We learnt about our pregnancy in the spring of 2019, and my excitement was high after we visited a private clinic for a gender scan to find out that we were having a baby boy. It was our fourth time after three early miscarriages and the furthest we'd ever reached during a pregnancy.
Kerry was put on various medications to help with the hormone imbalance of her polycystic ovaries (PCOS) in pregnancy, but there were no signs of any problems and we'd already begun preparations for his arrival. As the weeks went by there was a sense of: this is it, this is what we have been longing for, our first child together and my first time as a father after all the previous heartbreak.
Five days before our 20-week scan - another milestone we had yet to meet as a couple - Kerry had niggles of pain and when I went to the local pub she decided to stay home. But after an urgent text, I quickly returned to find her bleeding and in pain, frantically trying to call an ambulance.
Love and loss, panic and pain
It was the most confusing and worrying time of my life. A good friend swiftly took us to hospital where the staff had Kerry through the doors onto a delivery bed before I even had chance to work out what was going on. After an examination, scan and pain relief, we were given the devastating news that our baby would be arriving in the next few hours. My heart sunk and I felt sick.
We questioned whether anything could be done to save him but were told no. Due to our baby only being 19 weeks gestation, they would not be able to intervene even if our son came out breathing; he would have to peacefully pass away. All we could do was wait for nature to take its course – which ended up meaning five days on the ward.
It just didn't seem right that nothing could be done. I remember breaking down, feeling that life was shattered. It was like living in a nightmare; a horrid time I could not make sense of.
After Kerry’s waters finally broke, I noticed something was not right: she was feeling very cold and her speech was somewhat delirious and muddled. I told the midwife, who said these were signs of sepsis, which started a race against time for the baby to be delivered. It was frantic with midwives and doctors running in and out, trying to keep Kerry cool as her temperature reached 42C.
In the early hours, our baby boy Ellis arrived peacefully – a moment that still haunts me to this day, and an image that I try my best to keep at the back of my mind. The night I lost my son, who we were so looking forward to bringing into our life, I also nearly lost my fiancée. As doctors worked to save Kerry, Ellis lay in a basket behind us, but my attention was on her and she didn't even know he was there.
Coping with grief
Everything happened so fast that it was only hours later when I had time to reflect that I broke down, alone in the room, holding him in his little basket. It was a very painful time, something that is still hard to come to terms with today.
It felt wrong but I wanted to return to work as quickly as possible, partly to find some normality and partly to concentrate on something else. We have since learnt as a couple that feeling this way is fine and it’s common for a man to want to be 'busy' to help him cope.
It was tough though, in my line of work; my job is to entertain and talk on the radio, so it sometimes felt I was disrespecting what had happened by having a laugh and being happy. That made me feel angry, sad and worthless.
Our family and our future
I'll probably never stop grieving the loss or get the images out of my mind, but I can happily say that life has moved on – although we always make sure we talk about Ellis as a family and have even begun to document our story in a podcast to help with miscarriage awareness.
A few months after our loss, we found out Kerry was pregnant again with a baby girl; another early birth story, as she arrived at 24 weeks. Our daughter has yet to come home, but my first Father’s Day this year will be spent with my miracle daughter Eleanor holding the light and reminding us of Ellis our not forgotten son.