Danielle G’s Story

No words can describe the feeling you have when you go from complete joy to complete heartache all in the space of a couple of hours, it changes you. The grief that comes with loosing a baby……..I still can’t put into words exactly how I feel. There have been so many emotions I have experienced since our first loss in 2016, but a few that come to mind would be numbness, broken hearted, anger, jealousy, bitterness and a complete failure. 

Never in a million years did I ever think my journey to Motherhood would be filled with so much grief, loss and uncertainty. The last 9 years my Husband Toby and I have dealt with infertility and recurrent pregnancy loss, however this was not the start of my journey. Before I met Toby, I was told I had early stages of Cervical Cancer which was a huge shock. In 2012, I was diagnosed with PCOS after many years of trying to conceive in my previous marriage. In 2014, I was diagnosed with Endometriosis and in 2022, after our most recent loss, I was diagnosed with Adenomyosis. Having one of these conditions can make it incredibly hard to fall pregnant but I had the Trifecta which made our journey to having children almost impossible. I was basically told that I wouldn’t be able to have children which was devastating because ever since I was a little girl I’ve wanted to be a Mum. To think I wanted six children but over the years my hopes diminished and it got to the point where I would be grateful to just have one child.

Toby and I were married in 2014 and by October 2015 nothing had happened so we started making enquires to see a fertility specialist. From the moment we were married we wanted to have a child. We’d spoken about it leading up to the big day and we were both on the same page about having kids. Not in my entire life did I ever think we would struggle with infertility. The road was hard but it was nothing compared to what we were going to endure. In December 2015 we had our first IVF appointment. For 6 months I went through countless blood tests, ultrasounds, tablets and a 3hr round trip to get to the IVF clinic. This started to take a toll on our relationship and we both knew what our next step needed to be. We had been putting IVF off because I didn’t particularly want to pump my body full of all the different medications, but the main thing was I was petrified of the needles. As scary as IVF sounded we decided to proceed because we desperately wanted to have a child and this was our only chance. Through the tears and the panic attacks I knew we could do this. 

On the 15th of August 2016, right before we were due to start our first round of IVF, I decided to take a pregnancy test and much to my amazement it was POSITIVE. My heart stopped and I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. Everything I had ever wanted was right there staring me in the face. So I took another test just to be sure and sure enough it was still positive. After almost 3 years trying to conceive, being told we may never have children, to being at the point of beginning our first IVF cycle, we had fallen pregnant naturally. We were ecstatic, elated, never been happier in our lives because our dream was finally coming true. It was confirmed with a blood test that we were roughly 5 weeks along. At 6 weeks 4 days I was sent for an early ultrasound due to my health history. As I was eagerly and excitedly awaiting, praying I would see our baby the screen showed an empty gestational sac. I was told to try and not stress as it could just be too early but to come back in 2 weeks. On the 8th of September at 8 weeks 4 days it was confirmed that the pregnancy wasn’t viable. I thought my divorce was hard, that was nothing compared to what I felt in that ultrasound room. I literally felt my heart shatter into pieces and I couldn’t control the tears. How does this happen? Complete joy to complete heartache in the space of 15 minutes. 

We were devastated but I didn’t want to let go. I started researching and finding hope stories of women who had been in a similar situation and that maybe, just maybe they had given us a misdiagnosis. My obstetrician wanted to book me in for surgery then and there but because I hadn’t had any symptoms I wanted to wait things out. I had hope that we were still pregnant and didn’t want to give up on our baby. He agreed to let me go another 2 weeks before making a decision. At 10 weeks 4 days, after gaining back all the hope I knew in myself that we had lost our baby and sure enough it was confirmed by ultrasound. Again the heartache and devastation resurfaced as we finally accepted that our baby was gone. 

Due to still having no symptoms they put it down to a missed miscarriage. I chose to have a D&C as I didn’t want to go through the pain and the hours/days that would come if I just took some tablets. What they didn’t tell me was that the tablets I still had to take would cause me to go into early labour. By the time I was taken in for my surgery I was crying and could barely move and by this time I had been waiting for 3hrs. Two of those were unbearable with contractions and no pain relief.

On Tuesday 27th September everything came crashing down. It was the day that stopped and we were definitely no longer pregnant. The thing that made it so much harder that day was going through the pain. In labour you go through that pain but it’s worth it and at the end you get to hold your beautiful newborn but going through that pain and walking out with empty arms I can’t even begin to explain how incredibly painful that is. 

The days that followed were extremely difficult. I suffered multiple panic attacks on a daily basis. When Toby went back to work I didn’t think it would affect me but I couldn’t stop the sheer terror and panic that I felt thinking I was going to loose him in an accident. Physically trying to get myself back to work was a struggle, due to working at a school, I felt sick to the stomach at the thought of going back. However the hardest thing was the pain that came everytime I realised I would never get to hold my baby. That I would never see Toby hold his son or daughter. That we would never experience our baby’s first cry or first smile. We would never hear our child say Mummy or Daddy and we would never be able to comfort our baby when they were upset or sing them lullabys. I only got to carry our baby for 8 weeks, but it was the best 8 weeks of my life. As it was too early to find out the gender we decided on a gender neutral name, Brooklyn Ryder, but Toby and I both felt that Brooklyn was a little girl. 

