I planned baby’s funeral
My boy proved them all wrong
Lying in bed, I felt a trickle between my legs. Nooo… I thought. At 18 weeks pregnant with my second baby, I seemed to be having some, er, wee issues.
I’d read that it could be my uterus pressing on my bladder.
Better wear a pad tomorrow, then! I thought. Good job I did. At my maths teaching job, the little leaks continued.
I’d had pre-eclampsia with my first son Leo, now 9, so that was my main worry for this pregnancy, too.
And compared to preeclampsia, I wasn’t about to let a bit of wee bother me.
But when I went for my 21-week scan not long after, everything changed.
‘There isn’t much fluid around your baby,’ the sonographer told me.
It was known as PPROM – preterm pre-labour rupture of the membranes. The leaking… I realised it hadn’t been wee leaking out, but my waters gradually breaking. It was June 2015, and my due date nowhere in sight.
And my waters had broken?!
‘You need to consider whether you want a termination,’ the doctors told me.
Because of losing the fluid, it was unlikely I’d go to full term.
My poor baby could be brain damaged or stillborn.
Shocked, I went back home with my partner Karl, spent the night in tears. But at the same time, I had another overwhelming feeling...
‘I’m not giving up on our baby,’ I vowed, and Karl agreed.
Yes, the chances were slim. But my baby could survive.
As a maths teacher, I deal in statistics.
This time, though, I decided I had to ignore the obvious one, and hang onto hope.
Meanwhile, I was signed off work, stayed at home to rest.
Trying to stay calm, I went on Facebook, where I found a group called Little Heartbeats who supported PPROM mums. I posted my story. And back came a flurry of comments. Women who’d been through this and had healthy, happy babies. ‘Who’s to say mine won’t be one of the babies that makes it?’ I reasoned. I read all the tips that had been shared. Drink as much water as you can! came up a lot. It wasn’t medically proven, but it was worth a try. I sent Karl to the local supermarket to buy loads of two-litre bottles of water, so I could keep a check on how much I was drinking. In my darker moments, that group kept me going. The woman who ran it was called Ciara. She was a rock to me during the nervous times. At check-ups, doctors said over and over that I could go into labour or deliver a stillborn baby. Never giving up hope, I also knew I had to be practical. Most mums would be planning the colour of the nursery walls, or their hospital bag. Instead, I steeled my nerves, phoned the
It hadn’t been wee. It’d been my waters breaking...
vicar at my local church, who came to see me.
‘I might need to plan a funeral for my baby,’ I sobbed.
Consoling me, he said they’d do whatever they could if it came to that.
I knew I wanted a song called See You Again by Wiz Khalifa, from the film Furious 7.
But I tried not to think about it too much, tried to stay strong for my baby.
Our little one was clinging on, though the warnings at check-ups never got any easier to hear.
Then on 29 December 2015, I arrived for my booked Caesarean section at 35 weeks.
Would my baby be alive?
Doctors were still warning me of the worst-case scenario.
And when our baby boy arrived, there was no cry.
Oh God, oh Godé
But as the doctors took him out to the Intensive Care Unit, I heard a little echo down the corridor.
The hopeful mew of a newborn baby. He was alive! I still couldn’t meet him, as I needed to rest from the op.
But the next day, against doctors’ orders, I snuck down to the NICU ward with Karl to meet our boy.
We called him Josh.
It was overwhelming.
Our baby was so tiny and frail, he’d weighed 4lb 12oz at birth.
‘You’ve proved everyone wrong,’ I whispered into his little incubator.
We had to wait to see if he had suffered brain damage. But the days turned to weeks and months.
Josh was discharged, met all his milestones. I still like odds and statistics. After all, once a maths teacher, always a maths teacher.
But sometimes miracles can happen. Little Josh is proof of that.
Doctors said over and over that my baby could be stillborn
Little Josh beat the odds!