Sandy Robertson had six miscarriages in three years before she eventually gave birth to her now 7-year-old daughter.
As the trauma repeated itself -- three miscarriages after in vitro fertilization, including losing a set of twins, and three more after conceiving on her own -- she was nearly defeated by the emotional turmoil.
"Once you are pregnant, you go through what the baby will look like and how you will do up the nursery, and then, boom, it's gone," said Robertson, now a 52-year-old college professor from Golden, Colo.
"The first time, usually everyone knows about it and sends flowers," said Robertson. "But what do you do after the third or fourth?"
Just this week 25-year-old British pop singer Lily Allen had her second loss in three years after suffering a viral infection at six months into her pregnancy.
Technically, because it occurred after the 20th week, Allen's second loss was a pre-term delivery. Her first miscarriage was at four months in 2008.
Allen and her boyfriend, decorator Sam Cooper, were expecting a boy. Friends said the couple was grief-stricken by their loss.
"Lily and Sam are both devastated," a friend reportedly told Britain's Daily Mail newspaper. "She had kept quiet for three months until she had the scan and doctors told her everything was okay. She was understandably so nervous after having had a miscarriage before."
"This is a nightmare for her and Sam," said the friend. "It's too early to say how she will be able to cope with this. They are both heartbroken."
Emma Bunton, another British pop star, revealed her second pregnancy today on " target="external">Twitter, saying her thoughts were with Allen.
Of the nearly 6 million pregnancies each year in the United States, approximately 15 percent end in miscarriage, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
In about half the cases, a cause cannot be determined. Among the conditions usually linked to miscarriage are a woman's age, chromosomal abnormalities, structural problems, infections, autoimmune disorders or a condition that causes the blood to clot in the placenta, known as thrombophilia.
"I never got an explanation," said Robertson, who turned to natural methods for getting pregnant and later wrote about it in the book, "Get Pregnant Over 40, Naturally."
She also started a Web site by the same name which gives advice to those who don't understand the pain of miscarriage: "The best thing to do is just say, "I am sorry and not try to fix it. We get a lot of unwanted advice."
"Your self-esteem takes a beating," she said. "You see all the people with kids and think, 'What do they have that I don't have? Why can they and I can't?'"
Only about 2-to-5 percent of all pregnant women will experience a second miscarriage, according to Dr. Wendy Chang, director of research and patient education at Southern California Reproductive Center and an assistant professor at UCLA Geffen School of Medicine.
"It's still very rare," said Chang, but that risk increases as the number of miscarriages increases.
"The odds are greater," she said. "After one miscarriage, the chances of a live birth are 90 percent. At two, the chances are still low -- a 35 percent chance of another miscarriage. But it does go up linearly."
And so does the stress.