Inside this issue:
Cuddle Cot Donation
Little Angel’s Knitting Group
SPRING’s 20th Anniversary
Inside this issue:
Cuddle Cot Donation
Little Angel’s Knitting Group
SPRING’s 20th Anniversary
Our story was never meant to happen. I was just about to get married and getting pregnant again was not on my to-do list. My son had just turned two and I was getting married in four weeks when I had a check- up for my coil. My doctor couldn’t find it and so I was sent for a scan. No coil was found, but a tiny bean was in its place.
My pregnancy was straight forward and went without a hitch, our baby boy was growing perfectly and I was booked for a home birth.
My waters broke on a Thursday evening at 38 weeks whilst I was in a supermarket, much to my extreme embarrassment, but I was also excited – it wouldn’t be long until I met my baby!
Everything was going well on the Friday; I had a few contractions through the night, but had managed to get some sleep and in the morning I waved my husband, Ben, off to work, took my son to nursery and settled in for a bit of nesting. My first labour had been 33 hours so I was well prepared for a slow and tedious labour.
By lunch time Ben had returned home and my contractions had got crazy strong very quickly, so we called my midwife to come and check me. She listened to William’s heart beat and all seemed well at 3cm dilated, so off for a nap with some paracetamol I went. Two hours later I woke up with the most excruciating contractions. I couldn’t stand up; I wanted to bear down so we called my midwife again. That was the moment that day becomes very grey in my head. I remember her telling me she couldn’t find a heartbeat and to lie on my left hand side. I remember another midwife arriving and then an ambulance team. I remember my husband running around trying to get my hospital bag ready thinking everything would still end well. But I knew. I tried to make him move, pushing my belly around crying silent tears as I realised he was gone.
In the ambulance, all the way to the hospital, the midwife held my hand with a sympathetic but knowing look in her eye. A scan confirmed that William had passed away in my tummy. My labour was drug filled and fast. I got to hold my gorgeous boy in my arms; he had his daddy’s nose and my eyes. It felt so strange to hold him, but I didn’t want to let go.
We requested a full post mortem and organised his funeral. I couldn’t bear to move anything in the house, the nappy changer or his nursery. I didn’t want to the world to forget about my baby boy. I couldn’t stop thinking about all the memories I didn’t have, all the ‘firsts’ William wouldn’t have. It was heart-breaking and I slipped into a very dark place. Nothing mattered anymore. What hadIdonethatwassobadthatIhadto suffer the loss of my baby boy? Could I have done something differently? Was it my fault? We received care from our bereavement support midwife who supported us through our grief and helped us to understand the different stages and gave advice as to how we could help each other. It was so valuable to have a ‘safe zone’ where we could talk without fear of offending or upsetting anyone. That honest time made all the difference to our grieving process, but it was still very hard.
My friends organised to take us on a holiday. It was the middle of summer and all I could do was lie in bed and cry. A holiday was just what I needed. It reminded me that although life for William had ended, the world was still turning and my son still needed his mummy.
It was on that holiday, three weeks after losing William that one glass of wine led to a few bottles and we fell pregnant. My doctor scalded us, understandably, we hadn’t yet had the results from the post mortem, my body hadn’t recovered and I was still grieving. Nevertheless we were overjoyed at the prospect of a new baby to fill the gaping hole in our hearts, but terrified – how would we survive if we lost another baby?
Four weeks later we went for our scan… another day that is very grey in my head. The sonographer scanned my belly, sweeping this way and that, silent and her mouth set in a grim line. Panic set in, my mouth went dry and tears pricked the backs of my eyes when she excused herself to go and get a senior member of staff. The consultant scanned me too, then paused and looked at us both, and an announced that we were expecting triplets! Our rainbow baby was three miracle rainbow babies! The relief was overwhelming, but the fear had just tripled. The consultant asked us about selective reduction. Such an alien question – I had just lost a baby and now he was asking me if I want to choose a baby to abort? No. No matter what the risks, that was out of the question.
We had the post mortem results back and we had lost our baby boy due to a Group B Streptococcus infection. Something totally unavoidable and even if we had been at hospital the odds are we still would have lost him.
My pregnancy was very straight forward, I got incredibly big and was monitored and tested every week and at 34 weeks, via c-section, I delivered three perfect baby girls all screaming in protest at being removed so early. Bethany was 4lb 8oz, Amelia was 4lb 2oz, and Rosanna was 4lb 9oz. The consultant who delivered them said they were very good weights for their gestation. It has been suggested by a few medical staff that the reason the girls grew so well was because my womb had already been stretched by William and was ready for them. I take comfort in that. I like the thought that the girls’ big brother led the way for them. They are now almost two years old and life is pretty crazy, but we talk about William all the time. I am a very proud mother of five children who I love dearly – one just happens to be in the stars looking after us all.
