Warning: this article contains details of pregnancy loss
Every year in Australia, one in four pregnancies end in miscarriage.
That’s about 110,000 women, plus their partners and families, going through this trauma each year.
Penny Jenkins and her partner Ben suffered four pregnancy loss in a year, and now the social worker and yoga teacher from Geelong is helping others who have gone through a similar experience.
“Miscarriage is one of the most intimate deaths a woman can experience,” Penny tells 9Honey. “My pain was paralyzing, which is a pain shared by so many women, but the issue remains silent.”
“All four of my pregnancies were during the pandemic, which also adds another layer to the grieving and recovery process due to the restrictions. Ben, my partner, was only allowed to leave me in an emergency, I was not allowed to have a support. person for any of my admissions.
‘We weren’t even allowed to hold hands’
Penny, who shares her story to help mark Perinatal Mental Health Weekshe explains that her first loss was an ectopic pregnancy, which later resulted in a ruptured fallopian tube.
“Gabriel was my first pregnancy in July 2020,” she recalls. “We were so excited that we never thought for a second that anything was wrong.”
when the pregnancy was confirmed as ectopic the couple was devastated and Penny was admitted to the hospital. She was also given methotrexate to try to save her left fallopian tube.
I was in a meeting when all of a sudden this incredible pain started shooting through my abdomen.
About one in 80 pregnancies are ectopic. An ectopic pregnancy can be a serious event and needs immediate medical attention.
“For a week after I wasn’t allowed to kiss, no one had to wear gloves to go to the bathroom. I was in and out of the hospital providing blood samples to make sure my HCG levels were going down.”
After a week off, Penny had to go back to work.
“I was in a meeting when all of a sudden this incredible pain started shooting through my abdomen,” he recalls. “Luckily I was working from home so I turned off the camera and lay on the floor in my living room. The pain got so bad I knew something was seriously wrong.”
The 36-year-old then drove herself to the emergency room, where it was confirmed that her tube was in fact rupturing, and she underwent emergency surgery to remove it.
At this stage, Penny was only allowed one visit every 24 hours to see her while she recovered in the hospital.
“Ben came to be by my side to make the most of our hour together,” he remembers. “He was holding my hand, when a nurse came in and told us we couldn’t hold hands. I told her that I had just lost a baby and had surgery to remove a tube, the nurse told me that we still had to maintain social distance. “
“At a time when we both needed that comfort and connection, they not only gave us an hour to see each other, but we had to stay 5 feet apart. It was really heartbreaking.”
“This pregnancy also meant that all of my sick leave was used to cry and recover from surgery, which is why I’m so passionate about it. pregnancy loss license At any stage.”
‘My heart just fell’
Due to the medication Penny had been taking, the couple had to wait three months before they could try to conceive again.
Fortunately, Penny quickly became pregnant again, and at 11 weeks, the couple were excited to be just a week away from their 12-week ultrasound and to see their baby, whom they had named Winter.
“I finished work, went to the bathroom before I could put my feet up, when I noticed blood,” she says.
The couple rushed to the emergency room where they were told that Ben could be left alone for a short time due to COVID-19 restrictions.
“The nurse came with a monitor to the communal waiting room to check for a heartbeat,” Penny recalls. “And I remember Ben saying that he was very excited because he had never seen a heartbeat before.”
“My heart dropped… as my mother’s intuition told me this baby hadn’t made it either.”
I went out crying to the communal waiting room, where in front of strangers, I had to tell her that we lost our second baby.
The nurse then excused herself to go get a doctor due to a ‘monitor problem’, which Penny assumed meant she needed a second opinion. When the nurse returned, Penny was taken to a separate room for a second scan that Ben was unable to enter.
The scan confirmed the the baby had no heartbeatand then Penny was forced to go and tell her husband the news herself in front of a room full of strangers.
“I walked into the communal waiting room crying, where in front of strangers I had to tell her that we lost our second baby,” Penny recalls. “Ben hugged me as he cried, the nurses came over to ask what was wrong. Ben told them that they just told me we lost our baby.”
“Two minutes later, the doctor told Ben that he could now enter the room, but it was too late, we were both even more traumatized for no apparent reason.”
Penny was admitted to the hospital to have the baby removed, and Ben was sent home alone.
‘To cure myself I had to take annual leave’
Unfortunately, Penny later experienced two more losses.
Their third loss, a baby they named Mateo Rain, was confirmed in the middle of the night in January last year, after Penny once again had to drive to the hospital and was admitted alone.
“Mom met me in front of the hospital, it was pouring with rain,” she explains. “He stood there holding me while I cried. He cried because he was lost and didn’t know what to do at the time. Mom left me at home, I went to our room and I stood by the bed crying, what a way for Ben to be woken up. Shared the news “.
“At this stage, a third miscarriage in a year, I didn’t have a vacation. To cure myself I had to use the annual vacation. This made me very frustrated as it wasn’t a holiday, it wasn’t a break.”
After the third miscarriage, Penny and Ben began working with a specialist to help explore why Penny was having trouble carrying a pregnancy to term.
It was discovered that he could have genes related to a possible thyroid problem. During this time, Penny became pregnant again and once again lost her baby.
“This was a very short pregnancy, the day I found out I was pregnant was also the day our pregnancy passed,” she reveals. “For me, no matter how many weeks, days or hours you were pregnant, during that time you were a mother, going through all the emotions that a mother experiences, with a child in the womb or on earth.”
After blogging about her experience, Penny was surprised to hear how many friends had also miscarried but never told her.
“I had so many people messaging me,” she explained. “I could not believe it”.
‘I had to ask for help’
According to the Gidget Foundation, if multiple miscarriages occur, parents often describe increased distress and effects as time goes on. Grief can be cumulative and complex.
Penny has recently realized how much pain has affected the building in the last year.
“My mental health really took a nosedive. I went to see my GP and said… ‘Look, I’m really devastated. I need help.’ I wish I had started seeing a psychologist sooner.”
Using her background in social work and yoga, she has also established an amazing community for women of all ages who have suffered losses at any stage of pregnancy. This includes miscarriage, ectopic, TMFR, or personal reasons, stillbirths, and newborn deaths.
Penny also has started IVFsince she discovered that she has a number of conditions that affect her chances of having a full-term baby.
They have discovered that I have Robertsonian translocation, which is a chromosomal disorder. I have low Müllerian levels for my age (egg quality is poor for my age) and a thyroid problem that I am now on medication for,” she reveals.
Like many others in Australia, Penny recently celebrated Pregnancy and Baby Loss Awareness Month to honor her lost babies.
She also encourages other women who may be grieving in silence after a loss to share their story with someone they trust.
“Take time for yourself and reconnect with your partner,” she says. “Don’t be afraid to share your story. The first time it happened I told people I was sick. But there’s no shame in being honest.”
It’s about starting conversations and breaking down stigma.
“Baby and pregnancy loss remains a hidden tragedy across Australia,” he says. CEO of Red Nose Australia CEO, Keren Ludski. “Everyone knows that talking about the loss of a baby is going to be a difficult conversation. But many parents tell us that they want people to talk about their babies.
“Your babies existed, they need to feel recognized.
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