Tommy's gave us hope

Emma and Sam had four miscarriages before self-referring to Professor Quenby at the Tommy’s Clinic in Coventry. Their daughter Emily was born on January 4th 2019.

Story by Emma 

Sam and I met on New Year’s Eve 2014, got engaged eight months later and married the following April. By the end of May, I was pregnant and so excited. Everything seemed to be falling into place. A friend at work fell pregnant at the same time and we were due within a day of each other. When she said she’d been for an early scan, we booked in too.

When they told us they could see a foetal pole but no heartbeat it was a shock. They suggested we go to for an NHS scan, that we may have gotten our dates wrong and told us not to worry but I was really upset. The next day our GP sent us to Burton Hospital for a scan and they couldn’t find a heartbeat either. They said to come back in two weeks where they confirmed, there was definitely no heartbeat.

We were due to go on holiday to Greece so I opted to have the hormone to try and encourage my body to miscarry. While away, I bled constantly, little and often, and it continued when I got home. I went back to the doctor where blood tests showed I still had high pregnancy hormones so they booked me in for a D&C.

It went on for such a long time and seeing my friend at work getting bigger was so hard. I was happy for her but heartbroken for us.

We started to try again and, by October 2016, I was pregnant. Early scans at 6 and 8 weeks showed there was definitely something there, there was a heartbeat. Then, at a private scan at 9.5 weeks, we saw the foetus and a heartbeat, but the sonographer said there seemed to be an abnormality on the baby’s stomach. She couldn’t tell me more because the baby was so little. Friends and family were reassuring me and I tried to be positive but, by the time we booked for a 13 week scan, I felt less pregnant.

I remember laying there, nervously chattering, then the sonographer told me there was no heartbeat.

I jumped off the bed in absolute shock. It was heart-breaking, it looked like the baby had died at around 10 weeks. It looked like its arms and legs were swollen so they wanted to get it removed and sent for testing. I was sent straight to Burton where they did the removal. It was so hard, I’d gotten my hopes up, I’d seen a heartbeat, a baby. I felt so empty. The results came back and I was told not to try and get pregnant in case I’d suffered a molar pregnancy but it turned out not to be the case. They didn’t know why this had happened again but I desperately needed a reason.

I went to my GP who said you have to have three miscarriages before they can investigate. Someone at work suggested I go to The Women’s Hospital in Birmingham and that’s where I came across Tommy’s. I started researching and sent an email to one of the professors. Her secretary came back to say she would put in a referral. The Women’s Hospital did lots of tests which all came back with no issues or problems.

By May 2017 I was pregnant again and didn’t feel right. I was at work when I started bleeding. I went home and called a Tommy’s nurse who said to book in for a scan. I went on the Monday where I found two women had come into work early just to scan me. This is what they do, help desperate women like me on their own time. Sadly, I’d miscarried. I tried to look at the positives, now I’d had three miscarriages I would get some help. The Tommy’s nurse told me that she worked in Coventry with Professor Quenby. I went to see her in the Autumn and they took blood which all came back normal.

By the end of September I was pregnant again and a 6 week scan found a heartbeat but two weeks later it had gone. Professor Quenby sent the embryo for testing and called to say that, chromosomally, there was nothing wrong. She also told us that we’d lost a little boy.

That was really hard, it wasn’t an embryo, it was our son.

I went for tests for NK Killer cells in the womb which see embryos as a foreign object and attack them. We booked in for January 2018. The tests were painful and we had to wait for the results before we could try again. In the meantime we went for counselling which really helped Sam and I open up to each other. The results came back clear for killer cells, there was still no reason. We were advised to try and get pregnant within three months because there’s anecdotal evidence that, after a womb scrape, the embryo can embed better.

I fell pregnant in April and started progesterone straight away. I had early scans at the Women’s Hospital every week from six to 12 weeks. I can’t explain why this one was different, but it was. I went back to Burton at 13 weeks for a scan and she was still there. At 20 weeks, she was still there.

Then, at 39 weeks we found out she was breach and booked in to try and have her turned but she stayed put so I was booked in for a caesarean on 4 January 2019 when Emily Olivia Buckle arrived. I remember seeing her face for the first time, that relief, she’s here and she’s perfect.

I don’t think we’d have made it if it hadn’t been for Tommy’s. It’s not just the testing, it’s the people, they really care. They gave us hope and, without that, I don’t think Emily would be here. 

Read more about the Tommy's National Centre for Miscarriage