After beginning to think we were going to need help to conceive, finally after 12 months I fell pregnant naturally. My husband and I couldn’t have felt more delighted! Our 12 week scan was fine and we announced the news to all our family and friends.
When the date for our 20 week scan arrived, I was so excited about seeing our baby on the screen again, I’d never felt so happy. Little did I know we would be faced with the devastating news that a vital part of our baby’s brain was severely underdeveloped. At the time I really didn’t understand what was going on – it was too much to take in – surely everything would really be ok?
We were taken to a side room. I remember the box of tissues on the table. A nurse entered the room and said she was so sorry that we were there, and that she understood how devastated we must be. It wasn’t until that moment that I realised something really serious was wrong.
The cerebellum part of our baby’s brain (a part of the brain that basically tells your body to do everything), had not formed properly, which meant our little girl would be significantly disabled, mentally handicapped and would have no quality of life. We were left with the dreadful decision of continuing with our pregnancy and giving our baby this life, or ending the pregnancy.
After much discussion, we didn’t feel we could bear to watch our child live a life of suffering and also had to consider the effect it would have on the family and any possible future children, so sadly we made the difficult decision not to continue with our pregnancy. At this stage of pregnancy the safest way would be to deliver the baby by a normal induced labour. I gave birth to our stillborn daughter, Amy, in the SPRING suite at St. Mary’s Maternity Unit, Poole. The suite offered us a private room with living area which made this experience as comfortable and private as possible.
The support from all the staff was so much more than I could have imagined. Their gentle, understanding approach helped us get through this horrific experience – we could not thank them enough.
We miss our little angel so much, but are so delighted to say that 13 months later we welcomed a perfect little baby girl, Katherine, into the world, who has brought us so much happiness and helped us to move forward.
After the birth of our second daughter, I decided to set myself a challenge to do a sponsored charity run to help raise funds for SPRING and so I took part in the Bournemouth Marathon Festival 2014. I had never run like this before and I am happy to say I achieved 5k in 29 minutes and still go out running now.
Later that day, after a lazy day watching films, my waters broke. I was 17 weeks pregnant to the day.
After calling the hospital to explain what had happened, my husband Kevin and I headed to St Mary’s Maternity Hospital, Poole. When we arrived we were taken to a side room where we waited for a short while. I was then examined and we were told there and then that my cervix was opening and that it was likely we were losing our babies. All sorts of thoughts were going through our minds. Kev was there for me throughout. He was my rock and did not leave my side, yet there was nothing he could do for me. Of course, like me, he was heartbroken.
The staff at the hospital advised us we would have to wait and see what happens. We stayed in the SPRING suite which was lovely. It had a lounge area, bedroom and bathroom and was nice and private so our families could come in and see us.
We called our families to let them know what was happening. My mum, sister, and Kev’s mum came straight away. Kev and his mum went out for some fresh air and my mum and sister stayed with me, reassuring me that everything would be okay and that miracles can happen, but deep down we all knew.
I was hoping and praying everything would be ok. That entire night we didn’t get any sleep, just rest when we could, but mainly we watched television trying to think of anything else other than what was happening to us.
The next day Kev went home to get us a bag of things we would need during our time in hospital. Meanwhile, I had tea and toast in bed, followed by the urge to go to the toilet, and as I did I could feel something moving so I called for a nurse.
The nurse arrived and there she was – our beautiful little baby girl, so small she fitted in the size of my hand perfectly. She was so completely formed – all of her fingers, toes and features. She was so perfect and so pink.
On 2nd January 2013 at 10.25am Kayleigh Rose was born sleeping. The nurse wrapped her up and placed her in a moses basket. I sat quietly, just starring at her. She was just so perfect.
I called Kev and he was just on his way back to the hospital. He walked in and there we both were, his beautiful first child and I. I will always remember his face as he came in and sat down with us.
Our families came down shortly afterwards to be with us. Later that day we had a scan to check on our little boy. Everything was fine. His heartbeat and movement all seemed ok. As the day continued I became very unwell. I can vaguely remember nurses, doctors and consultants coming in to the room, talking to me about what was happening, but it was all too much to take in. Luckily I had Kev and my mum there to explain everything. I was really quite out of it.
We were moved to the High Dependency Unit where we had a discussion with the consultants. We were advised that as I was so poorly, it would not have been safe for me to continue with the pregnancy.
