I didn’t even know what a rainbow baby was until we had ours...
Sitting in the waiting room at Watford General Hospital’s Early Pregnancy Unit (EPU), I was feeling incredibly nervous but not overly worried. I'd had some spotting but my reliable friend Google told me this was completely normal. I was more preoccupied with my overfull bladder that was an essential component to having the scan. Yes, I had known people who had suffered miscarriages but surely this wouldn’t happen to us. A naïve thought maybe. But as I looked at the inappropriate miscarriage poster for the 100th time (picture a broken and empty Russian doll), I was ultimately feeling optimistic and excited to see my baby for the first time.
As I write this now and think back, it still does not feel real. That was the biggest feeling I endured when we were told that unfortunately there was no heartbeat. We had the standard scan and it wasn’t looking good. Then, to add insult to injury, I had to empty my bladder for an internal scan, just to make sure. Brilliant.
“Are you sure of your dates” I was asked. When you’re trying for a baby, you’re pretty bloody spot on with your dates. The tears obviously came easily for us both as we learnt that I had suffered a missed miscarriage. I had actually miscarried at around 8 weeks but my body hadn’t picked up on this and carried on like it was still pregnant. Thanks body! 4 weeks later we found ourselves discussing our options with a stranger when about 4 hours earlier we were excitedly discussing our names.
Basically, all the options are horrendous:
• Naturally – let your body go through the motions • A pill – not an oral pill either (I’ll come on to that later) • Or a surgical procedure
At that moment in time, you do not know what to think but I let nature run its course. I won’t go into the grotty details but it’s a long, drawn out, physical reminder of the pain and emotion you’re going through. And if someone (such as a medical individual) tells you that it’s just like a terrible period, they are wrong. In every single way.
The drive back home was heartbreaking, dealing with the knowledge this sought-after baby was not to be. Seeing the look of devastation on Shaun’s face crushed me. We’d gotten caught up in the all-consuming excitement of finding out we were pregnant and had told our family before the sacred 12-week scan. Now we had to call them and let them know that was no longer the case. Through no fault of their own, I felt embarrassed to tell them and didn't want to hear those words come out of my mouth. I know it’s still common, but I didn’t want to hear that. I didn’t want to be another statistic. “1 in 3” I would hear people say; that’s not helpful or reassuring.
At the time, a lot of our friends and family were having children of their own. Although I was extremely happy for them, I just felt so sad for what could have been. I might have been hypersensitive back then, but it just felt like every single person was asking, “So, when are you guys going to have kids”. At first I just laughed it off and tried to change the subject. In the end I couldn’t be bothered with pretending to be ok and just told them the truth. They stopped asking after that.
Out of all of this, one thing I have learned is to never to ask people if they’re planning on having children. For one thing, it’s none of my business, and I have no idea what’s going on in people’s private lives. They might be trying and having their own personal difficulties, or they might not even want children.
After getting through a tough few months, we were both in a good place; physically, mentally and emotionally. So we started trying again. I fell pregnant easily and we were both excited but tinged with trepidation because of what had happened previously. Unfortunately, it wasn’t to be and I couldn’t believe this was happening to us again. The process was much the same as the first time around but this time I went with the option of having the pessary pill. It’s as glamorous as you can imagine, as was the aftermath.
That’s when the worry really started to kick in, wondering whether we were going to be parents and if something was medically wrong. At times we even questioned whether to try again because the hurt was too much. Shaun and I have been a team since I was 18 and I could not comprehend a future without our bubs in it, but this felt like a real possibility. But despite a hard and confusing 6 months, I knew we would try again.
Once again, I fell pregnant easily but this time we did not even talk about it. It was happening but we wouldn’t dare let ourselves believe it. I think we were both trying to protect ourselves and not get overly excited. We both had the 12-week scan in our minds. Finally it arrived after what felt like 12 years of waiting and on that fuzzy black and white screen I saw the little person with its heartbeat thumping beautifully. I was absolutely buzzing. It brings a smile to my face, even now.
The pregnancy was, for me, wonderful. I’m not ashamed to say it. Yes, you still worry about everything. But even if you haven’t suffered a miscarriage, most pregnant women (that I know) worry about every little thing anyway. I really enjoyed being the protector of this bubba and came to understand the true meaning of a rainbow baby. When our Henry was born, after some very dark and stormy days, we had little guy; our rainbow baby.
Almost 2 years on Henry has given us so much joy (and sleepless nights) and is turning into such a funny and loving little man. We still smooch him as much as he will let us and are now looking forward to the next chapter of our lives where Henry will become a big brother in April 2018. We wouldn’t want our lives any other way.
My little Henry sporting last year’s rainbow baby bodysuit and joining us at our scan for bubba No.2
Kim is a graphic design manager at mothercare and mum to her gorgeous boy Henry. To find out more about her adventures with her blooming family, follow her on Instagram @kimberly_ann_lawrence.
If you’re experiencing difficulties with your pregnancy and need advice or support, Tommy’s are on hand to help. As the largest charity funding research into the causes of miscarriage, stillbirth and premature birth, they are committed to supporting parents and families who lose a baby or experience premature birth. They also provide information for parents-to-be to help them have a healthy pregnancy and baby.