My rainbow baby……..where do I even start?!
I gave myself a goal of when I would allow myself to try again after loosing Ethan. It was a huge step to take and one that I wanted to make sure I was as ready for. So after New Year we decided that in the new year we would try again. It was far from an easy journey though!
I was planning and hosting a charity even at the same time to distract myself from everything else around me.
Now pause for a second, after Ethan’s funeral and him being cremated no-one got in touch with us to tell us we had some ashes from the funeral so naturally we assumed we didn’t have any. I had a massive meltdown at work one day after reading something online and phoned my husband in a state panicking. I was so upset at the thought that we may have just left our son and what if his ashes were somewhere and I had just left him? I was in bits. I got home that night to some great news, my husband had done some investigating and Ethan’s ashes were being held somewhere waiting for us to collect.
They very next day we were allowed to collect them. I remember the date, it was the 19th February. As I got ready that morning I felt different, s not thinking anything of it I took a test. I couldn’t believe it, the test was positive! I was thrilled! Then panic set in…..
I had such a mixture of emotions. I was about to go and collect Ethan’s ashes and yet I had just found out I was pregnant again. My head was everywhere!!
I don’t think I believed it for a long time that I was actually pregnant. I was too scared to believe it in case I hoped I might get a baby to keep this time, I was so scared of allowing myself to love my little baby growing inside of me. We told a few family and friends, they too were worried about us and our baby. The consultant had already told us that we had done nothing wrong with Ethan and it was just really bad luck, he also told us though that what happened to Ethan was less than a 1% chance of happening and that any other pregnancies we now had a 5% chance it would happen again.
I can guess what you might be thinking, that’s OK though that’s 95% chance that baby will be OK……Wrong! in my head all I could think was that it had happened once and the chances were so small, so why would it not happen again? Our chances had just increased! I was petrified!
Our family and friends were so supportive of us over the next few months, we had a lot to contend with.
I started bleeding at 5/6 weeks and I remember ringing the the early pregnancy unit for advice and she said something about oh I’m sure it will be OK, it’s probably just settling in or something I can’t remember exactly. Anyway I started to cry down the phone to her and said she didn’t understand and that I couldn’t loose another baby…
So off I went to EPU with husband in tow for a check up and a scan booked for the following week. She told me to not lift anything heavy etc and rest when possible. So that’s what I did. A week later we ad the scan and I was around 6 weeks and baby was progressing OK so far and there was a heartbeat! I was thrilled but my journey had far from begun.
The next hurdle was the 12 week scan, I had the scan on 21st April. There was still a heartbeat and everything looked OK so far. Excellent! I still couldn’t get too excited though, I still had the biggest hurdle to overcome. The heart scan….Meanwhile at some point in April 2015 I had a meltdown at home, I was so terrified of loosing my baby that one day when I was at home alone with my Step Son I went upstairs and cried on my bed. My Mum rang me about something and I cancelled the call, I just couldn’t speak I was crying that much. She was round at my house in a flash though, checked on William and cane up to me and found me in a heap on the floor in absolute floods of tears and crying to her saying I can’t do it, I can’t loose another baby. That’s all I said. At that point I knew I had to take some time out from work and go back on see my counsellor that I saw after I lost Ethan. She was amazing and really helped me think straight and helped me cope with my emotions that I had going on. I should mention at this point that Ethan was due on 17th October 2014 and Alfie was due on 26th October 2015, so needless to say the fact that my pregnancies were running along side each other time wise only a year apart was bloody hard!!!!
They booked the heart scan for baby on 2nd June, I was in absolute bits but it had to be done that week, it was the soonest that they could do it when the heart was fully formed etc. The problem was it was the day before I ad had my heart scan not 1 year earlier…..same hospital, same waiting room….
Oh my god, I was overcome with such emotion, I was in bits and sobbing just sat there, what if it happened again? Why should this baby be OK? Would I be allowed to keep this baby? What if I have another boy? Ethan was my boy, I didn’t think I could cope having a boy and I didn’t want a boy….I know that probably sounds awful but all I could think was if baby was a girl I could cope better and everything would be completely different and it would be OK. I’m not ashamed at how I felt, grief does the strangest thing to your mind. Anyway, my husband and I sat there in the waiting room, silent and both thinking a million different thoughts and situations….
