I was asked by Karen to share with you the journey my family and I have been through over the past few years.
Its difficult to know where to start so I thought I would introduce myself. I’m Cat, I’m 34 years old, I’ve been with my husband since we were 15 and I have four children.
People who know me know my name, know how old I am, know how long Nick and I have been together, but would probably be confused when I said that I have four children. That is because they can see my wonderful son Oscar who is full of smiles and cheek and charm. What they don’t see are the three children we lost before we had him.
On Boxing Day 2015 I found out I was pregnant. I think I had known for a few days but I found the courage to take a test and there it was, written in bold ‘Pregnant’. I will never forget Nicks reaction, so happy, so excited, so desperate to tell everyone even though it was very early. But being Christmas and that we were on our way to spend the day with family it seemed like the best Christmas present we could give them.
The first 12 weeks went by so quickly. We hadn’t told anyone outside the family and very close friends and we were days away from our first scan. Late one night I had tummy ache but put it down to something I had eaten and had an early night. I woke in the early hours and I knew something bad was happening. Nick called for help and an ambulance came to take us to hospital. A few hours later we were told I was miscarrying but it wouldn’t be confirmed until the following week when my 12 week scan was scheduled as the hospital was too busy to be scanned any earlier. We were sent home devastated with no idea what to expect.
We returned to hospital for our scan the following week with a glimmer of hope. I remember being sat in the waiting room with women with big tummies and their pregnancy pack hoping and praying we would get some good news. But deep down I knew we had lost our first baby. I don’t think I will ever get over seeing the empty scan picture on the nurses desk as we left.
A few months later we decided to try again for our baby and I fell pregnant that month. I don’t think Nick and I knew how to feel when we found out, I went through the motions of telling the GP and decided to go with 1-2-1 midwives after hearing a lot about them. We told our family and close friends who congratulated us but were a bit more reserved. I think we all felt like we had been naïve with our first but we tried to keep positive. At 10 weeks I knew something wasn’t right and that week I began to loose our second baby.
We were told by a nurse that as it was so early I should treat it as a heavy period, try again next month and have a hot bath and a glass of wine. I know she was trying to be nice but I just wanted to yell ‘I don’t want a hot bath and a glass of wine, I want my baby!’.
We did as she had said and tried again the following month and soon found out we were pregnant with our third baby. Again we told our families and close friends. This time my GP send me for blood tests every few days to track my hormones rising as the pregnancy progressed. Every few days I would be told that my numbers were going up and I would become a little more settled. Until one day when the receptionist accidentally read the levels over the phone and I realized they had dropped since my last test. I knew then were going to lose this baby too.
The day we found out my GP called me to tell me she had received an email from a lady called Karen who ran a local Miscarriage Support Group. It felt like we had been sent a life line. I was so sad and lost. My husband had been so strong, holding my hand and allowing me to grieve but we both knew that I needed help.
The next week I went along to the group. I really wasn’t sure what to expect. What I soon realized was that these mums and sometimes dad’s were willing to share their story so that I was comfortable sharing mine. It was a place where I could say anything without being judged. Share what we were going through with people who really understood. And be allowed to be angry or upset or laugh without feeling guilty.
That summer was tough. We were waiting on appointments with the Recurrent Miscarriage Clinic and we had our first due date on the way which I had no idea how to handle. I relied on the support from Karen and the group who encouraged me to plan something special for our babies due date. We spent the day surrounded by friends and family and although I felt so much sadness it was also so comforting to be around people who remembered the life had we lost in such a special way.
We found out that our results from tests at the Recurrent Miscarriage Clinic were clear. Not knowing who to turn to next I found an online forum of women who had been though multiple losses and had sought from a fertility specialist in Coventry. We decided to go for tests at the Coventry clinic and the results showed that I have High natural Killer Cells. This means that my body was actively rejecting the babies as they grew. Following a diagnosis from them we were given a treatment plan and the green light to try again for our baby.
The following month I found out I was pregnant. To say I was terrified was an understatement. But we had our treatment plan and a few weeks later we finally made it to a scan to see a little heart beat flickering away on the screen.
Karen welcomed me to the group every month even though I was expecting. I truly believe the support I got from the group kept me strong and every milestone I reached the guys were holding my hand and reassuring me every step of the way.
A week after he was due and a very long labor later our Rainbow Baby, Oscar Benjamin arrived.
Every day I look at him and feel so grateful to have him in our lives. We will never forget our angel babies and the journey we went through for Oscar to come to us. One day Oscar will understand why we go to the Baby Garden and why sometimes his mummy and daddy are sad. But I know we will always have our friends and family and the amazing guys from the support group to turn to when we need them.