On January 21st 2019, my life would be forever changed when we found out we were expecting a baby… however, what ensued were many scans due to bleeding and spotting throughout my pregnancy.
At each one, the ultrasound technician would reassure me that our baby was fine and that they couldn’t find any cause of the bleeding but, call it mother’s instinct, I knew something was wrong.
Our baby was always measuring behind and by the time we met sweet Zachary at 20 weeks pregnant, I was three weeks behind where I should have been with my dates.
Then on Tuesday the 23rd of April my world would again, be forever changed, as it was tipped upside down.
Lying in the dark ultrasound room at yet another private scan, the technicians face suddenly changed and instantly I knew that something was wrong.
She started to speak to me asking whether I’ve had my 12 week scan, I say yes…
Did they take the fluid measurements… I say no (we opted not to do this)…
Then I start to ask question after question after question and the answers get more and more vague until finally I heard the words that would haunt me forever “There’s a problem with your baby’s brain.”
What followed was a medical report full of terminology that rolled off my tongue over the next coming weeks, and I rang the early pregnancy unit and they said they would call me back.
We are lucky to have very supportive friends and family so, as I sat sobbing into my glass of water, while our friends prayed for us, I felt Zachary kick my stomach. And just for a moment I thought he could be okay.
The next afternoon we attended the hospital and were met by a consultant who, quite frankly, didn’t seem very concerned, so I actually started to relax until finally, at the end he uttered the words “There is definitely something very significantly wrong with your baby’s brain.”
The next thing I know, we were whisked off into the family room where previously I had thought about how unfathomable it would be to be the couple sat in there receiving such awful news and then I realized, that couple was us.
Our baby wasn’t going to make it.
I somehow managed to brave the amniocentesis, and what felt like my hundredth blood test, and we were sent on our way for what would become the most agonizing four days of our lifetimes.
We lived in a house full of other people’s Tupperware and flowers that were dying by the minute, while in sync with my hopes and dreams of raising our child.
Finally, I got the call… “It isn’t anything that we were testing for,” which was the news I was hoping for.
For just a moment, I felt hopeful like there really had been a terrible mistake. Then she told me the condition that I would later become the expert in, “It’s triploidy.”
And then even worse “It is incompatible with life and your life is seriously at risk.”
As I walked back to my house to break the news to my husband, I was in utter shock that I had gone to thinking about muslins and baby grows, to meeting my dead, yet still so precious child twenty weeks early.
That same day, I went to the hospital and took the tablet that would stop my pregnancy hormones.
I laughed and joked and put on my brave face, but in that moment I knew that I was shortly going to feel the last of those little butterfly kicks that had become so instantaneously recognizable to me.
Monday was a blur, Tuesday was met with a flurry of visitors with food, drinks, cards and prayers, and with each one I felt like I was watching someone else live this nightmare, but every time I closed my eyes willing to wake up, it became more and more my reality.
On the Wednesday, my mother drove us to the hospital and I started to think about how excited I was to pack my bag and go to the birth center and meet our little boy.
Instead the first wave of grief caught me off guard as I realized that I would go to the hospital with a baby and leave with a box.
I could not fault the medical professionals who looked after me that day. They treated me as a mother who had lost their child and not another statistic, though it only just softens the blow of delivering your miracle that never took a breath outside of your womb.
After a painful and fast progressing labor, I finally met my little boy.
I smiled as I held him and, in that moment, I became a mother. My heart leapt as I saw my sweet son for the first time in color and in my arms.
I looked over to my husband and saw him gaze into his tiny little eyes, and I knew that we would once again be forever changed, but that his beautiful yet short life would impact so many more going forward.
As we look to the future of trying to conceive, I am met with a whole host of emotions including hope, expectation, anxiety and terror.
But I know one thing for sure- that Zachary William will always hold a special place in our hearts, and that, if his story helps just one person, then his live was not lived in vain.
Michaela is a 26 year-old mother to two angels that ran ahead the second one being sweet Zachary who is mentioned in this post. She is married to her teenage sweetheart and they live in the UK with their husky fur baby, Teddy.