Baby Athena

Every morning I wake up and can’t wait to give my rainbow baby lots of cuddles and kisses, but my life has not always been so full of joy.

During February 2011 my partner Daryl and I found out we were going to have our second child. We were looking forward to finding out the sex because we already had a girl and were excited to think it might be a boy.

Before I knew where I was, my 20 week scan had arrived and Daryl and I were so happy to find out we were expecting a baby boy. We were so happy. Daryl had a huge smile on his face as he really wanted a son. I was over the moon also. We were going to have a girl and a boy. My daughter was five years old and very excited at the prospect of being a big sister.

My pregnancy was going well. I was told he was a big baby and towards the end of the pregnancy had extra growth scans. He was getting bigger but I didn’t have gestational diabetes.

My due date arrived and nothing happened. More days passed and still no baby. My midwife talked of induction but on 16th November my contractions started.

I had two birthing partners, Daryl and his mum Jane. My labour did not go well and I had to have my waters broke to help the contractions. Eventually I was told to push and it was then everything started to go really wrong. When I was pushing, my son’s head had trouble coming down the birth canal. Eventually his head was out, but his shoulders got very stuck. I was taken into theatre and put to sleep so they could get him out.

At 6.25am on 17th November, my beautiful boy Bradley Daryl Elliott was born weighing 10lb 11oz. He was taken to NICU and put on a life support machine. He was badly brain damaged and couldn’t breathe for himself. The doctors tried to find some brain activity, but were unsuccessful. My baby boy had already been taken from me.

I then received the worst news I will ever hear. There was nothing they could do. Bradley fell asleep and flew away. Before he went we had lots of cuddles in the SPRING suite.

After Bradley’s funeral I was offered support from SPRING and received help and understanding from Gena Evans, Bereavement Support Co-ordinator. I spoke to Gena about the possibility of having another baby but I was very anxious and not sure I could handle it. After weeks of thinking it over Daryl and I agreed that if it happened it was meant to be.

In April 2012 I discovered I was pregnant with our third child. Emotions were a mixture of happiness, fear, anxiety and joy. I was incredibly scared of what might happen. I had been having counselling with SPRING, so I was able to talk about my feelings and worries with Fiona.

At 20 weeks we found out we were expecting a little girl. My daughter was so happy that she was going to have a little sister. Although Daryl had again hoped for a boy, he was very much looking forward to meeting our ‘rainbow baby’.

During my pregnancy I had lots of scans to monitor her growth and for my own peace of mind. When I was 28 weeks I had a scan and they discovered my water levels had dropped so much they had to give me steroid injections and keep me in overnight to monitor the baby.

It was really stressful and I worried so much that something bad was going to happen. I was then told I had Group B Strep. It felt like everything was going wrong again.

Towards the end of my pregnancy I got very anxious and was so worried about giving birth. In this pregnancy I had the same midwife all the way through. She was great and gave me lots of reassurance. The support I received from Gena, Fiona and my midwife, Faye was amazing and they all looked forward to meeting my little rainbow too. Due to the complications I had with Bradley, I was booked in for a c-section and my consultant, Dr Pann, was going to be delivering my baby girl.

The date for my c-section arrived and I was both excited and nervous. We arrived at the doors to the delivery suite where Gena and Faye were waiting for us. We were so lucky to have Gena and Faye with us for support.

At 9.21am on the 21st December 2012 I gave birth to our rainbow baby Athena Felicity Elliott. She weighed 8lb 5oz. I was 38 weeks and 3 days. She looked so much like Bradley.

We are so happy to have our rainbow baby here safe and sound, but it was a long and difficult pregnancy. Even though we have our beautiful rainbow there will always be a big hole in our lives and nothing will ever fill it. Bradley is always with us and will never be forgotten.

Thank you very much to Gena, Fiona, Faye and Dr Pann for their amazing support during my pregnancy. Now we have a star in the sky and a rainbow in our arms.