Many readers told us their experiences of miscarriage in response to the article published on the BBC Website.
I had three healthy pregnancies, so when I was told at a thirteen week ultrasound that the twins I was carrying had died I was shocked and upset. I cannot say that the grieving was easy, but it drew me and my husband closer together than ever. I then had another early miscarriage several months later. I was just as upset this time as I was the first time around, but I didn't receive the same support from my friends as I did previously, so it was even more difficult to recover. Then a third miscarriage occurred, again at 13 weeks. My husband tried to push it under the carpet as it was becoming more frequent and he found explaining to everyone what had happened rather tiresome. I needed to talk about it, but had no one to express myself with. We decided to stop trying for a fourth child as the losses were too painful.
I became pregnant 'by mistake' about a year after the third miscarriage and we decided to keep the pregnancy a secret for as long as possible as my husband didn't want the upheaval of telling everyone that we had lost yet another baby. A friend guessed very soon that I was pregnant, so I felt supported during the first stressful weeks. I threatened to miscarry again at 13 weeks, and went along to the hospital alone to have it confirmed. I was surprised to find that the baby was still alive, but that the placenta had started to come away from the uterus. I was given hormones to take and happily Benjamin was born at 40 weeks. I was extremely stressed throughout the whole pregnancy, but it has made us realise even more how fragile the human life is.
My experiences have allowed me to understand what other couples go through when they experience miscarriages - early or later into the pregnancy. Benjamin in no way replaces the other four babies that we lost. He is just as precious in his own right.
Kathie Lambert, Verneuil sur Seine, France
Thank you for your frank and honest article. My wife and I lost our first child at 26 weeks while in the USA. He stopped moving and an ultrasound confirmed the heart was no longer beating. We flew home with my wife knowing that she was carrying our dead child and she had to go through labour to deliver a lifeless baby boy. He looked perfect in every way and we still don't know why it happened. Our faith is a strong one and we hold on to a loving God who cries with us. Nothing will ever replace Samuel. The pain will not disappear and time does not heal completely. But it is good to hear of positive future events like yours, it gives us hope for the future.
Gary Birch, Taunton, England
My wife had a miscarriage in the second year of our marriage, we were both in our early twenties and both found it hard to understand and cope. The following year my wife gave birth to our beautiful daughter Louise who was stillborn, it is hard to explain how you feel as though your life is finished with when you are still so young, the sense of failure is immense, and as the male you also need some support but it is not always forthcoming. The most heartless remark I had said to me was a close workmate stating, "Well you can always knock out another." Six pregnancies later, three more miscarriages and three perfectly healthy babies, we feel as though our children are gifts that have an extra something in life, they were the ones that were meant to be here, our other babies let them live.
I had a miscarriage at 12 weeks, followed a year later by an ectopic pregnancy which had been allowed to go on for nearly 10 weeks. I then thought that, being 34, I would never have my longed-for baby. I had 2 years of fertility treatment and was just about to embark on IVF when we managed to do it all by ourselves and conceive! This time the baby was determined to stick and (despite having a caesarean section because he was breach) a very healthy Tom was born. He is now 11 years old and has been a joy and a blessing to us, as well as a holy terror.
Sometimes I went through the depths of despair after my two losses but I tried not to give up hope. I had great support from my husband and at the time my consultant. The phrase "precious baby" is so apt when it comes to these babies born after loss. Tom has remained an only child. Unfortunately I had another, early, miscarriage when he was two and did not conceive again. In a strange way the last time was not as bad as the first two - probably I was too busy seeing to a lively toddler!
Alison Pedley, Wokingham, Berkshire
The above account is so well written and describes exactly the experience my husband and myself went through with two of our children, Junior and Rose, both of whom we lost around 23 weeks. Ray and I also had 5 'early miscarriages', before 9 weeks. Despite having lengthy tests by so many doctors in London, where we then lived, no-one has been able to come up with a reason for our losses. It was more complicated by the fact that I had given birth to a child in my teens - a healthy boy, David, who was immediately adopted as I felt I would not have been a competent mother at that time - I know many teenage mothers are fully competent, don't get me wrong! But I was completely unprepared, especially as this was also my first sexual experience, and David stood a better chance of happiness with the adoptive parents who so desperately wanted him. (I was adopted myself and knew how happily this can sometimes turn out.)
Anyway, the doctors eventually discounted the theory of incompatibility between Ray and myself, which we were so happy to hear. In June 2000, for no reason that anyone could explain, our lovely son Daniel arrived. Like the lady above, I also had a stitch with Daniel, but agree with her that because I did not go into labour for a few weeks after its removal, the 'incompetent cervix' theory did not fit me either. Although, as the lady above also said, Dan is not a substitute for Junior and Rose, his birth has filled our 'empty arms'.
We had hoped to give Dan a sibling but, having lost two more babies in the early stages since his birth, this does not look likely. In the dark days, I was lucky enough to have loads of friends who 'lent' me their children to babysit! This was a great help to me, because the feeling of not having a child to hold was very strong after having lost our own. I feel desperately for those who have been through these experiences without the 'happy ending', and I hope that medical science will evolve further to provide more answers in the future. Ray and I have never forgotten Rose, Junior and the other babies that we did not see. We have rose bushes in our garden for each, which isn't a morbid thing, just a way of marking the fact that they did exist.
One last thing to say is that the hospitals and specialists we visited over the years offered us so much sympathy and understanding. People knock the NHS, but there are some fantastic people working in it, and we'll always be grateful for their help.
Mrs Monica Winnett, Bream, Gloucestershire
My wife and I suffered miscarriage at eight weeks, we're now 13 weeks into a second, so-far-successful pregnancy, having had a healthy scan. It's difficult to feel anything other than anxiety after a miscarriage, but the excitement is still there bubbling beneath the surface ready to break loose when, hopefully, we get to a successful conclusion in a long 23 weeks from now!
David Kent, Canvey Island, Essex
I had a miscarriage early in my first pregnancy, and it was hard to get people to understand how attached I had already become to this baby. The night I miscarried was the worst night of my life, knowing what was happening to my baby and not being able to do anything to stop it. I have since had three healthy boys and no complications at all during pregnancy, but each time I have worried, especially through the first trimester, that I might miscarry again. It is so important to remember, both for parents that are grieving and for those wanting to comfort others that are grieving, that a miscarriage is indeed a death in the family. It is no less significant than the death of an older child. The bond between parent and child is not the less simply because you've only had it a few months.
