'I thank God for my two little miracles': Bestwood mum who lost but kept a twin twice
Stacey Clay’s two pregnancies were an emotional rollercoaster after she tragically miscarried one twin – only for exactly the same to happen next time she was expecting. She tells LYNETTE PINCHESS her moving story
WHEN Thomas Farmer turns six next month he’ll blow out the candles on his birthday cake twice.
And so will his little sister Molly when she celebrates her fifth birthday in June.
One day, when they’re older their mum Stacey Clay, 30, will explain the significance of the unusual custom.
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The tradition is a moving mark of respect to the two babies Stacey lost. One would have been Thomas’ twin, the other Molly’s.
Both times she miscarried in early pregnancy but went on to give birth to one healthy surviving baby.
The first time it happened in 2006 Stacey didn’t know she was carrying twins.
She was rushed to hospital by ambulance after bleeding in the early hours and after being examined was told she had been 11 weeks’ pregnant.
An hour later, a devastated Stacey was discharged into the care of her midwife and returned to her home in Bestwood, where she lives with partner Matthew.
“It took about an hour before I could even walk into the house. The next few days were hard for us both. I think I could have filled ten buckets with tears,” she says.
The tragedy of losing the baby took its toll on the couple. They split up but got back together a month later.
Soon afterwards, Stacey began to feel unwell and decided to do a pregnancy test.
She went from devastation to jubilation when she discovered she was expecting again so soon after the miscarriage.
“To my shock it was positive. Tears ran down my face with happiness,” she says.
Weeks later as they arrived at hospital for a scan, Stacey and her partner couldn’t wait to see their baby.
Stacey, who estimated she was 13-14 weeks gone, was worried that something was wrong when the sonographer went to fetch a doctor.
The doctor told Stacey that she was in fact 28 weeks’ pregnant and the baby was the twin of the one she miscarried.
“The shock was indescribable,” she says.
“The doctor went on to explain that it is very unusual to miscarry one twin while the other pregnancy remains ongoing.”
Stacey gave birth to a healthy baby boy, Thomas, by Caesarean section in March 2007.
“Emotionally I was a bit teary but OK,” she says.
When she became pregnant a few months after Thomas’s birth, her first reaction was panic in case she miscarried again but her partner kept her calm.
However, in October 2007, tragedy struck again when Stacey began bleeding.
“I rang NHS Direct and they told me to make an appointment with my doctor in the morning. Crying my heart out, I finally fell asleep,” says Stacey.
After telling her GP about her previous miscarriage, the doctor told Stacey that her stomach still felt hard, indicating there might be something there.
She was sent for an emergency scan at Nottingham City Hospital the following day.
“Fear in my belly made me shake as I lay down on the bed,” she recalls.
Tears rolled down her cheeks when the sonographer found a heartbeat and told her she was six weeks’ pregnant with one surviving twin.
“This time I was an emotional wreck. I couldn’t understand how it could happen again but no one had an answer because they didn’t know themselves,” she says.
Her daughter Molly was born by Caesarean section in June 2008.
“I thank God every day for my two little miracles,” says Stacey.
It’s not normal hospital policy to scan after a miscarriage – which is why no one knew Stacey was carrying twins. The hospital apologised after she complained.
Stacey wishes it wasn’t so: “I wish there was a system in place to scan women who miscarry,” she says, “just to make sure there’s nothing else there.”
Medical experts say what happened to Stacey was extremely rare.
Lucy Kean, an obstetric consultant at the Queen’s Medical Centre and City Hospital, says: “It’s very rare for a woman to miscarry a single twin in this way – and even rarer for it to happen twice.
“With a twin pregnancy, if one twin dies within the womb in early pregnancy, the miscarried twin will usually stay within the womb and will be absorbed over a few weeks. It is not normally associated with heavy bleeding.
“With miscarriages associated with a lot of bleeding, you would not normally expect there to be a continuing pregnancy – this is why follow-up scans are not routine.”
However, she says it is hospital policy for women who suffer a miscarriage to have an early scan in future pregnancies.
Jo Bull a midwife at Tommy’s, the charity which researches miscarriage, premature birth and stillbirth, says: “To lose a baby at any stage during pregnancy is a tragic loss for any parent, but to miscarry with one twin and for this to occur again in a subsequent pregnancy is extremely rare, and very distressing.
“We are pleased to hear that both surviving twins continued to grow well and were born healthily after such a traumatic experience.”
If you have experienced a pregnancy loss and would like to speak to an expert for bereavement counselling, or for advice on healthy pregnancies, call freephone 0800 0147 800 or e-mail email@example.com.