Myself and my wife Karen have been together for 16 years, having met at a gig in Dublin. We got married 6 years ago, and have always wanted children, but wanted to have a foundation first.
We saved up for fertility treatment over a few years and started the process during lockdown.
Our baby boy
We were so excited to be pregnant, but I had bleeding for most of my pregnancy. I was being regularly monitored, and the bleeding stopped around 14 weeks.
A few weeks later, at 20 weeks, I had a pain and had some bright red bleeding. I went to hospital and was checked, where they told us everything all appeared ok. We had a scan and saw our little boy. He was just perfect.
They kept me in for two nights. Everything seemed settled and I was discharged. But the following morning, I was readmitted with pain. I’d initially thought it was bad constipation, but when they examined me, it was clear I was fully dilated. This is when we found out our son had no heartbeat.
It was then apparent that I was quite sick with chorioamnionitis. I started strong antibiotics, and 2 hours later delivered my son. I never felt anything until that morning.
Support after our loss
After our loss, we got a lot of support from baby loss charities (Féileacain and A Little Lifetime in Ireland).
We were also supported by an amazing bereavement midwife in our hospital. She helped us organise everything and kept in touch throughout. My obstetrician was also great, she was caring empathetic and answered all questions.
I found online groups and support pages, like Tommy’s, really helpful for information on baby loss.
I’ve also been supported on numerous occasions by a Tommy's midwife over the phone. I contacted them with questions about supplements for pregnancy and anxiety around pregnancy after loss.
Armed with information from Tommy’s, I felt better prepared for pregnancy after loss”
Getting pregnant again
In 2022, I was pregnant again. There was a lot of anxiety throughout the pregnancy, and my consultant was bringing me in regularly for scans. It was a rough time, but I just concentrated on hope and bringing our baby home.
It was during regular check-ups they noticed my cervix had shortened dramatically in a week. There was never a clear indication as to why we lost our son, but they assumed it was an infection. This time, it was clear.
I was put on bed rest and had a cerclage at 19 weeks. A month later, I was transferred to a maternity hospital with a level 3 NICU. I was hoping to get to 28 weeks, but my daughter had other plans. Méabh was born at 25 weeks.
Our time in NICU
After she was born, our beautiful daughter spent 6 months in NICU and needed a lot of breathing support. She was gravely ill for her first 70 days and spent 170 days there in total.
It was an extremely stressful and worrying time, but the NICU team were fantastic. The nurses looked after us just as much as our daughter. We got home in January 2023 and haven't looked back since. Our daughter is thriving and we’re so grateful.
Advice to others
My advice to anyone who is pregnant and worried would be, if you have any concerns about your pregnancy it's always worth getting checked out. I had no definite symptoms, but I just felt like something was wrong. I spoke to a midwife and she advised to come in for a check-up, which is when they noticed my cervix was open. It’s so important to know and listen to your body.