I went in to hospital 2 days later for the induction treatment. I sent my DH to work because I knew I had to go through this, but I didn't want him to have to go through it too. It was a 7:30 check-in. They got the pills in me. I layed around and listened to music, mainly songs from Disney animation films. I cried. I ate jelly beans. I waited for the contractions. Lunch-time came and went. I ate a dried-out sandwich. It tasted like cardboard.

The cramps started after lunch. They came in waves like contractions. I had pethidine for the pain. I remember thinking at the time that it was a completely useless pain-reliever but that what it did do was make me not care about the pain. After about an hour I passed a small perfect ball. My baby coccooned in his/her amniotic sac. I took a photo. Perhaps a strange thing to do, but I wanted to have something tangible to keep to remind me that this baby was real, especially as it would go for genetic testing this time.

One of the nurses came into my room to tell me that the midwife I'd spoken to the previous week about my own genetic testing had phoned to say she had my results and ask whether I wanted to speak to her then about them or make another appointment in the future. That didn't sound like it would be good news! I told them to send her up to me. I might as well talk to her now.

It was late afternoon by then. The midwife came. She said she was so sorry I was going through this again. She asked me if I wanted my results. She explained that they hadn't found the problem relating to Down Syndrome but they had found something else. I had a balanced translocation between chromosomes 9 and 16. At some point, possibly during my conception or possibly further back in the family tree, when cells were dividing prior to the meeting of egg and sperm a little chunk had broken off each of the two chromosomes (9 and 16) and swapped over and stuck back on. This could quite possibly be the reason for my miscarriages and means that any child we did manage to carry to term was at risk of genetic abnormality. They couldn't be sure precisely what that abnormality would be, but it was likely to include multiple medical problems and severe learning problems. My DH arrived on his way home from work during all of this explaination. I was still a bit high from the Pethidine and after the midwife left, proceeded to explain it all again using different coloured jelly beans to represent bits of chromosomes. It seemed like a good idea at the time!

We got out of the hospital around 8 that evening and headed home to digest everything that had gone on.

Joined: 10/09/04
Posts: 74

The aftermath of miscarriage #2 was not pleasant. With the added blow of the genetic diagnosis we felt like we'd been hit head-on by a goods train. I blamed myself since it was me that was 'defective'. We both worried that we might never get the chance to have any children at all, or that if we did they would be born with many problems to overcome.

As before, I had a follow-up appointment at the EPU. The nurse told us that they don't usually offer testing until after the third miscarriage, but given that I had shown up a genetic problem, we could have all the other tests run if we wanted to. We opted for that. I had a whole panel of clotting screening and immunology tests done and yet another internal ultrasound scan to make sure that my womb looked normal in its non-pregnant state. DH had his genetic testing done. Thankfully everything else came back normal.

We had an appointment with the genetic counsellors. They explained that they hadn't been able to get a result on our last baby. Apparently the culture doesn't always work. That was a real blow. I had been looking forward to at least knowing the gender. Having not been able to find out what my baby would have looked like, what personality they might have had etc I was really, really looking forward to at least knowing if they had been a boy or a girl. But no. It wasn't to be.

They went through the details of the translocation again. They told us that it was unusual to have a swap over between two of the larger chromosomes like I had because it usually happened with other particular ones. They reassured me that because I had all of my completely genetic information that there weren't any health implications for me apart from the reproductive ones. They explained again about the possible pregnancy outcomes which were;
1) normal genetics; likely healthy child.
2) balanced translocation like I have; likely healthy child, but with reproductive issues in their future.
3) unbalanced translocation where the baby would have too much of one partial chromosome and not enough of the other. This could mean a miscarriage, a stillbirth or a livebirth depending on what exact information was duplicated/missing. A livebirth in these circumstances would also mean problems, but they couldn't be certain exactly which ones. However, they almost always include multiple organ defects and severe learning problems.

She then went on to tell us what they could offer. Obviously there was no treatment for me or preventative treatment for any baby conceived. What they could offer us was information. We could choose to have a CVS or amnio to find out in advance about the baby's chromosomes, either to be fore-warned of a possible problem or if we so chose, we could decide to terminate if they were unbalanced. The other option was to have IVF with pre-implantation genetic diagnosis, where they would test any embryos created and then only use the ones which were normal or balanced. We would have to pay for that out of pocket though and travel quite some distance for the treatment. They estimated the cost to be in the region of $8,000-10,000.

They also said that looking at our family tree, which contains an unusually high number of miscarriages and stillbirths, it is possible that this problem is further back in the family too. They gave us information to give to the wider family containing the details of the specific problem I have so that they could use it to be tested if they so wished.

DH and I talked and thought and looked up information online and in medical libraries and eventually decided that we would give it 3 years to try and get pregnant successfully ourselves and if we were still getting nowhere then, we would opt for the IVF/PGD option if we could manage to afford it. We figured over 3 years we would hopefully average at least 2 pregnancies a year so that would be 6 tries to get it to happen.

Joined: 10/09/04
Posts: 74

We started TTC again, but it was not with the same gusto and excitement. There was all the sadness of the babies already lost and all the fears about the uncertainty for the future to work through. Trying to get pregnant was more like a chore than a joy. I used to lie in bed at night and worry about getting pregnant. Would I have another m/c? Would I opt for an amnio? What if that caused a miscarriage and the results came back as normal after all? What if I didn't have the amnio? Would I then just worry for the entire pregnancy? How in world would we afford IVF? Would we always wonder 'what if' if we didn't try it? What if I never got to be a 'proper' mom?

These thoughts raced round and round my head like a never-ending loop. We went through cycle after cycle, AF showing her ugly face each time. We tried a whole variety of methods and timings for DTD. I kept temperature charts, I took OPKs. Everything seemed to point to the fact that I was ovulating, but there was no pregnancy forthcoming. At one point I POAS and got a faint positive, but then I realised it was an OPK and not a HPT. The blazing BFN that following was heart-breaking.

