Category Archives: My journey

A constant reminder

I have recently decided to embark on a new business venture and have joined a children’s photography franchise.  I was excitedly discussing this with a group of friends and family last week and mentioned that I would love to be able to “donate” one of my products to a recently bereaved parent each month.  It would involve having to go to the hospital and taking hand and foot print impressions of the baby and taking some photos as a keepsake.  My brothers girlfriend asked how I would deal with seeing a “sleeping” baby.  Would it not just remind me of my losses?

Never having met my angels I wonder on a daily basis what they would have looked like, what colour eyes they would have had, what kind of personality, what colour hair… Everything reminds me of them.  Losing a baby isn’t something you ever “get over”.  You learn to live with it, but, for me at least, it isn’t something that goes away. I don’t brood on it.  I don’t have an “unhealthy” attitude towards my losses, but I do think about it.  I wear a necklace constantly of a silver bean to symbolise my babies. I must touch it 100 times a day and each time I am reminded of them.

The truth is that it never even occurred to me that going to a hospital to offer this service to bereaved parents would be a problem for me.  It would be moving, emotional, desperately sad, but something that I could handle and something I feel I want to do.  I want to offer something to comfort those parents.  Sure, it would make me think of the babies I lost, but I do that daily anyway, so it wouldn’t be a surprise to me to have a thought about them.  And anyway, it wouldn’t be about me.  It would be about the poor inconsolable parents who will never get to hear their baby cry, never watch them grow, never know what colour hair they would have had. It would be about offering them something to cherish in memory of the baby they have just lost.

I think people who haven’t lost a baby assume that eventually you get over it and don’t want to be reminded of the fact. For some parents that may be true.  We all deal with grief and bereavement in different ways.  For me though, to help bereaved parents, to campaign for Baby Loss charities and to think of my angels daily is a way to give meaning to the losses.  It’s the only way I can validate their existence and make sure that they were real.

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27 x 3

Every year my husband and I spend a couple of weeks at the end of June in France.  The 27th June 2009 was the last day of our holiday.  I was 7 weeks pregnant, but on our last morning, as we prepared to drive 12 hours across France, I started to bleed.  It was the longest journey of my life and every moment I knew that I was losing another baby.

Last year, on the 27th June, we were, again, at the end of our holiday and preparing to drive across France.  This time I was 10 weeks pregnant and I had been bleeding lightly for the whole time.  I was terrified of history repeating itself and had such a bad feeling.  As we drove to Calais I just kept thinking to myself “you’re ok”.  Thankfully the baby was ok and my pregnancy progressed successfully.

This year, on the 27th June, we were preparing to leave for France.  I’m not pregnant this year, but I do have my beautiful baby girl in tow! It is amazing thinking back over the last 2 years what a journey we have been on.  I’m so happy that we have a happy ending. I know that there are couple out there who have been through so much more and suffered for longer with fertility issues and losses.  I hope that our story will be an inspiration to those out there in the similar situation. Don’t lose hope, it will happen.

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A letter to Lily Allen

Last night my husband and I watched Riches to Rags.  The programme was about Lily Allen and her sister setting up their business, but during the programme Lily lost her baby.  Watching the pain and devastation poor Lily went through, I just wanted to make things different for her.  After the programme ended I couldn’t sleep.  I just wanted to lie and watch my baby sleep.  My baby, who is the same age that Lily’s baby should be.  I also felt compelled to write this

Dear Lily,

I am so so sorry for your losses.  To miscarry once in early pregnancy is devastating and something I am sadly no stranger to.  But I cannot imagine the pain and devastation of losing a baby at 6 months pregnancy.

It annoyed me that the press referred to your recent loss as a miscarriage.  No matter how hard it is to read or write they should have said that your baby was sadly stillborn.  He was a perfect little being, born in to this world too soon.  He had a name and a face, something the term miscarriage somehow diminishes.

There are so many milestones in pregnancy, especially if you have suffered losses.  First there is the 12 week milestone then the 20 week… by the time you get in to the third trimester you feel that you are on the home stretch and actually allow yourself to start relaxing in to the idea that you are going to be a mother.  You don’t think that things can go wrong once you’ve got so far on.  I got pregnant around the same time as you.  My heart broke for you when I read your sad news.  It made me appreciate so much more every day that my pregnancy progressed.  I so wish that things had been different for you.

Watching you on Riches to Rags last night my heart broke again.  No one should ever have to go through what you did and to have to do it so publicly must have made it even harder.  You looked so vunerable and I just wanted to reach out to you.  I want to tell you that it’s ok to not be ok.  To tell you that I wish so much that you hadn’t had to go through what you have.  To tell you not to give up hope.  And to tell you that you are not alone.

On Sunday, Mother’s day, I will be thinking of you and your angels.  I will light a candle for the babies I have lost, for the babies you have lost and for all the angel babies.  I hope and pray that you will have a healthy full term pregnancy and that you too get to hold your forever baby in your arms soon.

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Our forever baby…

I am so happy to announce the birth of Lili Frances.  Born 14th Jan after a 4 hour labour, weighing in at 5lbs 7oz.  We are so over the moon that we can finally hold our baby in our arms.  It has been a long journey, but we are so thankful that our forever baby is finally here.

