Tommy’s told us ‘we WILL find out what’s happening’

Ryan, 29, and his friend and manager Ben work at the Leicester Royal Infirmary. They’re running the London Marathon this year to raise money for Tommy’s - with Ben aiming to set a Guinness World Record for fastest marathon dressed as a heavy-duty vehicle.

Ryan and his wife Rosie, 28, are currently under the care of our recurrent miscarriage clinic in Coventry, following 6 devastating early miscarriages. Ahead of the Marathon we spoke to Ryan about their journey.

It was a couple of months before we got married and I said to Rosie – should we start trying? You don’t know how long these things take. As it happened, she got pregnant immediately. She was pregnant for the wedding, and we were on cloud 9. 

On our honeymoon in Tenerife she had a little bleeding, which caused a major panic. We know now about early bleeds but at the time we didn’t. We went to a private hospital – I panicked about the cost. Rosie had to go into a private room and I wasn’t allowed in, I just went outside and called my dad.  

They took good care of her, did a blood test, and could see her hCG levels were good, but they didn’t do a scan. We thought everything was okay. We spent the next 3 days in our hotel room, translating the Spanish from her discharge letter, Googling everything, trying to figure it out.  

We contacted an obstetrician friend where we work who made us an appointment, but on the flight home Rosie started to bleed heavily. I think the cabin pressure made it worse. She was in a lot of pain and we felt helpless. We called 111 when we landed but the ambulance would have taken longer to arrive and get us at the side of the motorway than it would take for me to drive to Leicester Infirmary, so I drove.  

The next day we had a scan.  

They couldn’t see much but said it was too late to need a medically managed miscarriage. We just had to wait. And then on the way out, right in the car park, we lost the baby.   

We were looking for answers but were told ‘it’s just the first one, there’s not much we can do, just start trying again’. It’s like talking a different language to people who don't know what language you speaking. I wanted to talk to friends and family but it felt like if they hadn’t been through this, they wouldn’t understand.  

I told Ben straight away, he’s both my mate and my manager and I needed to be off work for a bit and be at home with Rosie. Later on, after the next miscarriage, I told colleagues so they knew what was going on, so they knew I hadn’t just been on holiday and asked things like ‘oh did you have a nice time off?’. 

We got pregnant again quickly after our first loss. 

So we know we're good at that part! That one never really got off the ground, Rosie started to miscarry at 6 weeks. In a way it was a bigger blow than the first, because we thought: okay, there’s something wrong here.  

Because I work at the hospital, we got seen by the recurrent miscarriage clinic here. Usually they say it has to be 3 in a row. We had a lot of tests, and everything came back fine. Great. But why wasn’t this working? 

Ryan and Rosie take a selfie in between pregnancies
Ryan and Rosie

Rosie was told to raise her BMI to see if that would help.  

She’s very slim and has a high metabolism so struggles to put weight on. It took a while – and a lot of protein shakes – but eventually she got over a stone on. We had another go, and again got pregnant quickly. 

Everything seemed alright, but Rosie was sick a lot. Because we had 2 miscarriages, we got to have our first scan at 9 weeks. The baby was measuring 8 and a few days but there was no heartbeat. Because we’d never had a good scan before, we didn’t know what to expect. They didn’t show us straight away, but then we got to see the outline of our baby in the picture for the first time. That one really hurt. Rosie had a medically managed miscarriage. 

After that, she started a course of blood thinning injections, and we quickly got pregnant for the 4th time. The early scan was good, there was a tiny baby with a tiny heartbeat. That’s a new experience for us, finally getting a positive scan. Rosie had morning sickness and other symptoms like craving cheese. Then a week later she started to bleed at work.  

She’s a nursery nurse, working with kids. I don’t know how she has the strength to go through this. I get to escape to my office and sit here. She has that constant reminder, sitting in the baby room. Rosie was given progesterone as she had been when she started to bleed during the third pregnancy. We went for a scan and Rosie was looking at me instead of the screen. I just had to say, oh sweetheart, I’m so sorry. 

At this point our obstetrician recommended Tommy’s.  

We didn’t know much about Tommy’s but we thought, let’s give it a go. We got a referral to Professor Siobhan Quenby – lovely lady! She looked at all the evidence and said: I think you might have endometritis. She also said we had hyper-fertility – basically, Rosie’s getting pregnant too quickly.  

Siobhan got the ball rolling with visiting the recurrent miscarriage clinic in Coventry and Rosie got put on a trial too – she had biopsies, and it turns out she did have endometritis. That’s a negative, but we felt so positive that we’d found some kind of answer. We had this massive lift in hope.  

We decided to take the summer off and start trying again later in the year. It took 3 months this time and we got that positive test. Our scans were booked for 6 and 9 weeks with Tommy’s.  

It was twins!  

Rosie immediately swore at the midwife, who laughed, and said she’d never been told that before. We were celebrating, in disbelief. We had little pictures of them, a video. They had strong heartbeats. 

Rosie’s sickness was off the scale, she couldn’t even keep water down and needed medical intervention but anti-sickness tablets worked wonders. 

The day before my birthday she had a bleed and we called the Early Pregnancy Unit but it wasn’t open. Eventually we got an appointment through our friend at the hospital and they told us we’d lost one of the twins. We were devastated. The other’s heartbeat was strong. They also found a large haematoma above Rosie’s cervix, so when she continued to bleed, we thought that was the cause. 

We went back to Tommy’s in December and our scan showed we’d lost the other baby too. 

We don’t have a happy ending yet or all the answers. 

But at least with Tommy’s we got those initial conversations about the endometritis. We got told: we will find out what’s happening. 

There were complications with the pills needed to enable a medically managed miscarriage, it took days, a trip back to the hospital, and a second attempt. 

We’re still hopeful. We know something’s going wrong between week 6 and 9. We just don’t know what it is yet.   

Rosie and I go through this pattern after every loss – as she starts to feel stronger again, I start to feel weaker. 

Ben’s run the London Marathon before, for the neonatal unit at Leicester Royal Infirmary. We’re both running for Tommy’s this year. We always joked about how I’d never be able to do it, I’m more a fan of our ‘Fat Fridays’ kebab days than long distance running. But it’s happening now for one reason and one reason only: Tommy’s. 

The idea of Ben dressing up as ‘Tommy the Tractor’ came later. We just thought: well, it’s quite hard to raise money isn’t it, let’s make it easier by doing something crazy and getting sponsors. Trying to break the world record will raise more awareness for Tommy’s too. I’m not wearing a costume though... my goal is just to finish! 

Read Ryan's interview with The Mirror

Ryan is fundraising via JustGiving for Tommy's by running this year's London Marathon.