As part of baby loss awareness week 2018 I have been so lucky to have some really inspirational families willing to share their stories of loss and parenting, having been blessed to go on to have their rainbow babies.

The second story I am sharing is from Alison, here is her story…

My name is Alison, 43, married to Ben for ten years and we live with our son, Arran, who’s four years old. I was born and brought up in Greenock, Scotland and we moved to Lytham St. Annes 11 years ago leaving everything and everyone behind at home. Our hobbies were Scotland and football until Arran came along. He is named after the Isle of Arran on the West coast of Scotland. It’s mountain range takes the form of a sleeping warrior – he is definitely our wee warrior.

“I celebrated glory but that was not to be” – Back for Good (Take That) was Number 1 when my nephew Andrew was born.  27 hours later he died.  My naivety about child loss was gone forever.

My first pregnancy was six months after we got married – perfect timing.  We sat on the stairs, waiting on the test result.  Pregnant!  We were so excited, we were going to be parents!!!  I knew things could go wrong but not to me – my family had paid the heartache of child loss.  We told both our mums, family and close friends.  We continued on for nine weeks, busily and happily making plans until my body let me know something was wrong.

I can’t really remember how I contacted Ben or how we were told where to go in the hospital?  I heard the word “sorry”.  I remember coming out of the fog in a private room.  My detached, impersonal, business head took over as I was given the options.  They wouldn’t allow me to end the pregnancy there and then.  No, I had to wait one week for medical management and a further two weeks to get the all clear so I could start repairing physically.

Pregnancy no two was six months later – we were much more cautious.  We had been told to contact the hospital for an early scan. Terrified, in we went – there is a heartbeat!!!!  Thinking we were out of the woods and also getting to 12 weeks, we continued with a family holiday to Germany and Italy.  Things were going great apart from the morning sickness but hey, I didn’t care as I thought that was a good sign.  Then, the day after Venice, my body again let me know that everything was wrong.  We went to a local hospital where the only English speaking nurse stayed 30 minutes to do my scan and let me know the pregnancy had finished three weeks before.  The medical staff wanted to keep me in to do a D&C in the morning but no one spoke English and my husband couldn’t stay.  We decided to leave and got emergency flights home the next morning instead.  Back home, I was once again given medical management and left, once again, to repair physically.

The emotional scars were far tougher to deal with.  The celebrities and family members who had been pregnant at the same time went on to give birth to healthy babies.  I retreated from family members and friends as I felt that they didn’t treat me the way I would have treated them, would the positions have been reversed.  I started to sink lower and lower down the spiral of depression.  Eventually, I visited the bereavement nurse.  Although this helped, the scars were already deep and had brought to the surface a lot of grief which hadn’t been dealt with when my dad passed.

The hospital started tests but, luckily, nothing was found to be physically amiss.

When I felt strong enough, we had another shot and fell pregnant straight away.  Again, we booked the early scan and for two weeks we didn’t think about it – didn’t even look up the due date.  This early scan showed no heartbeat – third time lucky hadn’t work for us.  For the third time we had medical management, for the third time we coped with all the physical pain and for a third time, I was left broken. Why was my body not doing what it was meant to do??  Why me??  I even considered becoming a drug addict to make a baby stick – it’s amazing where your mind takes you in times like those.

This time we were told not to try again and we would be referred to Liverpool’s miscarriage clinic.  Again, all the testing showed bad luck.  We were given the go ahead to try – this time we would take high dose folic and baby aspirin.  Surely now this would work – it had to!!!!  But it didn’t.  The second early scan showed no heartbeat. For a fourth time – medical management.

By this stage, my head was gone and I just wasn’t sure I could do it again.  I was so low and had to get help.  My heart had been broken so many times it physically hurt.  I tried to pull myself up.  My friends who lived back home got upset as they didn’t realise how down I had become.  My emotional self wanted to end the pain, but my self preservation would pull it back in line.

A year later, with a LOT of support, I started to enjoy life again.  I could look at pregnant women and babies without wanting to burst into tears.  We started talking about trying so when we were about eight weeks pregnant we faced up to it and did the test.  Yes, we were getting back on that rollercoaster again.  We contacted Liverpool and organised the early scan (started taking high dose folic and aspirin).  Week eight scan showed a heartbeat.  Week ten scan showed a heartbeat.  Then we were told that Liverpool was ready to transfer us back to Blackpool.  This is when it all started to get real.  Week 12 and the heartbeat was getting stronger.  Could this happen??  Was this real??  We had never got this far before!!

Week 20, we decided to find out what we were having – a boy!!  We continued on this new journey, scared and taking no chances and then we got to week 39.  I had spent 30 weeks being terrified, having nightmares, fearing every twinge!  Apart from that, it was a brilliant pregnancy.

Finally, we got to meet the missing piece of our family jigsaw – our beloved baby boy.  We stared at him for hours that first morning.  Just sat and stared.  We couldn’t believe he was here.  Nearly five years later, we still look at him in amazement.

Due to another heartbreak of losing my mum, we decided the chance of a miscarriage happening again was too high and the emotional and physical trauma of all that goes with that territory was too high a price to pay.  Hence, our boy will have all of our attention to himself.

Miscarriage remains a taboo subject.  I have always been very open about our situation and what we lived through.  I didn’t do anything wrong and I have nothing to be ashamed of.  It took me a while to be able to say that, so that’s always the first thing I say to others.  I am one of the 1 in 100 women who suffer recurrent baby loss.  I am exceptionally lucky to now be a mother and the journey to where I am today definitely changed me as a person and formed the parent I would become.

If you have connected with this story and you would like some support yourself, you can follow me, Helen Grimshaw, on social media by clicking the links below
If you are planning your rainbow pregnancy, are already pregnant or have your baby here safe, you are welcome to join my closed Facebook group, by clicking the image below. A warm welcome awaits.