Monday, November 19, 2007

Maybe baby

Vanessa Lees talks frankly about miscarriage and asks for your own experiences

My body ought to be a walking incubator.

I’m young, fit, slim (but not malnourished), don’t smoke, a whiff of alcohol makes me queasy and I have a panic attack if there is an absence of green things on my plate.

So why have I suffered three consecutive miscarriages?

I am certainly not alone in my plight. A shocking one in four pregnancies ends in miscarriage and one in 100 women experience recurrent miscarriages (three or more consecutively). There are thousands of us who have loved and lost, who have experienced our breasts swell, retched daily, nodded off like a narcolepsy sufferer, only to find that the tiny heartbeat embedded in our uterus, we tried so hard to protect, has stopped.

The problem is that there is rarely an answer to miscarriage, just nature’s way of playing a terribly cruel joke. The NHS do carry out various tests after the third miscarriage including chromosomal analysis, lupus anticoagulant (sticky blood) and compatibility tests plus there are less scientific explanations like stress, or a zinc deficiency. But most of the time, it’s simply the fact that your body is immature in a sense, it hasn’t figured out what it’s supposed to do to sustain a pregnancy. My mother said I’d always been a slow developer. I told her this was in a different league to not being able to read the 24 hour clock as a six year old.

Considering how common miscarriage is, there is very little awareness surrounding the subject. Research by the Miscarriage Association shows that 45% of women interviewed said they did not feel well informed as to what was happening to them. Only 29% felt emotionally well cared for and 79% received no after care.

I certainly had no idea of what to expect after my first loss. Medical staff make an art form out of vagueness . You are told to expect ‘a bleed’ and ‘passing of products’. What they don’t warn you about is the crippling pain, extreme blood loss and depending on how far into the pregnancy you are, the horrific and haunting experience our interviewee describes below.

If you do something enough times, it becomes easier, a skill even. Miscarriage is one thing that doesn’t get easier and something you’d rather not be proficient at.

Useful contacts:
Bodywise Manchester (Traditional Acupuncture) 833 2528
Foresight Programme
Miscarriage Association
Neal’s Yard
Octopus Health

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