STORIES Baby Loss Awareness Missed miscarriages and our beautiful rainbow 🌈 We had been trying to conceive for over a year when we got our first positive test. My husband and I were thrilled, this was the day we had longed for. We made lists of names we liked and discussed decor for the nursery. We wanted to shout our excitement to all the world, but we chose to tell immediate family and best friends for now instead.I lost my grandad when I was 11 weeks pregnant. He was my world, my absolute best friend, my go-to guy, we were super close and being with him just made me so happy. Fortunately, I'd managed to tell him he was going to be a great grandad, and I'll never forget the smile on his face when I did. I wanted to fill an envelope for my grandad, including a letter and a few photos, and this is when I realised he would never meet his first great grandchild. We booked a private scan for something to look forward to, and the scan at our hospital wasn't for almost another 3 weeks. I wanted to include a photo of our baby in my envelope for my grandad. To some that may seem strange, but at the time the thought of it made me feel better. On the day of the scan I was 12 weeks exactly. My husband & I excitedly walked into the scan room, I laid on the bed, and squirmed at the cold jelly. I grabbed my husband's hand in delight, this is the moment we had been waiting for! A few seconds later our baby appeared on the screen, but the lady didn't say anything, she just frowned. She prodded and poked with the ultrasound for a few more minutes and my heart began to sink. I just knew what was coming. "I'm really sorry, your baby stopped growing at 8 weeks 4 days and there's no heartbeat. I'll leave you alone for a few minutes to take this in and then we will discuss what happens next". She explained how it had been a silent miscarriage and that we'd need to go to the early pregnancy unit to discuss our options.What options? In my head our only option was to have our baby in 6 months time, bring them home, introduce them to the family. We didn't want any other option. How can this be happening now? Three days ago I lost my grandad and now our baby too. We didn't really know what to do with ourselves for the rest of that day, the hospital couldn't see us until the following day. We went to my husbands parents house, his dad was home from work, and we told him. All three of us stood there in the study, hugged and cried for a good five minutes.The rest of the day was a blur, I can only remember sat on the sofa crying eating an Easter egg. That evening, we received a message from my best friend saying she had given birth to her first baby. I resented her so much for being able to have a baby. Why couldn't I? How dare she have him on the day I lost my baby? I felt like the world's worst friend for feeling this way but couldn't help it.The next day we went to the hospital and (foolishly) decided to have tablet management of our miscarriage, which I was admitted for a few days later.I had to stay in hospital that night as I had become unwell during the day, my blood pressure was high, I'd been vomiting, and experienced excruciating pain without passing any tissue. I was distraught as this was the day before my grandads funeral, I just wanted all of this to be over to be there for him. I woke up at half past midnight and went onto the commode in my room. I heard a gentle thud and I knew it had happened. Filled with an even mix of curiosity and fear, I stood up and looked into the bowl. There laid my tiny little angel, in the pregnancy sac. A wave of relief passed over me that the ordeal was over; but then reality hit me. I'd had my baby. I wouldn't be taking this beautiful little person home. I would never hear this baby cry, never get to tickle their toes as I changed their nappy. No first word, no first steps, no first day at school. 10 weeks later we found out we were pregnant again. I couldn't decide if I was excited or terrified; probably both.We didn't tell anyone this time, the less people that knew about it, the less anyone could speak about it. I wasn't going to allow myself to become attached too early again. This way we could just carry on and pretend this wasn't happening until we knew everything was ok.I experienced a bit of pain around 7 weeks, so my GP sent me for a scan to check everything was ok. I sat waiting patiently, with an ongoing battle in my mind convincing myself it was bad news against statistically everything being fine this time. I was called in to the scan room, and much to my surprise, I saw the heart beating before the lady even said it.I instantly felt so much more pregnant, and as the 12 week scan drew closer, I couldn't help but feel excited. I'd seen my precious baby's heartbeat once already.On the day of our 12 week scan, I hopped on the bed, convinced our baby would be so much bigger and developing accordingly. I stared at the space in my tiny baby's chest where I'd seen that tiny little heart beating, gripping my husbands hand excited to show him. I stared really hard, but I couldn't see it.I asked the lady and she had that same look as the first lady, and once again we heard those devastating words "there's no heartbeat". She's wrong, I've seen it myself I defiantly thought. She tried an internal scan just to make sure and again I heard that sentence. I've never felt so angry. Why is she telling us this? Why is this happening to us, again?! Off we went to the hospital again, familiar with this process. After being mentally scarred for life from the trauma of the