My first experience of pregnancy was a very positive one - we were those lucky people who just decided we would have a baby, and nine months later our son Jonas arrived. It just worked.
In 2018 we decided to try for our second baby, and again I fell pregnant easily. But our lives and all our future plans were changed forever at the 20 week scan, when we were told that our baby had died. It’s hard to describe the pain that hit us in that moment. It was just so unexpected. I knew about early miscarriages, and I knew about stillbirths, but I had never for a second considered this strange unknown of a second trimester loss. Two days later I returned to hospital to be induced and our tiny baby girl Pearl was born.
The hospital ran some tests and couldn’t find anything wrong, so we were told it was just ‘one of those things’ and were reassured that it was extremely unlikely to ever happen again.
In May 2019 I discovered I was pregnant again with our third baby, Murph. Murph instantly became one of the family. We saw his little heartbeat at an 8 week scan, and it felt like he was ‘the one’ - he had his own little personality, and Jonas would talk to his little brother in my belly. Sadly our world came crashing down again at our dating scan, when we found out that Murph’s heart had stopped beating at 12 weeks and 1 day - just past the ‘safe’ point of pregnancy.
Again the hospital did some tests, and once again we were told there was nothing wrong, lightning had struck twice, bad luck, try again.
In February 2020 I found out I was pregnant again. It was an incredibly anxious time - made worse by lockdown, and having to go to all scans on my own. In the days leading up to appointments I would have panic attacks and convince myself something was wrong, but after seeing a happy, wriggly baby at 9, 12 and 17 week scans, and listening to his heartbeat at 18 weeks, we started to let ourselves believe that things were going to work out this time.
I was finally getting comfortable going to appointments on my own, and was excited to see our baby again at the 20 week scan. The sonographer started scanning and I immediately got that sinking feeling - there was no heartbeat on the screen. I can’t even describe what the next few minutes, hours and days were like because they were just one big blur of sadness and pain beyond anything I’ve ever felt before. Two days later, on Father’s Day, I went back to hospital to be induced, and Rían, the little king, was born just after midnight on June 22nd, at 21 weeks.
So that’s our story so far. From doing my own research,
I now understand that a healthy baby doesn’t just stop living in the middle of a pregnancy, and nobody should ever be told it’s ‘just one of those things’.
It’s my mission to now (with the help of Tommy’s clinic in Manchester) find out what happened to our daughter and two sons.
Why did you decide you would like to take part in our 12K for 12 Month's Challenge?
A few days after giving birth to Rían, I heard Lucy talking on a podcast about her Rainbow Running Club, and I just knew I had to be part of it. In two years I had spent 53 weeks pregnant without a living baby at the end of it, so my physical and mental health were in a bit of a sorry state and running seemed like a good way to improve both. I probably got a bit ahead of myself signing up for a 12K days after giving birth, but I’m very glad I did! And the fact that the event is raising money for Tommy’s is a big bonus too, as they are such an important charity.
What are your plans for the day?
I’m going to be doing the run on my own, on the lovely Middlewood Way in Stockport. If training all goes to plan then I should be running the whole way, but I’ve learnt the hard way to never ever presume your plans will work out, so we shall see...
How will you keep motivated during the challenge? Are there any parts you are nervous about? Are there any tips you can share to help others who may be apprehensive about taking part?
I don’t mean to brag here, but the thing about us bereaved parents is that we are actual real life superheroes. We’ve been through the most unimaginable horrific things, and we still just exist in the world like regular people - getting up every day, going to work, laughing with friends. We just get on with it. If we can do that, then we can do anything. That fact will motivate me to keep going, even when I feel like my feet might fall off. Because if they do, it still won’t be the worst thing that’s happened to me this year.
What will you do to celebrate making it to the end of your 12k adventure?
Sit on the couch, eat, drink, feel a bit proud, and maybe sign up to another running challenge.
The "theme" for our first Birthday and our 12K Adventure is to celebrate not only our fantastic community but also our own achievements over the past year, (which is often something that gets forgotten when we are in the midst of infertility, loss and grief). What would you like to celebrate during the challenge?
I am celebrating the fact that we are still living a happy and positive life, despite everything we’ve been through these past two years. We haven’t let the losses define our lives and have still had lots of really lovely times amongst all the rubbish. We are so grateful to have our amazing boy Jonas, and every day I’m thankful that, by some miracle, he made it through his pregnancy when his siblings weren’t so lucky. I do my best to make sure he has a childhood full of love, laughter and adventures. I think that’s worth celebrating!
What does the Rainbow Running & Yoga Club Mean to You?
Baby loss can be a very lonely experience to go through. ‘Real life’ friends and family often don’t really know what to say, so they say nothing, or in some cases, avoid speaking to you at all. To have the chance to be part of a community of people who understand, and who are happy to talk about your babies and your journey is so important. The Rainbow Running and Yoga Club are an amazing group of supportive, inspirational ladies, and the reason I’m (mostly) feeling fit, healthy and positive about the future.