Peter and I first started trying for a baby in 2013 a year after we had been married. We fell pregnant quickly and were absolutely delighted. This was my first experience of pregnancy and I existed in a state of ignorant bliss and assumed that, after 9 months, we would have a baby.
Our first heartbreak
At 8 weeks, I started spotting. I’d read that this was normal so tried not to panic. We went along to the Early Pregnancy Unit at the hospital for a scan. The sonographer told us that our pregnancy was measuring at 6 weeks, but we left feeling positive as we had seen a heartbeat and assumed that our dates were a little out. I continued to bleed for the next 3 weeks. We returned to the EPU at 11 weeks for another scan, when were told the devastating news that we’d had a missed miscarriage. Our baby had stopped growing at 6 weeks.
I opted for medical management and found the whole process very traumatic and isolating. The experience stayed with me for a very long time. We started trying again straight away but my cycles were all over the place and my body was clearly not ready to be pregnant again.
Six months after the miscarriage, I went to see my GP as I was not sleeping due to the stress of both the miscarriage and trying to fall pregnant again. I was beginning to feel very desperate. They offered to put me on the pill to regulate my hormones. This was the last thing I wanted to hear, and I left distraught with no solution.
Enough was enough
Shortly after this, I decided that enough was enough and we could not put our life on hold for any longer, we needed something else to focus on. We booked a trip to Paris and, on our return, found out that we were pregnant again. This was our first successful pregnancy. I had an excellent community midwife who I felt comfortable asking all my little questions. I felt so supported and, 9 months later, we welcomed our daughter into the world.
We were happy as a family of 3 but always knew we wanted more. We hoped to fall pregnant when our daughter was 3 years old. However, during Christmas 2016, we found out that we were expecting another baby – a little earlier than planned.
Everything seemed to be going smoothly and I relaxed into the pregnancy pushing the previous miscarriage to the back of my mind, after all we had proven we could have a baby.
An uphill battle
However, at our 12 weeks scan, our world was torn apart again in a different way. Initially, everything seemed to look great. A wriggling baby was definitely there. I could see a heartbeat, 2 arms and 2 legs. We even joked with the sonographer. At the end of the scan, we were told that our baby’s organs were growing outside of her body. We were whisked to a little room and a consultant came to talk to us.
We found out that there was a 90% chance that our baby had genetic issues and that we needed to make decisions about what tests we wanted to do. We were given a lot of information and sent home to make a decision. We were booked in for another scan a few days later and felt absolutely devastated.
A few days later, I made my first call to the Tommy’s Midwives pregnancy line. I had a lot of questions but also wasn’t sure what I should be asking. The midwife talked me through the sort of things I might need to ask the doctors and what I might need to think about. She was also the first person to ask me how I was feeling and check on my wellbeing.
We saw the consultant a few days later for more testing. We then had to wait anxiously for the results. It was a week later that I knew something was seriously wrong. I went to the hospital on my own thinking I was just being silly. They scanned me and told me that they couldn’t find a heartbeat.
Our baby girl Sophie had passed away at 14 weeks. I was put back in that little room to phone and break the news to my husband and family. Our baby girl was genetically normal and there was no explanation for our sudden loss.
I reached out to the Tommy’s Midwives several times again over the next few weeks. They supported me and gently encouraged me to seek counselling. They really helped me to process my complex emotions.
We went on to have 2 further missed miscarriages and underwent recurrent miscarriage testing in 2018. Tommy's have been with me the whole way whether over the phone or by responding to my emails often sent in the middle of the night when I had a million questions going through my head. After an anxious pregnancy, with lots of support from Tommy’s, our rainbow baby Finley arrived.
Little Sophie and our other 3 babies will always be missing from our family but having Finley has completed us. Since his arrival I have felt a whole lot lighter. The stress and worry and my inability to plan our future has been lifted.
Tommy’s have helped me be confident in my decision making throughout my journey. They supported me when I was having my moments of panic or when I was worrying. Knowing I had an approachable, educated source of information and support to turn to really helped me reduce my stress during pregnancy.
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I was a broken mess and I felt like my grief was wrong because it wasn’t a real baby, like I was being dramatic, over-the-top.
Toni and her husband Matt had a miscarriage in 2015 which left Toni with PTSD. The couple live in Leicester with daughters Phoebe and Willow. This is Toni's story.
Roslyn and Paul from South Ayrshire in Scotland had an early miscarriage before getting pregnant with their first daughter Ava who is now 4 years old. They went on to lose another 3 babies before getting a referral to Tommy’s National Centre for Miscarriage Research at University Hospital in Coventry. Their second daughter, Ciara, was born in April 2019 and is now 7 months old.
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