Today’s blog is dedicated to hope. My hope came in the form of little Vinnie. Today my Rainbow baby is 3. Not so little anymore! We are so blessed to have this little rocket in our lives but the journey with him has not been easy.
There is no denying having another baby after the death of another not only restores hope but for me it provided a renewed purpose. It has however also added an additional layer to my grief.
Firstly I must explain that Betty was to be our Rainbow baby after suffering a miscarriage 2 years before her. After we lost that baby we were so rocked and in shock we just weren’t expecting it (not that we were the next time) but it really shook us and we didn’t try for several years for another baby because we were so scared. The first baby was a ‘missed miscarriage’ at the 12 week scan it was found that at around 9 weeks the baby had died.
We decided to start trying for Betty in the January of 2015 and were very fortunate to get pregnant on the first try. Once I got to 20 weeks I really did feel ‘out of the woods’ if you like and I never even contemplated that I would loose her. At no point, it just wasn’t in my thoughts at all – I was so naive.
After Betty died it was strange, you would of thought it would be worse or similar to the scared feelings of the first time, but this was different. Both myself and Scott knew instantly we had to try for another baby. We knew it wouldn’t replace her no baby could do that, but our arms were so empty, the house was empty we decided that we would wait for my period to return if it did (I wasn’t sure if my body would work at all after everything that had happened) and then we would try but not put any pressure on ourselves, if it took a year or longer so be it we just needed to try. To our shock and absolute delight and I guess terror we were so lucky to fall pregnant on the first try again (I don’t even know how this happened) I thought it would take months after all my body had been through.
I was so scared but we had to try this. I needed to give myself hope again. I felt like I had let so many people down this was going to be my chance to restore faith, of course it was so much more than that. I had to blinker my thoughts, Scott would frequently give me pep talks and tell me they wouldn’t let this happen to us again, they simply wouldn’t. We were under a top consultant and from early on we were under the care of the hospital, we had an early scan, then more frequent ones with the consultant. I was tested for gestational diabetes more than once as there had been a suggestion with Betty that some of the results from our post mortem pointed towards gestational diabetes (the test they missed out was the one that would of confirmed this either way which was why it was so frustrating) when we had the 20 week scan me and Archie went together as Scott was working away, when they said it was a boy he said he wanted a sister and I cried because I wasn’t sure how I felt! Deep down I was relieved because I had never thought I would have a daughter and I never thought we would so this just confirmed my intuition. I knew this boy would be strong, although I was anxious deep down I had to believe we were going to take him home.
In a twist of fate the hospital had planned to induce me if I wished at 38 weeks but this was going to fall on Betty’s birthday I explained that I just didn’t think I could cope with going in on or just before or after her birthday, I hadn’t been back in the maternity unit since the day we left her and it was a huge fear of mine. I just felt like it would all be too much and there was no way I could risk taking this pregnancy to 39 weeks. It was agreed I could go in just after 37 weeks and it was a comfort to have an induction date along with going in for monitoring twice weekly from 30 weeks, my midwife would see me mid week every week so I never had to go longer than a few days without seeing anyone and of course if I wanted to I could go as much as I wanted to be monitored.
As much as I found all the extra monitoring a comfort the thing I found most stressful was the extra scans, because they are looking in so much more than with a low risk pregnancy I felt things were being discussed or brought up that wouldn’t normally be discussed the fluid levels were a huge stress for me. I constantly looked at the diamond on the fluid line and it stressed me out every single time I got the piece of paper, I studied every one afraid they had missed something or I had. I didn’t take hardly any pictures of my bump, with Archie I took 1 photo of me right at the end and I wished I had taken more pictures, with Betty I decided that once a month I would do a bump pic but then with Vinnie I was too scared to document my bump incase I jinxed it – so I have this one which was taken on the 11th October the day before he was born!
(One of the very few pics of my Vinnie bump)
We had our induction and everything was pretty straight forward, I had been induced with Betty so I knew what to expect, I had a lot of worries about going back to the ward where we were with Betty, luckily we weren’t in the same bay as we were with her. When we eventually went through to delivery the lovely midwife who delivered Betty and looked after her came in to see us, she had seen we were in and wanted to come and say hello. She told us that she often thought of Betty – this was such a lovely thing for her to do and it strangely put me at ease – I’m sure her name was Jo I just can’t remember. But she told us she is now dealing with a lot more of the bereavement side of midwifery and she was so kind and caring with us I know she will be a great help to others who sadly have to meet her. We were in hospital for a day and a half waiting for the induction to work but once my waters were broken Vinnie didn’t take long to arrive. I cuddled him as soon as he was born but it was clear to us there was something wrong, he was breathing strangely, I knew straight away he wasn’t right he was breathing strangely the midwife said it would just be some mucus but within a few minutes someone from NICU had come down and in an instant they took him away, Scott went with him and I was left alone.
