Andrew and I decided we were ready to start trying for a family a little while after we got married. We took our time to get settled into our new home and felt like we were in a calm, safe place to bring up children. I’d read that it would take about three months to fall pregnant and I expected it would all happen very quickly. However, the months began to pass by and it still hadn’t happened.
After a year, I finally got that positive test. We were over the moon. Those weeks of early pregnancy were anxiety free. I didn’t even consider the possibility of anything going wrong.
When I started bleeding, I went to the hospital. I was in shock when I found out we’d lost our baby. We started trying again straight away. I fell pregnant soon after, but, sadly, the bleeding started once again. This one hit me harder because it all happened so quickly.
“Questions ran through my mind. Was it because I’d put the tent up when we’d been camping? Was it because I’d been gardening? Had we tried too soon?”
It was getting to the point that my stomach would flip when someone said they were pregnant. My heart would sink, and I would feel dizzy.
I was keen to carry on trying. I was terrified it would take another year and scared I would lose another baby. I knew they only investigated after three miscarriages, so I just carried on. It was a horrible time.
I felt like someone really cared for the first time
I was feeling very low at this point and went to see my doctor. I finally got referred to a consultant who did some initial tests to rule things out. I’ll never forget that appointment. For the first time, it felt like someone really cared about what we’d been through. While we were waiting for the results, we found out that we were pregnant for the third time.
I was so excited but also terrified. My blood tests showed that I had an autoimmune disorder called Antiphospholipid syndrome, which is known to some as ‘sticky blood’. I got an urgent call from the consultant and started taking lots of medication straight away. I didn’t know how I was going to cope with the anxiety of it all. I’d been fully focused on getting pregnant and I hadn’t allowed myself to consider how I’d feel about staying pregnant.
All of my dreams were fulfilled
I had lots of scans throughout the pregnancy. The first one was on my birthday. I was so worried it would be bad news. The consultant explained that he could see a heartbeat. He reassured me that things were looking good. He gently said, “next time you’re here, this little blob is going to have arms and legs”. I went home and wrote my new baby a letter that afternoon. When Scarlett was born, and I heard her cry for the first time, all my dreams were fulfilled.
We started trying again when Scarlett was still very little. I fell pregnant with Georgia in 2008. I experienced bleeding in this pregnancy but, against all odds, Georgia stuck in there! She was very noisy when she was born, and I felt like a weight had been lifted. I trusted that my body could do the whole pregnancy thing.
In October 2011, we decided it was time to try for a third child. We were thrilled to discover I was expecting again that December. It seemed like everything was going so well and I felt as if I was moving further away from the initial struggles I faced.
We had our 20-week scan booked in for April. I had had much less medical intervention during this pregnancy, and I was looking forward to the scan. We were devastated when we were told that Hope had a very complex and critical heart condition. On April 16th, after 5 days in hospital, Hope was born asleep.
I wanted to give my daughter everything I could. I knitted her a little hat. I brought two toys to the hospital; one for her to keep and one for me to keep. My husband and I sat together looking through a baby name book. We had photos taken with Hope and took her footprints. It was very hard to say goodbye to her.
“Just before my 20-week scan, I killed a moth in my bathroom. I spent a long time wondering if Hope had died because of that. I blamed myself.”
The following year was a devastating time for both of us. My husband and I would fall asleep holding hands. I know that, through meeting Hope, I’ve changed forever. I’ve become a different person, a better person.
After Hope was born, I was advised not to try for another baby as I had a cyst on my ovary. I just couldn’t shake the feeling that my family wasn’t complete. When we were given the go ahead to try again, I was very nervous. We sadly suffered another miscarriage at my 40th birthday and wedding anniversary celebrations.
My partner and I decided to try again. I knew I wasn’t finished. We welcomed our son Alfie into the world in July 2014. For the first time in my life, I felt like everything was complete.
Resisting the cycle of guilt
I support Tommy’s Tell Me Why campaign because I know first-hand what it’s like to blame yourself after loss. It is important people don’t get stuck in a cycle of guilt.
“It wasn’t because you had that glass of wine the week before you found out you were pregnant. It wasn’t because you ran for that bus.”
I started fundraising for Tommy’s because I wanted to do something long lasting in Hope’s memory. Tommy’s do research that give people the answers they are desperately searching for. If someone hadn’t done research into my condition, I don’t know where I’d be today. I want to support a charity that strives towards a future where women don’t have to go through what I’ve been through.
I started looking for challenges I could take part in to honour my daughter. I’ve ended up running two London Marathons, London Landmarks Half Marathon, Royal Parks Half Marathon and the Big Half Marathon all for Tommy’s. My total fundraising figure has reached almost £6,000.00. I’m excited to carry on in the future.
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.
Premature birth is the biggest killer of newborn babies in the UK and much of Tommy's research is devoted to predicting and preventing this. One discovery has made a huge difference to our ability to treat women in time.
In more than half of stillbirths parents are not given a reason for their babies' death. Doctors simply do not know why it happens. This animation looks at how Tommy's researchers are finding out the causes of stillbirth and how this leads to treatments and saved lives.
Too many miscarriages are unexplained. Our research is entirely dedicated to finding out why miscarriages happen and how to prevent it in the future.
Ali and Daisy from London were excited when they found out they were expecting their second child in 2017. After a complicated first trimester, Daisy went into labour at 23 weeks gestation. Baby Jannah was born weighing just over 1 pound and spent 105 days in hospital before finally going home. This is Ali’s story.
Rachel and Stephen’s first son, Adam, was born after a straightforward pregnancy. Two years later, they had a miscarriage before becoming pregnant with twins. Bill and Ben were born prematurely at 22 weeks and sadly passed away. After two further miscarriages, Rachel became pregnant again. Hugo was born at 24 weeks gestation and is now almost 4 years old.
Sarah and Adam had their first son Brodie in 2015. They suffered four heart-breaking losses before being referred to the Tommy’s research centre at St Thomas’ Hospital in London. With the support of Professor Andy Shennan, Sarah gave birth to baby Ari.
Lisa and Ryan lost their son Dylan at 16 weeks. They self-referred to the Tommy’s clinic at St Thomas’ Hospital where they found the hope to try again. They have just completed their sixth IVF attempt which ended in a chemical pregnancy.