Pregnancy after loss is a whirlwind and one I never expected to find myself in so soon after the tragic loss of our daughter, Libby.
We have had three children in total, all beautiful girls, Lia being the eldest. She was only eight months old when I found out I was pregnant with our second child.
I had a very strange pregnancy, almost like my body was preparing itself for a tragedy.
It’s hard to express what I mean by that, but I just knew something wasn’t right. However, my pregnancy continued until I was 36 weeks. On November 3rd, 2005, I unfortunately had a very severe concealed placental abruption, the placenta had completely torn away from my uterus, and I was bleeding inwardly, ultimately leading to me nearly passing away and tragically causing the loss of our beautiful little girl Libby.
Being 24 at the time, it was a very rare and severe case. I was in a very bad way. Eventually, I came out of surgery, and my consultant was in shock that I was alive but also that I had no damage to my uterus, which he had thought due to the severity of my situation he would have had to, at minimum, do a hysterectomy to have any chance of saving my life.
Someone must have been watching over me as I pulled through. I was black and blue, but alive, and about to deal with the biggest heartbreak of my life, the loss of our daughter.
We were told at that point to let my body heal, not try for children for at least two years due to the amount of trauma my body had gone through. It needed time to heal.
My doctor was amazing. He gave me the best care. He watched every monitor, and he made me feel safe even in such a dire state. The whole team that day worked so hard. I cannot thank them all enough for their kindness and compassion whilst I was in the hospital.
My doctor also arranged counselling lasting a lifetime for me. I never realized how much I would need that!
I felt numb. It all felt so unreal. I was so ill I could do nothing but bed rest for a couple of months after. Doctors would do home visits three times a day at first to check my scar and my recovery process. It was all so unbelievable, yet at the same time, I had to plan a funeral. Luckily, I have an amazing family and close group of friends that all helped round the clock, helping me get stronger.
Going home was hard, but having to explain to Lia was very hard. We decided we would tell her to find the brightest star in the sky, point to it, and know that was Libby, always looking down on her. Lia is 19 now, and we still say this every time we see a bright star!
Then… five months later, I could not believe the news that was about to hit me! I was pregnant!
I was terrified, shocked, shaking, and nervous. I truly couldn’t believe it. Honestly, my first thought was, “What if I die? What will Lia do without me?”
My pregnancy journey, as you can imagine, was one full of worry, yet trying to be positive, especially for Lia. I was in and out of hospital for checks, but the feeling of dread was still there, the what ifs? The stress I felt was unbearable. I even went to build a bear and bought a lion teddy with a full wardrobe of clothes for it to wear, a chair to sit in, and my voice, telling Lia goodnight and that I love her lots, because I never wanted her to grow up and not hear my voice or hear me tell her I loved her.
The pregnancy physically was good. My baby was growing well and doing fantastic, but mentally, it was a struggle, I tried so hard to keep it together, but I’d be lying if I said that was easy. I just wanted my baby to be safe, and ultimately, I wanted my baby to survive.
I was fortunate to have the same consultant that I had through my pregnancy with Libby.
I will never forget walking into his room after finding out I was pregnant. I was so nervous. I thought he might tell me off or give us bad news or tell us it was too fast after losing Libby, but he didn’t. In fact, he got out of his chair to greet me and my husband, walked over and gave me a hug, and promised us he would deliver this baby alive, and he kept to his word!
Due to my complications, our last daughter was to be born prematurely. After a very long, stressful, worrying, and scary seven months, our daughter was born two months early but a little fighter. She was a great weight, bigger than expected, weighing 4lb 4oz. She even was breathing alone without any aid needed. She was so tiny! They told me she was wriggling around trying to avoid them from taking her out, which we always laugh about now!
On the 20th November 2006, just over a year from such a tragic day, our precious rainbow baby had arrived, and I could start to breathe a little sigh of relief. We named her Ruby – our little rainbow.
Ruby was in NICU for some time; she needed a caffeine boost and to learn to swallow. She hated her feeding tube! But slowly and surely, she grew stronger, and we were able to bring her home. She had one little lady who had been desperate to meet her – her big sister Lia!
Ruby is now 16. She is so strong, funny, and beautiful. Lia and Ruby are best friends and do a lot together. They have traveled the world dancing and are now on their own paths studying sport.
Ruby is very aware of her other big sister, Libby, who we openly talk about in our house.
I never realized how much having Ruby would help me. She helped me heal. Having Ruby, a year later in the same month has given us a reason to be able to celebrate both of our girls in totally different ways.
Libby will never be forgotten, and Ruby will always be celebrated.