I think I was too tired to cry, I called my mum and dad and told them what happened and they came straight to the hospital and sat with me whilst I had a shower and waited to go and see him. Scott was with Vinnie and he said they were so amazing in the NICU, they had to put a cannula in his tiny hand and they did it effortlessly. It seemed almost unbelievable that we had waited this long for our baby and now he was poorly too. I was wheeled up to see him and I couldn’t touch or move him I just had to peer into his little incubator and hope he would survive. No one really knew what was wrong with him, he was 7lb 10oz so he was by far the biggest baby in there. Things weren’t meant to be like this, the staff were amazing. They gave me a side room so I didn’t have to sleep in with all the mothers who had their babies and I visited all day everyday. It was on day 3 that I finally held our baby boy. I couldn’t believe it when I went down that morning and they asked me if I would like a cuddle with him! I had been longing for this moment. It was wonderful. The next day I was able to try and feed him as up until that point they had been giving him expressed breast milk through a tube, I had been asking to feed him as I just knew the milk would make him stronger and get him out!
Sure enough he started to turn a corner – I knew he was going to make it. He was such a fighter. Unbelievably we were nearing Betty’s birthday, I had never wanted to be here on that date and it was looking like the hospital wanted me to go home now and just come back to visit. They asked if I could go the next day, the 17th I explained to them that there was just no way I could walk out of that hospital on October 17th on what would of been my daughters 1st birthday and leave another child behind I just couldn’t. They were very understanding and they agreed I could stay a few more days, they would find a way! The 17th arrived, one of the midwives came to see me in the morning, she said she knew what a special day it was and she gave me 2 little knitted characters, a bunny and and bear. Vinnie still has them in his room, I will cherish them forever.
Scott arrived and we walked the corridor to see Vinnie for the day, as we arrived the nurses announced they had a surprise for us, as we walked round the corner Vinnie was out of his incubator and he was laid in a little cot, he had made such an improvement over night. His eyes were the widest we had ever seen them and he was looking at us as if to say, mum, dad I’ve been waiting for you in here. He was going to be able to come back to the ward with us that day. We were on cloud 9 of all the things that could of happened that day it was a sign from our gorgeous girl if nothing else, she was looking after her little brother and he was getting better and he was coming with us where he belonged. If I could ever describe a moment when I had such hope it would be this single moment in time. I can’t explain it properly it was just simply amazing.
(this was who greeted us)
We wheeled his little cot back to our room – we felt like we were stealing him, it was so strange to have him with us. He was jaundice so we had to stay a few more days and we were moved into the main ward (which was an experience) but it didn’t matter we had him our little rainbow and then the most magical thing happened Archie met Vinnie properly for the first time, he held him and he smiled so much! He was so proud to finally have his little brother in his arms not just peering through his plastic cot. He was so happy because we could tell him we would be coming home, he had missed me and was worried after loosing his sister.
So a week longer than we expected but we finally took our little Vinnie home to our family, our friends. Home with us where he belonged to start living our lives again. Having a baby after loosing one was never going to be easy, it hasn’t and isn’t easy even now. But as this little bean turns a whole 3 years old today I am so grateful that we got to keep him, he has such a spirit and the last 3 years for so many reasons have been hard but I wouldn’t change any of it. To have this little boy our sunshine in amongst all the darkness. It doesn’t make your loss easier to have another child but it gives you a chance. A chance to give them all your hopes, your dreams and ultimately be a family.
Without our losses we wouldn’t have our hope. I can’t even contemplate what may of been. He is my light, he is my dark, now he sleeps he is definitely saving my sanity. I would do it all over again for this chance, the chance to have my children, boy or girl it doesn’t matter they are mine and Scott’s, they come out of our unconditional love for one another, they are ours and we are theirs and we have been so blessed to have 3 beautiful children. We will always be forever heartbroken that Betty couldn’t stay but eternally grateful we got another chance and we have her brothers.
(the first time he had both his boys together – it was a wonderful moment)
Even tho Betty died I would risk it all again to have that moment in time with her, she did exist, they exist and we are a family. A family of 5.
So as I tuck my little 3 year old into bed tonight after ‘the best day ever’ as he put it. I thank him for letting me be his mummy and I look for my star in the sky, she is always with me in everything I do, everyday and I try my hardest to be the best I can for all of them even on the days when I have to tell them off (most days), on the bad, the good and the calm days. Everyday I try to do my best as in my opinion parenting a child that is no longer here is probably one of the hardest jobs of all.
To be continued..