Growing up being a mummy was all I ever wanted, I didn’t want a career, I just wanted to work to earn enough money to support a family. I thought when the time came it would be as easy as that…who knew I could be so wrong.
In 2011 I found out I was expecting a beautiful baby. It was a complete surprise but I was absolutely over the moon. I was a care free first time mummy who pictured only the ten tiny fingers and ten tiny toes at the end of the 9 months. I will never ever experience these feelings again because my journey to motherhood was about to take a tragic twist that would change me forever.
The pregnancy went smoothly until I was 17 weeks when i started bleeding…heavily. I was in and out of my local hospital and the bleeding was constantly put down to a low lying placenta.
At 23+5 weeks I had a heavy bleed whilst in hospital, the drs did an examination and I was already 6cm dilated. There was nothing they could do, my gorgeous princess was on her way. If she was born alive I was told I would have to hold her until she passed as she was not classed as viable.
After a 12 hour labour, forcep delivery and an epidural Isabelle Evelyn was born sleeping much to my relief, I don’t think I would ever have got over watching our daughter struggle for breath.
I chose not to have a post mortem but from tests on the placenta it showed my placenta had broken down due to a virus called cytomegalovirus.
Isabelle was born 8/9/11. She was absolutely perfect, just small. She made me a mummy.
Unfortunately hubby and I had no joy trying for another baby after this. Months passed, then a year and finally 18 months later March 2013 the fertility clinic at my local hospital gave me a laparoscopy where we were told that my tubes were blocked with scar tissue and we would never concieve naturally. The only way we could have a baby was ivf. Not only did I carry the guilt of not protecting my daughter, that my body had let her down not carrying her to term but now I had the added guilt that I couldn’t naturally give my husband a child. We applied for funding and thankfully got accepted for 2 attempts on the nhs. Treatment started and we were absolutely blessed to fall first time in the July. We were elated. Lightening doesn’t strike twice right?
We were so good we held off buying anything. We tried to contain our excitement but surely this had to be our time? We had fought so hard to get here.
Again we found out we were expecting a beautiful baby girl. And we had her name picked out before she was conceived. Everything was so different. My symptoms were Stronger, no bleeding at 17 weeks, a cervical stitch put in at 20 weeks and we made it until 24 weeks.
Then on Christmas Day 2013 I bled heavily again, I was rushed to hospital where they wanted to cut my stitch. We asked to be moved to a specialist baby hospital. I was blue lighted to southmead hospital that night. The next 2 days were crucial for the steroids to get into my system for the baby. My contractions came and went but we made it the 48 hours then at 24+5 the drs decided to do a elective section as it would be less stressful than an emergency and Adelaide Rosemary was born that evening. She let out a beautiful cry. She was beautiful just small although not as small as her sister. We knew it would be up and down in neonatal as she was so premature but we didn’t expect her to only live an hour. Not even the Drs did.
Unfortunately Adelaide only lived the hour because they couldn’t get a tube in her lungs to support her breathing, due to her prematurity this was crucial as her lungs weren’t quite developed. At her post mortem it turned out Adelaide had pneomonia from an infection in my uterus. So the water meant there was no room for the tubes. Just like her sister we had Adelaide with us overnight. We took photos and made memories with her. The girls looked very similar. Adelaide was born 27/12/13.
The months following the death of both our daughters in all honesty were a complete blur of upset, anger and frustration. I became an unrecognisable person full of jealousy and resentment. Why was I such a failure of a woman, I couldn’t even do the one thing we were put on this earth to do? I couldn’t conceive a child or carry one to term. I couldn’t give my husband a family. Why did other women get to take their babies home? What made them more deserving of motherhood? How could god be so cruel? Was I that bad of a person? I couldn’t stand to see anyone pregnant and pushed those who were away.
In April 2014 we decided to give ivf one last go, if we didn’t get an earth baby from this then we wouldn’t try again. We couldn’t go through the heartache again.
We hit another bump, None of our frozen embryos from Adelaides cycle survived the dethaw, maybe it just wasnt meant to be. I remember speaking to my dad on the phone that day, he sent me some flowers and all he said was give it one more push Em, perhaps Adelaides cycle was a bad batch. To hear that from him was all I needed.
Again we dusted ourselves off and started another fresh cycle, our last fresh cycle on the nhs. The drugs, the hormones, the grief, the stress…my poor husband, thank god we were pregnant again.
When I lost Adelaide a Dr at Southmead who we hold very close to our hearts suggested he do all of my care going forward. So prior to having our last attempt at Ivf Southmead carried out their own laparoscopy and hysterscopy to see just what they would be working with going forward, they contacted our Ivf clinic to discuss the care and told me to get in contact when I was pregnant again. Southmead cared for us for over a year in the end.
This time when we were pregnant southmead saw us every week to 2 weeks to check on the baby and my cervix. They fitted a cervical suture at 12 weeks. I had a five week hospital stay at Southmead between 23 and 28 weeks to get me to a safer gestation. Their biggest concern was the risk of premature labour and infection.
In December 2014 at 32+4 I had a planned section and finally held my rainbow baby Lennox Jon. He spent just 5 days in NICU Southmead before being moved back to our local SCBU unit. Lennox is nearly 2 now and is absolutely thriving. He is a heart healer and our girls have done us proud keeping him safe.
A “rainbow baby” is a baby that is born following a miscarriage, stillbirth, neonatal death or infant loss.In the real world, a beautiful and bright rainbow follows a storm and gives hope of things getting better. The rainbow is more appreciated having just experienced the storm in comparison.
The storm (pregnancy loss) has already happened and nothing can change that experience. Storm-clouds might still be overhead as the family continue to cope with the loss, but something colourful and bright has emerged from the darkness and misery.
I need to share our story with you all because I hope it will inspire those still struggling to never give up. Your happy ending is coming. Just have faith. My daughters were meant to guide Lennox into my arms and I am proud of the mummy they have made me. I mention their names daily and with their help I will slowly break the taboo surrounding stillbirth and neonatal death. I am a better mother for the journey I have been on and I am forever grateful to my husband, family and friends for not letting me give up on my dreams.
Emily is currently taking part in an amazing challange to complete 12 hard core runs (including a marathon!) to raise money for Southmead Hospital to help other women continue to receive the same great treatment she did and for all the babies born too soon. Please show your support and help other women get their happily ever after by visiting Emily’s fundraising page and donating here
A “rainbow baby” is a baby that is born following a miscarriage, stillbirth, neonatal death or infant loss. In the real world, a beautiful and bright rainbow follows a storm and gives hope of things getting better. The rainbow is more appreciated having just experienced the storm in comparison.
This image shows the only way I will ever see my three children together, but still so perfect…