tablets, I opted for the general anaesthetic. My fear of being put to sleep was significantly less than the fear of going through that again.The surgical experience was easier to cope with this time, and the recovery was much quicker too. I could mentally prepare myself, I knew I would go in that operating theatre with my baby and leave without. Mentally giving myself that time frame somehow helped me cope that day. My husband was there, along with my best friend. It was an emotional day.We told our families what had happened, and insisted we didn't want to talk about it. We had spent the majority of this year talking about my first baby's loss. I wasn't having those conversations again.I didn't want to hear "at least it happened early", "it wasnt a real baby yet" or "well at least you know you can get pregnant"... all said with good intentions but of no help whatsoever. Nothing would give us either of our babies back. Nothing anyone said made us feel better. I felt angry when I saw someone pregnant, why could they do it and I couldn't I? Suddenly I noticed every little baby related thing, adverts on the radio, TV adverts and programs, offers in the supermarket on baby products. My awareness for all things baby related reached a new high, regardless of where I went or what I was doing I couldn't avoid it. Going out became so difficult, I didn't want to risk seeing anyone I knew or anything related to babies. We found it so difficult to be around my best friends baby and our baby nephew, as both were painful reminders of what we had lost and so desperately longed for. My best friend was, and still is, so supportive and patient. She went out of her way to make sure I was OK despite having a tiny baby to care for. Everyone needs a girl like her in their lives.We decided to have a time out from trying to conceive for a little while. I changed jobs not long after I returned to work, after I discovered some colleagues had broken my trust about my absence and said some awful comments behind my back. I'll never forgive them for that. Plus, I worked in a job where dealing with death was a daily possibility, and after losing two babies and my grandad in the space of just weeks, I just couldn't do those families justice. I needed to get out of that toxic environment ASAP. We also went on a spectacular holiday, we needed time away from home, quality time together to focus on just having fun and not having to worry about anything. I needed councilling to cope with everything as it all took its toll on me. Talking to someone is really beneficial and there is no shame whatsoever in asking for help. I found it really useful having someone impartial to our situation to speak to about how I felt. Our best friends were so supportive and patient with us and now we have a great relationship with their little boy. He calls us aunty and uncle which is lovely, he's a real character and is so much fun to be around. Our families were great too. After embarking on our "healthy mind, healthy body" mission, we fell pregnant again 14 months later. We didn't tell anyone at all. We barely even spoke about it to each other. We weren't excited, we were just biding time and anticipating bad news again.Fortunately this time, everything went well, we had only good news at each scan and appointment. We slowly began to tell family and friends, although fearful we were tempting fate by doing so. Other than the usual pregnancy symptoms, physically the pregnancy went well. Mentally however, I struggled. I couldn't get excited, or if I did it was brief. People probably thought I was being rude or uninterested when they asked me about the baby, as I promptly changed the subject of conversation. I just didn't want to get my hopes up. Every kick I felt I wondered if that would be the last. Every trip to the toilet I expected to see blood. Every item we bought I wondered what I'd say when I needed to return it. On the odd occasion I did let myself get excited and spoke about the baby, after a few minutes I began to panic I'd said too much and swiftly changed the subject. Miscarriages really do have a lasting effect. At 38 weeks we were sent for a growth scan as my bump measured small. They discovered my fluid had dropped, baby's growth had slowed and my blood pressure was high, so we were induced. On the day she was born her heart rate kept dropping during monitoring, and we came close to having an emergency cesarean several times. We were filled with fear, we hadn't got this far for something bad to happen now. I felt an overwhelming sense of responsibility to get her here safe, and I managed to deliver her in 20 minutes of pushing. She stopped breathing for a minute or so not long after she was born during her first feed. Luckily she was fine after I rubbed her chest and blew in her face while my husband ran to get help. I'd never been so scared in my life.At first I had moments where I felt guilty for loving her so much, especially since we never got to meet or cuddle our first two babies. I found myself curiously looking at her little face, wondering if her siblings would have looked similar or had the same interests. I felt guilty that I had "replaced" them. Now our beautiful rainbow is 5 months old and is an absolute dream, she's such a content and happy little girl. We're so grateful for her, for everything, even the 3am wake ups and being covered in vomit. After doubting whether my body would ever allow us this opportunity, three and a half years later, we finally have our happily ever after, and we couldn't be happier.