When my husband and I started trying for a baby in 2009, I got pregnant quickly and our baby boy arrived that same year. It was all plain sailing – but then I had never expected anything different.
By 2012, we decided it was time to give our son a sibling, and again I fell pregnant quite soon. This pregnancy was more complicated, as I spent lots of time in hospital with hyperemesis, but overall everything was going well. The doctor said our baby boy looked fine at the 20-week scan, and we decided to name him Adam.
Stillbirth and recurrent miscarriage
Just 6 weeks later, our world turned completely upside down when Adam was stillborn. Nobody had warned me this could be a risk during my pregnancy; I had never even heard of stillbirth before. Adam was perfect and healthy, but a little bit small, so they thought maybe the loss had something to do with the placenta.
We never got a reason for why we lost Adam, so that left us full of worries and questions about getting pregnant again.
When we were ready to try again, I got pregnant another 9 times, but each one sadly ended in miscarriage. Most never made it to the 12-week scan – although once I reached 16 weeks, before losing him to a very rare issue called triploidy, when the baby has too many chromosomes. I was told that was a 1 in 100 chance, which felt so unfair when we’d already been through so much.
Desperate to understand why this kept happening to us, I met with Professor Heazell from Tommy’s Maternal and Fetal Health Research Centre at St Mary’s Hospital in Manchester. He reassured me that, if I got pregnant again, he’d keep a close eye on me from 16 weeks and his Rainbow Clinic team would look after me until I brought my baby home.
Pregnancy after loss
In 2016, I got pregnant again: my 11th pregnancy, after 5 years of heartbreak. Throughout the pregnancy I was given regular injections of heparin, a drug to stop blood from clotting, which research shows can reduce the risk of miscarriage.
We were amazed as I passed each milestone – 12 weeks, 20 weeks, 26 weeks... Once I reached the stage where we lost Adam, I felt very detached from the pregnancy. I was so anxious about something going wrong and just couldn’t believe that it would all work out.
At every scan, I’d convince myself there would be no heartbeat.
I had scans every 2 weeks, and sometimes weekly towards the end of the pregnancy, as I needed the reassurance. The team at Tommy’s Rainbow Clinic made me feel like my anxiety and worries were normal, and I was reassured that I could be listened to and checked whenever I felt the need.
Having rainbow babies
Fortunately, all my fears were proved wrong and our prayers were answered, when our rainbow baby Zack was born in May 2017! We then had Daniel in 2018, and Yousef in 2020, all under the brilliant care of Professor Heazell and his amazing team.
Thanks to Tommy’s, we have the family we always dreamed of.
Without the emotional support, reassurance and hope that I got from the Rainbow Clinic, I don't think we ever would have tried again after losing Adam. But now my rainbow Zack is 4 and just started school, while 3-year-old Daniel is off to nursery and baby Yousef is thriving at 10 months. We are complete!
I’m eternally grateful to Professor Heazell and the whole Tommy’s team; they saved us in more ways than they will ever know.