Unfortunately, they aren’t sophisticated enough to distinguish between “good” and “bad” alien entities, so they attack them all with the same vigour.
And when there is lots of them – well, the bigger the army, the shorter the battle.
Fortunately for us, the team have discovered a way of limiting the impact of those extra cells in pregnancy – a steroid drug called Prednisolone.
The NHS don’t yet recognise the validity of this research but the conversations we discovered and engaged in, primarily on social media, gave us the hope we needed, so Jules was tested.
Lo and behold, the test came back positive – a higher-than-normal instance of Natural Killer cells. The treatment plan was simple: Jules was to start taking Prednisolone when she next fell pregnant.
Until then, we were instructed to stay patient. Easier said than done.
By this point, it was June 2016 – over a year since our first loss. No time at all in the grand scheme of things but the big picture is hard to see when you’ve got your nose pressed against the frame.
We went out of our way to keep ourselves busy as we waited for life, quite literally, to happen. We went on holiday, did up the house. I ran marathons and even wrote a book about marathon running. Anything to fill the persistent void.
You do whatever you can. You find yourself liking even the most distant acquaintances’ scan photos and pregnancy announcements on Facebook because even though you don’t believe in karma, you’re not prepared to take any chances.
Your behaviour becomes obsessive-compulsive. Not in a “look how quirky and interesting I am” kind of way but in a real and very exhausting way.
We both, unbeknown to one another, resorted to things like knocking on the door frame three times before going into the kitchen, lining up food labels to the front in the fridge. It was a full-blown affliction designed to invite good fortune.
Before long, I began to get paranoid. What if this is as far as we’ll ever get? It started off as an occasional and deeply unhelpful thought but soon became a recurring, constant fear that gnawed away at me, decaying my confidence.
I also convinced myself that some people – including some close friends and family – were going out of their way to avoid us, lest miscarriage be contagious.
In my particularly desperate moments and feeling that we weren’t getting adequate support from health care professionals, I even started to fleetingly wonder if this was an example of Government-ordered population control at work. Don’t give miscarrying couples any help – the country is already over capacity.
In the absence of a plausible, proven explanation for what you’re going through, it is amazing the things you can persuade yourself to be true.
I’m ashamed to admit I even felt a little emasculated by the experiences. I felt that, as a man, I’d failed because I hadn’t been there when my children needed me most.
They needed me to save them and I couldn’t. Nobody could have, of course, but that was no consolation.
I found myself becoming more withdrawn and introverted and my behaviour became increasingly erratic. Up one minute, down the next.
I know Jules felt the same about herself yet our commitment to each other never wavered. Not for a second. Individually, we were broken but, as a couple, we were strong and resilient. Perhaps stronger than ever.
Finally, we got our silver lining.
In February 2017, Jules fell pregnant again. It was terrifying. After you’ve been through a miscarriage, becoming pregnant is not the exclusively joyous experience it once was.
It’s wonderful, of course, but tinged with perpetual worry.
For the first 12 weeks, I dreaded going to sleep at night for fear of waking to the news I feared most. We invested in three private scans – at seven, nine and 11 weeks – for reassurance that everything was progressing normally.