A guest post by Natalie
TW: this post contains talk of bodily fluids & blood.
A little back story about me and my now husband Daniel, we first got together in 2012, but were best friends for about 3 years prior to this. I can’t say this is a romantic story because truth be told we secretly liked each other for a very long time and ended up getting drunk and kissing behind a billboard at Tesco, the rest is history!
In 2015, me and Dan moved into our own flat, life was amazing, we relished in each others company, we worked hard and we had fun! I hadn’t been using any contraception, as I’d been taken off it years before due to constantly having trouble with the pill and the injection. We also found out I was allergic to latex, and I suppose If I’m being honest, we never used anything and the thought of “I might fall pregnant if we aren’t careful” never really crossed our minds.
However, one week in May, I felt poorly, I was really dizzy and my ear hurt, I went to the doctors and they told me I had an ear infection, they prescribed me antibiotics and sent me on my way. However, a few days later I was getting terrible heartburn and feeling sick, naturally I thought it was the antibiotics causing these side effects. I don’t really know what made me think that I needed to do a pregnancy test but I popped to my corner shop and brought the clear blue digital test. I took the test and within seconds it flashed up “pregnant 2-3 weeks” after reading the box, this meant I was about 5 weeks pregnant. I called my Mum, Dad and little Sister crying and shaking, they were overjoyed but I was in pure shock. I knew I had to tell Dan, so I waited for him to finish work and like me he was really shocked.
After the initial shock, we were super excited but also a little nervous.
I called a midwife booked in for a 12-week scan. I didn’t really have any morning sickness just really bad heartburn. I couldn’t believe that as the days/weeks went on how much love I became to feel or this baby, it like no love I’ve ever felt before. When I got to 10 weeks, I had just started a new job; I went to the toilet and I was losing blood but also large blood clots. I called Dan crying and he told me to call the hospital and ask them what to do, the hospital told me to go to and early pregnancy unit. I was absolutely petrified I was going to lose my baby. But when I got there, I had an internal scan and they told me that baby was fine, and they showed me its little heartbeat. The nurse had said that I was just having a period and that some pregnant women do still have them.
We decided we would move back in with my parents and sister so we could save for our baby and get ourselves a bigger place to live.
I went for my 12 week check-up, but I was still losing blood, so I really didn’t have much hope. Luckily everything was fine and baby was growing at the perfect rate. The Doctors gave me a tablet to stop my bleeding and after a few days it did stop. Before we left the hospital, I brought my scan pictures and went straight to my parents house to show them their first grandchild. We were all just so happy, so in love and so excited.
I’m not sure why but deep down I just kept having this feeling that, this was all to good to be true. However, I tried to put my that thought to one side because I was also still overjoyed that we had been blessed with this child.
Of course the next scan was due to be on the 20 week mark, so naturally everyone was asking what gender we think it will be, they always say that the mother always has this gut feeling, well I always felt like it was a boy, but this worried me massively, you see… my mothers side of the family have never been able to carry boys and there are no boys at all. My nan had no brothers, my mum only has sisters and my aunties only have daughters. I was also the 1st grandchild to be pregnant. Knowing all this information absolutely petrified me. But I was holding onto hope that should it be a boy and that I would be breaking the curse and bringing the first boy into this world.
By this point I was feeling the baby move a lot so we decided at 17 ½ weeks that we would get an early gender scan to see what sex we were having.
I won’t go into too much detail about the scan as it was just a general scan to find the gender, but my oh my was this little one a wriggly bum! The sonographer didn’t even need to tell us what we were having, my cheeky monkey already had his little legs open to show the room what he’s got HAHA! It was such a special moment for me and Dan, its one I will always remember. We went straight back to my parent’s house to tell them, then Dan called his family, to tell them, my eyes filled with tear listening to him tell everyone “I’m having a son!”
Little did we know that would be the last happy memory of our son.
On Thursday 20th of August I was at home, everyone was at work, I got out of bed, and as soon as I stood up I felt like I’d wet myself, I didn’t really think anything of it as I’d been told that you have a weak bladder when pregnant, so I just thought he was sat on my bladder. So, I went to the toilet and cleaned myself up. I walked down the stairs and as I got to the last few steps, I “wet” myself again. So again, still not thinking anything was wrong I sorted myself out and came back downstairs. I got some washing out of the tumble dryer and started folding it up, when the same thing happened again. So starting to worry I called my friend who was training to be a midwife, and told her what was happening, she immediately asked me questions – “what colour is the fluid?”, “clear” I said, “have you had a gushing of fluid or just a little bit?”, “only a little bit, why what’s happening?!” she said “I’m on my way over, call dan, I will fetch him from work, then call the hospital and tell them you are coming in, and pack a small overnight bag just in case” I did what she said, and everything from the moment she fetched me to the moment I got into the hospital is a bit of a blur.
The nurse checked my little man’s heart; he was still alive. She then checked me cervix, it was open, meaning my waters had broken. At this point I was 19 ½ weeks gestation (pregnant). Me and dan were told that unfortunately we were losing our little boy, and that we needed to terminate the pregnancy. Up until this day, I had never seen Dan sob as hard as he did.
