When it comes in threes

I’ve had another miscarriage. And that makes three, folks!

Here’s the thing no one ever tells you about miscarriages. Sometimes it just happens without you noticing. It’s not like what you might imagine, or occasionally see on TV. There’s no sudden burst of pain, no dramatic gush of blood (although it can happen that way, too). No one collapses, or clutches their stomach, no one lifts anything too heavy or falls off a horse.

Sometimes all that happens is you go for a scan one day – as part of a research trial, in my case, a study looking at early pregnancy symptoms – and there is no heartbeat. Again.

This time there had been no clues. No spotting. No alarming easing off symptoms. Just that morning the smell of a man’s aftershave on the tube had made me gag. Finally, here was the morning sickness that had been absent from the previous two pregnancies. It was a sign.

Third time lucky. Best of three.

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Except it wasn’t. The baby has died without my body realising, though no one ever says that directly. Funny how no one ever can seem to summon the words death, dead or died. Instead: There is no heartbeat. I’m so sorry, Jennifer. What were your plans for the day? Is there someone who can meet you to take you home?

And that’s all it takes. Next to nothing has happened, but when I exit the maternity hospital – Poof! Just like that! – the world is a greyer and colder place than when I went in.

I had been planning to go to straight into work after the scan. (God, I was so hopeful). But instead I spend the day deciding what to do about my ‘missed miscarriage’ as it officially termed. This means one of three things – waiting it out until your body miscarries naturally, taking pills to bring it on, or surgery to remove everything. The advantage of the latter, as this is number three, is that they will send off some tissue for genetic testing.

I don’t have to decide straight away. Of course, I don’t want to decide at all. I can’t convey to you how very wrong it feels having to choose your method of getting rid of a baby you so badly want to keep.

I spend a day deciding, sitting at home, pregnant but not pregnant.

The chances of all of this happening were slight. This should have been our baby. The third time should have been a charm.

In the end I opt for surgery, two days later, although I am desperately afraid of it, as I know it can – very rarely – cause scar tissue to form in the uterus, which can affect your chance of conceiving in future. Everyone – my mum, Dan, the early pregnancy research fellow who sees me at Queen Charlotte’s, Dr Google – reassures me the chances of this happening are slight.

But I feel a bit funny about statistics now. The chances of all of this happening were slight. With our three miscarriages in a row, we are now officially in the 1 per cent this happens to. So they will do some tests. We may or may not get answers. One in 100. Sounds small doesn’t it? All the odds were in our favour. This should have been our baby. The third time should have been a charm. Three could have been our magic number.

Instead, three has been annulled to a series of administrative tasks. A blood test. An appointment to sign the paperwork for surgery. Arguing about where to park the car at the hospital. A form to fill in stating our wishes as to the ‘sensitive disposal of remains’. Yes, I consent for tissue to be used in medical research. No, I’m not allergic to any medication that I know of.

Bad things come in threes.

Another scan. Our final look. Except I can’t look.

Anaesthetists come in threes, too. So many of them for a ten-minute daycase. Hello, hello. And what do you do for a living, Jennifer? I’m a journalist, I say, in a small voice. (Oh God, I think, and a bad tabloid one at that, but please don’t take it out on my uterus…)

General anaesthetic going in. Think of something nice now. Count back for me… Three…two…one…

Three strikes and you’re out.

Now where do we go from here?

22 Comments

  1. Hi Jennifer, Im so sorry to hear you have had another miscarriage. It is truly heart breaking. I just wanted to say, hang on in there, we had our 3rd miscarriage in July. At the time, I think it was my lowest point yet on our infertility and miscarriage journey. 6 weeks on, that cloud is lifting and I am beginning to feel like my old self again, although resigned to the fact that it is not just ‘bad luck’. I have signed up to do an outdoor endurance swim and that has been a great focus for me, the training has helped me heal a little and concentrate on something non baby related. Anyways, just wanted to send lots of love. It is s*@t, and no one quite understands that unless they’ve been through it. x

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Vic. I’m so sorry you’re going through this too. Something different about the third time isn’t there? As you say, start to have to think it isn’t just bad luck. Your endurance swim sounds great. That is exactly the sort of thing I’m going to focus on now – lots of running and other things that used to make me feel like me before all this. X

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  2. I am very sorry. I was there, 3 years ago. 3 miscarriages, all missed – I found during scans. I was broken. Cried at work, stopped using Facebook as I couldn’t stand new babies announcements, stopped seing friends.
    I know how painful it is – this doubt in statistics – because you are this one percent who loses 3 times in a row. And so many people told it couldn’t happen, including doctors. That the next time will be the successful one, will give you a baby.
    Well, to give you some support, I was also this one percent. And one of my friends too. It happens more often than people think.
    The whole experience made me stronger, I look at my life differently now. I know what’s important and how to prioritise. Also, I didn’t give up – I have a 2 year old daughter now (and pregnancy after 3 losses is another story, I don’t even want to describe the fear I felt throughout those 9 months…). I hope you will find joy in your life too – with or without baby. Will be thinking of you. X

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Thanks Irka for your kind thoughts. Stories like yours do give me hope. It’s funny isn’t it, about the statistics, on the one hand 1 per cent sounds so small, but really that just means one in 100 women/couples will be affected – suddenly not so small at all. x

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  4. Thank you for your honesty with this blog.

