by Katrina Cliffe
Up until a week before Casey was born I'd had the perfect pregnancy, so it was a complete shock to find out that I have an incompetent cervix at 19 weeks.
We were told that the only chance of him surviving was for me to have an emergency stitch placed in my cervix, unfortunately this carried risks itself and my waters broke during the operation. I managed to hold on to Casey for a few more days until I had to be induced due to infection setting in.
I gave birth to Casey on the 3rd June 2004 at 4.10pm, weighing just 11 ounces and measuring 25cm.
He was absolutely perfect in every way and his daddy and I were absolutely devastated that something like this had happened to us.
After losing Casey we also discovered that I also have a blood clotting condition called Factor V Leiden and that any future pregnancies would involve having to self inject to prevent blood clots forming within the placenta on a daily basis.
We then fell pregnant again five months after Casey was born and unfortunately we suffered a missed miscarriage.
We have since gone on to have a beautiful little girl named Stevie who was born seven weeks premature, weighing 4lb 12oz, but we wouldn't have got that far if it wasn't for the stitch that was put in early on during my pregnancy and the 4 weeks of bedrest before her birth. My waters just went at exactly 33 weeks and somehow my body just doesn't go into labour so I was therefore induced.
In November 2010 - We found out that we are expecting again, I was booked in to have my stitch put in on the 23rd December. Since having Casey and Stevie things have changed so much, I had to have twice weekly progesterone injections (after a Tommy's trial found that progesterone helps prevent premature birth in some women) self inject clexane and take low dose asprin. All of which have left me feeling rather shocking. At 24 weeks a scan found that my cervix was funnelling and I was placed on bedrest. The baby is growing well so that is all that matters at this stage.
At 25 weeks I find out that my consultant whom I nominated for a Tommy's Hero Award has won in the England category - but I can't attend as I'm on bedrest. Absolutely gutted - but the health of my baby comes first.
The bedrest dragged on for 10 weeks, thankfully my consultant allowed me to do at home but this was only because of our previous dealings and she knew that I would do it. Bedrest sounds bliss but after a day it's a nightmare. I manage to get to 34 weeks, past the stage where Stevie was born, and the bedrest restrictions are lifted. I was absolutely massive and struggled with the weight.
The progesterone injections are stopped at 34 weeks, I am so relieved, they are not nice to have, but I have to continue the clexane for the time being. I start walking Stevie to school as the weeks progress to help bring on labour. After all that time willing my baby to stay in I now can't wait for her to come out.
As the weeks progress I start to get really bad water retention and carpal tunnel in both arms. At 39+2 they decide to induce me. I won't go into all the details, but it started on the Saturday and it was Thursday before she was born.
The day of her birth was quite traumatic, I was tired, everyone was getting worried and I eventually ended up in theatre in case I needed an emergency c-section. Eventually our second daughter, Jaime was born (the day before her due date) with the help of forceps. She suffered a cut to her face and I suffered a general tear along with a further tear to my cervix, both of which had to be stitched. Jaime weighed 8lb 13oz at birth, so I'm not too sure I'm cut out for delivering big babies.
My baby carrying days are most definitely over, but I am so grateful for all the professionals that helped ensure I got my daughters here safely and to Tommy's for the research needed to assist the professionals. Without them I wouldn't have my family.
I have been aware of Tommy's since losing Casey and in these last few years they have achieved so much in terms of research and helping to prevent other parents suffering the same fate we have, even the tiniest donation helps, so please spare whatever you can.
Even the tiniest donation helps - just £8 goes towards 20 woman having the cervical stitch!