A US television presenter has shared her story of the miscarriages she had on her journey to becoming a mum, and the lengths she went to in order to keep her experiences secret – including miscarrying while she was live on air, with her husband watching helpless from another state.
Sara Walsh and husband Matt Buschmann are now the proud parents of twins Hutton and Brees, born prematurely in February. But their journey to parenthood was fraught with problems.
"Finding a good egg didn't come easy for me, and I suspect there are many people out there facing the same struggle," Sara posted on Instagram, with an image of her twins.
"The road down a dark path began while hosting SportsCenter on the road ... I arrived in Tuscaloosa almost three months pregnant. I wouldn't return the same way," she wrote.
"I was scared, nobody knew I was pregnant, so I did the show while having a miscarriage. On television. My husband had to watch this unfold from more than a thousand miles away, texting me hospital options during commercial breaks."
The need to keep the loss private is one many women can relate to, as societal pressures keep women from sharing their pregnancy until it's at a 'safe' stage, past the 12 week mark. But this also prevents women from accessing emotional support from their networks of friends, family and colleagues.
This pain and isolation was just the beginning for Sara. She experienced two more miscarriages, all while keeping her pregnancies and losses private from her work colleagues.
"More than once, I'd have surgery one day and be on SportsCenter the next so as not to draw attention to my situation," she wrote. "We then went down the IVF road of endless shots and procedures. After several rounds, we could only salvage two eggs."
Still reeling after her three miscarriages, Sara delayed using her two good eggs. "I refused to even use them for a long time, because I couldn't bear the idea of all hope being gone," she said.
Even when she became pregnant with Hutton and Brees, Sara kept her news a secret because she couldn't stop worrying that this pregnancy would also end in tears. "We knew better than to celebrate," she said.
"So I spent a third straight football season pregnant, strategically picking out clothes and standing at certain angles, using scripts to hide my stomach," Sara wrote. "There would be no baby announcement, no shower, we didn't buy a single thing in preparation for the babies, because I wasn't sure they'd show up.
"We told very few people we were pregnant, and almost no one there were two."
Now Sara's two good eggs are her son and daughter and she couldn't be happier. But she will never forget that feeling of isolation she experienced through her three miscarriages and IVF treatment.
"[They're] my only two 'good eggs'. And I know how lucky I am."