So there it began. For hours I was in labour and then at 03.08am on 3rd January 2013, Dylan Kevin was born sleeping. He was also tiny and pink and perfectly formed.
The midwife took Dylan away and soon returned with photographs and hand and foot prints of our little angels and constructed a wonderful little book for us to keep. She then brought in our perfect and precious little angels for us to spend some time with them.
A bit later we were taken back up to the SPRING suite so we could continue to spend time with our babies. There were wrapped in beautiful knitted pink and blue cocoons donated to the unit.
Over the next few days we stayed in the SPRING suite so I could be looked after medically. We had people coming in to give us support and advice and also had lovely family photographs taken for us to have as a keepsake. The hospital Chaplain also came to bless our babies.
Leaving the hospital without our babies was without question the worst experience of our lives, but we had each other and our families and friends that gave us great support going forward.
Kayleigh and Dylan were sent off for a post-mortem. Then, at the end of January, we had a funeral for our little angels. Our lives at this point were so empty. Our feelings were of loss and anger, and all the questioning – What if? Why had this happened to us?
Later that year we had appointments with consultants to go through all the reports and test results. They showed that I was ok and that there was nothing wrong with our babies. This was nice to know – it was just not their time to be on earth with us, but we will always have our babies looking over us and they will always be in our hearts and our thoughts. Kayleigh and Dylan will never be forgotten.
A year on and we bought them balloons for their birthdays which we released in their memories, with our families and puppy, Lucian. We will do this every year in remembrance.
A few days after their birthdays.on 6th January 2014, I did a pregnancy test and to my delight a positive result appeared! I ran down the stairs before Kev went off to work and presented him with it. We were buzzing with joy!
We told our family and friends and everyone was so happy and excited for us.
Throughout the pregnancy the consultants kept a close eye on us. We had regular scans and thankfully every time everything was fine –our baby was fine. We refrained from finding out the sex as we wanted to wait this time. It was obviously a worrying time, especially as the pregnancy progressed and we reached the 17th week, but that soon passed and everything was good.
At 41 weeks, on 19th September 2014 our perfect little man was born at 6.24pm weighing in at 7lbs 12oz. He was just so perfect and so incredibly precious. We had waited a long time for Leighton Dylan – our beautiful rainbow baby.
Seeing Kev hold our baby for the first time was the loveliest sight ever. Leaving the hospital was and coming home with him was the most fantastic feeling. We were on top of the world.
And so all the fun and games were to start, and we cherish very single moment with Leighton – even the crying in the small hours, and now we are looking forward to expanding our families with more babies.
Leighton really is a lucky boy. He has the best family and they adore and dote on him. Our friends love him too. Over the months he has been spoilt rotten with presents for his arrival, first Christmas and little gifts ‘just because’.
Leighton really is the best present that we could have ever wished for and he is all ours. As I write this he has just woken up and and given me the loveliest smile. He is now 5 months old and is a right little cracker with a great personality coming through. Our hearts, lives and house are now full of joy.
There is always hope.
Kayleigh, Dylan and all angel babies – always remembered, never forgotten xxx
At 27 weeks my partner Milan and I had everything we needed for our baby girl. Her wardrobe was full, her cot was built and now it was time to relax and enjoy the rest of my pregnancy. That week during my aqua-natal class I rubbed my bump and smiled, it suddenly felt so real. I would never be lonely again. My best friend was just waiting to meet me and I couldn’t be happier.
Over the next few days I noticed a reduction in movements. Luckily I had an independent midwife who I called and expressed my concerns to. She came over and listened in with the doppler and I was relieved to hear that familiar drum sound, like galloping horses, it was so fast.
However, my movements continued to decrease and a few days later I had felt none at all. Again I called my midwife and she promptly arrived with the doppler in hand. But this time… nothing. I looked over at my partner, desperately looking for some reassurance, but he looked just as nervous as I did. My midwife told us we would need to go to St. Mary’s Maternity Hospital, Poole for a scan and we left straight away. The whole journey there I tried to remain positive. I clung to the hope that a scan would reveal that she was in fact alive and that we would see our little monkey kicking about like we had previously. As I lay on the bed being scanned I remember saying hopefully, ‘I think I just felt a kick’ and looked around the room at my midwife and doctors, but no one made eye contact with me.
