When Andrea Leon found out that she was pregnant in 2014, she was over the moon. But when she went for her 12-week she was given the heartbreaking news that she had miscarried.
Six years later, she’s lost seven more babies, which has left her with depression and PTSD. She and her husband have spent £19,210 on IVF, but their dream still hasn’t come true and they’re still hopeful of becoming parents one day.
The 27-year-old has now thanked and praised Meghan Markle for speaking honestly about miscarriage, saying she “grieves” with the Duchess.
Meghan wrote an emotional and honest piece for the New York Times, in which she revealed she lost her second child in July.
She recalls the moment she “dropped to the floor” while holding Archie, and says she watched her husband Harry’s “heart break” as they sat in hospital coming to terms with what had happened.
Andrea, a neuro technician from Maryland, US, said: “This morning, I was scrolling through my phone and came across Meghan Markle’s story revealing her heartbreaking news about a miscarriage she had experienced.
“I grieve with her and share my deepest condolences for the loss of her second child. The trauma and aching for her loss can be felt as I read her story.
“I applaud her strength on opening up about the subject of miscarriage and sharing their heavy feelings about their experience.
“I also love how she shared both her and her husband’s heavy-hearted feelings.
“This trial impacts both parents so differently, as well as mutually.”
Andrea and her husband, Irving, 30 spent an agonising two years trying to conceive again while dealing with unsympathetic comments from those in the medical world.
She revealed how her fertility journey has affected her mentally and physically, saying it has been tough on their relationship.
Andrea said: ”It has for sure taken a toll on my marriage.
“We have gone through couples therapy, which I highly encourage for couples going through this.
“Mentally, I struggle with PTSD and depression. I have done TMS treatments and therapy to help me overcome the trauma.
“Baby showers, gender reveals and even holidays are difficult to enjoy when it triggers my PTSD and depression.
“Physically, I had sharp shooting pains most likely from all the surgeries from lost pregnancies.”
She also shared some gentle tips for Meghan and Prince Harry on how to cope with the painful loss.
Andrea said: “My advice for Meghan Markle and her husband Harry, as well as couples around the world, is to prioritise their grieving process.
“Individual and couples therapy has helped me move forward, as well as stepping back and spending quality time with loved ones.
“Your voice is heard Meghan, your pain is empathised by many and thank you for shining a light on this taboo subject of miscarriage.
“I know how hurtful people are when going through a loss no one can see or feel.
“People shame the mother, do not acknowledge the loss or belittle about your loss by saying ‘At least it was early’ or ‘At least you’re young and can try again’.
“Opening up about your pregnancy loss comes with some negative comments, but you have no idea how many couples you have touched and given a voice to.
“There is so much more positivity that comes out of breaking the silence for miscarriage.
“Meghan Markle and Harry, know that my prayers are with you and your family.”
Andrea first fell pregnant in January 2014, but was diagnosed with a ‘missed miscarriage’ – her body hadn’t processed the loss and continued to act as if she was still pregnant with a growing baby, at her 12-week scan.
Between 2 November 2014 and 5 April 2015, she got pregnant four more times – and miscarried each time.
Andrea said: “Losing four babies in a year was devastating, each positive pregnancy test came with anxiety, fear and stress.“My fifth pregnancy, I naturally miscarried in my home at about four weeks.
“In May 2017, I found out I was pregnant again at about three weeks gone.
“We thought that we were finally in the clear but at the 12-week appointment, it was confirmed that there was no heartbeat.
“I went home with my lifeless child inside me and carried it for about a week because it was a holiday week and there wasn’t availability for a D&C [a medical procedure to remove tissue in the uterus].
“Sleeping and eating were little to none at the time. There was a foul smell coming out of my private area, which traumatically impacted my mental health as I knew it was the smell of my deceased child.
“It made me feel dead inside and out.”
Despite the tragedy of the many miscarriages, Andrea and her husband remain hopeful that they will one day get their baby – and have recently tried IVF, which has cost them £19,210 so far.
She added: “We have eight precious embryos that are frozen and pending transfer, which is the next and final step for IVF in hopes that my body will accept and give us a positive result.”
Andrea also aims to educate others about infertility and pregnancy loss by sharing her story on Instagram.
She added: “No one prepares couples or educates them on what to do when it comes to pregnancy loss or infertility, so I like to share resources and personal experience to help others in their journey.
“Recovery is a daily challenge, but I find that talking about my experiences and helping other women going through this has helped my own trials.”