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strength Tallaght parents share heartbreaking trauma of three miscarriages in six months

"When they confirmed the miscarriage, I had to go out to the car with a scan pic of our dead baby"


Katie and Gavin with their little girl Nina

Katie and Gavin with their little girl Nina

Katie and Gavin with their little girl Nina

Former Hollyoaks star Stephanie Davis this week opened up about the enduring pain and trauma of miscarriage.

The heartbroken actress took to social media to share the devastating news that she had experienced the loss of a baby she and her boyfriend Oliver Tasker had longed for.

The distraught star used her public platform to amplify the grief experienced by so many couples. Taking to Instagram she wrote: "Still in bed. Crying over what could have been and what if."

Chrissy Teigen and Meghan Markle have bravely shared their losses, while Irish stars including Laura Whitmore and Rosanna Davison have also spoken of the trauma of miscarriage in a bid to lessen the silence and stigma that exists around the loss of a pregnancy.

One in five pregnancies ends in miscarriage. In Ireland alone, 14,000 women experience miscarriage each year. But despite the increased awareness, it is an experience that too often leaves women and couples feeling isolated and helpless.

Katie Skelly (33) and her husband Gavin (32) are one couple who know this to be true.

The doting parents, who live in Tallaght, Dublin, with their 18-month-old daughter, Nina, have endured four miscarriages.

For Katie, who experienced three miscarriages in the space of six months, there has been a sense of strength and solidarity in sharing their story.

"Every time I have been pregnant, I have had a miscarriage. On my first pregnancy I had a tiny bleed at about six weeks. My GP scanned me and she said it looked like twins but one of the sacs was smaller.

"When you have a loss that early on with a twin it is actually called a vanishing twin. You don't miscarry in a typical way; your body actually absorbs the twin that doesn't make it and that's what happened to me.

"It wasn't a nice thing to hear on your first pregnancy but by the same token, we were so wrapped up in the excitement of Nina we tried to focus on the positives that we were having a baby.

"Last Christmas we decided to try again and I fell pregnant quite quickly. We went for a private scan at six weeks and the heartbeat was really strong."

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Stephanie Davis shared news of her miscarriage on Instagram

Stephanie Davis shared news of her miscarriage on Instagram

Stephanie Davis shared news of her miscarriage on Instagram

When the couple booked in for another private scan six weeks later in March of this year, they received devastating news.

"There was no heartbeat, all I could hear was silence. It was a missed miscarriage. I had no symptoms of a miscarriage and that was the really horrible thing. The baby had passed away a week before but I still had all the symptoms of being pregnant, my body hadn't recognised that the baby had passed."

The couple immediately went to the Rotunda Hospital, but due to Covid-19 restrictions Katie alone faced the agonising choice of how she would remove the pregnancy.

"I had to decide by myself which way I would get the baby out of me; wait and hope that I would start to miscarry myself, have a D&C or I could have medical management, where you basically take abortion tablets.

"Nina was due to turn one the next week and I just said, 'I can't walk around with this baby that is dead inside me.'

"When they confirmed the miscarriage, I had to go out to the car with a scan picture of our dead baby and point out the anomalies to Gavin. He sat outside for hours in the Rotunda and watched father after father walk out with babies in car seats. He just had to sit there knowing his child was dead while other fathers were allowed to be with their partners on wards."

Katie was given a basic pamphlet on miscarriage and sent home to labour alone.

"I was told to go home and take the tablets, 'if something goes wrong, call us,' but essentially it was 'best of luck.' There was no follow-up support.

"Although the doctor was lovely, they don't go into specifics, my main question was 'will I see something?'

"When you are three months into a pregnancy you are essentially giving birth and it is like a mini labour. You have the cramps and the pains.

"We didn't know if the baby was a boy or a girl but we named the baby Croí which is Irish for heart."

The couple fell pregnant again in May of this year but sadly, they lost another baby. Harrowingly, just two months later, they experienced another miscarriage.

Speaking of their loss, the trainee accountant said: "Miscarriage is such a neat term but I didn't misplace my baby, it doesn't at all describe what a person goes through when they miscarry, it isn't a neat process like the term suggests.

"I felt so empty, I felt like a failure. How could my body on the one hand work so hard to keep the pregnancy going so much so that it didn't let me know I had lost my baby, and then not bring this baby to term?

"A missed miscarriage is an extra bit of cruelty because you think everything is OK and then it is only when you get to a scan you realise that it's not."

Determined to open the dialogue around pregnancy loss, Katie said: "I am glad I was open about what happened with Croí. I had cards to the door and flowers sent and care packages; the acknowledgment helped because Croí is loved.

"When Gavin told people the news he must have been five or six people in before someone said, 'and how are you?' He is a parent too, they were his babies. It's so important to check in with the partner too.

"You may feel like you are the only person going through it but the more it is talked about, the less it becomes a taboo."

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