On 29/12/2016 we found out we were pregnant with our first baby. I had the glow and was absolutely beaming and just couldn’t wait to share the news.
We had our 12 week scan and saw our little baby wriggling around on the screen. A strong heart beat and everything in the right place. They were being a little stubborn like daddy and didn’t want to move from sitting on their head. The sonogpraher said that they looked like a bat, this made our hearts melt as my partner is a huge batman fan. From there on he was our baby bat! We left the scan feeling happiness like never before.
As the weeks passed my bump formed and I paraded it with pride. We had recently moved into our first home and I was facing redundancies at work. Stressful times, but this did not affect me, I had a baby on the way!
Our 20 week scan arrived. Would we be getting our baby bat confirmed? Yes! It was quite clear we were having a boy. The sonographer took longer than expected. She told us she was finding it difficult to get a clear measurement due to his positioning (standing on his head again!) but from what she can see the ventricles in his brain were larger than they would like to see. She asked if we would consent to being referred to the fetal medicine unit for further scans. She reassured us that this was routine and they may want to monitor him closer.
5 days later we went into the FMU confident that they would confirm there was no issue and just scanning errors. I was scanned thoroughly and once the consultant had finished scanning, she put her hand on my shoulder and said “I’m afraid it is bad news”. My world fell apart. We were shown to another room and it was explained to us that there didn’t seem to be a presence of the corpus callosum. We were advised to have an MRI to confirm this diagnosis and then we told about the process should we wish to terminate the pregnancy. Terminate?! My little baby boy who I can feel wriggling around as they spoke? I felt sick and I was in shock. This wasn’t real. I would wake up soon. But I didn’t.
We had to wait 10 days for the MRI test and then a further 4 days for the results. The most torturous wait of my life.
Results day arrived. The results confirmed our nightmares. Our little baby’s brain had not formed properly. This was hard to believe seeing his perfect little hands, strong beating heart and long legs kicking about on the screen. We were told that he would not have any quality of life and they talked about the severity of the difficulties he would have.
We were asked what we would choose to do knowing the information. Choose? How was that a choice? We did not wish for our baby boy to struggle in any way. We had to let him go.
When we were told of the process I was horrified. I would have to deliver my baby? We were also told that they we would need to stop his heartbeat by injecting his heart with potassium using a long needle through my tummy. I was booked in for this procedure the next day.
I lay there in the sterile white room squeezing my partner’s hands, digging in my nails. Sobbing and sobbing. I was asked to try to keep calm as I was not allowed to move my abdomen at all. I tried to be brave but it was so painful and I just couldn’t bare the thought of what was happening. My baby was going to die.
Afterwards I was given tablets to stop my pregnancy hormones and then sent home to wait 48 hours, following this time I would admit myself to the local maternity ward to be induced.
I don’t know what even happened in those 48 hours, I was numb. I don’t know how I got myself in the car or even walked up to the ward. We were shown to the Sands room in the hospital and introduced to the midwife who would be looking after me. I was with my mum and my partner. The room was small but was made to be as comfortable as it could. I was given a pessary to start the induction. Hours later my 5th pessary was given but still no progress regardless of the excruciating pain I had been in for over 19 hours. Exhausted, my body did not want to give up my baby. It was decided to move me onto the ward to give me stronger pain relief. I hadn’t been in the new room 5 minutes before my little baby arrived. A part of me still expected him to cry as they brought him out. They passed me my little baby and I held him so close. He was perfect. My baby was born sleeping at 23 weeks and 6 days on 13th May 2017.
We went back to the room, my mum held him and then left us to be alone with him. Those moments were just precious. We wrapped him in a blanket that a friend had made for him. He was just sleeping. So peaceful. No pain. When we were ready the midwife came to collect our baby in a tiny moses basket, in exchange for our baby we received a memory box. Obviously this was no comparison but the box means the absolute world to me and everything in it. We have kept all of our photos in there too. When I was first told I would need to deliver my baby I was horrified, but after going through it, for me it was the most natural way and I am so grateful I got to meet him and hold him. Those memories will be in my heart forever.