Beth, Portland, ME
In May 1990 my husband and I lost our beloved baby Oliver, he was born only 3 weeks early, medical staff kept him alive on a life support machine in Brighton's special care baby unit for 3 days but sadly told us there was no hope and we had to make the agonising decision to turn off his life support. The staff were kindness itself but no-one was ever able to give us a reason for such a tragedy, and after a post mortem we were informed that the only thing they could say was that had I had a C-Section earlier that day he probably would have been fine. No one could ever tell us any more. Unless it happens to you I don't believe that anyone can understand the pure pain of such an event. Even now 15 years later it still hurts too much to even talk about in more than the most distant and general terms.
We spent 5 years after Oliver's death trying to get pregnant again, unsuccessfully. After 5 years we both decided to get on with our lives and careers and stop trying. 12 years later I was on a short business trip to the States and got marooned in Texas during the dark days of the Sept 11th disaster. I'd felt ill ever since I arrived and spent most of the time feeling sorry for myself. Got home to England, only to find out (unbelievably) that I was about 8 weeks pregnant - 12 years after our loss and when I was 41!
No-one including our doctor could have been more wonderfully surprised - to me it felt like some small spark of light after the terrible gloom of all the death during those sad days. To add to the general feeling of unreality, this new baby was due on exactly the same day as Oliver had been due - hard to describe the feelings that engendered. After a very tense and nervous pregnancy (especially after the first pregnancy had gone so nearly to full term) we were finally rewarded with a beautiful and healthy girl Harriet, born 2 weeks early by C-Section and weighing in at a healthy 7.5lbs. Joy, thankfulness, indescribable, but always, always tempered by that earlier loss. In fact sometimes the more joy that the new child gives, the more the feelings of what could have been are sharpened. So yes light after dark, but Oliver will never be replaced in our hearts and will always, always be missed.
Heather Pratt, Forest Row, UK
Actually, my story has yet to have a happy ending. My wife and I lost our first child right before the 12th week after a check up showed everything to be okay. We recently lost our second child during the 10th week even after a regimen of progesterone twice daily. According to the doctor it had stopped developing approximately two weeks before but the progesterone kept it from being expelled. Normally, at least in the United States, doctors will not refer you for further testing until after three straight miscarriages. My wife's doctor has decided to spare us the pain of a possible third loss and has begun testing for possible causes.
With regards to books on miscarriages they are very thin on the ground and actually the one my wife found was a British publication that she had to purchase online as it was not published in the States. Besides the pain of the loss, the first miscarriage also put a terrible strain on our relationship, with my wife become severely withdrawn, and we nearly divorced. Thankfully, we were able to reconcile and this time we are more positive and supportive of each other and have found strength rather than malice in each other.
Gregg Barkley, Richmond, VA, USA
My partner and I suffered a miscarriage at a relatively early stage of pregnancy, 10 weeks. The bleeding had started on a Friday night, however it was the Tuesday before we were able to attend the hospital due to a holiday weekend that meant the radiologists were on leave! The miscarriage was probably caused by a medical condition of my partners but we will never know for sure. It was our first pregnancy and somewhat naively we had told everyone. I feel that this made the miscarriage harder to take. We had well meaning friends and family offering their condolences which brought it all back.
My partner is a midwife and attended the hospital she works in during the aftermath of the miscarriage. This again made it very hard on her having to deal with work colleagues on a personal matter. We both were getting over it and had decided to wait a while before trying again when she fell pregnant again, less than 2 months after the miscarriage. This time we waited until after the 12 week mark before letting anyone else know, but we still attended a different hospital from the one she works at until we were sure everything was fine. We had a beautiful baby girl early last year.
My wife and I (I include myself, because the birth or the loss of a baby affects both partners) experienced three miscarriages in 1997, and thought that we would never have children. We went for tests, but no reason for the miscarriages was ever given. In 1999 Rebekah was born - a healthy 8lb'er. In 2004, we experienced another miscarriage. The fear was that we would have to experience two more miscarriages before we had our next child. Our fears were unfounded - Aidan was born earlier this year, another healthy 8lb'er. We will never forget the babies we never held - but we truly rejoice and thank God for the two we are privileged to have. The other thing I thank God for is an NHS which helped us to stay the course and to keep trying.
David Murray, Purley, Surrey
My husband and I had a stillbirth at 40 weeks + 5 days. A boy, 9lb 2oz. We called him Thomas. It was 10th February 2003. We had a full post mortem. However, Tommy's death was unexplained. We hadn't experienced any problems during the pregnancy but on day 5 past the due date I noticed that there wasn't any movement from my tummy. The day before we had been to the doctors for a check up and everything was fine. We went to hospital and had a scan and were told that there was no heart beat. Our baby had died. I was 37 years old and this was our first child. It was a totally distressing and traumatic experience for us both. I couldn't face going back to work so I didn't. I was anxious to conceive again because of my age. However, the next 2 years were hellish. Nothing was happening. We used ovulation thermometers, ovulation kits. Tried Clomid and then we had tests to try to find out why we weren't conceiving. These took ages to organise and then a further wait to get the results. All time I could ill afford due to my age.
Apart from a tube that might be blocked the hospital couldn't find anything wrong. Finally we resorted to IVF. Finding a hospital with a 'relative' high success rate for live births (in my age group) was the first hurdle. Where is this information kept? And why is there no easy access for potential patients? I think this might have changed in the last month! My age (39) was now against me having IVF on the NHS! So we went privately. Our first attempt failed. Following this, 2 embryos were frozen but these died before they were due to be implanted. I started another session of IVF. I self injected the first lot of drugs for 7 days when I found out that I was already pregnant. It was just over 2 years from Tommy's death. Obviously I stopped the IVF cycle. And we began the long wait. We can't afford to get excited 'just in case'. We won't even be taking any baby clothes to the hospital with us. I am now 18 weeks + 2 days. I'll be 40 tomorrow. The baby's due date is 6/11/05 but, all being well, we are expecting to have the baby induced up to 2 weeks before this date. So we may have a baby by Christmas. But we will never forget Thomas. Wish us luck!