I really struggled with the fact that I had nothing other than peesticks and one photo of a gestation sac to remember my babies. It felt like they hadn't existed in the greater scheme of things. No one else seemed to pay them much respect. People didn't talk to us about them. It was like their lives had been so short as to not count for anything. It was whilst on yet another trawl through the internet that I found the site for the Church of the Holy Innocents in New York. They have a Book of Life there dedicated to babies who have died before or at birth. I applied to have the names of my two angel babies inscribed in that book and received a certificate for each of them, bearing their name. It felt strange to me that in a big city on another continent, the names of my angel babies, known only to me, were inscribed in a book, in a shrine where people came to pray for them. That brought me a great deal of comfort as it was an acknowledgement that they had actually existed.

Around us our friends and families were having their children. It ate us up inside every time we saw DH's niece and nephew. Some close friends and family even gave us a hard time, expecting us to 'be over' our losses. Not understanding how difficult it was for us to be around small children. Telling us what had happened wasn't that bad after all and we should pull ourselves together and not be so negative about it. Clearly, these people didn't have a clue!

It was coming up on a year since we had started TTC again. Still no pregnancy. I started thinking about whether we should see a fertility specialist. It seemed just too much to have to start adding fertility treatments in on top of everything we had already been through. I had another postgraduate exam coming up, so we put it off until after that was over.

Joined: 10/09/04
Posts: 74

My exam was in another city a few hundred miles away. I had to stay the night before as it was an early morning one. DH came with me so I wouldn't be alone.

After we got back, the spotting started - here we go again - we decided wait until AF is over and then sort out about the fertility doc. We had a weekend away to spend some time together. The spotting seemed to clear up. No AF. Could it possibly be? I waited again until CD36, then POAS

So many emotions. I was happy to finally be pregnant again almost a year since my last m/c. I was glad we hadn't needed fertility drugs to get there. I was terrified that this pregnancy would be short-lived like the last. I was overwhelmed about what decisions we would make regarding genetic testing. I laughed when I worked out the dates and discovered that this baby must have been conceived the night before my big exam. So much for all the people telling us to relax and then it would happen. Actually, it took intense stress to make it happen!!

I rang the nurses at the EPU. They got us an appointment later that week to come and discuss what sort of monitoring we wanted for this pregnancy. They offered us serial ultrasounds every two weeks. They offered us an early ultrasound the following week. I was wary of being in the situation we had been the first time where they hadn't given us a definite diagnosis on the scan, just an 'it might still be too early'. I was determined not to put us through that so I asked instead for serial betas. I had the first one that day. They booked us an ultrasound for 7w1d and said if the betas were going up nicely we should see a heartbeat at that gestation. I went back after 48h for my repeat blood draw. I waited most of the afternoon for them to call with the results and finally just went to look them up myself (I happened to be working in the same hospital at the time). Oh no, here we go again. My first beta had been 5817 which I had been thrilled about, but this one was only 8957 2 days later. To double it would have had to have been 11634. I went home very depressed and rang the unit. The nurse dealing with it had apparently been trying to ring me on an old number. They wouldn't tell me anything until a doctor had reviewed the results. Eventually they rang back to say that the doctor said that because the numbers hadn't doubled, they would advise an earlier scan to see what was going on. It was a Friday evening though and nothing could be done before the Monday.

It was an anxious weekend to say the least. I called the EPU on the Monday morning and the nurse there said that they were actually quite happy with the numbers and she didn't see any point in bringing the scan any earlier given that I had said I wanted to be certain about my chances of seeing the heartbeat, so we kept the original appointment.

We were both absolutely terrified on the day of the scan. Once again I stripped from the waist down and covered my dignity with a scratchy white hospital sheet. The probe went in, pushed around. I stared at the sonographer's face. I didn't even care that he had a student with him. After less than a minute, the screen came whirling towards me and there it was. A little blob, but this time with some tiny pixels in the middle changing from black to white and back again. Oh. My. Goodness. We've got to see our baby alive. The sonographer was very kind and let us stare at the screen for a bit longer. I could barely see it through the tears that were streaming down my face. I'm not one to generally cry in front of people, but today, I didn't care. Eventually he turned the screen back around so he could do some measurements. DH and I just stared at each other in amazement and each squeezed the other's hand tightly. I didn't even think to ask for a picture, but a kindly Health Care Assistant brought one round to the clinic for us after we'd left.

The good news was that our baby was alive. The bad news was that there was a sign of bleeding on one side of the sac, a subchorionic heamorrhage. It didn't look too big and they reassured us that it would likely clear itself up, but that I might experience some spotting as the blood came away.

Joined: 10/09/04
Posts: 74

The first trimester weeks passed very slowly. Each day seemed like a week in itself. I had found the Pregnant After a Loss board here and was getting support from the girls there which was invaluable. We had an appointment with the genetics people, including a dating scan, the day before Christmas Eve. I was absolutely terrified. I had had some spotting the night before and I was convinced that the baby had died and that Christmas would be ruined. We had our scan

the bean had grown and we even got to see arms and legs this time. We truly couldn't believe our luck.

We decided to go ahead with the amnio. The wait to get through the first trimester wondering if our baby would survive had been torture. I knew I couldn't get through the rest of the entire pregnancy wondering whether we would have a stillbirth somewhere along the line. I had to know if the odds were in our favour. It was difficult getting through day to day. I had overwhelming sickness and tiredness which was very reassuring. I was utterly terrified that something was going to go wrong though. Every time I did anything baby related I worried that I would somehow cause a miscarriage. I didn't dare buy maternity clothes, I hardly dared to write in my journal. I guess in that context it probably seems strange that I opted for an amnio, but it was the lesser of two evils. We put it off until 18w because I wanted to be sure that if I was going to have a miscarriage anyway, that it would happen in advance of the amnio and not leave me wondering whether I had caused it by having the test.

We had the amnio. The High-Risk Ob, whom I hadn't met before, was absolutely lovely. The baby kept trying to grab the needle, so clearly (s)he was ok. They gave us a picture at the end

The next fortnight was really tough. My anxiety levels sky-rocketed as I waited with baited breath to see whether the amnio would cause us any problems and as we waited to find out our baby's genetic fate. Eventually, about 10 days later, we got the phone call. The news was good. Our baby had normal chromosomes. Around the same time I started being certain that I was feeling movements and things really got better after that. I was still terrified. Every day was counting up to a new milestone - 24 weeks for threshold viability, 28 weeks for a better chance of survival, 30 weeks for a really good chance, 34 weeks for not having to go to the NICU if (s)he was born now.

