When I found out I was pregnant, I instantly felt like something wasn’t right but I could never put my finger on it.
Then at the 12 week scan we were told that there was fluid on the back of baby’s neck, quite a lot in fact. We immediately thought of Down’s Syndrome and chatted about the possibility of this outcome but we decided that would manage, it would be fine.
The hospital informed us that not all possible genetic conditions could be tested for at this stage but we went ahead with those which were available, including an amniocentesis, all of which came back ok. This was of some relief but we now had to wait until the 20 week scan where more in-depth tests and scans could take place. It was also explained to us that the level of fluid can decrease and sort itself out during that time but in our case, it never did. It felt as though our hopes and dreams were crumbling away.
At 20 weeks a heart scan was carried out and the level of fluid hadn’t got any better. During this scan it was also discovered that our baby boy had a problem with his valve, basically his heart was filling up but not filtering it around and his little chest was getting bigger as a result.
It was explained that they wouldn’t expect him to survive the whole pregnancy and that if he did, there wasn’t any guarantees that it was something which could be fixed as it would be an extremely difficult procedure.
That same day we were sent up to Bristol for a more in-depth scan with a consultant. The consultant explained that we had a very poorly little boy, as well as the problem with his heart, there was also fluid on his brain, one of his kidney’s didn’t look to be developing properly and he also had a double cleft palate. They also confirmed the devastating news that he was extremely unlikely to survive the pregnancy or labour. We were absolutely heartbroken.
Up until this point we had chosen to tell only a few really close family members, explaining that there were possible complications. Otherwise we had managed to keep the pregnancy from others, including our three children. But our daughter, who was 12 at the time, started asking questions and whether I could be pregnant or not. At this point we knew we needed to make a decision.
It was the hardest situation I’ve ever had to face.
We discussed our options at length but I think we both knew deep down that ending the pregnancy was fairer on our unborn son. We also had our three other children to consider, how could I go full term with the very real and likely possibility of losing him, they’d be absolutely heartbroken. There just didn’t seem to be any other way of dealing with it, there was no other option.
Friday 6 May 2016, we headed to the hospital first thing for me to be induced. Our midwife explained the procedure and what to expect. Although this would also be her first experience of baby loss, she had never dealt with this situation before but she was so, so lovely to us.
As the hours went by my body was reluctant to progress, it just didn’t want to let him go. Then as the next steps were being discussed, I felt a pressure and urge within my body, our beautiful baby boy was born just before 18:00. To everyone’s shock and amazement he was born breathing.
It all feels a bit of a blur but I remember being absolutely fascinated by him, I’d never seen a baby so small and perfect. His little ears, his little hands, his little feet, all absolutely perfect. I held him close, soaking up and taking in every little bit of him until he slipped away just over an hour after being born. Jasper, our little soldier, who survived his birth to give us that precious time with him.
We spent the rest of the evening with him, not wanting to leave. But by about 01:00 I thought if I don’t leave him soon, I’ll never want to. Saying goodbye to Jasper was the hardest part and the only time that I broke down. I had tried to hard to see the whole experience as a positive as it happens to lots of women and appreciate the fact that I had three other children waiting for me at home. But walking away from Jasper and not taking him home to his siblings was devastating.
Initially we had agreed for Jasper to be cremated and buried at Taunton Cemetery, but I couldn’t do it, I couldn’t have him that far away from his family. Jasper was instead buried at our village church so that we can walk up to see him and spend some time near him.
Not a single day goes by where I don’t think of him, our gorgeous Jasper, forever our little soldier.