I have a lot of pain, anguish and trauma over the events leading to Lily’s birth, it’s all jumbled up in my mind and heart, part of my healing is to speak about it, to not be ashamed of the events and to try and release the guilt I feel. Just be aware that some of the details may be hard to read, living through them was so much worse and having to think of it every night when I go to sleep for what I imagine will be every night of my life is so much worse, but just a warning for you.
So go back to mid-July, we were having that heat wave, that glorious weather you all loved, at 19 weeks pregnant, working in a shop office with no cooling system and sweating like mad while listening to staff member whinging bout being hot I was just getting on with it. I found the heat horrendous but just got on with it, went to work, sweated for 8 1/2 hours a day, went home knackered and went to bed.
Fast forward to Monday 15th July, I worked all day, felt crappy, didn’t really talk to my much loved colleague and friend all day as was just trying to plod on. Got home around 5.45pm, same time as usual and Chris was having a nap, went up to see him, lay on the bed for a bit then came downstairs. As I walked into lounge felt a very strange feeling and felt liquid in my knickers, went up to the toilet and there was a wet patch, thought 'O that’s strange it’s definitely not wee but o well' Went downstairs and it happened again, again I went to bathroom quite bemused but was like a bit confused. The third time it happened I was aware something was wrong so rang Fern ward at the hospital (pregnancy ward bit) I had been there on 4 different occasions for bleeding so knew them quite well. They suggested coming in and they would check me over. I went to wake up Chris and as I was standing in the bed room the liquid started flowing down my legs, still stupid as it sounds I didn’t click this was my waters, well why would I, I didn’t think your waters could go at 19 weeks 2 days. Chris was grumpy as I had woke him up but off we went, neither of us particularly worried, both tired and fed up.
We got to Fern, they had asked me to put a pad on and they took it from me, put me in a cubicle and said they would check on me in a bit. Around 45 minutes later a doctor and midwife came in, I should have clicked then, you don’t see a Doctor unless they are worried, since then I have been told that they had guessed my waters had gone. I had an internal, once the doctor finished she asked if I wanted to get dressed first, I said no, I still wasn’t concerned. She then broke the news that my waters had gone. I remember hearing a wailing sound and wondering what it was................... It was me. I knew it was too early for this to be happening. At that moment for a brief second I knew I was going to lose our baby, I don’t think Chris realised at that point, that it was all over.
The doctor talked us through what was going to happen, they said that I would lose the baby, my body would go into labour and our beautiful baby would be born. They explained it was too early to do anything and the baby wouldn’t survive.
Shock, complete shock. They did a ultrasound, baby was still alive, a bitter sweet moment, one I would be faced with all too often in the next 3 weeks 1 day. We were moved to the delivery suite, Musgrove hospital have a special set of rooms for woman like me, it’s called the Rowan Suite. It’s a delivery room with a bathroom and lounge next door. Since seeing delivery rooms since it’s a non-clinical mush less harsh room, it’s also tucked away back with storage rooms. You are away from the noise and hub bub of the delivery suite, which is a blessing, hearing new babies being born is far too hard when you know your child will not live. We were settled in for the first night, I had phoned my mum and dad and they rushed from Dorset where they live, devastated as we were, they went and got clothes for us from home then drove home, they spent 4 hours in the car to spend maybe 1 hour with us. I don’t remember much from that night, only being in total shock, me and Chris barely sleeping and unable to understand what was going on. For the next 3 days I was in hospital, we were told there was no hope to start off with, that my body would go into labour within first 24 hours, then 48 hours. We passed those marks, they talked to us about the other things that could happen, Lily (at that point we didn’t know she was a girl) would die in my womb and they would induce me, I would get an infection and they would induce me as my life would be at risk, labour would just start. None of this happened. Gradually they started to be a bit more positive as the days wore on, at one point they talked about moving me to the antenatal ward, I refused, for 3 days they told me my baby would die and then they wanted to put me on a ward with pregnant mothers!!!! No not happening. It didn’t happen, I stayed where I was. Around 3 times a day they would listen to the babes heartbeat, that 30 seconds that seemed like a lifetime until they found the heartbeat, the joy at hearing it, the shock at our baby still being alive. Chris parents were on holiday when my waters broke, we waited until they got home 2 days later and phoned, they immediately came down, shock and despair on their faces, worry, hurt and total disbelief.
Eventually the hospital decided to send me home, they said there was no more they could do, either I would go into labour or I wouldn't. All they were doing there was monitoring my temp, blood pressure etc. I was told I would need to see the consultant regularly and have bloods taken twice a week to check for infection but that they still expected our baby to die. We came home, still shocked, still in a complete daze. We sat at home, all this time my waters were continually leaking, I would be sat there and feel them dripping from me, those magic waters designed to protect my baby leaving my body. It was heart breaking. 2 days later we went to hospital for bloods and a heartbeat check. 2 days after that had a consultant appointment and our 20 week scan. We were still told that the likelihood of success was 1%, they offered us a termination, we refused. At the 20 week scan they told us they thought our baby was a girl, without water the scans are very difficult to see and they couldn’t check for everything like they normally do. We were told if our baby did survive and make it too full term she could be born and never take a breath, 20-23 weeks is when the major lung development happens and my waters going could affect that massively. We were told she could be brain damaged, never breath unaided, never walk etc.
