In January I started having night sweats and was exhausted, then when I didn't get my period we realised baby number three was on its way! We were over the moon to have another little baby to join our other two children. All was going well until Valentine's Day. I started to bleed and was only around six weeks pregnant, so thought the worst. I went to hospital and was told that it was most likely a miscarriage, but we'd have to wait until the Monday for a scan to confirm.
I couldn't wait, so booked into a private clinic on the Saturday morning. Expecting the worst and very upset we couldn't believe it when they detected the smallest heartbeat. The bleeding was probably a twin that hadn't developed properly and I'd miscarried it. We felt relieved that we still had our special little bean on board!
Fast forward another six weeks and it was time for our 12 week scan. We were elated that we'd made it this far! However, they saw that the baby had a huge cyst on its tummy, which looked bigger than its head. We decided to proceed with the pregnancy but would have fortnightly scans to monitor it. As the weeks went by the cyst shrunk and the baby grew normally. By 20 weeks I was feeling well, the baby was doing everything it should in terms of growth and all my test results had come back as normal. I started to relax and enjoy the pregnancy.
At 4.00am on 12 July, when I was 30 weeks pregnant, I got up to go to the toilet but as I stood up a huge gush of water came and then a lot of blood. I immediately shouted for my husband Dom and we called for an ambulance.
Panic set in. I saw the look on my husband’s face as I nervously walked down the stairs with the paramedics. I was haemorrhaging. I stayed calm, there was nothing else I could do.
We were blue lighted to the hospital and suddenly the room filled, injections and drips were being prepped and we were told it was likely that we would have a baby today. I just kept thinking “We haven't got anything ready, we have a holiday booked for Friday and the kids have just seen their mummy taken away in an ambulance”.
The bleeding slowed down and it was decided they would keep baby in for now, but I wouldn't be going anywhere.
Lots of consultants came to see us over the next 24 hours to explain that the baby was ok and not in distress. They weren't sure why my waters had broken. It was agreed we would try to get to 32 weeks, just another 10 days. I had a scan a few days later and the baby was measuring 3lb so we now knew what to expect if it arrived this week.
All was looking ok for the next day or so and then I started bleeding again. I was taken back up to delivery and told to call my husband. He came as soon as he could, after the other two children were safely sent to friends. The hours ticked by and still no baby, so my husband went home again.
On 17 July a consultant came to see me in the morning. It was decided that at some point in the day our baby would be delivered by caesarean section. I quickly made preparations for the children and told my husband to carry on as normal workwise, and I'd call 30 minutes before we needed to go up. Dom arrived at 4pm. I was taken up and prepped for the section. My arms looked like pin cushions from the amount of blood taken and drugs given. We were nervous and very worried.
The room was full. It was so busy, but nothing like when we had had our other two babies.
Shortly after the anaesthetic set in we were told our baby son had arrived, another little boy to join his big brother and sister. I had so wanted another little boy. He was perfect, so perfect I fell in love all over again. He was tiny, just 3lb. The NICU team set about their work ensuring he had oxygen. I missed not having that first cuddle but knew he would have 1,000 cuddles and more when he was ready.
I was wheeled back round to the recovery ward, sore and with no baby, but euphoric with love. I knew deep down it would be a long road, but one we couldn't be frightened of.
Dom went to see our baby boy and then home to tell his siblings he'd arrived - it was a mixed reaction of tears from our daughter, cheers from our son and relief from our family and friends.
That night after I was taken to the ward I asked to go and see him. I hadn't expected him to be all wired up, I was scared to hold him. He looked helpless, but perfect.
As the days passed I got better, which meant sadly I had to go home. That's one of the hardest parts, to leave your baby in hospital, but my other two needed their Mummy. I tried and failed to express milk for two weeks. I had several infections because of my section and beat myself up because I felt like my body was failing to do what nature intended.
The days rolled into weeks. We would go to the hospital each day to visit, some days just for a snatched five minutes, and others hours and hours. The children enjoyed bonding with the baby and helped with feeds. They would tell him how much fun our house was and they would regularly dress up in all sorts of costumes for our NICU visits.
At exactly 36 weeks gestation, weighing 5lb, our beautiful little boy Theodore was able to leave NICU.
The journey has been a long one for Theo. He's been in and out of hospital since his early arrival, but I count my lucky stars he is a happy and smiley little thing!
Without the care and medical knowledge the NICU showed us we wouldn't be here. There isn't a day that goes past when I don’t think about how lucky we are.
If you have been affected by any of the issues discussed in this blog post, you can call the Bliss helpline for support. If you would like to share your story with Bliss, email the media team on firstname.lastname@example.org.