miscarriage - a real mum's story
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Miscarriage – a mum’s story

Jane Daly Russell, 44, from Louth, is mum to Sophie and Thomas. She has had three very different and heartbreaking experiences of miscarriage.

“I had IVF to have my beautiful son Thomas. Two embryos were transferred but then I had a bleed. A scan at eight weeks showed one empty sac. I was sent home to rest, but began to bleed again. It was a really heavy period for 12 hours. I cried a lot and I was worried and frightened. A few days later I had another scan. To my surprise the sonographer found a heartbeat. That was my Thomas.

I was told: ‘I don’t think you’re going to miscarry the second, this is a very strong heartbeat.’ But I spent a lot of my pregnancy stressed and very worried. I went overdue with Thomas. When he was born, to have him in my arms was emotionally overwhelming. My second miscarriage was different. I didn’t even know I was pregnant and there was no morning sickness. But my period was late so I did a test. Then I went for a scan. I was supposed to have twins, but the sonographer said: ‘I’m sorry, there’s no heartbeat.’ I was heartbroken.

Miscarriage - a real mum's story

Two years later, I experienced a third miscarriage. My period was late and I wasn’t too nauseous. We went for a scan and saw a clear heartbeat and tiny arms and legs moving. But at ten weeks, the nausea stopped and I had a small bleed. I can’t describe the heartbreak. After a miscarriage you can be offered a number of options – to allow it to come naturally, to take a pill or to have a D&C. I opted for the latter. I took time off work after my miscarriages, three weeks after the twins and six weeks after my last. A good midwife friend advised me, ‘When you think you’re ready, take another week.’

To women experiencing a miscarriage now, I would say seek support from family and friends. You didn’t do anything wrong. Talk to someone – anyone, your mum, your husband. What helped us was that both my husband and I talked about my miscarriages and we cried together. We named each of our unborn babies. In heaven we have Ryan, twins Jess and Bobbie and Clare.

Remembering is hugely important. After our loss of twins, I attended the local St Gerard Novena, to a mass for lost children where we were invited to place the names of our babies in an urn which the priest carried above his head to the altar. We have their names on a Christmas bauble for the Christmas tree. And now we plan to have a vase made on which we will put the names of all our five children together. It’s something I’ll be able to look at every day.”

For information about miscarriage:

The Miscarriage Association of Ireland www.miscarriage.ie

More similar to this:

When it’s not just ups and downs
Look after your mental health
Anxiety in women

Ask Sarah

Q I’ve heard a lot about the Paleo diet and as I am very interested in reducing the amount of processed foods and grain based meals my family eats, we are considering following this diet. From what I read it seems to be a back-to-basics type of eating. Is a Paleo diet safe for children? My kids are aged seven and nine.

A The Paleo diet is one of the most fashionable diets around at the moment. It is also known as the ‘caveman diet’ and is based on cutting out processed foods, starchy foods like bread and potatoes and eating more meat, vegetables and fruit.
As fad diets go, it is not the worst but there are some good and bad sides to it. Reducing the amount of processed foods we eat is always a good idea and by doing that you will usually reduce the amount of fat, salt and sugar you eat, which is a good thing! The problem with the Paleo diet is that it also cuts out dairy (on the basis that cavemen didn’t drink milk) and this means that the diet is very low in calcium. For this reason it is really not suitable for children who do need a lot of calcium for growing bones. How did cavemen manage without dairy? They ate a lot more food than we do (up to 10,000 calories per day compared to the 2,000 most of us eat). By eating that amount of food they were able to pick up just enough calcium from green vegetables and seeds. To put it in perspective, you would need to eat 16 servings of broccoli a day to get all the calcium you need. This is easier to do if you eat 10,000 calories per day rather than 2,000.
The other problem with the paleo diet is that it is not entirely based in science. Many of the Paleo diets out there say you should not eat wheat, even though we know that cavemen did in fact eat wheat and other grains. These diets also don’t recommend that you eat blubber and the big lumps of fat that were also a large part of the caveman diet!
A final problem is that many Paleo diets encourage people to cut out beans and lentils and to get their protein from meat and fish instead. Many studies over the last few years are clear that eating too much animal protein is linked with more cancer and heart disease. Eating some vegetarian meals based on beans and lentils is a great way to get your protein without always going for meat.
Is this a diet we should follow? I think there is a lot we can learn from the Paleo diets. We could all do with eating less salt, sugar and processed foods and adding in more nuts and seeds as well as more vegetables. However, I think following a strict Paleo diet could lead to low levels of calcium and vitamin D and so it is not suitable for children or teens and adults would need to think about a calcium supplement.

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ASK LOUISE

Q My son is 18 months old and has just started saying his first words. It is an extremely exciting time in our house and my husband and I are eager to encourage his speaking as much possible. What advice would you give us on how we can foster this without bombarding and confusing him?

AThere is nothing better than hearing your baby begin to talk. All the hard work you have put in over the last two years is coming back tenfold.
Toddlers will vary significantly with ability and speed of which they talk however a guide would be about 50 words by 2 years of age. The most important thing to watch for is that your baby/toddler is cooing and babbling and begins to string sounds together like “Mama/Dada” They should have a wide range of speech sounds and like to imitate you and things they hear.
There are many ways that you can promote Speech and Language development at home:
1. Slowing down your own speech and taking time over conversations with your little one. Every day is a new experience when you are 18 months, nappy changes, bath time, baking a cake brings endless opportunity for you to interact and offer new words for them to hear and repeat. Make eye contact, smile and use exaggerated tones to keep things interesting and fun for your tot.
2. Review the toys that you have on offer to your tot and ensure that they give plenty of open ended play opportunities. Role play is a wonderful way to allow children to take the lead. Kitchens with lots of plates, cups and pots. Fill the pots with dry pasta and allow your child to cook and serve you. Playdoh, painting, gardening and sandpits are also great for allowing your child to take the lead and babble about what they are doing. Read plenty of books together and point and allow them time to answer any questions that you ask.
3. Limit screen time. Overuse of televisions and iPads do not give your child opportunity to interact in a two way manner.
4. Ask your child lots of open ended questions “What’s that?” “Where are we?” Point at things they know the answer to for boosting confidence (Car/ Car, etc.) When they don’t know the answer, explain it to them. Limit baby talk and speak clearly with good pronunciation, remember you are the teacher and they will copy you.
If you are concerned about your child’s speech and language development, be sure to speak with your GP or developmental Health Nurse. They are very skilled at understanding the difference between speech delays and spotting something that may require professional attention.
Enjoy watching their little brains absorb the world around them and listen to what they have to say. It won’t be too long before they won’t stop talking to you, asking “Why Mummy/ Daddy?” every 5 minutes….