Vickkie Richardson, the author of Chasing Rainbows in Wellies, created a blog page offering an unfiltered account of how, after weathering the storm through six devastating miscarriages, her Rainbow baby was finally welcomed to the world.
When Vickkie and Seb Richardson decided to start a family, it soon became apparent this was a chapter in their lives that was going to be a lot harder than first expected. After their second miscarriage together, but Vickkie’s fourth, she was diagnosed with recurrent miscarriages but had no reason why. After being referred to a specialist at Lincoln, they started their journey to find out answers.
After being advised to try aspirin to avoid the blood clotting too early during pregnancy, they fell pregnant straight away and sadly suffered with yet another miscarriage. “I just thought this isn’t fair” Vickkie recalls, “It was getting more than devastating, I was furious because I thought we are wanting to give a child a loving home, we are ready, we are healthy and following everything by the book and yet it won’t happen for us?!”
After experiencing so many miscarriages with no answers, Vickkie started to blame herself. “I was thinking there must be something that I’m doing that is causing this. I felt guilty towards my husband, my family and everyone around us because they were upset too.”
After doing some research, Vickkie and Seb became aware of the charity Tommy’s and the research they do regarding miscarriages, so she requested a referral from her doctor. “I was told I’ve got super fertility and I know it sounds like you’ll have tonnes of babies, but actually it means that the lining in your womb isn’t very smart.” Vickkie explains that when you fall pregnant, if the fertilized egg isn’t good your body will get rid of it through a period whilst you are none the wiser and will continue to do so until it finds a good one, which it why it takes a healthy couple anywhere between six to twelve months to fall pregnant.
“Professor Quenby explained that my womb lining gets far too excited and clings on to a fertilized egg whether it is good or not. She explained research they’ve done with a diabetes drug increases the stem cells in the womb lining to affectively make it smarter, and we were at the top of the list for the trial.” Devastatingly, the Covid-19 pandemic hit, and all funding was paused and was being focused on Covid research, meaning this trial was also paused. “She said in the meantime if we did want to try again at some point my womb will pick a good egg, so she gave me progesterone which they give a lot of people who have had early miscarriages – it’s just a hormone that thickens up your womb lining so although it wasn’t a cure it wouldn’t hurt.”
Despite the trial pause, Vickkie and Seb were on a high. “It was such a relief, she said when you do get pregnant again, we are completely on your side for every step of the way. You can have scans, we will talk to your hospital and we will take care of everything which was just lovely because I had someone fighting for me.”
Unsurprisingly with the new diagnosis, they fell pregnant again straight away but once again at 7 weeks Vickkie started bleeding. After miscarrying for the sixth time, the couple decided to be more careful and wait for the drug trial. With the world still in lockdown, the couple weren’t as careful as they thought and 3 months later, they fell pregnant again. “Right from the start something told me everything was okay and that I was having a girl – I had never had that sort of thought before.”
The further the pregnancy went, the more anxiety Vickkie felt. “I just felt like I was holding my breath the whole time. I developed OCD and I had to have a routine or something would go wrong. Being in a pandemic didn’t help as I had a lot of time to myself; it was like if I didn’t sing the same song in the shower at the same time every night twice over, something would go wrong.” There is a misconception that when you finally go full term with a pregnancy after loss, everything will suddenly be okay. The reality is the years of trauma are still with you and the heartbreak you have felt can continue to severely affect you.
After being overdue with no sign of the baby’s arrival, to avoid more stress after much research and deliberation, they decided to have an elective cesarian and Bridget was brought into this world. “As soon as I heard her crying, all my anxiety just completely left me. That big breath I’d been holding for so long was finally released.”
Having experienced so much heartbreak and loss, and feeling alone for the majority of it, Vickkie decided to write an honest and raw account of her story. “I started when I was pregnant with Bridget. It helped at first, but I was reliving things I didn’t want to, so I decided I’d stop and I didn’t put any pressure on myself to finish it. I did finish it and I’m glad I did, I had a lot of people that I hadn’t spoken to in years or didn’t know personally say thank you for writing what you’ve written because I’ve gone through something similar – that made me feel like I’d done the right thing.”
One in four pregnancies will end with miscarriage, and yet it is a topic that isn’t widely discussed, isolating those going through it. Vickkie wants to encourage more of a dialogue. “You are allowed to feel upset that you’ve lost a baby at whatever stage, and you are allowed to grieve. Talk to your family and friends and ask for help. People might not know how to approach it, but if you want them to come round, ask them. If you want someone to bring you some tea, ask them. You need support and so does your partner – when I spoke to my husband, he felt like he had to be the strong one and people would often ask him how I am doing, not how he was doing. Make sure you communicate with each other – it will help you heal.”
Chasing Rainbows In Wellies was the end of a rocky chapter in the Richardson’s lives, but the blog page will always remain there for anyone who may need it. You can find the page via vickkiechappell.wixsite.com/website