Mother’s Day is just over a week away, whilst this brings joy and presents to many mums across the country; I and many others share mixed emotions about the day.
Research estimates that one in six pregnancies will end in miscarriage. This alone is a very high number when you consider how many pregnancies there are. To add further sadness – approximately eleven babies are stillborn every day in the UK and there are also 60,000 premature births in the UK each year.
Tommy’s is a charity that finds research into baby loss and pregnancy problems. They are running a campaign to raise awareness that even if a baby is born sleeping or miscarried or born to soon, you are still a mum.
(Warning – contains images that may be upsetting)
I already had two healthy children but after meeting my (now ex) partner in 2009, I became pregnant late 2010. The pregnancy was not planned but we were both happy. I found out fairly early on, around 5/6 weeks.
A few weeks after finding out I noticed some blood in my pants, of course I panicked and straight to the hospital. Like many women so early on, I got told to go home and take it easy as there is nothing a hospital can do so early on. Luckily the blood stopped within a day or two and panic over; or so I thought.
My 12 week scan went okay, however days later I got a call to come in. My first thoughts were Down’s syndrome but no, I was very low risk. The risk was something else. They mentioned spina bifida and mentioned the baby having heart in the wrong place but another urgent scan ruled everything out so they put it down to a false reading.
At about 14 weeks the bleeding returned and much heavier than last time but no pain. I was sure I had lost the baby but a hospital scan showed a baby alive and kicking. The doctors mentioned possible early twin loss but seemed baffled.
I had on/off spotting for the next 6 weeks and then came my 20 week scan. Again the scan was fine and I was told my baby was a girl. They did not know why I kept bleeding. I had the scan on a Monday.
Four days later on the Friday I was sat watching television and just over 21 weeks. I felt a sharp pain in my stomach and what felt like a gush of blood. I ran to the toilet but no blood, it was clear. Yes this was amniotic fluid at 21 weeks. In other words my waters had broke.
I was in tears on the way to the hospital and a scan showed very little amniotic fluid around the baby. The nurses apologised sympathetically and a doctor told me I could “abort my feutus” which I thought was an extremely awful comment. This was not a fetus, she was my baby and no way was I voluntarily killing her. I was sent home to rest with antibiotics and constant monitoring.
The next 2 weeks consisted of bed rest and lots of bleeding and mild labour oain. It was awful not knowing and searching the internet for help or a Miracle prem baby story and praying mine would be too. Sadly this was not to be.
On the 4th April 2011 the bleeding and pain got incredibly worse. Hospital rushed me to a labour ward with a huge team of medical people on stand by. My 2 children had been C sections but there was no time and with her being so small it was easier to push.
Keira arrived at 3.30am weighing just 1lb 2oz she was tiny with reddish skin and a wisp of blonde hair. Her eyes were still fused shut as she was too young to open them but apart from that she was perfect in every way.
The lack of amniotic fluid along with her prematurity meant her tiny lungs were too underdeveloped. At one point it looked like she was improving but ten hours later she suffered a bleed and passed in my arms. It is the worst thing any parent should have to go through. I cannot explain the devastation it leaves when you lose a child.
Of course I held her, washed her, cuddled her in the hours after she passed. If I’m being honest a lot of it is a blur as my head was all over the place. Walking out of that hospital without her was something that words can describe – heartbreaking, brutal, empty, I felt totally lost. I cried for weeks, often alone as I thought everyone else had moved on and somehow forgot. I wasn’t just upset, I was angry that I couldn’t save her somehow and angry that the world and people kept going yet my world had stopped. I think it’s all part of the normal grieving process.
Despite tests I never got a reason why Keira came early. No abnormalities, no chromosome faults.
There’s not a day goes by where she isn’t in my thoughts. This April Keira would be six and instead of a kids party, I visit the cemetery which no parent should ever have to do. I still cry, I still get upset and even blame myself but I can now (sometimes) talk about her to other people and tell them that I don’t just have three children – I actually had five.
And yes that’s correct I have five. After Keira died I became pregnant again very very quick. Unfortunately at the 20 week scan, no heartbeat was detected. I had to yet again go through another labour this time knowing the baby would not be alive. I was told my baby was about 17 weeks when he/she died. They told me they could not tell if the baby was male or female but I always thought I was carrying a boy. My poor baby had a condition called a cystic hygroma and this was totally unrelated to Keira’s death just 6 months previous. The consultant called it “unfortunate bad luck” and told me there was no reason not to try again . No bad chromosomes from any of us etc.
In March 2012 after a missed period, yes the test said pregnant again. I panicked so much all the way through. I stood in the hospital literally screaming at the staff to give me extra scans and extra checks which they eventually agreed to. Apparently you have to lose 3 in a row before they normally do this which is a joke.
On October 5th 2012, 2 weeks early my little girl Izebella was born and she’s now four. It’s a shame she will neve meet the other babies but she does know about them. Many people refer to babies born after loss as “rainbow babies” and Izebella certainly is my bright shining rainbow.
I feel blessed to have three children alive and well but I am still a mum to the two that didn’t make it too.
Everyone who has been pregnant is still a mum, whether you have had a normal pregnancy, a perm birh. a rainbow baby, or an angel baby in heaven.
My daughter in NICU