Recently, Tor Cook has bravely spoken out about the three very different miscarriages she and her husband have suffered. She wants to talk openly about her experience to help others know they are not alone. Danni from the Mummy Social Team caught up with her to talk through her experience of multiple miscarriages. This is a sensitive subject and often sparks a lot of emotion, we ask you to please bear in mind that this is someone’s personal journey and their feelings.
Hello Tor, we are so very sorry to hear about your experience of multiple miscarriages – it really is heart-breaking. Thank you so much for agreeing to talk to us about this very sensitive and emotive topic. Everyone’s experience of miscarriages is different, you’ve suffered three of them and in your own words, ‘three very different’ ones. Can you please talk us through each and how they differed physically from each other?
Sure thing, thanks for having me. I’ll try and keep it brief but over the next few weeks, I will be sharing more detailed accounts on my Instagram page (@torsandford).
Miscarriage 1 – I started to bleed at about week 5 for a few days that got worse and worse, heavier and heavier. I went to the hospital and was told that I had miscarried and to come back in 2 weeks for a scan to make sure everything had passed. I went back 2 weeks later, fully expecting there to be nothing there. At the scan however she saw 2 sacs, she said the sacs had a small bubble in each which would show her that something was growing inside them. We were instructed to come back in 2 more weeks when they should be able to see more. Obviously, we told her that we had miscarried but she just said to us that it could have been a third. Two weeks later, I’d had no cramps, no bleeding but the scan showed nothing, it had all disappeared!! Blood tests told me the hormones had gone.
Miscarriage 2 – We had just arrived in Bermuda when I found out that I was pregnant, we booked in for an early scan at 8 weeks. When we got there he did the measurements and said that it was measuring too small. We had a series of blood tests and scans in the weeks after that, but it never grew past the 6 weeks. I decided to have a dilation and curettage (D&C) as I hadn’t started miscarrying naturally.
Miscarriage 3 – Again, they booked me in for an early scan before I was due to fly back to London, at the scan they said there was a sac but nothing in it yet. They weren’t worried as it was within the next week or so that something should appear. The next week I still had all the symptoms, so hoped for the best. However at the next scan 2 weeks later, the sac was empty. I started to bleed the very next day and we decided that as my body had started the process to let it happen (and the first time I only bled for a few days). The bleeding went on and on and on, I ended up having a D&C again and found out I had a cyst which had meant I was in daily pain as well, ideal!
In your own words, are you able to begin to describe your thought process when you realise you are miscarrying? Does this change after the first time?
Honestly, the first time I was devastated, even if you are aware of how common miscarriages are, you always hope it won’t happen to you. Once it was over, I didn’t dwell on it, I was happy to move on and had close friends who had one or two miscarriages and now had lovely little babies. The next time, I was more apprehensive and almost felt that when we had that scan I was more prepared to be told the worst. It doesn’t make it easier but in a way, it felt like it was for some reason. The third was heart-breaking, the third isn’t as common, the third you know the next stage is testing, trying to find answers. You want to find something to try and make it right but then not all things can be made right.
After a series of miscarriages, what happens now with regards to medical intervention? Will you undergo tests and investigations to find out more? How do you feel about this?
Yes, I will have a series of tests now to see if there is anything that can help us along the way. Now that I am not full of hormones and have a clear head, I am ready for this next stage. Both my husband James and I have already discussed that we are open to most ways of making a family for ourselves. It may not be the most straight forward way that some people get but we know we will get there in the end, one way or other.
Photo by Murley and Maples Photography
Unfortunately, there are always people that feel the need to comment on your private life. When a woman is married or hits a certain age, she’s expected to have children. People don’t think about sensitive issues such as fertility problems and miscarriages. Have you experienced this? If so, how do you deal with it?
