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Mom Left Traumatized After Miscarrying Says She Was Tormented By Visions Of Raindrops 'Turning Into Blood'

Mom Left Traumatized After Miscarrying Says She Was Tormented By Visions Of Raindrops 'Turning Into Blood'
Collect/ PA Real Life

A heartbroken mum who felt labour pains before miscarrying in the night – two weeks after discovering her baby had no heartbeat – told how she was so traumatized she experienced ongoing visions of raindrops “turning into blood."

Gripped by a “primal urge" to become a mother after marrying children's author Matt, 36, in December 2009, teacher Toni Edwards-Beighton was overjoyed when she gave birth to their daughter, Phoebe, now eight, in July 2011.

So, when Toni, 36, fell pregnant for a second time in October 2015, the couple felt like everything had “fallen perfectly into place – only for their dream to become a nightmare when, at a private scan at 12 weeks, they were told there was no heartbeat.

Toni Edwards-Beighton (Collect/ PA Real Life)

Told she needed to wait to pass the baby naturally because a second scan was needed to confirm the baby had died, she faced an agonizing two week wait before she miscarried, leaving her so devastated that in April 2016 she was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Bravely speaking out to raise awareness of the condition which, according to the NHS, is an anxiety disorder caused by very stressful, frightening, or distressing events, Toni, who now has a second daughter, Willow, three, said: “After the miscarriage, I struggled to cope with everything. I felt alone and angry that it had happened to me."

“Matt was brilliant, but I got worse. I was inconsolable and had horrifying visions which must've been as a result of the PTSD."

Toni Edwards-Beighton (Collect/ PA Real Life)

She added: “I became obsessed that something would happen to Phoebe. I'd check her bedroom windows every night and when I was downstairs, I'd have visions of her falling out of the window and onto the patio."

“If Matt was eating a steak, it would remind me of the baby tissue and I'd throw up, or if it rained, I'd look at the patio and the rain would be red like blood."

“And if Matt was back late from picking Phoebe up from school, I'd have already planned their funeral in my head by the time they got home."

The American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology Study, published this month, which looked at the cases of 737 women, found that one in six females experience long-term post-traumatic stress – which can cause sufferers to relive a traumatic event through nightmares and flashbacks – following miscarriage or ectopic pregnancy.

“I've realized it's so important to talk about what I've been through and to raise more awareness about miscarriages and the impact they can have on people," said Toni.

“If I was more aware of what to expect when I found out I was going to miscarry, I might not have reacted as badly as I did."

Toni Edwards-Beighton (Pellier Photography/ PA Real Life)

Trying for a second child in 2015, Toni admits she “panicked" when it took a little longer to conceive.

But she and Matt breathed a “huge sigh of relief" when they finally fell pregnant and were delighted when they realized they would be at 12 weeks on Christmas Day.

“We wanted to make this fancy baby announcement, whereby we would put the scan photo in a personalized calendar and give it to our mums for Christmas," Toni recalled.

Toni Edwards-Beighton (Collect/ PA Real Life)

She added: “I felt like I had to tell them at Christmas, because as soon as I refused a glass of wine they'd guess anyway!"

Booking a private scan on December 23, when she was 11 weeks and four days pregnant, it never occurred to Toni that anything could go wrong.

But within “seconds" the sonographer checking her stomach became hesitant and Toni sensed something was seriously amiss.

It was confirmed that, tragically, the fetus was only the size it should be at eight weeks and had no heartbeat.

She said: “It was heartbreaking. It felt like I'd been sucker punched in the stomach. My baby had died, but my body still thought I was pregnant."

“I was suffering all the symptoms of pregnancy – feeling sick and unwell – but it was just my body overcompensating for what had happened."

Toni Edwards-Beighton (Collect/ PA Real Life)

Heartbroken, Toni was booked in for another appointment, this time with the NHS, on December 27 for management of the miscarriage.

But knowing she was still carrying her dead baby became too much for her and on Christmas Eve, at a local panto performance with her family, she had a panic attack.

“Christmas was horrific. I had no idea when I'd miscarry and I was paranoid and going to the toilet every 30 seconds," she recalled.

Toni Edwards-Beighton (Collect/ PA Real Life)

She added: “At the pantomime I lost the plot and I had a panic attack. I just felt like I couldn't cope anymore."

At her December 27 appointment, Toni was told she needed a second scan to confirm the baby had died, before she could be given tablets to induce labor.

“I told the doctor I couldn't go back to work without knowing when I was going to miscarry, so I was given a sick note," she said.

Toni said: “I just wanted to get my body back, to feel normal and to be able to grieve."

On New Year's Day, Toni thought she had miscarried when she “bled through a towel pad within 30 minutes."

