Guest post: "After nine miscarriages, I blamed myself"
For Deborah Rushton, the worst thing about her multiple miscarriages was not knowing the reason behind them
Posted on: Thu 19-Nov-15 17:11:02
(7 comments )
I always wanted a family of four, so when I became pregnant at 19 it was a happy surprise. I was 12 weeks when I started bleeding at work. I went straight to hospital, shaking and crying - I knew nothing about miscarriage, but I knew what was happening wasn't normal.
When the sonographer said, "I'm sorry, we can't find a heartbeat," I couldn't stop crying. I struggled on the general women's ward - I was desperate for privacy as I tried to cope with my grief. Heart-breakingly, the hospital didn't inform my midwife that I'd miscarried. She turned up on my doorstep the following week for my three month check. We both felt terrible.
For a long time afterwards I felt raw. I know some women who suffer miscarriages feel envious when they see a pregnant woman; I just felt incredibly sad that it wasn't me.
When we decided to try again two years later, I became quickly became pregnant quickly - but miscarried before 12 weeks. It never occurred to me, at that point, that I wouldn't have a family. I thought the tests - on everything from blood to bone density - would be able to identify what was wrong, and that we could fix it. But they couldn't find any reason at all.
It was the not knowing that was so painful and scary. It's a double blow: grief and guilt - because when you don't know why, you blame yourself.
I'd get pregnant at the drop of a hat, but couldn't carry my babies beyond that 12 week milestone. Living on hope became harder and harder.
I can't remember all of my nine miscarriages clearly - it's like my brain cuts out - but there are moments that stick in my mind. After my sixth, they put me on a ward with new mums, it was so painful, a constant reminder of what I'd lost.
I can't remember all of my nine miscarriages with complete clarity - it's like my brain cuts out - but there are moments that stick in my mind. For example, after my sixth I was put me on a ward with new mums. It was so painful; such a powerful reminder of what I'd lost.
When I was 30 I had my ninth miscarriage. I was finally referred to a specialist, and they discovered I was missing a certain chromosome which meant I wouldn't carry a child beyond three months. We were devastated. I knew I couldn't keep going through the heartache of losing babies, so we started the adoption process, but that stalled when we relocated to be closer to family.
Almost two years later, at Christmas 2012, I was pregnant again: ecstatic but nervous. At 10 weeks I had a bleed and my world fell apart. A scan failed to find a heartbeat - but they said it was early, and to come back in seven days. It was the longest week of my life. At the next scan I sobbed with relief when the sonographer pointed out the heartbeat. I was 12.5 weeks pregnant - the first time I'd got beyond three months.
Regular scans monitored my baby's growth, but it was a long and nervous wait. I was induced at 40 weeks and Madison arrived five-and-a-half hours later. They placed her on my chest, and the first thing I felt was her squidgy little bum. I was over the moon.
We knew we wanted more children and, not long after Madison's first birthday, I was pregnant again. At my early scan I was told that I'd been carrying twins, but one of them hadn't survived. I was devastated at the loss of one baby - but at the same time, ecstatic to be carrying a healthy child. I put my grief on hold, needing to be strong for my little boy. They explained that, because I was carrying one healthy baby they couldn't intervene and that so early in the pregnancy, the healthy twin usually absorbs the nutrients from the other which goes back into the wall of the womb. It was a stressful pregnancy, but when Mason was born our family was complete.
I had my first miscarriage at 19, when I knew nothing, and my last over a decade later. Things are definitely different now, and medical professionals are more understanding about the impact of losing a child. When I tell people my story, they often find it hard to believe, but I think it's important to talk about miscarriage. It's only through sharing our experiences that there will be more understanding.
That's why Tommy's work is so important to women like us. They raise awareness of miscarriage, and the research they do tries to give us better answers. I still don't know why I miscarried, but I focus on the two beautiful children that I have, rather than those I lost. I feel very lucky. Sometimes, when the kids are upstairs in bed, I sit looking at pictures of them and I can't believe we have the wonderful family we always dreamed of.
By Deborah Rushton
Kate this is a beautiful, yet soul searching story. I myself had my first miscarriage at the age of 16 and it completely tore my world into pieces.
I'm now trying again but I've had two miscarriages since August, so like you, my issue isn't getting pregnant, it's staying pregnant
I really think more research needs to be done into these things and that Tommy are bloody brilliant for raising the funds.
Congratulations on your precious family
Thank you for sharing your story. Very glad that you now have your DC.
IMO There should be better access across the UK to specialist miscarriage clinics like the one at St Mary's in London.
The genetic tests are expensive (£900?) but hopefully now standard for recurrent miscarriage. There are some blood conditions where test conditions are really important or you can get incorrect results.
There is lots of good information and support from other women online - this was really helpful for me.
Lovely children Deborah I'm so pleased for you. Thanks for sharing your heartache and story for a fantastic cause
I'm very surprised that you weren't seen by the recurrent miscarriage clinic until after your 9th miscarriage - I was seen after my 3rd as that was standard practice, I was told (this would have been in around 2006).
Congratulations on your DC.
That feeling when they plonk your live, real, full term baby on your chest after multiple loss. Yes. I know what you mean exactly.
I'm so glad you have yours. We have one dc, after six failures, but he is older than yours. I'm glad things have developed now.
The sinking feeling when it goes wrong, followed by heart break, " hope deferred make the the heart sick"', the incomprehension of others, the complaints if people about their children, the statements that everyone can have children , are very hard to bear.
Thank you for sharing.
I feel for you. I had recurrent miscarriages for 15 years, 10 in total before we stopped trying and have now adopted two lovely little ones. I understood what you said about the miscarriages blurring at times. I feel the same way. There are stand out moments. Like you I ended up in a labour ward for my first miscarriage. I have awful memories of watching Eyes Wide Shut whilst miscarrying as well. Losing twins was a very low point. Like you I didn't make it past 12 weeks. Sadly we could never overcome the medical issues behind mine. I'm delighted for you that you now have your beautiful babies. What a miracle they are indeed xx