A year after James and I got together, I remember a doctor (who wasn’t mine) saying to me, ‘I hear your 30 now, you really need to think about having a baby, it doesn’t get any easier’. I was shocked, I have always been maternal and wanted children but my relationships hadn’t been in the right stages for that yet. I am quite a practical person and if I’m honest I don’t really let other people influence what I do with my life too much.
It is heart-breaking that women often silently blame themselves for a miscarriage, they are the ones who carry the baby and feel it is something they may have done. How do we change this thought process? How do we seek to offer support to these women?
Talking about it for one has to help, for me talking about it has been like therapy. Hearing other people’s stories and knowing that others have been through similar things makes you feel better. A miscarriage could be the female, male or just bad luck from both sides, blame will just make you feel worse, we are all in this together. I think more information on miscarriages being available to people and even more research would be hugely beneficial. People like to know facts and get answers, I have found these are not hugely available around miscarriage.
I think sometimes it is difficult for people to know what to say to someone who has suffered a miscarriage/miscarriages. They struggle with whether to acknowledge the loss, to ignore it or fear they may say something insensitive. Whilst I appreciate this will differ from each individual, for you personally what do you wish people would say? Or what words have you found comfort in from those around you?
I think just acknowledging it is the best thing, it makes you feel like the situation is out there and there isn’t an elephant in the room. I am a newish expat living in Bermuda so a lot of my friends here are new to me. When I put my first post on Instagram I got a message from nearly every person I have met here so far, it was overwhelming and amazing how people will put themselves out there for you to reach if you need to. Obviously my friends and family at home mostly knew and I got so many wonderful messages from them too. Some that I remember were the simple ones : ‘I know this is hard for you, but I’m here if you do want to chat’, ‘I have been through a miscarriage, I don’t know if our experiences are similar but would love to chat with you about them if that helps’. There are also the ones where people just don’t think about what they are saying but have huge impacts and make you feel sad, like: ‘everything happens for a reason’, ‘at least you know you can get pregnant’ ‘at least it happened early’ – these don’t offer any comfort in a time when your hormonal, upset and trying to figure things out.
I think that you are amazingly brave for speaking out about your experience so honestly and for wanting to share it with other women. What do you hope to achieve by doing so? Or what is the message you’d like to get out there?
Honestly, when I did my first post I just wanted to share my story and get the message out there. So many people that I had told were so shocked and knew nothing about miscarriage or how common it was. If I could just make one person feel they weren’t alone then that would be amazing. I had NO IDEA it would get such a big response and that I could keep sharing my stories and people are actually enjoying/interested in reading them. I also had no idea that it would be the therapy I needed too.
This may be a tough one for you to answer, obviously, life carries on around you – other people get pregnant, give birth and so on. How does this make you feel? I know from my own slightly different experience that you are genuinely happy for them, but people begin to feel that they shouldn’t share their happiness with you for fear of upsetting you. How do you honestly feel about this?
I would never want someone not to share their happy news with me, I am always over the moon if someone is pregnant. I think its fair for people to be a little apprehensive about telling someone they are pregnant if they know they have had problems or suffered a loss, but I know I would always welcome that news with happiness. I can’t say that I don’t sometimes get a pang of jealousy, it’s not pointed at that person though, it’s just the situation. Some people try for a baby once and they are done and others have to find other routes, it’s frustrating if you are the latter as in an ideal world we would all fall pregnant straight away and everything goes smoothly, but we don’t live in an ideal world, do we?
Here at Mummy Social, we believe that it is vitally important to have friends to support you through your journeys in life. Do you have a strong support network around you? How do feel this has helped you?
100% being able to talk to people is vital, I thankfully am best friends with my sister Frankie, have a close and loving family and friends unit around me. I have always been quite an open person who doesn’t mind talking about challenging or uncomfortable things. If people don’t feel like they have that then I feel like this is one of the advantages of social media:-you can create a network with people who share similar experiences and make you feel like part of their world.
If you’d like to follow Tor’s journey on Instagram, her account is @torsandford
Interview by Danni, Mummy Social Team