BFP!!!! Oh my god, those magic words were there on the pregnancy test….pregnant 2-3 weeks. We couldn’t believe it, after all we had been through, all the waiting, and treatment, we’d done it, we were finally going to be parents.
You may remember i said hubby wasn’t as excited as me when we started TTC. well by this point thats all changed, we’ve watched nearly every friend we know have a baby, with what seemed like little to no effort on their part, so by this point hubby needed to be a Daddy as much as i needed to be a Mummy!!! I remember the day so well, we were both walking on air, grins like a cheshire cat, the works!!!
Id tested about 6 days earlier than clinic suggested, but as it was a non medicated cycle, i knew when i was due on so i wasn’t worried. In those 6 days i did another test for my mum, she was equally thrilled, in fact all the family on both sides were, they were well aware of our journey. Friends were equally excited, we’d been told over and over what good parents we would make and now, it was our turn!!!!
When i could eventually share my news with the clinic, they booked me in for a viability scan at 8 weeks, this is standard with ivf pregnancies, just want to check that everything is in the right place etc. however that was 3 weeks later. Que. me turning into a POAS (pee on a stick) addict….i must’ve done 6 but in the 50 odd months TTC, id never ever seen a positive test so i think i can be forgiven 😉 those 3 weeks were slow but with an increase in pregnancy symptoms, i wasn’t overly worried. I never got morning sickness, which was a relief as i was sick most mornings due to anorexia anyway, my eating increased so much, i wasn’t eating for 2 i was eating for 22 but oh my i felt wonderful!!! Pregnancy suited me!!!
Our early scan comes around and i bottle it, refuse to lie down for fear my dream will come to an end, but the lovely sonographer talked me round, and within seconds showed me my baby and its heartbeat….by that i mean a blob with a flashy thing in the middle. Oh but it was the most beautiful blob we’d ever seen. Hubby rushed to the waiting room to get my mum who wasn’t supposed to come in but the sonographer took pity on us. We cried such joyful tears, our little blob was real!!
I spent the new few weeks in utter disbelief, the pregnancy continued uneventfully, no bleeding, plenty of stretching , and i felt amazing, but i just couldn’t let myself believe it was really happening, kept waiting for someone to tell me it was all in my head. By the 12 week scan i was convinced they were showing me a video of a someone else’s baby! It was so surreal. We wanted the NT test for an indication of Downs Syndrome, but baby just showed off its bottom and wouldn’t let the sonographer see the back of its neck. We were offered bloods at 16 weeks to check same thing but as we would refuse an amnio or cvs, the midwife talked us out of having it done at all, which was the best decision for us.
I could finally go into Mothercare without feeling a fraud, although the first time i went in after getting pregnant, i had a major melt down about the amount to buy!! I never really thought much about being pregnant and having a baby, just about conceiving, silly really, but it was a coping mechanism! Mum ordered a travel cot that day, it was the first of many purchases.
I started to show really quickly, being 7st5 at the time we got our BFP i gained weight rapidly and was in maternity clothes full time from about 12 weeks. I loved it, i wanted to be a big fat weeble, and it looked like my dream was coming true. I had to buy a new maternity bra every month as the ladies were growing faster than the speed of light. I was truly in my element and by 16 weeks, i actually dared to believe i was going to have a baby.
Mum and i ordered a pram on xmas day as there was a sale going on, we also ordered the car seat, my very own travel system, mine, for my baby, at last. We had some clothes, nappies, steriliser, i was very impressed with how well we were doing.
One wednesday….the 5th march, my moses basket arrived, i couldnt work out how to keep the hood up but stepped back and left hubby to it, much to his surprise, i usually dont let anything go, but i was hungry, and it was Daddy’s job. He spent hours working it out and eventually presented me with the perfect moses basket. Again, absolutely thrilled that we were actually going to be parents!!
