Jessi and I met when we both became pregnant at the same time in 2010 and due in the same month, July 2011. We bonded over our difficulties in conceiving and our friendship just grew from there. We were in the same online birth group for our first born sons and I have had the pleasure of meeting her and her wonderful family several times. She is such a beautiful soul who doesn’t deserve this heartache but sadly she is not alone on this journey. I have met several women who have gone (or are going through) the same thing.
Miscarriage is one of those silent topics that many women are ashamed to talk about for fair of being belittled.
‘It’s not a real baby yet, just try again’.
What so often happens is that in the early weeks of pregnancy we don’t always tell people. It’s one of those secrets we keep until we are in the ‘safe zone’. So when a woman loses her baby to miscarriage, family and friends often didn’t know to begin with so they don’t understand the pain and disappointment as they never experienced the joy, hopes and dreams that came with the initial pregnancy discovery and excitement.
Sadly miscarriage is far more common than many people may believe – it is thought that as many as half of all pregnancies miscarry before the fertilised egg even implants in the womb. In NZ and Australia approximately 1 in 4 pregnancies will end in miscarriage. Research shows that 5% of women will suffer two miscarriages or more. Recurrent miscarriage (RPL) is classed as 3 miscarriages or more.
Here Jessi shares her story.
I have attempted to begin this post what seems like a million times but since I am about to reveal my biggest journey with you all I feel I should just be blunt and honest. So in the style of an alcoholics anonymous meeting, “Hi, I’m Jessi and I suffer from recurrent miscarriage (RPL)”.
My husband and I have lost more babies than you can count on one hand and slightly less than what you can count on two. If you’re reading this and have suffered miscarriage be it one or many, I want to hug you and tell you how sorry I am and how much it sucks.
People don’t say how much it sucks enough. In my experiences I have heard it all. “Oh there must have been something wrong with the baby”, “You can just just try again”, “It will happen when the time is right” and the most anger inducing one of all “It obviously wasn’t meant to be”. If I had a dollar for every time I’ve heard that …. I know, I know. People are just trying to care but I needed to hear more.
December 10 2015, my midwife entered my house after I had had ultrasound confirmation that our precious baby’s heart stopped beating. Our 5th loss in a row. She sat down on the couch next to me, grabbed my hand and said “This f***ing sucks“. It was exactly what I needed to hear. She had been through my entire journey with me up to that point except the losses before our first earth baby. She had delivered our miracle son and daughter and supported us through the wild ride that is recurrent miscarriage. She was one of the only ones who got it.
Throughout my journey with RPL I have become horribly familiar with the process, both physical and mental. Being familiar with such an awful experience is never something I thought I would have to deal with. I never thought that I would be one of the 2-3% of women who suffer recurrent miscarriage.
The physical pain is hard enough as anyone who has experienced this knows, but what shocked me the most is the grief and the mental pain.
Grief is an asshole.
A necessary asshole albeit. It’s a whole other journey on it’s own.
Here’s what I know about grief (listed by funky bullet points):
- It makes you cry in the supermarket when you see pregnant women
- It makes you cry in the mall when you see babies
- It forces itself out in floods of tears at the most random of moments
- It makes you want to leave your husband and run far away so he can find a woman who can give him babies … not take them away
- It causes extreme jealousy. I’m talking ‘tummy turning to ice’, ‘I’m gonna spew’ type jealousy when you hear pregnancy announcements from friends
- It makes you lose friends. Good friends. Friends who came to your wedding because you are so jealous they can get pregnant so easily and have healthy babies and you can’t
- It sticks around. It sticks around for days, months and years and pops it’s little head up unexpectedly just to remind you of your strength
The one thing I am grateful for from the grief, the losses and the heartbreak is the way I have fallen deeper in love with my earth children. I adore them and I am so blessed to have them. They are my little miracles and I really didn’t think my heart could grow bigger in love for them. Turns out it can and it has. Losing my babies has forged a stronger bond with my children and for that I am grateful.
Losing all my babies has also made me hate the ‘taboo’ label of miscarriage. I hate that I can only talk about it with a few people in my life without the subject being changed immediately. I hate that I can’t cry to family if I’m having a bad day. All babies gone too soon, no matter how tiny they were, should be remembered. Their short lives should be celebrated and mourned, for they were someone’s son, daughter, sister, brother, granddaughter, grandson, niece or nephew. Talk about your babies. If you haven’t suffered miscarriage and you know someone who has, don’t be afraid to ask about their baby. Talking is part of the healing process.
Living with RPL has softened me but hardened me. I am stronger but I live more gently than ever before because I know how fragile life is. It’s made me parent differently and it’s made me not take being a parent for granted. We will always miss our babies, but time is a healer and life does get easier slowly.
I have had numerous blood tests, genetic tests, chromosomal testing, ultrasounds, DNA Karyotype testing, NK testing, diet changes. I have tried natural fertility and herbal remedies. I’ve lost count of how many specialists have seen my lady garden and if I’m honest, I’m getting tired.
I’m strong but I’m tired.
It’s hard on the body and on the mind too. My heart wants to keep fighting and my husband feels the same despite everything we’ve been through, but he too is tired of seeing me suffer. I am scared and that beacon of hope is fading. The children ask for a baby brother or sister and we are honest with them. They know Mummy struggles and they know that they have siblings in heaven. They love finding feathers as they are presents from their angels.
So only time will tell, but for now I will keep living and learning as a Mama who adores her children and who really, really misses her babies.