We were lost, we weren't told whether it was a miscarriage, we weren't told what to expect.

Heather has suffered two missed miscarriages. She has been shocked by the lack of compassion that she has encountered from medical staff on both occasions.

Heartbreaking stories. Devastating stories. The miscarriage story needs to change. That's why we've created Tommy's book of #misCOURAGE. Read this story now and help spread the word that miscarriage can no longer be ignored. Help us change the story to save babies' lives.

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by Heather Sparrow

April 2016

When I fell pregnant in January 2013 in our first month of trying, we couldn't believe it.  I remember being so anxious in the first few weeks before we got to the first scan, which thankfully showed everything developing as it should be. 

I was very fortunate, I had a very straight forward pregnancy and normal delivery and had a beautiful, healthy baby boy.

In December 2014, I fell pregnant again, this time I felt much more excited than the first time, I knew what to expect, I'd had such a straight forward pregnancy last time, surely nothing could go wrong?

We told quite a few people this time round, we didn't feel the need to wait, why should we!  I was struggling to do my clothes up and in my maternity jeans by 10 weeks!  Friends joked that it was twins as I looked pregnant so early!

We went to the hospital for our first scan at 13 weeks, I remember saying to my husband in the car on the way, I have a feeling something's wrong.  I have no idea why I said it, deep down I just knew something wasn't quite right.

They were running late at the hospital, they finally called me in and let us see the screen straight away.  I couldn't remember this from the first time round but didn't think much of it.  As the sonographer started to scan my stomach, I saw two sacs, and she said you do realise it's twins.  We were absolutely shocked!  There are no twins in the family.

There was a long silence, I remember looking at the screen and knew they didn't look as big or clear as they should, like the scan was with our son.  Then she said those words, 'I'm so sorry, I can't find their heartbeats'.

I remember going to the toilet and sobbing and feeling so sick, how could this have happened and my body not realised? 

I went back into the room and then they took us upstairs to a tiny room, full of posters and leaflets.  A lovely, kind hearted lady came in.  She gave us an appointment card and said to come back in two weeks time for a further scan and then left.  We were lost, we weren't told whether it was a miscarriage, we weren't told what to expect or anything.  She said they needed to scan me again in two weeks to check progress.  Did this mean it was all ok?  We had no idea and were too shocked and numb to ask.

I went home and carried on as normal, we had our gorgeous little boy, only 17 months and he was completely unaware of what we had just been through so we went to the park and did 'normal' things.

I texted my friends as I couldn't face talking to people, most were very sympathetic but I also had some really insensitive questions like when can you try again!  Lots of people said it was probably for the best, there was probably something wrong or it was just one of those things.  We had lost two children though, it didn't feel like it was for the best or one of those things! 

Once he was in bed, I started trying to research what may have happened and discovered it was likely to be a 'missed miscarriage', a term I'd never heard. 

We went back for the second scan and they finally said it was indeed a missed miscarriage and that it was likely I had 'lost' them at 8 weeks. 

They offered and encouraged 'conservative management' but they had no idea how long it would take and I just needed to feel I had some control on the situation so was adamant that surgery was the only option.  I was booked in for a surgical ERPC a couple of days later. 

It was very surreal, I never felt I had actually gone through the physical loss.  I found it hard to understand and comprehend why it had happened.  They gave us our twins remains (or products as they like to call them) and we had them cremated.

Several months passed and we fell pregnant again in November 2015 but unfortunately in early 2016 we found out once again that we had suffered a second missed miscarriage.

The second time around I felt less anxious in many ways, I was no longer dealing with the unknown, I knew what to expect, I knew what would happen in hospital and I knew that I would get through it, I'd done it once and I could do it again.  I think I felt more in control and that made it easier to manage than the unknown experience the first time around.

One thing I found on both occasions was the lack of compassion from many staff who dealt with us.  For example, the first time, I was put on the 'emergency' list for surgery and I lost count how many times nurses came in and said, you are 'low priority' and that there was no guarantee I'd even get to have the procedure that day.  When I finally did go to theatre I remember waking up in recovery and being handed a white plastic tub with the 'products' in.

So what next? Who knows! 

I always wanted two children, I didn't want to think of my son on his own when he's older.  What happens if something happens to me and my husband and he hasn't got a sibling?  I hate the thought of him being alone and not having a brother or sister to share things with.

Our twins would be over six months old now and if this more recent pregnancy had progressed, I would be over 20 weeks, and we would know whether it's a boy or a girl. 

Everyday I wonder what could have been but try not to dwell.  I have come to believe that everything must happen for a reason and who knows that the future holds.

Lots of people ask 'when are you having another?' and I never know what to say.  If I say we have had two miscarriages, people panic, they don't know what to say and you make the atmosphere instantly tense.  Do I lie? Say maybe one day? But why should I?

One thing I have learnt through this journey is that we are not alone.  I had no idea just how many friends had been through this and kept it a secret because they felt it was a taboo subject.  

Miscarriage isn't something to be ashamed of, yet it is still a taboo subject.  This is my misCOURAGE story - break the taboo.

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Disclaimer

Please note that the opinions expressed by users in Tommy’s Book of #misCOURAGE are solely those of the user, who is unlikely to have had medical training. These opinions do not represent the opinions of Tommy’s and are not advice from Tommy's. Reading individual, real-life experiences can be a helpful resource, but it is never a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment from a qualified health care provider. We strongly advise readers not to take drugs that are not prescribed by your qualified healthcare provider. If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor, midwife or hospital immediately. Read full disclaimer

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