Last year, I had an ultrasound scan because the doctor thought I had an ovarian cyst. Little did I know I was about to find out that I was eight weeks pregnant. When the sonographer broke the news, my heart started racing. I was over the moon and looking forward to being a mum.
As the weeks went on and my bump started getting bigger it became more and more real. I remember going for the 16 week midwife appointment with my partner, and hearing our baby’s heartbeat for the first time. It was amazing - we were so full of happiness.
Just a few days after that I was booked in for a 4D sexing scan and we were so excited. The sonographer started putting the gel on my tummy and asked: “What are you hoping for?”
“Girl!” we replied.
A few seconds later the sonographer said: “Congratulations you’re having a girl.” We decided to call her Mia, and she was our little world. We were so excited and happy, we went shopping straight afterwards and got lots of pink clothes for Mia.
At the 20 week scan I was very nervous as I know it is an anomaly scan to look for potential problems, but the sonographer told us everything was fine with our little Mia and she was healthy.
As the months went on and my bump got considerably bigger we bought everything that she would need for her arrival, we were so ready to meet her! I would lie on my back on the sofa and video her moving. I’d tap my tummy and she would kick back, almost as if she was playing a game with her mummy. I loved feeling her kicks get stronger and stronger.
At 27 weeks, I booked another 4D scan to see who our little girl looked like. We had the scan and fell in love with her. She was a proper person, our gorgeous little Mia.
On Saturday morning, I noticed that I hadn’t felt Mia moving for a little while so my mum took me to maternity triage. They put me on a monitor, and as soon as they did she started moving, I was so relieved.
About a week later, Mia stopped moving mid-afternoon. Until then, her movements had followed a regular pattern so I really started to worry. I went home from work and because I still hadn’t felt her, I went back to the maternity triage.
They hooked me up on the monitor and she still didn’t move. I knew something was very wrong. A few hours passed and I was put on a drip because the midwife thought I was dehydrated. The midwife then suggested I eat a chocolate bar. I had a little bit and Mia moved about three times but then nothing after that, I often think that was her saying goodbye to us.
The midwife discharged me at 1.00am and I lay awake all night praying Mia would move but she didn’t.
I went straight back to hospital in the morning where the consultant told me to go and get something to eat and a hot chocolate to try and get her moving. I did that and still nothing from Mia.
I was sitting in the canteen with my mum when all of a sudden I got a horrific pain. I went straight back to triage and the consultant ordered a scan. I was then wheeled to the maternity unit where I was prepped for potential premature birth. I had all sorts of horrible things done to try and mature Mia’s lungs and her brain but I didn’t care about feeling any pain myself, as long as my beautiful little girl would be ok.
The doctor performed a Doppler ultrasound and found that Mia wasn’t getting the blood supply she needed from the placenta. He told me I would have to deliver Mia very soon as I was going to have to have an emergency c-section. My mum rang my partner and he rushed to the hospital.
I was wheeled into theatre where there were so many people in the room - the surgeon, doctor, neonatal nurses and many more. I was given the spinal block and when that took effect they started the procedure.
Mia was delivered at 3.59pm on Saturday 21 January 2017 weighing 3lb 10oz. She didn’t cry, she was silent. My partner was by my side and tried to reassure me everything was ok, but I knew it wasn’t.
We heard the neonatal nurses giving Mia chest compressions for about 25 minutes with no response each time. I was taken into recovery where one of Mia’s nurses said that there was still a spark of hope for Mia. She said that Mia was in the neonatal unit which was the best place for her but that she was extremely poorly and her chances weren’t good.
That night we were able to meet our beautiful little girl and give her a little rabbit soft toy to comfort her and keep her safe in her incubator. Bunny will always be precious to us and gives us great comfort. Mia had so many tubes in her but we had to look past that and try our best to be strong for our little girl. She was stable that night and we went several times to visit her the next day, but her heart stopped again and again. They resuscitated her, but we knew her chances weren’t good.
We were told when we went to bed on Sunday that if they had to come and get us in the night we would have to say goodbye to Mia. We went to bed that night hoping and praying this wouldn’t be the case.
We got the knock on our door at 1.00 am and we knew it was time. My partner wheeled me to the neonatal unit and there were so many nurses over Mia’s incubator with all her machines beeping.
I said: “Stop, stop and let our little girl go.” My partner was in denial and didn’t want to think Mia would have to leave us, but he agreed in the end and our little girl’s tubes were taken out. She passed away peacefully in our arms at 1.05 am.
The nurses had to take Mia down to be put in a cold cot so that in the morning we could have some time with her in our room before she had to be taken away for a coroner’s post mortem as her death was unexplained. We had all morning with her and that time was very precious.
We have since had Mia’s post mortem results and found out that she had a congenital heart condition called Dilated Cardiomyopathy. That means an enlarged heart, and prematurity contributed to her death along with Hyaline Membrane Disease. We are currently in the process of trying to find out whether Mia’s heart condition was genetic or just “one of those things”.
It is nearly five months since we lost Mia and I’m still struggling. It is devastating to start the day with so much and have it all taken away.
I love Mia so much and writing my story has been good for me. I want to raise awareness of Dilated Cardiomyopathy in babies. The nurses have since said that they have never seen Dilated Cardiomyopathy in a baby as young as Mia.
Heaven and earth may separate us but nothing will change the fact that Mia made me a mum. Even though Mia was so poorly, she still put up a two-day fight in the neonatal unit and we are so proud of our beautiful little Mia.
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