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My journey of recurrent miscarriage and secondary infertility

My journey of recurrent miscarriage and secondary infertility

My husband held my hand as I cried for what could have been.

My husband and I found out we were pregnant two and a half months after our wedding day. Although we hadn’t been trying, we were delighted, and I gave birth to a beautiful baby girl in early 2019. It took us a while to find our feet as parents, so we were in no rush to have a second child. 

At the end of 2020 we decided to start trying for our second baby and naively thought it would be as easy as our first. Temperature checking, cervix tracking and ovulation tests were all a foreign concept to us. In March 2021 we found out we were pregnant and I excitedly started planning for our new arrival. Things started to look a bit odd when my hCG tests came back a bit too low, I had another blood test a few days later and although it was increasing the doctor wasn’t completely happy and sent us for a dating ultrasound at 8 weeks. I was measuring earlier than I thought so we were not overly concerned by the lack of a heartbeat. 

A week later I started spotting, my parents came to look after my daughter as my husband was working and I took myself to the emergency room. Due to it being a weekend they were unable to get me an ultrasound and told me to go home and wait till Monday. I burst into tears as soon as I got out of the door. At the next ultrasound they were able to find a heartbeat but it was measuring slower than they would have liked. I was told to not give up and to come back in a week for another ultrasound. During this time the spotting continued and at the next ultrasound there was no heartbeat to be found. My husband held my hand as I cried for what could have been. 

The logical part of my brain knew that miscarriages occurred and I felt as if I had just become a part of a statistic, the one in five women in Australia who will experience a miscarriage. I spoke to my friends, women and men, about my experience. I wasn’t embarrassed or ashamed and felt proud how I open I felt. 

In July, we found out we were pregnant again and although I was nervous, I felt confident that I could have a healthy pregnancy. Once again, the hCG levels were low and I was becoming nervous about the scan. I began searching forums about women who had gone on to have healthy babies, trying to convince myself that it would be okay. Once again the spotting started and once again, I attended three scans before finding out I had had another missed miscarriage. Back in hospital for another D&C and I started researching about miscarriages. When I spoke about getting help, I was crushed to know that there is nothing that can be done until a woman has had three miscarriages in a row. My doctor kindly helped my husband and I get tests to rule out any issues, but all came back negative. Our close family and friends knew what had happened but I felt ashamed that my body couldn’t hold a pregnancy and hopeless that we just had to try again. 

By the time I found out I was pregnant again in November my mental health was at an all time low. I had no belief that my body could hold a pregnancy and so when the spotting started again, I had completely given up hope. The hCG levels were again low and I was beginning to feel like a human pin cushion. This time, after two scans and on my 30th birthday I found out I’d had a blighted ovum and had my third D&C for the year. Although three miscarriages had been hard, I felt more hopeful as I was finally able to access specialists in recurrent miscarriages and to hopefully get some answers. During the third D&C the pregnancy tissue was tested and a genetic abnormality had stopped the pregnancy from progressing. 

I was more determined to get my head in the right space and began working on myself inside and out. I got back into exercising and eating a more balanced diet. I got my first tattoo to help me mourn the babies that could have been. I started reading positive affirmations every night, trying to convince myself that I could hold a pregnancy. I began getting acupuncture to help with my stress levels and began seeing a doctor who specialised in recurrent miscarriages. 

After further testing there were still no issues appearing and our doctor said we’d just had a case of really, really, bad luck. In late March 2022 I found out I was pregnant for the fifth time in my life. I was absolutely petrified but this time I had a stronger support network to help. After a positive blood test I was placed onto HCG injections which meant blood tests weren’t an accurate way to track the pregnancy. Instead, I was able to have weekly ultrasounds to check the progress of the pregnancy and at 7 weeks my husband and I finally heard a healthy heartbeat. Once again, we left the appointment and I cried. I continued with my acupuncture, healthy eating and positive affirmations but two weeks later the spotting started again. This time, I was able to go and see my specialist straight away and get an ultrasound to show that everything was okay. Apparently bleeding can be normal in pregnancy! 

After an agonising 6 weeks we were able to see a healthy baby at our first trimester ultrasound. In November 2022 I gave birth to a healthy baby boy. Our rainbow baby. I wouldn’t say the pregnancy was easy. Up until that point I’d spent the whole pregnancy nervous and worried. Never wanting to get my hopes up too high just in case. It was such a relief to hold our baby in my arms. Having the support system made all the difference. My husband, my family, my friends, my doctor, my specialist, my acupuncturist. To anyone going through the same thing, make sure you reach out, get all the support you can and look after yourself.

- Annie