If you would like to read the full birth story please visit my journal on Baby and Bump by clicking here

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Please light a candle at 7pm local time for all the angels

Today is Worldwide Baby Loss Awareness.  Please light a candle at 7pm local time to create a wave of light across the world in memory of the babies that have been lost.

Today would also have been the due date for the baby I lost in February.  Although I have now been blessed with a healthy pregnancy the pain is very much present.  The emptiness never really goes away and I will always think about my angels and what might have been.

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A little update…

Just a little recap on the story so far…

3 miscarriages in the last 2 years.

Medical conditions:

Graves’ Disease – Auto immune thyroid disorder

Positive for Lupus Anticoagulant or APU – Auto immune disorder thought to be the reason for the recurrent miscarriages

Polycystic Ovaries

Medication:

Carbimazole – thyroid

Heparin and Aspirin – to combat the APS and help the pregnancy progress normally.

Things are going well.  I’ve been very lucky and not suffered much morning sickness which I’m very thankful for.  I have had really bad headaches though, which is a bit boring, but other than that I feel really good.  I’ve had a few appointments with obstetricians and endocrinologists and it looks like I will have an appointment most weeks before this little fella or gal comes along!

Tomorrow we have the 20 week scan and we are definitely finding out the sex.  People always ask us “why?”.  I think apart from the fact that I’m incredibly impatient, the main reason is that we’ve been so out of control of things that have happened and spent so long not knowing things and not having answers that it feels right to have as many answers we can!

After tomorrow’s scan I have another scan at about 22-24 weeks.  This is a uterine artery doppler scan and looks at the blood flow to the pacenta.  It  can pick up women who are at higher risk of developing pre-eclampsia later in their pregnancies.  If there is any evidence of a potential problem then they will probably want to deliver the baby at 37 weeks.

I have a glucose tolerance test in 2 weeks time to test for gestational diabetes… I think it’s being done because of my history of endocrine and auto immune disorders.  Hopefully that will all come back ok.  It doesn’t sound much fun though as I can’t eat or drink anything except for sips of water for 12 hours.  Then they take a blood test and give me a glucose drink.  I have to sit very still for another 2 hours when the take my blood again… It’s a long time for me to go without food!!

From 28 weeks I will have serial scans every 2-3 weeks to check that all is ok in the 3rd trimester.

I did a spreadsheet last week for my colleagues to let them know when I had appointments… it was quite funny how many I actually have what with blood tests and follow up appointments to the scans and tests! It feels good that the professionals are taking care of me so well though.

As it approaches the due date of the baby I lost on Valentines day I am reminded of the fact that I am so incredibly lucky to now be 20 weeks pregnant.  I still count every day as a blessing and when this little miracle is born I will make sure they know how very precious they are.

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Good news to share

It’s been a while since I last posted an update, but I’ve been wanting to post for ages!

In  the last post I talked about the new fertility treatment that we were going to try.  It turned out that we didn’t need to try it though as the negative test result I had got was wrong!  On Sunday 23rd May I did another test and got that all special 2nd line I’ve been hoping and praying for!! I was a little shocked, but totally over the moon.  It was completely unexpected.  Our last round of Clomid had worked after all!

The following Monday I went to see my GP to request a prescription for the Heparin and Aspirin that Mr. Rai, the miscarriage specialist, recommended.  The poor GP was a student and a little like a rabbit in headlights about it all.  But eventually I managed to get a prescription from her and the nurse at the surgery explained how to inject.  A fast, swift wrist action to pierce the skin with the needle at a 90 degree angle.

That evening, at home, I used a little bit of ice to numb my stomach, took a deep breath and with a fast movement brought the needle down…  to about a millimetre away from my skin… then I very slowly pushed the needle in.  Not quite what the nurse had explained to me, but it worked.  It didn’t really hurt and I didn’t bleed afterwards, but after a few hours I did have a little bruise.

The GP booked me in for a scan for the following Friday when I would be 5weeks 4 days pregnant.  Mr. Rai had requested that I have a scan at 6 weeks.  I was so nervous as we entered the EPU at the hospital.  I wasn’t expecting to see a heartbeat, but I was confident that we would get to see the pregnancy sac and yolk sac.  The sonographer started with an external scan, but then asked me if she could do an internal one.  This is fairly normal in early pregnancy as it’s hard to see everything with an external scan.  She told me that she couldn’t see a pregnancy sac, but something that looked like a pseudo sac which is symptomatic of an ectopic pregnancy.   They took my blood to test my hcg and progesterone levels and I left feeling really confused and very scared.  I was determined to stay positive, but it was so tough.

The consultant called me later in the day and said that my hcg levels were good and the my high progesterone level was a clear indication that it wasn’t an ectopic pregnancy.  She asked me to go in on the Sunday for a follow up blood test and then return the following week for another scan.  The levels were still good on Sunday so I felt a little reassured.