The days, weeks, months and years that followed were tough. I so desperately wanted to be pregnant but was also so scared that we would go through another loss. Four years went by, four long years passed waiting, hoping and praying and in 2020 we made the decision to proceed with IVF and then COVID hit. Restrictions were put into place and we weren’t able to proceed at that time. Thankfully we only had to wait 2 months before those restrictions were lifted, but after waiting 4 years to take that step, it felt like a lifetime waiting again. 

We were one of the lucky ones that fell pregnant on our first round of IVF and felt incredibly blessed but also incredibly cautious. At 8 weeks we heard the most beautiful sound, a heartbeat! We were so happy but sadly by 12 weeks that joy had turned to grief again when the Doctor said “I’m sorry but there’s no heartbeat”. We were told that our baby had stopped growing at 8 weeks 4 days which meant 4 weeks had gone by and my body hadn’t realised that our baby had died……we’d just experienced another missed miscarriage. Due to COVID I was refused a D&C which meant I had to wait it out. I was given tablets to start the process which ended up being an incredibly traumatic experience. I ended up with PTSD and it was then I decided I couldn’t go through something like that again. It made me second guess ever wanting to try again for a baby. Again it was too early to know the gender but we felt this little one was a boy and named him Noah Phoenix.

Two years passed and that yearning to be a Mum came back but I was terrified of going through another loss. We decided if we were to proceed with another round of IVF we would have our Embryos PGT tested because we had no answers as to why we had gone through two missed miscarriages. Our second round of IVF resulted in 0 Embryos being fertilised which brought about it’s own grief. By this time we had spent a lot of money for a ‘chance’ at having a baby with nothing to show for it. We decided we would give IVF one more go which resulted in 2 fertilised Embryos that could be PGT tested and then frozen. One of our Embryos came back genetically normal and the other came back genetically abnormal. On the 20th March 2023 we did our first and only FET (Frozen Embryo Transfer) and then began the wait to see if it had taken. So much was riding on this little Embryo because if it didn’t take that would be the end of my journey to becoming a Mum and that terrified me.

I’m very pleased to say that our little Embryo survived the Ice Age and on the 31st March 2023 we found out that we were in fact pregnant with our Double Rainbow. We were ecstatic but again we knew the harsh reality of what could happen. My pregnancy was filled with severe anxiety, scares and more injections due to being diagnosed with Gestational Diabetes at 15 weeks. We ended up having weekly reassurance scans up until 14 weeks, which gave some comfort, however as soon as I left the ultrasound the fear of losing our baby would return. At 13 weeks we found out that we were having a little boy which was then again confirmed at 23 weeks. Complications from a previous surgery meant my only option to deliver was a scheduled c-section which was hard to hear and brought about all different emotions but all that mattered was keeping us safe. On the 22nd November 2023, at 10:01am, our precious little boy, our Son Lucas Edward John was born at 38 weeks. We chose the name Lucas because it means “Bringer of Light” and we knew that after everything we had been through to get to this point, that’s exactly what he would do and was doing. 

After Lucas was born I read up on his Embryo grading information. What I didn’t realise before then was that it was considered a “Poor Grade” Embryo with only a 33.3% pregnancy rate and a 25% live birth rate meaning our little boy really is a miracle. Pregnancy after loss is hard and it’s one of the hardest things I’ve been through but I would do it all again to get our little boy. Having now been diagnosed with Postnatal Depression and Anxiety some days are really tough. I will never understand why we had to go through the agony of losing two babies, and Lucas isn’t a replacement, but I can tell you that everyday my heart feels a little less heavy and that’s because of him.  

Danielle wears the rainbow skirt. She holds her newborn baby close to her chest.

Danielle wears the rainbow skirt. She sits on the ground and holds her rainbow baby. Two brown teddy bears sit on the skirt in front of her.

Danielle sits on the rainbow skirt holding her newborn baby.

Danielle wears the rainbow skirt. She stands on the green grass holding two brown teddy bears. There are green trees in the background.

Danielle's newborn rainbow baby lays on top of the rainbow skirt.

Danielle wears the rainbow skirt. She sits on the ground holding her newborn rainbow baby boy.

Danielle wears the rainbow skirt and sits on the ground holding her baby boy. The skirt is spread out around her.

Daniells's rainbow baby lays on top of the rainbow skirt as she sits next to him.

Danielle's rainbow baby boy lays on top of the rainbow skirt. A sign next to him reads "worth the wait".

Danielle sits on the rainbow skirt and holds her rainbow baby boy.

Photos taken by Valentine Rose.

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