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.