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5 Live presenter reveals personal tragedy behind new series


Presenter Anna Foster has revealed the personal heartache behind her new 5 Live series.

5 Life, which concludes on Sunday, looks at the challenges of pregnancy and the difficulties many people face when trying to start a family.

The Drive presenter explained: “The first [miscarriage] was a heartbreaking, early discovery at eight weeks. The second was far worse.

“At my 20-week scan, the sonographer spent longer than felt ‘right’ moving the probe over my stomach, and I started to quietly panic.

“My husband said it was fine. But she didn’t speak to reassure me. Then she switched off the machine and told me things weren’t right but she didn’t understand enough to explain how and why, and we’d need to go to a specialised centre for another scan.

“I didn’t even cry immediately, I was so shocked everything just seemed to stop.

“A day later, at the RVI in Newcastle, our fears were confirmed. Back at our local hospital I gave birth to our tiny motionless child, and we spent some precious time together as a family.

“The hospital were incredibly supportive though, they had a special delivery room away from all the others, with a back entrance that meant I never needed to go into the main ward and see anyone experiencing happier times than us.

“We had a small funeral, just my husband and I, and the hospital chaplain officiating. There were many, many tears.”

Foster later found she had a genetic abnormality called a ‘balanced translocation’.

“In essence, you never know about it until you start trying to have a family,” Foster told Huffington Post.

“A couple of tiny fragments of your chromosomes are in the wrong place – still present – but not where they should be.

“It means every pregnancy roughly has just a 50% chance of success.

“I’d never heard of it before, and even now you struggle to find a great deal about it online.

“So many pregnancy issues seem to be like that, something we know nothing about before it hits us unprepared.

“Each time I got pregnant again, at 14 weeks we had to go for a CVS test, an invasive needle into the placenta that carries a small chance of miscarriage.

“Then they compared my unborn baby’s chromosome map with mine to see whether things would work, or not. Two days later I’d wait to get a phone call with the results. It was excruciating.”

Foster and her husband now have a three-year-old son, Ben, and a two-year-old girl, Jessica.

“When I do speak about my experiences, I’m stunned by how many times people tell me they’ve been through the same thing. “The stories couples shared with me during the making of 5 life resonated so strongly with my own.

“I always planned to make a programme about the dark times, but I don’t think I realised it’d take me five years to feel strong enough to do it.

“Now, after so many supportive and heartfelt messages, I’m glad I did.”

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