‘This is your baby’s way of waving a flag.’ Our whole world came crashing around us.’: Grieving mom welcomes rainbow baby

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“I found out I was pregnant in December 2016. I was absolutely over the moon. I couldn’t believe it! We hadn’t been trying long, maybe two months. I did a test and BANG— there it was. A big POSITIVE. This was my first pregnancy, my first time being a mum, and I was so excited. I had lost my mum at the age of 10 and all I wanted was to be a momma myself. My partner had children from previous relationships. However, when we got together, we said we would love a family of our own and here I was… pregnant!!

We told only a select couple of family members on my birthday around Christmas but didn’t make any big announcements. I rang the GP surgery as soon as I knew they were open. We went to see the midwife and she started all the initial paperwork and booked our first scan on February 16, 2017. We couldn’t wait! I was so excited, literally counting down the days!

Sure enough, February 16th came and we walked to our local hospital. The sun was shining and we could not wait to see our baby on the big screen. We went to maternity in the hospital and booked into the reception ready for our scan. We were called through and they popped the cold jelly on my belly and began to scan. We saw baby! There they were! They were very wriggly and even the sonographer said, ‘Baby is very, very active indeed.’ She asked if we could go for a walk to see if we could settle baby. The sun was still shining so we had a walk around. I said to my partner that baby was super active like him.

Courtesy of Megan Williams

We returned to the scan room and the sonographer began to scan again. She said she needed to check something out with the doctor and could we wait in the main wait again. Happily, we went to sit in the main wait again, and shortly after, we were called through to fetal medicine and sat in another waiting room. A lovely midwife called us through and sat us in a relative’s room. Now both my partner and I work for the NHS and we both know, in our experience, no good news came from being sat in a relative’s room. She sat us down and explained our baby had an abnormal measurement at the back of the neck. The NT or nuchal translucency was higher than the ‘normal limit.’

I was totally bemused. I didn’t understand at all. She explained it was baby’s way of waving a flag and something they needed to look into. It could be something, it could be nothing. She said the consultant will see me within a couple of days and made an appointment to return to fetal medicine.

Baby clothes and stuffed animal
Courtesy of Megan Williams

My partner and I were devastated, our whole world came crashing down around us. I remember trying to find the strength to walk home but he pretty much carried me the whole way home. I rang my family and sobbed my heart out. What was happening? Will the baby be okay? What does all this mean? What will we all go through?

If I’m honest, everything seemed like a blur. I rang work and went off sick. I rang my GP, who was amazing, but I can’t tell you the dates of anything, only the date I gave birth to my son.

I remember seeing the consultant probably around two or three times. I remember having part of the placenta removed for DNA analysis to see what was happening to our baby. I remember being told the NT measurement was worsening. I remember praying like I had never prayed before our baby would be fine and I would be given the strength and courage to live and fight each day. I remember the final scan.

The DNA analysis was all negative, which was positive. We went in for another scan, which the consultant carried out. There was silence. The only words that were spoken were, ‘Did you get that?’ The consultant said this to the midwife and she gently replied, ‘Yes.’

Baby announcement
Courtesy of Megan Williams

We were lead into the relative’s room and I paced up and down. I was so anxious and worried and frightened. The consultant and midwife came in and sat us down. They said our little boy had a 90% chance of being born abnormally. His cerebellum was not developing, he was severely deformed, and it was highly likely he would not survive to term or childbirth. We were devastated, I was screaming and in total despair and disbelief. The midwife literally carried me to another room, where we made the heartbreaking decision to end the pregnancy. This was our choice and not one to be judged upon. There was always going to be heartbreak and heartache now whatever decision was made.

I was induced on March 18, 2017, at our local hospital. My labor was horrendous. 10 hours in labor and I had never been so poorly. I gave birth to our son whom we named Charlie at 6:56 p.m. on March 18, 2017. He was a miniature baby born at 18 weeks. We arranged his funeral and his ashes went into my mum’s grave so she could eternally take care of him.