I went into labour at 38w5d gestation. The labour was straightforward. I stayed at home for as long as I could. I used my TENS machine. I was 4cm when I got to L&D and progressed rapidly to fully within 3 hours. I pushed for an hour. The entire time I was terrified that something would go wrong at the very last minute. Whenever the midwife listened in with the doppler I would hold my breath, expecting her to have trouble finding the heartbeat. When the baby's head was very low and the heartrate dropped from the compression (as is normal) I just about freaked out thinking, we've got to this point, about to deliver and now it's going to go wrong. But it didn't.

I will never forget the moment I looked down from where I was kneeling just inches above my baby daughter's head and looked into her big eyes. My first thought was oh my goodness, there was a baby in there after all. I think up until that moment, despite everything, I didn't truly expect that there would be a baby at the end of the journey for us.

Joined: 10/09/04
Posts: 74

The early weeks of DD's life were very anxious for us both. We couldn't quite believe that we had been this lucky. We kept waiting for the other shoe to drop. At one point I managed to convince myself that because she wasn't feeding that actually the amnio results had been wrong and that she did have severe problems after all. We were terrified that she would die of SIDS. We never let her out of our sight. Even whilst she slept she was right there with us whether we were downstairs in the living room or upstairs in bed.

Eventually we did calm down and learned to relax and enjoy the beautiful daughter we had been blessed with.

We decided right away that we wanted to continue to try and have more children. Given the road we had already travelled and the potential for recurring problems ahead, we decided to just let nature take its course and not use any contraception. I was breastfeeding so we figured it was unlikely to happen in the first 6 months, but even if it did, we were okay with that.

When DD was 10m old we all got a stomach bug. DD and DH recovered, but it seemed to linger for me. It was during a weekend at work that I figured out the sickness was worse when I hadn't eaten for a while and eased for a bit afterwards. Goodness, could we really have managed to conceive so easily? I had only had one AF since DD was born and we weren't sure whether I was fertile again yet.

We ordered some HPTs online and once they arrived I POAS

How utterly fantastic. A stress-free TTC journey. I think we both expected to lose this baby. After all, given our background we were unlikely to be successful twice in a row, right?

We got in touch with all the usual people. The genetics people freaked out a little because by LMP dates I was already 14w, but I reassured them that as I was breastfeeding I was pretty certain that my cycles weren't regular and that I only 'felt' about 6 or 7 weeks based on when my symptoms had started up. They booked us a scan - it was DD's first birthday. I was really worried about the timing, but if we didn't take that appointment we would have had to wait another entire week. It turned out to be ok. There was a healthy baby with a strong heartbeat measuring 9w5d.

Less than a week later I was coming home from a trip out with a friend of mine and her DD. I walked through the door and there was a pop and a gush. I ran for the bathroom only to see I was bleeding heavily everywhere. I cleaned myself up a bit. Went back out through my blood-soaked hallway to see my poor friend standing there looking horrified. I told her I had been pregnant and this was probably a miscarriage. She cried, we hugged. She offered to stay, but I sent her on her way. I called DH and told him. I said I can't see any baby surviving that much bleeding. I rang work to say I wouldn't be in. I sat and I cried. I hugged my DD tightly and I cried some more. I had thought that given how we had conceived easily and we hadn't really expected to have another successful pregnancy happen easily that if anything went wrong I would be ok. The thought that I was probably losing this baby was NOT ok though.

We had to attend a funeral the next day. My bleeding had lightened but the nausea, which had been so much worse than with DD, seemed to have gone. Over the weekend though, there wasn't any more bleeding and my sickness came back with a vengence. I figured it was just my body being stubborn as usual, but I did allow myself a glimmer of hope. On the Monday I rang up the EPU. I explained the situation and they arranged a scan for me the next day. Going back to the EPU was difficult. We had consciously avoided it all during DD's pregnancy and had our scans in a different department because we felt like it was bad luck somehow. It was the same sonographer that had scanned me just a week ago. She popped the probe on my belly and, amazingly, spun the screen round to us almost right away. My baby had a heartbeat. (S)he was alive! I was gobsmacked. The sonographer did some more scanning and found that I had developed another subchorionic haemorrhage with this pregnancy. Still, my baby was alive!

I bled reasonably steadily from then on for a while. It was an anxious time. I rented a doppler at 12 weeks and after the first few weeks I got good at consistently finding the baby's heartbeat. That was a big reassurance. That and the constant vomiting. I was so very sick with this pregnancy. Worse than with the last one. It was reassuring though. Somewhere around 16 weeks the bleeding finally tapered off. We went for amnio again. The amniotic fluid was coloured with the stain of old blood. That worried me. After just over 2 weeks though the result came back good. This baby was again genetically normal.

I wouldn't say I was more relaxed second time around because I was still hyper-anxious and expecting things to go wrong at any minute, but I think I had accepted the possibility that it might just turn out ok in the end this time which I hadn't been able to get my head to accept when I was pregnant with DD.

Happily our son was born healthy, again at 38w5d. The delivery was rather rapid and poor DH ended up delivering him at home with only DD for support! That evening as we all settled down in bed together DH looked over at me and said 'I bet you never thought that in under 2 years we would end up like this'. He was absolutely right. I had never dared to allow myself to even hope that things would turn out so magnificently.

Joined: 10/09/04
Posts: 74

As our little brood started to grow older, DH and I began to discuss more children. Before we had even started trying we had both said we wanted to have 3. After DD was born, I wanted 4. During our darkest time when we thought we might never have any at all, we said that if we got just one we would be thankful.

Before DD there was never any doubt about keeping going as we both desperately wanted to parent a living child. Even after she was born we knew we would really rather that she wasn't an only child so there really wasn't any question of trying again. This time, we had started using contraception because of financial reasons relating to my job it was important to delay getting pregnant until after DS turned 1.