Gail Stubbins, Colchester, England
I've recently lost my baby daughter Ellie May, she was still born on the 10 April this year at just under 32 weeks gestation. This was my second pregnancy and first time round I had no complications at all and had a baby boy named Jack, who is now two and a half, after having one healthy pregnancy you think all the others will be the same, how wrong I was! The reason behind my daughter's death is like many other stillbirths, it's unexplained which I think makes a lot harder to accept, you never think anything will go wrong the nearer you get to your due date. I've lost my daughter and I believe she is an angel now and me and my husband are very grateful for our son Jack and all the joy he brings, he will always know about his baby sister and in the future I believe Ellie May will send us another baby to love. The Sands website is great comfort to anyone who has lost a baby because when it happens you feel like you're the only one, but reading other peoples stories makes you realise that you will always grieve for your lost child but time is a great healer and people go on to have more happy healthy babies. I know our precious daughter is looking down on us and I'm glad I carried her for 8 months than to have had nothing at all. God bless sweetheart x.
Leann Rowley, Chelmsford, Essex, England
I too had a similar experience. At just over 19 weeks I suspected something was wrong as I could feel something pushing down. On being examined at the hospital it turned out that I had started to dilate. The following day the doctors tried to put an emergency stitch in but unfortunately 15 minutes into the procedure my waters broke. They expected labour to start shortly but it didn't, they monitored me for signs of infection and also the baby to see if my waters were filling back up. On the 2nd June I was told I had started with an infection and would have to be induced. After 36 hours of trying to induce me with a drip they decided to try some tablets which sent me into labour a few hours later. At 4.10pm on 3rd June 2004 I gave birth to our son Casey Jacob at 20 weeks. I didn't know what to expect but he was perfectly formed, you could see his finger nails, you could even see his eyebrows starting to grow. He was just too early for his lungs and other internal organs to be developed. I will never forget all the time I was in hospital and the days after he was born.
The term miscarriage should not be applied at this stage when you actually have to give birth to a child who measured 25cm long and was just short of weighing a 1lb. I had various blood tests and also had a hysteralpinogram which x-rays your cervix. This showed I had a shorter than normal cervix and will need to cerclage with any future pregnancies. I then went on to get pregnant 5 months later but suffered a missed miscarriage at 6 weeks. This was much easier to come to terms with as you suffer a bleed like a heavy period and I was also very early on in pregnancy. Yes it is awful but I think there should be more recognition for families that suffer the loss of a child and more support. After all we held a funeral for Casey and he is buried at our local church. After Casey was born I wasn't offered any sort of support or even given advice as to where I could get support from. A year has now passed since Casey was born and the pain hurts just as much as it did when he was born. I am currently 10 weeks pregnant and so far things seem to be going well. I am booked in for a cervical stitch at 14 weeks and hopefully I should have a healthy baby this Christmas.
Katrina Kaye, Huddersfield, West Yorkshire
We have suffered 5 miscarriages at various stages, never making it past 13 weeks. After 4 specialists in both the UK and US, we finally found that I have a blood disorder known as Hughes Syndrome or "Sticky Blood". I am now 20 weeks pregnant after injecting heparin for the first 3 months and I am now taking an aspirin a day. I do believe we will carry to full term, I feel lucky each time I now feel the baby move inside my belly. It is frustrating that in the health world we have come so far, yet in reproductive issues it takes many years and doctors to get a proper diagnosis. I diagnosed myself with Hughes Syndrome after all the tests from my doctors were sent to me to give to our new RE. After a blood work-up my RE was able to confirm the diagnosis. So to all women who have suffered losses, I encourage you to investigate everything you can, the internet is a great resource and can help with emotional support as well. Good Luck and stay strong!!
Jackie Cope, St Louis, Mo
Whenever I read about the similar situations, the painful memories come back. I was in a similar situation. I cannot forget that time in 1980 I had a stillbirth baby (a little girl) in the seventh month of pregnancy. I suffered a lot, they provoked the delivery and the hospital staff didn't give me a chance to see my baby. Although my husband saw my little angel. I was very depressed and it was very painful to loose the child at this stage of pregnancy but luckily after a few months I got pregnant again and this time in 1981 I gave birth to two beautiful girls (my twins).
My first miscarriage was at 11 weeks, in May 1999. I lost a lot of blood, was hospitalised, and had to have an ERPC. I was given no advice, no support and certainly no comfort. My husband was fantastic, but it was still difficult. Especially walking into the spare room knowing it was supposed to be our baby's room. The second miscarriage, was later that year, 2 days before Christmas. This time I was only a few weeks pregnant, but all the memories, and distress came flooding back. Around this time, I found out about the Miscarriage Association in Yorkshire. I requested some of their leaflets, and it was the first time I realised exactly how many women have problems having children. No one can ever give you a reason, and most doctors don't bother doing any form of test until you have had 3 concurrent miscarriages. I began to get very depressed, and sought treatment from a counsellor.
My hubby and I decided to have a few months off trying for a baby, and had a month's holiday in the US. A month after we got back, we found out I was pregnant again. I had a lot of spotting, and got very upset thinking again I might lose the baby. Every time I went to the toilet (and believe me you go a lot), I was petrified to find blood. At 18 weeks, I was in a car accident. They took me to hospital and at first they couldn't find any heartbeat. But an ultrasound proved he was still hanging in there. At 28 weeks, they thought I had appendicitis (false alarm). At 36.5 weeks little Alexander decided to make an early entry into the world. He's perfect. Alex isn't exactly a replacement for the 2 I lost. He's a unique individual in his own right. But I also know, if I hadn't lost baby 1 or 2, Alex would never have been born. However, the whole experience has traumatised me. All I remember about being pregnant, is the worry about whether "this one will work", and being sick. I am extremely lucky that it was third time lucky for us. I can't face trying for another baby, just in case it doesn't have another happy ending. Lisa
Lisa Dormon, Bracknell
I've had 3 miscarriages. Am still grieving and hoping to have a successful pregnancy like yours. Thank God for your life.
