I am a mother to two babies; one angel and one rainbow. It is a bitter-sweet ending

The second pregnancy taught me to always go with your gut instinct; if it doesn't feel right it probably isn't.

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by Claire

May 2016

We thought we were home and dry when it came to a pregnancy. I had been suffering badly with SPD and the thought of coming off my crutches and the pain going away was just on the horizon. My sky high blood pressure and swollen ankles would soon be over. Pram was together, basket was ready and bag was packed. We were ready.

I was 39 weeks +1 day. Myself, my husband and my stepdaughter decided to have one last day out together as a threesome before my pending induction just three days later. It was a beautiful hot sunny July day. We spent the day at the coast enjoying icy cold drinks and ice-creams. However our baby didn't seem to be enjoying it very much. In fact baby didn't seem to have any reaction to the cold. I wasn't too concerned as we had seen the midwife that week and heard the heartbeat. All was good that day. As far as I was concerned the baby was just having a sleep. 

When we got home I became more concerned as it dawned on me that baby hadn't reacted to anything. I told hubby who again said baby must be just having a sleep. I was not happy with that. I found the on call midwife who gave the use of advice about cold drinks and lying down. I had done all of f that before even phoning her. She advised we go in. Hubby moaned about parking fees as he always did and my step daughter became quite excited as it would be the first time she would hear her brother or sister's heartbeat. None of us knew that she would never hear it and as parents we would never hear it again.

We arrived at the hospital just on shift change and a midwife saw us straight away. She seemed quite young and struggled to find a heartbeat and as much as this worried me I kept telling myself that she must be fairly new. When she went to get another midwife to check I started to panic a little. When the second midwife called for the sonographer I can already feel my heart racing. My hubby and stepdaughter sat in the corner giggling with excitement at the thought of seeing baby on the screen. When my stepdaughter stood up to have a look at the screen the Sonographer asked her to sit down again. I think a part of me already knew what she was about to say. 
"I'm sorry but I cannot find a heartbeat." She said.

I looked at hubby and silently screamed at him to fix this. It was then it hit us our baby was dead.

With no family in the area we had to wait over an hour for my parents to get to us to take my stepdaughter home with them. As I was booked in for induction on the Tuesday I was made to carry for 2 more days. Tablets started contractions which made my baby Move as if he was still alive. My hubby called it cruel. We did not stop crying. Our world ended as far as we were concerned. 

My son finally arrived on the Wednesday. He was absolutely perfect with the longest legs and arms on a newborn I had ever seen. I longed for him to scream. I wanted to be one of those miracle deliveries with the baby defies the doctors and lives. But he didn't. His eyes were open and staring straight back at me. But not a sound. We called him Leighton.

I didn't want to let him go. The midwives placed him in the special basket. They took his prints for us I made a beautiful card to keep them in. We took him down to the chapel where had him blessed. We had as much time as we wanted with him but there came the time we had to say goodbye. 

We had to wait 16 weeks for the autopsy to be completed. As I already said my blood pressure was sky-high and my ankles always swollen. I was found to be suffering from pre-eclampsia but I remained undiagnosed. I have previously contacted and on duty midwife complaining of a pain under my ribs but was told it was just baby kicking. She didn't want to come out that evening it was obvious. The only sign any midwife wanted to know about was if I saw flashing lights. My son bore the brunt of the condition for me . 

We began trying again a few months later. A lot of people felt this was far too early but we were parents with empty arms and a lot of love to give. Months of trying without success and Mother's Day was looming. I dreaded it. My stepdaughter so want to give me a card and present but I asked my husband to stop her. On mothering Sunday I felt compelled to go to the chemist and get some tests. With previous tests all being negative I went for the buy one get one free offer thinking I'll have one for the following month. However two pink lines showed in the box. I called my husband up to the bathroom and his jaw dropped;

"We better get your mum to check", he said. 

Mum came up and had to be handed instructions to see what she was looking at. With a big grin across her face she said "we better get your sister to double check." So with four of us standing around one stick, we decided it had to be positive. My son had give me the best Mother's Day present ever. 

What can only be described as nine months of a living hell was endured. With each niggle and twinge I was convinced I was losing my baby yet again.

I promised myself I would never be told it was just a baby or just normal pregnancy ever again. I promised myself I would be a pain in the backside to all midwives all maternity staff. I'm glad I did as one midwife again still didn't wanna come out and see me for a Doppler session. I was told I could go to the foetal movement assessment unit but it was highly unlikely that they would see me there. I went straight there and they want to know who that midwife was as I was always welcome there. By the end of the nine months they knew me and my husband by first names and even had tea with sugar in ready for hubby when we got there. 

A short battle with the consultant meant I could be induced at 37 weeks so I would never have to go through those last two weeks full of anxiety and stress. 16 months after Leighton died we welcomed into the world are daughter who we aptly named Faith. The induction lead into an emergency section and as faith was lifted out the midwife said to hubby "what is it?" To which he replied "it's a baby!" Laughing like crazy the midwife said "yes I know it's a baby but what is it?" In the end she gave up and announced it's a girl.

17 months later we have a whirlwind of a toddler running around causing mayhem and destruction wherever she goes. Her massive, massive personality and cheekiness does not give me any time to be sad and I think her brother wanted this. 

I am a mother to 2 babies; one angel and one rainbow. It is a bitter-sweet ending. Had I not lost Leighton I was never known such pain and heartache but had I not lost Leighton I would never of had this girl who has taken over our lives and brought back such happiness. The second pregnancy taught me to always go with your gut instinct is and if it doesn't feel right it probably isn't. 

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