The next day was our 20 week scan. Id been teased about having twins, i was too big for a singleton they said, but all i worried about was staying team yellow. We didn’t want to know, we’d been back and forth but decided it’d make labour easier if i had a reason to keep pushing. Id informed hubby i expected diamonds as my pushing present, we literally had no cares in the world that morning. We arrived at the hospital, cursing the car park for being busy, and sat in the waiting room looking round at all the expectant mums, i was HUGE compared to most of them, but thats the way i wanted it….pregnant and proud, id dressed the bump especially!!!
In we went, same sonographer as we had at the 8 week scan, i felt so relaxed and excited to see baby on screen, itd been a long 8 weeks. My doppler was great but not the same as a picture. Id been having kicks from around 16/17 weeks too so i KNEW baby was just fine….
The scan started, i saw the heart and the chambers, even commented on how clear it was…not really thinking why are there are only 2? she moved onto the legs, i joked that if the leg measurement was short, not to worry as me and hubby are quite short too. She didnt say a word, which i thought was odd but was too absorbed in my little star on the screen. Then she turned to us and said ‘i think your baby is very poorly. There is something wrong with the heart’. Hubby burst into tears, but i shh’d him telling him we didnt know anything yet…the sonographer turned back to do pictures and thats when it hit me and i started to sob. I was in not fit state to lay there for pictures so we were moved into a private room and the sonographer went off to book us a follow up….i remember that room, its had no tissues and all i could do was cry!!!! Hubby seemed to go into shock, bless him, im not a big crier so seeing me like that kinda jolted him into protector mode i think, he just held me.
The sonographer returned and said we had been booked into see a fetal heart specialist, that very afternoon. Should have been a 4 day wait but they squeezed us in….not a good sign.
So we left to sit in a coffee shop for 3 hrs whilst we waited. From being so high, walking on air, we were now rock bottom, if i saw my reflection i cried my heart out, i knew by now it must be serious. I rang my mum, told her what we had been told but vowed nothing and no one was going to make me end this pregnancy. We tried to come up with what was wrong….a hole, was it backward, whatever it was, they’d fix it, the technology and skills today are amazing, they’d fix it.
We trudged back to the hospital, and were placed in a private waiting area. Eventually called to a specialist scanning room. At least here i had my own private screen, i didn’t have to share with the doc. It was lovely to see my baby again, wiggling all over, surely baby cant be that poorly i thought. She switched on the sound and i heard baby’s heart beat, it wasn’t the first time as i had my own doppler and id heard it at midwife apts, but right there and then it meant that baby was ok and we really didn’t need to be there. 30 minutes later the lovely doctor from another hospital finished her scan, we were asked once again to wait in a private room.
20minutes later, a whole group of people walked in, 5 of them to be exact. Hubby whispered, its going to be ok, they wouldnt send this many people if they couldnt fix it.
Then the doctor started talking….it was bad, really bad, basically as bad as it could get. Baby had HLHS (hyperplastic left heart syndrome) which basically meant one side of the heart hadnt developed properly. She drew a diagram of a normal heart and our baby’s heart, the differences were obvious. She then went through the care that could be given, operation at 2 days old, operation at 5yrs old, various other ops until 15 when baby would need a full heart transplant. There was no fix, no cure, just preventative surgery and a limited life style, IF baby survived. Oh and it was in the right, not the left, but that didn’t matter, loads of people have their heart on the right and if its wired up properly, they never know!
The pain….the devastation, the realisation that baby was so poorly, it was a surgeons nightmare, the lovely doctor said so herself, there are just no words to describe that. The tears started and they didn’t stop for 4 days. We had 3 options, continue to full term and provide palliative care to baby until he/she passed away 2 weeks later, the surgeries, or end the pregnancy.
Im pro choice, but never in all my days did i think id have to make that choice…but by the end of the meeting, i knew what had to be done. I had to save my baby a life time of pain and end the pregnancy. The pregnancy we waited so long for, the baby that was soooooo loved already, i had to end it all. They asked at the end if we had an idea of what we wanted to do, hubby said no, but i said, very quietly, we cant continue.
