Today’s story is a guest blog from Little Miss PMA. Check out her blog and show her some support. Thank you so much Toni! XXX ~MM
As I sit here today, its hard to comprehend everything that has happened in the last six years, in particular, the last year, which has been the toughest I have ever faced. In March 2014 we said goodbye to our first, in March 2015 we lost our second. Two weeks apart. Both at 21 weeks gestation.
Six years ago we started trying to make a baby, a year later prompted a trip to the GP and referral to a fertility specialist. A lap and dye and six rounds of Clomid later and we are referred to IVF. Im polycystic and he has trouble across the board. Thankfully we live in an age where babies can be created in a lab, without this technology, our dreams of a family would be going down a very different path.
First round of IVF failed in March 2012, two attempts at a frozen embryo cycle were cancelled due to poor uterine lining thickness. Third attempt at a frozen transfer was going in the same vein but I begged to be able to transfer, I was desperate, it was now November 2013 and my patience had worn thin. They warned me I was wasting a precious embryo but I didn’t care, I needed to try. Lo and behold, our first ever positive pregnancy test!
To see two lines was pure joy, I shook all morning, kept poking my boobs to make sure it was real. We did it!! It had taken years but we got there. Eight week scan showed a blob with a flickering heartbeat. It was the most beautiful little ‘Squidge’ I had ever seen, I cried happy tears! Twelve week scan and Squidge only wants to show their bum but no problems detected. A smooth and beautiful pregnancy so far. No need to worry about our 20 week scan, right? We don’t want to know the sex and that is really our primary concern upon attending the anomaly scan.
The world stops. Our beautiful, precious, long awaited baby has a serious heart problem. A follow up scan confirms HLHS (hypoplastic left heart syndrome) basically the left side of the heart hadn’t developed. Three choices: carry on and operate two days after birth, carry on and provide comfort care until the baby passes approximately two weeks later, or end the pregnancy.
Ive always been pro-choice when it comes to a termination, I just never ever thought I’d need to make that choice, but given the odds and other factors, we felt the best thing to do for our baby, was to spare them from any suffering.
Six days later I was induced and 33 hours later, Milo was born sleeping. I had A LOT of morphine in my system and feel this stopped me taking in the enormity of it all, what I had just been through didn’t register. I watched my husband cry over our baby boy, unable to feel what he felt.
I was determined this wouldn’t define us, we wouldn’t be Bereaved Parents for the rest of our marriage. All my focus went into the next steps IVF wise. We were told it was a one off, bad luck, unlikely to happen again. I had to correct this situation, I had to give my husband the child he deserved.
We had one more frozen embryo to use, I couldn’t wait but guidelines state you must have three periods before trying again, our turn came around, but as luck would have it, the incubators broke the day before my transfer was scheduled and therefore it was cancelled. Talk about bad luck, I mean you cant write this stuff can you?! The following month we made it to transfer, but the embryo didn’t implant, another spectacular failure.
The waiting around between cycles was killing me. All I wanted was a healthy baby, I’d always assumed once I was pregnant, there would be baby, I was learning fast this wasn’t the case so decided to take matters into my own hands. After lots of research, I decided our best option was to head abroad. In November 2014 we travelled to Cyprus for 10 days. I had four embryos replaced the day before we travelled home. We tested on our wedding anniversary, another positive test.
The thrill wasn’t the same. The naivety of pregnancy had gone, I was now very aware of what could go wrong, not just heart conditions, but neural tube defects, chromosomal issues etc. I could only focus on what we knew, there was an increased risk of a heart defect but additional scans had been scheduled and so I had to try my best to enjoy it as much as possible.
Unlike my 1st pregnancy, this one was plagued with scares, increased nuchal measurement at 12 weeks, combined with bloods gave us a 1 in 11 chance of Downs. Talk of termination began to surface and I remember shutting the conversation down fast. I did not want to contemplate another one.
At 14 weeks the nuchal measurement had gone down and the heart looked OK. I am adamantly against CVS and Amnio as they carry a risk of miscarriage and after everything we had been through I couldn’t accept that risk.
We were fortunate enough to be able to afford non invasive prenatal testing, a simple blood test. However, baby had other ideas, the 1st sample didn’t have enough of baby’s DNA in it, clearly this baby wasn’t into sharing, but 2 weeks later after another test, we received the results. The odds were more like 1 in 59 million….phew!!!
Sixteen week heart scan showed a healthy heart, the anomaly scan revealed a perfect baby and the follow up heart scan showed it was perfect too. We were home free!
Nine days later I went to work as normal. My back and legs ached but I was 21 weeks pregnant and I carry BIG, nothing to worry about right?
At 4:00 pm I start contractions. Hoping they were Braxton-Hicks, I booked a GP appointment. By the time she saw me I was in established labour.
At 7:48 pm, Millie was born sleeping. Another beautiful baby that we couldn’t take home. I had contracted an infection and it is assumed that my cervix was incompetent and let it in. I had no warning, no symptoms, one day she was kicking the hell out of me, the next day she was gone.
Fifteen weeks later….I’ve completely shut down. I do not feel anything for my children. I clearly cannot cope and my brain is protecting me. I hate this. I feel like a robot. I’m on antidepressants and in counselling but its going to be a long road. I’ve lost both my children and I cannot cry. I am not angry. I am not sad. I’m just lost. I’m on autopilot. I never expected this, to feel nothing, I know the feelings must be there as my anxiety, insomnia and eating habits have all been affected. I do not know how to access my feelings.
My children deserve so much more. I’ve failed them. This wasn’t the plan. But I cannot stop. I cannot stop the longing for a baby, despite everything, I know I will try again. Maybe I’m mad, maybe I’m a glutton for punishment, maybe I’m broken?
Despite all of it, part of me still has hope. In the darkness there is still light. Millie was healthy, until the infection got to her, so that’s a step forward from Milo. It amazes me that despite all the pain and suffering, we as the human race, can still see good and light and hope.
Infertility will not beat me, a termination for medical reasons and a late miscarriage will not silence me. I will be heard, I will be counted, I will beat this. Never ever give up.
Love, Little Miss PMA xxx