    I miscarried a week ago today and today has been a really bad one for me.

    You don’t know whether you should still be teary at little bits that remind you or just having a quiet moment and your mind becoming your enemy. I don’t have the the strength today.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I have read many blogs on this subject over the years but this one really hits the nail on the head and resonates for me also.

    I am also one of the 1% having had 3 miscarriages in a row. Nothing prepares you. Nothing anyone can say really helps. Nothing will make me forget my 3 babies I never met. Furthermore, I find that support for the partner is sadly lacking too. I know my husband was very strong and stoic for me, especially like you, I had to have the horribly named ERPC. We chose to have tests done on the tissue and found that not only was my baby a boy, there was nothing I could’ve done as it was chromosomal. My other miscarriages were unexplained. I had all the investigations done after my 2nd one given that I was 43/44 years of age. Nothing was found to be amiss so we continued to “try” as we felt that we did not want to regret not doing so in years to come. It’s also worth mentioning that we were late to the baby party having careers that took us to the darkest depths of studying etc. No time for family.

    But we got lucky. I gave birth to our daughter in July this year. Aged 45. The pregnancy was a fraught one but we made it. There’s is hope for us all and I wish you everything you wish for yourself x

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You’re right, Sarah – nothing can prepare you. Which is weird because after the first miscarriage I spent the subsequent two beyond anxious it was going to happen again. But even when it did it still hit like a truck. So sorry you have had to go through this too, but so pleased to hear your happy news. Thank you for reading xx

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  6. I’m not sure where to start. I try to bury my grief but I identify with everything you’ve written. I don’t usually comment but this time, for the strangest reason ever, I decided I had to. You see, my name is Jennifer. I’m a little older than you; 50. I’ve miscarried 6 times and we have no children. There is no medical reason ‘just one of those things’ I feel guilty that my body let me (us) down so many times. My husband and I are still together and we’ve moved on with our lives, as much as we can. I really can’t say anything to ease your feelings. I hope you are fortunate enough to become a mum soon

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much for reading and for sharing your story with me. It is good to hear from people who have been through it – whether or not they had children in the end. The fact that we may not have children of our own is something I never thought I’d have to think about at this age, but there it is. I am glad you and your husband found a way through – sending you lots of love. X

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  7. I can so relate to your story and all the feelings you expressed are identical to what I went through 26 years ago. I’ve had 5 miscarriages, had investigations initiated and actually became pregnant with my daughter. Had another miscarriage ( yes, I too heard my babies described as ‘incomplete’ ‘missed’ and ‘blighted ovum’) but fortunate enough to become pregnant again with twins. Only one survived. Further tests revealed I have a chromosome abnormality called Robersonian Translocation which was the reason for my recurrent miscarriages. Your article resonated with me today in many ways even down to the anniversary of my first pregnancy ‘birthday’, 26 years ago. I had very little hope as I knew from a young age I potentially could have fertility problems so I’m very lucky even with all the heartache in the past ,which always stays with you, that I do have two daughters. So the reason I’ve contacted you is to hopefully give you and your husband hope.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Lizanne. Stories like yours do give me hope! I am so sorry for what you went through. Thank you so much for reading and for sharing. It is so strange how little you hear of these things isn’t it? Yet there are so many women (and men) with ghost birthdays they will never forget. X

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  8. So sorry for your losses Jennifer 😢 I really hope you are able to get some answers from the testing. We opted for D&Cs with our four losses and that is how we found out the cause (balanced translocation in our case).

    Thank you fir helping raise awareness and sharing your experience so honestly with us. Thinking of you x

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for reading and for your kind words – testing hasn’t come up with anything yet (supposedly a good thing… but frustrating all the same!) They don’t routinely test for balanced translocation at our clinic, but considering getting a test done elsewhere. Just giving ourselves a bit of breathing room for now though. Jennie xxx

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  9. Hello,
    I became a member of the 1% crew last week. Still struggling to recover from ERPC last Wednesday (the phrase hit by a truck has never been more apt) and stumbled across your blog today. In a way, I’m glad it’s not just me but at the same time I couldn’t wish this pain on any one, not even my worst enemy. Reading your posts today has given me comfort and I’m hoping I can have an ounce of the strength you have as we start our investigation process.
    Thank you for being a chink of light in my day today. Xx

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hello, I’m so sorry for your losses. It’s not easy the ERPC, although I am lucky in that seemingly I recover pretty well from anaesthetic. I wish you didn’t have to be in this sad little 1 per cent club, but you are definitely not alone. Sending you so much love and strength. Just take it one step/hour/day at a time. And thank you so much for reading. Jennie xxx

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