Every year, thousands of people in the UK are affected by the death of a baby or experience pregnancy loss, in fact statistically 1 in 4 pregnancies end in a miscarriage and 1 in 100 have 3 or more miscarriages in a row. I am one of the “1 in 4”. I have written about it a few times on my blog before, but I always like to write something fresh for baby loss awareness week as I really believe with so many women/men/couples talking about and sharing their stories we can help to break the silence and we can come together and help each other.
I had Oscar in 2010, my pregnancy with him was easy, my waters broke at 36 weeks and 5 days and after 48 hours he was born by emergency Caesarean section. We always knew we wanted to have two children and had always planned in our heads to roughly have a three year gap. In April 2012 we found out I was pregnant again, we were so excited and decided not to tell anyone until I was 12 weeks. We got to the scan date and took Oscar along with us so he could see too. I lay on the bed, the midwife was lovely chatting away and after a few seconds her face changed, she feel silent, I knew something was wrong. She went to get another doctor and then asked me to get myself up and took me into an office. They told us the baby had no heartbeat and I had had a missed miscarriage. Holding back the tears was so hard, I didn’t want to see dad in front of Oscar but inside I felt sick. After months of hell, with bleeding on and off I eventually had an ERPC.
I left it a couple of cycles and then we started trying again. We fell pregnant using a Clearblue fertility monitor and it worked the first month of trying. I got to 6 weeks and I was visiting my Nan when I started to bleed. I went to the early pregnant unit at Hillingdon Hospital and I was told I had twins, one without a heartbeat and one with. Obviously I was upset but a part of me thought at least one was ok. Two weeks later at a follow up scan I was told that I had miscarried both. I just couldn’t believe it! I naively thought this time it wouldn’t happen again. I booked in for an ERPC the next day so not to have all the problems I had last time.
I went to see my GP afterwards who was lovely and told me all about the recurrent miscarriage clinic in London at St Mary’s Hospital. She referred me and I had about a four month wait. After a rough 18 months with all the problems it was nice to relax, stop trying for a baby and wait for our appointment. So in June 2013 I had various tests done and a hysteroscopy in the August to remove any adhesions or scar tissue from my caesarean. A blood test came back saying I had a clotting problem and I was told to go away and get pregnant, as soon as I had a positive test take 150mg of aspirin a day and contact the unit. They scanned me every couple of weeks up until 10 weeks and then passed me back over to Hillingdon. Greg and I excitedly went to the 12 week scan and again the doctors went silent. Back into the side office we went.
It was explained to us that our baby had a larger amount of fluid on the back of the neck than normal which is a cause for concern and is often an indication for Down’s syndrome. To be honest this didn’t phase me to much but I was told to go and have a amniotic fluid test. At 14 weeks I went to Queen Charlotte’s hospital for the procedure. It was terrible, in short they inserted a huge needle through my stomach into the amniotic sac to extract some fluid to get the baby’s chromosomes to see what the abnormality was. It was so painful and let me bruised for a few weeks. We were told the results would take around two weeks. They were the longest two weeks of my life. I held onto hope that it would all be fine and it was just a mistake.
The trouble is from the moment you get two blue lines on that pregnancy test, your already working out the due date, planning in your head for a baby that will never get it’s due date. That’s hard.
Christmas Eve 2013 I got the phone call that our baby had something called Ring 13, which is a rare chromosome disorder. In our case the baby had it severely with a lot of missing genes which meant he wouldn’t have lived very long. I went into see the specialist midwife at Hillingdon hospital who was amazing and she went through our options with us. Christmas was a blur, I made it as special for Oscar as possible but I was dying inside. Looking back on photos of Christmas that year, I look vacant and I hate those photos. New Years Eve was worse for me, in my brain I knew I had to go back to the hospital on the 2nd to start the process of delivering the baby and had almost boxed it off like that’s next year it’s fine. The New Year came, I took myself out of the room and sat sobbing on the stairs with my friend, it was awful.
On the 2nd I had to take a tablet to stop the babies heartbeat as if I delivered him alive there would be nothing the midwives could do to save him and it would have been to distressing for us as I was only 18 weeks. I went home expecting to come back in the next day but that night around 8pm I started bleeding so we went back. I was taken into labour ward and felt so sorry for the midwife who started her shift expecting to deliver a healthy baby. I had to share a bathroom with a lady I could hear was having a baby which was so hard. I feel asleep and at 5am got up to go to the toilet, my waters broke and I delivered the baby. The midwives were amazing, he was put wrapped in a blanket and had a little hat and was put in a little wicker crib. They took photos for me and gave me a memory box. I was on autopilot I showed little emotion, I was exhausted and felt terrible for Greg. It wasn’t until a few hours later when I was ready to go home and it dawned on me that I was leaving my baby behind and had to walk out of the same door as everybody else who had their perfect babies in their car seats ready to go home. I felt sick. I broke down.
When we got home my parents were looking after Oscar. I had to get myself together, as I didn’t want Oscar to know I was upset or that anything was wrong. Greg and I went to bed for a few hours as we were shattered and I put all my emotions in a little box in my head, walked downstairs and was Mummy to Oscar.
We had genetic testing afterwards which came back clear. We were just bloody unlucky to have this happen after having the miscarriages before too. Hillingdon Hospital were amazing, honestly I couldn’t have paid for better care. They arranged the church service a week later that only Greg and I went too and the cremation as well. His ashes were than scattered at the Peter Pan children’s remembrance garden at a crematorium near us.
A few months later I fell pregnant again, took my aspirin daily and I was so anxious. I had a specialist midwife on call and had scans from 7 weeks. Getting to 12 weeks and being told that everything was ok was a huge relief, I cried. We kept it a secret until 20 weeks as I didn’t want Oscar to know and then something go wrong. At this time he was 4 with much more understanding and always asked for a baby brother or sister. Up until now I felt I was failing him, the one thing most of his friends had and what he kept asking him and I couldn’t for sure know that we would give it to him.
We flew past our 20 week scan. We told everyone, everyone was over the moon for us it was lovely. Every day I was anxious that something was going to go wrong and at my 20 week appointment I was given my elective caesarean date as I couldn’t bare to go back on the labour ward. We were told the 29th December 2014 although as the time got closer my anxiety mellowed a bit and I thought if I went into labour before that date I would try to have the baby naturally. We didn’t pick baby names as we didn’t want to jinx anything, until that baby was in our arms I wasn’t going to relax. Our little Archie came into the world on the elective section date and competed our family.
I’m not going to lie it was a tough journey getting there but we are so grateful for the amazing care we received on the NHS. We are so grateful to have two beautiful healthy boys and it’s only brought us all closer together as a family.
There were moments where I felt so down but Oscar kept me going and occupied. I genuinely have no problems taking about it or sharing my story as if I can help one person then it’s all been worth sharing.
Tommy’s charity is a great source of information and advice and if you need someone to talk to they are there. They have community groups and you can chat to other people going through the same experience so you can talk and not feel alone.
Let’s share our stories, support each other and make a difference. Let’s come together for change. #Miscourage