Without Tommy’s, I don’t think we’d be where we are today

Danielle and her husband Paul experienced a missed miscarriage before their first daughter Eva, 5, was born. They had 3 more heartbreaking losses before self-referring to Tommy’s National Centre for Miscarriage Research at Birmingham Women’s Hospital. Danielle gave birth to baby Louie in July 2019.

The first chat Paul and I had about having a family came out of the blue. I remember feeling so surprised but very onboard! He proposed to me soon after and I fell pregnant very quickly. We both got every excited and started to imagine our future with a baby. 

Our first heartbreak

I found out that the pregnancy wasn’t viable at my 12-week scan. I remember the sonographer insensitively asking, ‘are you sure you’re definitely pregnant?’. All we could see on the screen was an empty sac. I just wanted to get out of the room. 

We got married 4 months later. I immersed myself in wedding plans and it helped to take my mind off everything. I fell pregnant again on our honeymoon. 

Seeing another positive pregnancy test was half exciting and half terrifying.

The most perfect little baby

I went for an early scan at 8 weeks to help with my anxiety. They showed us the little flutter of a heartbeat on the screen. It just felt amazing. I really loved being pregnant and enjoyed preparing for birth by learning about hypnobirthing

Our beautiful daughter Eva was born 4 days overdue. She was the most perfect little baby. 

Growing our family

When Eva was 18 months old, we decided to start trying again. Looking back, I felt quite relaxed about getting pregnant again. I’d done it before, and I thought everything would be okay this time. 

We fell pregnant very quickly again. However, at 7 weeks, I started bleeding. I just knew something wasn’t right. I went for a reassurance scan a couple of days later and they told me the pregnancy wasn’t viable. 

I’ll always remember that screen; the baby just wasn’t there. All I could see was stillness.

I got another positive pregnancy test soon after. That’s how I had to think about it. For many, a positive pregnancy test means a baby, but I couldn’t allow myself to think that. I started bleeding at around 6 weeks and, again, I just knew. I went to my local hospital and they confirmed that the pregnancy wasn’t viable and booked me in for surgery

Three losses in seven months

After that, I fell pregnant again very quickly. It was heart-breaking to fall pregnant so quickly but not continue the pregnancies. As I’d now had 3 losses altogether, I was referred to a recurrent miscarriage consultant. I had lots of testing done and while I was waiting for the results, I fell pregnant again. 

I called the recurrent miscarriage clinic and they asked me to come in for a scan. I remember lying there and the sonographer was quiet. She asked for someone to join her to get a second opinion. They confirmed that the pregnancy was a molar pregnancy.

A molar pregnancy happens when something goes wrong in the early stages of fertilisation. It means that the baby and placenta don’t develop properly. It can be very dangerous if left undetected and I had to undergo regular hormone testing. I was also told to stop trying for another baby until we were given the all clear. 

Guilt and pain 

It took 10 months before I was able to start trying again. In some ways, it was good to give my body a break and take the pressure out of the situation. I felt so guilty about feeling so devastated, I knew how lucky I was to have Eva. However, at the same time, I really wanted a sibling for her. 

As she got older, she started asking for a little brother or sister. It was devastating when she asked Father Christmas for a baby brother or sister.

My husband and I decided to start trying again. I think I expected to fall pregnant quickly again, but the months began to pass us by. It was such a painful time; I was so close to giving up.  

Searching for answers

It took us 12 months to fall pregnant again. During those months we were referred to a gynaecologist for further testing and we saw a private consultant. All the tests came back saying there was no reason for my losses. I was desperate for answers.

During Baby Loss Awareness Week, my husband shared our story on Facebook. It was quite an out-of-character thing for him to do but we had such a wonderful response. 

An acquaintance got in touch and recommended Tommy’s to us. She had been on a similar journey as we had and was now pregnant for the second time with their support. We wrote down our entire history and emailed it a doctor at the Tommy’s National Centre for Miscarriage Research at Birmingham Women’s Hospital.

Tommy’s gave us hope

I fell pregnant for the 6th time at the end of 2018. I felt very anxious about it. 

“When I went to tell my GP, I didn’t want to know my due date. I didn’t want to be referred to a midwife. It was all too painful.”

My appointment at the Tommy’s clinic was still a few weeks away but they’d asked me to get in contact if I fell pregnant beforehand. The staff there were absolutely amazing with me. They invited me in for a scan at 6 weeks and seemed to understand our anxiety. I remember tentatively asking if they minded if I didn’t look at the screen. I’ll never forget the words that followed: “We’ve got a heartbeat”.

My husband and I just sat and balled our eyes out. We went back at 8 weeks, and again at 12. The Tommy’s staff were so kind and reassuring and I don’t think we’ d be where we are today without them. 

A second rainbow

After the journey we’d be on, I’d got to the point of accepting it wouldn’t happen for us. I’d got to 34 weeks and still couldn’t buy any new baby things. I didn’t even pack a hospital bag. It was a really stressful time for us.

My gorgeous baby Louie was born by c-section 9 weeks ago. He’s absolutely perfect. 

When Eva came to see him, she asked in a small voice, ‘is he ours forever?’. She’s already besotted with him.

Thank you, Tommy’s

Tommy’s pioneering research and expertise in baby loss gives so much hope to the thousands of women out there. My husband did a fun run earlier in the year and raised £700 to give a little something back. It was their care and understanding that really stood out for me. Every family deserves the support we received.   

1 in 4 pregnancies end in loss – and most parents never find out why due to a shocking lack of research. It doesn't have to be this way – and Tommy’s research is finding the answers. But research into pregnancy loss is currently seriously underfunded compared to other medical conditions. 

We believe that every parent deserves answers. Let us know if you agree