But we started thinking, we had been through such dark years before being blessed with our living children and we had come so far since then. We now have two beautiful children who are both healthy and happy. We even have one boy and one girl. Yes, we really want some more, but do we dare attempt it. We had this discussion back and forth for months. What if we lose another one? What if the next one has severe problems? Will that take from the time we have for our two children? Would it be fair to them? They get on together so well, will a third upset their dynamic? Lots of wondering and thinking and talking. DH said he could come to terms with not trying again if that was what we decided. I tried to think that way, I really did. But in my heart, I ache for another small baby. I don't feel 'done'.

So in March 2008, we started TTC again. We tried to take this easy and keep it lighthearted. It worked the first few months, but after cycle #3 it started getting harder again. I decided to start temping again. I wondered whether the fact that I was still nursing was affecting my ovulation or my LP even though AF has been regular since DS was 10m old. Temping seemed to indicate things were working and happily cycle #5 was a success and on 27th August 2008 I got my long-awaited BFP

I was anxious. I think that anxiety will always be with me, even if by some miracle I birth 12 living children. I will always be anxious during pregnancy. I chose a 'tummy name'. I sat and I analysed my symptoms. Am I sick enough? Is there any trace of spotting on the paper? Are my boobs sore yet? I tried not to think about statistics and what the odds of having 3 successful consecutive pregnancies are. I took about 5 HPTs that first week which is not at all like me. I usually have willpower of iron when it comes to POAS! I stayed in a little coccoon for the first week. I worked out my own due date - May 3rd 2009. Perfect. A baby born just at the start of summer. Won't be too hot for the early weeks, but will get some nice time off in the summer with all 3 children.

I eventually got around to making an appointment with the GP for 6w4d. I relished my nausea worsening and enjoyed feeling yucky as a lovely confirmation of the growing life within me. At 6w3d the morning sickness really kicked in with a vengence and I felt ROUGH, but also a growing excitement. Things were looking good. That evening I had some bleeding. More than spotting, but much less than I had when I was pg with DS. It was just the one gush. No more came. I still felt sick. I was uneasy though. I arranged a scan the next morning.

Once more onto the ultrasound skewer! Searching the sonographer's face for clues. 30 seconds pass, then a minute. This can't be good news. She eventually turned the screen and showed me my womb with a gestation sac inside. She told me everything is in the right place, I just can't find a heartbeat, but at this gestation and this size measurements, it's not diagnostic. It could just be too early. We'll know better after a re-scan in 2 weeks.

Aargh. I kicked myself for getting a scan so early. I shouldn't have panicked when I saw the bleeding. I should have waited until after 7 weeks. The 2 weeks fell during our vacation, so it wasn't until 9w1d that I could get an appointment for the re-scan. We went on vacation, I felt ill most of the time. The sickness was definitely worsening. My boobs were growing. This has to be a good sign, right? I'm still terrified of the scan.

We trek back up to the EPU once again. They take my details like they have many times before. I'm 9 weeks so I can have an abdominal scan. I have a bladder the size of a lake but I daren't go pee some of it out in case I can't stop and then have to start drinking all over again. We go in for the scan. We've had to bring the children with us because I need DH there and we don't have anyone else to watch them. They are being very good though. The probe goes on my belly, a minute passes. This is taking too long. At 9 weeks they should easily be able to see everything right away. The sonographer says she can't see too well, my womb is retroverted, would I agree to an internal scan. I've heard those words before, but despite myself I have a glimmer of hope. Maybe it's the womb tilting that's stopping her from seeing so well. Perhaps the machine is older and not so detailed. I scoot across the hall to empty my bladder like I have done in the past. Pants off, hospital sheet round and back on the couch. Balancing on the end of the wand again. Another minute passes. Definitely not good. The sonographer looks at me and says I'm so sorry, it's not good news. I can't find a heartbeat. She turns the screen around and shows me. There's just this tiny blob on there now, not a nice round sac like the last time. The statistics were right.

Joined: 10/09/04
Posts: 74

We were taken into the little room again. The 'bad news' room. The room of loss and devestation. I know I want the medical treatment again. I decided that weeks ago when every scenario was running through my head. This time though, there are the children to consider. We decide on a date for next week. We can have someone watch the kids then in case I end up at the hospital past their bedtime or have to stay overnight. We make our appointments and leave.

I send DH to work. I have the children today as it is not a work day for me. I can't figure out what to do with myself or with them. We go home, but they are bored and I can't manage to entertain them. I decide to take them out. We go to a nearby hobby shop and buy things for making Christmas presents. It's almost lunch-time. I can't even begin to think about making lunch. There's a Burger King next-door. What's more, it has a drive-thru. I have never fed my children fast food and I have never been to a drive-thru before, but that is where we go for lunch. I tell the kids it will be fun to have a picnic in the car. We head off home, they have their naps, then DH comes home early. He can't bear to stay at work. We vegetate together in some sort of numb stupor. We thought we were prepared for this. We 'knew' we would be ok if it turned out to be bad news.

We were kidding ourselves.

Joined: 10/09/04
Posts: 74

I guess today I'm technically 9w5d pregnant. Not that it makes sense to keep counting once you know the baby is dead, but as far as my body is concerned, I'm 9w5d. No spotting, no cramping, sore boobs. The nausea has only just stopped getting worse. In fact, today is the first day that I have had times of feeling completely ok rather than just sick and nauseous. I don't know why it is, but my body never seems to realise what is going on within my womb. How can a mother not know when her baby dies?

I'm struggling with how to feel. I am utterly devestated by this latest loss. Knowing it might happen hasn't prepared me like I thought it would. I find it difficult to acknowledge that though. I feel as though I ought not to be so devestated. After all, I have two healthy children, I knew the score when we decided to TTC again, I have expected this to happen ever since I got pregnant with DS. There are plenty others out there with losses that are greater than mine and with their own struggles and problems.

Perhaps it is the thought that others see our situation like this that upsets me so and stops me from allowing myself to grieve. I'm sure those close to us who thought we were being pathetic in struggling with our situation before DD was born would completely brush over this entire episode as inconsequential. I think that is part of what makes me so mad. Just because my baby wasn't very well formed and was lost early doesn't make him/her any less of a person. Ok, I don't have a photograph, I don't even know the gender and I'm unlikely to get a chance to find out. That doesn't make my baby a non-entity. There was life, there was hope, there were plans for this little one. That is all gone now. We will not get that back. Not for this baby.

