Story by Katie and Tom,
Our story began almost five years ago in 2014. Tom and I decided we wanted to start a family so in March 2015 I stopped using contraception. We were very lucky to conceive three months later in June. We were really excited and the thought of miscarriage never entered our minds. We booked in for an early scan at George Eliot Nuneaton Hospital. The midwife scanned me and all was good.
Just a couple of days later, I started to bleed and panic set in. I phoned my doctors straight away. He booked me in to be scanned again, where I was told I had miscarried. I was given options: let nature take its course or have a surgery. I chose surgery because I did not like the thought of having to pass naturally. Our dreams were shattered.
We decided to try again a couple of months later. In November we took a pregnancy test and it was positive: we were happy but also anxious. The next day I woke up and was bleeding again. We never went for a scan, only to the doctors, and were devastated when the doctor told us it was another miscarriage. I chose to let nature take its course with this one as it was so early, only three to four weeks.
We wanted to try again because we were determined to have our baby. This was in January 2015. Once again we took a pregnancy test and it was positive. We did not get our hopes up too much because of our previous miscarriages. A lot of friends and family would often say “if it is meant to be, it will be.” A couple of days later I began to bleed once again. I knew straight away what was happening. I rang the early pregnancy unit and spoke to a lady who got me in for an early scan. She started scanning me and it was not good news. The pregnancy sac was empty: I had already miscarried our baby.
After the third miscarriage we thought: “Enough is enough, there has got to be something wrong”. I went to my doctors and asked to be referred to a gynecologist. I had all sorts of blood test and scans to see if they could find anything. There was nothing they could find so we were told to carry on trying because it would happen. The day I was discharged from the gynecologist’s, we felt alone and like there was nothing else we could do but give up.
Family and friends were very supportive and told us to carry on and keep trying, so we tried again. By March 2015 we were pregnant. Once again, we found it hard to be happy because of what we had been through: it was hard to get excited about the pregnancy. We tried to stay positive but nerves took over. Unfortunately, the pregnancy did not go past four weeks. We had miscarried again.
After the all heartache we had been through, we were not going to let it stand in the way of trying to conceive and luckily enough we fell pregnant for the fifth time. We were booked in straight away for an early scan. We were five weeks gone and all was going well. On the third of July (my birthday) I started bleeding. It was a weekend. We decided to book in for a private scan as the worry set in straight away. We were seen that day and all was going well. I had finally hit eight weeks, we had never gotten this far before with previous pregnancies. We came away so happy and thinking our dreams had finally come true: we were going to get our little bundle of joy. I was booked in for a checkup scan at George Eliot Hospital. We told them what had happened with the bleeding and that everything was going well. She then started to scan me and the look on her face said it all. I knew straight away something was not right. Unfortunately, our baby’s heart had stopped at nine weeks.
I spoke to a friend of mine who suggested we look for further help because her sister had been helped through a medical trial.
We saw my doctor and asked to be referred to Professor Quenby at UHCW1. He had to google Professor Quenby because he never heard about her or her work. This was really our last hope that we may have a child. It was in 2016. We did not know what to expect: it was the unknown, but we had nothing to lose.
We went to our first appointment with Professor Quenby, sat down with her and told her our history of miscarriages. On our second appointment we were asked to take part in a trial. It was scary to think that we were going to be part of a trial and would not know if it would work for us or not. Professor Quenby and her brilliant team put us both at ease and put us straight onto the SIM trial (scratch in miscarriage). We got pregnant shortly after this trial. Sadly, it resulted in another miscarriage.
Professor Quenby was great and still positive for us and decided we could go onto another trial. It was called the SIMPLANT trial and involved 30 patients. This time we knew we were having the scratch procedure. We also had to take a tablet once a day for three months. We didn’t know if we had the real drug (sitagliptin) or the placebo. After the three-month trial had ended, we were told we could try again for a baby.
We felt much more optimistic this time and less than three months later we were lucky enough to be pregnant again. We believed that this would finally work for us. It’s safe to say we are experts in pregnancy testing kits and we had to get four different ones before would could believe those lines. Then we just had to hope again. At this point, we said to each other: “If the pregnancy does not work this time then we will stop trying for a baby.” We thought we couldn’t continue with disappointment and heartache after the seventh time.
We finally made it to our 12-week scan and everything was looking great, we had a healthy baby. Around 16 weeks I had another bleed. We went straight to UHCW A&E where we were taken to the early pregnancy unit. We were scanned and examined and told that my cervix was slightly open. We were left to go home. We sat and worried in our car at the hospital. We were not happy with what we had been told so we went to see the ladies at Tommy’s Research Centre at UHCW. One of the doctors we had previously spoken to was there, she asked if I was ok to be examined again. I agreed. She told me that everything was fine and my cervix was not open. We were due to have another scan a few days later. All was well with our baby. We were scanned every four weeks by Professor Quenby’s team until 36 weeks, when we were told that we were going to be induced in two weeks because our baby was at a healthy weight.
After being in hospital for a long five days our little 7lb 10oz baby boy was finally here with us on 15th March 2018 and we were the happiest parents alive.
We were so lucky to have found Professor Quenby and her brilliant research team, and in particular midwives Natalie Morris and Lindsey Prue, who were with us every step of the way. They encouraged us to keep going at our low points and are giving us practical help and advice now that our little Albie-Thomas is here. Albie-Thomas has changed our lives forever and we will be forever grateful to the research team at UHCW.
1 University Hospital Coventry and Warwickshire