On July 30, 2015, when my daughter was around five months old, I discovered I was pregnant. This came as a huge shock to us both, as I have PCOS and it took seven-and-a-half years of trying, and many procedures and fertility medications and heartache, to conceive our daughter. We had a miracle baby on the way: our third child.
I had a scan around six weeks (as I have a history of recurrent miscarriage) on 21st August, which showed a heartbeat.
Eventually my first midwife appointment came. I had told her something didn’t feel right, but it was just brushed off.
I carried on as normal, then I hit 11 weeks gestation and started bleeding on September 16th. I was offered a scan a few days later, which showed my baby alive and seemingly well with no visible sign of where the bleed was coming from.
Then the bleeding got worse, so I was scanned again on the 23rd of September and, again, all looked alright.
Then on October 9th, 2015, the bleeding became heavier and was now passing on to a pad. I was offered another scan and all seemed fine once more, and my baby had been developing as he should have been the entire time.
On the 10th of October, I felt him moving away inside of me; then around 4:40 a.m. on the morning of the 11th of October, I awoke with pains. I originally thought I needed the toilet (I suffer IBS), but nothing came. I kept trying, and then I vomited, which is very unlike me. At around 6 a.m., I got on the phone, as I suspected a water infection, which I am prone to.
They said a doctor would call me back, but to inform them of any changes as I waited. After I finished this phone call, my water broke, and it kept coming and coming (at this point I didn’t realize it was my waters). I dialed back emergency quickly, which called an ambulance for me. They arrived, but just as they came through the door, I had another gush of waters which went through to my pajama bottoms. They came in and checked my blood pressure and asked a few questions; then they said they need to take me in, so I went to the bathroom to change my pants and trousers.
When I sat on the toilet, I felt pressure and I put my hand there, and I caught something and then felt a snap (it was the placenta coming away from the umbilical cord, which is how I caught it). My baby son followed seconds later, born into my hand.
After this, I made my way into the dining room where the paramedics had made their way after hearing my cries, and they could see what had happened as I held my son. They then told me I no longer had to go to hospital if I did not wish to. I then asked them if they could test my baby and his placenta, to which they replied “No, it’s just one of them things.”
The next day being Monday, I phoned the funeral directors to arrange Phoenix’s cremation after calling the Women’s Center at Newark Hospital. I asked to speak to my own midwife, but she was on holiday so I spoke to another and explained what happened. I requested a post mortem and/or placental testing, and she told me no—that it cannot be done.
I then called King’s Mill Hospital and asked the same, and was again refused. I knew full well that this was possible, as it can be done on babies even at six weeks gestation, so I put the placenta in the freezer in the hope of fighting later after I had grieved. Little did I know this may be a problem.
Shortly after, I saw my own GP, who I explained things to and again asked for placental testing. He was absolutely shocked and gobsmacked at what I had been told by the midwives and assured me it can be done. He informed me it should have been done, given how far along I was, and he put in a referral for me to see a specialist. He also asked me the names of the midwives who had refused me.
While I was carrying Phoenix, I was offered nothing more but scans. I wasn’t offered any vaginal or internal exams, no urine checks, no swabs, and no blood pressure checks. I have been seriously let down and these basic checks should have been carried out. Had they have been, maybe a problem could have been found and treated, and my son may still be here.
Here is my son, Phoenix Aesir Mann. Born at 14 weeks and one day on the 11th of October, 2015. My precious sleeping beauty. Look how perfect he is; 10 fingers, 10 toes with nails, a perfect little nose, feet and hands and a beautiful smile. You can see all his veins, too. He was PERFECT. I miss him every day.