Claire became pregnant by accident and after deciding to go ahead with the pregnancy, she miscarried at six weeks.
“I was 17 when I was diagnosed with PH and at every specialist centre appointment, I was advised not to get pregnant.
Ten years after I was diagnosed, I met my husband, James. Having a child was not in our plans so it was a shock when I found out I was pregnant, especially as I continued to have periods.
I was overwhelmed. It had been hammered into me not to get pregnant and I didn’t think I would be able to anyway. I couldn’t stop crying.
I went to see my GP and he advised me to have an abortion, telling me the clinic would be open the next day and it was the best thing for me to do. At first, I agreed, as I wanted to survive, and the pregnancy was in such an early stage.
But I then started thinking I might keep it and went around in circles in my head. I was in a bit of a mess.
I rang my specialist centre in hysterical tears and kept apologising. I was scared out of my mind to tell them I was pregnant, but I knew the sooner I told them the better.
They asked what I wanted to do, and I said I knew I had to get rid of it. When I was told I didn’t have to, I was floored.
James and I decided that we would go down the route of keeping the baby. We visited the pregnancy clinic at the specialist centre a few days later and were talked through all the risks. We were told that whatever our decision was, we would be supported. They were wonderful.
Everything was fine until at six weeks I miscarried. I had just got my head around keeping it, and then I lost it. It really screwed up my brain and I had over a year of therapy.
The counselling helped, not just with the pregnancy issues but with dealing with my PH overall. I didn’t realise how much the illness had affected me emotionally.
I don’t want to become pregnant again. I can’t put myself through it all again mentally.
We considered adoption and surrogacy but it’s not for us. I have cut off a few people who keep saying ‘there is always adoption’. You can’t tell someone who has been through what I have been through to ‘just adopt’. I have spoken with a few other PH patients about it and they feel exactly the same.
My advice to anyone with PH who finds themselves pregnant is to speak to your specialist team. Don’t be scared; you will get the support you need. But it will be hard whichever route you go down.”