Inspirational Hitchin mum wins Tommy’s award after stillbirth heartbreak turns to baby joy
- Credit: Archant
A woman who suffered the stillbirth of her daughter, several miscarriages and a twin ectopic pregnancy before finally giving birth to baby Polly through IVF has received an award for being an inspiration to others.
Carla Pilsworth – of Moss Way – has won the Costa Inspirational Mum Award in the Tommy’s Awards, which celebrate the courage and strength of people who have been affected by pregnancy complications or the loss of a baby.
Tommy’s is a charity which funds research into the causes of miscarriage, stillbirth and premature birth.
Carla, 37, was nominated for the award by her mum, Pat, for her determination and strength through a long journey to parenthood.
Carla told the Comet: “This is a huge honour. Just to be nominated was enough for me – there are so many incredible people.
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“When they told me I had won, it was just an incredible feeling and I felt grateful that people had noticed what I’d been trying to do to raise awareness and funds.
“I’m loving being a mum to Polly and now I’m just going to keep talking and keep raising money for Tommy’s, who do such incredible work and make such a difference – and I’ll do all I can to get those numbers down so it can stop happening.”
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Carla and her husband, Ashley, were elated when they found out Carla was pregnant with their first child in 2010, but the family was devastated in February 2011 when Carla went into early labour and her daughter, Daisy, was born with no heartbeat.
Carla was 37 weeks pregnant when Daisy was stillborn after an acute placental abruption had starved her of oxygen.
Pat said: “Carla and Ashley were absolutely shattered, as were the whole family, but somehow they found the strength to keep going and to try again.
“They were excited to find out very soon that they were expecting again. Unfortunately, an early scan showed the pregnancy hadn’t developed and the baby had not survived.”
Carla and Ashley tried for two more years to get pregnant and were eventually referred for IVF treatment, where Carla was diagnosed with polycystic ovary syndrome and endometriosis.
Their first IVF cycle resulted in three embryos, but none ended in a successful pregnancy.
In their next cycle, Carla was so happy to hear that she was pregnant, but she miscarried again, on Christmas Eve.
Carla and Ashley tried to keep going. A third round of IVF resulted in no pregnancy and their fourth round resulted in another miscarriage, with one of the embryos ectopic, requiring emergency surgery to remove the baby and a fallopian tube.
After such a painful journey and still desperate not to give up hope of having a baby, Carla and Ashley decided to take a year off from trying to get pregnant.
They threw themselves into raising awareness around miscarriage and baby loss through Tommy’s. In 2016, they raised more than £20,000 in memory of Daisy and the other babies they had lost by doing the London Marathon and the Royal Parks Half Marathon with a group of friends.
Then in 2017, with two remaining embryos, Carla and Ashley returned to the fertility clinic to restart their journey. Both embryos were successfully transferred and Carla became pregnant with twins.
Pat said: “The next few weeks were tough and anxious. With her history of miscarriage, Carla was carefully monitored and referred to a specialist team. Her regular early scans sadly showed one of the babies was not coping so well and unfortunately didn’t grow beyond nine weeks. This was devastating news for Carla and made her very scared and worried for the other baby.
“However, the second baby was a fighter just like her mother. She was growing strong and with the help and encouragement of her specialist team she continued to develop and Carla was encouraged and hopeful.”
Carla and Ashley became parents to Polly Rai Pilsworth on September 28 last year.
Pat says Carla is “truly an inspirational mum” and the whole family is “proud of her determination and strength” through this difficult journey.
Carla’s brother-in-law Chris Willoughby, who also lives in Hitchin, is set to run the London Marathon this Sunday in memory of Daisy. He has so far raised more than £2,000.
If you’d like to make a donation, go to uk.virginmoneygiving.com/SomeoneSpecial/DaisyPilsworth.