Woman's heartache at miscarrying twins
A woman has told the heartbreaking story of her miscarriage and how she lost twins a fortnight apart.
Karen Irvine told of the devastating moment she realised she was losing her baby and - after suffering severe pain - she later learned she had been expecting twins.
"I was sitting at work when I realised I was losing my baby," Karen said. "The year was 2003, I was 41 years old and had undergone fertility treatment following years of trying to conceive.
"Only a week prior, I had been ecstatic with the news that I was five weeks pregnant and no way could I keep it a secret until week 12, as custom dictates. I told everyone immediately.
"This actually made things easier for me later, as I couldn't have hidden my grief, it was too painful.
"After one night in hospital and following a procedure the next day to remove the remaining 'products of conception', I was discharged.
"I went to bed and stayed there, weeping for the loss of our much-wanted baby and sinking into a deep depression."
However, over the next two weeks Karen began to experience abdominal pain which her GP said was her "womb shrinking back to the normal size".
But as the pain increased she sought advice from her local family planning clinic.
"On conducting a urine test the clinic said my pregnancy hormone levels oddly had increased rather than decreasing," she said.
"At home that evening I was in unbearable pain.
"At the Early Pregnancy Unit of the Royal Victoria Hospital doctors and consultants did not know what was wrong with me. One suggested appendicitis."
As an investigatory laparoscopy was about to be performed, and as Karen was going under the anaesthetic, someone mentioned an ectopic pregnancy. "I became inconsolable, begging the surgeon, if so, to move the baby into my womb," she said.
"Of course, I knew later that this is not possible and that my baby would already be dead.
"The following morning my surgeon sat at the end of my bed and said that I was lucky to be alive; I did not feel lucky, as my fallopian tube had burst and the remains of it and my foetus had been removed.
"My husband and I had lost twins two weeks apart, one from in the womb and the other in a fallopian tube. This was known as a 'heterotrophic' pregnancy."
The twins were named Tonii and Kyrie and had their names placed in the Book of Remembrance in St Anne's Cathedral.
After seven months Karen returned to work but as she struggled to come to terms with the loss she said the Mariposa Trust - a support charity providing support to thousands each week globally, who have suffered the loss of a baby at any stage of pregnancy, at birth or in infancy - helped her feel less alone.
Karen has urged people to attend the trust's Saying Goodbye service at St Anne's Cathedral tomorrow at 3.30pm.