by Sam Jones
We stared at the positive test in disbelief, giggling like schoolgirls, so excited that we were going to be parents. At our booking appointment the midwife dated our baby at 6 weeks. I’d thought it was 9, but I just put it down to my irregular cycle.
Then, at 11 weeks I had some spotting, so the hospital booked us in for a scan. We were nervous as we went in, and then those dreaded words: “I’m really sorry, but there’s no heartbeat”. Our little Bean had died at 8 weeks and 5 days. We looked at each other in disbelief and began to cry. How could I not have known something was wrong?
We were given choices and eventually opted for a D&C because it would be over quickly, but now I wish I hadn’t. It was traumatic, like they were taking my baby away from me.
It was heartbreaking telling our family that our baby hadn’t made it, but we decided that it had happened for a reason and started trying again.
By June we were pregnant, but there was no giddy celebration; miscarriage takes that away from you
Waiting for the 12-week-scan was like torture, and as we went into the room, we clutched each other. When they found a heartbeat we wept tears of joy and relief. Our due date was February 21 2016.
At our 20-week-scan we found out we were having a little boy, and we couldn’t believe how much he’d grown. As my feet wiggled at the end of the bed, his wiggled inside me. Seeing him move around was amazing.
Although he was developing well, the sonographer had concerns about his size and booked us in for a scan. As both myself and Martin were small babies we didn’t worry.
At the scan our consultant explained that our baby was measuring below the third centile. He said it could be a placenta problem or our baby could have Downs Syndrome. We could have an amniocentesis, or be referred to the Manchester Placenta Clinic at St Mary's. We got an appointment at St Mary’s, where they couldn’t scan the placenta until week 23, it was an agonising wait.
We met Dr Ed Johnstone, who did an in-depth scan and explained that there was little fluid around our baby. He also explained that the blood flow from placenta to child was very poor. He gently told us that our baby was not going to survive. We were heartbroken.
To have gotten over that half way point in my pregnancy, I felt beyond the danger zone. It was so hard to take in; his heart was still beating, he was still there. That’s when they told us about the STRIDER study, testing the effect of Viagra in pregnant women and babies with interuterine growth restriction. If we didn’t do it he would die, if we did we were giving him a chance, and we had to give him every chance possible.
We tried to stay hopeful. The plan was to get me to 26 weeks, when our baby would hopefully be a viable weight to be delivered. But our next scan showed that the blood flow was getting worse. We didn’t want him to suffer, and we went from praying for a heartbeat at every scan to hoping there wasn’t one.
They couldn’t induce me while his heart was beating, unless I was at risk. Ed said they could stop it with a potassium injection, but we couldn’t bring ourselves to make the decision to physically stop his little heart.
The following week we returned to St Mary’s, and as soon as Ed placed the probe on my little bump I knew our baby was gone. Although relieved his suffering was over, we had to face the reality of our loss
I returned the following day to take a pill to stop my pregnancy hormones, and booked in for an induction two days later.
Guy was born sleeping at 25 weeks and 5 days on Friday November 13, weighing just 265g. He was tiny, but bigger than we expected, and looked so fragile. Alhough swollen, he had perfect little hands and feet, with the same gap between his toes as me. That always makes me smile.
The midwives were amazing, giving us a memory box and helping us capture footprints and photos.
We spent the night together in a special room. We couldn’t hold him, but we covered him in a comforter, (he was too small for a blanket), and gave him a tiny teddy that my mum had bought for him. Martin read ‘Guess How Much I Love You’ to him, and then we went to bed for the first, and only time as a family.
We didn’t want him to make the journey to the mortuary alone, so we took him down there the next day. The following weeks were horrific, I collapsed and had to go back to the delivery suite having contracted pleurisy. My father-in-law had been diagnosed with cancer, and went into hospital the week after Guy died. He never came out and died on New Year’s Day. We had to put our grief for Guy on hold as we supported each other through another difficult loss.
