Following FIVE miscarriages, Gemma shares her story of joy after finally giving birth to a son in dramatic fashion. If you have story to share with others (whether to help those in a similar situation, or to make some money for yourself or a charity of your choice) please contact our Features Team today. We’d be glad to help. Read Gemma’s story below, which we sold exclusively to Love It! magazine.
As I rummaged through my bag trying to find my front door keys, Ellyanna four, and Theodore, five bickered with each other. I took a deep breath to calm myself, followed by a sigh of relief as I eventually found my keys. ‘I shouldn’t be lifting bags this heavy,’ I muttered to myself as I dropped the hefty bags of food on the floor. I was five weeks pregnant and my stomach tightened with excitement knowing my partner Chris, 41, and I would soon have a new addition to the family.
‘Would you like a little brother or a little sister?’ I said to Elly, kneeling down to hug her. ‘I want a little brother so we can plan spider man together,’ she said laughing.
Three days later as I was volunteering as a dog walker at the local dogs home, I felt a terrible shooting pain in my tummy. ‘Ouch,’ I screamed, as I fell to my knees in agony. The dogs started licking my face and jumping up. I tried to calm them down, but something about their devotion took the pain away.
As the weeks passed our excitement for a new baby grew. I hadn’t felt any more pain, and didn’t think it was worth seeing a doctor about. But one morning in my sixth week of pregnancy, I woke up feeling really strange. My mother’s instinct kicked in and I knew something wasn’t right. ‘Chris, I feel funny. I think something’s wrong with the baby,’ I said miserably. ‘I’m sure it’s just a bit of indigestion,’ Chris replied.
I booked myself in for an appointment with the doctor anyway, and Chris came with me for moral support. After a lot of waiting around my scan results were back. ‘I’m really sorry Mrs Cheny, but it appears you miscarried at eight weeks,’ the doctor said. “Your body still thinks you are pregnant as the amniotic sack is still inside your womb. A wave of devastation rocked through my body and I looked up at Chris and burst into tears.
‘I can’t believe we have lost our baby, Chris,’ I blubbered. My baby’s sack had to be sucked out of me and the lining of my womb scraped away. Chris held my hand so tight and put on a brave face for my sake.
The doctors reassured me it was common to miscarry at this time in a pregnancy and the likelihood of getting pregnant again was extremely high. ‘Keep your head up. It’s really common for any woman to miscarry and you can always try again,’ the doctor said with a reassuring smile.
Despite his kind words, I cried for days on end and found it difficult to get out of bed. Chris was so comforting. Without him I couldn’t have bounced back from losing our baby. I took a deep breath, pushed my shoulders back and plucked up the energy I needed to put this behind us. ‘Shall we try again?’ I said excitedly to Chris. He pulled me into his body, put his large arms around me and kissed me on the forehead. One month later, we tried again and we had another little baby on the way.
Chris and I were over the moon and we were looking forward to moving on from our miscarriage. Once again we told our friends and family the good news about our latest arrival. Everyone was so supportive, buying us little gifts and bottles of wine for when I could eventually drink again. It was exciting and I know the worse was behind us.
Lounging on the sofa at eight weeks pregnant, Elly, Theo and Chris were playing together. I went to the loo, and just like before, I was having what felt like a cluster of period pains. The pain was excruciating. I curled into a ball on the bathroom floor, and blood starting trickling down my leg.
‘Chris,’ I said his name as normally as I could for the kids’ sake. He came in, took one look at the blood and rushed to the phone. But the pain had gone as quickly as it had come. He put a towel down on the sofa, put the kids to bed and made me a hot water bottle. We both knew we had lost our second baby.
My emotions were up and down. I didn’t go into work. I would rarely see my friends and I didn’t feel like myself. ‘Do you think we’ll ever have a baby?’ I asked, sulking into his arms. ‘These things just take time,’ he replied. Chris is always so reassuring.
I started Googling lots of stuff about miscarriages: There’s a one in six chance to miscarry once but to miscarry a second time is moderately rare. ‘A third miscarriage is unheard of surely’ I whispered to myself with square eyes and panicked expression. Getting pregnant became my obsession and I was always using Google and reading books about pregnancy.
It was the beginning of November 2012 and Christmas was right around the corner but all I could think about was getting pregnant again. I would pick up three or four tests when doing my weekly shop, just so I could test myself on a regular basis. For the third time I ran to show Chris a positive pregnancy result. I was four weeks pregnant. I jumped in Chris’s arms with joy but my emotions were up and down like a yo-yo.
‘Third time lucky?’ I asked Chris with a raised eyebrow.
I know it was rare from all the research I had been doing that having a third miscarriage was extremely infrequent so I tried to put the thoughts out of my mind and enjoy Christmas. ‘This is probably the best Christmas present ever, and it’ll all be fine,’ I mumbled to myself taking a deep breath.
Christmas was over as soon as it began and we were looking forward to the New Year and putting our baby troubles behind us. It was December 28th and we were organising the last minute plans for New Year’s Eve. ‘I’ll drive,’ I shouted with excitement. ‘I can’t exactly drink with a baby on the way.’
I had eaten quite a lot and felt a bit full up. I had a terrible tummy ache and the kids were out for the count after all the Christmas left overs. ‘I always get a bit sad when Christmas is over,’ I moaned to Chris while rubbing my belly in an attempt to digest my food. ‘Me too. But think this time next year we’ll have another little terror to put to sleep.’ Chris replied tickling me. I smiled and popped off to the loo before bed.
As I pulled down my pants I saw blood. I held my wee in and immediately grabbed a pregnancy test from the cupboard. Negative. I quickly did two more and they both came back negative. My heart shattered into a million pieces as I stood there holding the three tests.
