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Saving lives, supporting families

Sam's story

Warning: this story talks about a double bereavement and contains content some people may find distressing. 

In 2011 I found out I was pregnant for the first time and had a shock at the 12 week scan to hear I was carrying twins. The twins were non identical with separate placentas and I was reassured to hear this was the safest type of twin pregnancy. At 17 weeks I heard I was having two boys. We were very excited. It felt like a miracle to have been blessed with our family of four all at once.

At first I had a text book pregnancy. No bleeding, not too much sickness and I generally felt well.  When I was just under 22 weeks I had some stomach cramps, which I didn't think anything of. But when I went to the toilet there was suddenly a lot of water and blood.  I was rushed to hospital where I was told I had lost all water from one of the twins, Jacob. His brother, George, was still safe in his sack. 

I was told that Jacob had very little chance of survival. We hoped for a miracle and read everything we could about the ones that had survived against the odds. We hoped we'd be the lucky ones and prove everyone wrong.

We were informed that for the boys to have any real chance we needed to get to 24 weeks. Then they would fight to save them if they came early. After 4 days of nothing happening we were sent home and I was put on bed rest. But 24 hours later I started having contractions. I was rushed back into hospital where we thought that was it the boys were coming. But things then went quiet again. 

I remained in hospital and was closely monitored for another week. I said to the midwives that I felt Jacob was very low and I was afraid he might come out if I went to the loo. I was reassured that it was not that easy to deliver a baby.

At 23 + 4 weeks I went to the loo in the hospital. I placed my hands underneath me as I still felt nervous and suddenly Jacob was in my hands. He was alive and kicking his arms and legs. I pulled the emergency alarm and screamed for help. My husband and mum were first in the room followed by a lot of medical staff. I remember I kept looking at Jacob saying "It's ok darling."

The consultant took Jacob away to weigh and check over and came back to tell me he was too small for them to intervene - he was only 390g (just under a pound). I was taken away as they were worried about George. Jacob passed in my mother's arms while a consultant looked on crying. I am so grateful he was with my mother but my biggest regret in life is that I didn't insist he stayed with me. Jacob lived for just 40 mins. 

We had support from some wonderful midwives and we spent lots of time with Jacob.

George was still well inside me and he was a good size. We tried to stay positive for George and talked about how we would tell him all about his brave brother who gave him the best start in life by staying inside so long. 

Four days passed and we were finally at the magical 24 weeks. We knew now they would fight for George! At 24 + 1 days I developed a serious infection. I was advised it was safer for both of us to get George out and I was induced.

The birth should have been straightforward due to his size but he got into a difficult position and got stuck. Eventually he arrived and was weighed. He was bigger than we could have ever hoped for weighing 670g (a pound and a half) - nearer the size of a baby two weeks further along. Our hearts soared as we knew that meant he had a chance and that they would intervene. But there was no movement. No crying. No signs of life. The birth had been too much for him and he was stillborn. The pain was indescribable - I wanted to die.  I cried for days, then months. I still cry. 

Through the support of my family and friends somehow I survived. We made the difficult decision to try for another baby quite quickly and we were lucky when we fell straight away. Just under a year before the boys first birthday their younger sister was born and 17 months after her we had another little girl. 

My daughters have made life brighter again but there will always be two people missing from our family. We have just celebrated what would have been Jacob and George's 4th birthdays and I wonder every day how life would be with them here. 

There was no medical reason found to explain why I went into premature labour or if there was any way of preventing it from happening. I would hate for anyone to experience the pain I have had but sadly it happens more often than it should.

Any research that can save such precious lives in the future is so important and that's why I have shared my story. 



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