They all knew my baby girl had passed away. I caught a glimpse of her still silhouette on the monitor as the doctor explained to me that what I was actually feeling was my baby’s body shifting weight from side to side in what little fluid was left around her. They left us alone in the room and I sobbed. I howled in fact. ‘Why? Why? Why?’ was all I could say. I was given a tablet to soften my cervix and sent home. I was to return in 24 hours to begin the induction process. My family immediately arrived from the Midlands early the next day to show their support. My bump had already softened and I felt sick. That morning whilst picking my clothes, I grabbed the biggest sweatshirt I owned despite it being a swelteringly hot summer’s day. I’d loved showing off my growing stomach before, it was something I was so proud of, but not that day. That day I felt sadly ashamed of my body, of the lifeless bundle inside me. I went to the shop to get out of the house and bought some magazines and snacks to take with me to the hospital the next day. The lady behind the counter looked at my not very well hidden bump and smiled. ‘Make the most of reading these in peace while you still can’, she laughed. I smiled back, but inside I was screaming.
The next morning I got up, showered and dressed as normal and put my make-up on. I tried to act normal and brave. I sat at the kitchen table and forced some cereal down. Every spoonful stuck in my throat, tears rolled down my face and into the bowl. I was about to face the hardest day of my life. It was a nightmare I couldn’t wake up from. On the way to the hospital my partner made a detour and stopped at Mothercare. I sat in the car whilst he went in and bought the tiniest outfit he could find and a Sophie La Giraffe. To others this may seem ridiculous, but to me it touched my heart. A sentiment I will never forget.
We were lucky enough to be able to use the SPRING suite. It was comfortable, had a separate lounge area for my family to sit in and most importantly, it was away from the other mothers – the normal mothers with living, crying, breathing babies.
My midwife gave me my induction suppositories and I ate some lunch. The contractions started thick and fast and I promptly vomited up my lunch, partly due to the medication and partly due to fear. Luckily, I was given a drip which administered a small dose of morphine every five minutes. I let the morphine wash over me and felt relief. No more pain, no more fear, I even managed to laugh and joke with my mum and my sisters. But soon, the morphine started to wear off and I regained clarity. I knew it wasn’t going to be long until my baby arrived and I made it clear that I wanted privacy, quiet and calm. My family went back in to the adjoining room and I held my partner’s hand tight. My eyes didn’t leave his gaze until she was placed in my arms. ‘Can we call her Havanna?’ I asked whilst marvelling at how perfect she was. Somehow on July 12th 2013, I experienced the worst and the most beautiful day of my life, all in one.
Unfortunately my body wouldn’t birth the placenta and I was taken down to theatre and put under anaesthetic whilst the doctors removed it. I was grateful for the escape that the deep sleep provided me with. When I woke up Havanna was placed once again in my arms. She had been wrapped up and a pink knitted hat had been placed on her head. In a dreamy haze I leant forward and kissed her forehead. It was cold and so soft. I’ll always remember that touch on my lips. Both my partner and I were able to stay in the SPRING suite that night. I was so grateful that I didn’t have to be alone. The next day we were given a memory card with tiny hand and footprints in and we had to sign a form to say that we were happy for Havanna to undergo a post-mortem. We left the hospital childless parents.
The days that followed were hard. We immersed ourselves in arranging Havanna’s funeral. I cancelled my antenatal classes, and tried to go on as normal. Everyone around me appeared to be having healthy babies. Pictures of the new royal baby were everywhere I looked. I was angry. So angry! Why me? Some days I felt as though I would drive my self crazy questioning why. At night I replayed Havanna’s birth over and over until the sleeping tablets finally kicked in and I could rest, only to wake up and realise it was all still real.
Three months later we needed a change of scenery and decided to book a holiday to Japan. We wanted to be as far away from reality and normality as possible and Japan seemed like the perfect destination! The day before we left we scattered Havanna’s ashes over Hengistbury Head, Bournemouth. It was a beautiful sunset and the sea was calm. We placed pink roses next to her ashes and I prayed for another chance – a chance to be happy and to love another child. What I didn’t realise was that our chance would come a lot sooner than expected and whilst enjoying our adventures in Japan, we conceived again.
Frightened, but excited, I started the journey of pregnancy for the second time. It was bittersweet. I still grieved the baby that I’d lost but felt renewed hope for the baby that was growing inside of me. We had the same midwife again, which was hugely comforting. I was offered extra scans and tests for peace of mind. Havanna’s post-mortem results had confirmed that there was nothing wrong with me or with her and that it had just been ‘one of those things’ that nature can cruelly throw at you. At our twelve week scan we were given the due date of our second baby, July 11th, the day before Havanna’s birthday. I saw this as a good luck omen, things had to be better this time and strangely I felt calm.
On July 2nd at 6.30pm my waters broke. I called my partner, my mum and my midwife and then took a long hot shower. My contractions had already started, but I went in to my bedroom and took out Havanna’s memory chest. I sat and quietly looked through everything in there – every photo, card, poem and keepsake. For that short while, I wanted to think only about Havanna, for this was my second chance and I owed it all to her.
