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.
Jess from the Legacy of Leo discusses her families journey through stillbirth, miscarriage and pregnancy after loss featuring our Maternal & Fetal Health Research Centre.
I found it difficult to buy anything, and even had a panic attack in Mothercare. How could I buy for a baby I might not ever meet?
Miranda suffered an early miscarriage, and then lost her baby daughter at 16 weeks. After being diagnosed with Hughes Syndrome and being treated accordingly, she now has a 20-month-old daughter Emily.
Aimee Rigby and Stuart Amos lost baby George, who died after being born prematurely. They also suffered second trimester miscarriages, and lost their second son Harry, who was stillborn in 2014. In February they welcomed their son Bertie.
By the time Colette was introduced to Professor Shennan at the Tommy’s centre in St Thomas’ Hospital in London she had already had four pregnancy losses; one at six weeks, twins at 14 weeks and another miscarriage at 17 weeks.
Several studies have shown that the womb may not work as well in older women. This may be because the muscle produces less energy so that contractions are less effective, so labour isn't triggered in the same way as in younger women.
We are trying to find out if a simple procedure before conception could help prevent miscarriage. If so, this could be an easy way to encourage healthy pregnancy.
Tommy’s are helping to train the carers of the future, so that we can continue giving women the best pregnancy care possible.
We want to understand the different ways that women and their partners cope with miscarriage, so that we can better train doctors, nurses and midwives to provide the emotional support that is so important following loss.
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.