We could not believe it when we fell pregnant not long after our wedding. It was all I had ever wanted: to get married and have a family. We told our parents immediately and they were over the moon as it was going to be the first grandchild on both sides. We then shared our news with our friends after our 12 week scan which was on Hogmanay 2010. What a great way to start a new year! We believed that after 12 weeks everything would be ok, as many people do. How things have changed… I find it very difficult when people announce they are pregnant after their scan. I just want to scream ‘it doesn’t mean your baby will arrive healthy. I now know that it is not always the case, as we sadly discovered.
Our beautiful daughter Lara was born asleep on 9th June 2011 at 1.30 weighing 4lbs 7oz. Our world had come crashing down on 6th June as I started to worry about lack of movement. This had concerned me previously and I had been sent for a scan at 25 weeks and was reassured that all was well and I wasn’t feeling many movements due to my placenta being at the front. I called my midwife and was told to contact the hospital for a trace of the baby’s heartbeat. On the way to the hospital I said to my husband what if when we do this drive back home something has happened to our baby. My husband didn’t believe for one minute that we were about to hear the worst thing we would ever hear in our life.
At the hospital they connected me up to the monitor and they were struggling to hear a heartbeat: what we were hearing was mine. At this point, I knew that was it and the reality of something being wrong could be seen in David’s face. I was then taken to another room for a scan to confirm what we all knew and that is where we heard the most dreaded words, ‘I’m sorry, there is no heartbeat, your baby has died.’ I was then sent home for two days with our world shattered and would never be the same again. We returned to hospital 2 days later where our perfect little girl was born.
The next few weeks and months are a blur. I could not believe what had happened and many thoughts ran through my head: What did I do wrong? Was it my fault? I must be a bad person. I just wanted to die and be with my baby. I was lucky to have a fantastic husband and supportive friends and family to help me through those dark days. I craved to find out more information about stillbirths and talk to someone who understood what I was going through and this is when I contacted Sands. I have made lifelong friends through Sands.
We had a 13 week wait for Post Mortem results which told us that there was no reason for Lara’s death. I find this very difficult. How can a perfectly healthy baby die for no reason? And with no reason, what could be done to prevent it from happening again?
On 1st of June 2012, our Rainbow Baby Eilidh was born. It had been an extremely difficult 8 months but at last she was here safely. During my pregnancy I could not imagine giving birth to a healthy baby as I was convinced it would happen again. There was definitely no announcing our news to everyone after our 12 week scan. We kept it to ourselves and close family until I was 5 months. This time there was no ante natal classes, pregnancy yoga or shopping for baby things. I just couldn’t let myself believe everything would be ok. I had to prepare for it happening again.
The care I received this time was very different as I was monitored very closely with extra scans and heart traces. It was agreed that I could have a planned section as I didn’t feel I could cope emotionally with labour as I was worried it would be like reliving Lara’s birth so close to her first anniversary. I feel guilty that I could not allow myself to enjoy my pregnancy and do all the normal expected things. I don’t think it would matter how many times I was pregnant it would always be a very difficult time. I feel I have had the joy of pregnancy ripped away from me. I am thankful for the amazing 34 weeks I carried Lara.
Eilidh is in no way a replacement for Lara and I hate when people say ‘just think, you wouldn’t have Eilidh if that had not happened to Lara’ but I always wanted to have more than one child! Lara’s sister just arrived earlier than I would have thought. Eilidh has given us hope again and, for the first time in a year, I can look forward and see a positive future which Lara will always be a part of.