A miscarriage, whenever it happens, for whatever reason, is heart shattering.
Whether it’s your first or your fifth, at the very beginning of pregnancy or later down the track, is irrelevant.
For Alex Kramer, it’s a pain she’s experienced 35 times over. Yes, you read that correctly. The English TV presenter has suffered 35 miscarriages in her journey to become a mother.
A cycle of heartbreak
Alex experienced her first miscarriage when trying to conceive, seven years ago, with partner Scott. The couple started trying for a baby four years after meeting, but suffered a loss early on. ” “I was heartbroken,” Alexis tells The Sun newspaper. “You think, ‘OK let’s try again’ – but obviously I had no idea what lay ahead.”
It was a rapid introduction to a world that too many women are familiar with; the world of unexplained pregnancy loss and the agony that comes with it.
The popular British TV presenter suffered another nine losses before giving birth to daughter Isobella in January 2013 then lost another five babies before the arrival of her son, Josh, in 2014. Since deciding to try for a third child, Alexis has suffered a further 20 losses, including twins last April. “We discovered we were having twins at our six-week scan,” Alex remembers. “It had been a while since I’d let myself get excited but I couldn’t help myself.”
“But when we went to the eight week scan there was no heartbeat and my babies had died. I took it really hard. I was a complete mess.”
While Alex feels blessed to have both Isobella and Josh, the desire for a third child has meant continuing down a path tinged with uncertainty, loss and pain.
“I am blessed to have two beautiful children and I know there will be a lot of people out there thinking, ‘Why is she doing this?’ says Alex. “But there’ll be those who will understand my longing for another child.
Recurrent miscarriage: An unexplained phenomenon
While one in six Australian women experience miscarriage, ‘recurrent miscarriage’, where a woman experiences three or more consecutive early pregnancy losses is less common. Two in every 100 women are thought to experience it, and frustratingly, there aren’t always answers as to WHY it keeps happening. It’s estimated that there is no medical explanation for around 50% of losses leaving families confused, bewildered and terrified of history repeating itself. For Alex, this was her reality. “I’ve had every test and investigation going,” she says. “Nothing ever showed up.”
And having carried two children to full term, I keep thinking, ‘What if this month is the month that I get my third baby?’
The end of the line
After seven years, 35 miscarriages, fertility treatments and endless tests to try and determine why the horrible cycle keeps happening, Alex is giving it one last go before calling it a day. “I’ve got one more shot at this left in me,” she says. “And if it doesn’t happen then I’m done.”
On experiencing the agony of unexplained loss after unexplained loss, Alex shares how she’s often struggled with how to process her emotions. “Over the last seven years there have been times when I’ve felt like a freak,” she says.
“You try not to cry because you don’t want to add any stress or anxiety to your body, and also because life keeps going. I’m so lucky to have kids, but you do cry.”
Her advice to women experiencing pregnancy loss? “It’s OK to own your grief, to be sad and to ask for support from those closest to you,” she says. “You don’t have to keep what you’re going through a secret, or brush it under the carpet like it doesn’t matter. It’s your reality and your pain.”
If you, or someone you know, is experiencing or has experienced a miscarriage, SANDS in Australia can help.
Thinking about trying for another baby after experiencing a loss? Check out our guide to overcoming the fear when trying again.