She continued to bleed for eight days and nights afterwards – needing a hot water bottle and plenty of paracetamol and ibuprofen to ease the pain.

Toni Edwards-Beighton (Collect/ PA Real Life)

“It was horrible, I was in so much pain, I was convinced I'd passed my baby," she said.

“I was so upset, I was wallowing. I wasn't eating and I was irritating myself. So, after the eight days of bleeding had passed, I told myself to get up and go to the shops."

Popping to her local Tesco, she started feeling what seemed like contractions every 45 minutes.

Toni Edwards-Beighton (Collect/ PA Real Life)

Believing the sensation was in her head and she was “going mad," Toni rushed back home.

“I thought, 'I've lost it, I've convinced myself I'm in labor,'" she said.

“I had two large glasses of wine and told Matt what I was feeling and that I'd definitely lost the plot and gone completely crackers."

Then at 2.30am the following morning, on January 9, feeling the “urge to push," Toni ran into the bathroom, bleeding profusely and felt her baby finally coming out.

Stunned, she wrapped the baby – no larger than her palm – in a piece of tissue, put it in a sanitary towel box on a high shelf, bleached the bathroom and went back to bed without waking Matt.

“I was shell-shocked after it happened and I just went back to bed," she recalled. “I told Matt the next day and his jaw dropped to the floor."

After that, the couple called the hospital, where staff offered to dispose of the remains.

Feeling their response was “insensitive," instead Toni and Matt went to the garden centre, bought a planter and a Winter Sun plant. Then once Phoebe was in bed, they buried their baby – planting the Winter Sun plant to remember the little one by.

“When we said our goodbyes, I was hysterical," Toni remembered. “It was hammering down with rain and there we were with this plant."

In April, Toni was diagnosed with PTSD – and the following month she was put on the waiting list for counseling.

In May, despite not actively trying, she fell pregnant again.

“I was offered counseling in the June, but I refused to go to the sessions because I was convinced it would jinx my pregnancy," she said.

“I was also struggling with horrific visions of something bad happening to Phoebe. I was in an awful place," she said.

“I was constantly checking I still had pregnancy symptoms."

Thankfully, everything was okay, and in January 2017 baby Willow was born weighing 7lbs 11oz.

Although her umbilical cord was wrapped around her neck at birth and she needed to be resucitated, Willow was saved by quick-thinking medical staff.

“It was like all my nightmares were coming true for a few seconds–but, thankfully, the doctors acted quickly, and Willow was absolutely fine," Toni said.

“Now, looking back, I wish I'd let myself enjoy the pregnancy–but I couldn't bring myself to."

She added: “Matt was amazing – he had lost a baby, too, but at the same time he also had to deal with me and all my crazy behavior."

Despite being in a far better frame of mind now, Toni still worries about the “worst case scenario."

She said: “Willow is now a victim of my over worrying and anxiety. I'm constantly panicking that she's not okay – but now I know it is my own mind overthinking things."

Now feeling ready to accept counseling, Toni also feels able to conquer her demons once and for all.

“Enough time has passed for me to know I feel ready to talk about my thoughts and what I went through," she said.

While she loves being a mum, Toni still wonders what the angel baby she lost would have been like.

Toni Edwards-Beighton (Collect/ PA Real Life)

“I do still sit and wonder what our baby would've been like," Toni said.

Now Toni is also keen to promote Tommy's – a charity funding research into miscarriage, stillbirth and premature birth, and providing pregnancy health information to parents.

She concluded: “It's so important for organizations like Tommy's to continue to raise awareness, because no woman should ever feel isolated or alone in their grief."

Toni Edwards-Beighton (Collect/ PA Real Life)

“There's always someone to talk to or someone to help – and that's why I've decided to share my story, to help others so they know they're not alone."

Tommy's midwife Amina Hatia said Toni's case illustrates how essential “kind, sympathetic and specialized care" is for women experiencing pregnancy loss.

She said: “The grief experienced by women who have had miscarriages is so unique and often misunderstood or ignored, which can lead to long term conditions such as PTSD, which can impact all aspects of their lives."

She concluded: “Breaking the silence around miscarriage, ensuring women and their families have access to appropriate and sensitive support, and an awareness of the psychological impact miscarriage can have in subsequent pregnancies, can all help in combating some of the long-term psychological impacts of early pregnancy loss."

A Department of Health and Social Care spokesperson echoed these sentiments. They said: “Every death of a child is a tragedy and we want to do everything we can to ensure women receive sensitive and compassionate care at this devastating time."

“No woman should be left to suffer in silence which is why we are working with baby loss charities to fund and develop a National Bereavement Care Pathway, to ensure every woman across the country receives the same quality of support."

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