5 June 2020

In 2014, not long after her wonderful wedding and honeymoon, Claudia and husband Benjamin were thrilled to discover they were expecting twins!

“We were scared that this had happened so quickly – but what an amazing gift. I’d always joked with Benjamin that I thought we’d have twins as I have a family history of twins and just believed that would happen to me too.

“I remember the sheer look of panic on his face when we went for our scan and the lady asked me if we had twins in our family….because there were two heartbeats!

“Once he’d got his head around it, we were bursting with happiness and excitement and having had several scans we decided to tell the world we were expecting twins after the 12-week milestone.

“It was a dream come true – but no one could have predicted our fate.”

Babies names drawn in the sand

Celebrating Christmas with family miles away from their home, Claudia began to feel unwell with severe and regular cramping. She went to the local hospital, was examined and and two tiny heartbeats were found so she was given medication for her pain and kept in for observation.

“At no point was I told that I was in pre-term labour and Benjamin was even sent home. I only knew something was really wrong when I went to the toilet in the early hours only to find that my precious babies were on their way. I was 22 weeks and 4 days.

“I was rushed into a private room, absolutely petrified and in complete disbelief, willing my babies to stay in longer. Benjamin arrived and we both shared the shock of being told that our boys would be arriving with a very small chance of survival.

“I felt numb, as though I was watching someone else’s life, not mine.

“My beautiful perfect boys were born alive and for a split second I thought they would make it as there was nothing wrong that I could see, just so tiny and fragile.

“We had some precious moments of cuddling and kissing them and Archie and Hugo both held my fingers before they slipped away.

“These moments I am grateful for, although I can’t describe the sheer pain I felt – how could I have lost my twin boys? It must have been my fault, something I’d done, I’d failed them as a mother.”

Claudia and Benjamin took their babies home and straight to the funeral directors. It was a hugely traumatic time. Claudia had to have a second placenta removal under anaesthetic after developing an infection and found it difficult to carry on. She could not sleep, had hysterical outbursts and could not process what had happened.

The couple held a farewell service for their boys and tried to get on with life

“Wherever I went I saw babies – babies everywhere. I even ran out of the supermarket once because I came face to face with a mother with twins in her trolley.

“My life would never be the same again, I would never be the same again, but I struggled on and wouldn’t let this break me – I vowed to carry on in memory of Archie and Hugo and their very short little lives.”

A year later Claudia became pregnant again, but felt frightened and anxious. She tried hypnobirthing and said this helped her immensely, managing her anxiety and helping her to think positively. Maddox arrived three weeks early – a perfect little bundle of joy.

The couple wanted to extend their family – a little brother or sister for Maddox.

But sadly Claudia miscarried on Mother’s Day 2017. Then, a short time later the couple found they were expecting again, but tests revealed an increased risk of a genetic disorder and other health issues.

“We said goodbye to our baby Albie at 16 weeks. I went home and held my rainbow baby so tightly; he deserved a little brother or sister; I couldn’t give up.”

A positive pregnancy test a short while before Christmas and Claudia thought surely it couldn’t happen again – but on December 23 she miscarried and decided not to put herself or her husband through anymore.

Summer 2018, a surprise pregnancy, but an early miscarriage.

“This time I felt different, almost numb. I’d lost six babies. I was at a complete loss, why me?”

Claudia read a book called Saying Goodbye (by Zoe Clark Coates) which really helped and made her feel for the first time she was not alone.

She also threw herself into fundraising for baby loss charities and trained as a Hypnobirthing instructor which she describes as her ‘absolute passion’.

Baby Marnie followed in 2019 and Claudia and Benjamin know how lucky they are.

“I want people to know that they are not alone; charities like Twins Trust and its Bereavement Support Group are here for everyone. The befrienders at the charity are people who really understand. You can talk to them without fear or judgment and the website has so much information if you are not ready to talk.

“I hope that one day I might be able to become a befriender.”

Claudia can support others on their journey or with their rainbow babies. www.labouroflovehypnobirthing.com