My two rainbow babies

Water Babies swimmers Willoughby and Flynn are taking part in Splashathon. Here, mum Lianne shares their story of why fundraising for Tommy’s is so important to them...

Tommy's guest blog, 15/05/2019, by Lianne

Like a lot of people after they get married, my husband and I decided we were ready to start a family. We were fairly naive about how long this might take after seeing most of our friends get pregnant on their honeymoon. I suppose we thought it might take a couple of months before we got our wish. Unfortunately months just kept going by and still nothing was happening.

Every month became more and more difficult and people's constant questions like "when are you guys going to have a baby?" and "don't you want a baby?" became more and more hard to listen to.

Not to mention people constantly watching my tummy and my eating and drinking habits just in case I was pregnant and giving me a wink if I ordered juice instead of a glass of wine. I wouldn't have minded if I was actually pregnant but instead I was hiding a sad truth and was wondering if I would ever have a baby. I started not going to parties when I knew I would see a pregnant friend and I lived in constant fear that someone would announce a pregnancy in front of me. I didn't know how I would take the news face to face, it was hard enough to hear over the phone or by text.

Deep down of course I was happy for everyone having babies but I really struggled to fake a smile and say congratulations when put on the spot. I started avoiding social media and had a slightly irrational hatred for people moaning about their own pregnancies on Facebook.

Life felt incredibly unfair. and I felt like I had failed at the most important thing a woman should be able to do.

Finally after a year (that felt like forever) of trying, my husband and I became pregnant. We finally got the big fat positive we were so longing to see. We had a fun few days knowing this secret and planned baby names and what we needed to buy. It was an amazing feeling.

Unfortunately a few days after we found out, I started to bleed. I went straight to the hospital and they said that it would appear I was losing the baby and there was nothing they could do. I was told "don't worry you are young, you will get pregnant again" by the doctor. As I said to the doctor though, I had been trying for a year to get this baby and I wanted THIS baby.

I went home and cried myself to sleep most nights for a week. I was grieving for a baby that I barely knew existed and coping with the physical pain of a miscarriage on top of this. I couldn't even tell my husband exactly how low I felt.

The scan a week later confirmed I had had a full miscarriage. At this point we decided to tell friends and family what had happened. We couldn't cope with the secret any more. People tried to be supportive and would say "don't worry, you will have another" or "most people get pregnant straight after having a miscarriage" but nobody could say the right thing. I am not sure if I even knew what the right thing to say would have been.

Another lonely 18 months went by with absolutely no luck. Our friends and family were now having second children and our social life completely came to a standstill. It was easier to avoid people and not make any plans.

It was at this point that we made the difficult decision to seek private medical advice and ended up going down the IVF route. I never thought this would be something we would have to consider doing but we were advised we had no choice as the chance of naturally conceiving was about 7%.

It was an incredibly difficult and disruptive process, not to mention costly but it was encouraging to know that we weren't the only people going through it. We were very honest with friends, family and colleagues about what we were doing and so many people came forward to tell us their own fertility issues. I wish we had known sooner that it wasn't just us.

My story does have a happy ending though and everything we went through was absolutely worth it because in October 2015 we welcomed our beautiful boy, Willoughby. 18 months later, we welcomed our second boy Flynn who was conceived naturally. We have ended up with two wonderful rainbow babies. I still think about the baby we lost though and will forever treasure them in my heart.

Start your fundraising for Splashathon here.