Growing up, I always believed I’d be a mother one day.
When I was 28, I fell pregnant for the first time. I was scared and excited, eager to experience pregnancy and all that it held. But as the pregnancy progressed, I had an nagging feeling that something wasn’t as it should be. At 10 weeks gestation, a scan revealed that we had suffered a missed miscarriage.
Four months later, I was pregnant again. We pinned all our hopes on the first loss being a one off; but, sadly, were again met with heartbreak.
Eight months later, after taking some time to process the losses, we found ourselves pregnant again. But, for a third time, we held our breath and waited for a scan that revealed that once again, the pregnancy was unsuccessful. We experienced our third miscarriage just as the UK went into its first lockdown in 2020.
Exhausted, heartbroken and at a loss for what else to do, we decided to get private testing done. I had already undergone a handful of routine tests and even a study into women experiencing recurrent miscarriage, which all gave completely normal results. There was, frustratingly, nothing to suggest there was anything wrong biologically that would have an impact on my ability to carry a pregnancy. But this time, we paid for in depth testing that looked at my reproductive system in more detail. We were in utter shock to be told that tests revealed that my reproductive system was approximately ten years ahead of where they would expect in a woman of my age; and that it would be unlikely that I would ever carry my own children. Doctors promised us a round of IVF with my own eggs, which, they were not confident would be successful, and told us to start considering donor eggs.
I can’t describe the pain of coming to terms with never carrying my own child. It felt like a complete shift in my identity. Who was I supposed to be, if not a mother? When I considered using donor eggs, there was relief in knowing that this was still an option, but this didn’t take away from the sadness of coming to terms with the potential that my baby may come from my husband, but not me.
Whilst I tried to grapple with this, trying desperately to hold on to my luck that I still had the option to carry a child; I became pregnant.
I didn’t hold out a lot of hope in the beginning of the pregnancy – I didn’t dare. But as days turned into weeks, we tentatively approached our local hospital for an early scan, so we would know quickly what we were dealing with, and could be put out of our misery.
I will never forget the look on the face of the woman who told us that our baby had a heartbeat. One gel-covered hand still on my belly, she swung the monitor around to us with such enthusiasm that I thought she might break it. We could hardly believe it – a sight we had never seen before – a heartbeat. Two pink lines didn’t mean anything to us anymore, but that did. Confirmation that our baby was alive.
Weeks crept by extremely slowly in that first trimester. But as the 12 week mark came and went, I started to enjoy my pregnancy. I know I’d have never been able to enjoy it as fully as I would had I never experienced the losses – they robbed me of that innocence – but, there was a feeling of this pregnancy being extra special, because it felt utterly miraculous that it was happening at all.
After a complicated end to the pregnancy, we welcomed our little boy, Kit, into the world in October 2021. The start of his life was difficult, spent for a while in NICU, but he proved to us just how much he is meant to be here.
Today, Kit is 2, and he is wonderful. We have never felt so happy and blessed, because of our rainbow baby.
Now, when I’m not with Kit, I focus on learning Counselling and Psychotherapy, and being a peer support volunteer for women and families that have experienced reproductive trauma. I know how profound our experience of recurrent miscarriage was, and how much reproductive trauma can impact a person. I want to offer as much of my time walking alongside and supporting those going through similar experiences to ours, as I can.
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