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.
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
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