My Story – Surviving Recurrent Miscarriages
This would have to be the most deepest and personal experience that I will probably ever share on my blog. This story is about my experience of not only having one but six miscarriages in the space of three years before finally having my children. I feel it’s something that needs to be shared to create a lot more awareness because a lot of women either have never experienced it but may know someone who is going through it or have experienced it but there is no-one to talk about it like myself at the time. I remember looking everywhere online and buying books about it because I wanted to know more and felt a desperate need to find some answers. There are plenty of resources and articles that I had read about why it happens with medical explanations however i rarely read about other women’s personal experiences that were similar to mine.
So here I want to share my story of my miscarriages and how I overcame the emotions and physically transformed myself in becoming a mother.
I was on and off the pill till I got married and we didn’t decide to have children until 3 years later. And when we felt like it was time, we were very ready to have a baby crawling around our empty four bedroom home. Initially after trying for a couple of months I became pregnant and was so excited to be a mum. My love grew for someone I hadn’t met and I was on cloud nine until that feeling was short lived. I ended up in the Emergency department with severe cramping and bleeding at approximately 9 weeks in vitro. We were devastated, that dream of having a baby in our home was destroyed and our hearts were totally broken. It was the first time I felt real sadness for a loss that was part of me.
My obstetrician told us that it happens a lot in fact 1 in 2 women will experience a miscarriage in their lifetime some wouldn’t even know and think it was a late period. I was examined and given a choice whether I wanted a D&C (dilation and curettage) or naturally let it take its course. So I opted to go home and do it the natural way. I always experienced heavier sore periods but this was different. My husband had found me on the floor in our bathroom in pain with severe cramping. The crampings were excruciating and felt like the real contractions when you have a baby. I experienced another 2 miscarriages before I could actually be thoroughly examined and commenced extensive testing to find out if I had some kind of underlying medical condition.
Apparently at the time, 3 consecutive miscarriages warranted a problem known as recurrent miscarriages. I was tested for lupus, celiac disease, thyroid function, blood clotting disorders, other auto-immune diseases, progesterone and estrogen levels. All came back negative.
I was placed at the recurrent miscarriage clinic at the Mercy for Women Hospital in Heidelberg Melbourne to conduct continuous testing and saddened deeper as I was waiting for each of my appointments in the waiting room with pregnant women waiting for their pregnancy appointments. I saw numerous doctors, obstetricians, gynecologists and nurses taking my bloods every time being told that there was nothing wrong with me except I continued to have another 3 more miscarriages. My pregnancies would last from 9 to 12 weeks and then back to square one. In and out of emergency departments, visiting the doctors clinics became a never ending cycle. I was taking aspirin once a day and taking progesterone suppositories in case my progesterone took a dive the moment I would get pregnant.
During this time I had a laparoscopy; a surgery to examine my abdomen with small incision in my belly button in aid of a camera. I had some minor endometriosis and they had lasered it off while under anaesthetic. The doctors told me that this wasn’t the reason for my miscarriages as many women with endometriosis can’t fall pregnant however I was told that it would help as I had ‘a clean out’.
In my last appointment at the clinic I was told that the next step was to try IVF. I was not convinced and asked one question “Would IVF prevent me from having another miscarriage?” the answer was no but that I should try. I remember going home that night and while discussing our next move with my husband I told him that I can’t do this anymore. We reconsidered having children as we just simply couldn’t bear to go through it again and that we definitely didn’t want to do IVF as I had enough of the poking and prodding, and emotionally I was not fit for it. We agreed that this was it; we weren’t going to try anymore or atleast not for the time being. Although it was my deepest desire to have children I just knew that mentally I had to let go of the pain.
During this time, I felt like I was in a very dark deep black hole and it felt like a blur however I remember hating every bit of it. I felt empty and sad like never before, crying uncontrollably some days and other days i felt mediocre. Talking openly about how I was feeling created sadness, pity and anger. I told several people after the fact and some comments were terrible like: ‘It wasn’t meant to be’, ‘Don’t worry you will become pregnant again’, ‘It wasn’t a real baby’, ‘It was only the size of a pea or an orange” or just comments that cut deeper wounds to the ones I already had. Yes those ‘quotes’ were said mostly from women that had babies of their own and never experienced any such loss.
