Tommy's guest blog, Nicola, 13/06/2017
I married Simon at the end of September 2012, and after an amazing honeymoon to Africa we were excited to be moving out of London, and hopeful about starting a family in the future. Babies were very definitely in our plans, but we were shocked to discover at the end of October 2012 that we were already pregnant; I don't think either of us expected it to happen so quickly!
We were both excited though but a little apprehensive as I simply didn't feel how I thought I would - multiple pregnancy tests confirmed we were pregnant, but I had no other symptoms. We had confided in close family and friends, and they reassured me I should just be grateful I felt well.
However, Simon and I decided to pay for a private early scan just to check things were progressing ok. Unfortunately that scan confirmed that the baby had stopped growing at 5.5 weeks. A further scan a week later, just in case our dates were wrong, confirmed the pregnancy definitely wasn't viable and we opted to book in for an erpc as we had not miscarried naturally.
Clearly both a little upset, we both knew miscarriage were extremely common so just put it down to 'One of those things' and took heart in the fact we could fall pregnant at least.
After some complications following the operation, I was finally cleared to start trying again in the summer of 2013 and we fell pregnant for the second time in the August. This time I had the symptoms I expected and was determined to feel more positively about this pregnancy.
However at 7 weeks we had some bleeding and I was sent for an early scan. We were relieved to see the baby had a heartbeat, although was measuring slightly small according to my dates. We were booked to come back 2 weeks later and told to try not worry.
The scan two weeks later confirmed the baby had stopped growing at 9 weeks, just a couple of days before the scan.
The consultant again did not seem concerned and stated commonness of miscarriages, just one of those things again. He explained that they are not concerned until a woman experiences three recurrent miscarriages; something I had not heard before and, to me, seemed to underplay the impact of the two we had already had.
I definitely felt this miscarriage impacted me most, as the 'just one of those things' argument didn't carry the same weight when we had already experienced one less than a year earlier. We waited for the miscarriage to complete naturally this time, but unfortunately there was remaining tissue that meant we had to have a second erpc in December 2013.
In February 2014 we found out we were pregnant again, but I was certain from day one that this was not to progress; it took days post a missed period to get a pregnancy test and repeated tests were getting fainter. I miscarried naturally a week or so later. Bizarrely I felt less upset about this, as I hoped that at least this would result in our situation being investigated now we had had three.
I found my doctor reasonably unsympathetic, but he did refer me though to a recurrent miscarriage specialist at the local hospital.
My appointment was for 18 weeks in the future, and I could not comprehend how I would cope with another 4 month delay to understand what was happening.
So I undertook my own research and found a private specialist who seemed to have a good success rate with women experiencing recurrent miscarriage. An appointment with him and multiple blood tests later, he confirmed that my nk cell levels were very high. I had never heard of this before, but was willing to trust in his treatment plan.
We were prescribed steroid and aspirin from ovulation, and intralipids and protestrogene once we had conceived. By August 2014 we were pregnant again and had bi-weekly scans up to 20 weeks.
We had a good pregnancy, but our experience to date had taken the magic of pregnancy away from us, and I could not relax until my baby was born healthy, which thankfully she was in May 2015.
After seeing the same specialist again in February 2016 to check our blood tests again in preparation for trying for a second child later in the year, we were surprised and happy to discover we were pregnant again in March 2016, resulting in a hurry to get me on the treatment plan.
This pregnancy was a little more fraught with worry, with bleeding from weeks 9-13, but the reassurance scan approach helped me immensely and I am extremely grateful that we had a second positive outcome, and our beautiful family was complete with a second daughter in November 2016.
We wanted to help babies who aren't as healthy as Lara by raising as much money as we can.
80 percent of my pregnancies have ended in death and I felt like they were telling me those babies didn't matter.
I phoned Tommy's and I cannot remember the midwife's name who I spoke to but she was utterly, utterly amazing. Incredible.
'She was incredible to us and I honestly don't think I would have got through that first 12 weeks without her.'
Emma had baby Josiah under the care of Dr Maya at the Tommy's Centre for Early Miscarriage Research in London.