It would still be another 2 days until Isla would be born, but it was on Wednesday 11th July that we found out she had passed. I went to work on that morning. My feet were now huge and I was in agony, I was hobbling around but still convinced she was ok. The medical professionals had said so, right?
I went home at lunchtime and used my AngelSounds doppler to listen in. I found a heartbeat of 120bpm and thought I must have counted wrong. That was quite low for Isla but not alarmingly low. So I downloaded a timer app on my phone but then the phone battery died. I left it to charge while I had my dinner. Came back later on and there was no sound at all, not even the whooshing sounds we'd heard since 13 weeks. I tried for 45 minutes and, trying not to panic, then called Dan, who tried for a further 30 minutes. We were convinced my full bladder was just in the way or she was facing backwards, as the midwife had said the day before. Dan asked me what would make me feel a bit better and I said I felt I needed to call someone.
So at about 9:30pm, I called the labour ward, who asked us in for 'reassurance' purposes only. The midwife came into the waiting room with a portable Doppler and tried to find a heartbeat - this was in the waiting room full of other pregnant couples, obviously hoping for a quick solution. She couldn't find a heartbeat but stuck with the full bladder theory. So we were taken into a side room and she tried again. No luck but still no negative thoughts even crossed my mind. So we were taken to another room, further down the corridor. I remember starting to worry but not to such a degree that I could have imagined what was to come. The midwife decided we needed to drain my bladder with a catheter but they only got 10ml out. I was still in agony from the catheter when a senior consultant came into the room with an ultrasound machine.
I remember it was about midnight now. I remember the jelly on my tummy. I remember the ache of the catheter. I remember the midwife standing behind the consultant. And Dan sitting to my left, holding my hand. I remember the consultant was sat on a stool with the screen facing him, but I could just glimpse the screen.
And there was nothing. Nothing on their faces but also nothing on the screen. Even from 7 weeks we had seen that flickering. But there was absolutely nothing. And the midwife's face was so sad. I remember just staring at them and then the screen, almost recognising what was about to happen. And then, there was the moment I will remember forever and ever. That moment the consultant put the scanner very carefully back in the holder and reached toward me with his right hand. And his eyes said it all before he even uttered the words "I'm so sorry.... There's no heartbeat". And then I remember screaming and shouting and shaking and crying and screaming some more. How, how, how??? Surely he was lying. Surely this couldn't happen at 27 weeks? Not to our miracle baby. Not to us, after everything.
And suddenly it was 4am. And we were leaving the hospital with induction medicine inside me and paperwork about what to do when your baby dies. What the heck had just happened? This wasn't real. Even now, as I sit here, tears streaming down my face, I really can't believe that was us. Still numb.
So that was it. That was Wednesday 11th July 2012. So far, the worst day of my life.