Daniel (my husband) and I have been together since we were 17 – high school sweethearts. We’ve been through all the major life changes together – different schools, living apart, growing into young adults, living together, moving away from family, new jobs, buying a dog, a house, marriage, deaths of family members – but losing our babies has to be the hardest experience.
We got married in 2017 and knew we wanted to start trying as soon as we could so I came off all my contraception on our wedding day. Much to my delight we fell pregnant with my first baby after my first cycle. I felt extremely lucky as I had heard stories that it could take months for your body to reset after being on contraception for a long time. I downloaded every app going and tracked the size of my little one. At 6 weeks she was the size of a little lentil – and that nickname just stuck. She was due on the 18th March 2018. Apart from my breast being sore I didn’t have any symptoms and thought that I was just lucky. I really enjoyed being pregnant, knowing that something so loved was growing inside. I was anxious but I didn’t know any different and thought if there was no bleeding or cramping all would be fine and we’d see her at 12 weeks.
11 and a half weeks pregnant and a quiet day at work, I started to spot… I completely broke down to my boss who didn’t even know I was pregnant at this point. She was fantastic and took me straight to the emergency room. Daniel was an hour away and my parents about 45 mins so he drove down with our dog and met me at the hospital. When they finally did the scan, they told me the baby was measuring small and that my dates might have been wrong. I told them they weren’t but they insisted that due to my contraception and the fact I had no period in between I could be. They said they’d see me again in a week to measure again.
That week was the worst week of my life. Waiting and waiting ….knowing in my heart that my baby had died, my little lentil wasn’t there anymore. Perhaps they gave me a glimmer of hope? But deep down I knew the result. After the week had passed, the scan revealed that lentil hadn’t grown anymore and that it was a missed miscarriage. I had never heard of a MMC before and was shocked. They told me the different options I had but I didn’t think I could wait any longer as mentally I wasn’t strong enough – so I opted for a D&C.
After I stopped bleeding, Daniel and I felt ready to try again – desperate to start our family. Much to our surprise we fell pregnant instantly, without a period in between! How extremely lucky were we – she was due on the 23.06.2018. But what followed mentally and physically was extremely hard. I would check myself every time I went to the toilet. I would freak out every time I had a twinge or a slight cramp. Time was going so slowly.
At 7 weeks, I started to bleed. Not lightly – heavily and I thought, that’s it, it’s happening again. I’ve lost my beautiful rainbow baby. We went to a&e to get a scan to confirm that my baby was no longer with us. The bleeding was heavy and I didn’t think anything could survive that amount of blood. After an agonising 2 hour wait, we had our scan. We heard the words, “here they are – do you want to hear the heartbeat?”
I have never felt such relief. I bawled my eyes out. It was truly the best sound I had ever heard in life. She was still there. They said they could see a bleed but she was still there and to wait for a scan in 2 weeks’ time at the EPU.
Further along in my pregnancy an ultra-scan technician explained that I had an obvious amniotic band inside my womb. He was very dismissive of this and said it was not concerning. When I arrived home, I started to research into what this syndrome was and the consequences for my unborn baby. I wasn’t happy with it simply being dismissed as there can be quite severe consequences of a amniotic band.
We managed to get a consultant to see us. The scan was long and thorough. He revealed something that I didn’t think we’d hear. “ there isn’t anything to worry about, you were having twins but that sac is now empty. Your womb is in half which is what the band is”
I was shocked and I explained to him I had a massive bleed early on in the pregnancy. He said it was highly likely that we miscarried that baby at 7 weeks and didn’t realise. I didn’t know how to feel…. Extremely grateful to still have my rainbow and that she was safe, but to be told that we had lost another baby was heart-breaking. I felt numb. An identical twin pregnancy. It took me a long time to come to terms with the fact that I now have two babies that had lost but massive guilt at the relief I still had one
Isabelle Bow (named after rainbow as she was known during my pregnancy) was born on the 23.6.2018 weighing 7lbs15oz. She was perfect and we were beyond grateful. The labour was pretty straight forward and no complications. She was a very easy baby, hardly cried, slept well. The new baby bubble is the best.
