We lost our baby boy, James, on Tuesday 29th December 2015, 19 hours after he was born. He died as a result of the blood he lost the moment I went into labour, from a condition known as Vasa Praevia.
He was our first baby, and conceived by IVF. He was a full term baby, in fact he was born just a few hours after his due date. The tragedy for him and for us is that Vasa Praevia can be diagnosed during pregnancy, and managed by delivering the affected baby early by C Section (to avoid the rupture of the placental blood vessels, which happened during labour). However, the unbelievable thing is that despite the catastrophic consequences for the baby, it is not a condition routinely screened for in pregnancy and it often goes undetected. We were devastated to hear that the condition only takes a couple of minutes to diagnose with colour doppler ultrasound, but this is not routinely done by NHS sonographers.
We had always wanted a family of our own, but it didn’t happen as soon as we expected. After investigations into our fertility I was diagnosed with ovaries “with a polycystic appearance”. I could try a fertility drug to help me ovulate, but it has limited success, whereas IVF this was the quickest route to achieve a pregnancy, and I was offered the funding to try a round.
The IVF entailed a course of daily injections, ultrasounds to monitor the follicles on my ovaries, an operation to extract the eggs in the follicles, and a fresh embryo transfer 5 days afterwards. This culminated in the creation of James’s life.
I found out I was pregnant in hospital. A few days after the transfer, I developed OHSS and was pretty ill. The fertility drugs had overstimulated my ovaries and the pregnancy had exacerbated this further. This was scary, particularly for Mark, but we were overjoyed to learn I had finally achieved my first pregnancy, and I recovered after a few days.
My pregnancy with James was easy. I suffered from tiredness and some queeziness, but he gave me very little reason to complain. He developed perfectly. The scans we had showed he was healthy and his growth was around average all the way through my pregnancy. Everything was progressing as it should. There were no signs that anything was wrong, and so we started to believe that we would finally become parents.
We started shopping for our baby, and planning our new lives with our baby. We felt the luckiest people in the world andit was the happiest time of our lives. Two major things happened around the time of the fertility treatment – we purchased a wonderful house which was to become our new family home, and Mark received a really good promotion at work. Everything in our lives was falling into place, and it seemed like we were finally moving into the next stage of our lives. We were more than ready for our baby to join us, and couldn’t wait for him to arrive.