Katrina Cliffe and her husband John lost one baby to miscarriage and thought they would never be able to have children again. After they conceived another child, they were terribly afraid they would lose this baby, too, but doctors had an idea on how to save a little baby’s life.
Lying on a hospital bed as doctors battled to save her unborn child, Katrina Cliffe said a prayer and clung to the hope that everything would be all right.
But her dream of becoming a mum for the first time was about to turn into a nightmare that seemed as if it would never end.
“I’d gone to hospital after feeling some internal pressure,” says Katrina, 31. “The consultant examined me and told me my cervix was opening and at just 22 weeks, my baby was coming.
“They tried to put in an emergency stitch to hold the baby in. The consultant said she had seen it work for another patient.
“So I just started hoping and praying they could save our child.”
But it was not to be. “As I came round from the anaesthetic, I heard the doctor say to my husband John, ‘I’m very sorry’. I knew I’d lost our child, and I just didn’t want to wake up.”
Sadly, their little baby was too premature too survive the accidental early birth.
“No parent should have to bury their child,” says Katrina. “Until then the pregnancy had been straightforward. Casey had even started to kick. We were so excited.”
What would you do at this point, having lost a child? Some parents have the resolve to try again, but Katrina and John were determined. And they got help from another ideas doctors had to make sure their next premature baby made it further.
Katrina had an “incompetent cervix”, where the small canal at the base of the womb shortens and dilates before the baby is due. To stop another miscarriage, doctors decided to use progesterone and, five months later, when she got pregnant again, it worked.
“I’d spoken to couples on an online support group who’d benefited from it,” says Katrina. “I wanted to try it.”
When she was seven weeks gone, she began having injections twice a week. At three months, she had a cervical stitch and was on bed rest.
She says: “I got to 34 weeks and I felt huge. I’d never got to that stage before so I had never seen myself with such a big bump. It was fantastic.”
In June 2011, Katrina gave birth to another girl, Jaime, just a day before her due date.
She weighed 8lbs 13oz. “I’m convinced without the progesterone injections I wouldn’t have got to full term,” says Katrina. “It felt different from the start.”