We participated in a research trial so we could help people like us in the future

Claire, from Leamington Spa experienced recurrent miscarriage before her daughter Mollie was born. In 2017, Claire had another miscarriage and decided to take part in the SIMPLANT trial at Tommy’s National Centre for Miscarriage Research. Mollie’s little brother, Dexter, was born in July 2018.

My story starts over 10 years ago when I had my first miscarriage at around 6 weeks. Like many, I’d always thought I would just get pregnant and have a baby. Sadly, my experience has not been easy at all. I miscarried 3 babies in my first 2 years of trying (one of which was a twin pregnancy).

In 2013, I found out I was pregnant and expecting twins again.

An anxious time

I was terrified when I started bleeding again at 6 weeks and assumed history was repeating itself. A scan showed that one baby wasn’t growing, and one twin was developing well. Sadly, we lost one of the twins.  

I was very anxious throughout the pregnancy as I bled the whole way through. Every time my husband and I went for a scan, we braced ourselves for bad news. But our remaining baby kept on growing.

My waters broke early

I was absolutely terrified when my waters broke at 28 weeks – I knew it was very early. I was admitted to hospital as the doctors expected me to go into labour at any time. I lasted 5 more weeks before contractions started when I was 33 weeks.

Our beautiful daughter, Mollie, was born by emergency c-section that evening.

A sibling for our daughter

A couple of years after Mollie was born, we decided we wanted to try for another baby.  I fell pregnant again but, at 6 weeks, started bleeding and cramping. I knew in my heart that I was miscarrying but a scan at the hospital found a very faint heartbeat. After 3 weeks of uncertainty and anxiety, my miscarriage was confirmed, and I was booked in for surgical management.

It sounds strange, but I was almost relieved when my missed miscarriage was confirmed. The uncertainty was incredibly painful.

We weren’t sure if we could continue

At this point, we’d been through such a traumatic time, we didn’t know if we could carry on. I’m quite a strong person but baby loss takes its toll. I was worried it would affect our family.  Nevertheless, my desire to give Mollie a sibling did not subside.

Visiting Tommy’s National Centre for Miscarriage Research

In 2017, I saw a post on social media about a research trial that was happening at Tommy’s National Centre for Miscarriage Research at a local hospital in Coventry. Their post outlined the criteria for potential participants, and I ticked all the boxes.

I met with the Tommy’s team at University Hospital Coventry soon after. They were so lovely and explained the SIMPLANT research trial in depth.

They were trialling a drug called sitagliptin which is an established diabetes drug. They hoped the drug would help to promote the growth of stem cells in the lining of the uterus. They explained that an increased number of these cells could potentially reduce the risk of early miscarriage.

During our discussion with the team, we found out that, because it was a clinical trial, I might be placed in a placebo group. This meant that I was not guaranteed this new exciting treatment, even I participated in the trial.

We decided that, even if the trial didn’t help us, it was worth taking part. We knew it had the potential to help people like us in the future and that was important to us. 

Taking part in a research trial

At the beginning of the trial, I was booked in for an endometrial scratch. This procedure gave the researchers the opportunity to assess my uterus lining before the trial. I was then sent away and told to take a tablet every day.

Deep down, I hoped I had been given sitagliptin but I knew I had a 50:50 chance. After taking the drug for 3 months I returned to the Tommy’s clinic. I had another endometrial scratch procedure and the trial was finished.

The team were amazing

I met the wonderful Professor Siobhan Quenby during my time on the trial. I think lots of people who’ve experienced miscarriage get a sense that doctors regard their losses as ‘just one of those things’.

I’ll never forget the moment Professor Quenby looked me in the eyes and told me that the Tommy’s team would never give up on us. As long as we were willing to carry on, they’d be there for us.

Mixed emotions

I became pregnant almost straight after the trial had ended. We felt all sorts of emotions. We were and excited but also very anxious. Things progressed well but during my first trimester I developed hyperemesis gravidarum, which is extreme morning sickness. I suffered such bad sickness, I lost 2 stone.

As the pregnancy progressed, I found out that my placenta was connected to my bladder and cervix. This very rare condition is called placenta percreta. The doctors explained that this wouldn’t affect my baby but meant that I’d need a c-section followed by a hysterectomy.

In July 2018, our beautiful son Dexter was born. I had been through major surgery and it took a long time to recover. I know it seems ridiculous, but I would do it all again.

Our story ends here. We have 2 beautiful children and we feel so blessed.

I believe pregnancy research is important because so many women face complications in pregnancy. We need to be more open and break the silence.