Now looking back I think women don’t talk about it because they feel ashamed or that it was their own fault or what opinions others have to say. I mean I don’t blame anyone for not knowing what to say or do, what do you say to someone who has lost someone in general? But there is a fine line between by offering some thoughtful advice and shattering the feelings of someone experiencing loss. I had a couple of other friends that offered beautiful words and thoughts however my mind was shut off to the world because others had spoiled the momentum and I didn’t want to hear anything in general. I felt like I was the black sheep among all these beautiful white sheep and their calves.
After being told about the IVF it was like I woke up, like someone switched the light on, except it wasn’t someone it was me. I have nothing against IVF but I felt like it wasn’t going to help me. I wanted so desperately to snap out of the sadness and regain myself. I didn’t want this to consume me like it had for the past 3 years I wanted better for myself and my marriage. I wanted my happiness and self-worth back because I hated that every day was centered on my miscarriages. I knew that finding my strength was my only option to find my way back as i didn’t want this to define me. I used all the negative feelings to move forward.
I made the conscientious decision to stop taking aspirin, progesterone suppositories and any pregnancy vitamins. In my mind they weren’t helping. Instead I took it upon myself to take folate (a natural substitute to folic acid), I sat in the sunlight every break I had at work and started to go to the gym to take my mind off everything. I found my inner strength and focused on fitness and healthier eating. Although I was eating quite well, I started to look into the health benefits of certain foods and eliminated dairy and gluten products. I began visiting local farmers markets and purchasing organic wholefoods and lots of vegetables eating very small portions for dinner. This is when i began to search for foods without preservatives and my organic and lox toxin lifestyle started to ignite. I took up Pilates and yoga and lost 8 kilos in the process. I became stronger than ever both physically and emotionally. My wellbeing was placed ahead of everything with the support of my husband. He was my rock that kept me going telling me to do whatever it would take to make me feel better.
One morning in February 2010, I woke up realising that my period was very late so I took a pregnancy test to check and it was a positive result. I thought here we go again. And I literally ignored those 2 lines on the test although it was pondering in the back of my mind. I continued doing what I was doing. Approximately a month and a half or two months later, my period still had not come so I decided to see my gynecologist to have an ultrasound and saw my baby. I couldn’t believe it, heart beating full features and a baby moving around. It felt different, it felt real and i was so relieved.
About one week later before heading out to work i was having a shower and started bleeding red raw blood. I quickly got out of the shower and lay on my sofa while calling my husband and mum. Immediately my mum came over and I told her I think I need to go to the emergency department. My husband met us there. I couldn’t believe that this was happening again. When I was examined and had my ultrasound we could hear a healthy heart beat, the baby was moving and alive visibly on the ultrasound screen. The doctor said not to worry your baby is perfect and I was sent home with strict instructions to take it easy as I was considered a high risk pregnancy therefore I needed to have more frequent hospital appointments. Apparently I was having a period which amazingly had no repercussion to the baby. After then it was smooth sailing except for right at the end when my baby boy was sitting on my sciatic nerve for a week!
I finally had my baby boy via emergency cesarean due to complications with getting induced as he was 10 days past his suspected due date however he born healthy and brought me so much hope and happiness. I maintained my healthy lifestyle and began to eliminate toxic chemicals in my son’s body-care items and slowly altered the use of everyday household including cleaning items. Three years later I had my second child without complications.
In hindsight my experience made me a better person, a stronger and much wiser one. My intuitions came to light and I feel forever grateful for what I have now. I appreciate the small and simple things in life. Was it my health transformation that helped? Was it my focus on reducing toxic chemicals in my food? Was it that added vitamin d from the sun? Was it putting my wellness first? Or all of the above? Most likely a combination of all. However, I think mental health is ever so important and finding your own positive ways to deal with issues is the best solution. In the end I was one of the lucky ones however putting my wellness first and finding that strength got me through the darkest times.
If you know anyone who is going through a miscarriage, please share my story with them and let them know that there is hope, there is life after darkness and that she’s not alone.