Tommy's guest blog, 16/03/2017, by Natalie
It was such a horrific time but I'm hoping that my story can show others that there is light at the end of the tunnel, no matter how dark it may get.
I was pregnant with our first baby and everything was going absolutely perfectly. Scans were fine, I felt great and I loved every second of being pregnant.
I was 24 weeks and 5 days pregnant when things started to go wrong. I was told so often that movements aren't really monitored from an early stage but at this point of the pregnancy I felt that there was something wrong as I hardy felt my baby move that day. After being seen by a midwife and having the standard checks (blood pressure, urine dipstick test and heartbeat of baby) I was sent home.
The next day, 24 weeks and 6 days pregnant, I started to feel very unwell. I was tired, achy and things didn't feel right. I was at work and it was the end of the day where I just wanted to go home. I went from feeling amazing to awful in such a short space of time.
Finally at 25 weeks I decided to go into hospital again. I didn't sleep all that well and I still felt terrible. This time my lower back was really giving me grief and was very achy. I was seen by a midwife and then seen by a doctor.
Only to be told that I was a few centimetres dilated and was already in labour. At 25 weeks I thought this just wasn't possible.
You're always told "12 weeks is when you can relax" and couldn't quite understand what on earth was going on.
I went into hospital at around 8:30am on the 9th of May 2015 and our daughter, Anastasia, was born at 5 o'clock that afternoon. She was so tiny and weighed less than one kilogram. She was the most perfect little girl who looked just like me. However, it was evident that my waters and everything inside was infected. She had no hope of surviving as she was living in infected waters for what seemed like weeks, if not months.
Our world came crashing down. Saying goodbye to her was the hardest thing my husband and I have ever had to do and we will never forget our beautiful daughter.
Recovering from losing her has been an uphill struggle. In the days and weeks that followed, everything reminded me of what I no longer had - other women who were pregnant, women pushing the prams of their new baby, adverts on TV! Reminders were everywhere!
I knew that to overcome all of this feeling, for me it was about having another child. I knew I wouldn't feel better until I had our baby in my arms.
I knew that the second pregnancy would be difficult but nothing prepared me for the anxiety I felt at every stage of the pregnancy.
When it came to monitoring movements, that was the worst. Still birth took over my thoughts and it got to the point that I took myself to hospital every day from about 34 weeks pregnant to get monitored. Going back and forth to the hospital wasn't the easiest. I live in Cuffley, Herts and was under the care of University College London Hospital so used to go via train in to London to Warren Street. But it was worth every journey to ensure my baby was safe.
However, despite the struggle of this pregnancy and being monitored so much, I finally have my rainbow baby. Angelina Anastasia Charalambous was born in June 2016. We thought it was only right to give her her big sister's name as her middle name to keep Anastasia's memory alive.