At 10.08pm that evening, at St. Mary’s Maternity Hospital, Poole, baby Sofia was born. The labour was intense but perfect. Everything went to plan and I stared down lovingly at our second child. She looked like her sister. And thanks to Havanna I like to think that I’m just that little more grateful for Sofia, that I hold her that little bit tighter and love her that little bit harder.
Thinking about trying again was a very hard decision.
Part of me wanted to have twins again – my husband and I sadly lost our twin girls Ivy and Ava to TTTS (Twin to Twin Transfusion Syndrome) on 7th July 2013 at 22 weeks. I felt so cheated that the girls were taken away from us, but a twin pregnancy would cause enormous stress. We knew we were more likely to have a singleton and we knew that it would not present the same issues and complications that we faced with Ivy and Ava. But there was still that chance of having twins again…
In November 2013, four months after losing the twins we found out we were pregnant. Both of us had mixed emotions, excitement shadowed by anxiety. We went for an early scan at eight weeks to check everything was ok and to check if it was twins again. We nervously waited to be called, looked at the scan and there was just one little baby there. I asked the sonographer to check several times – there was definitely only one baby!
Our date of conception turned out to be 8th November which was the twins due date! That made us feel the girls were with us and playing a part in their new little brother or sister’s safe entry to the world. At the scan the baby looked like a snowman, so we named the baby ‘Frosty’. We had a few extra scans and saw the consultant a couple of times to check that everything was ok. We knew the TTTS was never going to happen in a singleton pregnancy, but keeping calm and knowing everything would be ok was not easy after all we’d been through previously.
Everyone who knew we were expecting was hugely supportive, but we didn’t tell too many people, not because we wanted to hide it, but it was just easier for us to get through the pregnancy without people asking us how we were all the time. Every day was a step closer to the due date and was a day closer to hoping everything would be ok, and that our healthy baby would come into the world. People kept telling us everything would be ok, but until this precious one was safe in our arms we couldn’t believe it.
We were both convinced ‘Frosty’ was a boy. We chose not to find out during a scan, and everyone around us also thought we were having a boy. Maybe we thought this way to ease the stress, as knowing we were expecting a girl would have been more worrying having already lost Ivy and Ava. No logic to our thoughts!
The SPRING counselling sessions throughout my pregnancy really helped to keep me sane and our friends and family were amazing.
At 34 weeks I didn’t feel the baby move for 12 hours and I panicked. We went to ANDA who saw us straight away, knowing our history. They kept us in for a few hours to monitor us and carry out some tests. I started having a few contractions, but they passed after a few hours as I calmed down and we eventually went home. At least we could say we’d had a test run to the hospital.
The due date came and went. Three days later we had just gone to bed when my waters broke at 10:45pm. By 11:15pm I started to have contractions pretty close together and they were really quite intense. After 30 minutes, my husband Dan rang St. Mary’s Maternity Unit, Poole and explained our history. We then went to the hospital to be examined, but were told to expect to be sent home again. I was 3cm dilated.
30 minutes later I was 6cm dilated, pretty quick going! However, alongside this, my blood pressure went up too high. They decided to transfer me to the delivery suite to monitor myself and ‘Frosty’ a little closer. I had to have a monitor strapped round my middle, a blood pressure cuff around my arm and some tablets for my blood pressure. This little one was on their way and they wanted out quick!
At 2:16am the following morning our beautiful baby was born weighing 7lb 8oz. When she was held up to us, Dan and I were both so shocked to see a gorgeous little girl in front of our eyes. We were so overwhelmed with love and relief that she was safe and well. The three hour labour was frighteningly fast, but it was also a relief that she came so quick having laboured with the twins, knowing it wasn’t going to be a good outcome. Our beautiful baby girl…we just couldn’t get enough cuddles!
We often lie awake at night watching her sleep, seeing her breathe and staring at her precious tiny fingers and toes. We are so very grateful for our beautiful rainbow baby, Nora Murray, born 18th August 2014 – a beautiful little sister to our much loved and missed Ivy and Ava.
Four months down the line and Christmas was an exciting time with little Nora around. She was well and truly spoilt by everyone – not that she knew anything about it! Anytime is hard without the twins, but Christmas seems harder as we think of Ivy and Ava who can’t be with us. We lit our lanterns and hung their baubles on the tree so they were a part of it all.
We will never forget our beautiful girls and they will never be replaced. When Nora grows up we will tell her all about her big sisters. We are thankful, through all the sorrow, to have our beautiful, precious rainbow baby in our lives.