Edith, Lagos, Nigeria
This is a really tough situation and is often compounded when couples have been having fertility problems. My husband and I tried for 8 years before our first pregnancy, which then miscarried at 9 weeks. Doctors had been at a loss to explain our previous infertility, and as I was then over 40, we didn't dare to hope that I would get pregnant again. We were devastated by our loss, something that wasn't helped by well meaning people who didn't understand the agonies of unexplained infertility/miscarriage. Then 18 months later, I was pregnant again, and gave birth to a lovely healthy daughter in May last year. We still can't believe our luck, and are not planning/hoping for a second child at my age, we think it a miracle that we even got one!
Liz Bell, Hungerford, Berkshire
I am sorry to hear of Margaret's loss. I have great sympathy for her and her partner. My wife suffered a miscarriage some 18 months ago. The feeling of loss and guilt (my wife blamed herself) is overwhelming and I still have not fully got over it - I am fighting back the tears as I write. It is difficult to come to terms with the fact that, for no good reason or explanation, the baby died. We now have Lucy, a bright, happy and cheeky 7 month old who we love desperately. Nothing will ever replace our first child, not even Lucy (it's unfair on her - she is an individual in her own right). Even if we never got to hold, speak or love him (or her). But we will always remember them.
Iain Keith, Wakefield, West Yorkshire
During the 31 years of my marriage, I've had 5 pregnancies. Out of those pregnancies, I've suffered two miscarriages, the first one was a boy of 5 1/2 months, the second was at 2 1/2 months. Our firstborn son was a premature baby of 29 weeks who weighed at birth 3lbs 14 oz. He's now 30 and got married last year. The second son came a bit early and weighed 4lbs+. He's 27 now and doing well. Our daughter who was born exactly two years after our second son weighed 8lbs.7 oz. She's now 25, and also doing well. Both miscarriages however, were "unexplained", and I guess will always remain so because we never got any "good explanation" except that it was nature's way of saying something's wrong with the foetus/baby, and it was not meant to be. I say, thank God, we were given three wonderful children in spite of the heartaches of having had two miscarriages. I suppose with modern medicine nowadays, more will be discovered/learned why miscarriages happen. To lose a baby is so traumatic one doesn't have to experience it at all especially at this day and age. I feel deeply for parents who have undergone the same experience(s) I had in the past. I wish them all well.
Merle B Platel, Venray, The Netherlands
Mine is a different loss as my son Tom was diagnosed with Hypo-plastic left heart syndrome at 30 weeks, I was told that he has a critically thick aorta also and was unlikely to survive long after birth, I was induced almost five days later, due to legal problems of feticide and also having to take a pill that would induce labour, it was a heartbreaking decision but the right one, nothing can ever replace Tommy and I still think of him everyday, but I gave birth to a healthy baby girl almost one year later on the 4th July 2002. It's not a replacement but nothing helped me more than to hold a healthy baby and walk out of the hospital with my daughter. In memory of Tommy Handley 28/07/01.
Bev Handley, Brighton, England
My wife suffered a miscarriage after becoming pregnant with out first child. I will never ever forget being told by my wife about the awful foreboding she had that she was going to lose the baby or the feeling of desolation when we were both told by the hospital that there was no longer a baby. We often think about the child we lost but time is a great healer and whilst we will never forget our loss, we have come to terms with it. We thank our blessings that we now have a beautiful, healthy baby girl, Grace.
Michael Gemson, Rolleston, UK
I had my 1st daughter in 1995, she was perfect in every way. We then decided to have another baby and fell quite quickly. I suffered from morning sickness terribly. In July 97 I went for my 12 week scan and knew something was wrong when the nurse went to get "help". I had what was called a "molar pregnancy" and all I was carrying was a mass of cells and not a baby at all. I had to go and have it all removed that day. For the next year I was under Charring Cross hospitals having regular blood tests and urine samples before I was allowed to become pregnant again. We were devastated and it took a long time to come to terms with losing our "baby". We went on to have another daughter in 1999 who is a real character and we wouldn't change her for the world. No one can explain the loss of an unborn child and it is one of the rawest pains you can feel. But be positive, all can come right in the end.
L Lindsay, Bordon, Hants
I lost a baby in 1975, my first, at 38 weeks. The only explanation that I had was that the baby had been turning inside the womb so much that the cord had been wrapped round its neck. Each time that it turned the cord grew tighter and tighter until it squeezed the life out of her. Fortunately I went into labour straightaway and gave birth by caesarean. Not being awake at the time of birth helped me to accept that there would be no baby. I was not allowed to see or hold the baby as they said that the sight of her would make things worse so I feel cheated that I did not get to say goodbye. The only way that I have managed to cope is to try and accept that things happen for a reason and it was not our time, if I hadn't I don't think I could have moved on. I now have two fantastic children, a boy and girl, and I thank my lucky stars for them. However, I'll never forget the anniversary of my first daughter's birth.
Yvonne, Caldecote, Cambridge
I had a HELLP syndrome at the end of 27th week and had to give birth there and then in order to save my own life (at least this is what the doctors said). My daughter Felicity was stillborn as her lungs were not developed enough but unfortunately I have not been as lucky as Margaret or been blessed with another child. What I missed most was that there was no time to properly say good bye to my daughter, she was too quickly taken away from me. But time heals wounds, this was more than 10 years ago and I have since adapted to a life without children. It has its advantages.
After having no trouble in carrying a child to term I lost a baby late on in pregnancy .Subsequently I had a series of miscarriages. I was in despair, until fortunately I was helped by the doctors at the Royal Infirmary. I cannot speak too highly of the care and expertise which I experienced at that time. My daughter is now 20 and at university and I will always be grateful to all of them.
Anne McShane, Glasgow ,Scotland
I had two miscarriages at 14 weeks before eventually having my son. During my first two pregnancies, I was given my first consultant appointment for 16 weeks - unfortunately I never made that milestone.
For the third pregnancy, I chose a different hospital who offered me an early appointment. As soon as I was examined by a consultant (coincidentally the same consultant as I had been under previously but had never seen), he diagnosed a 'severely retroverted uterus'. Basically, my womb leans towards my back rather than my front, meaning that when it reaches a certain size there is no longer any space for the baby to grow and therefore it dies. I had a band fitted that altered the way my womb would expand and went on to have a very healthy 8lb 3oz boy - who was and is an absolute joy in every way. The bad experiences however, have prevented me from having another pregnancy. My biggest regret is that both of my miscarriages could have been prevented so easily.
