Like most women, I spent the majority of my life trying not to get pregnant due to focusing on my career and taking the time to meet my Husband, Benjamin. After the most wonderful Wedding Day and honeymoon, we decided to let nature take its course and were so excited at the prospect of starting a family together.
We found out that we were pregnant for the first time around my Birthday in 2014 and were scared and amazed that this had happened so quickly – but what an amazing gift. I’d always joked with Benjamin that I thought we’d have twins as I have family history of twins and just believed that would happen to me too. I remember the sheer look of panic on his face when we went for our scan and the lady asked me if we had twins in our family…because there were two heartbeats! Once he’d got his head around it we were bursting with happiness and excitement and having had several scans and made the 12-week milestone, decided to tell the world that we were expecting twins – a dream come true, but nobody could’ve predicted our fate.
Christmas 2014, we were celebrating with family miles away from home and I started to feel unwell, with severe and regular cramping, so I headed to the local hospital and was examined on the maternity ward, to find that my identical twin boys heartbeats were beating and all was well, or so I thought. They kept me in for ‘observation’ and sent Benjamin home, but alone I suffered with continuous cramping and was given medication to control the pain. At no point was I told that I was in pre-term labour and only found out that something was wrong when I went to the toilet in the early hours, to find that my babies were on their way. I was rushed into a private room, absolutely petrified and in complete disbelief, willing my babies to stay longer and grow healthily beyond 22 weeks and 4 days. Benjamin arrived and we both shared the shock of being told that our boys would be arriving with a very small chance of survival. I felt numb, as though I was watching someone else’s life and not mine. My beautiful, perfect boys were born alive and for a split second I thought they would make it as there was nothing wrong that I could see, just so tiny and fragile. We had some precious moments of cuddling and kissing them and Archie and Hugo both held my finger before they slipped away. These moments I am grateful for, although I just can’t describe the sheer pain I felt – how could I have lost my boys, it must’ve been my fault, something I’d done, I’d failed them as a mother and would never forgive myself.
I underwent placental removal procedure under anaesthetic and just felt that I didn’t want to wake up afterwards, it would’ve been so much easier to take my pain away as I just couldn’t survive without my boys. I did wake up and due to the shock, strangely acted as though life was normal, having trivial conversations about tea and biscuits, filling in complicated paperwork and getting ready to be discharged, whilst listening to other mothers and their new-born babies crying – that should be me.
We made the long journey home with the bodies of our children in a box, under the condition that we took them straight to the local funeral directors, I held them all the way home in disbelief and having to leave them alone in that room just added to my pain, I felt as though my heart had been ripped out, how was I still breathing?!
To make matters even worse I developed an infection and had to go back into hospital for a further placenta removal procedure, again going under anaesthetic, I wished that I wouldn’t wake up, but I did. A few days later I got home and then it hit me, how could I carry on? Why did this happen to me and not someone else? Am I being punished? I just couldn’t process what had happened and had hysterical outbursts, which Benjamin found difficult to cope with. I couldn’t sleep because that was when I relived what had happened and saw my boys being born again – the night was my loneliest time.
I somehow survived those first weeks and we said goodbye to our perfect little boys at a farewell service. We invited everyone who knew we were expecting and I planned every detail as I wanted everything to be perfect for them, so I wrote and read out a poem, I honestly don’t know how I was able to read a word but I remember thinking that this was the last thing I could do for them as their Mummy – I just couldn’t let them down, not again.
After we’d said goodbye I tried to get my life back on track – to normality – whatever that was. Wherever I went I saw babies – babies everywhere. I even ran out of the supermarket once because I came face to face with a mother with twins in her trolley – such torture! I thought of nothing else, every second of every day and carried such pain in my heart. I just couldn’t understand that there was no medical reason for what had happened to me, which made things worse for me to process.
I returned to work quickly, probably too quickly, but having my own business I didn’t want to let anyone down and my coping mechanism was to ‘keep busy’. Each day there was a client going on maternity leave, or away on paternity leave but I just pretended that nothing had happened and carried on. I mastered my ‘I’m okay’ face but inside I was broken. Thankfully I have such an amazing family and friends, most knowing exactly what to say and when. Unfortunately I also had people around me who clearly struggled to know what to do/say and avoided me like the plague. I just wanted to feel normal, even though inside I felt far from it.
My life would never be the same again, I would never be the same again but I struggled on as I wouldn’t let this break me – I vowed to carry on in memory of Archie and Hugo and their very short little lives.