On February 12 we met with Dr Ed and learned that Guy had been perfect. Parts of my placenta had died off and couldn’t supply our baby with what he needed to grow.
The chances of it happening again are 1 in 4, but we’ve got a plan of action for our next pregnancy
Dr Ed, specialist midwife Louise Stephens, and the Placenta Clinic team have been extremely supportive and helped us stay positive, that we'll be going home with a rainbow baby. Being pregnant again terrifies me, but I feel safer knowing Dr Ed and his team will be there for us.
We’d never heard of Tommy’s before we suffered a miscarriage, and it’s now a charity that’s very close to our hearts. After losing Guy, Martin’s colleagues made a donation to Tommy’s and mine to the Placenta Clinic. Martin is also running the Great Manchester Run for them in May, it’s our way of giving something back in return for everything they've done for us.
Natalie and Sean from Warwickshire were delighted when the found out that they were expecting twins. At 25 weeks pregnant, Natalie went into premature labour. Their daughters, Daisy and Georgie, passed away soon after birth. Natalie went on to have 2 heart-breaking miscarriages before getting support from Tommy’s National Centre for Miscarriage Research. Their rainbow baby Livvie was born in 2019.
Claire, from Leamington Spa experienced recurrent miscarriage before her daughter Mollie was born. In 2017, Claire had another miscarriage and decided to take part in the SIMPLANT trial at Tommy’s National Centre for Miscarriage Research. Mollie’s little brother, Dexter, was born in July 2018.
Leanne and Kieran experienced a heart-breaking missed miscarriage before the arrival of their first daughter, Rosa. Sadly, they went on to experience another miscarriage before getting referred to Tommy’s National Centre for Miscarriage Research at Birmingham Women’s Hospital. During Leanne’s next pregnancy, she was supported by the team at our recurrent miscarriage clinic. Their second healthy baby, Pearl, was born in October 2019.
Beth and Sean from Lancaster have experienced 9 losses in total. After her first living baby was born in 2017, Beth was diagnosed with Chronic Histiocytic Intervillositis (CHI), a rare condition that causes placental failure. With support from Professor Alex Heazell at Tommy’s Rainbow Clinic, Beth’s second living baby was born prematurely at 35 weeks in March 2020, during the height of the pandemic.
Tommy’s National Centre for Miscarriage Research has found a new drug for women having miscarriages without symptoms which is more effective than current NHS standard treatment.
Previous research has suggested that chlamydia may increase risk of miscarriage, but the link has not been proven. Our researchers have been studying the link, and their work could provide the public with accurate health information about chlamydia and miscarriage.
Tommy's researchers are developing a new way to test interventions to prevent miscarriage.
Study to develop a new test for the lining of the womb in order to identify the cause of some repeated miscarriages.
By Anonymous (not verified) on 28 May 2016 - 22:21
Hi Sam Jones I have just been reading your story and first I start by saying so sorry for loosing beautiful guy so very early your story has inspired me to send you a message of love and hugs and it's almost copy of what happened to us we lost our beautiful Cayden at 23 weeks +5 days and that was after having the 20wk scan and we were told all was okay shortly after that we believe Cayden passed away and I never knew or felt any different until I went to the clinic for check up as that morning I felt something was not right only to be told there was no heartbeat it was and will always be the day I will, never forget
We went home and told to take the pills and come back for inducing 15hours of labour and our beautiful angle was born sleeping When we had the results of the postmortem we were told I had placenta abnormality just like you baby wasn't getting enough nutrients and slowly passed away . The same week Cayden died I lost my grand mum and until to date I have never grieved for her as I was so consumed with my own grief .
Each day is battle but am getting stronger am so glad that you have your partner Martin to support you I have been struggling as me and my partner relationship isn't the best so I am having to deal with the grief alone and it's tough I don't have my family in the uk as they live abroad so times have been so difficult but God is in control
Thank you for raising money for this very good course one child or family deserve to go through this am trying to raise money through crowd funding for sand
Thanks again and all the best in the future am sure something good will happen soon.