by Carla Pilsworth
My journey with Tommy's started almost five years ago in 2011. On Sunday 13 February 2011, I was at the end of my third trimester. Ashley and I were very excited about meeting our daughter. My pregnancy had been great, no real problems, I'd felt relatively well and thought I looked pretty good too!
That morning, however, something didn't feel right. The baby hadn't moved as much during the night, and after a call to the maternity unit, we went to get checked out. We were met by a midwife who hooked me up to a monitor. We were very relieved to hear our baby girls' heartbeat.
I stayed on the monitor for about 40 minutes, waiting for a consultant and we chatted about where we would go for lunch. Then the consultant arrived. He had concerns that the baby's heart rate was quite slow, and was worried that she might be in distress.
After a few minutes of debate, he decided it would be best to get the baby out. What happened next was a bit of a blur as the baby's heartbeat slowed even more, and I was taken straight to theatre for an emergency C-section.
It turned out I had suffered an acute placental abruption, which had starved the baby of oxygen and despite the doctors' best efforts our daughter was stillborn.
Daisy was perfect in every way, thick dark hair just like mine when I was born, and she weighed a healthy 5lb 14oz
Tommy's offered me great support over the weeks that followed; the website, leaflets and phoneline were all so useful in my hours of need. I never knew before that there was a need for such a charity, I never dreampt I would need to use it.
In August 2011 I found myself on the Tommy's website again; looking for advice on pregnancy following stillbirth. Again, I found useful leaflets and publications. It was a great source of support.
Later that month, the leaflets I was reading changed from pregnancy to miscarriage, after an early scan told us the pregnancy wasn't developing.
Over the next four years I used various support charities, to help us through our fertility and pregnancy journey. Following a diagnosis of polycystic ovary syndrome, endometriosis and sub-fertility we found ourselves going through IVF. I was hoping that this would mean I could use some of Tommy's leaflets that help support through the next pregnancy. In November 2014 that's exactly what happened, but again an early scan told us about another early miscarriage.
2015 wasn't any easier and again, I turned to Tommy's for support
In September last year we were thrilled to find out that round 4 of IVF had worked. We wondered and hoped for twins as we had had two embryos transferred. Unfortunately our dreams were shattered very early on, and we had to deal with another miscarriage. On top of that, I underwent surgery to remove a twin ectopic tubal pregnancy.
Giving up is not in my make-up, and if I want something I will do all I can to get it. I don't intend on giving up on our dream of having a family, but I do want to do something positive following the heartbreak we've endured.
That’s why I’ve signed up to run the London Marathon for Tommy’s this year. For the last five years I have either been pregnant, been trying to get pregnant, or been getting over being pregnant.
I want to raise as much money and awareness as possible about pregnancy and the complications, and the heartache and emotion that comes with that
1 in 4 pregnancies will end in miscarriage. 1 in 200 babies each day are stillborn. These numbers and statistics are way too high, but they will never change unless we all start talking about them, be open and raise as much awareness as we possibly can.
In February, my first daughter Daisy would have celebrated her fifth birthday. I cannot think of a better way for me to mark this anniversary and do something in her memory.
For you, your challenge is to support me, share my story and if you can sponsor me so Tommy's can put more research into stillbirth, miscarriage and pregnancy loss.
Our beautiful baby girl was so perfect, I looked at her little face and waited for her to cry to prove that they were wrong, but she couldn’t.
'No one expects this to happen to them and no one can tell you how you’re meant to act. My pregnancy and birthing plan had disappeared over night and I had two sick babies who I was unable to care for. I felt totally alone with my own feelings and felt I had nowhere to turn.'
'Kolby’s Footprints will forever be helping others who suffer the loss of a baby or supporting where we can with babies that make an early appearance. I will make sure his memory lives on by helping others and leaving his little footprint on many hearts'.
'Although personally I found this easier to deal with than the first loss hearing the word miscarriage again brought back a flood of emotions. It was then I realised I needed to confront this, because ignoring and suppressing was never going to send it away.'
We currently have no effective treatments to help babies who are growing too slowly in the womb. Our researchers are studying the effects of tiny particles found in fruit and vegetables on the placenta. This could provide a safe treatment to help ensure babies grow normally, preventing stillbirth.
Pre-eclampsia can lead to health problems and sometimes stillbirth, but we don’t know enough about what causes it. Our researchers are studying how the lining of the womb develops during early pregnancy. This could reveal new ways to prevent pre-eclampsia and reduce the risk of stillbirth.
A quarter of women who develop pre-eclampsia early in pregnancy will go on to develop it again in future pregnancies. Our scientists are trying to find out why this is the case, by studying cells in the lining of the women. This could lead to new treatments to prevent pre-eclampsia, and so reduce the risk of stillbirth.
Babies conceived by IVF have a higher risk of complications and stillbirth. Our scientists are studying why freezing an IVF embryo before it is transferred into the mother’s womb could help to reduce these risks.