I am also angry. Angry that I am going through this again. Been there, done that. I don't need to keep repeating the experience. Again, I do acknowledge that 3 losses is far less than some others have had but it hurts so much. Every. Single. Time. I am mad at myself too. DH thought he could come to terms with only having 2 children, why oh why couldn't I? I really, really did try, but I just couldn't get my head around it. Now, not only is it my genetic defect responsible for this but it is also my inability to draw a line under the happy times and call it quits that has landed us back in this deep, dark pit of grief.

And yet, once I have passed this baby and laid it to rest I know I will want to TTC again. I have another list of worries to add to the previous one. How many more times will it take before we manage to have a successful pregnancy? How many more times could we bear to go through this as a family? There are the children to consider now. I am not a pleasant person to have as a mummy at this moment in time. Will there come a point where we have to say no more trying and just be thankful for the two children we have? How will we know when to stop? How long will it take to get a BFP next time?

Time, the great healer and the great revealer. Only it holds the answers to all these questions. Sometimes though, I wish we could get just a little peek. A little hint at what might lie on the road ahead. Would that really make it any easier though?

Joined: 10/09/04
Posts: 74

The messenger finally got through. At 8:20 this evening, at 10w1d my little angel bean left the cosy warmth of my body. *TMI warning* The gestation sac had split open. I searched desperately through it. Looking for which parts would have made up the little body. Searching in vain for a glimpse of a face. There was a tiny little foetus in there. Still with a little tail. Not even with limb buds yet, poor little soul. Never even had half a chance. Da.mn my genetic inheritance. At least I got a chance to cradle this tiny, almost alien-looking life in my hand. To know (s)he really did exist. That (s)he was my precious baby, if only for a few short weeks.

Joined: 10/09/04
Posts: 74

I had a 'dry run' at being back at work today - sort of! It was my EPU appointment. One of my colleagues was sitting at the nurses station when I booked in. She asked me if I was alright. I must be dealing ok with things. There was a time when that would have led to me shouting at her (in my head of course) what do you mean am I alright? Of COURSE I'm NOT alright? Today though, I took it as her way of showing compassion, acknowledging what I'm going through and, yes, I was 'alright'.

The nurses, once again, were exemplary. I know it's not just that I know them. They have always been this sensitive and compassionate. I guess now I just skip the queue - though I had a timed appointment this morning and there weren't any other ladies waiting. One of the senior sisters saw me. I explained about last night, so she just scanned me there and then. There's a small amount of tissue left inside, most likely clots. It should come away by itself without any further intervention. So, medically speaking, good news.

It was hard being back though, even for just half an hour. I've been in this lovely coccoon of unreality since my scan. I have my 'mummy days' (as DD calls them) where my focus is on feeding, teaching and entertaining the kids. On what would usually be my work days, the kids go to nursery, DH goes to work and I sit in the protected comfort of my sitting room, sending random thoughts into the ether of the internet. I could happily go on like this indefinitely. Going in to where I work though, was a taste of 'normal'. Having been very composed for the last few days I came very close to breaking down in tears several times. It's the unexpected things that are the worst. I knew I'd see people I know at the EPU and I had prepared myself for that and got through it, composure almost 100% intact. It was when I bumped into one of the Attendings on the stairs that I nearly lost it, even though I just smiled a greeting at him as I kept going down the stairs whilst he was coming up. It's going to be difficult to go back in next week and have people give their condolences. That said, if they don't I will be incredibly angry. I expect what will happen will be a mixture. My immediate colleagues should hopefully all know what has gone on and many of them will have the guts and the good grace to mention it. Most of the nurses and midwives will not know though. I'll just have to try and prepare myself as best I can and get through those first few days. It will get easier from there on.

I've done a lot of very 'matter of fact' thinking these past few days. I've realised that DH and I allowed ourselves to be sucked into a false sense of security by the previous two successful pregnancies. I think that having gone through two miscarriages and then that terrible year of failing to conceive at all and constantly worrying what the translocation diagnosis might mean for us in the future, when we finally came home with DD, we managed to convince ourselves that the nightmare was over. In a sense, it was. It was so healing to bring a child into our home. To realise that actually, things could work out for us. When we had DS it was like we hit the jackpot, but also, in a sense, like we had put all those dark years behind us. Like this was our bright new future and the loss and grief would just continue to fade into the background. This latest loss has dragged us back so far to things that I feel we didn't really think we'd go through again. Like we had somehow broken that particular mould. In some ways I feel like we are right back at the start, but actually, even with the children out of the house right now, I look around the room and see their books, tiny clothes, colouring pencils scattered on the desk from where DS was drawing his 'pick-shur' this morning and actually, I am comforted that we can never go back there.

Now that's not the same thing as saying everything's fine and dandy. It's not. A loss hurts regardless of how many living children you have. If a mother of five (which is what I am) has three of her children die in a house fire, you don't say to her, never mind, at least two survived. You would expect that she would grieve for the three that were lost and maybe hug the other two that bit tighter, knowing that their survival is a blessing but will never compensate for the loss of the others. I think that best explains how I'm feeling right now.

Joined: 10/09/04
Posts: 74

I buried my baby this afternoon. It took me a while to decide where to put him/her. Angel baby #1 is buried under a magnolia and I thought of putting this baby there too, but in the end I went for under a rose bush. The only one in our garden and a new addition this year. It was bought by my parents and planted by them (as they know how un-green fingered we both are). It's also in a newly developed bed right alongside where the sandbox and playhouse are in the summer so I can think of this LO watching over his/her older siblings (and hopefully younger too in time) as they play.

Joined: 10/09/04
Posts: 74

I want to vent about something silly. I hate sanitary pads. There. I've said it. I have never been a pad girl. Not even in adolescence. I hate the sensation. I hate having to wear underwear to bed. It always seems to be just the final bad joke that goes along with losing my angels. Suffering through this indignity of feeling like an incontinent old woman. And what is with the wings?? I ask you. I'd like soft cotton against my skin in my nether regions thank you not some horrible plasticy stuff chafing up around the sides of my undies. They must've been designed by a man!