I have had three consecutive miscarriages, all very early on, and am now waiting for the birth of my 1st child which was due last Friday (3rd June). Although all has been well, I am still absolutely terrified of something going wrong. The pain and fear of having lost before is difficult to accept and ignore.
Katrina Cunningham, Glasgow, Scotland
In 1968 our first daughter was stillborn at 36 weeks, in those days you did not get to say goodbye to your baby they just sent you home from hospital and for me the message was it's just one of those very sad things that happen. After your postnatal you can just try again. Even after all these years with a healthy son and daughter there is still a special place in my heart and sadness for our lost of our beloved Carolyn who we did not get to know.
Barbara Lawence, Woking, Surrey
I had a missed miscarriage last year at 12 weeks. The dating scan showed that the baby hadn't lived past 8 weeks. Both me and my partner were devastated, even though we were technically only 3 months along. I am now 32 weeks pregnant and things are going fine - even though it doesn't stop you worrying. What was surprising, however, was the amount of people who told us a similar thing had happened to them on their first attempt. It meant we didn't feel quite so alone!
Sara White, Warrington, Cheshire
I suffered two miscarriages in 2003. One at only five weeks and one missed miscarriage at 10 and a half weeks. This one required hospital treatment which in hindsight I wish I hadn't had. Nature would have taken its course. After several weeks of counselling I have learned to live with our loss. We even had a scan picture of our ten and a half week old.
We had our daughter Lily in November 2004 and despite a stressful pregnancy (worrying about another miscarriage) she arrived perfectly healthy, two weeks earlier than expected. She is now growing like a weed, eating everything in sight and with no idea how precious she is and always will be. There is hope at the end of the tunnel.
Kelly, Falmouth Cornwall
I lost twins (Charlotte and Emily) at 17 weeks last August. It was the most dreadful time of my husband's and my life and it has taken a long time for me to get myself back together. We were lucky, though, to receive absolutely fantastic support from the John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford - they couldn't have been more kind or more sympathetic during delivery (in a specifically designed bereavement suite) and afterwards.
My only regret is that although I joined the Twins and Multiple Birth Association Bereavement Support Group we haven't actually met anyone in our situation of losing both twins to Twin to Twin Transfusion Syndrome. I am now just over 17 weeks pregnant again, with just one this time, and although I know in my heart of hearts that last time was a one-off, I still worry.
Jane Olds, Oxford, UK
My wife miscarried twice a couple of years ago and we were both distraught. However, our first son was born last year, healthy and full of fun. I have never been so happy. Until we lost the first two I had no idea how many people miscarry every day. If it happens to you, remember you are not alone and remember it doesn't mean you won't be luckier in the future.
Leon Hughes, London
We lost our first baby daughter Imogen at full-term, following a "cord accident" - the cord was wrapped around her neck and she was delivered dead. There was no warning, and we witnessed the medical team attempting to revive her for 20 minutes before deciding enough was enough. We were shocked, shattered and heartbroken as nothing had prepared us for this.
We were also stunned by the reaction of friends and family who seemed equally devastated. We held a funeral for her, and then, after a very painful and distressing Christmas (which we had planned to spend with our three week old baby) we went for a long and much needed holiday, before returning to work (which whilst difficult at first, really helped). Fortunately within 6 months I was pregnant again and 16 months ago delivered (by elective C Section) a beautiful baby girl; Carys Lucy.
As in the family above, she by no means replaces our first daughter and I still think about Imogen a lot, however Carys has brought enormous joy into our lives and is a delight to have around. It was a horrendous experience, and it is very difficult to explain how you feel until you have been in those circumstances, but we feel incredibly fortunate to have been in a position to "try again" (although I hate the expression), and we feel blessed to have Carys in our lives.
Helen Liles, London
It was really good for me to see this feature on the UK front page. I had a miscarriage last year, and am currently 36 weeks pregnant again. Although it isn't born yet, this baby appears to be healthy, and obviously we are hoping for the best. I felt after my miscarriage that it was something people are not able to talk about; in fact, most people didn't seem to even know much, even though as many as 1 in 5 pregnancies end in miscarriage, it is never discussed and people are just not aware. I had people saying it must have been something I did, from lifting too much weight to having too many cats.
This is the last thing you want to hear when you have just lost a baby, and is almost always wrong, most of the time there is no reason, it is just something that happens and there is nothing anyone can do about it. I believe there should be more awareness of miscarriage and stillbirth in this country, for something so common the general level of ignorance about it is shocking. It really helps just to read about other people's experiences and to feel that support is out there.
Fredrica Teale, London, UK
I have suffered 6 miscarriages which I find increasingly difficult to cope with - the overwhelming loss, the ache of wanting to be a mother. In my late 30s conception naturally is drawing away from me. I have considered adoption but was told that I needed to "get over my miscarriages" before considering adoption. You never get over the loss - there are anniversaries, would be birthdays - as with all loss there is a healing time but with motherhood there is an all round constant reminder. The objection to adoption has upset me but I am determined to proceed. I am a woman with so much love to give to a child.
Anonymous, St Albans
We're still trying to achieve this goal. We can only imagine the joy. We too left the hospital with empty arms, after a routine check-up at 41 weeks found my son had died. As with many, we don't know why. Sixteen very difficult months on (which have included a missed miscarriage and a biochemical pregnancy) we're told we may be unlucky; we may have a problem which hasn't yet been identified. "Good luck" were the last words of the consultant we had battled to see. I feel bitter, angry, and consumed with the monthly battle and the grief. I'd like the old me back.
Emma, Kent, UK
My husband and I had been trying to conceive for almost a year when we found out I was pregnant in December 2003. I had read everything available to me about how to conceive, how to cope with the symptoms of early pregnancy, how to have a healthy pregnancy etc but had always skipped over the pages to do with miscarriage. When the pregnancy ended after just less than two months we were totally devastated. We found that some friends and even family were remarkably insensitive in that most people would say things like "well at least you were not too far gone" or "it's for the best as it means it would have been deformed" or "it's really common".