We were sent home and told to call Monday, to let them know our decision. I can barely remember that weekend, i know i wrote a message to close family and friends to explain, i know i had already made the decision to terminate for medical reasons and i know i never let go of hubby. The rest is a blur. We stopped eating, but baby didnt stop kicking. I had a fair few cigarettes, i know i shouldnt have but im not a drinker and just needed a crutch.
On monday we called to tell them our decision, we went in that afternoon to sign the paperwork and start the process, a tablet to shut down the placenta. We were told to come back wednesday when i would deliver baby.
2 days of nothingness, just the kicks getting stronger, me pleading with baby for he/she to sleep, explaining that he/she wasnt strong, it was my heart that kept theirs beating, once the placenta was gone, baby couldn’t make it on their own, but still baby kicked and kicked and kicked….
Wednesday came and in we went, we didn’t take much, i was under the impression we’d be out that night. We checked in at reception, i was asked why i was there, had to mumble ‘for a termination’ but the receptionist realised her mistake and from then on the care was second to none. We waited in a Waiting room before quickly been moved to a family room – basically a room made to loom like a hotel rather than hospital for families going through a bad time. It was quite cosy really. We met a bereavement midwife who was fab and she talked us through the process. I had my first pessary at about 11am and started contracting slowly from the off, within half an hr i was given codeine and when that didn’t help i was offered a shot of morphine. The midwives told me to take as much pain relief as possible, i was about to go through something horrific so take all the help i could. Ive always done as I’m told so i did lol
The contractions came and went so every 3 hrs i had another pessary. I was moved to delivery 5 times that first day, but nothing happened, at all. 9am thursday comes around, I’ve had no sleep, every time the contractions got bad, i had morphine, which seemed to halt labour…so i was given a pessary and told i had to take a 12 hr break so next one would be at 9pm…it wasn’t!
I had more morphine and fell asleep for 2 hrs….i woke up and i was in active labour….boy thats not fun! I had more morphine and this time the contractions just kept on coming….so we went to delivery again, at about 11.30am and there we stayed! The contractions got stronger and more frequent, i paced, i bounced but nothing helped. The gas and air was ok but much better alongside the morphine, problem was, the morphine wore off in 30mins. By 3pm id had my quota of morphine and needed a drip now, that had to be signed off by an anaesthetist, i held out as long as i could by at 5pm i needed it, it took an hr to sort out, and once i was hooked up my waters broke.
So much fluid, was t expecting that, and with each contraction there was more, no wonder i was so big!!! 20mins later and 3 pushes later, our baby boy was born sleeping at 6.15pm weighing 390 grams.
I asked that he be taken away to be cleaned up, whilst i was cleaned up too. The morphine had done nothing for the pain but it had numbed me emotionally. I went back to the family room and had a shower and got dressed. Then they brought in our little boy. He was perfect but tiny, maybe the length of a banana, he’d been dressed in a baby grow we had chosen and had a bear under his arm, these things would stay with him forever.
There is nothing more beautiful than a daddy meeting his new born…i will never forget watching hubby fall in love with our baby. It was bittersweet, he was a parent, but wasnt able to parent. He cried so hard and for so long, just rocking our baby back and forth. He was so delicate that we didnt dare pick him up or help with the hand prints or foot prints.
Hubby handed baby to me, the morphine made this easier for me to cope with. He needed a name. We had Jack in mind for a boy, but he wasnt a Jack. I had no idea what to do, but then, very quietly, hubby says ‘what about Milo?’ Oh the joy, it was perfect, made for him, short and sweet just like this beautiful little person in front of me. He swears to this day we had a convo about the name Milo but i dont think we did and frankly i hope we didnt as i love the idea that he just knew baby was meant to be Milo. I talked to him, explained why we had done what we had, told him how much i loved him. He was the absolute spit of his Dad, my nose but hubby through and through. Perfect. I took off his little hat to look at his ears and couldnt help myself but check between his legs…..definitely a boy!!!! I kissed him, stroked his cold tiny face, said my goodbyes.
In all honestly i couldnt wait to get out of there, it was midnight on thursday and i had been there way longer than i could manage, i just wanted to run away. The staff all understood this and we were discharged that night. Milo was taken to stay with the other babies born sleeping.