My husband refused to sit where we st just one year earlier so we sat on the opposite side (there were just two rows of chairs facing each other). I could guess what he was thinking, if we don’t sit on that side may be it won’t happen again. Meanwhile I was hoping for a different room as I couldn’t face going in that room again where they scanned me last time.
Anyway it was our turn, my name was called and in we went, I was shaking. I sobbed before I even got on the couch, I begged someone in my head praying to myself that it didn’t happen again, I just couldn’t face it. I refused to loose another baby and I wouldn’t. Anyway I forget how many people were there but the lady that did the scan was so lovely and sympathetic. She knew our history and promised to get it done as quick as possible and that she would be quiet for a while and would tell us what she could as soon as possible. I have no idea how long we waited for news while she scanned me but I can assure you it felt like an eternity, my hand grasping at my husbands hand, my heart was pounding in my chest and silent tears rolling down my cheeks and silently praying for good news. Then finally she spoke……….’there is no evidence of any hypoplastic left heart syndrome and everything else is functioning normally, baby has a strong heart’. Well that was it, I sobbed! My prayers had been answered! My baby was OK!!!!! The relief was intense I can tell you. I was 19 weeks at this point and still had the 20 week scan to overcome but I still couldn’t believe it! We were so happy to tell everyone the good news. I was still seeing my counsellor and had a few more sessions to go to get me through the next few weeks.
They originally wanted me to have my heart scan on the 8th June but after crying in the reception to the midwife and saying no I just can’t, I can’t, my husband calmed me down and calmly explained to the midwife why I couldn’t come on that day. So the heart scan was done and now the 20 week scan to come……
The day arrived, 11th June. We had had Ethan’s first anniversary and celebrated nicely with a walk, lunch out and getting his ashed put in a teddy at build a bear so we could cuddle him forever more. (FYI best thing I have done this and the boys love having a cuddle with their brother although Alfie doesn’t understand yet).
So there we sat in the waiting room waiting to go in for the scan. I ended up having to go in the same room as I had the with Ethan which sent my anxiety up but never mind I just wanted to get it done! So we sat there and the lady scanned me, then came the words. Everything is fine. I couldn’t quite believe what she told me! My baby was OK!!! We asked her if she could also tell us what sex the baby was…..a boy…….
Such a mixture of emotions, I was so scared to hold a baby again and to have a boy. How would I feel holding another son after holding Ethan?
I slowly started to come round to the idea and it was about 26 weeks or more before I finally accepted that I might actually come home with a baby! At that point I allowed myself to buy things and start painting the nursery. It was all so hard as I should have been doing this for Ethan. How could I paint a room for my second son when it should have been my first son’s bedroom?! It was so hard but we did it.
The next hardest thing was all the questions from people……….is this your first? That was the worst one. I just didn’t know what to say or how to answer, sometimes I lied and said yes and sometimes I said it was my second. Sometimes I tell people that I had a son before Alfie and sometimes I don’t, it depends. It’s a tough question and I dread it every time.
The following months got easier and I slowly got more and more excited as the weeks and months went by. Although it was still hard and I had a few more scans along the way due to my bump measuring small, it was scary and worrying but I got through it.
Eventually I finished for maternity leave, still in fear of not coming home with a baby, worried about how I feel being in labour again after my first experience ending in such tragedy. I kept myself very busy and didn’t do the whole rest part at all!!! Instead I was scrubbing bathrooms, transferring clothes into new furniture, baking, cooking etc you name it. I had to sort through all Alfie’s clothes too some of which I had originally bought for Ethan along with a few bath toys. It was just so hard.
Friday 16th October came, it was baby loss remembrance / awareness week, I had been busy sorting our bedroom out as we had just decorated, I went with hubby to do the big shop, made tea, out the shopping away, went to the tip……I was sat watching the bake off (the one where Paul and Mary show how it should have been baked!!) and started to feel really uncomfortable. I could not sit anywhere and get comfortable so I took myself for a bath. It was around 10pm that evening. I sat there for a while and thought ‘could it be?’ ‘no, no way I had another week to go….’
