#stillborn campaign - Elsie's happy ending

Published on: 26/01/2016

When I discovered I was pregnant with my fourth baby, I was over the moon. I’d always wanted four children, and the age gaps between the new baby and my toddler were just right.

Quite quickly though, I realised that this pregnancy wasn’t going to be as easy as before. I suffered with terrible sickness, eventually being diagnosed with Hypermesis Gravidarum, and I was forced to take tablets so that I could function. Despite this, we were still so excited about the new baby, and as the anomaly scan date loomed closer, we started to make plans for our family’s future.

After the scan, we were asked to speak to the consultant. It was a routine appointment because I’d previously had three c-sections, so the plan was for the rest of the pregnancy to be monitored closely. I had also previously given birth to two babies who were small for gestational age (SGA), so the consultant was keen to explain what that would mean for this pregnancy.

I was given three dates for growth scans to be carried out at 28, 32 and 36 weeks gestation. I was also given a personalised growth chart so that midwives and doctors could accurately chart my baby’s growth against what was ‘normal’ for me, taking into consideration my two previous SGA babies. At this point, I was quite set on trying for a vaginal birth (VBAC) which my doctor was happy to support, so long as the baby grew well.

At 28 weeks we went for our first growth scan, intending to cancel the second and third appointments that followed, because we were sure that this baby would be growing just fine. Unfortunately, we were told that our fourth baby was very small (we were told that she had Inter Uterine Growth Restriction- IUGR), and that we would need to be monitored even more closely. We were told to return to hospital every two weeks to monitor growth, and I was also asked to agree to regular CTG monitoring too.

Before our next growth scan, I experience reduced movements, which meant more CTG monitoring. And when our doppler scan was performed, more detailed measurements were taken, both of the baby and of the fluid around her. It was noted that there was reduced blood flow to the baby, which meant that I was then required to be monitored weekly, and asked to go back on to the CTG monitor.

elsie2I was asked to monitor my baby’s movements very closely at home because she was really very small, and we were told to prepare for an early delivery. A VBAC was now out of the question, and it looked as though this baby would now be delivered at 34 weeks, to give her the best chance of survival.

The next few weeks were very scary, very stressful and very strained. I had an anterior placenta, which meant that many of my baby’s movements were cushioned. This led to repeated sessions on the CTG monitor, and more worry that my baby might not make it after all. I continued to be monitored weekly, and amazingly we reached 34 weeks with no further problems. From that point, we were told that we could go back to fortnightly monitoring, and that our baby would be delivered via c-section at 37 weeks.

Elsie Rose was delivered at 11.22 am on the 24th October 2014, at 37 weeks and 5 days gestation. It was a straight forward planned c-section, and she was taken away briefly to be checked and weighed. She tipped the scales at a huge 5lb 5, which was a massive relief, and passed all her newborn tests with flying colours. Despite initially being unable to keep her temperature stable, Elsie and I were discharged the next day.

elsie1I will forever be thankful to the doctors and midwives who cared for me throughout my fourth pregnancy. It was an emotional rollercoaster, with so many twists and turns and real moments of fear. But thanks to the close monitoring and dedicated staff, we now have a wonderfully happy and healthy 15 month old daughter. We have been so lucky, and we cherish her every single day.

Susanne Remic