My TTC with recurrent miscarriage story. It’s a long one sorry.
I feel a bit weird writing something so personal. But it helped me to read other women’s experiences, to know that I wasn’t on my own. Despite miscarriage actually being surprisingly common (recurrent miscarriage not so much) no one seems to talk about it, at least not in ‘real life’. I never found any stories from anyone with bipolar though, which does add an extra difficulty to the process. So if I can make one person feel less alone, then its worth the sharing.
I accidentally got pregnant in my early twenties, I sadly lost the baby, and it emotionally haunted me for years afterwards. Every year I’d count how old they would be, what they would have been doing – starting school etc.
When me and my now husband decided to have a child, I didn’t expect to have any problem getting pregnant. How wrong was I? We casually tried for 2 years, then really really tried for another 2, before getting referred to fertility specialists. We had all the tests, well my husband had to spunk in a cup, and I had all the rest of the tests. Blood tests, ultrasounds, a semi surgical procedure where they injected me with dye and x-rayed its progress. Utterly humiliating. To have to lie on a table in the middle of a large room, totally naked from the boobs down, whilst 4 people stare at my vagina, readjusting the spotlights to get a better view! All the while having one nurse sat by my head, who’s only job is to talk to me. She didn’t seem to understand that I’d rather stare at the ceiling and pretend I’m not there, so she chatted at me relentlessly about inane things, like dogs wearing Christmas antlers! Anyways after all those tests, they determined I wasn’t ovulating every month. I was put on drugs to fix that. They didn’t work. So there was no more that they could do, and we were put on the waiting list for IVF. 2 months after that we got pregnant, independently!
I was 100% terrified, I was convinced I was going to miscarry again. I was not the happy pregnant woman you would expect, especially after trying for so long. But the pregnancy continued and we had our gorgeous sparky little girl 2.5 years ago! Yay success!
After I recovered from the rather traumatic birth, it took about 5 months, we decided not to use any contraception, as it had taken so long for us to have our daughter, we wouldn’t be wasting any time, and if we got pregnant right away then that would be amazing.
Turns out we did get pregnant right away! We were super ecstatic. Then came the depression I’d had when pregnant with our daughter, and I felt really quite miserable, as well as being really worried again. More so when I started spotting, although we knew this can be normal, we went to hospital anyways. We got a scan, and all was good, baby was alive and we were just under 11 weeks pregnant. There was a bleed, which the ultrasound technician wasn’t worried about at all. Well a week later we miscarried. It was horrific, when people think miscarriage they think of only a few weeks along, I know 11-12 weeks is still early, but your body essentially goes into labour. Personally I found it worse then labour, there was no calm between contractions, it was a 5 hour long contraction. Plus when you aren’t getting a live baby at the end, there is nothing positive to focus on. Its also not just a lot of blood, it is not just like a bad period, a whole little foetus comes out, and you have to do something with it. There is a head, and little arms and legs, and eyes. In a morbid way it was fascinating to see. To see what a baby that early actually looks like, and it was more human then I thought. So our very tiny dead baby was ‘born’ in the bathroom, and we buried it in the garden. I couldn’t face flushing it down the toilet. After speaking to my Dr he thinks that the bleed was actually caused by a twin, that died earlier and was basically being absorbed by my body. So my body had absorbed one baby and spat out the other. Not good.
We had told family that we were pregnant again. Telling them that we had lost it, was heart breaking. I felt like a failure, a bad wife, a bad mother, my job is to carry babies safely and bring them into this world, and I couldn’t even do that. What kind of mother am I? Sadly once we told people about the miscarriage we had to deal with the unkind, insensitive comments. Things that really shouldn’t be said to grieving parents.
Then came the bipolar ‘reaction’ to the miscarriage. I was understandably down in a reasonable way for probably 2 weeks, then I promptly and totally unexpectedly shot up to hypomania, I stopped taking my meds – as in my head they had caused the miscarriage, I can’t really remember much, I ended up then going down to depression. I ended up restarting meds. This didn’t last too long, which was a small plus.
