My name is Charlie and I live in Buckinghamshire, England and have been with my husband for 15 years. We were married in 2018 and started trying for a family straight after the wedding. It took us 19 months to fall pregnant and we were over the moon. I didn’t think anything would go wrong; I was so excited to meet our baby.
Everything seemed to be normal apart from horrible ‘morning’ sickness that lasted all day all the way through the pregnancy. I went to our 20 week scan alone as COVID meant I wasn’t allowed anyone with me. They couldn’t get the measurements they needed so I had another scan and was then sent to a specialist. At 23 weeks I met with the specialist, and she confirmed that our baby (Samuel) had Fetal Ventriculomegaly (excess fluid on the brain that doesn’t drain properly) and part of his brain hadn’t formed properly. Going to the appointments alone made things even harder as I had to tell my husband the news after. We were able to see a second specialist together for a second opinion and he confirmed the diagnosis. Our world fell apart.
The specialists told us that if we continued with the pregnancy, Samuel could have brain damage, not survive birth or have other complications at birth. We made the decision to terminate the pregnancy for medical reasons, it wasn’t an easy decision as we have wanted a baby for years, but we couldn’t bring a baby into this world just for them to suffer and be in and out of hospital and possibly not survive. I’d rather be in pain than for Samuel to feel even a second of pain.
We went into hospital to have the procedure to start labor on Monday 23 November 2020. I was admitted on Tuesday as I had light contractions. We were given a private room in the hospital but we could still hear the other pregnant women giving birth to healthy babies while we were there and it was heart-breaking. I was in hospital for a few nights, my waters broke on the Wednesday morning but I didn’t have Samuel until early Friday 27 November. I knew we wouldn’t hear him cry when he came into this world but the silence broke me. I’ve never heard myself cry like that before, it was almost primal.
Samuel was perfect in our eyes; he was so long and had huge feet which surprised us as we are both relatively short. He had my husband’s nose and my eyes. We were able to spend time with him in the hospital and then later at the funeral home and this calmed me so much.
The next few months were a blur of tears and therapy and trying to understand why this happened to us and why this has to happen to anyone. I always thought you got pregnant, you had a baby. I never thought of the thousands of bad things that could happen.
6 months later we found out we were pregnant again. This journey has been totally different, my anxiety levels have been so high and I don’t think I will believe it until we have a healthy baby in our arms. I’m 16 weeks pregnant and have gestational diabetes which is caused by the hormones in the placenta. It’s an additional risk to the pregnancy so we are having extra scans but it’s still a scary journey. We are hoping to welcome our second child into this world in February.
Thank you for reading my story.
Photos taken by Leslie Pitt.
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