Joined: 10/09/04
Posts: 74

I can't concentrate today. I keep having little sad thoughts dropping into my head. Not "I'm about to break down in a weepy mess" sort of thoughts, just little pangs of sadness. As much as anything, I'm missing being pregnant today. I think this is the first day that I have missed being pregnant rather than just grieved for the loss of the little baby I would have carried in my arms next May. Today I grieve the loss of the 'here and now' that should have been my ongoing pregnancy.

I should have been 10w4d today. My m/s should be getting to it's worst point. Usually around 11w is where it starts becoming totally debilitating. I should be at work lurching from one bathroom to the next and sipping on mushroom soup or nibbling on plain mashed potato. I miss carrying around my little secret. Having quiet little chats with DH about next summer when we would have been juggling three LOs. Thinking of nice ways to tell family; how we would explain to DD and DS, imagining them interacting with their new little brother or sister. Most of all, I miss being part of that sisterhood of pregnant mummies. Particularly the little gang of us on DS's birth board. My BFP seemed to trigger a mini-rush of BFPs - two ladies in particular that I have known for the longest time on that board as well as the others whom I have come to know and love. I was so pleased and excited that we would all be going through pregnancy together again and having our little bundles together next May. I miss being a member of that particular gang. It hurts to see their tickers counting up. Don't get me wrong, I am beyond pleased for them. That old bitterness and jealousy just doesn't seem to be there when it comes to these ladies. Maybe it is because I have children myself now and I no long fear that 'never being a 'proper' mummy' label or maybe it's just because I know these ladies so well. We have helped each other along in the past 2+ years; celebrated each others' joys and consoled each other in harder times. I know that each of these ladies deserve their happy pregnancies and I wish nothing but positive things for them. It still just hurts a little, deep down in my core, thinking "that should be me too".

Joined: 10/09/04
Posts: 74

Ugh. Today I am miserable on a whole other level. DH works for the university and their students have all come back last week from the far-flung corners of the world bringing their bugs. It happens every year, I just hadn't realised the timing. DH and the kids have been a little snotty, but I have full-blown "Fresher's 'flu". Everything in my head is swollen and sore - head, throat ears - and I ache everywhere that it is even remotely possible to ache. My muscles, joints, even in my bones. It was a bit scary last night because all I had was the aching and a fever of 38.5C despite ibuprofen. I was worried that I might have endometritis. At least the sore ears and throat this morning have reassured me on that count. I do feel ROUGH though!

Today is my last day in my sheltered coccoon. Tomorrow it's the weekend - family days as DD calls them - Monday is a 'Mummy Day' and then Tuesday, the dreaded work day. I hope it will go ok. I'm nervous about Tuesday morning. I have clinic with my supervising Attending and he is not known for his tact. In fact, he makes a point of rubbing people up the wrong way for fun. I'm just afraid he will brush over what has happened or say the wrong thing and I will end up in tears in the middle of clinic. He was surprisingly compassionate though a few weeks ago when DH's aunt died and I took time off to attend her funeral, so for now, I'm hoping for the best. My work week will be a bit odd. I am co-facilitating a symposium on Grief and Bereavement on Thursday - great timing! The other co-facilitators do know what has happened though and they have both sent me really supportive emails so I'm hoping that will go well. Friday I am down to be on-call for the EPU. In a way I think that won't be such a bad day. They have doubled me up with someone else which is good, the nurses on there are utterly fantastic and I'm sure they will be supportive. Plus, I was supposed to have been on-call for the L&D suite. I am grateful to have a colleague with sufficient consideration to have changed things around for me. It will be ok. I will get through, but I do dread it.

I think I also just need to be shaken out of this reverie. I realised with horror yesterday that I had worn the same shirt, day and night, for 36 hours. This morning I put on a jumper stained with blood along the arms from when I was bleeding very heavily during the miscarriage. I need to wake up and start taking care of myself and not just drift around like a zombie. Maybe getting back to work is the kick in the backside that I need.

I read an excellent article this morning on the Miscarriage Association website about talking to your children about miscarriage. It's something I have struggled with in my head this time around. Wasn't an issue the previous times. DH thinks they are too young and there's no point upsetting them. Part of me does feel that way too. After all, we just want to protect our children and stop them from feeling pain. We hadn't told them I was pregnant either, so there is a 'get out of jail free card' there as we could just say nothing and go on as usual. Only trouble is, we can't go on as usual. Each baby angel has changed who we are as people. The kids were around when I miscarried, they know I've not been well and because they both follow me to the loo at every visit, DD in particular, knows that I am bleeding still. She asked me the other day if my tummy was still poorly because I was still bleeding. They have also both seemed to be that bit more clingy. I don't know if it is because they were told to stay away from me when I was having the worst pains and DH was physically dragging them off because all they wanted was to cuddle mummy. It may be a reaction to how I am emotionally. I try to be 'normal' for them, but it is difficult and they are not stupid. DD in particular, at 3 years of age knows Mummy is not her usual self. So, for many of those reasons, I think it is a fallacy to think that we can go on and not mention it and just brush over the whole thing. Little children make up their own reasons for what is going on and I think I'd rather be straight with them than have them thinking that I'm seriously ill or that something is going to happen to Mummy.

The question arises about what to say. I think it will go over DS's head at 20months, though I could be wrong. DD though will be able to take the words on board, but I don't know how she will be able to comprehend. I've read a lot of different phrases this morning in that article and I think perhaps the way to go is to make an analogy to plants. We planted raspberry canes (well, MIL did) in our garden this year and they turned out to be a bad batch - the garden centre just gave MIL her money right back when she went to mention is as they had had so many complaints about that batch not growing. Anyway, we planted about 18 and maybe 6 or 7 grew. I think perhaps I can draw an analogy from that to explain to DD. Tell her that just like some of the raspberry canes weren't well enough or strong enough to grow into plants, that Mummy's baby wasn't well enough or strong enough to grow in her tummy and be born.

