Recently we have been keeping a secret. After 5 devastating losses last year, we decided to keep it secret that we were going to try again. When we fell pregnant straight away (as we always do) we still kept it to ourselves. This time we were doing things differently. Things were going to turn out differently this time.
And for 8 glorious weeks things were different. Despite anxieties niggling away, we were calm, content and happy. Everything seemed to be going well, from the initial really strong pregnancy test at 10 DPO (we didn’t get that with any of our losses last year) to the utter exhaustion. I was most definitely pregnant. One of the tricky things about keeping it quiet was my belly. Having been pregnant so many times, it’s like my belly wants to show off how quickly it can get into belly shape. I started wearing spanks to try and keep it under wraps and put my baggiest clothes on. This hasn’t been jumper weather at all but I’ve had to throw on a jumper when we’ve popped to people’s houses just to cover the very obvious bump. Now I know this is all bloat, but the shape of my belly when I am pregnant is undeniably pregnant.
I’d given up caffeine, alcohol and refined sugar in the run up to this pregnancy in order to prepare my body and get healthier. It also meant that people didn’t question me not drinking. This was handy because this baby went to a wedding in Cornwall, a Pizzup in London, a local festival on my birthday … all occasions when I would normally drink but this time declined.
As time ticked by, my thoughts wondered forwards. This baby would be born just after the new year. It was going to bring a fresh hope to Christmas. I would have my winter baby and Christmas wouldn’t focus on George’s due date. I would be able to use some of the winter clothes I bought for George. Excitement grew. But still we kept our secret. I actually tried not to think too far ahead but I was fixated on getting to 12 weeks and being able to share our news. Come mid July everyone would know.
I ate really healthy food.
I didn’t gain weight.
I drank lots of water.
I had all of my vitamins on time each day.
I had gentle exercise.
I was going to prove that my body could do it. I was going to fix everything and have a baby.
Then, at 7 weeks 3 days we went for a reassurance scan. We were offered an early scan because of our history. We were nervous but hopeful. We took Boo along as we hadn’t even told our family about the pregnancy. Boo had started to cotton on anyway due to my frequent visits to the bathroom and afternoon slumber on the sofa. Before we went for the scan, we told Boo what was happening. She was very excited. I was worried. I didn’t feel right telling her. But I also knew that this pregnancy would turn out just fine. We had got further than we did with George – by now I was bleeding with George. This would be fine. The scan would be fine.
The silence in the scan room was devastating. It felt like the sonographer looked for hours. Eventually, she turned the screen to me and said here is your baby and here is the heartbeat.
Joy filled my heart.
We did it!!!
Then I noticed a dark pool above the baby. Was there a twin? I had joked it was twins. Was I right? No, there was a large haematoma. A bleed. A haemorrhage. It surrounded the sac protecting the baby. And then I noticed that the baby looked rather small.
What does baby measure?
The joy was sucked out of the air. The room shrunk.
George measured 6.3mm at 7 weeks 3 days. They told me my dates were wrong but I knew they weren’t. George had a heartbeat but then it stopped. This baby was too small. This baby was not going to make it.
The sonographer was shocked by my change in attitude. They were confused. This was a good scan. It’s a viable pregnancy! There is a heartbeat! These haemorrhages are common. No problem!
We were ushered to a side room where we met the wonderful counsellor who has seen us after many of our other losses. She understood what the sonographers didn’t – it felt like history repeating itself . She said all the right things, she understood and she put a plan in place. Go home and rest. See the consultant next week. Have a scan the week after.
Once home, our care free, calm life changed. I was afraid to move. I began checking for blood and to my horror, 4 days later, blood started to come. A little at first but after a day standing, I had a big bleed. I told myself it was just the haemorrhage (and SCH). It was to be expected. It was normal. I still felt pregnant. I still had a fuzzy head. I still felt sick and tired. I phoned the EPU and they asked me to come in the next morning just to check. This time, we told the grandparents that we were pregnant and asked them to have Boo while we had our scan. We still didn’t tell them what was happening. Saying it out loud seemed like bad luck. We had to keep everything positive.
We drove to the hospital in silence, occasionally asking each other if we were OK. We told each other it would be fine. I told M that I felt that the would say baby measured 5mm now and had no heartbeat. But I knew that was just my fears speaking.
Baby measured 5.8mm. Baby had no heartbeat.
I’m very sorry, I can’t find a heartbeat.
A scream tore through my body and roared out of me. The tears that fell in that moment were primal, raw pain. I knew what I was being told and it tore my heart apart. It broke me.
With George, we didn’t get a scan picture. They don’t give pictures so early. This time I demanded a picture and wanted time to look at the screen and see my baby. My baby who had now gone. It was clear that something had gone very wrong for baby. A pocket of fluid had formed around her and a bulge protruded from her side. My poor baby. I’m so glad I had the presence of mind to ask questions and get a picture. For me, that’s a huge comfort.
Again in a side room, we sat and sobbed. I wanted to name the baby to make it easier to tell Boo. I wanted Hope to be part of her name (I always felt she was a girl) but wanted her first name to be floral. M chose Primrose. It is perfect.
Primrose Hope came into our lives and restored hope. She took away our anxieties and fears. The only thing she knew was love. When I fell pregnant this time, I felt calm and that feeling hasn’t left me. We are grieving. We are devastated. But we are grateful.