Erskine woman shares pregnancy heartbreak to highlight baby loss awareness week

“All I had of my baby is a dream of what could have been. I…

“All I had of my baby is a dream of what could have been. I want women to know that their grief for a baby that never came to be is valid. Never feel like your loss is not important.”

That is the message Christine wants to spread to women who have suffered a loss early in pregnancy – a time when she says people can be dismissive of the devastating grief you feel.

A time when no one knows you are pregnant, Christine says there is often an unfair expectation that women should just move on as ‘there is always next time’ and that ‘it wasn’t really a baby yet’.

Christine was ten weeks pregnant when she had her miscarriage last year, only finding out about her pregnancy when she began bleeding heavily.

She had gone to the doctors believing she was pre-menopausal, never once daring to think she may be pregnant after enduring two rounds of gruelling IVF three years previously.

Now 42, she says she has come to accept, after months of heartwrenching grief, that she will never have a baby of her own.

“The most I ever got of my baby was a sonogram on a screen. I never got a baby to hold,” Christine said.

“All I am left with are what ifs and what could have beens.

“But I know I cannot live my life like that and I have accepted now that we will never have children of our own in our lives.

“All I ever wanted was to have that call with my husband to tell him that we were pregnant.

“I did get it, but unfortunately at the same time I had to tell him I was having a miscarriage as I knew there was no way our baby would survive.”

After meeting her husband Andrew at age 38, the couple were referred to a fertility specialist when they embarked on their journey to start a family.

Christine, who has polycystic ovary syndrome, underwent months of injections and procedures to try and get pregnant.

She even ended up being hospitalised after a cyst on her ovary was ruptured while trying to extract her eggs.

After the first round was unsuccessful, Christine and Andrew decided to pay £5,000 for another round of the fertility treatment – and they were filled with hope when they were told the egg they had collected was the most healthy and viable in all their attempts.

But unfortunately, Christine suffered a chemical pregnancy – which is a very early loss which happens when a fertilised egg does not implant in the uterus.

Christine says the experience left her emotionally and physically drained.

She added: “IVF is such a tough thing to go through as it’s so mechanical and involves steroids, injections, scans and endless appointments.

“It’s such a difficult thing to go through as a couple as the pressure is so intense.

“People expect you to have a baby at the end of it and you put so much of your mental and physical energy in it as well as your savings that you feel like it has to happen.

“And when it doesn’t it feels like it is your fault.”

Three years after their IVF, Christine attended the doctor as she thought she was going through the menopause.

However, neither Christine nor her doctor knew she was actually pregnant at the time.

Ten weeks later, Christine was hospitalised again as she was bleeding heavily.

It was then that she realised she was pregnant and having a miscarriage.

After months of trying to cope with her grief on her own, Christine made the decision to go to a local SIMBA group which offers support to families who have suffered infant loss.

Christine is calling on any women in Renfrewshire who may be going through a loss just now to reach out as the pandemic has left people feeling more alone than ever.

Christine added: “I feel for women who are going through losses just now because many women are going through it at home because of the pandemic.

“But there is support out there and it doesn’t matter how early in your pregnancy you are. It is still grief and you need support.

“I joined the SIMBA group as I knew I needed to speak to someone and it really has helped both me and Andrew.

“I was worried I wouldn’t fit in or that I would feel silly as some of the women in the group were a lot further on than me.

“But that doesn’t matter.

“Ten weeks is the longest I ever carried a baby.

“It doesn’t matter how early on you are. It was still your baby.”