I think my own childhood experience informs my decision somewhat. I was just a couple of months older than DD is now when my brother died (just before his 2nd birthday) and obviously my parents didn't have any choice but to talk to me about it. It was nice though as a child to keep that memory alive. I think I just accepted it. We weaved him into our everyday life. When I drew a picture of our family in my first year at school (I would have been 4) I drew him too. We used to have birthday parties for him for several years after he died. Any time there was a thunder storm and my brother and I would be frightened of the noise, my Mum would tell us that my other brother had just scored a goal in heaven and all the angels were cheering for him. Those are nice and happy memories from my childhood. I don't think of them with sadness particularly. I guess perhaps being Irish my take on grief is a bit different from the British 'stiff upper lip' attitude. There have been two deaths in DH's family since our kids were born - MIL's mother (the kids' great-grandmother) about 2 years ago and DH's aunt just a few weeks ago. Both times we just brought the kids to the funeral. It just seemed natural to me. The other grandchildren didn't go though and I think MIL thought it a little strange that we took the kids. When DH's uncle died a couple years before we had children, it was the first time that DH and his siblings had been to a funeral. That stunned me. Here were three adults in their 30s who had never been to a funeral. I don't see why kids are banned from funerals (or from weddings for that matter, but that is an issue for another day). To me, they are family events. A chance to celebrate the person's life, say Goodbye to them and help those left behind to find some peace.

We had the death of my aunt's DH a couple years back in Ireland and we took DD to the funeral, but no one batted an eyelid. My aunt was very grateful to see her. It made her smile, albeit briefly. All the grandchildren were there. It's just normal in Irish society. Growing up, we regularly went to wakes and funerals. Some were of people very close to us and some were of relatives of my parents' colleagues or our neighbours. It wasn't a big deal really. We accepted it as part of life. We witnessed people grieving the loss of their relative. We even saw dead bodies laid out in caskets without it being a big issue. To us, it was normal to go and pay respect to those that had died and to comfort those left behind. We learned very early on how to say "I'm sorry for your loss" and shake hands with a row of mourners.

I have become very side-tracked, but what I was getting to is that you can't shelter your children from everything in life. Indeed, to do so does them a disservice. I also feel it is in some way disrespectful to our youngest angel baby to somehow keep his/her existence from the kids. Like it's some little sordid secret that we have to be embarassed about. And so, I have made my decision to tell them. I think I will wait until there is a natural way to introduce it. Perhaps next time DD talks about how she grew in my tummy - which she is doing a lot lately - or next time she sees me sad and asks. I just hope I can do it 'properly' and in the 'right' way. I think she will probably be matter of fact about it. I will also tell them about the older angel baby siblings they have. I think it is the right way to proceed.

Joined: 10/09/04
Posts: 74

Gosh. I've been away from this for a while. Freshers' flu was followed by rip-roaring tonsillitis and a mayday call to the ILs so that our poor kiddies could have some fun time this weekend. Back on the road to recovery now hopefully. I have a scan tomorrow about the retained tissue and hopefully if it's still there (as I expect it will be) I can get some treatment and get it sorted out.

PAIL day has hit me really hard this year. I guess it's because I'm still in the midst of everything. It's been nice to think that there are so many people across the world remembering all the angel babies, but it is also sad to think of how very many of them there are.

Joined: 10/09/04
Posts: 74

It seems my body remains stubborn. My scan showed the same retained tissue as 10 days earlier. Seeing it still there on the screen made me break down in tears. It's strange. I worked through all the 'my body is a failure' thoughts and feelings 4 and 5 years ago after the first two m/cs and the translocation diagnosis. I had got to the point of accepting that this is how the dice have been cast for me. DH was central in that with the comment he once passed saying that the translocation was part of who I am and he would never wish to change it because he wouldn't want to change anything else about me. I seem to have slid back a bit though with this miscarriage, especially with the way my body has been dealing with it. There's once again the whole not realising the baby has died part. In fact, if anything, my body kept up the pretence even better this time than any other in the past with the level of sickness I had. It then took another week to have the miscarriage and even after that, here I am another 10 days down the line and still my body is not doing its job.

I went for the drugs! It sounds awful, but I just wanted the tissue out of me and the whole thing over with. I want to start to heal again. I want to try and move forward for my own sake and the sake of my DH and LOs. They need me back and right now, I'm still not 'me'. I know I won't be the me of old. Each loss changes me, but I need to be at least something that resembles the essence of me.

The medication seems to be starting to work. I won't go into the gory details, but it does seem like things are moving in the right direction. I'll have another appointment in a further 2 weeks and hopefully all will be right with me, physically at least, by then.

Going back to work was really tough. It seems as though the colleague that I asked to let people know what had happened didn't really bother to. Clearly he told at least one person because she was utterly lovely to me. She's a loss mom herself, so I guess she understands better than anyone how difficult it is to work in a place like ours after losing a baby. No one else seemed to know though. Or, if they did, they didn't show it. I think though, on balance, people just don't know. There were some that I know would have had some acknowledgement of it if they had known, but who acted like I'd just been on holiday. I, myself, do accept some of the blame. After all, it is not my colleague's duty to tell people. I did tell two people - one responded reasonably nicely, the other just asked how many weeks pregnant I was. What does that matter? Clearly 10 weeks is not sufficient to gain any sympathy from her because she just went back to reading her magazine after obtaining the information. As for my Attending, he doesn't know. I would have been happy to tell him, but I was already seeing patients when he arrived in clinic so there wasn't an opportunity at the start. He did realise something was up. He commented that I was very sombre and asked if I was ok. Trouble was, he did this in the middle of a consultation whilst the patient was getting dressed in the next room and was due back in to talk to us at any moment. I was on the verge of tears and I just couldn't get in to it there and then. I did actually burst into tears as he left the room, managed to compose myself enough to talk to the patient when she came back out and then burst into tears all over again when she left. The nurse who had been with me throughout the consultation was really nice and I told her what had gone on, but it's difficult. There were other people I'd have loved to have told, but I just didn't feel strong enough. I can't talk about it aloud without bursting into tears. I'm not saying there's anything wrong with crying about my loss, but in the middle of the mess with a dozen colleagues around me is not the time I want to be doing it. Trouble is, now that they have asked where I have been and been met with a non-commital answer, they will not ask again and there will be no opportunity to tell them. I just feel sort of mad at the whole situation because I know that there are good people there who would give me support if only they knew.