In 2015 I found out that I was pregnant and instead of the usual joy at this news, I felt so frightened, anxious and had no idea how I would get through my pregnancy. We took each day as it came but each scan, each milestone did nothing to reassure me. I got to 24 weeks and although felt some relief at passing the stage I had been at with my boys. It was at this point that my counsellor suggested we find out the gender of our baby, to make labour less traumatic. We were having a boy, for the first time I felt excited and thought maybe this little boy will make it…but I soon remembered my past and couldn’t enjoy this thought for long. There were also other complications, a low-lying placenta (which meant a potential C-section) and tests for gestational diabetes as my little boy wasn’t so little. I decided to do Hypnobirthing and this really helped me manage my anxiety and think positively. My little miracle decided to arrive three weeks early, within two hours, perfectly naturally and I just couldn’t believe that I was holding him in my arms. Even after everything I felt like the luckiest person in the world and although my pain didn’t go away, I had my baby boy to love.
I adore my son and being a mother is the best thing I’ve ever done, so due to being a ‘geriatric mother’ we decided that we’d love nothing more than to extend our family, we found out we were expecting again in early 2017 but I miscarried on Mothers Day – of all the days, I just couldn’t believe this could happen to me.
We didn’t give up and found we were expecting again, I tried not to even think about what could happen but the weeks passed, I went through the usual routine scans/tests hoping for the best – then I got that call – the call to say that my baby had an increased risk of a genetic disorder and health issues. I expected the worse but persevered thinking they may have got it wrong. We had private tests, which confirmed the worst and had to say goodbye to our baby at sixteen weeks, a few days before my Birthday. How could I give birth to another baby boy who didn’t survive – my world was completely crushed after losing Albie.
I went home and held my rainbow boy so tightly, I had been through so much but had to be strong – I couldn’t let this affect him. So, I carried on regardless…=
After this pregnancy I found out that I had an ovarian cyst, more scans, more monitoring and this frightened me to the point that this journey was affecting my physical, emotional and mental health – I had the all clear and I just couldn’t give up, my little boy deserved a little brother or sister, so we rode that rollercoaster again and found out we were expecting just before Christmas 2017, surely this time everything would be okay, it couldn’t happen again could it…I miscarried on 23 December, just in time for Christmas. By this point I had given up telling anyone what was happening as I just felt like a failure, that it would be boring to keep hearing the same old story – I just carried on but decided that I couldn’t keep putting myself through this emotional and physical torture anymore, I’d given up.
Summer 2018 on holiday we caught pregnant accidentally but I had an early miscarriage, this time I felt different, almost numb to what was happening as it was nothing compared to everything I’d endured before. I’ve lost six babies, six babies – how does this happen to one person?! I was at a complete loss…why me?
I decided to start reading a book which had been given to me some time before and due to all of my drama had forgotten about – Saying Goodbye (by Zoe Clark Coates) – wow, how did this woman write into words exactly how I felt, she felt my pain and had walked a similar path, she just got me and it made me feel for the first time that I wasn’t alone. Through some friends I was introduced to Zoe, firstly via social media and although she is probably the busiest lady I know, she supported me so much; she made me feel normal, human and that I was strong enough to go on – she empowered me to find my way out of those dark days and see hope for the future. She regularly checked in on me, for which I am eternally grateful.
I made a conscious decision not to wallow in self-pity but to use my experiences to do something positive, so I arranged to meet with Zoe. I was so in awe of everything that Zoe and her husband Andy have sacrificed and achieved from their loss, that I just had to do something. We chatted for hours about what had happened to us but mainly focused on how I could help the charity and I left having taken on the role of leading their fundraising and profile raising for the Midlands. For the first time in a very long time, I could do something positive – I could use my devastating journey to help others – I had a purpose from all of this pain!
Thanks to a wonderful team of ladies – my amazing friends – we’re planning some fantastic events for 2019 in order to raise awareness of this charity and the support they provide to anyone who has had to suffer the devastating loss of a child at any stage. We are determined to make sure that everyone is aware of the support available to them through The Mariposa Trust and Saying Goodbye and how they too can help such a worthy cause through fundraising and supporting us on our journey.
Although, like many, I have endured such loss and along my path have also had to say goodbye to my Father, Aunt, Uncle (who was also like a Father to me) and my vey special cats who I’d loved for over 16 years, I still feel so lucky. I live each day for my little rainbow boy who is 2 years old, he is everything I could’ve ever dreamed of and more. We talk to him about his brothers Archie, Hugo and Albie, they will always be part of our family and I will always be their Mummy. I am lucky to be a mummy to all of my boys and this is something that so many take for granted as being an easy thing to achieve – it’s not.
I’m not sure how I am still standing sometimes but I won’t give up on giving my little boy a sibling, as surrounded by wonderful, positive people I feel strong enough to continue my journey of hope!
My story was also featured in the press to raise awareness of Baby Loss – you can read this by following this link – https://www.birminghammail.co.uk/news/midlands-news/heartbroken-mum-cuddled-twins-died-15270567