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Amy’s story: second trimester loss and miscarriage at 9 weeks

Amy describes her experience of losing her son Charlie after her waters broke at 20 weeks and of, 6 months later, having a miscarriage at 9 weeks.

You grieve the loss of your baby, but you also grieve what could have been.

When we found out I was pregnant, it was such a beautiful surprise. Something me and Danny, my partner, were so excited about.

We had a difficult first trimester, but Charlie was growing perfectly. We had our 20-week scan, then 3 days later I started to feel unwell. I went to work thinking it must be normal. It then got worse, so I called my GP and he advised it was pregnancy related dizziness and prescribed anti sickness medication, which I never picked up.

The day after I called the midwives as I still felt very dizzy, and they booked me in to the antenatal day clinic. I waited for hours and eventually had a blood test. They were about to discharge me when my results came in. It showed I had an infection, so they then sent me to another ward as they were closing for the day.

Whilst waiting to be seen, I felt something trickling down my legs. The midwives came to me in the bathroom, they were unsure about what was happening, but then called the doctor. I was put onto a ward bed and was seen by the doctor immediately, who gave us the heart breaking news that my waters had broken. This was my first pregnancy and at the time I had no idea what that meant. When the doctor said it shouldn’t be happening, mine and Danny’s heart sank.

The days following this news were the hardest of our lives. I spent most of the time crying and worrying about what was happening. Danny was there to hold me through it, whilst also experiencing the same level of distress. We saw multiple specialists, all who seemed to say different things. We just wanted to know if Charlie was going to survive.

I was hooked up to IVs, having observations day and night and was getting little to no sleep. At one point, around 3am we had a doctor come through to do checks, she then asked, “Have you considered abortion?” In my head I thought, what sort of question is that – of course I haven’t considered this. I felt so angry that she had asked me that. The day before we were given a lot of hope that Charlie might survive and they were trying to get me to 22/23 weeks when he may stand a chance of surviving. Whilst there was hope, I was not giving up on him.

Days felt like months, there was nothing to do but sit and think about what would happen. If he didn’t survive, what would happen? Would they take him out of me? Would I have to give birth to him? How could I possibly give birth to a baby who was not alive anymore? Was it my fault? How would I get through any of this?

Then a specialist consultant came to speak to us. We had Harry Potter playing in the background and she began speaking about how much she loved Harry Potter and what Orlando was like. I knew by her demeanour that it was going to be the conversation we had been dreading.

The consultant said my life would be in danger if we did not terminate the pregnancy. She explained why Charlie would not survive and the potential of us both dying if I did not terminate very soon. The consultant then asked if we wanted to see Charlie on a scan. He was still alive, we saw his heartbeat.

There was very little fluid left and the consultant said with my infection levels were rising, it was getting to a very dangerous point. I practically begged for any other option, but there weren’t any. It was clear that the infection I had could kill me and Charlie if I left it any longer. I felt we had no choice, however at the time I couldn’t have cared less what happened to me, I just wanted Charlie to be ok.

I then looked at Danny and I knew what we had to do. Our hearts were completely broken, we didn’t know pain like that could exist. I felt my body had failed me and I had failed Charlie. How do I live with that? Signing the paperwork to agree to aborting Charlie was still to this day something that haunts me, even though I know I was left with no real choice.

How was this happening? We just saw his heartbeat.

After that, we were sent to the bereavement room where I was induced into labour. My contractions went on for a few days then I delivered Charlie. The nurses asked if I wanted an epidural but I thought enduring the pain for Charlie was the least I could do, it’s almost as though I wanted to feel him one last time. I wanted every memory I could possibly have of him whilst I had the chance.

When he was born, Danny cut his cord, placed him on my chest then we got to spend some time with him. Charlie wasn’t with us anymore; however, those days were so precious to us. We got to dress him, bathe him, cuddle him. Leaving the hospital and him behind was one of the hardest days of our lives.

6 months later, we had another miscarriage, at 9 weeks. The feelings came flooding back and I relived it all over again. This time, we were dealing with our current loss, the loss of Charlie and the loss of hope that it would happen for us.

As I am writing this, we are now 9 months on from losing Charlie and we can still remember every single detail. Some days are harder than others. Not a single moment goes by without thinking about Charlie, who he was, who he could have become, what plans we had with him, how he wasn’t there at Christmas to watch Daddy put his special bauble on the tree. You grieve the loss of your baby, but you also grieve what could have been.

I was so angry and lost myself for such a long time. I was fighting with myself for so long, thinking, why am I not over this yet? Then I would think, I lost a part of me – of course I will never be over it. I’m changed forever.

Danny has taught me so much in this time, the biggest lesson was accepting your bad days, making the most of your good days and not to battle with your feelings.

Losing a baby at any stage is one of the most difficult types of grief you can experience.

We still have hope that it will happen one day, that one day we will get our baby.