Our rainbow after the storm

Little Sebastian who swims at Tifields, Northampton with teacher Katy is fundraising for Tommy’s this Splashathon. Sadly, mum Cheryl suffered the pain of miscarriage and then whilst pregnant with Sebastian had pre-eclampsia and prolonged bleeding. Here’s their story.

Guest blog by Cheryl,

My partner and I started trying for a baby soon after we got married but after a while, with nothing happening, we had some tests and were advised that IVF was the solution.

Our postcode didn’t fund IVF so we had to self-fund. We went to Create in Birmingham and decided to go down the ‘mild IVF’ route. I found the injections OK. The egg collection was the worst bit, rather uncomfortable a few days before, and not great afterwards, but they collected 9 eggs, 3 of those got to stage 5 and were suitable.

We went ahead and did a fresh embryo cycle with what they had graded as the best embryo out of the 3. We then had a 2 week wait which is really hard work, you’re pulling your hair out with worry until you have your pregnancy test. But it worked, I had a positive result. We thought we had won, we had done it, we had a positive test.

Our IVF scan at 7 weeks showed the heartbeat was a little bit slow, our consultant did say that the baby could recover, that this does sometimes happen, but I could see by his face that it wasn’t good news.

A couple of weeks later I went back for another scan. My partner got appendicitis at the same time so I had to go alone – he was in hospital. That’s when I was told there was no heartbeat. My baby’s heartbeat had stopped. I just wanted to get out of there. I just wanted to get home.

The next day I went to the Early Pregnancy Unit (EPU) at Northampton General Hospital. This was probably the worst bit, I didn’t expect them to do another scan, I’d already seen my baby had gone. But the hospital needed to do their own scan, and when they printed the picture they just threw it in the bin. At the time I didn’t say anything but later I realised that I didn’t have anything to remember my baby by.  

I’m not a very emotional person but it really hit me sideways and it took me quite a while to get over it.

It was my cousin who had gone through IVF who encouraged me to keep going and try again. I could have quite easily given up after that. You think you have a positive test so it’s all OK and then it falls apart. And, according to the science that was the best embryo so if the others aren’t as good what’s the point?

I felt like the science had worked but it was my body which had let my baby down. I felt like I’d done something to miscarry my baby.

After a few months we did try again. It was pretty hard to go back and sit in the same room where we’d had the scans done previously and been told such bad news.

This time we had a frozen transfer, a 2 week wait and then the call - another positive result, this time it was Sebastian.

But after a week I had a really, really bad bleed and I just thought, that’s it, it’s all over.

I phoned the EPU but it was a bank holiday weekend so they were shut for 3 days, as was the IVF clinic. When I finally did get to see the clinic they reassured me baby was fine, there was a strong heart beat. But I continued to bleed heavily. I was up and down to the clinic and the EPU, frantically worried and having checks. Every day hoping that the bleeding would stop, and every day it was there. I was discharged at 9 weeks but with our next scan not due until 12 weeks we paid for extra, weekly private scans. I needed that weekly reassurance that despite all the bleeding my baby was still alive. I thought I had lost him several times, I felt that my body couldn’t do what I needed it to and I had failed my baby.

At 12 weeks the bleeding finally stopped. I then had 6 weeks of enjoying my pregnancy but at 18 weeks I stared to panic about my 20 week scan. Convincing myself there would be a problem. But it was all fine and it was then they told us we were having a little boy.

Then at 24 weeks my blood pressure started to rise, and I also had a bit of itching. My midwife dismissed this as a bit of dry skin and advised me to put some moisturiser on it.

No one really knew what was going on. I was told it could be pre-eclampsia or it could be obstetric cholestasis. My consultant told me to get my blood pressure checked twice a week but my doctor’s surgery couldn’t fit me in, so I had to drive to another surgery in Northampton. I was in and out of hospital every couple of days. I’d be anxious about having my blood pressure being taken, so that would push it up, so I’d then be referred to hospital. But after sitting in hospital for a bit it would go down. My blood samples were showing readings which weren’t in line with a normal pregnancy.

But baby was growing really well. They wanted to induce me at 36 weeks but my midwife advised me to try and go as long as I could and I managed to get to 37 weeks and 6 days. Those extra days meant Sebastian was born weighing over 9lbs, a strong and healthy baby, despite his very shaky start.

The moment I heard him cry all the pain of the past and anxiety went away. The moment I saw him in my husband’s arms and the look on his face melted my heart. Instant love...my cousin was right... It was a hard path but totally worth it. Our little rainbow after the storm we are loving every moment. 

 Start your Splashathon fundraising here.