We went home and carried on for a few more days, fast forward to my sister coming up to visit and I had a bleed, cue major panic and rush to hospital, emergency scan, emergency bloods and sent home again. More days sitting at home, I couldn’t go anywhere, only time we left the house was to go to hospital. Sitting on my sofa feeling my precious waters draining from me. Every day we heard Lily's heartbeat, either at the hospital or my midwife came to our house, every day I heard our baby’s heart, fast and strong, she was hanging on, we started to build hope.
Fast forward a few more days, sleep at night was an impossibility, one early wed morning I was lying awake when I felt a huge gush, thought, 'god that’s a lot of water to lose' went to bathroom and there was so much thick, red blood, me screaming at Chris, him coming in bathroom and going white, I phoned the hospital, told them I thought I was going into labour, they told us to phone ambulance, wouldn’t let Chris drive me in, they were too worried in case something happened again. Sat in ambulance knowing this is it in losing my baby. Seen at hospital, put in labour ward, normal delivery room right next to the midwife station, I was a priority. Phoned our parents, my mum and dad travelled down again, Chris parents came in again. The consultant came round, I said I was having pains, we thought it was labour, this was it. Moved to Rowan suite, the day dragged on, no more bleeds. Told we were being kept in again. That evening just as I was relaxing 2 more massive bleeds, no sleep more heartache. Kept in hospital for few more days. Told the pains were irritable uterus, the blood was annoying my uterus causing it to contract. Check babies heart beat still strong, keep going, keep going. Start to build up hope again.
Get sent home again, back to weekly growth scans, twice weekly bloods, daily heartbeat checks, more time passing, hope being raised. Saw the consultant again, next visit we will see the paediatricians, to talk about if we get to 24 weeks what happens then. Before 24 week is not considered viable, if baby born it can’t survive (apparently) if we get there and I go into labour they will try and help Lily survive but it’s a long road. Making plans to try and get me to 34 weeks gestation.
One Sunday morning we wake up and go to Fern for bloods and heartbeat check, I don’t feel right, over the last 3 weeks I have tried to be so strong, not cry, not get to distraught but today I feel weak. We get there and I am immediately upset as usual, every time we go for bloods I worry they won’t find her heartbeat, that my bloods will show an infection etc. etc. They try to find her heartbeat, they can’t find it................I panic, get majorly upset. The midwife says she will get doctor to scan me and see as I am so upset. Doctor scans me, they find the heartbeat, I’m so upset, so tired, so worn out. No sleep in 3 weeks, emotionally done in. Scared for me, our baby and Chris. We go home, we watch TV and relax, I feel rubbish but Chris is with me, he hasn’t left my side since my waters went.
At around 9.30pm we go to go upstairs to bed, there’s blood, I ring Fern ward, we are told to go in, we get there, we are waiting, more blood, a lot more blood. We get transferred back to Rowan, another night in hospital. I am hysterical, so done in, I can’t take anymore. Next day things seem to have settled, Chris goes to work for a few hours as it’s been 3 weeks with neither of us working, if this pregnancy is going to continue he has to go to work, I can’t, I won’t be so he has too. He comes to hospital later after work, we make a plan, tomorrow we have consultants appointment, growth scan and to see the docs, I will stay in overnight, he will go home and then tomorrow after appointment I will go home and carry on at home. Amazing midwife gives me sum diamorphine to help me sleep as they can see 3 weeks no sleep is killing me.
I wake up after sleeping 5 hours straight, that’s the most in weeks! Chris come in, I have breakfast, we go off to antenatal and see Miss Robson, I lay on the couch, she starts scanning me, asks when my last internal was, we say ages ago as they try not to examine you cause of risk of infection. She breaks the news Lily has started to move down, in fact she is breech and her body has already passed into my vaginal canal, all she can see is her head. This was it we were told, labour was imminent. 3 weeks 1 day, our baby was today 22 weeks 3 days and this was it. They wouldn’t do anything, she was too young. Our baby was going to be born today and was going to die.
I can’t write anymore, this blog is way longer than I anticipated and that’s enough for today, that day, the horror and trauma of going through labour, of holding our daughter, of pushing my baby out into the world when I didn’t want to, that can wait for another day.
Besides I have to get ready for a funeral, I’m going today to honour a friends fantastic grandma, to stand with my friend and her family and celebrate her grandmas life. To provide her support as she has supported me. If it wasn’t her I would not be going to a funeral so soon, the last funeral was my daughters, my baby girls but I want to pay my respects to a wonderful woman. So I’m signing off to get changed and go to Weston to pay my respects to that beautiful soul who I believe is looking after my baby in heaven.