I didn’t cry, I was numb, I felt absolutely nothing, which to some people my think of me as terrible, but I was so broken I didn’t feel a thing.
I refused to terminate the pregnancy and I told the doctors that if it was going to happen it would be through its own due course not because I’ve forced it too. I asked a few questions, like what happens next? And they said that I would need to give birth to him vaginally. At this point I could still feel him move. We were monitored overnight, the nurses made dan a little bed up in our room (I was in a room on my own).
On the Friday (21st) morning I hadn’t felt him move, and I was feeling a lot of pressure in my lower stomach and back., I lay on my left side and drank some really cold water, I hadn’t told anyone what I was feeling as I just wanted to go home, to my own bed and have a decent cup of tea. I know it sounds silly, but I just wanted to hold onto him a little longer. I was so upset; my heart was so broken, and I’d never felt pain like it before. I kept saying I was fine and we got discharged on the Friday evening around 7pm. I got into bed at 10pm and the pressure was pretty bad to the point where I couldn’t lie about it any longer, so Dan and my Mum sat with me, and at 11.30 I rang the hospital back up and said that I think I was giving birth and needed to come back.
But 12pm I was back in the same room I had left earlier that day. I was laying on the bed Dan was at the side of me and my mum was and the bottom of the bed, my body was shaking, I was crying and I was being sick due to my body being in a state of shock. I felt the need to go to the toilet, and the nurses had to put bowl inside the toilet to catch anything that I released. I was a lot more comfortable sat down and I ended up pushing while still on the toilet. Unfortunately, my little man was breach (started coming out legs first) I panicked when I looked down and the nurse reassured me it was ok and that I needed to keep pushing. I gave birth to him sat on the toilet and he fell into the bowl. I saw so much blood that I screamed at my Mum and Dan to get out of the room, I didn’t want them to be traumatised by what I could see. I think I really hurt their feelings when I did this, but I was just trying to protect them. The nurses then transferred me to the bed and cut the cord, they took my baby away from me straight away to clean him up, I asked them to wrap him in a Muslin cloth that I had brought with me, then they told me I would be able to see him once I have given birth to the placenta and rested.
Once I was cleaned up and the room was cleaned, Dan came back into me and my Mum went home. Dan was broken, he was so distraught, he was pale and red eyes, he was clammy. It broke me even more. He gave me the biggest hug, and kiss. We decided to see him, and we chose his name.
Samuel Henry Morris Born on the 22nd of August 2015 at 2.20am, 20cm long.
We named him Samuel after Dans grandad who had passed away and Henry after my grandad who had also passed away. He was beautiful, he had little ears, really fine hairs all over him, little fingernails, I saw his little ribs and his little button nose, his small little feet he was perfect. He is perfect.
On the Saturday morning we were asked if we wanted post-mortem, which we agreed to try and find out why this had happened. Turns out I had an infection in my placenta which meant that if both me and my baby could’ve died had I not gone into labour.
We also had a visit from a bereavement midwife named Trudy, who was our absolute god send, she was such an angel. She comforted us, answered our questions such as, what happens to his body? Do we have a birth/death certificate, what do we do now? She told us that we could have a funeral for his, all expenses paid for, including the coffin, the cars and the order of service made into whatever we wanted it to be. Unfortunately, because Samuel was only 20 weeks gestation and not 23 weeks he wasn’t classed as being born or dying, he was just classed as a late miscarriage. This really upset me, because I gave birth to my baby, he had hands and feet and eyes and a little nose, he was alive! I was so angry. But Trudy comforted us. We got given a little box with his footprint and handprint in, and some memorial gifts.
It took a few weeks for the funeral to be arranged as we had to wait for post-mortem to be done. We chose to have him buried so we could have a place to visit, we chose to have him buried in a white coffin, we chose his order of services and used the picture of his footprint at the front. We only had close family at the funeral, no friends. It was a heart-breaking ceremony; everyone was sobbing me and dan couldn’t hold in our cries. Before lowering Samuel down into his grave, we covered him with a white blanket that we had brought. I just wanted to keep him safe, and warm. I don’t expect anyone to understand why I did that, but I needed too. We them lowering him into his forever bed and said our goodbyes.
For the next couple of months both me, dan and our families grieve the loss of our son, grandson, and nephew. Then Christmas came along and on Christmas day 2015 Dan proposed to me. Some say that going through the loss of a child can either make or break a relationship, for us it made us stronger than ever.
We decided to get married on Samuels birthday date. So, on the 22nd of August 2017 me and dan said I do!
Life since losing Samuel has been hard, we struggle on special occasions, Easter, Mother’s Day Father’s Day, our birthdays, Halloween and Christmas. I always thought that as the years went on it would become easier to deal with the loss, but if I’m being perfectly honest, I find it harder. I feel like as another year comes, another year older Samuel would be, another year he would be growing and learning. Its hard.
I will forever be in awe my husband. He has been my rock, my safe place and my absolute everything. Everyone seems to forget that they went though this loss too, they lost a child too, and they never get much mention. So, to any men that are reading this, you are amazing, and I am so proud of how strong you are and have been.
Natalie Morris, Mommy to a little Angel Samuel