Surviving the long and lonely road of repeat miscarriage
I recently had great joy in receiving an email with photo from a client i hadn’t heard from in well over a year. She announced the recent birth of her gorgeous baby boy. I felt overwhelmed with happiness for her as I knew the really difficult journey she had had and was having the last time we had spoken. I knew of her plans to go travelling but was delighted to hear of the most precious outcome. So moved by her wonderful story I felt that if she was prepared to share it, that it would inspire others especially those who have experienced the devastation of repeated miscarriage. She very kindly agreed to write it up in her own words and here it is, I do hope it inspires you to stand back from you fertility journey:
Our fertility journey started back in May 2011. Over the course of two and a half years we had three miscarriages, one unsuccessful round of IVF and one medical termination because the baby wouldn’t have survived more than a few days after birth. During that time, I became increasingly stressed and obsessed by getting pregnant and staying pregnant. By the end of 2013, I was exhausted both physically and mentally and my self esteem was at an all time low. I’d become isolated from friends with kids and was finding it hard to cope at work and socially. My boyfriend and I were both utterly confused about the best route forward in our quest to start a family.
Our fourth miscarriage crystallised in our minds the need to take a break and do something different. In March 2014, we took Sabbaticals from our jobs and set off to work abroad and travel for six months. It didn’t matter so much where we went but we both desperately needed a break from what had become a horrible status quo.
Looking back on those six months, I realise how lucky we were to be able to do new things again for the first time in a long time. We had new experiences, met new people, learnt new things and saw new places. Our discussions focused on travel and adventures rather than treatments and fertility signs. We also had time travelling on our own, which gave me a freedom I hadn’t felt for years. I met new people who knew nothing of what we had been through and who seldom asked if I was a mum. It was an amazing chance to feel like a real person again and to define myself as I chose rather than to feel defined by the losses I had been through. I did a shed load of yoga, learnt to surf, drank nice wine, ate well and spent lots of time outdoors.
We fell pregnant again in July 2014 whilst in the US and made a conscious decision not to go back to London for early pregnancy screening but just to see what happened. We had our first scan at 12 weeks and told almost no one until after we got the all clear at 20 weeks. I quit my stressful job in the city and took a job in a shop near home, negating the need to commute. We hung out together quietly and tried not up think too much about whether things were working out or not.
Our wee boy Finlay was born on the 11th March 2015. I look at him each day and see a little miracle that I still can’t believe made it this time. I don’t know why the outcome of this pregnancy was different. Maybe it was just luck? Or maybe it was because I was more relaxed in mind and body? Not everyone can afford to go oversees or quit their jobs I know. But I would completely recommend stepping back and giving yourself time away from the fertility circus after you’ve had multiple losses. It’s very hard not to sound like a total cliché, but I needed space and time to find myself again much more than I realised. My partner and I needed time together to have fun and to see there was life for us beyond having kids. If nothing else, it would always have been a great experience and a new beginning. Thankfully, it also resulted in the little man I see before me! By Louise Herring, London 43yrs