Who can explain the raw emotions you feel after losing a baby? You feel so alone, even though everyone is around you.

Zoe and Dan welcomed their first baby, Elsie, into the world in 2019 following a healthy pregnancy. Nothing could prepare them for the heartbreak of baby loss during the pandemic, and the rollercoaster of emotion that followed during their next pregnancy. Thankfully, Zoe and Dan’s rainbow baby, Ezra, was born in 2021. Now, Zoe is running the LLHM 2023 to raise money and awareness for Tommy’s.

Dan and I got married in 2018 and decided to try for a baby straight away. Although we didn’t know it then, we were very lucky to fall pregnant quickly and went on to have an extremely healthy pregnancy. Elsie was born on 12th October 2019 and, three weeks after having her, I was already broody for another baby. 

I put it down to my hormones but after 5 months the feeling didn’t go away, and we decided to try for baby number two. It felt like the perfect time as we were just going in to lock down and had nothing better to do! We found out we were pregnant on 26th May 2020. Then the reality hit. I was 29 and would soon have two babies under two. How on earth would I cope? We’d find a way of course; we have extremely supportive families. What’s the worst that could happen?

Pregnancy and baby loss during the pandemic

Due to the pandemic, we knew that I would likely have to attend all NHS scans alone, so we booked two early private scans to see baby Mellor together. These scans had indicated that all was well with baby Mellor. So, although I was alone, I wasn’t too nervous when I went for my routine NHS 12-week scan.

Unfortunately, I was told that baby Mellor’s Nuchal Translucency (NT) measure, an indicator of foetal abnormalities, was higher than average.

I was referred to a consultant and, after another scan two days later, was given the worrying statistic that there was a 25% chance that baby Mellor would pass. If baby Mellor was born, there was a very high chance that they would be really poorly. Although we didn’t know the sex of the baby, this is when we started referring to them as Bertie.

Despite the devastating news, we chose to tell all our family and friends that we were expecting baby Bertie. We felt that it was important that this baby be talked about as much as any other baby. We also knew that if anything were to happen, we would need the support of our loved ones.

Life continued as normally as it could but, on 14th August 2020 at 15 weeks pregnant, I started bleeding. We went straight to A&E and on initial inspection it looked like all was well as the cervix was still closed. But we couldn’t have a scan until the next morning. Dan was unable to stay due to coronavirus restrictions so we both spent a long night alone. 

The following morning, a scan revealed that I had suffered a silent miscarriage at approximately 12 weeks and 1 day pregnant. We had no idea that baby Bertie had passed three weeks earlier.

Although Bertie had passed, I still needed to deliver and so was given a tablet to start the miscarriage process. I was sent home and told to return to the hospital two days later. Fortunately, I miscarried at home on 16th August so we were able to be together at such a difficult time.

Losing a baby at any time is extremely distressing but losing a baby during the pandemic made everything more difficult to process. We were unable to be together at almost all the key moments in hospital which meant I had to receive and try to process the bad news alone, then call Dan to tell him I was no longer pregnant. 

Feelings after loss

Who can explain the raw emotions you feel after losing a baby? You feel so alone, even though everyone is around you. You blame yourself. You wonder what you could have done to prevent this from happening. You feel guilty for feeling moments of happiness.

And what is it about EVERYONE you walk past being pregnant? I mean EVERYONE! You picture how your life would have been, first birthdays, starting school, and you remember all the significant dates. I cried, I drank too much, I just didn’t know what to do.

I reached out and got myself some counselling. I had a few sessions and, although it helped, I didn’t gel with the counsellor, so I decided to stop going. Soon, part of me just wanted to be pregnant again, but another part of me didn’t as I was scared and felt like I was trying to replace Bertie. We decided to start trying again a couple of months later and in January 2021, we found out we were expecting another baby.

Pregnancy after loss

The first few weeks of my pregnancy with Ezra I was absolutely petrified. Every time I went to the toilet, I was expecting to find blood when I wiped.

The only thing that made me think I was still pregnant was the constant nausea I had, which although it was awful, I welcomed as I knew I was still pregnant. Then the nausea stopped, and I struggled to believe I was pregnant. This is why we decided to find out the sex of the baby so that I could hopefully start to build a relationship with the thing growing in my belly. Throughout the pregnancy I was extremely paranoid and convinced that something would go wrong. I was incredibly relieved when they decided to induce me at 40 weeks. 

Giving birth after loss

Nothing could prepare me for the emotional rollercoaster of giving birth after loss. I’ve never feared hospital, to be honest I’ve always quite enjoyed being there as I love the food (weird, I know!) and I know I’m safe. But as soon as they put the IV in, before they induced me, I blacked out. I was out for over 10 minutes and when I finally woke up, my midwife was in scrubs, and I was about to be wheeled down for a c-section. As I seemed to be doing ok, they decided to keep trying for a vaginal birth. 

Every time Ezra’s heartbeat dropped (which is very normal during childbirth), I panicked. I passed out twice more during the labour through sheer worry.

Then it was time to push. I went into the zone and knew I just needed him out. He was out within three contractions and safely in my arms. The rush of love and relief I felt was overwhelming. I couldn’t believe we had a second baby in our arms, and he was safe. Every time he went quiet I made the midwives check he was okay but somehow, after a few hours I stopped worrying. He was here.

My reason for running

When we were trying to process our loss, we educated ourselves on miscarriage. Whilst we may not have any answers as to why this happened to us, we sadly realised that miscarriages are much more common than people think. 1 in 4 pregnancies ends in miscarriage. This is why I decided to run the London Landmarks Half Marathon, to raise money and awareness for Tommy’s. We may not have the answers we would like, but I’m determined to raise some money so that people in the future can get the answers they deserve.