Whether you have been pregnant for two weeks or two months, the moment you find out you are pregnant with a much wanted baby it is impossible not to start planning ahead and imagining the person that baby will become. Miscarriage is a death which needs to be grieved for the same as any other death. At the time I desperately wanted to know that there were people out there who had miscarried but gone on to have a healthy baby.
In February 2004 I discovered I was pregnant again so soon after the miscarriage and this time I went on to have a healthy baby boy who is now almost 7 months old. I feel that people can be terribly dismissive of miscarriage as they have not seen a baby so therefore have no sense of the loss the mother feels. No one would be dismissive or unsympathetic if they found out that somebody's young baby had died, so to treat miscarriage as just a minor hiccup in the quest to have a baby is remarkably insensitive.
Jane Down, Bromley, UK
I had at least 3 miscarriages after having a healthy daughter. I was never given an explanation and never managed to conceive successfully afterwards. What hurt the most was other people's ill-considered comments about how selfish I was to only have one child, as if it was my choice to do so. Other unhelpful comments included "never mind, at least you have one child" as if that made it somehow alright not to have or want another.
Penny Humm, Cambridge, England
I have two healthy daughters. The eldest is 26 and youngest 8. In between I had two miscarriages and I was told - cause unknown. When I thought that I wasn't going to have anymore children, I found out I was pregnant. When I was expecting my youngest daughter, I had threaten miscarriage up to 14 weeks and then I was told by the hospital where I use to go for routine check up that the baby I was carrying might have Downs Syndrome. You can imagine the shock. So my husband and myself we went over to University Hospital of London after finding that they had special unit for detail scanning, and had this scan and they told me there was nothing wrong with the baby. And on 22nd of October 1996 I had a healthy beautiful baby girl weighing 6lb 8ozs. In fact people said she looked like a little doll.
I read Margaret's story and identified so much with her story. I had a normal pregnancy resulting in our daughter. After a couple of years, I had 2 miscarriages in quick succession at the age of 37. Combined with my diminishing fertility, the grief and anxiety was overwhelming. People who haven't been through this trauma cannot in any way identify with the multitude of feelings that you experience. I became pregnant again unexpectedly, and started to show signs of another miscarriage. The whole pregnancy for me was miserable, it was impossible for me to be positive. I lived with doubt and insecurity for 9 months. To our great joy, George was born last November.
I give thanks every day for his life, but always remember, with the greatest of sadness, the two little ones who aren't with me. The message I want to convey is that I have two beautiful and happy children and I thank God for that, but I will never ever forget the two that I will never know. I gained comfort from The Miscarriage Association, who produce a series of information booklets, for mums as well as dads, which are factual and reassuring. I recommend them. Finally, take comfort from the fact that you are not on your own and whatever you feel is normal. No-one has the right to tell you how you should feel nor to debate the philosophy of when life begins. A pregnancy loss is the loss of a life.
Heidi Smith, Shrewsbury, UK
I have suffered the loss of three babies; my first (Joseph) was at 20 weeks, nothing can prepare you for the despair and sadness. My miscarriages remain unexplained but we now have a 9-month-old baby called Patrick. I still find it almost impossible to write about but want to urge other couples not to give up. Find a consultant who really cares, I finally gave birth at the age of 39. Never give up hope.
Elizabeth Lynch, Halifax, England
I had an ectopic pregnancy at five weeks, and lost the baby. I went on to have two healthy children (despite having only one fallopian tube) They do not replace the one lost; every April I mark a missed birthday, for the baby which, had it been born, would now have been 8.
Alex, Knutsford, Cheshire
After two miscarriages, my wife and I became parents in April 2005. After the first miscarriage, the pressure that built on our relationship was awful. Becoming pregnant first time was easy, this time no problem. Except it took eighteen months and when my wife fell pregnant again, there was a mixture of worry and joy about the foetus. Then, at home, my wife miscarried again and we found ourselves holding the dead 14 week old foetus in our hands. Although tiny, barely the size of a man's hand, it was so real and present to us, still warm from my wife's body.
Soon after, for two years, came the fad diets, exercise routines, avoidance of all sorts of substances. Our love life became a mechanical process of breeding, a loveless mating routine at the "right" time of day on the "right" day of the month. Very quickly the love that brought us together drained away so when last year my wife was pregnant, I didn't want to believe it so I would have an excuse to leave a relationship devoid of any compassion or feeling. I also dwelt in terror of the pregnancy with the fear and panic about every slight turn in events. Then, at thirteen weeks, we had a scan. Baby was well, moving actively and completely healthy. The relief was palpable: but even up until the day our baby was born we didn't unpack anything or think of anything beyond a few names. The birth, by c-section, was a little complicated but we are the proudest and happiest parents of a beautiful daughter who has already brought joy into our lives and those of all she meets. My best wishes to Isabella and her parents, may you know nothing but happiness.
We went for a routine scan at 19 weeks and were shocked to be told that no heartbeat could be found. I delivered my first daughter two days later. She was still sucking her thumb. I can identify with a lot of Margaret's experience and particularly agree that miscarriage is totally inadequate as a description. Losing a baby mid-way through pregnancy feels like a sort of "No Man's Land" between early miscarriage and having a "real" baby. Someone even said to me "Well, she was never really alive, was she?", but of course she was to me. I went on to have a wonderful baby daughter who is now 6-years-old. If my first daughter hadn't died in the womb, I would never have had her, so some good has come out of the pain.
Alison, Warrington, Cheshire
My husband and I tried for 6 years and finally I succeeded in becoming pregnant. I was absolutely thrilled. Unfortunately I miscarried at 10 weeks. To battle both infertility and miscarriage was unbearable. To have your goal in sight only to have it snatched away is devastating. This was made much worse by some people's reactions of it not really being a child - it was our baby and we loved it from the beginning. Three years on we are still trying but without success so far. I have the scan from my first child and I wouldn't be without that proof that I am a parent - albeit without a child to hold.
Mrs Noella Sandys, Eastbourne, UK
There is no good time to lose a baby - my wife had an ectopic pregnancy which had to be removed at 6 weeks which was devastating for all of us, then we had to make he decision of whether to risk it happening again - we did and Xander was born 9 months later - a very healthy boy - all his growth stats off the charts.