I dragged myself down stairs and showed Chris the three negative tests. Our baby was gone again at just eight weeks. He was in absolute shock but just wrapped me in his arms and didn’t let me go. We were tested at the doctors and the results were inconclusive. The doctors were baffled.
We put the pregnancy on hold for a few months and enjoyed spending time with the children at home. The pressure to have a baby was gone and somehow, I felt alive again. I started to enjoy work a lot more and our social life started picking up again.
Everything was going great until March and we found ourselves pregnant once more. It was a complete surprise and we were not in the right frame of mind to be having a child so soon after the three miscarriages. We tried to remain positive about our surprise addition and as soon as we began to get excited at eight weeks we lost our baby again. It was my fourth miscarriage in under a year and I felt numb.
Chris and I went into hospital for further testing. We had a chromosomes test, a3D scan of my womb, blood test and other tests. The results, again, were inconclusive. The doctor reassured us there was nothing wrong and though it was very abnormal I kept miscarrying, there was still no underlying medical reason why. ‘I can’t believe this is happening to us Chris,’ I sobbed.
It was the year from hell and it put such a strain on our relationship. I couldn’t start my new job as a store manager. I wasn’t spending enough time with my children again and both Chris and I were really stressed. ‘What’s meant to be is meant to be,’ he whispered to me. It made me smile for a second and made me realise just how lucky I am to have him.
October soon arrived after a roller coaster of emotions and we were pregnant for the fifth time and again we lost our baby at the eight week mark. Our emotions were drained and we both had no more tears left to cry. We shrugged off our fifth miscarriage and decided to put a stop to having a baby altogether.
Chris wound his big arms around my body and whispered to me, ‘I love you so much. We already have two beautiful children and it wouldn’t make a difference if we had a third. Let’s stop now and get on with our lives.’ We decided to put our house up for sale and book a fancy holiday to get away from the year we had endured.
I got a promotion at work and things were looking up. Things were going so well with Chris and I. We were excited to move out and decorate and of course relax by the pool on holiday. ‘Am I having my own bedroom in the new house?,’ Theo asked in excitement. ‘Of course you are,’ I said, rubbing his head.
I would never forget the year we had. The bad memories soon healed and we looked forward to moving on. But, in November 2013 we had a surprise. ‘I’m pregnant!!’ I yelled from the top of my voice. Seeing the little smiley face at the end of stick was as daunting as seeing the negative sign.
We had a sixth baby on the way in November and I wasn’t planning on miscarrying for the sixth time.We put our house on hold instead of taking it off the market. But we didn’t cancel our holiday and I started at my new job as store manager.
As a last resort the doctors gave me a blood thinning injection which I took daily along with aspirin. I would check if I was still pregnant three times a day. The injections would turn my skin black, blue and yellow and the bruising would vary from the size of a 50p to the size of a cereal bowl. But it was worth it.
My nerves were constantly up and down, just like my emotions and I didn’t allow myself to get excited one little bit. We kept this baby our little secret, we didn’t even tell Theo and Elly. We just hoped for the best. ‘Perhaps we won’t lose this one,’ I said coolly to Chris. I had unbelievably passed the 12 week mark and our baby was still alive.
We had our scan and saw our baby for the first time. He was beautiful. He grabbed my hand and held it so tight. Something felt different about this pregnancy.
My Google searches were uncontrollable and at every toilet opportunity I would take a pregnancy test. Having this baby became an obsession. I was like an addict and I needed my baby fix now. I would buy four-five pregnancy tests every time I went shopping and stash them in my handbag so I could test myself on loo breaks. It wouldn’t stop until I was holding my baby in my arms.
I rented a fetal heart monitor from the internet and was hooked up to the machine every morning, lunch and dinner time for an hour a go. My pregnancy became my passion. The nights were sleepless and I would count away the hours until I needed a wee so I could see a positive on the end of the stick.
‘You really need to get some sleep,’ Chris snapped at me while I was twiddling my thumbs in bed. ‘I can’t, what if our baby dies again?’ I said aggressively.
We then hit the 28 week mark and we were in disbelief. I was still using the injections and the heart monitor every single day and tracking my baby’s movements.
One the morning of my 37 week check-up, the nurse looked concerned as she spread the cold gel across my bump. I heard no heart-beat and saw no movement. The nurse ran out of the room and I was in utter panic yet again. ‘You have to be taken into theatre right away,’ the doctor said to me with a panicked expression and a tone I would have rather not heard. I looked to Chris is absolute terror.
All of a sudden I was in theatre with breathing apparatus and was being given a spinal block, which failed to work on me. ‘Is my baby still alive?’ I screamed at the top of voice. ‘Somebody tell me what the hell is happening.’
‘Mrs Cheney, your baby is our priority right now, please just relax,’ the doctor said calmly. Everything was happening so fast and suddenly I was put to sleep within six minutes of the scan.
Next thing I knew I had to undergo an emergency caesarean and my little boy was rushed to intensive care. It all happened so fast. I didn’t see my baby being born and I couldn’t hold my baby in my arms. My head was all over the place and no one was answering my questions. I was left in limbo.
My baby had water in his lungs and was in intensive care for a day and half. He was then moved to a specialist unit for two days and had to be tube-fed my breast milk.
Four tedious days later we were able to leave and take little Stanley home, safe and well. All I have worried about for 15 months is pregnancy and loosing another baby, now, I haven’t got a care in the world. ‘Good things do come to those who wait,’ I whispered snuggling up to Chris, Theo, Elly and Stanley who was 8lbs 6.
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