Then the spotting started.  As it had done in my 3 previous pregnancies in the last 18 month.  I woke up in the morning of the Wednesday after the scan and there was a stain in my pyjamas.  It was dark red in colour so I knew it was old blood, but it really scared me.  We went to A&E just to make sure that everything was ok.  They tested my blood again and my hcg was still up, but my progesterone had dipped a little.  The consultant didn’t seem to bothered by it and just told me to go to the scan that I had booked on Friday.  The spotting didn’t stop although it varied in amount and colour.

If it was at all possible I felt worse going in for the 2nd scan than I did when I went in for the first.  I was so so scared that I was practically shaking and I was convinced it was going to be bad news.  Thankfully they didn’t make me wait too long.  It was good news this time.  They could see the pregnancy sac and yolk sac, but were confused about my dates.  By the dating method that all doctors use I should have been 6 weeks 4 days and yet I was measuring less than that.  I told them that it was possible I ovulated late due to all the travelling I was doing around ovulation.  I asked them about the spotting and they told me it was perfectly normal and that I shouldn’t worry unless it turned red or I passed clots.  This was a little reassuring, but as I said, all my previous miscarriages had started this way.   They asked me to come back in 3 weeks, after my holiday, for another scan.

We went to France for 2 weeks and I tried to really relax and switch off.  I tried to ignore the constant spotting that was at times almost a flow and I continued with my injections and pills.   I tried to be positive, but I was just so scared and worried that I didn’t know what to do with myself.  Our friends on holiday with us must have thought I had the world’s smallest bladder as I went to the toilet every half hour to check everything was ok.

The Monday after we got back from France I had my 3rd scan.  I felt sick with worry as we went in, again convinced it would be bad news.   By this stage in pregnancy we should be able to see the heartbeat and I knew that it was policy for the sonographer to find it and show the parents straight away before doing all the other stuff they needed to do. She took her time and I started to get worried, I could feel the tears welling in my eyes.  She then turned the screen around and showed us the heartbeat.  I was flooded with relief and so happy.  I even begged a copy of the scan from her even though baby just looked like a blob!  She very kindly labelled the baby for us so we’d know where to point when showing people!

I had been in regular contact via email with my fertility doctor, Mr. Lavery since I found out that I was pregnant, just sending him little updates.  He emailed me after the scan and recommended that I ask my GP to request a progesterone level test if the spotting continued and if it had dropped to ask for a prescription of a progesterone supplememt.  After a little battle with the receptionist, to whom I had to spell progesterone to,  I managed to get a form to take to the hospital to get a blood test done.   The following day I phoned to get my results and my levels had dropped from 51 to 24.1.  I asked to speak to a doctor straight away.  To say he way less that sympathetic would be being nice.  He basically told me that he wouldn’t prescribe the supplement without a letter from my fertility specialist… who, as I’d explained to him, was on holiday.  I started to really panic and tried to get hold of any medical professional that I knew to try and get the prescription.   I emailed my specialist in a vain  hope that he might check his emails on holiday.  Unbelievably, he replied almost immediately and told me to visit him at his Harley St clinic the following day and he’d sort it out.   Thank goodness for him. When I went in to get the prescription he took time out of his busy day to have a quick chat with me and explain that although my level hadn’t dropped below the “normal” range for pregnancy the fact that it had dropped so much was a little concerning.  He told me that the progesterone supplement was a precaution and the spotting should stop after a few days.  He recommended that I ask my GP to check my levels again in a weeks time and ask him to organise another scan before my 12 week scan on 26th July.

I wrote a letter to my GP the following week to explain the dose of progesterone that I was now on and to request the blood test and scan.  I also mentioned that I was concerned my condition hadn’t been taken more seriously the previous week especially considering my history.  I followed the letter up with a phone call a few days later and boy do I wish I hadn’t.  He was obviously on the defensive from the off.  He basically told me that it wasn’t his job to look after my pregnancy.  He had referred me to the ante natal unit at the local hospital and I was their problem now.  I explained that I hadn’t had my booking in appointment yet and asked what I was supposed to do in the interim.  He said go to A&E!  He told me it wasn’t within his power to request a scan, which it clearly is as his colleagues had done it in the past.  He also, and this shocked me most, said that if my levels had dropped there wasn’t anything they could do about it anyway.  He said in such a callous and unfeeling manner. I was stunned that a healthcare professional who knew about my history of miscarriage could be so uncaring.  I was so upset.

Luckily my Dad, who is a consultant in another hospital was able to do my blood test for me and I booked a private scan for yesterday morning to put my mind at ease.   My levels have risen back up to 52 again which is a great relief to me.

The scan was magical. I saw the baby moving and heard the heartbeat. It looks like a proper baby now! I was so happy and so relieved.

Early on in the pregnancy I had a session with Gowri Motha and during the reiki part she said that she had had a clear image of 2 hands made from gold leaf encircling the head of my baby, keeping it safe.  From the very beginning I’ve felt as thought there is a golden glow about this baby.  I know that everything is going to be ok, it’s just hard to relax and believe that given my history. I am now further along in this pregnancy than any of my previous ones.  I feel so blessed and my husband and I count each day as a blessing.

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