George Warwick, Halifax
We lost our first baby at 10 weeks (although it turned out the foetus was only 6 weeks developed). That was 5 years ago today (7th June). We were lucky - exactly one year later I was induced with my first child (very apprehensive at what the date meant). Emma arrived at 11.59 on 8th June 2001, and we're celebrating her birthday tomorrow together with her little brother, Matthew, who was born in October 2002. Although experiencing slight bleeding at around 10 weeks with Emma, both pregnancies were totally healthy, and like Margaret, I count my blessings every day (even at the end of the difficult ones!). Whilst pregnant with Emma my hospital was involved in the trial of the 'cervix stitch', although my examination put me in the low-risk group of early labour so it was not necessary.
Dawn, Blackheath, London
I had a very easy pregnancy in 2000, and assumed that it would be just as easy to have a longed for second child. I became pregnant easily, but at the first scan it was clear that the baby had not developed, and had stopped growing some time previously. I was treated at the Royal Free in Hampstead who were very kind, although I later felt I was given the wrong advice to take tablets to clear my womb. My husband and I assumed this was just an awful hiccup, and again I got pregnant very easily.
The first scan showed the heartbeat, but that development was slower than would be expected. By the second scan there was no heartbeat, and again it was clear that development had stopped some time previously. This time I was treated at the Portland and opted for an ERPC. The advice at the time was that we were extremely unlucky, but that tests couldn't really commence until after 3 miscarriages. This time we waited 3 months and again I was pregnant very quickly, but sadly the pattern repeated itself. By this time I was obsessed with having another child, but we waited 6 months, and I got pregnant again, with history once more repeating itself. So much for third time lucky! I was then tested and whilst nothing concrete showed up, it was thought my body might be rejecting any baby. I therefore had white cell treatment, and was advised to try and become pregnant as quickly as possible.
This time everything proceeded normally, whilst each scan was nerve racking, the joy of seeing the baby grow and a strong heartbeat was unbelievable. My luck held and I had a beautiful baby boy in Cape Town last year. Whilst part of me longs for a third child, the other part is grateful for what I have, and I am not sure whether I could put my family through all the heartache again. I think what surprised me the most was how common miscarriages are, and how rarely they are spoken about. I think most people assume that if you have a normal pregnancy, then there is no reason why you can't have another one. My story shows this is not always the case.
Jane Attwood, Bude, UK
I had four miscarriages. The first was when I was 20 years old. I didn't know what was happening and no-one had any answers for me other than it was common for women to miscarry but that doesn't help when you ask yourself what did I do wrong? Could I have done anything different? The feeling of loss is made worse when you are told that you are still young enough to try again. I felt as though no-one understood what was happening. My family chose just to forget what had happened and if we didn't speak about it we could pretend that it didn't happen. My family had not had this happen to them before as far as we know so it seemed I was the first. This only led me to believe it was my fault in some way.
My doctors dismissed my questions and had no words of advice or comfort for me. This was distressing. I wanted answers. Why did this happen to me? I lost my second child twelve months later. Again it was the same situation. Nobody took it seriously. I was still young enough to try again. Was it me or my husband? No-one had any answers. We could only grieve together. Even then I think my husband found that difficult because I wasn't so far along in my pregnancy. I was three months so I was not really showing but it was my baby, my second baby. Didn't anyone care my babies had died? I don't think many people including my family looked at this as my babies. Eleven months later I gave birth to a healthy baby girl - my special one - I call her and still do twenty years later. To me she is my third child, to others she is my first, but the joy and happiness never takes away the loss of my first two babies. I then had another miscarriage and another healthy baby boy followed by another miscarriage.
I am now 42 years old with two healthy children but even to this day I still think about my four babies who died. I work out how old they will all be and wonder if they were boys or girls. I never got to know. The loss stays with you forever even though others forget and choose to ignore what happened. I was not offered any help or counselling to come to terms with my loss. I had to deal with it the best way I knew how and at times that was not too successful. I love my babies and they will always be part of me and having my two healthy children is wonderful but they know they have siblings in heaven that never quite made this world. They are there in our hearts and my children know how special they are. What if this happens to one of my children? What if I have a faulty gene? How can I give my children answers to these questions they might put to me? I don't know how to answer their questions because I still don't know why my babies died.
Karen Alexander, Liverpool Merseyside
Earlier this year I miscarried twins at 11 weeks. Before that experience I really did not understand why miscarriage could make people so unhappy. After all, the "babies" are only a few centimetres at best so it should all be very clinical. But that is not the experience. I was devastated - it was an extremely painful experience both emotionally and physically. I knew my reaction was not "logical", but that makes it no less real. And it didn't help that I was left in a side room in A&E for 10 hours on the day it happened. Now, several months on, I try not to think about it, but I certainly have a new empathy for what experiences like these mean for the people involved.
In my first pregnancy I had a healthy baby boy. I then had the heartache of 2 miscarriages at 12 weeks within a year. I was left feeling totally numb and the hospital just took the attitude of "it happens, just get on with it". I thought that I would never carry to full term again and that my son would be an only child. However, last year I had another beautiful boy and my other son now had a brother after 10 years! So I would say to anyone reading this to not give up hope!
Julie, Belfast, NI
How I sympathise as like Margaret I suffered the loss of unborn children. The pain associated with miscarriage is so personal and heart breaking its hard to describe even to ones own husband. You and only you have carried that child. A husband or partner can sympathise and mourn with you but the babies I lost were growing in ME. The despair was inexpressible. I wanted so desperately to fill my arms with a baby, and I can very easily understand how some women, after a miscarriage can steal another woman's child. In all I had six miscarriages and one ectopic pregnancy.
The birth of my son, all 9lbs 4oz of him in October 1976, will be the utmost and most treasured moment in my life, even though I had to have a caesarean section, the joy of seeing him, counting all the appropriate number of toes and fingers, the colour of his eyes, everything was supreme. I have told some of my friends who cannot seem to conceive straight away, "keep trying and you will succeed". I did and I know, and my joy with my beautiful son and now also a lovely darling grandson is well, beyond words...
Patricia Haworth, Blackburn Lancashire
I had a miscarriage in June of 1980. It was devastating, and left me very sad. My then husband was not supportive, and we had our second child in July of 1981, and a third in 1984. He remained unsupportive emotionally and I finally got myself out of the marriage in 2004. The USA still does not have adequate bereavement support services in any way shape or form at this point.
