For Baby Loss Awareness Week 2021, we hear Catherine’s story of loss and then healing with her rainbow baby.
Remember Remember the 5th of November goes the rhyme. Well as everyone was celebrating Guy Fawkes with fireworks and toffee apples I was lying in a hospital bed listening to them after having medical management.
That was 6 years ago and a day I will remember forever.
My Facebook memories of 6 years ago are of me in London secretly pregnant and then everything changed in the blink of an eye.
I had a small bleed and went for a scan and they told me to come back in two weeks. I lasted 3 days before I was back in the Early Pregnancy Unit with heavy clotting. It was a very long traumatic day; from the point I couldn’t get off the toilet with the cardboard tray underneath and a nurse and my mum all squashed in the cubicle, to being told I needed an ‘evacuation’ which sounded brutal and real.
As I was signing the papers to consent to remove our baby I was told they could potentially take my womb away – those words still make me go cold even now.
I was lucky; the care I had that day was special and weirdly there were some moments I shared laughs with the staff, mostly around the paper knickers and support stocking being the NHS’s version of Ann Summers!
Everything was a blur and in the night I didn’t sleep, eat or drink. Instead, practical me kicked in and I asked for a pen and paper and made a list of 14 questions about what had happened to me and asked someone to look at them.
I can’t remember the answers or if I really got any, but I remember talking to a student about my loss less than 12 hours later!
‘Practical me’ was fine, over everything, kept telling myself things happen for a reason. I went back to work and ignored my feelings and that of people around me. Then I broke.
I ended up leaving home one night and called my parents in tears, asked my dad to come and pick me up. My emotions were drowning me and despite appearances, I was not coping at all. I was convinced I was being blamed for the loss of our child, our hopes and dreams and I thought everyone’s expectations of me – work, friends, family were way higher than in reality.
So I took a step back, I took more time off, I sought counselling. I talked, I had a break away with my mum and I was kinder to myself. I was still strong but also learnt how to grieve properly.
I was lucky I had amazing support when I let them in and I actually rationalised that it’s ok not to be ok. I was still a strong person but also human and was a lot nicer to myself.
In February 2016 I found out I was pregnant with our rainbow we had conceived in December. We were happy but I was anxious and scared.
There were still reminders in the pregnancy, comments at my 12 week scan with confusion in dates then’ finding the letter’ explaining about my miscarriage .
On the weekend of our hospital antenatal tour we went upstairs to see the midwife led birthing suite with a group of nervous parents and I stopped cold and filled up. It was opposite the EPU; the last maternity ward I had been on, the worst place.
I had a lovely rainbow baby in September 2016; he was delivered by emergency C section. The consultant who delivered him remembered me from my other operation and said the nicest words, “we have met in sad times but today will be a happy day”.
We are so lucky to have our rainbow and he is a real blessing. He’s 5 now but I will never forget what went before and I will maybe tell him one day and support him if it ever happens to him and his family.