It’s sad how impossible it becomes to enjoy a pregnancy after loss.

Amie hoped she wouldn’t be able to run the LLHM this year, as she should be nearly 7 months pregnant. But devastatingly, she and husband Phil had a 5th heartbreaking loss last year. She’s running the LLHM 2024 for Tommy’s.

Our story

I secretly hoped I wouldn’t be able to run the London Landmarks Half Marathon (LLHM) this year, for good reason - I would have been nearly 7 months pregnant. Sadly, we experienced our fifth pregnancy loss at the end of November 2023, at 9 weeks, so it’s bittersweet. I will, however, be honoured to run for Tommy’s once again.

Early fertility complications

My husband, Phil, and I started trying for a family in 2016, but my fertility complications started way before. I found out at the age of 17, I had a uterine septum (aka heart-shaped womb) and was told it can cause miscarriage.

They told me when I was ready to have a baby, I should have it removed. 15 years on, once we were married, I had the surgery in 2015 and was told I should have ‘no problems’ getting pregnant. Famous last words…

It took us a year to fall pregnant, and in 2017 we heard the shattering words, ‘I’m sorry, there’s no heartbeat’ for the first time. It was the first time we had any understanding of a missed miscarriage at 6 weeks, and that it was possible for your body not to recognise when a baby has stopped growing.

We were dumbfounded, and it’s been a heartbreaking rollercoaster ever since.

Further investigations

A year on, we began fertility investigations. Doctors suggested we consider IVF, due to the multiple fertility issues raised so far and because we hadn’t fallen pregnant again in 2 years at this stage.

Trying with IVF

Our first IVF cycle was due to start in March 2020, but Covid closed clinics the day after our first consultation, and we didn’t know how long for. 

I’d been told every month that passed my eggs were ‘dwindling’, so it was a tortuous wait. 

3 months later we had that first IVF cycle under extreme Covid measures. We produced 2 fertilised embryos, but neither developed as they should.

In November 2020, we tried again. We were over the moon with 4 embryos this time, thinking, surely, one of these would become our baby! All 4 were frozen when it was discovered I had a blocked fallopian tube.

A natural pregnancy after loss

In February 2021, I got pregnant for a second time naturally. It was 3 years since our first, and we dared to believe this was the ‘miracle’ baby story we all hear of. I saw our very first heartbeat at around 6 weeks, alone, as Phil wasn’t allowed into the scanning room due to Covid.

A week later I started bleeding. The heartbeat had stopped. And we couldn’t believe this had happened again.

In May that year, my fallopian tube was removed. With just 1 embryo left, following genetic testing, we had a frozen embryo transfer. It didn't work. And that IVF cycle was over, with nothing to show for it but utter heartbreak.

The 3rd and 4th pregnancies

At this point, at the end of 2021, I was absolutely broken.

I felt like my body, heart and mind had taken a battering. And alongside the fertility stuff, I suffered family bereavements and other health issues in the height of Covid. I was done in and didn’t know which way to turn.

In early 2022, we then experienced a chemical pregnancy. It was a very pale positive pregnancy test and was over before it started, at 5 weeks. 

In July 2022 we fell pregnant a fourth time. At an early scan it looked like it was a blighted ovum (empty pregnancy sac) and we waited an unbearable 10 days for a confirmation scan. 

But, we were overwhelmed to unexpectedly see the baby was there with a flickering heart at 7.5 weeks. What a turn out for the books – again, another ‘miracle’! But within days I started spotting, and found out the heartbeat had stopped at 8 weeks.

Tommy’s support

I spoke with one of the Tommy’s midwives for advice and support, and she recommended I get referred to one of Tommy’s Recurrent Miscarriage Clinics. I had a consultation with leading Dr Stephen Quinn, who had played a huge part in Tommy’s research programmes into recurrent miscarriage.

He understood the complexity of our situation and I felt seen.

Dr Quinn found I had some septum remaining and thought it could be causing our miscarriages so arranged further surgery. He was confident we would fall pregnant again going forward, and - dependent on the quality of my eggs at this stage (aged 40), it should last. 

He prescribed me blood thinners and progesterone to take ‘when’, in his words, we fell again. I was admittedly sceptical at his optimism, after so much loss, but held on to those words.

The 5th pregnancy

We did get pregnant again - a fifth time in October last year. As hard as it was, we dared to believe his optimism a little. But, despite taking the meds and seeing another strong heartbeat at 7 weeks, it wasn’t to be.

History repeated itself, and we suffered the words ‘I’m sorry, there’s no heartbeat’, once again.

Our baby’s heart had stopped the day before the scan, at 9 weeks – our longest pregnancy yet.

I had my third D&C under general anaesthetic to remove the pregnancy in December, and we're currently still waiting for genetic testing results to help possibly understand why this has happened again.

Running as an outlet

In the new year, I decided I would focus my grief on the LLHM.

Running has been a huge outlet for me mentally and physically, through our ups and downs.

Phil and I ran the LLHM for Tommy’s in 2019, but I had to stop running due to injury. I've re-strengthened through consistent physio and just recently begun running again.

Taking part in this year’s LLHM is not only to rebuild confidence in my body and my mind again, but to also recognise the tiny beginnings of life we created and the many IVF embryos we lost. And of course, an opportunity to give something back to Tommy’s.

Baby loss has such a huge impact on the person you are, your relationships and friendships, and self-confidence. 

It’s extremely sad how impossible it becomes to enjoy a pregnancy after loss. And infertility wholly consumes you. Much of the time, when it goes wrong, you don’t have the answer why. Tommy’s is trying to change that for generations to come.

As for us, at age 41, I honestly don’t know what will come next in starting a family, or not. But grieving, healing and acceptance is how we move on, taking it a day at a time… and training for the LLHM is playing its part.