*Trigger Warning - Baby Loss
I hadn't always known I wanted children, I'd never given it much thought really but I had a feeling it may not be easy. I had my first period aged 14 and then none after but I wasn't diagnosed properly with PCOS (Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome) till I was about 20. They didn't know much about it at the time so the answer to my lack of periods, acne and hair growth was to put me on the pill aged 16 and I had electrolysis for the hair growth.
A year before my wedding I spoke to my GP regarding fertility and due to my symptoms I was given an appointment with a consultant. I was put on a low GI diet to try to bring on ovulation and I was given Metformin, a drug used to treat Diabetes because PCOS is linked with Insulin Resistance. Unfortunately it only reduced my weight down far too low and didn't work. Treatment then switched to taking a medicine called Clomid which also didn't work so we moved up a level and I had to start injecting hormones! I remember the nerves of loading up the syringes, removing the air bubbles, injecting, using ovulation kits to see if anything was happening and laying with my legs in the air to help the little tadpoles on their journey! By this time I was a regular at the hospital, I would pull down the blue paper towel ready for the internal scans and prop myself up on pillows so they could get the get the right angle! I'm sure many can relate!
I started to become tired, bloated and uncomfortable sitting down. I ended up in Hospital one day because I felt sick and dizzy. They didn't have a clue so suggested I speak to my consultant. Luckily I had an appointment with him a few days later and as soon as he scanned me he suggested I go straight home and pack for a hospital stay. He explained I was suffering with a severe case of Hyperstimulation whereby my ovaries had gone into overdrive. I spent the next 10 days in hospital throwing up and becoming very bloated with fluid building up around my organs. My fluid input and output had to be monitored carefully so I had a catheter, a drip and was scanned to watch the fluid. I had a visit from my consultant who said he thought I may be pregnant due to the severity of my symptoms and I remember saying 'I'll believe it when I see it!'.
It wasn't long before we found out it had worked and we had two babies growing inside! Twins! We couldn't believe it! I remember going home and showing off the scans to my parents! I was scanned regularly and at 6 weeks the sonographer pointed out 'number1' and 'number 2' and there's 'number 3.' Wait a minute! Number 3!!! We should have been thrilled however my heart sank. We had been warned by our consultant that if there was more than 2 it would be suggested we reduce down due to me being high risk. We were faced with having to make a massive decision in a short space of time. How could we reduce when all we had been trying to do was get pregnant in the first place!
In the end we decided to go ahead with the reduction and went to a London hospital to do this before 12 weeks. They explained they would look for abnormalities first but in our case all 3 were healthy so they chose the smallest of the 3. I caught a glimpse on the screen of all 3 wriggling around, I looked away and let them do their job. Shaking and bleeding afterwards we made our way to the cab to get the train home
The twins continued to grow and I was monitored closely - I kept busy decorating our house and I began to feel little flutters in my tummy around 18 weeks! I had stared to get thrush like symptoms which was not uncommon for me anyway especially with PCOS. We had a 20 week scan and all was good! A swab confirmed thrush and I just put it down to very high hormonal levels with multiples. I started to relax a little and even considered buying a few things.
One evening whilst out I came over all hot and felt sick so we left the pub and I laid down in bed. I then threw up and started to come over all sweaty... something wasn't right. We drove to our local hospital and I hadn't sat down for long before a wave of pain hit me in a band across my stomach and I couldn't sit down. I was blue lighted to A&E with my husband following in the car behind. Surrounded by hospital staff I was told I was in labour. I hadn't even had prenatal classes! I was put on gas and air and was told the babies were coming and that due to being 22.5 weeks pregnant there was nothing they could do to help them. I remember not fully understanding the person who told me because this was something that had never been explained to me.
Our son was born first, breathing and weighing in at 490g. My husband held him while he took his last breaths. I couldn't look as I knew if I saw him alive I would panic and I still had to deliver our second child. Our daughter was stillborn shortly after weighing 420g. Both babies were wrapped up, put into a cot next to me and I was wheeled into a private room. Daniel managed to get hold of both sets of parents to tell them and I told him to go and warn them that the babies were in with us. A nurse came in and took them away to dress them and take photos, hand and foot prints. I wasn't sure at the time what I felt, just numb, the nurses spoke to my parents as they were concerned I had not reacted but it was all down to shock.
We went home and the next few days were horrific. Day 3 was the worst as my milk came in, my hormones were raging and all I did was cry. We were told that because the twins were classed as not viable they do not get a birth certificate but the hospital help with a funeral. We had a visit from the hospital chaplain who sorted something and we attended the funeral on our own. We placed 2 teddies with notes in the tiny white coffin along with 2 white roses on top. We went home.
I returned to work quickly to keep busy and everywhere around us people seemed to be getting pregnant. My bleeding had stopped but started up again along with some pain. Matter was found at my 6 week check so I had to have a D&C to remove it. We were told that a bacteria called Strep B was found in the placentas and I couldn't help thinking that maybe having the reduction had somehow caused this bacteria to spread. Something we will never know. My consultant appointments seemed to take ages but eventually we started Clomid again. It didn't take long and after our first round we were informed that an egg had fertilized!
Our son Alfie was born by c section due to being breech but we were thrilled it had all been worthwhile! The first year or so of being parents was not an easy one due to Alfie having open heart surgery for complex heart defects (Tetralogy of Fallot), however we got through it and I went on to have Clomid again for my daughter! We stopped at 2 as my daughter ruptured my uterus meaning that any further pregnancies would be even higher risk. It took the 3 pregnancies to sort out my hormones and now I have fairly regular cycles and I mange my PCOS symptoms with diet and exercise!
You can find Helen here in Instagram @helenewerstaylor
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