Chloe’s story

My partner and I decided to try for a baby in October 2021. I had just turned 30, and with a step daughter from his previous relationship and everything seeming “right” in our lives time-wise, it just seemed right! By tracking ovulations and using a fertility app, early January 2022 I found out I was pregnant!!

I was so excited, as was he, and when we hit 12 weeks and saw them for the first time I felt relief that we had “made it” to the safety point!! However, they redated us to 11 weeks, which we didn’t think much of at the time, just that every “happened” as late as possible in relation to my ovulation. It had been difficult to see them and take measurements also as I had a lot of bloating!

On Good Friday (17 weeks) I had a small bleed and, in a panic, we rang the hospital as you can’t really contact anyone on bank holidays! They gave us a scan for Easter Sunday, and we were instantly put at ease as we saw them waving at us on the screen. However, as they were checking them over and showing us different anatomy, I noticed one head measurement they took saying 16 weeks (which would be two weeks less than we originally thought). But again, I didn’t think much of it! We saw them happy and everything was okay, and a few days prior with the midwife we’d heard heartbeat of the baby and placenta and both were strong.

At the 20-week scan we were excited to find out the sex, but I felt VERY anxious that morning although I couldn’t really tell why. My bump hadn’t really changed in size much, but I’d lost bloat and changed for “bump” so again, thought nothing of it. Immediately at our 20-week scan something was wrong. She asked me to empty my bladder which shocked me, and when she tried again to scan, she told us there was very little fluid around the baby and we needed to see a doctor at the other side of the hospital.

They walked us through crowds of other pregnant women and took us to “that room”. We felt dread. We were then told a very poor prognosis as I hadn’t “leaked”, and that it meant something was wrong. We saw specialists who told us they were measuring very small and their abdomen was tiny, but my placenta seemed fine so we were told to monitor for two weeks and undergo a CVS for genetics. I spent the next few days in a blur of scientific research and Google articles on fetal growth restriction. I myself am an anatomist but this all felt so out of my depth!

Two weeks later we found out he was a boy which made it all the more real that he was a little person fighting to survive. But sadly, he hadn’t grown, now had no fluid around him, and his heart was failing.

We’d spoken to ARC in this time who helped us understand different testing and prognosis and how to get second opinions etc, and they talked me through medical termination as no one else seemed to want to give me that home truth! They also helped us prepare questions for the doctors and ensure we understood everything. I was struggling to understand why we were waiting when the prognosis we were told from 20 weeks was poor, and they helped calm me and understand not to make emotion fuelled choices.

After a lot of thought, we decided to terminate before he passed away to save his suffering, and later found out he had a gene deletion, and that we weren’t carriers, which is a relief. But to anyone else going through this all I can say is educate yourself… ask for second opinions, ask for them to explain it again, speak to ARC, if you Google…prepare questions on things you need answering. And always feel you have a choice.

Whatever choice you make, you are not alone, the only thing I regret is not fighting to get him redated to his original 24 weeks before we terminated at 23weeks so he could be registered. But I do not regret ending his suffering early, for the sake of a “check point. We know we will never ever forget him.