I suppose at least it stops me being mad at people who know and don't say anything and it stops me being mad when everyone stops mentioning it. That's the hardest thing. It's ok in the first couple days. People who know ask how you are, they call or they text to see how you're doing. But, very quickly, people stop talking about it. I don't know whether they forget, they think you've gotten over it or they just don't know how or whether to bring it up. It really hurts though. Perhaps I'm feeling it more this time as I am STILL stuck in the acute phase until I've actually completed the miscarriage whereas everyone else seems to have put it behind them. I don't know. Maybe I just expect too much of people.

I feel very alone right now though.

Joined: 10/09/04
Posts: 74

I had the most amazing dream last night. I was having this latest miscarriage all over again, only this time, the baby, although minute, was completely and perfectly "human-looking". Oh, and it was a little boy too. Strange, 'cos all through this last pg I had a feeling it was a girl. Who knows! It was so very lovely to get the chance to look at his face and to take pictures that I could share and show to people. I wish I could have had that chance for real.

I guess that's one of the things that I find difficult about losing my babies so early in development. I've never been able to see what they might have looked like. I've never been able to take a photo that I can share. I did take pictures of angels #2 and #3, but they are more like medical photos than family ones. I've never even showed them to DH and wouldn't dream of showing them to anyone else. It just seems such a shame. I wish I could have three little pictures on my mantlepiece, in a locket, on a webspace. Anywhere. Even my ultrasound scans don't seem 'baby-shaped'. It's yet another layer of loss and I think it's part of what makes it so difficult for other people to understand how I am feeling. If I had a little photo to say "this was my son, this was my daughter; aren't they tiny and perfect?", then I do think that people would 'get it' more. Not that it's about what other people think, it would just make dealing with things easier I guess if people around me were responsive and acknowledging what I was going through.

MIL called tonight. I thought we had hit a breakthrough point when she asked how I was and whether I was starting to feel back to normal at all yet. I was just about to launch into an explaination of the scan on Friday and how I was still retaining tissue and that was making it difficult to move on, when she came out with "these viruses seem to be hanging around a long time". Oh. I see. You're not asking about my lost baby - your lost grandchild - you are asking after my sore throat! Fan-bloody-tastic. Don't get me wrong. I love my MIL dearly, but she hasn't mentioned this loss to me at all. Not once. Not a single "I'm sorry" or "how dreadful to lose another baby".

It just makes me so sad that my little baby seems to have meant so little to anyone other than DH and I.

Joined: 10/09/04
Posts: 74

Today has certainly not been a good day. In fact, I think it's been the worst day I've had since finding out about this last miscarriage. I think everything has been building up inside of me this past week and today was the day it finally spilled over in an overwhelming tidal wave of emotions. I spent the entire day either crying or trying very hard to blink away tears. I don't know what it is; something intrinsic to this miscarriage, the length of time the physical part is taking, working in ObGyn or just the general stress right now of upcoming boards, a new rotation on the horizon and the usual bustle of family life. I never for a moment thought it would be this difficult third time around.

My silver lining of the day has been the kind words of the wonderful ladies on DS's BB. Posting a thread there about how badly I was coping was a very difficult thing to do. I am not a 'bare emotions' sort of person. The response came in the form of wonderful words of comfort which have had me in floods of tears, but have also made me feel as though there are others who will think of and remember my little angels, which feels important to me somehow.

Joined: 10/09/04
Posts: 74

Seems like I've bounced off the bottom. Today was a far better day. I coped so much better with everything. I wonder if it's just coincidence that today was a SAHM day and yesterday was a work day...

I talked to DD about everything this morning. I think she understood. I told her about the baby seed that started growing in Mummy's tummy but wasn't strong enough to keep growing. We talked about how when we planted the raspberry canes some of them weren't strong enough to grow. She commented that some of the raspberry canes did indeed grow, so I explained to her that some of Mummy's baby seeds did grow too because she and DS started off as baby seeds but they were strong and grew and grew until they were big enough to come out of Mummy's tummy. I told her that I was feeling sad that my baby seed wasn't strong enough to grow. I think she took it in on some level at least. I will wait and see whether she talks about it again or not.

I've booked myself in for a massage right after my exam next week. It's been ages since I've done any 'me' activities. I'm looking forward to it. I hope a bit of de-stressing will help me with how I'm coping too.

Joined: 10/09/04
Posts: 74

The sun is shining outside my window. It's midday and I have not yet cried today. Could it be that someone has switched on the light at the end of the tunnel? My bleeding has been gone for 28 hours now. On the one hand it's difficult to think that this chapter is coming to a close, but on the other hand, it is so nice to think that my body is finally getting there after so many long weeks have passed since my baby died.

My boobs have shrunk back down to pre-pg size this past week too. I remember having such a hard time with that after my second angel. It took several weeks to happen then and at one point I thought maybe they wouldn't go down. It was like bigger boobs were all I had to show for having been pregnant and being a mum to two angels and they seemed to be sticking around as testament to that fact. And then they went down, all of a sudden. It was such a blow. This time I've hardly noticed them going. Strange how different things are from one loss to the next.

Joined: 10/09/04
Posts: 74

Why do I find it so difficult to tell people about this last miscarriage? I desperately want to talk about it and I know that there are people who would listen and try to understand, but I really struggle to bring myself to actually tell them. I met up with a friend of mine yesterday for a play date. She's a lovely girl that I met through work a few years ago when she was pregnant for the first time. She m/c that pregnancy and I tried to be a support to her through that time and her subsequent TTC. We both got pregnant again shortly after one another and both had healthy pregnancies and little boys last year. We both started TTC again this year - she got pg first go, me the 5th. She told me about her pg right away and we chatted about how worrying it is etc. I wasn't yet pg at the time. Last time I saw her she hadn't yet had her first scan so when I found out I was pg I hesitated to tell her just in case anything bad had happened to her pg. Then when I m/c I found it even more difficult to get in touch just to tell her that. Anyway, we met yesterday and she is, thankfully, very healthily pregnant and well into her second trimester. I went with the intention of telling her about what we had just been through, but I just couldn't do it. I don't know whether it's my natural reluctance to talk about it or the fact that she was so obviously and gloriously pregnant and happy that I just didn't want to put a dent in that or make her feel uncomfortable. I'm sure she would have understood and I would have been very glad at the opportunity to talk about it with someone like her. *sigh*