#misCOURAGE story, 17/03/2017, by Lisa Roberts
I was at the gym, doing sit ups and planning a long swim in the pool after. Then it dawned on me, I shouldn't be swimming this week and I should be on my period. I thought no more of it, thinking maybe I'm just late and went swimming as planned.
I stopped in my local shop on the way home to grab some bits for tea and decided maybe I should just get a pregnancy test in case, and there was the faintest but clear line. I was pregnant.
I hadn't planned to be pregnant. I hadn't even thought of getting pregnant. But here I was with a positive line.
One trip to the doctors the following Monday morning confirmed I was pregnant. It was the best and happiest surprise of my life.
Everything seemed to go well from there. My first midwife appointment was fine (although I fainted at the blood test as I don't do blood!) and I was happily excited for my first scan.
That came around but something didn't feel right. I could see my baby on the screen but he wasn't moving. There was a heartbeat but no matter what I tried he didn't shift from the position he was in.
But the hospital seemed happy enough and sent me on my way. I was called in two ish weeks later for a blood test, as they couldn't measure the back of the neck. I was told I would hear by phone within seven days if there was a problem.
Nine days past and no call. Great, everything was good.
Then one Monday lunchtime I went home as normal to see to my dogs and noticed blood in my knickers. I panicked and called my doctor who was out at home visits and was told she would call back.
In the time waiting for her call the hospital rang and told me I had a high level of AFP hormone (linked to spina bifida and miscarriage) in my blood and needed to go in urgently the next day for a scan.
The rest of the day and that evening was heartaching and the worst.
I went up for the scan as planned on the Tuesday and within minutes of laying on the bed I heard "I'm sorry there's no heart beat". My world ended. I ended.
I had a long wait for a consultant to come and prescribe me tablets to start off labour, but I had a wonderful friend who had experienced similar who talked me through everything while I sat waiting.
I shut down and somehow managed to phone my work and my parents-in-law to get my partner home from offshore. I had my mum sat with me being my rock.
This was the longest process. I don't remember an awful lot because I think my body shut down. But the flashbacks in bed are the worst.
I started the first tablet for labour on the Tuesday, then had to wait all day Wednesday at home before I could go to hospital and deliver our boy on the Thursday.
I don't remember much from that Wednesday and if I'm honest I felt like I wasn't there. I wasn't in my body. I wasn't functioning.
The Thursday in hospital is a little clearer. I had gone in overnight on the Wednesday and started my next lot of tablets in the morning. Four up in my vagina and the rest every few hours orally until labour started.
I remember waiting for it to begin and having the bereavement team coming in to ask me my plans for our baby. Did I want him cremated or buried. Did I want a post mortem.
I have my answers because things got done but I don't remember giving them. Something took over.
Contractions started about 2pm. I was offered an array of pain killers but I refused. I remember the midwife saying "you don't have to be in pain this is hard enough". But I did have to.
My baby was never going to kick in my tummy. My baby was never going to be held by mum and dad. This was my last chance to feel him and I needed to.
I made it through labour on paracetamol and codeine. The worst part was hearing other mothers screaming in pain, but knowing they were about to have a beautiful healthy baby and mine had been taken away from me.
I finally gave birth on the toilet, and I remember being so desperate just to see my boy but the midwife taking him away first to be cleaned.
I didn't want that. I wanted him, I wanted to hold him for the one and only time and I didn't want to let go. Letting go would mean he's gone forever.
Noah was born at 18.31pm on the 15th September 2016. His umbillical cord was wrapped so tightly around his feet the midwife's opinion was that was how he had died.
I held him in my hand for some time, waiting for the afterbirth. It was surreal and comforting all at the same time. I wasn't rushed and he was perfect. He had the biggest belly and he was clearly well fed!
In the end the placenta was pulled out of me, just to add to the pain of the day, and I wasn't allowed to go until I had done a wee. But in the end I let myself go home and promised I would return if I couldn't wee.
I HAD to get out of there. I had to get off the delivery ward. I wanted to be as far away from that ward and the happy mums. I needed out.
I left the hospital giving birth but empty handed. And a week later I returned to collect a beautiful memory box and some ashes, which we scattered on our local beach where we walk our dogs so we are always close.
I didn't leave the house for a good week after. I couldn't go outside. I couldn't accept the world around me still going on while my world had stopped.
I had some truly wonderful support from friends and family. And I also had some not so good. But it's times like these you realise who really has your best intentions at heart.
The post mortem results came back with nothing. I was just a 1 in 4. Days don't really get easier, you just cope. Even almost 6 months on I think about Noah every day.
Writing this has reduced me to tears. But I speak about him and I share my story. He was real. And he was mine. And I want the world to know about him.
I carried him for 17 weeks and went through all the symptoms and emotions. I won't forget him or act like he never happened.
I write this while being 13 weeks pregnant with our rainbow baby. Kids was always something we wanted a lot later on in life, but Noah changed that for us. He brought so much good into my life and for that I'm grateful.
Each day that goes by I panic something will happen this time round, but my 12 week scan was so different to Noah's (this baby did not stop moving!) that I have a little ray of hope but also realisation that Noah must have been poorly on that first scan.
I think throughout this pregnancy I will worry and panic. I'm human. But I now realise I am incredibly strong, brave and very proud of who I am. Noah has changed me. I'm not who I used to be. Take that as you will.
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