463017 Tommy's guest blog, 10/01/2018 by Kate
Our journey began at the end of October 2015 when we decided we were going to have a baby. And that was it, we’d decided and didn’t even think for a second that anything would stand in our way.
We were so lucky, and fell pregnant quickly. I found out I was pregnant on Christmas Eve and we felt like we’d burst with excitement.
Sadly a week later on New Years eve I woke up in pain and realised I was bleeding. It was confirmed later that week that I’d miscarried at 6 weeks.
In March 2016 we had a positive test but I bled the same day I took the test. Then, in May 2016 we fell pregnant again but didn’t dare to be excited, until we hit the 6/7 week mark, and then we allowed ourselves to believe it could be happening. We’d had a scan at 6 weeks and all seemed fine. Then at 10 weeks I woke up and just didn’t feel pregnant anymore, so I had a private scan that day.
The baby had stopped growing and had no heartbeat.
We were devastated and had to wait a further 2 weeks for the miscarriage to physically happen by itself.
Children were always part of my future and I desperately wanted this with James.
We started to plan what we would do with our lives if we couldn’t have children. We needed a back up plan.
I was referred to UHCW (University Hospitals Coventry & Warwickshire) and was seen by Professor Quenby at the Tommy's recurrent miscarriage clinic. I was instantly reassured by the warmth and care from the team. Some blood tests were carried out and it was found that I had Atypical Protein C deficiency (or sticky blood). Protein C is a protein which prevents your blood from over clotting.
Tommys had a research trial running to look at treatment for this condition which I took part in.
I was randomly chosen to take a drug called Heparin which I needed to inject every day into my stomach. This is to try and prevent blood clots forming in the placenta which is a potential reason for repeated early miscarriage in someone with protein C deficiency. I also discovered at 12 weeks that I have a second inherited condition called Atypical Haemolytic Ureamic syndrome which affects the immune system and being pregnant is a risk factor for this condition. Pregnancy could cause an acute episode which would ultimately threaten my own life and that of my unborn child.
We had reassurance scans every 2 weeks and Lyndsey (my dedicated midwife on the team) was on hand pretty much all the time if I had concerns.
Lyndsey and the entire team of doctors, midwives and healthcare assistants provided both myself and James with an unbelievable level of support, empathy and compassion.
They really did feel part of our family by the end and although our visits were often stressful, we always enjoyed seeing them.
As the pregnancy progressed we still didn’t allow ourselves to presume that everything would be OK until we hit 24 weeks….viable baby day!! Then each day was a bonus for our little one.
We made it to 37 weeks before it was time for her to come out.
Even through my induction and labour the research team continued to visit on the ward and support me and my boyfriend every single day! We had a constant stream of visitors!
We won’t know for a while if it was the Heparin that made our pregnancy successful because the research is ongoing.
But, we honestly believe that the care we received from Lyndsey, the doctors and the team was invaluable and undoubtedly contributed to the birth of our beautiful baby girl - Florence.
We miss them all and visit them as regularly as we can. We will tell Florence all about them as she grows up.
There are times when it all feels like too much, but at those times I think of my daughter, who was such a fighter, and suddenly everything seems more manageable again.
"I truly feel without the support of the EPU and the peace of mind given to us through the Tommy's study we would not be where we are today."
Little Anderson was born under the care of the Tommy's Early Miscarriage Research Centre at London Imperial.
My miscarriage story started in February 2016- it was early, at about 6 weeks and I put it down to one of those things.