Miscarriage is a grief you don’t really understand the level of until it happens to you

Baby Imogen, who does Water Babies in Belfast with swim teacher Jenny, is fundraising for Tommy’s and the Children’s Alliance in her first ever Splashathon. Mum Karla tragically lost 3 babies before having Imogen.

Falling pregnant for the first time

When my husband and I got married in August 2021 we were keen to start planning our family right away. A few years before we got married I’d been diagnosed with PCOS, so we knew it might take a while for us to conceive. We were therefore shocked to find out I was pregnant in the first month of trying!

I couldn’t wait for our booking scan so we went for a private scan where we saw two little yolk sacs in one gestational sac. We were over the moon. The sonographer told us to come back in a few weeks so we could see the babies properly. She told us it looked like identical twins but to manage our expectations warned us that both might not develop. 

A few weeks later we went back for a follow-up scan and there we could see two little babies clear as day but unfortunately we knew quickly that something was wrong. The sonographer couldn’t find their heartbeats and said they were measuring behind. We were absolutely heartbroken but the word miscarriage was never mentioned and we were referred to the local maternity unit. 

We left and I was in tears but naively had hope that maybe the development was just slow and we’d see their heartbeats soon.

Losing our twins

The next day we got a call from a midwife from the local early pregnancy unit who confirmed what I was experiencing was called a missed miscarriage. I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. I had no symptoms of a miscarriage and still felt pregnancy symptoms. 

We were told we’d have to wait for at least a week for a repeat scan and that time of waiting was absolutely agony. I kept thinking as long my babies were still with me we’d all be okay but, on the other hand, I wanted this chapter to be over. I’d felt so lucky to be having twins, I couldn’t believe they were gone. 

We went to the hospital for a scan to confirm and were given our options. It was really overwhelming but I chose surgical management which was carried out the week before Christmas. I remember when I woke up from surgery I asked the anaesthesiologist if she saw my babies. I had such a hard time with the thought that I’d had 2 babies I never got to meet but they would’ve been too small as they’d stopped growing at just shy of 8 weeks. They were MCMA twins, which means they shared a sac and a placenta, which makes them really high risk.

Grieving our loss

Gradually I recovered from surgery and let my body get back to some form of normal but I was absolutely heartbroken and no one could comfort me. I never thought there would be so much grief associated with a miscarriage, I was so naive before but I think it’s a grief you don’t really understand the level of until it happens to you.

We started trying again as soon as we were able to and I fell pregnant again in March 2022 but unfortunately I started bleeding at a wedding the next month and had a second miscarriage. We were heartbroken once again but I tried to pick myself and just focus on trying again. 

Tommy’s was a great resource for me when going through my losses. Although there aren’t any Tommy’s clinics near me, the information online and on their social media was super helpful. 

I learnt so much through Tommy's and even more importantly, reading other stories helped to reassure me that I wasn’t alone. 

With the tools and information I got during that time, I was able to advocate for myself with more confidence at medical appointments. I was prescribed progesterone and high dose folic acid in my next pregnancy, and started taking these as soon as I found out.  

Our rainbow, Imogen

That pregnancy resulted in our beautiful rainbow baby girl, Imogen who came into the world on 28 February 2023. She is such an amazing, affectionate and loving baby and we feel so privileged to be her parents every day.

Pregnancy after loss is difficult. You feel robbed of the opportunity to fully enjoy a pregnancy as you are so anxious the same thing will happen again. 

We will never forget the babies that came before her and will forever be grateful that we got our rainbow.

After my previous losses, I wanted to be sure that I soaked up every second when Imogen came into the world. I signed us up to Water Babies as a way of spending quality time with her on my maternity leave and it’s been an amazing bonding experience for us both. 

We’re looking forward to taking part in Splashathon for the first time, and it’s extra special that we’ll be helping to raise money for Tommy’s. The work Tommy’s does to help families going through the loss of a baby is incredible!