I started timing the pains that kept on coming, eventually my husband came to check on me and asked how I was? After noticing that I had been timing my pains and saw me have another pain, he asked how often my app had told me to go to hospital, I replied 4 times!!!!! At the point I was still in denial, I couldn’t go into labour, not today….I even told my husband, I kept saying no, not today, I can’t, Can we just wait another day?! Reluctantly I got out of the bath and slowly started to get dressed, my husband meanwhile rushing around making sure we had everything. We arrived at the hospital shortly after midnight, still in disbelief that I was in labour. The midwife checked over me and that was t, I was 5 cm dilated already and in labour. I cried, our rainbow baby was going to be born on my angel baby’s due date……
My husband rang both our parents who then spent all night by the phone anxiously waiting for good news. Apart from being petrified that something might still go wrong I had a pretty good labour, after an hour of pushing Alfie eventually arrived at 9:01am on Saturday 17th October. As I held him in my arms for the first time and listened to the sound of his cries/his breathing, I kissed him and whispered ‘you’re here, I can’t believe it you are here. We did it. I love you so much’, I had tears rolling down my cheeks. I was holding my son and he was alive, the emotions that ran through me were unreal. I never wanted to let him go, he was mine and I could keep him! I think I even asked the nurse was she sure I could take him home?! Daft I know but I couldn’t believe it, he was mine and he was mine to keep this time and he was absolutely perfect. Alfie Roy, his second name was given to him after my late Grandad who had sadly passed away only a few months before Alfie was born and sadly didn’t make it to October to see my bring home a healthy baby. Although I am sure he is watching over us and looking after my angel baby for me.
We arrived home a few hours later and both parents came to see him, needless to say we were all over joyed that our rainbow baby made it safely.
The next few weeks were the hard but nothing unusual. Although at 5 days old Alfie had to go into hospital for tests as he had lost so much weight and they were worried he was de-hydrated. They say that all parents are worried and anxious etc but I can’t help but think ours are heightened. I mean why wouldn’t they be after all we had gone through?
It’s been a tough ride with Alfie from start to finish in more ways than one, the pregnancy was emotionally and physically just un-bearable, I had so much anxiety and also suffered with SPD so I was on crutches for half my pregnancy. I would love to say I enjoyed being pregnant but I didn’t really. I loved my bump yes, being a Mummy was all I had ever wanted but I will never again have that innocence that being pregnant is all happy and wonderful and exciting. After having Alfie I suffered with a lot of anxiety for lots of reasons, I was petrified of loosing him and thinking it couldn’t be right, what if something happens to him and this baby is taken from me. I also suffered with more grief from loosing Ethan as now I had a baby in my arms I knew exactly what I was missing with Ethan and that hurt even more. Alfie when he was born looked like Ethan too and caught my breath a few times when I looked at him. I still look at Alfie sometimes now and wonder if Ethan would have looked the same and what his personality would have been like. Alfie wasn’t the easiest baby to look after either!!!! He suffered from really bad reflux and we have found out after his 1st birthday that he has an intolerance to milk, soya and eggs. He used to scream so much and feeding him was a nightmare, I was so grateful to have a baby to look after that I could call my own but it was hard to enjoy much when he screamed so much all day and all night!!!!
Alfie’s first birthday was celebrated with a big party, it was important to me to celebrate his life but the day before I was a mess as if things had gone OK with Ethan this could have been his birthday. I still have my moments and find it hard. Sometimes I hold Alfie so tight as I just feel so lucky to even get the chance to have one baby to keep. He is my absolute world and I literally cannot describe the amount of love I have for him and how much he means to me and my family. He is so special to me and my husband I just can’t explain. Ethan will always remain in our hearts and Alfie will always be the one that gave my that first true smile.
Alfie is not here instead of Ethan, he is here because of him. I had a few signs leading up to my labour starting with Alfie and I honestly believe that Ethan watches over us and that he sends us signs to say he is with us. I’d like to think they would have been great playing together.
I am sure I will have more things to overcome in life as time goes on, explaining to Alfie about his other brother who lives in the sky and more questions from other people about when am I going to have another and how many children did I have etc…..
For now though, I have been through enough and the fact that I even have Alfie is amazing. He is my world and makes me laugh every single day, his laugh and his hugs are priceless.
I love you Alfie, more than you will ever know. You are worth everything to me and I will strive to be the best Mummy I can to you and protect you as much as I can.
Love you always and forever, my darling precious rainbow baby.
aka Emma aka #dyspraxicdomesticatedMummy
My rainbow baby……..where do I even start?!