“After eight miscarriages I want others to know they are not alone”
When she plunges into a cold rippling lake she’s not worried about swallowing a bit of water or what lurks beneath she’s doing something that thrills her – a feeling she embraces.
Through her swimming challenges and taking part in running events with husband, Dave, the couple has raised more than £4,000 for The Miscarriage Association and she’ll be cheering him on once again in at the Morrisons Great North Run on Sunday.
“We weren’t trying for a baby but I fell pregnant and only realised when I started bleeding heavily. Because I hadn’t known I didn’t have all those hopes and dreams but it made us realise that a baby was what we really wanted,” she said.
Over the next two years she had another two miscarriages – one with twins – within the first trimester and after the third loss they decided to take a break and get married.
“When it first happened we thought “we’ve had our bad luck now” but after the third time we had some investigations done – we were both perfectly healthy and were told to just keep on trying.
“It was worse knowing that there was no reason for it, I wanted there to be something wrong so we could fix it,” said Tracey, 35, from Shildon in County Durham, who purposefully doesn’t remember the dates of each baby she lost.
Despite the Great North Swim and the Great Scottish Swim being cancelled in the same year Tracey still swam her mile in open water for the cause at Ellerton Lake in Scorton near Catterick.
Dave, 34, has now caught the running bug and, after taking part in two Great Yorkshire Runs and is about t0 take part in his second Great North Run for The Miscarriage Association which relies on donations.
• More than one in five pregnancies ends in miscarriage – probably around a quarter of a million in the UK each year.
• Most miscarriages happen in the first three months of pregnancy – but they can happen up to the 24th week. Pregnancy loss from 24 weeks is known as stillbirth.
The first time they were both signed up for the Great Yorkshire Run Tracey discovered two weeks beforehand that she’d dislocated her shoulder.
“I did a lot of soul-searching in the following days, but once again I decided I really needed to do this run. It had been my focus over the past months and it was a way of getting through the fog of grief I was feeling.
“On the morning of the run the sun was out in Sheffield and the atmosphere was fantastic. I had my pink number (the slowest runners) and Dave had his green number. I watched as Dave started his run and I went to join the other pink numbers.
“I was feeling very emotional at this point as all I could think about was the babies we had lost and how I was doing this for them – when I saw Dave coming towards me. He told me that he wanted to do the run with me and if it meant we walked it, then so be it.
My wonderful husband ran by my side and helped me along when I felt sure I could not finish and rather amazingly we did the run in just over an hour (one hour and four minutes to be precise). In fact, I actually passed the finish line 0.3 of a second before Dave!”
He still competes weekly in the Shildon Park Run and Tracey makes cakes for the joggers taking part with all proceeds going to The Miscarriage Association.
After suffering eight miscarriages in seven years they decided enough was enough. “We just couldn’t go through it any more,” she said. “My own children were getting older, they were more aware of what was going on, it used to just be “mum’s not feeling well” but when it started to have an affect on them we knew it was time.
“My last loss was quite bad, it was later on than the others. I delivered our tiny baby in the bathroom and it was really heartbreaking for both of us. People say it’s just a ball of cells but it’s not.”
“Dave has been an amazing dad to Dyllon and Quinn, and we’ve been through a lot as a couple but he’s wonderful, he’s my best friend and he’s definitely seen me at my very worst.
“We talk about what we’ve been through openly and it’s surprising the number of people who’ve told me their stories too. Men and women do not have to feel that they are alone.
“The Miscarriage Association has supported us so much, they have always been there. It has a online forum or you can send private emails to them,” explained Tracey who works as a chef and part-time at Bishop Auckland Citizens’ Advice Bureau.
But she thinks more could be done to help women during such devastating time in their lives.
“When you have a miscarriage you end up on a maternity ward which is the very last place you want to be.
“And while after a miscarriage there is fantastic help online and on the phone but there’s not a place you can go to meet with like-minded people. Sometimes you just need a hug and a glass of wine.”
To sponsor Dave Beadle in this Sunday’s Morrison Great North Run visit:
The Miscarriage Association helpline 01924-200799 Mon-Fri 9am -4pm
www. miscarriageassociation.org.uk email firstname.lastname@example.org