Grieving husband and wife holding hands
Courtesy of Megan Williams

The days, weeks, and months after were some of the hardest of our lives. I didn’t want to get up out of bed, I didn’t want to eat or drink, I couldn’t function, I didn’t want to leave the house. I had contacted the bereavement midwife and she was amazing but all I wanted was to know when I was going to be a mother. My son had died but my yearning to be a mother did not die with him. I was a momma. I had a baby but he was with the angels. All I wanted now was to be a momma on earth. I wasn’t interested in anything else.

I went back to work and began the cycle of testing for ovulation, trying to conceive, waiting, waiting, waiting, and then period coming and then starting again had taken over my life. I tried to find support out there but found very little in the way of support in the UK for mommas like me. A couple of friends/work colleagues and I set up a Facebook group for women in the UK in similar situations. Trying to Conceive After Loss and Pregnancy Support UK. We have over 500 members now and I took true comfort from supporting others and being supported too.

Shrine and gifts
Courtesy of Megan Williams

My life has become ovulation testing, trying to conceive, waiting, and then period coming. I was all consumed by it. Christmas 2017 came and went and into the New Year 2018. I had an awful job at work on the same day I was late for my period. Turns out, I wasn’t pregnant and this job knocked my confidence too. I hit rock bottom. I felt I couldn’t do anything right at all. I didn’t know what to do or where to turn. I rang the bereavement midwife and she advised me to speak to my GP. I rang my GP, who was amazing and I explained everything. He said he would help and support me as far as he could with NHS treatment but seeing as we had had children and my partner had already had children, we would have to pay for fertility treatment. I had blood tests done and was advised to wait until September 2018.

I said to my partner, ‘Let’s go on holiday, let’s buy a house, let’s do all the things we want, and spend big money before we embark on the fertility route.’ I decided to join a gym and lose weight. I was having reflexology too for relaxation and trying to conceive too but to be honest… now I thought it was never going to happen. I was a momma and he was in heaven. I just wasn’t meant to be a momma on earth.

Baby sonogram
Courtesy of Megan Williams

In August of 2018, I was at work. I felt under the weather and just didn’t feel right. When I got home, I ran a bath and thought, ‘I’ll just do a pregnancy test.’ I’d done literally hundreds of them. So I did this one, got into the bath, and waited. I looked… a second line! Wait! What?! I then leaped out of the bathtub, threw some clothes on, and drove to the local shop. I bought at least two packs of four pregnancy tests and did them. POSITIVE! I couldn’t believe it!

I told my partner and he was overjoyed. We were over the moon but also scared and worried too. What if the same happens again? How will we cope? Can we go through this?? I had lots of bleeding with the pregnancy, which added more worry and concern too. We were under fetal medicine and scanned really frequently with an open door policy from them to contact them anytime. The excitement and joy of having our first scan were mixed with fear and apprehension. People were there taking selfies in the waiting room and I was trying to stop myself from being sick.

Mom hold pregnant belly
Courtesy of Megan Williams

8 months later, I gave birth to a healthy baby boy on April 24, 2019, via planned Caesarean Section, as he was breech and he has just celebrated his second birthday!

Happy smiling baby
Courtesy of Megan Williams

He is our rainbow baby. The baby born after losing a baby. Our miracle baby. It was the hardest thing to ever have to go through. I wish I could have enjoyed my pregnancy with our second son but I couldn’t help but be worried and anxious. We got our happening ending… our true miracle rainbow baby. I still continue with the Facebook group and support the UK charity SANDS. I genuinely had no idea of the heartbreak that trying to conceive and pregnancy can cause. I hope those who read this take some comfort and understanding from this.

I feel truly blessed to have a healthy, happy 2-year-old little boy whom we shall tell about his brother when he is old enough to understand. My journey to motherhood was not easy but worth every step.”

Mom and rainbow baby smiling
Courtesy of Megan Williams

This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Megan. You can follow their journey on Instagram and Facebook. Do you have a similar experience? We’d like to hear your important journey. Submit your own story here. Be sure to subscribe to our free email newsletter for our best stories, and YouTube for our best videos.

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