Kristina Meservey, Hyannis, Massachusetts
I miscarried twice, with no explanation, and with no family history of miscarriage. The hospital was very blunt and told me that 'it's just nature's way' and due to a previous pelvic inflammatory disease history, I was told I may never be able to carry a child full term. Some time later, I found I was pregnant, and went to a scan expecting the worst - but it was a healthy baby girl! After a long labour, and an emergency C-section, I now look at my daughter, now two years old as a blessing from above. A very special, very much loved and wanted little girl. My heart goes out to all women who suffer the way I did. I just wish I could help.
Louise , Bristol
Adrian and I got married two years ago and had just finished building our home in November it was after that when everything started to go wrong for us. I miscarried our baby on the 23rd of November, I was 4 months pregnant - we were very distraught however took comfort from the fact that we were young, Adrian was 25 and I was 26 and had (as we believed) our whole lives in front of us.
My husband Adrian started to feel unwell and he first went to the doctor on the 16th December. He was certainly not one to complain and carried on working as a joiner right up until the 23rd of December. We celebrated his 26th birthday on Christmas Day surrounded by all our family in our beautiful home, which he had worked tirelessly to build. A few short days later, on the 30th December 2004, Adrian was diagnosed with cancer. He passed away on the 24th January 2005 - he lasted just 25 days. Our baby's due date was yesterday and without him here with me I just felt so alone. It has been the worst day since I lost both my husband and our baby as I had no one to talk to about how I feel. I feel I have not had a chance to come to terms with loosing out much wanted bay never mind my husband as I lost them both within 2 months.
Clare Heaney, Castledawson, Ireland
I understand the loss. I did not have another chance. Good luck to all who do.
Mary, Gold Coast, Australia
I was told many years ago that conceiving may be difficult and eventually after many years of operations and treatment I conceived through IVF in 2001 only to be told the baby had died at around 6 weeks. After 10 days it was decided that I would need an operation to remove the contents of my womb as this was not going to happen naturally. 2002 was spent travelling backwards and forwards to the hospital but I didn't respond to any further treatment (for the transfer of a frozen embryo). At the end of September 2002 I was sent home and told "contact us next year", which duly did in the March of 2003. We made an appointment to see the consultant and arrangements were made to start a full cycle of treatment the May.
In the meantime I discovered that against all the odds and many months after fertility treatment, that I was pregnant naturally. Unfortunately to our great distress I miscarried a week later. During the early part of May 2003 I began to feel different and yet again against the odds I was pregnant again, and this time I produced a very healthy, bouncing baby boy in January 2004. September 2004 I miscarried yet again, this time much later than usual (11 weeks). Yet again no explanation could be given. I am currently 16 weeks pregnant and all is going well. But I will not settle until baby number 2 is safely here. I have learnt not to assume anything. The doctors cannot explain why I was unable to conceive before but suddenly at 37 the hormones seemed to have kicked in and I now only need to look at my husband and bingo!
Julie Fitzgerald, Thirsk, England
My wife and I had two miscarriages back in the early 1990's before we had our first daughter, Sophie in 1994. We then had a further three miscarriages, investigations which confirmed we were fine and a lot of heartache. In 2003, we had another daughter Emily and this year, a baby boy, James. I felt that medically there wasn't really anything known and the answer was always it just wasn't to be. I really believe the answer lies in the mind to some extent. We were trying for five or six years after our first child without success but it wasn't until we were resigned to the fact that we wouldn't have anymore kids, that another two appeared. Perhaps our brains were less stressed and more relaxed.
Steve Liddiard, Romford, England
My wife and I sadly lost a baby through a miscarriage during 2004. It was a heartbreaking event in our lives, but happily we were blessed with a healthy baby girl this year. We will never forget the baby we lost, but it made us even more appreciative of our good fortune this time. The treatment we received from the NHS staff at Burnley general was also worthy of the highest praise. They were absolutely fantastic, through both the good times and the bad.
Sven, Colne, UK
I suffered a stillbirth 2 and half years ago. It was my second pregnancy, the first ended after only 8 weeks as an ectopic pregnancy. Second time round, we thought we would have a healthy child and after the initial 3 months began to look forward to having our own little baby. However at 26 weeks I began to contract, not aware I was actually in labour. Maybe I was just being naive. When we arrived at the hospital, the nurses and doctors began doing a number of tests and told us very quickly there was no heartbeat. Our baby girl was born an hour later on a cold winter's day. My initial reaction was of shock and numbness. I couldn't talk and just wanted to be alone. There were no words. The most awful thing was leaving the hospital with all our hopes just dashed. For a few months I was just in another world.
Everyone was getting on with their lives but for me my life felt as if it had no meaning. 10 months later I became pregnant again and was nervous throughout. I still couldn't imagine having a baby and believed something was bound to go wrong. I gave birth to a beautiful, beautiful baby girl in June last year. I can't believe how special and wonderful she is. You never get over losing a baby at any stage, but to be so close. I look at it now and think if I hadn't have had a still birth I would not have Zaina in my life, and that's what makes it bearable. No one close to me talks about it, i think they feel uncomfortable. But it will always be a part of me. You just have to hope for the future and sometimes horrible things happen with no explanation. It just makes you appreciate what you do get in the end.
I've had 4 miscarriages, all at 11-12 weeks. Some were years apart. My first was at 23, then 24, then 26 and finally at 34. All were put down as 'bad luck'. After doing my own research, I think the most likely explanation was a 'blighted ovum'. I saw the third one on a scan at 11 weeks, it was much smaller than it should have been and it miscarried the next day. On a positive note, I now have 2 healthy daughters, the eldest is 13, she was born after my third miscarriage and my youngest is 5 who was born after the 4th miscarriage. The anxiety of pregnancy especially in the first 3 months was intense. Each loss was keenly felt, I was fortunate to get pregnant very quickly after my last miscarriage and that resulted in my now 5 year old girl. My 2 live pregnancies were text book, no complications, both were overdue and weighed in at 8lbs 13 oz and 8lbs 11oz respectively. So if you've had multiple miscarriages, don't give up hope.
Helen Hobson, Reading, Berkshire