We knew we wanted to have our children close together so they could grow up a similar age. We agreed that we wanted to start trying when Isabelle was 6 months. We didn’t think we would land pregnant again so soon, but the first month off contraceptives we were pregnant again.
I felt more positive this time, I tried my best not to overthink – I have one healthy baby, it won’t happen again. He was due on the 28.09.2019. The first few weeks were okay, we had planned to go on our first family holiday to Florida so we jetted off. I was tired and had some morning sickness but overall, the holiday was bliss. However, upon returning home, one evening I began to spot. I literally lost it, had a mental breakdown over this one speck of blood. I had to have a scan, so I immediately booked in for a private one.
We arrived and they found a heartbeat. There he was. However, they said his heartbeat is slower than expected and that maybe I had my dates wrong. I didn’t. I knew this wasn’t going to end well, I had a gut feeling. The next day, I had planned to see some friends. I decided I couldn’t sit at home just waiting for something to happen, so I went out. During a lunch with my girls and Isabelle, I felt extreme cramping so I went to the toilet. There on my pad was my little boy. Clear as could be in his little sack. My world came crashing down again.
So many questions go through your mind, why does this keep happening to me? What am I doing wrong? Can I go through this again mentally and physically?
I was desperate for Isabelle to have a sibling though as I have two brothers who I am close to. So again, we tried straight away and ended up pregnant. I am extremely lucky to be able to conceive so quickly, it was just understanding why they weren’t able to stay safe inside me that was the problem. I had done a lot of research into early miscarriage by this point and I knew I had to act quickly if I was to have a shot of my baby sticking. I ended up going privately to a gynaecologist who specialised in early and recurrent miscarriage. She scanned me and told me to take progesterone suppositories for the first 16 weeks and to take a daily aspirin as that had proven to really increase the chances.
Week after week went by and no bleeding or spotting. No cramps and minimal pregnancy symptoms. At 9 weeks I couldn’t wait any longer and we got a scan. There he was, my perfect little baby. Growing well with a strong heartbeat. The feeling of hearing your baby’s heartbeat after multiple losses is something I’ll never get over. Had the progesterone helped to keep him there? We won’t fully ever know but I believe that it definitely helped.
Although I was extremely grateful that he was growing well I really really struggled mentally to get attached. I was so terrified that it would happen again I couldn’t fully acknowledge the pregnancy for 5 months. I ended up in counselling to help me understand and process what had happened over the past 2 years. So much had happened in such a short period of time, it wasn’t surprising that I was going to have some effects from it.
As the months went on and I continued to grow, I started to believed he would stay but I wouldn’t be fully content until he was out (or well I thought anyway). The pregnancy wasn’t easy and I had severe SPD and ended up on crutches. I was ready for him to arrive!
On the 19.12.2019 Harvey Daniel arrived weighing a healthy 7lb12oz. The best Christmas present we could ever have wished for.
Having living children after loss is the greatest gift. I wouldn’t say mentally it is an easy ride- the constant worry about them dying, getting hurt or something happening, to this day still rears it’s head on a daily occurrence nearly 4 years on after having Isabelle. I still have postpartum anxiety and I’m working on it. I would say it gets less hard the older they get… not easier. However, I try and enjoy each day with my children, I look forward to all the adventures and experiences we are having and will have together as a family. We celebrate my babies that aren’t here with us on their due dates, we have trees in the garden and every year their nicknames are hung on our Christmas tree. I also wear three rings with their birth stones on my finger everyday as I will carry them with me throughout my life.
I get asked a lot will we have another ? And I go from yes to no to yes to no? I don’t think I can mentally or physically put myself through another loss. But I never say never as my heart is big and our home is full of love.
Find out more about Project Finding Your Rainbow.
Pin and help spread the project!