Did Clubbing Kill My Baby?
It was my first night out after having a baby Mystery symptoms – cancer or pregnancy? Coping with grief by helping other mums
My friend Zara plonked a drink in front of me and I frowned at the murky liquid. She’d named this chuck-ittogether cocktail ‘Toxic’!
We knocked it back and went to our local nightclub, where I moved on to vodka Red Bulls.
We drank, danced, took selfies! Exactly what I needed.
Since my youngest, Logan, had arrived seven months earlier, I’d had a rough time.
I’d started the contraceptive injection but it made me sick. The GP said my body was adjusting to the hormones.
Instead of losing baby weight, I gained more – but was told it was a symptom of the jab. And I’d also had a leaky bladder.
I was back and forth to the GP, but blood tests were fine.
I even did a home pregnancy test, which was negative.
‘I must stop worrying,’ I told Zara, which is when she’d suggested we have a night out.
My partner Lee had stayed in with Logan and our girls, Skye, 3, and Lexi, 2...
I crawled into bed next to Lee at 5am. But, as I drifted off, I felt a gush between my legs.
Could it be true?
I rushed to the loo and, as more liquid poured out, I looked up the symptoms on my phone – most were linked to either pregnancy or cancer.
But my pregnancy test had been negative... Was it cancer?
Feeling frantic, I phoned 111 and was booked in for an out-of-hours appointment that morning.
At a local walk-in clinic, the doctor did a urine test… ‘You’re pregnant,’ he said. I couldn’t believe it, but an
examination put me at least 24 weeks gone. I’d fallen pregnant a month after having Logan.
The leaks hadn’t been wee, it was amniotic fluid and now my waters had broken!
I needed a scan at Newcroft Hospital and, while I was examined, I thought of the night before… Cocktails, dancing... Had I brought on labour?
The good news was my baby was alive, but there was hardly any fluid left in the womb.
Doctors suspected it’d been leaking for weeks, then fully ruptured after my night out.
Infection was a risk to me and baby, and I could go into labour prematurely.
‘Is there a chance for my baby?’ I asked, but the doctor’s face said it all... Don’t get your hopes up. I was given steroid injections to boost my baby’s lungs. Please cling on, I prayed, rubbing my tummy – but there was no real bump. Eight days later, I left – still pregnant. Online, I found Little Heartbeats,
which supports women who’ve had preterm prelabour rupture of membranes (PPROM).
Their advice was to drink lots of water and have bed rest.
But, six days later, I woke in the night with stomach pains. ‘Contractions?’ I sobbed I went to hospital. It wasn’t labour, but a serious infection.
I was sick and my temperature had rocketed.
‘We have to deliver baby,’ the doctor said.
Just 17 days after I’d found out that I was pregnant, I was put to sleep for a Caesarean.
‘We’ve another little boy,’ Lee told me when I came round.
He was in Neonatal ICU, getting help to breathe.
Our little boy weighed just 2lb 1oz and we named him Warren Harlee.
Later, I was wheeled to meet him. He was like a baby bird and I was scared to touch him. Overwhelmed, I had to leave…
I was trying to get my head around what had happened.
Hours later, Warren had a heart attack and we were told he couldn’t survive another.
When we were called back to NICU, I just knew… Warren had died.
‘I never held him,’ I wept. Now, though, the nurses placed him on my chest. He felt almost weightless.
He’d never been strong enough for this world.
Lee and I stayed three for days in the Bereavement Suite.
We said hello and goodbye, took photos, a snip of hair.
Having to explain to Warren’s sisters that we were celebrating the life of the brother they’d never known about was tough. They couldn’t understand... To be honest, neither did I. Worst was the guilt. My waters may have broken early due to my night out – but I’d had no idea I was pregnant.
That didn’t stop me from punishing myself.
I couldn’t even hold Logan – at 8 months old, he reminded me so much of Warren.
I felt like ending it all, only the thought of my kids stopped me. ‘Please get help,’ Lee begged. I went for counselling, which helped me realise it wasn’t my fault. I could love Logan while still grieving for Warren.
I also began working as a mentor with Little Heartbeats – the best thing I could’ve done.
When I look at the photos of that night out, I want to cry.
It’s like I’m a different person, before the guilt and grief that came with losing Warren.
But now I hope that I can at least somehow channel all that pain into helping other mums, in memory of my baby boy...
I knew my tiny boy had never been strong enough for this world
In ICU: Warren, my baby bird... Goodbye, darling boy