Updated: Aug 9, 2019
If you don't already know, we are a family of 6 (plus 1 Hamster, 1 Dog and 2 Turtles). I wanted to start this blog to talk about our family life and how we manage life after the sudden and unexpected loss of our son Henry in March 2017.
Bethany and I met in 2006 at a friends 18th birthday party. We were introduced to each other met up a couple of times and managed to hang out at college (maybe a little too much), but what more can I say, the rest is history.
We went on to get engaged on Bournemouth beach, in the February snow after my 21st birthday and we were married by the end of the next July 2010. After our honeymoon in the Canary Islands we were lucky enough to fall pregnant pretty quickly with our first boy Bradley who was born in May 2011, we had a pretty easy pregnancy with no issues and not too many visits to the hospital. Beths labour with Bradley was a long one, and due to Bradleys shoulder being in an awkward position he was delivered by ventouse in theatre.
We were then pregnant again in late 2012 with Austin who was due in the July. Whilst we were away in the easter holidays down in Cornwall, Beth had become unwell and was suffering from flu symptoms, high temperatures and headaches etc, we had to cut our holiday short and travel back home a couple of days early. We had many visits to the hospital and to the midwife as Beth was feeling so unwell, but nothing came to light. It wasn't until the beginning of June that our community midwife told Beth to stop taking paracetamol to control her temperature, and she sent us back to the hospital so they could assess Beth whilst she had symptoms. I think we ended up spending 3 days on a ward on the delivery suite before they found out what was going on.
It turned out Beth had contracted CMV (Cytomegalovirus) this apparently common virus that we knew nothing about and didn't know to be weary of it during pregnancy is usually harmless. It a strain of flu virus that if infected in the early stages of pregnancy can affect the babies development.
CMV Action, is a group that aim to Educate, Vaccinate and Eradicate the infection, follow the link for more information; https://cmvaction.org.uk/what-cmv
After we have received this diagnosis we were promptly discharged from East Surrey Hospital and sent to St Georges in London for a growth scan and an appointment with the infectious diseases department, we still had 3 and half weeks left of the pregnancy at this point so we had had follow up appointments arranged for more scans.
However, Austin had other ideas. I was working a late shift at work one night and got stuck in some traffic coming home. Beth had woken to me not being home and with the worry she went in to labour at 36 weeks and 4 days pregnant. another long labour, but only because it was a day before 37 weeks and the midwifes didn't want to intervene before they knew it was going to progress. Once Beths waters were broken Austin arrived promptly. A little "bonus" of having the CMV was that we got a side room and I could stay the first night.
And now for the tests, our little bundle was sent off for an MRI scan to check for chalk deposits on his brain and also drops to dilate his eyes for those to be checked too. we had a few follow up appointments to check his progress but after that we was cleared and we were so lucky that he didn't have any longterm effects of the virus.
After Austin was born I started college to study for a HND in Aeronautical Engineering at the ripe old age of 24. Looking back now I don't know how Beth did it, I was working at the weekends and was at college 5 days a week and she had two boys to look after at this point. She was a right star through those years. I wasn't 100% sure on what I wanted to do with this qualification but I really didn't like the job I had been doing before.
So whilst I was at college I was trained as an NHS 111 operator for the weekends, and during the holidays I did some street light work with one of Beths cousins. In my second year of college a local flight training centre run by Boeing was looking for two apprentice simulator technicians to complete a two year apprenticeship. I was one of two people selected for the role, I'm sure it wasn't just because I knew a man on the inside (insert winky face).
It was whilst I was working at Boeing that we became pregnant with Henry, he was planned like Bradley and Austin. We were again lucky enough to fall pregnant quickly and we had all the expected follow up appointments regarding the CMV infection Beth had with Austin, it was at this point we stopped seeing the community midwife and were transferred to consultant lead care directly at the hospital.
On Beths random bloods at 27 weeks she had a spike in her glucose levels, leading her to be diagnosed with Gestational Diabetes (over the phone). We then waited three weeks for an appointment to see the Diabetic Nurse, to be given a blood meter and have a talk about diet controlled diabetes. We didn't know until after Henry was born that we should have seen a consultant too that specialised in Gestational Diabetes to talk about the risks to Beth and Henry.
So, the remainder of the pregnancy involved Beth tested her bloods and monitoring what she ate. Maybe we should have done so more research ourselves but we didn't feel that we needed to be too worried about any slightly high blood numbers. We had an extra growth scan booked at 31 weeks and all seemed ok and this would be the last time we saw Henry moving on a scan.
Thank you so much for reading this far, I will create another post to talk about Henrys pregnancy and our experience at the hospital.