When my eldest children were 6 and 3, I was pregnant with baby #3. It took 3-4 months to get pregnant and I knew I was pregnant before I needed to pee on a stick – my sense of smell was strong and I started to fall asleep putting the children to bed. I also felt rough, rough, rough.
1st trimester – anxious, sick, tired
I had never experienced anxiety in pregnancy, I was convinced something was wrong especially because I felt ill and so different from when I was pregnant before. I was very happy to be pregnant but I wasn’t settled but I put this down to exhaustion and the constant nausea and vomiting.
2nd trimester – emotional, drained, lost
The 12 week scan went well and I relaxed, although I was still very nauseous and life was busy with work and two lively children to look after.
The 20 week scan didn’t go so well – the sonographer couldn’t find my baby’s stomach, which normally looks like a bubble and we had to return a week later for another scan. It was an emotional week as my anxiety returned and suspected something was very wrong.
Two more scans later and still no stomach bubble so we were referred to the Fetal Medical Department at The RVI, which was the start of a long, emotional journey of scans, guesswork and heartache.
The team at the RVI were brilliant and they suspected oesphageal atresia (the food tube is not connected to the stomach) and a tracheoesophageal fistula (the oesophagus and the windpipe are connected) so our baby would need surgery soon after birth.
Further scans identified a heart defect which was catastrophic news as I knew he was going to be a tough journey and our baby might not make it. The RVI team offered us the option of a late termination, which we declined as we couldn’t give up our hope that he would be ok.
It turned into a very emotional few weeks – the weekly hospital appointments were draining and, while we felt in good hands, it was just all about educated guesses until our baby was born.
I cried alot.
3rd trimester – love, hope, bonding
We declined a few weeks of scans, we didn’t see the point in them because nothing could be done until our baby was born and it gave me a few weeks of denial – to pretend that everything was ok for a while and I was able to focus on the now – on my two children and on my happy, kicking baby who was ok inside me.
I don’t remember it being a conscious decision but I became very bonded with my unborn baby and I started to make time for me and my bump, I talked to it and had regular chats with my baby. I felt very happy to have my baby, despite the emotions and the difficult journey that lay ahead.
On our final visit to see the consultant he told me I was contracting, which I knew, and reckoned I would have my baby within the next few days – although I was determined to make it through my eldest daughter’s birthday party, which I did – just! We discussed the birth and our consultant said he would prefer me to come into hospital to give birth because he didn’t know how much care our baby would need, which we agreed with.
Our beautiful baby boy Jamie arrived in hospital at 37 weeks. He had his first surgery – on his oesophagus – when he was 6 hours old and he stayed in intensive care until his second surgery – on his heart – when he was three days old. Jamie died during the heart surgery.
The Good Stuff
Making my boy, meeting my boy and making the time to bond with him during pregnancy. I felt very connected to him and this has provided me with some very positive memories, despite the intense emotion of my pregnancy.
Would I change anything?
Much of my pregnancy was out of my control , which I regained some of towards the end when I focused on my pregnancy, on my baby and making those weeks count, so I can’t change much. Obviously I wish he had been well but that wasn’t to be.
I wish I had been able to have a homebirth, as I think it would have given me more time with Jamie but we made the best decision at the time.