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I was five months pregnant when I lost my baby


I was in complete shock. I hadn’t even thought I might lose him (Picture: Saloni Dosani)

I’m quite an optimistic person by nature. 

So when I was brought into the hospital at 22 weeks pregnant, being told that I may go into labour any day, I kept thinking everything was going to be OK. 

I’d had a turbulent first trimester, but I was completely fine for the following two months. I’d had a scan at 20 weeks and I was told my baby boy looked healthy. 

To go from being five months pregnant, thinking everything is going smoothly, to not being pregnant anymore within two weeks is something I’d never considered. But it’s what happened to me – and I lost my son on 15 October, which is also when Baby Loss Awareness Day falls. 

At 22 weeks and two days, I was worried I wasn’t feeling as much movement as I usually did, so I went to see my doctor. A scan showed that my baby’s heartbeat was steady and the pressure I’d been feeling low down was put down to him being in breech position. I was told it was normal. 

Still, they did a check of my cervix to put my concerns to bed, and that’s when they realised something was wrong and I was told I was likely to go into labour at any time. It was so early; I was in absolute shock and couldn’t believe it. 

I was transferred to a hospital better equipped to deal with preterm babies. There, a consultant found that my cervix was really short. My body was preparing me to get ready to give birth. 

I was told that sometimes in circumstances like this, an expectant mother can be stitched to stop the baby being born so soon, but in my case it was likely to break my waters. 

At best, I would give birth in a few weeks. At worst, my son would come into the world within hours. Either way, my baby would be born too early. I didn’t want to think about it at the time, but there was now a huge risk that he may not survive. 

The plan was for me to be observed and my husband was allowed to come and go, but not stay. 

It was incredibly surreal. I was clinging on to any bit of hope I could, wishing that the next day, everything would be better. 

But the next morning the doctors told me that we were in the same position. 

One thing they were really concerned about was me developing an infection in my uterus, as that would likely change their strategy – but I wasn’t sure to what end. They checked my bloods and obstetrics every few hours. 

Two days after I arrived in hospital, a doctor I hadn’t seen before came in and told me that the tests had shown a classic sign that I was developing an infection. The foetal medicine department kept coming in after that. 

Even at this point I still thought everything would be alright.

Physically, I felt completely fine but soon after the doctors told me I had chorioamnionitis, a bacterial infection that can lead to preterm birth or a serious infection for mother and baby. 

My heart broke as they told me the only way for the antibiotics to work was by clearing the womb. 

I pleaded, asking whether we could just wait another 24 hours but the doctors were uncomfortable with doing that, saying the infection can get really serious really quickly – waiting could be dangerous. 

Seeing his little hand and footprints and the teddy bear – and knowing that our son is also buried with a picture of us – allowed us to put all our grief on the table

I was in complete shock. I hadn’t even thought I might lose him. 

We knew the chances of survival were really low and very unlikely. According to Tommy’s, a baby loss charity, only around 10% of babies born at 22 weeks live. Even if he did, there was a one in three chance he would be severely disabled. 

Within an hour of being induced, our tiny son was born. The doctor whispered to me: ‘He hasn’t survived the labour’. 

In that moment, I felt numb.

We named him Aari, and my husband and I got to spend some time with him. I had to stay in hospital for a few more nights as I fought off the infection, and every few hours Aari would be brought in so we could hold him. 

Before we saw him for the first time, we felt really anxious, but the time we got to hold him was peaceful and calm because he seemed that way. 

Leaving the hospital was unbearable. You never think you’ll come away from there without your child. 

I’m very grateful that I have my firstborn son, who is three years old. I wanted to come home to him – and while I felt guilty for playing with him – he gave me purpose. I had a reason to get up in the morning and he helped keep me distracted. 

For quite some time I remember counting down the hours until the end of the day. The grief was unbearable. 

Planning the funeral was tragic; you never think you’ll have to do that for your child.

My husband and I started seeing a counsellor after that. She encouraged us to open up the memory box that the hospital made for us. We’d be holding off until she asked ‘What about that box scares you?’. 

Seeing his little hand and footprints and the teddy bear – and knowing that our son is also buried with a picture of us – allowed us to put all our grief on the table.

At first, when I visited his grave, I couldn’t cry – now I do. I visit twice a week, and although it’s hard, I allow myself to grieve whenever I’m with him. 

Telling people has been a challenge. Dropping my son off at nursery, I’ve had to address it with other parents. I don’t mind talking about Aari, though, it helps me process everything. 

I have also found that writing a gratitude journal has really helped me. Particularly when you don’t think you have things to be grateful for; I am trying to appreciate the things I do have.

I have worked in mental health for so many years and know and really believe in the benefits of practicing gratitude and self-affirmations. I’ve decided to publish it with a view to helping other people in similar situations and raising money for Tommy’s charity.

Five months after losing Aari, I have a few better days between the bad days. But I don’t think I’ll ever get over the shock of one minute having a bump, and the next not. 

I don’t know if we’ll ever be the same again, but Aari will be in my thoughts every day for the rest of my life. 

Do you have a story you’d like to share? Get in touch by emailing  jess.austin@metro.co.uk

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