At the start of 2014 I was pregnant with my second child, my first child was born at term following a healthy pregnancy in 2008.
In 2009 I underwent a procedure to remove abnormal cells from my cervix detected by a smear test (LLETZ), so when I had my initial antenatal appointment I asked if this procedure would cause any issues, I was relieved to be told no.
On Tuesday 25th March 2014 I was 18 weeks and 3 days pregnant. I had for 2 days been suffering from increased pressure and was having difficulty passing urine, a urine infection was suspected, however this was not the case, at 20.30 on the evening of the 25th my waters broke, not a trickle but a pop followed by an almighty gush. The medical name for waters breaking early is preterm premature rupture of membranes (PPROM), 2 days after my waters had gone it was officially confirmed by the early pregnancy unit.
Upon examination my cervix was open, I was told a miscarriage was inevitable and was admitted to the gynae ward.We were devastated, I couldn't understand what was happening. I was given a side room and left to collect my thoughts, later that evening I was moved to a sideroom with an ensuite toilet, it soon became clear why when the nurse advised that I should place a bedpan in the toilet in case something came out.
I hardly slept at all, alternated between crying, pleading and pacing, terrified to use the toilet and terrified to look in the bedpan.
The following morning, and to everyone's surprise I was still pregnant, and with no signs of labour was told I could go home and be "conservatively managed", this involved antibiotics, twice weekly bloods and regularly monitoring my temperature.
I was ecstatic, it was a glimmer of hope that I was prepared to cling to with all my might.
I fell into a routine of hospital trips, scans showed the baby was growing although there was never much fluid, as the days crept by my hope soared, I began to dream that my baby would make it.
On the 24th April I began to have a headache, I went to bed but by the early hours it was clear that I had more than a headache, I began to feel like I was developing the flu, at the antenatal clinic that morning a quick trip to the toilet before going in confirmed my worst fear, I had developed infection, I was admitted onto the delivery ward, it had been 31 days since my waters had gone, I was now 22 week and 6 days pregnant.
The consultant was frank, I had a uterine infection which would most likely start labour, the antibiotics I needed could possibly kill the baby. He also told me that should I deliver after midnight I would be 23 weeks, and in that case the paediatric team would assess the baby for intervention.
With hindsight I wish he hadn't told me that, when my daughter Maya was born at 19.30 that evening I felt like I had failed her, tiny and weighing just 495g, she made some sucking motions and curled her finger around mine.
20 minutes later she was still, my baby had died.
I spent the night with her in a private room, she lay in a cold cot, I was desperately tired but didn't want to sleep, going to sleep meant waking up next to my dead baby, waking up to this nightmare. A nightmare that consisted of delivering a child that would not be helped, was not viable, yet was laying here next to me looking every inch the perfect baby.
2 weeks later our baby girl was laid to rest, the inscription on the coffin had her name, then the words "at rest" how could a baby rest that had never got the chance to live?
11 months later in March 2015, I had my rainbow baby, prematurely at 29 weeks, she was nearly a pregnancy loss but thanks to Professor Shennan and the team at the preterm surveillance clinic at St Thomas' she wasn't. I had referred myself to them at 6 weeks pregnant following the advice of a fantastic online support group. It transpired that the lletz procedure had left my cervix incredibly short, which caused it to dilate and ultimately my waters broke.
Today my rainbow Priya is 16 months old, she is a joyous distraction along with my first child Anjali, but my heart will always ache for Maya, the little girl whose birth I relive every day, something that sometimes I still can't believe actually happened.
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