Broadcaster Laura McGoldrick opens up about being pregnant after suffering two miscarriages, and why she is glad she shared her story with her listeners.
"As you'll remember from previous stories, I'm not one of those women who breezes through pregnancy," she tells Woman's Day, offering a big smile as she settles herself into the makeup chair, expertly navigating her gorgeous baby bump.
"I mean, I feel good, but I physically struggle. I have to have crutches. I have quite bad sciatica, and constant pins and needles. That's why I have crutches, in case I fall. So, yeah, pregnancy – what a ride!"
The Hits radio star and wife of Black Caps cricketer Martin Guptill, Laura is well-versed in the realities of childbearing and while she's now 32 weeks into her pregnancy, it's been an extremely difficult journey to get here, with two heartbreaking miscarriages.
In September, the 32-year-old announced her happy news to listeners live on her show The 3pm Pick-Up. And while she was thrilled to share that her adorable daughter Harley, 3, would be getting a little brother in February, she also made the decision to be honest about her fertility issues.
While baring your soul about something so personal and heart-wrenching was a big decision, Laura says being raw and honest was the right thing to do – and she was shocked and saddened at how many women contacted her to not only share their own stories, but to also thank her for talking about a subject that has gone undiscussed for so long.
"I was very nervous about telling our story because I was hugely vulnerable, but I'm lucky enough to have a platform to talk about something so important and I'm glad I did it," she tells Woman's Day.
Laura and 34-year-old Martin – or "Guppy", as she calls him – decided to start trying for another baby after the 2019 Cricket World Cup and they were fortunate enough to fall pregnant quite quickly.
However, in January 2020, Laura suffered her first miscarriage around 10 weeks into her pregnancy.
"I didn't really know how to handle it," Laura nods. "I felt this overwhelming loneliness, despite having Guppy, my mum and dad, and my close friends. I felt like not enough people talk about it and you don't really realise how common it is until it happens to you.
"It was a pain like I've never really experienced. But when we felt ready to try again, we were very lucky that I was able to get pregnant again really quickly."
However, Laura's second pregnancy of 2020 came in the midst of level 4 lockdown, which meant Martin was unable to accompany her to appointments.
It was during a scan where Laura's world once again fell apart, again around the 10-week mark.
"The obstetrician looked at me and asked, 'Are you sure about your dates?' and I knew then. If you're trying to have a baby, you absolutely do, inside and out. Then he told me the baby had died."
Laura faced a horrible choice – to either miscarry her child naturally or have surgery. Laura opted for the operation, "which was awful", she says. "Because of Covid, I not only had to wait several days, but I had to go through the surgery on my own too."
Tears in her eyes, she continues, "I didn't really know what to do – and because it's not really talked about, there's this element of losing children. You kind of feel… not shame, but maybe I felt a bit of embarrassment. Like my body had let me down. I'd let my wee family down. The grief was incredibly overwhelming. I still have bad days.
"And then I started asking myself all sorts of questions – about what I did wrong or what I could have done differently – just trying to figure out how and why this could happen to me."
Smiling now, Laura says, "But I had really amazing support around me. We really do need to normalise the conversation around miscarriage. It happens to many more women than we realise and if we don't start talking about it, more and more women are going to feel more and more isolated and alone."
Laura was overwhelmed with the response she received following her emotional on-air announcement. She had sought help and support not only from her super-close family, but also friend Hannah Barrett, wife of All Blacks star Beauden, who suggested she speak to mutual mate Hannah Romano, who'd been through her own struggles and offered Laura some helpful tips.
"I was so lucky to be able to lean on Hannah. She gave me some incredible advice and was such a great sounding board when I was going through such an emotional rollercoaster. She helped give me the confidence to share our story. And actually, what surprised me the most was how many men reached out and talked about their experiences with their partners, and how nice it was to have someone else talk about what they had been through as well. You sometimes forget that the partners need support too."
Now, as she enters her third trimester, Laura is excited to welcome another Guptill into the world – and Harley is looking forward to meeting her brother too, even though it's meant Mummy can't pick her up any more, much to her chagrin.
Laura laughs, "I keep telling her, 'I'm sorry, sweetie. I can't "She understands the pregnancy to a point, I think – she also loves to take the baby's clothes and put them on her dolly, that kind of thing. She'll be an amazing big sister."
And, of course, cricket is finally back, with the Black Caps in the middle of an action-packed summer – which is exciting not only for Martin, but also die-hard cricket fan and commentator Laura.
"Oh, we've missed it so much. I've never been so excited for a cricket game!"she exclaims, although the pandemic's effects on professional sport have given her a few upsides – Martin is guaranteed to be in Aotearoa for the baby's arrival! He was here for Harley's birth too, but then departed for India just five days later.
This time around, Laura's hoping for a bit more family time over the summer – especially as the whānau will finally be moving into their new home after spending the bulk of this year at Laura's parents' place, which turned out to be rather fortuitous during lockdown.
"I feel very lucky to be where we are now," she enthuses. "The biggest thing 2020 has taught me is that people are fighting battles we know nothing about, so it's important to be kind. Always."
If you think you may be having a miscarriage, contact your lead maternity carer - this may be a midwife or your GP. Alternatively, call Healthline free on 0800 611 116, or visit your local urgent medical centre or hospital.
Visit the Miscarriage Support website or join the Facebook group.
Visit the Sands website. Sands supports parents and families who have experienced the death of a baby.
Free call or text 1737 to talk to a trained counsellor.