My main question after I had Albie was 'will this happen again?' No body was able to answer this right away. I was told a post mortem would be able to tell us more. So we opted for a full post mortem, I try hard not to think about what was involved. Reading the consent form was hell and I don't care to re-live that. They assured us this was the best option. However, after weeks of waiting for my baby boy to come back from St George's hospital in London, still no one had any answers. All the post mortem did was confirm the anomalies not give us any answers on what might have caused them and if it would happen again.
We were given a date for a meeting to go over the findings of the examination on Albie. This meeting was pointless. I got more from reading the report myself than talking to the doctors. They assume you won't understand or won't want to read it so conveniently leave bits out. Bits that I thought were extremely important (but that's another story). Obviously we asked our question... 'Will this happen again?' Their answer? 'Probably not so we advise you to try again and see what happens.' Were they joking? Probably not? Is that all they could say? Try again and see what happens? What are we, guineapigs? I left that meeting angry and hurt. This was the 1st time (but not the last) I felt like I was an experiment to them. They don't know what my baby had. It might not even have a name yet. But they want to find out. I understand why, but at least try and sugarcoat it. But there wasn't much else we could do. We weren't ready to try again.
This was back in April 2015. My cycles were still up in the air after having Albie and I wanted to wait until they had sorted themselves out before starting any contraception (minus the obvious). But...after a few non appearances from the lovely aunt flow I got a little suspicious. I took a test but it was negative, so I contacted the doctor. I was reassured that it was normal and that I should just wait and see. I gave it a couple more weeks. Still no show. So I took another test and me being the fertile oddball that I am it was a big fat positive!!
All the fear and all the heartbreak whirled round in my head again like an angry tornado. Strait away I contacted the screening midwife who had looked after me through my pregnancy with Albie. I was sent strait away to the early pregnancy clinic to make sure the pregnancy was in the right place and it wasn't another ectopic. Is was firmly in the correct place and what's more was the egg had come from my right ovary, the one without a tube. I was fascinated. My left tube had grabbed the egg, it had been fertilised and this tiny being had made its way past all the obstacles and implanted itself in the right place! It gave me hope.
Undoubtedly I was still worried. More than worried, petrified! But I had that tiny bit of hope. I wished all my wishes. I took pregnancy vitamins religiously, I ate all the right things, stayed away from all the bad things. I was careful, really, really careful. I didn't just want this baby to be ok, I needed it to be ok. I couldn't do it again. I wasn't strong enough.
People close to me started announcing their pregnancies too. Two of my best friends due the same month I was. But Brent and I kept ours a closed secret. We didn't want anyone to know. If there was something wrong we'd decide what to do and keep it to ourselves. I couldn't put my family through the pain and worry a 3rd time.
I was booked in for the 12 week scan with the consultant who had looked after me with Albie (and I use that term very loosely!) but i would have been nearly 14 weeks! I was so angry. I was told after Albie I would be bought in for a scan dead on 12 weeks with the next pregnancy and no later! I tried and tried to change the appointment but with no luck. So I opted for a private scan that cost £70. It was booked for the day I turned 12 weeks.
The day after I booked the private scan I got a call from the screening midwife telling me that they had a space on that day with another consultant, so I took it. I cancelled the private scan and was happy i'd got my way but not so happy about the consultant. I couldn't winge so when the day came we made our way to the hospital.
Now, this consultant hadn't made the greatest 1st impression on me. She was the one who had carried out my amnio two days before I gave birth to Albie. She had no empathy. She was very matter of fact and when she couldn't retrieve a decent sample the 1st time didn't even blink before sticking the giant needle through me a 2nd time. Not once did she check I was ok, not once did she even say she was sorry. So I wasn't about to jump for joy when it was her doing the scan.
I was so worried, I can't even begin to describe how completely numb I felt. All I kept thinking was what am I going to do if the NT level is raised again? I just can't do that again. I was shaking by the time I was led to the scan room. The very same one the amnio had been preformed in. The screening midwife had made sure she was free so she could be there. I sat on the couch and Brent sat beside me in a chair and we waited. We waited and we waited. We went through a few questions with the midwife, and we waited. For an hour and a half we waited for this bitch of a consultant to turn up! She knew our history, she had read our notes but she kept us waiting agonisingly long. When she finally turned up there was no apology. She was stone faced and it made me feel like we had put her out.
She sat down in front of the screen and put on the jelly. The scanner hit my skin and my whole world came crashing down just like it had done before. All I wanted to do was scream! Why us? What had we done that was so bad for us to be put through all this?
Brent had no clue. I know what you should see at a 12 week scan. I know what the picture on the screen should be as soon as the scanner hits. It wasn't the same! I knew our baby had stopped growing.
She asked to do an internal scan which confirmed there was no heartbeat. We had to endure another 10 minutes of a huge TV with pictures of our sleeping baby. Even in 4D. There was no way of telling wether it had the same anomalies as Albie had.
I was told to get decent and someone would be along to talk to me about what happens next. Then the consultant walked out the door. No sorry, not even a look on her face of compassion for a couple who had just lost their 3rd baby! And I didn't see her again.
We waited again. We waited and we waited. Still stuck in this awful room! Finally we were walked through my options. I could either go home and wait for the pregnancy to pass naturally or I could take a tablet and come back in 2 days and pass it in hospital (basically be induced). What they hadn't counted on was this girl right here does her research. One of the things I'd looked up when we had found out about Albie was what procedure would be necessary at what weeks of pregnancy. I knew at 12 weeks or less surgery was an option.
I sure as hell wasn't going to go through labour. I didn't want to see this baby. I didn't want to know. And as for going home and waiting. Were they kidding? It could have been another 2 or more weeks before anything happened!!
I demanded they give me surgery. Or at least send me somewhere that could. They were hesitant. But I was insistent.
We were lead into a private room where yet another doctor came in to speak to us. He told us that the option of surgery was a bad idea because the foetus wouldn't be able to be tested for choromosomal abnormalities and other genetic conditions. I was gobsmacked!! They wanted me to go through more physical and emotional pain to use our babies and us as guineapigs! They're at a loss as to what is causing babies with mine and Brent's DNA to turn out like this. They want us as an experiment. It's new to them and they want to know why. And as much as I want to know why, the pain and suffering out ways that by miles. They reluctantly agreed the surgery. And I was booked in for the next day.
I couldn't keep pictures this time around. I haven't come to terms with it yet. I've found it harder to keep living my life. Im grieving for the loss of this baby while still grieving for the loss of Albie. I've found it really tough to be around and talk to my friends that are pregnant too. I constantly feel like I'm in an enclosed space where the walls are ever so slightly moving inwards, all the time. I don't want to loose my friends and I want to be happy for them but every milestone I think that should be me. I don't know how I'll feel when January comes. But I hope I can be there for them as much as they have been there for me.
After all, life goes on.