I then got pregnant again. It turned out to be a almost identical repeat of the previous pregnancy. I went for an early scan, was 9.5 weeks, I miscarried a week later. Another baby buried in the garden, and another rollercoaster mood ride.
We then got pregnant again. This time I went for another early scan, but there was no heartbeat to be found, and the baby was smaller then it should have been. There was a small hope, but it didn’t look good. We lost this one too. Because it was earlier (baby was 6 week size) the physical process was much easier. I had to take this baby to the hospital to be tested, that was a horrible experience. To have to store it in the fridge for 3 days, because they couldn’t take it on a bank holiday weekend, was horrible. I couldn’t face going into the fridge. My husband had to get everything out for me. Then to carry the baby to the hospital, to fill out a whole load of forms, and to watch them tip it into another container, is, well its pretty grim. This time however the mood swing reaction was a lot worse. I went manic quite quickly, I decorated my house, I was hallucinating, even though it was scary, it was actually quite a welcome release from the trauma of loosing another one. It went on for a long time, months. They kept tweaking my meds, but it wasn’t really having any affect. I inevitably crashed. Big time. I ended up with 20+ stitches, I couldn’t be left on my own because it was a very real possibility I would do some serious harm to myself. My meds were just upped and upped and upped, on the maximum dose, still not working, another 2 meds got thrown in the mix, and after many many weeks, I returned to some resemblance of normal. I was still utterly heartbroken. I would look at my daughter and cry, I felt so bad not being able to give her a sibling, and I was so excited to have had 2 close together, I had to grieve for that lost future also.
We never told the family members who were insensitive to us about the last 2 miscarriages, we obviously didn’t tell them we were pregnant. We couldn’t face that kind of added upset again. If we get pregnant again, we still won’t tell them. If it was up to me they could find out when any possible future baby was born.
I don’t know if I want to try again. The miscarriages alone are soul destroying enough. But to then have the mental health problems that come after. Its very hard to deal with, not just for me, but for my family – the ones who have to look after me and protect me. Its horrible for my daughter as for a good few weeks she essentially loses her Mom. The older she gets the harder she finds that. I don’t know if I can do it to her again. I am on different meds now, so maybe it would be ok. But there is no guarantee.
I am still struggling to come to terms with the fact that my baby might be an only child. I loved having a sibling, and it seems unfair to be unable to provide her with that experience. She has no cousins or other younger family members to play with. I still struggle with people asking me when we are going to have another one, I want to scream in their faces. I struggle that my husband wasn’t upset about loosing the babies, he only worried about and felt sad for me. I struggle with the fact the miscarriage specialist dr isn’t bothered that I keep miscarrying. I struggle with women who seem to get pregnant by sniffing their partners pants, and sail through pregnancy. Yes I am happy for them, but it makes me so sad for me and my family. When someone tells me they’re pregnant my first reaction is to want to cry, why can’t it be me? I feel so selfish and angry at myself. I’m not a naturally jealous person, but I am so jealous of these other moms.
If you had told me at the start of my TTC journey that I would only have one child, I would have been thrilled. Yet now, when I can get pregnant but can’t keep them, I am not wholly satisfied with my one baby. She is my world, and I am so happy that we have her. But I can’t seem to completely shake loose the bitterness, sadness, anger and jealousy. It is getting better. Before I couldn’t look at a pregnant woman without wanting to instantly cry, and hating her for being pregnant, now I do feel genuinely happy and excited for them, I may want to cry later, but its better!
So in summary, I have one live and very kicking daughter, and 5 angel babies. I am working hard to accept my lot and how lucky I actually am, coming to terms with the fact we may only have one child despite our plans and hopes, still struggling with the loss, and the huge decision of whether to potentially go through it all again.
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