“What was going to happen? Could our baby survive this?”
BY KATY ROBSON-MALONE
This is a long one so you definitely need a cuppa for when you read it!
So just when we thought that the worst was over, sadly it wasn’t the case. After the initial bleed at 12 weeks, the bleeding did stop, as the consultant said it would, and we felt reassured. But shortly after, it started again. So within three short weeks, we had been at the hospital’s early pregnancy unit (EPU) for three separate scans and bleeding events. Each time, we were so lucky to be reassured that the baby was ok, growing fine and that they couldn’t even see where the bleed was coming from. News about the baby was a huge relief, but I also found it stressful not knowing the cause behind it all.
There was nothing I could do to control the bleeding. It would just happen when I least expected it and in a way, it became our new normal. Although all bleeding is worrying, we were now just concentrating on red, fresh blood as that was more serious. Funny how categorising bleeding in this situation was how we dealt with it and tried to continue as normal.
Although I’ve had people close to me who have suffered losses and had bleeding in pregnancy, it is still something that is rarely talked about. It was a real comfort to us both when we shared what was going on and other people told us their stories. It offered hope at times when we didn’t feel like there was any. So thank you to you all for coming forward – you know who you all are.
We were now both too aware that, at this stage, the baby’s future was completely out of our hands and there was no medical intervention that could prevent a miscarriage. I just desperately wanted us to get to 16 weeks, as at that milestone we could be seen directly in the maternity department immediately and not have to wait a painful few days to get an appointment at the EPU. So that become our goal. Get to 16 weeks.
16 weeks arrived. Phew! A sigh of relief and there hadn’t been any bleeding for two days. That was a celebration in itself, plus it was Lynz’s birthday.
Don’t you just love birthdays? I love them. I love planning exciting gifts, and experiences to make Lynz feel extra special, and this birthday was no different. We dropped the girls off with our friends and I drove us to a random town. Lynz loves trains, history and museums, so my plan was for us to drive to a train station, get the train to Bletchley and go to Bletchley Park Museum for the day. Everything was precision planned, as it needs to be with kids and, after everything we had been through, I wanted it to be extra perfect. Even with us being pretty solid in our relationship, the stress and worry did cause us to be bickering, or worse, not talking. It is always true that you take all of this out on those closest to you and this was certainly the case. We both were frightened. My concerns as a mum carrying were all for the baby and, for Lynz, her worries were for me and my health. We needed this special day together to laugh and love and relax a little.
We arrived at the train station in Bletchley after a 20 minute train journey and when I went to the toilet, the blood had returned. On the severity scale that we had become accustomed to, it was bright red so it was fresh blood. But I was determined things would be ok and sure it wasn’t urgent, so we made it over to the museum. Things changed quite quickly and dramatically at this point. I called the hospital and explained what was happening and they wanted me to come straight in. I explained we were a train and car journey away and they told me I might need to go to my nearest hospital. Neither of us knew where this was. So we made it back to the train station in the hope we could get the train back to the car, then drive to our hospital, but the trains were all delayed. The bleeding became very heavy and the situation quickly developed. So much so Lynz called an ambulance and I was admitted to hospital in Milton Keynes.
With the amount of blood, I can safely say we both assumed the worst, although Lynz only admitted this a few days later when we had a much-needed discussion about what we had been through. All we wanted to know was if our baby was still alive, but at Milton Keynes hospital you don’t go to the maternity unit until 20 weeks, so here I was under gynaecology and their early pregnancy unit. To add to our pain, it was Sunday so they couldn’t scan me until the following day. I was admitted to a ward to wait almost 24 hours before we would know what had happened. Meanwhile, Lynz had to go home to see the girls and make sure they were ok. I tried to be upbeat and reassuring before she left, as I felt awful about how the day turned out, but once she was gone I cried. I couldn’t bear being on a ward with strangers who were all chatting with each other and me here feeling so alone, scared and empty. What was going to happen? Could our baby survive this? How will we tell our girls that there will no longer be a new baby? That was my most difficult question – I wanted to protect my family from this awful time and what could be.
I found myself frustrated that nobody could offer any reassurance sooner. I spent a lot of time in the hospital chapel which was right next to the ward. This at least gave me some peace on my own to try and think positively and the peace I found was that this situation was out of my control. That there was absolutely nothing I could do to change the course of what will or will not happen.
The next day, around 11am, we finally were able to be scanned. Our baby was alive. It still had a heartbeat and had grown since the last scan. A huge sigh of relief, as I’m sure you can understand. The bleed had also grown to three times bigger from the original bleed at 12 weeks and could be seen on the scan. We were told that there’s a risk we will miscarry and also a risk the baby won’t grow as it should, but we can only take it one day, one week at a time.
Since then, we have had a follow-up with our consultant at our own hospital and the care we have received has been amazing. We have four weekly scans and I can say both of us feel a lot more hopeful. For now, we don’t know if we will be having a 2019 or a 2020 baby. That will be decided as time progresses. All that matters to us now is that our baby makes it through this safely and then this rollercoaster will be over. At our 20 week scan, where we got that amazing picture of our baby, we found out I have a low-lying placenta, so hopefully that will have moved by the next scan.
We have now made it to 23 weeks. We have one more week to go when our baby will be cared for if they arrive and there is a chance they can survive. This is our biggest milestone yet and one we have both felt we would never reach. Lynz asked me this week if I had a good feeling about things now and I said cautiously, “Yes,” and she agreed. We have been playing a lot of the pregnancy down, and I know for myself I’ve been trying not to get too excited or daydream about what it will be like as a family of four or what our baby will be like, but we did buy our first baby grow, which was a big deal. Right now, we are just so relieved and grateful to have gotten this far and can’t thank those people who have supported us on this horrific journey enough.
Only reading DIVA online? You’re missing out. For more news, reviews and commentary, check out the latest issue. It’s pretty badass, if we do say so ourselves.