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Erin and Rachel’s story: IUI pregnancy loss

Erin and Rachel share their story of their IUI pregnancy loss, from both of their perspectives. Erin later became a volunteer for the Miscarriage Association, and has been with us for over a decade

They checked again and still the heartbeat was gone. Our baby was gone. I remember walking out of the hospital in a numb bubble with Erin - holding the weight of this new, awful news between us.

We got married in 2009 when we had just finished at our respective universities. When we started working we had so much to save for, renovating our first home, our honeymoon, all the adventures we were looking forward to… and most of all, having a family. Our area didn’t fund same sex couples for fertility treatment so we knew it could be expensive. We saved and saved and went to San Francisco on honeymoon, then immediately, started on our baby fund. We didn’t know anyone who had been in the same position as us so we booked into a fertility clinic as we were completely clueless!

Our first appointment was great, we found out costs, options and booked in for tests. We had decided that Erin would try first and all tests came back with the results we’d hoped for. Things looked great! Erin’s parents gave us some money towards fertility treatment and, we started on our journey to trying for a baby. We chose to try IUI (intrauterine insemination), filled in forms and looked at profiles and eventually, we chose a donor. We chose him because his profile said he looked similar to us and our families and that would meant that any baby we had wouldn’t stand out as different when with either of us or our families. We were so hopeful and excited that soon, we’d be parents



Everything went so smoothly on the first cycle. All my measurements were perfect, however my chances of conceiving were still relatively low so we weren’t too confident. We went to be inseminated on a freezing winter evening, but I barely felt the cold as I was so excited. I tried to kerb my excitement because I knew the likelihood of it working first cycle wasn’t high. Our ‘Two Week Wait’ was the longest fortnight ever! I researched the most sensitive pregnancy tests, when the most accurate time to test was and what to do if the test was positive! At a little sooner than the required two weeks, I tested. I was pregnant. We were going to have a baby. To be a family. To be called Mummy and Mama. I couldn’t help but think of names, car seats, schools – my future had changed and i couldn’t wait! Rachel didn’t let me lift a finger! We had some scans to make sure everything was progressing well, it was. At one of them, our consultant showed us our baby’s little arm and leg buds and so, we gave him a name for until he was born, Buddy. Mummy’s little Buddy.

I thought about the baby all the time. We shared everything! I stroked my belly and imagined what life would be. I booked into the hospital for my 12 weeks scan at 13 weeks, and saw our baby’s arms waving and legs kicking and heart beating so strongly. We were past 12 weeks. Everything was perfect. Until it wasn’t.

One day, at work, I went to the bathroom and there was a little spot of blood when I wiped. I phoned Rachel and told her she needed to come and get me, we needed to go to hospital immediately. When we phoned, however, the hospital said there was no need for a spot. But at that moment, I knew the baby had died. I felt different. Something was wrong. The next morning I called the hospital again and I cried and begged them to fit me in for a scan, I said I would come and sit in the waiting room until they had time to scan me. Rachel came too and eventually, when the clinic was closing the sonographer took pity and said if I could find a chaperone, he would scan me. He began, I saw the baby then turned the screen away from me and I knew.

‘No heartbeat.’

The saddest phrase I have ever heard. I knew it meant the baby had died, I knew it meant there was no more thinking of names, schools, car seats. And I was numb. I couldn’t speak. Then came the news that was even more shocking. There was another baby, a twin, and the twin had died weeks before. Rachel took over all communication. She called our parents and told them they weren’t going to be Grandparents in August, that our trip to tell my Granny and Grandad would be cancelled, that our baby had died. Rachel was devastated. She held me while I sobbed and cleaned up when I vomited. She made sure I had food and drinks and ran me a bath when I couldn’t take the intense pain and contractions. Rachel was the first person to see our baby, in the bath, the first person to hold him and to lay him on my chest. I had no idea that Buddy would be a tiny but very formed little baby boy. We held him for hours, unsure what to do. I put him into a little box and we buried him in our garden, underneath a raspberry bush.

I developed an infection, that turned to sepsis and was in hospital, Rachel had to stick to limited visiting hours and she was there for them all, bringing me food and drinks and sitting with me while I went between sadness, despair, fear and anger. And Rachel felt it all too.



I remember being so excited all through our first cycle – every milestone was new and exciting. We were planning to have a baby and when we got that positive pregnancy test, the excitement and planning took on a whole new level, looking through naming books, going to early scans and seeing our very own baby, his little buddy arms and legs moving and his heart beating steadily. I didn’t know about miscarriage, as far as I was concerned, we were having a baby.

Erin knew something was wrong , and after seeing a spot of blood we asked to be scanned for reassurance. I remember the preparation for this scan, the finding of a chaperone, the waiting while he searched and searched before saying the words “no heartbeat.” An eerie calm quiet filled the room, my body felt like it was screaming from the inside. Check again! They checked again and still the heartbeat was gone. Our baby was gone. I remember walking out of the hospital in a numb bubble with Erin – holding the weight of this new, awful news between us. I was determined to support Erin through whatever happened next. As we walked down the path to the car, I called our parents and let them know they weren’t going to be grandparents. I can still hear Erin’s dad’s voice saying, “Oh NO!” when he heard the news.

I remember waiting for out baby to be born at home, with promises from staff it would feel like a bad period. I sat by and supported as Erin went through the most painful experience of her life. She said she felt like she was being stabbed. All I could do was offer painkillers and a bath. After hours, our baby was born. He floated down into the bath and I scooped him up and held him. He looked perfect. It was unbelievable that he wasn’t still inside Erin, growing into the human he was supposed to be. I remembered scanning his face, and taking in his eyelids, nose and mouth. I handed him to Erin and we sat there for what seemed like forever just looking at him.

In time we buried him in a little box bed in our garden. With a soft blanket to keep him warm.

My friends and colleagues called and text to ask how Erin was. Sometimes I felt like they didn’t expect me to be grieving, that I had lost my baby too. I was worrying about Erin, of course, but I needed support too.

We didn’t know that he was a twin, and Erin became sicker and sicker, and was admitted to hospital with sepsis, then delivered the second twin. I had to leave at the end of visiting time and was only allowed to visit during very strict time slots. When I wasn’t there, I was in a bit of a worried and sad daze. Both grieving for our little babies and hoping that Erin would recover.

The doctor who admitted us was the first person who took time to comfort Erin around our loss, and I remember feeling so thankful and grateful for her humanity and support. She helped Erin to feel heard for what felt like the first time in our experience. That was the third hospital, the second MHD trust and the 27th person we’d seen. That was who gave us the Miscarriage Association leaflet. Years later, I discovered the ‘Partners Too’ leaflet. I felt excited that not only was it for partners, but the language was perfectly inclusive of partners of any gender, and it recognised that partners can and do grieve, and often have a very different experience to the pregnant partner.